Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Noam Chomsky: Unwanted Truth

"It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies" - Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky scares the shit out of conservatives and liberals alike because he's equally critical of power no matter who holds it. Chomsky is an intellectual, not a journalist or some political hack with an agenda. It's not surprising to see flaccid-minded scribes quaking in the wake of his pronouncements - Chomsky requires too much work, too much research and real thinking.

"The Gnome"
That's why it's disappointing to see writers I respect like Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens dismissing Chomsky's recent article about the death of Usama bin Laden as though it were written by some paranoid fanatic. They try hard to paint him as a conspiratorial wacko bent on following narratives down rabbit holes, but nothing could be further from the truth. Chomsky instills fear because he serves facts, not opinions. They can't argue that bin Laden was never subjected to due process - it's a fact - so they resort to ad-hominem attacks against Chomsky's intellectual integrity.

Here's the nugget that really irks them:
"We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the 'decider'..."
Chomsky has gone on record about the heinous acts of 9/11 and in no way suggests the U.S. deserved them, as Hitchens surreptitiously claims. He's also repeatedly rejected the loony conspiracies that some invisible force like the Grand Elders of Zion was behind the attacks.

His use of "uncontroversially" is in reference to the evidence at hand. Facts are, by definition, uncontroversial...or at least they were BFN (Before Fox News). It's an irrefutable fact that bin Laden was never convicted for 9/11. It's not inconsistent to state this and also believe he and al-Qaeda were responsible, as I personally do. But Chomsky's logic is as cold as it is unforgiving; if the U.S. is a nation of laws, there can't be any exceptions, as Glenn Greenwald explains. To kill bin Laden without due process is to logically accept the same for those on your own side. In other words, "Live by the sword, die by the sword." Below is Chomsky on the "validity" of the 9/11 "truthers":

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