Noam Chomsky — a stated Marxist who does not like America and yet continues to live very well here (as he has all his life) — shows us once again just how enamored he is of the asinine, and Christopher Hitchens properly skewers him for it:
Anybody visiting the Middle East in the last decade has had the experience: meeting the hoarse and aggressive person who first denies that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center and then proceeds to describe the attack as a justified vengeance for decades of American imperialism. This cognitive dissonance—to give it a polite designation—does not always take that precise form. Sometimes the same person who hails the bravery of al-Qaida’s martyrs also believes that the Jews planned the “operation.” As far as I know, only leading British “Truther” David Shayler, a former intelligence agent who also announced his own divinity, has denied that the events of Sept. 11, 2001, took place at all. (It was apparently by means of a hologram that the widespread delusion was created on television.) In his recent article for Guernica magazine, however, professor Noam Chomsky decides to leave that central question open. We have no more reason to credit Osama Bin Laden’s claim of responsibility, he states, than we would have to believe Chomsky’s own claim to have won the Boston Marathon.
I can’t immediately decide whether or not this is an improvement on what Chomsky wrote at the time. Ten years ago, apparently sharing the consensus that 9/11 was indeed the work of al-Qaida, he wrote that it was no worse an atrocity than President Clinton’s earlier use of cruise missiles against Sudan in retaliation for the bomb attacks on the centers of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. (I haven’t been back to check on whether he conceded that those embassy bombings were also al-Qaida’s work to begin with.) He is still arguing loudly for moral equivalence, maintaining that the Abbottabad, Pakistan, strike would justify a contingency whereby “Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.” (Indeed, equivalence might be a weak word here, since he maintains that, “uncontroversially, [Bush’s] crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s.”) So the main new element is the one of intriguing mystery. The Twin Towers came down, but it’s still anyone’s guess who did it. Since “April 2002, [when] the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it ‘believed’ that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan,” no evidence has been adduced. “Nothing serious,” as Chomsky puts it, “has been provided since.”
Chomsky still enjoys some reputation both as a scholar and a public intellectual. And in the face of bombardments of official propaganda, he prides himself in a signature phrase on his stern insistence on “turning to the facts.” So is one to assume that he has pored through the completed findings of the 9/11 Commission? Viewed any of the videos in which the 9/11 hijackers are seen in the company of Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri? Read the transcripts of the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called “20th hijacker”? Followed the journalistic investigations of Lawrence Wright, Peter Bergen, or John Burns, to name only some of the more salient? Acquainted himself with the proceedings of associated and ancillary investigations into the bombing of the USS Cole or indeed the first attempt to bring down the Twin Towers in the 1990s?
Meanwhile, there’s this post from the past:
A reader writes:
Dear Ray Harvey: What is your opinion of Noam Chomsky? I ask because, like everyone else in academia, I think he’s about the smartest man in the world.
Dear D: Which Noam Chomsky are you referring to?
The one who openly supports Hezbollah?
Or do you mean the one with proven neo-Nazi ties?
Perhaps you’re referring to Avram Noam Chomsky, so-called sage of MIT, who several times propagandized for Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge?
Perhaps you’re thinking of the hypocritical Noam Chomsky, who’s sanctioned many of the world’s other most murderous regimes?
Or perhaps you mean the Noam Chomsky who repeatedly distorts and falsifies his sources?
Do you by any chance mean the Noam Chomsky who’s simply another Marxist, telling a group, in December of 1967, that in Communist China “one finds many things that are really quite admirable” — stating furthermore:
China is an important example of a new society in which very interesting and positive things happened at the local level, in which a good deal of the collectivization and communization was really based on mass participation and took place after a level of understanding had been reached in the peasantry that led to this next step.
The Noam Chomsky who then goes on to explicitly endorse Chairman Mao the murderer, calling Mao’s blood-red China a “relatively livable” and “just society,” speaking, not coincidentally, five years after the end of the great Chinese famine of 1958–1962, the worst famine in all of human history?
Well, perhaps this particular Noam Chomsky wasn’t aware that the sort of collectivization he supports, inherent to Marxism of any brand, was the principal cause of that horrific famine, which killed over 30 million.
And yet, quoting Chomsky’s own words:
I don’t accept the view that we can just condemn the NLF terror, period, because it was so horrible. I think we really have to ask questions of comparative costs, ugly as that may sound. And if we are going to take a moral position on this – and I think we should – we have to ask both what the consequences were of using terror and not using terror. If it were true that the consequences of not using terror would be that the peasantry in Vietnam would continue to live in the state of the peasantry of the Philippines, then I think the use of terror would be justified.
I suppose that in the end, whichever Noam Chomsky you’re referring to, D, it makes little difference. A Marxist by any other name is still a Marxist — and that means this:
Chomsky is a devoted and lifelong advocate of authoritarianism and collectivism. He is for this reason an absolute enemy of individual rights and the freedom of each. And that, sir, is what I think of Noam Chomsky.