It would be tempting to call 82-year-old Noam Chomsky a senile old dolt, but the word “senile” connotes an age-related deterioration of one’s faculties. To deteriorate, however, a mind must have at one time shown superior cognitive abilities. Although in fairness Chomsky’s work in linguistics indicates a specialized if arcane brilliance, his political thinking has never evidenced anything but his having the most warped of mental instruments. Hence, senile may be inaccurate and better replaced with “unsurprising” old dolt.
Nothing about his latest opinion, “My Reaction to Osama Bin Laden’s Death,” surprises–that much is certain. Anyone familiar with Chomsky would expect the morally challenged twit to be dissatisfied at American success in ridding the world of a vile terrorist long past his shelf-expiration date, Osama Bin Laden. It would not be Chomsky, after all, had his pose as ultra-rational sage led him to genuine even-handedness. For example, he writes:
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.
This obvious sound-bite means to provoke us with its absurdity but not at all the kind of provocation Chomsky would claim. He fancies himself thought-provoking, whereas what he seeks to stir in his reader is mere emotionalism. And he does so in the most dishonest fashion of any Internet troll: by pretending that whoever the analogy to us is in the Bush version of this week’s events–are we Pakistan? Bin Laden was president nor head of state, after all, of any nation–we should react only to the commando raid. As though May 1 happened in a vacuum.
In other words, suppose instead Chomsky and we remember the most salient fact he has omitted: we already feel the way we do because Bin Laden’s gang attacked us, killing thousands of our citizens and causing significant damage to our country. Even the worst Al Qaeda apologist would not be so disingenuous as native-born American citizen Chomsky and pretend Bin Laden’s killing occurred ab ovo. Likewise, had Bin Laden the means he would not only have killed our President–Bush or Obama–but he would have just as happily used a nuclear weapon to erase an entire American city.
Thus, we would not at all be surprised by what Bin Laden would do to us were the situation reversed–we would expect it–only that he had developed and demonstrated the capability. The last split-second thoughts through Bin Laden’s brain before an American bullet turned all thinking off for good were not–despite Chomsky’s question–“Why would the Americans do this? Don’t they know how they would feel in my situation?” The man lived the way he did, never venturing out of his walled compound, because he knew what was owed him. He did not expect forgiveness because it was an alien concept to him and the faith he practiced.
Why, therefore, should we inflict Western values on Bin Laden, rather than treat him in accordance with his own customs? Isn’t Chomsky practicing an imperialist form of morality?
Chomsky, in fact, has written previously of a scenario more like the one he describes above than was Bin Laden’s death: the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old wheelchair-bound American Jew, who was shot by Palestinian terrorists and his body dumped in the sea. In that instance Chomsky went out of his way to connect the dots, creating a cause-and-effect rationalization for Klinghoffer’s killers:
Leon Klinghoffer, was brutally murdered. That reflects the judgment of “the world.” It may be that the world saw matters somewhat differently. The Achille Lauro hijacking was a retaliation for the bombing of Tunis ordered a week earlier by Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. His air force killed 75 Tunisians and Palestinians with smart bombs that tore them to shreds, among other atrocities, as vividly reported from the scene by the prominent Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk. Washington cooperated by failing to warn its ally Tunisia that the bombers were on the way, though the Sixth Fleet and U.S. intelligence could not have been unaware of the impending attack.
To Chomsky, because Israel had attacked Tunis and the US failed to warn Tunisia, American tourist Klinghoffer’s murder was somehow mitigated. Yet Bin Laden’s killing was:
…a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition….
Chomsky’s apologetics seem to work consistently against the US. Indicative of his prejudiced view is this little gem of propaganda:
I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, 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, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have.
Why select a quote from Mr. Mueller from April 2002? Of all the things said in the almost 10 years since September 11 by so many in the American government, Chomsky cherry-picks a remark Mueller made and quotes only one word from it. And what does that word have to do with? The place of origin of the plot, not who the FBI suspects was behind it. On that basis Chomsky tries to pretend Bin Laden was only a “person of interest,” with as little credible evidence he engineered the September 11 plot as–get this–Chomsky won a fictitious Boston Marathon.
Further, Chomsky elides another critical fact: Bin Laden had been under American indictment since 1998 even had he been innocent of the 9/11 killings. He already had a $5 million price on his head. The Taliban had long refused American demands he be extradited and had even issued threats against American citizens in reprisal. What the Taliban, in fact, offered was to try Bin Laden under Muslim law, once provided with American evidence. This was an obvious stall, and only the hopelessly naive or dishonest would have given it any merit. Take your pick as to which best describes Chomsky.
For an authority on language, Chomsky has a way of letting his rhetoric run away from him:
Uncontroversially, [Bush’s] crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.
How would you like to diagram that sentence? It is a reflection of the tortured thought process that went into composing it. Only in Chomsky’s immediate cadre of Bizarro-world America-hating leftists does such a statement about Bush versus Bin Laden fail to cause “controversy”–at least in those able to parse it. For most the primary reaction upon reading it is likely confusion.
Never mind, Chomsky is on a roll:
There’s more to say about [Cuban airline bomber Orlando] Bosch, who just died peacefully in Florida, including reference to the “Bush doctrine” that societies that harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves and should be treated accordingly. No one seemed to notice that Bush was calling for invasion and destruction of the U.S. and murder of its criminal president.
Presumably the editor felt compelled to insert the “Orlando” to help clarify Chomsky’s ravings. Once again he misstates to justify his mental discombobulations: the reason “no one seemed to notice” is Bush never called for any such thing. Bush’s actual address stated “any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” Clearly this doesn’t work for Chomsky’s propaganda purposes–how could the US be hostile to itself?–so he manufactures that “invasion and destruction…and murder” part. And poor Bush: we knew he was stupid, but who would have thought, without the steel-trap mind of Chomsky, that the ignoramus called for his own murder–especially given that the speech Chomsky refers to occurred more than a year before the invasion of Iraq. To “have noticed” what Bush was calling for would have required not only Chomsky’s brilliance but a crystal ball.
There’s a word for what Chomsky did, a word he likes to use about the statements of others: lie.
Having jumped from Iraqi commandos assassinating Bush to Nuremberg to Cuban airline bomber Orlando Bosch (or maybe it’s German toolmaker Bosch or Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch), Chomsky moves on to the name “Operation Geronimo”:
Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”
Note the transition: “Same”? How is the relationship the same–that is the relationship between Bush, in Chomsky’s mind, calling for the destruction of the US…and naming the operation “Geronimo”? The similarity is that the imperialists are oblivious to their own obliviousness because the “imperial mentality is so profound.” Only Chomsky can see the truth, and that makes the two very different things the “same.”
“It”–whatever “it” is–is also “like naming our murder weapons after the victims of our crimes.” Although it’s not: how is “tomahawk” a victim? How is “Geronimo” a murder weapon?
Disorganized thinking such as Chomsky exhibits here–believing relationships exist that only you are privy to–is one symptom of schizophrenia.
Suddenly, as though he’s all written out, Chomsky ends it:
There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about.
Too bad the obvious and elementary facts seem to exist only in the windmills of Chomsky’s mind.