Fwd: On the Bombings - Noam Chomsky

From: Wade T.Smith (wade_smith@harvard.edu)
Date: Wed Sep 19 2001 - 13:53:12 BST

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    Subject: Fwd: On the Bombings - Noam Chomsky
    Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 08:53:12 -0400
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    Hi Robin-

    If this is the Chomsky piece you mentioned, it should come through as it
    is not that long.

    - Wade


    On the Bombings
    Noam Chomsky

    The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach
    the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan
    with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and
    killing unknown numbers of people (no one knows, because the US blocked
    an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it). Not to speak of much
    worse cases, which easily come to mind. But that this was a horrendous
    crime is not in doubt. The primary victims, as usual, were working
    people: janitors, secretaries, firemen, etc. It is likely to prove to be
    a crushing blow to Palestinians and other poor and oppressed people. It
    is also likely to lead to harsh security controls, with many possible
    ramifications for undermining civil liberties and internal freedom.

    The events reveal, dramatically, the foolishness of the project of
    "missile defense." As has been obvious all along, and pointed out
    repeatedly by strategic analysts, if anyone wants to cause immense damage
    in the US, including weapons of mass destruction, they are highly
    unlikely to launch a missile attack, thus guaranteeing their immediate
    destruction. There are innumerable easier ways that are basically
    unstoppable. But today's events will, very likely, be exploited to
    increase the pressure to develop these systems and put them into place.
    "Defense" is a thin cover for plans for militarization of space, and with
    good PR, even the flimsiest arguments will carry some weight among a
    frightened public.

    In short, the crime is a gift to the hard jingoist right, those who hope
    to use force to control their domains. That is even putting aside the
    likely US actions, and what they will trigger -- possibly more attacks
    like this one, or worse. The prospects ahead are even more ominous than
    they appeared to be before the latest atrocities.

    As to how to react, we have a choice. We can express justified horror; we
    can seek to understand what may have led to the crimes, which means
    making an effort to enter the minds of the likely perpetrators. If we
    choose the latter course, we can do no better, I think, than to listen to
    the words of Robert Fisk, whose direct knowledge and insight into affairs
    of the region is unmatched after many years of distinguished reporting.
    Describing "The wickedness and awesome cruelty of a crushed and
    humiliated people," he writes that "this is not the war of democracy
    versus terror that the world will be asked to believe in the coming days.
    It is also about American missiles smashing into Palestinian homes and US
    helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese ambulance in 1996 and
    American shells crashing into a village called Qana and about a Lebanese
    militia - paid and uniformed by America's Israeli ally - hacking and
    raping and murdering their way through refugee camps." And much more.
    Again, we have a choice: we may try to understand, or refuse to do so,
    contributing to the likelihood that much worse lies ahead.

    Noam Chomsky

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