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The Sick Mind of Noam Chomsky: Part II

Oct 12, 2001 10:34 AM
by Michele Lidofsky

The Sick Mind of Noam Chomsky: Part II Method and Madness | October 8, 2001

ONE OF THE TYPICAL ILLUSIONS of the Chomsky cult is the belief that its
imam and sensei is not the unbalanced dervish of anti-American loathing
appears to everyone else, but an analytic giant whose dicta flow from a
painstaking and scientific inquiry into the facts. "The only reason Noam
Chomsky is an
international political force unto himself," writes a typically fervid
acolyte, "is that he actually spends considerable time researching,
analyzing, corroborating,
deconstructing, and impassionately [sic] explaining world affairs." This
conviction is almost as delusional as Chomsky’s view of the world
itself. It would be more
accurate to say of the Chomsky oeuvre -- lifting a famous line from the
late Mary McCarthy -- that everything he has written is a lie, including
the "ands" and "the’s."

Chomskyites who read "The Sick Mind of Noam Chomsky (Part I)" have
complained that "there is not one single comment …that contradicts
Chomsky’s research."
Consequently, my refutation of Chomsky was not achieved "by reasoned
argument or detailing the errors of fact or logic in his writings and
statements, but by
character assassination and the trivializing of Chomsky’s strongly held
beliefs through accusations that they were unpatriotic."

I confess to being a little puzzled by this objection. Having described
Chomsky’s equation of post-World War II America with Nazi Germany, it
did not actually
occur to me that additional refutation was required. Not, at any rate,
among the sound of mind. It is true, on the other hand -- as will become
apparent in this sequel -- that the adulators of Chomsky share a group
psychosis with millions of others who formerly worshipped
pre-Chomskyites, like Lenin, Stalin, and other Marxist worthies, as
geniuses of the progressive faith. 

Now to the facts. 

Chomsky’s little masterpiece, What Uncle Sam Wants, draws on America’s
actions in the Cold War as a database for its portrayal as the Evil One
in global affairs.
As Chomsky groupies are quick to point out, a lot of facts do appear in
the text or – more precisely – appear to appear in the text. On closer
examination, every
one of them has been ripped out of any meaningful historical context and
then distorted so cynically that the result has about as much in common
with the truth as Harry Potter’s Muggles Guide to Magic. 

In Chomsky’s telling, the bi-polar world of the Cold War is viewed as
though there were only one pole. In the real world, the Cold War was
about America’s effort
to organize a democratic coalition against an expansionist empire that
conquered and enslaved more than a billion people. It ended, when the
empire gave up and the
walls that kept its subjects locked in, came tumbling down. In Chomsky’s
world, the Soviet empire hardly exists, not a single American action is
seen as a response
to a Soviet initiative, and the Cold War is "analyzed" as though it had
only one side. 

This is like writing a history of the Second World War without
mentioning Hitler or noticing that the actions of the Axis powers
influenced its events. But in
Chomsky’s malevolent hands, matters get even worse. If one were to
follow the Chomsky method, for example, one would list every problematic
act committed by
any part or element in the vast coalition attempting to stop Hitler, and
would attribute them all to a calculating policy of the United States.
One would then provide a report card of these "crimes" as the historical
record itself. The list of crimes – the worst acts of which the allies
could be accused and the most dishonorable motives they may be said to
have acted upon -- would then become the database from which America’s
portrait would be drawn. The result inevitably would be the Great Satan
of Chomsky’s deranged fantasy life. 

In What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Chomsky begins with the fact of
America’s emergence from the Second World War. He describes this fact
characteristically as
the United States having "benefited enormously" from the conflict in
contrast to its "industrial rivals" -- omitting in the process any
mention of the 250,000 lives
America lost, its generous Marshall Plan aid to those same rivals or,
for that matter, its victory over Nazi Germany and the Axis powers. In
Chomsky’s portrait,
America in 1945 is, instead, a wealthy power that profited from others’
misery and is now seeking world domination. "The people who determine
American policy
were carefully planning how to shape the postwar world," he asserts
without evidence. "American planners – from those in the State
Department to those on the
Council on Foreign Relations (one major channel by which business
leaders influence foreign policy) – agreed that the dominance of the
United States had to be

Chomsky never names the actual people who agreed that American policy
should be world dominance, nor how they achieved unanimity in deciding
to transform a
famously isolationist country into a global power. America, in short,
has no internal politics that matter. Chomsky does not bother to
acknowledge or attempt to
explain the powerful strain of isolationism not only in American policy,
but in the Republican Party – the party of Wall Street and the Council
on Foreign Relations
businessmen whom he claims exert such influence on policy. Above all, he
does not explain why -- if world domination was really America’s goal in
1945 –
Washington disbanded its wartime armies overnight and brought them home. 

Between 1945 and 1946, in fact, America demobilized 1.6 million troops.
By contrast, the Soviet Union (which Chomsky doesn’t mention) maintained
its 2
million-man army in place in the countries of Eastern Europe whose
governments it had already begun to undermine and destroy. It was, in
fact, the Soviet
absorption of the formerly independent states of Eastern Europe in the
years between 1945 and 1948 that triggered America’s subsequent
rearmament, the creation
of NATO, and the overseas spread of American power, which was designed
to contain an expansionist Soviet empire and prevent a repetition of the
process that had led to World War II. These little facts never appear in
Chomsky’s text, yet they determine everything that followed, especially
America’s global
presence. There is no excuse for this omission other than that Chomsky
wants this history to be something other than it was. History has shown
that the Cold War,
the formation of the postwar western alliances and the mobilizing of
western forces -- was principally brought about by the Soviet conquest
of Eastern Europe. That
is why the Cold War ended as soon as the Berlin Wall fell, and the
states of Eastern Europe were freed to pursue their independent paths.
It was to accomplish this great liberation of several hundred million
people -- and not any American quest for world domination -- that
explains American Cold War policy. But these facts never appear on
Chomsky’s pages. 

Having begun the story with an utterly false picture of the historical
forces at work, Chomsky is ready to carry out his scorched earth
campaign of malicious slander against the democracy in which he has led
a privileged existence for more than seventy years. "In 1949," Chomsky
writes -- reaching for his favorite smear – "US espionage in Eastern
Europe had been turned over to a network run by Reinhard Gehlen, who had
headed Nazi military intelligence on the Eastern Front. This
network was one part of the US-Nazi alliance…." 

Let’s pause for a moment so that we can take a good look at this
exemplary display of the Chomsky method. We have jumped – or rather
Chomsky has jumped us
– from 1945 to 1949, skipping over the little matter of the Red Army’s
refusal to withdraw from Eastern Europe, and the Kremlin’s swallowing of
its independent
regimes. Instead of these matters, the reader is confronted with what
appears to be a shocking fact about Reinhard Gehlen, which is quickly
inflated it into a big lie – an alleged "US-Nazi alliance." The factoid
about Gehlen, it must be said, has been already distorted in the process
of presenting it. The United States used Gehlen -- not the other way
around, as Chomsky’s devious phrase ("US espionage … had been turned
over") implies. More blatant is the big lie itself. There was no
"US-Nazi alliance." The United States defeated Nazi Germany four years
earlier, and by 1949 – unlike the Soviet Union -- had imposed a
democracy on West Germany’s
political structure as a condition of a German peace. 

In 1949, West Germany, which was controlled by the United States and its
allies, was a democratic state and continued to be so until the end of
the Cold War, forty
years later. East Germany, which was controlled by the Soviet Union
(whose policies Chomsky fails to examine) was a police state, and
continued to be a police
state until the end of the Cold War, forty years later. In 1949, with
Stalin’s Red Army occupying all the countries of Eastern Europe, the
Communists had established
police states in each one of them and were arresting and executing
thousands of innocent people. These benighted satellite regimes of the
Soviet empire remained
police states, under Soviet rule, until the end of the Cold War forty
years later. The 2 million-man Red Army continued to occupy Eastern
Europe until the end of the
Cold War forty years later, and for every one of those years it was
positioned in an aggressive posture threatening the democratic states of
Western Europe with
invasion and occupation. 

In these circumstances – which Chomsky does not mention -- the use of a
German military intelligence network with experience and assets in
Eastern Europe and
the Soviet Union was an entirely reasonable measure to defend the
democratic states of the West and the innocent lives of the subjects of
Soviet rule. Spy work is
dirty work as everyone recognizes. This episode was no "Nazi" taint on
America, but a necessary part of America’s Cold War effort in the cause
of human freedom.
With the help of the Gehlen network, the United States kept the Soviet
expansion in check, and eventually liberated hundreds of millions of
oppressed people in
Eastern Europe from the horrors of the Communist gulag. 

Chomsky describes these events as though the United States had not
defeated Hitler, but had made a pact with the devil himself to attack
the innocent: "These
operations included a ‘secret army’ under US-Nazi auspices that sought
to provide agents and military supplies to armies that had been
established by Hitler and
which were still operating inside the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
through the early 1950s." This typical Chomsky distortion of what
actually took place is as
bold a lie as the Communist propaganda the Kremlin distributed in those
years, from which it is cynically cribbed. 

Having equated America with Nazi Germany, in strict imitation of
Stalinist propaganda themes, Chomsky extends the analogy through the
whole of his fictional
account of the episodes that made up the Cold War. According to Chomsky,
establishing a Nazi world order – with business interests at the top and
the "working classes and the poor" at the bottom -- was America’s real
postwar agenda. Therefore, "the major thing that stood in the way of
this was the anti-fascist resistance, so we suppressed it all over the
world, often installing fascists and Nazi collaborators in its place." 

Claims like these give conspiracy theories a bad name.

It would be tedious (and would add nothing to our understanding) to run
through all of Chomsky’s perversely distorted cases, which follow the
unscrupulous model
of his account of the Gehlen network. One more should suffice. In 1947 a
civil war in Greece became the first Cold War test of America’s resolve
to prevent the
Soviet empire from spreading beyond Eastern Europe. Naturally, Chomsky
presents the conflict as a struggle between the "anti-Nazi resistance,"
and US backed
(and "Nazi") interests. In Chomsky’s words, these interests were "US
investors and local businessmen," and -- of course -- "the beneficiaries
included Nazi
collaborators, while the primary victims were the workers and the

The leaders of the anti-Communist forces in Greece were not Nazis. On
the other hand, what Chomsky calls the "anti-Nazi resistance" was in
fact the Communist
Party and its fellow-traveling pawns. What Chomsky leaves out of his
account, as a matter of course and necessity, are the proximity of the
Soviet Red Army to
Greece, the intention of the Greek Communists to establish a Soviet
police state if they won the civil war, and the fact that their defeat
paved the way for an
unprecedented economic development benefiting all classes and the
eventual establishment of a political democracy which soon brought
democratic socialists to

Needless to say, no country in which Chomsky’s "anti-fascists" won, ever
established a democracy or produced any significant betterment in the
conditions of the great mass of its inhabitants. This puts a somewhat
different color on every detail of what happened in Greece and what the
United States did there. The only point of view from which Chomsky’s
version of this history makes sense is the point of view of the Kremlin,
whose propaganda has merely been updated
by the MIT professor. 

A key chapter of Chomsky’s booklet of lies is called "The Threat of A
Good Example." In it, Chomsky offers his explanation for America’s
diabolical behavior in Third World countries. In Chomsky’s fictional
accounting, "what the US-run contra forces did in Nicaragua, or what our
terrorist proxies do in El Salvador or
Guatemala, isn’t only ordinary killing. A major element is brutal,
sadistic torture – beating infants against rocks, hanging women by their
feet with their breasts cut off and the skin of their face peeled back
so that they’ll bleed to death, chopping people’s heads off and putting
them on stakes." There are no citations in Chomsky’s
text to support the claim either that these atrocities took place, or
that the United States directed them, or that the United States is in
any meaningful way responsible. But, according to Chomsky, "US-run"
forces and "our terrorist proxies" do this sort of thing routinely and
everywhere: "No country is exempt from this treatment, no matter how

According to Chomsky, U.S. business is the evil hand behind all these
policies. On the other hand, "as far as American business is concerned,
Nicaragua could
disappear and nobody would notice. The same is true of El Salvador. But
both have been subjected to murderous assaults by the U.S., at a cost of
hundreds of
thousands of lives and many billions of dollars." If these countries are
so insignificant, why would the United States bother to treat them so
monstrously, particularly since lesser atrocities committed by Americans
– like the My Lai massacre – managed to attract the attention of the
whole world, and not just Noam Chomsky? "There is a reason for that,"
Chomsky explains. "The weaker and poorer a country is, the more
dangerous it is as an example (italics in original). If a tiny, poor
country like Grenada can succeed in bringing about a better life for its
people, some other place that has more resources will ask, ‘why not

It’s an interesting idea. The logic goes like this: What Uncle Sam
really wants is to control the world; U.S. control means absolute misery
for all the peoples that
come under its sway; this means the U.S. must prevent all the little,
poor people in the world from realizing that there are better ways to
develop than with U.S.
investments or influence. Take Grenada. "Grenada has a hundred thousand
people who produce a little nutmeg, and you could hardly find it on a
map. But when
Grenada began to undergo a mild social revolution, Washington quickly
moved to destroy the threat." This is Chomsky’s entire commentary on the
U.S. intervention
in Grenada.

Actually, something quite different took place. In 1979, there was a
coup in Grenada that established a Marxist dictatorship complete with a
Soviet-style "politburo" to rule it. This was a tense period in the Cold
War. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, and Communist
insurgencies armed by Cuba were spreading in
Central America. Before long, Cuban military personnel began to appear
in Grenada and were building a new airport capable of accommodating
Soviet bombers.
Tensions over the uncompleted airport developed between Washington and
the Grenadian dictatorship. In the midst of all this, there was another
coup in 1983. This coup was led by the Marxist Minister of Defense who
assassinated the Marxist dictator and half his politburo, including his
pregnant Minister of Education. The new dictator put the entire island –
including U.S. citizens resident there -- under house arrest. It was at
this point that the Reagan Administration sent the marines in to protect
U.S. citizens, stop the construction of the military airport and restore
democracy to the little island. The U.S. did this at the request of four
governments of Caribbean countries who feared a Communist military
presence in their neighborhood. A public opinion poll taken after the
U.S. operation showed that 85% of the citizens of Grenada welcomed the
U.S. intervention and America’s help in restoring their freedom.

There was no "threat of a good example" in Grenada and there are none
anywhere in the world of progressive social experiments. There is not a
single Marxist
country that has ever provided a good example in the sense of making its
economy better or its people freer. Chomsky seems to have missed this
most basic fact of
20th century history: Socialism doesn’t work. Korea would seem an
obvious model case. Fifty years ago, in one of the early battles of the
Cold War, the United
States military prevented Communist North Korea from conquering the
anti-Communist South of the country. Today Communist North Korea is
independent of the
United States and one of the poorest countries in the world. A million
of its citizens have starved in the last couple of years, while its
Marxist dictator has feverishly invested his country’s scarce capital in
an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program. So much for the good

In South Korea, by contrast, there are 50,000 U.S. troops stationed
along the border to defend it from a Communist attack. For fifty years,
nefarious U.S.
businesses and investors have operated freely in South Korea. The
results are interesting. In 1950, South Korea – with a per capita income
of $250 was as poor as
Cuba and Vietnam. Today it is an industrial power and its per capita
income is more than twenty times greater than it was before it became an
ally and investment
region of the United States. South Korea is not a full-fledged democracy
but it does have elections and more than one party and a press that
provides it with
information from the outside world. This is quite different from North
Korea whose citizens have no access to information their dictator does
not approve. Who do
you think is afraid of the threat of a good example? 

Communism was an expansive system that ruined nations and enslaved their
citizens. But Chomsky dismisses America’s fear of Communism as a mere
"cover" for
America’s own diabolical designs. He explains the Vietnam War this way:
"The real fear was that if the people of Indochina achieved independence
and justice, the
people of Thailand would emulate it, and if that worked, they’d try it
in Malaya, and pretty soon Indonesia would pursue an independent path,
and by then a
significant area [of America’s empire] would have been lost." This is a
Marxist version of the domino theory. But of course, America did leave
Indo-China –
Cambodia and Thailand included -- in 1975. Vietnam has pursued an
independent path for 25 years and it is as poor as it ever was – one of
the poorest nations in
the world. Its people still live in a primitive Marxist police state. 

After its defeat in Vietnam, the United States withdrew its military
forces from the entire Indo-Chinese peninsula. The result was that
Cambodia was over-run by the
Khmer Rouge (the "reds"). In other words, by the Communist forces that
Noam Chomsky, the Vietnamese Communists and the entire American left had
until then. The Khmer Rouge proceeded to kill two million Cambodians
who, in their view, stood in the way of the progressive "good example"
they intended to
create. Chomsky earned himself a bad reputation by first denying and
then minimizing the Cambodian genocide until the facts overwhelmed his
case. Now, of
course, he blames the genocide on the United States.

Chomsky also blames the United States and the Vietnam war for the fact
that "Vietnam is a basket case" and not a good example. "Our basic goal
– the crucial one, the one that really counted – was to destroy the
virus [of independent development], and we did achieve that. Vietnam is
a basket case, and the U.S. is doing what it can to keep it that way."
This is just a typical Chomsky libel and all-purpose ruse. (The devil
made them do it.) As Chomsky knew then and knows now, the victorious
Vietnamese Communists are Marxists. Marxism is a crackpot theory that
doesn’t work. Every Marxist state has been an economic basket case. 

Take a current example like Cuba, which has not been bombed and has not
suffered a war, but is poorer today than it was more than forty years
ago when Castro
took power. In 1959, Cuba was the second richest country in Latin
America. Now it is the second poorest just before Haiti. Naturally,
Chomskyites will claim that
the U.S. economic boycott is responsible. (The devil made them do it.)
But the whole rest of the world trades with Cuba. Cuba not only trades
with all of Latin
America and Europe, but receives aid from the latter. Moreover, in the
1970s and 1980s, the Soviet Union gave Cuba the equivalent of three
Marshall Plans in
economic subsidies and assistance -- tens of billions of dollars. Cuba
is a fertile island with a tropical climate. It is poor because it has
followed Chomsky’s
examples, and not America’s. It is poor because it is socialist, Marxist
and Communist. It is poor because it is run by a lunatic and sadist. It
is poor because in Cuba, America lost the Cold War. The poverty of Cuba
is what Chomsky’s vision and political commitments would create for the
entire world. 

It is the Communist-Chomsky illusion that there is a way to prosperity
other than the way of the capitalist market that causes the poverty of
states like Cuba and
North Korea and Vietnam, and would have caused the poverty of Grenada
and Greece and South Korea if America had not intervened. 

The illusion that socialism promises a better future is also the cause
of the Chomsky cult. It is the illusion at the heart of the messianic
hope that creates the progressive left. This hope is a chimera, but
insofar as it is believed, history presents itself in terms that are
Manichaean -- as a battle between good and evil. Those who oppose
socialism, Marxism, Communism embody worldly evil. They are the party of
Satan, and their leader America is the Great Satan himself.

Chomsky is, in fact, the imam of this religious worldview on today’s
college campuses. His great service to the progressive faith is to deny
the history of the last hundred years, which is the history of
progressive atrocity and failure. In the 20th century, progressives in
power killed one hundred million people in the attempt to realize their
impossible dream. As far as Noam Chomsky is concerned, these
catastrophes of the left never happened. "I don’t much like the terms
left and right," Chomsky writes in yet another ludicrous screed called
The Common Good. "What’s called the left includes Leninism [i.e.,
Communism], which I consider ultra-right in many respects…. Leninism has
nothing to do with the values of the left – in fact, it’s radically
opposed to them." 

You have to pinch yourself when reading sentences like that. 

The purpose of such Humpty-Dumpty mutilations of the language is
perfectly intelligible, however. It is to preserve the faith for those
who cannot live without some form of the Communist creed. Lenin is dead.
Long live Leninism. The Communist catastrophes can have "nothing to do
with the values of the left" because if they did the left would have to
answer for its deeds and confront the fact that it is morally and
intellectually bankrupt. Progressives would have to face the fact that
they killed 100 million people for nothing -- for an idea that didn’t

The real threat of a good example is the threat of America, which has
lifted more people out of poverty -- within its borders and all over the
world -- than all the
socialists and progressives put together since the beginning of time. To
neutralize the threat, it is necessary to kill the American idea. This
is, in fact, Noam
Chomsky’s mission in life, and his everlasting disgrace.

David Horowitz is editor-in-chief of and
president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. 


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