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Re: Theos-World Fwd: Chomsky and Farrakhan responses to WTC911

Sep 29, 2001 11:12 AM
by Bart Lidofsky wrote:
> You may be right. But since I just sent the editorial picking apart 
> Chomsky, you might as well read Chomsky's original interview so you can 
> judge for yourself. 

Thanks. Here I go (if you get tired of the point by point, feel free to
zip down to my conclusion at the bottom):

> It is generally assumed, plausibly, that their origin is the Middle East
> region, and that the attacks probably trace back to the Osama Bin Laden
> network, a widespread and complex organization, doubtless inspired by Bin
> Laden but not necessarily acting under his control.

Osama Bin Laden is considered to be the best organizer in the terrorist
world. It is doubtful that anything happens in his organization that he
is unaware of; his major value to the terrorist movement is as an
organizer, not as a symbol.

> A Saudi Arabian millionaire, Bin Laden became a militant Islamic leader in
> the war to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. He was one of the many
> religious fundamentalist extremists recruited, armed, and financed by the 
> CIA and their allies in Pakistani intelligence to cause maximal harm to the
> Russians, (quite possibly delaying their withdrawal, many analysts suspect),
> though whether he personally happened to have direct contact with the CIA is
> unclear, and not particularly important.

All the Afghan resistors were helped by the U.S. government. And the
purpose was not to "cause maximal harm to the Russians", but because the
Russians had embarked on a genocidal mission to kill every man, woman
and child in Afghanistan.

> Not surprisingly, the CIA preferred the most fanatic and cruel fighters they
> could mobilize. 

There is something that I learned a long time ago. People have motives
and goals. In order to deal with people, it is important to understand
those motives and goals. If one just assumes that someone is insanely
evil, then one will never be able to deal with that person (except in
the very rare cases where the person IS insanely evil). Chomsky assumes
that the CIA is insanely evil, and therefore it makes sense for him to
ascribe to the CIA characteristics that make no sense whatsoever. 

Given the two possible motives of the CIA (the stated motive of helping
the Afghans prevent Soviet genocide or the goal Chomsky assumes of
causing maximal harm to the Russians), recruiting the most fanatical and
cruel fighters is not the most efficient way to go about it. One needs
to recruit EFFICIENT fighters, and cruel fanatics are NOT efficient. 

> The end result was to "destroy a moderate regime and create a
> fanatical one, from groups recklessly financed by the Americans" , London
> Times correspondent, Simon Jenkins, also a specialist on the region.

Simon Jenkins is defining a regime that deliberately uses poison gas on
civilians to be "moderate".

> These "Afghanis" as they are called, (many, like Bin Laden, not from
> Afghanistan), carried out terror operations across the border in Russia, but
> they terminated these after Russia withdrew. Their war was not against
> Russia, which they despise, but against the Russian occupation and Russia's
> crimes against Muslims.

Most people would say "crimes against humanity". 

> The "Afghanis" did not terminate their activities, however. They joined
> Bosnian Muslim forces in the Balkan Wars; the US did not object, just as it
> tolerated Iranian support for them, for complex reasons that we need not
> pursue here, apart from noting that concern for the grim fate of the 
> Bosnians was not prominent among them. The "Afghanis" are also fighting the 
> Russians in Chechnya, and, quite possibly, are involved in carrying out 
> terrorist attacks in Moscow and elsewhere in Russian territory.

Very often, one is faced with choosing between evils. The U.S., in the
Balkans, took the side of whatever group was getting slaughtered at the
moment, to stop mass slaughter. Unfortunately, the slaughterers and the
slaughterers kept on changing places. The reason why Chomsky doesn't
feel the need to go over the reasons is because they would go AGAINST
his case, so he casually refrains from giving them.

> Bin Laden and his "Afghanis" turned against the US in 1990 when they
> established permanent bases in Saudi Arabia, from his point of view, a
> counterpart to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but far more
> significant because of Saudi Arabia's special status as the guardian of the
> holiest shrines.

Except that the United States was not dictating policy, and trying to
PREVENT biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons from being used, and
was willing, ready and able to leave any time the Saudis asked them to. 

> Bin Laden is also bitterly opposed to the corrupt and repressive regimes of
> the region, which he regards as "un-Islamic," including the Saudi Arabian
> regime, the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime in the world, apart
> from the Taliban, and a close US ally since its origins.

Saudi Arabia, while being somewhat fundamentalist, is far from being
the most extreme example in the world. Iran and Afghanistan are two that
are worse, just for example. And of course, Chomsky considers democracy
to be corrupt and repressive. Because the U.S. supports the regimes
where the people have the most freedom, and...

> Bin Laden despises the US for its support of these regimes. 

> Like others in the region, he is also outraged by long-standing US support 
> for Israel's brutal military occupation, now in its 35th year: Washington's 
> decisive diplomatic, military, and economic intervention in support of the 
> killings, the harsh and destructive siege over many years, the daily 
> humiliation to which Palestinians are subjected, the expanding settlements 
> designed to break the occupied territories into Bantustan-like cantons and 
> take control of the resources, the gross violation of the Geneva 
> Conventions, and other actions that are recognized as crimes throughout most 
> of the world, apart from the US, which has prime responsibility for them.

Israel is the ONLY country in the world which is being taken to task
for these "crimes", which, for the rest of the world, is standard
operating procedure. It's so-called "brutality" is in preventing people
from killing Israeli citizens.

> And like others, he contrasts Washington's dedicated support for these 
> crimes with the decade-long US-British assault against the civilian 
> population of Iraq, which has devastated the society and caused hundreds of 
> thousands of deaths while strengthening Saddam Hussein, who was a favored 
> friend and ally of the US and Britain right through his worst atrocities, 
> including the gassing of the Kurds, as people of the region also remember 
> well, even if Westerners prefer to forget the facts.

And the U.S. actions are to KEEP Hussein from repeating those
atrocities, and their attacks are designed to MINIMIZE civilian deaths.

> The Wall Street Journal, (Sept. 14), published a survey of opinions of
> wealthy and privileged Muslims in the Gulf region, (bankers, professionals,
> businessmen with close links to the U.S.). They expressed much the same
> views: resentment of the U.S. policies of supporting Israeli crimes and
> blocking the international consensus on a diplomatic settlement for many
> years while devastating Iraqi civilian society, supporting harsh and
> repressive anti-democratic regimes throughout the region, and imposing
> barriers against economic development by "propping up oppressive regimes."

The wealthy Muslims of the region became that way through oppression of
the people. They are against any country that gives all Muslims equal
rights, including (possibly especially) Israel.

> Among the great majority of people suffering deep poverty and oppression,
> similar sentiments are far more bitter, and are the source of the fury and
> despair that has led to suicide bombings, as commonly understood by those 
> who are interested in the facts.

The suicide bombers are a result of months of indoctrination (using
techniques sometimes referred to as "brainwashing"). 

> To quote the lead analysis in The New York Times, (Sept. 16), the
> perpetrators acted out of "hatred for the values cherished in the West as
> freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage.
> U.S. actions are irrelevant, and therefore need not even be mentioned."

This is the same paper which ALSO seriously printed an analysis that
George W. Bush was behind the bombings. And there is a difference
between editorial analysis and news analysis.

> Simply ask how the same people would have reacted if Nicaragua had adopted
> this doctrine after the U.S. had rejected the orders of the World Court to
> terminate its "unlawful use of force" against Nicaragua and had vetoed a
> Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international
> law.

The U.S. was, once again, helping forces working against a brutal
dictatorship. And the U.N. has been, over the years, well known to be
controlled by the forces of hate and bigotry (note the recent farcical
conference on racism). 

> The U.S. has already demanded that Pakistan terminate the food and other
> supplies that are keeping at least some of the starving and suffering people
> of Afghanistan alive. If that demand is implemented, unknown numbers of
> people who have not the remotest connection to terrorism will die, possibly
> millions. Let me repeat: the U.S. has demanded that Pakistan kill, possibly, 
> millions of people who are themselves victims of the Taliban. This has 
> nothing to do even with revenge. It is at a far lower moral level even than 
> that.

This is total bull, as events have shown.

Chomsky indulges in what is called "moral equivalency" (William F.
Buckley came up with an excellent definition of moral equivalency:
Saying that pushing an old lady into the path of a moving car and
pushing an old lady OUT of the path of a moving car were equivalent
actions, because in both cases one is pushing an old lady). He takes the
actions, and ignores the motives and the extended results.

Bart Lidofsky

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