POWER AND TERROR: Post-9/11 Talks and Interviews

POWER AND TERROR Post-9/11 Talks and Interviews Noam Chomsky Eds. J. Junkerman & Takei Masakazu Seven Stories Press, 2003 1 58 pages, ‘583225900 Do

Power and Terrorby Noam Chomsky is a short collection of talks and interviews concerning issues related to post 9/11 by a political activist and scholar considered by many as one of the world’s greatest Jiving intellectuals.

Noam Chomsky stands firmly opposed to the Bush administration’s aggressive military response to the attacks of 9/11 and accuses its War on Terror as a programme of colossal hypocrisy: on the one hand a coverto justify a terrifying consolidation of military power and on the other a smoke screen to forcibly acquire the riches of Middle East oil. It is no coincidence argues Noam, in one of the interviews cited, mat the Iraqi oil fields contain die second richest reserves in the world outside those of Saudia Arabia.

Chomsky also expresses astonishment at the image of me United States, as somehow a global protector defending civilised values and championing the ideals of democracy, whilst simultaneously flouting the rulings of the United Nations and World Court. We cannot address terrorism of the weak against the powerful, he reiterates time and time again, without also confronting “the unmentionable but far more extreme terrorism of the powerful against the weak”. If President Bush wails plaintively why do they hate us when we are so good, Noam Chomsky replies they do not appreciate your boot grinding them to dust Time and again he points to American foreign intervention throughout the postwar decades in Vietnam, in Central America, in the Middle East and elsewhere, notably Israel. One interesting chapter in the book contains excerpts from a talk given by the author in New York; centring on a visit he made to the West Bank – it is a poignant read of the daily struggle of the Palestinian people and a telling indictment of the State of Israel. Another section is headed Media Bias and Palestine.

Media bias in general is an important theme of me book. Beporters servile to wage slips rather than their consciences, are nothing more than mouth pieces defending the indefensible, and with huge centralization of media control, information which does not serve the interests of big government or big business, does not get out; or if it does so, with the greatest of difficulty. Although a pseudo debate is allowed for interests of keeping up appearances parameters are tightly controlled. Similarly, argues Chomsky, intellectuals choose to adopt, an ostrich approach, knowing the truth or knowing better, they choose to remain silent.

The book is divided into four parts: Interview with Noam Chomsky; U.S. Arms, Human Rights, And Social Health; Talks and Conversations; and More Information. Eminently readable, its style is light, short and focused; critical points are made within a few paragraphs, without detriment to the quality and soundness of the argument Heavy political discourse is avoided and as much of the format is structured around a question/answer approach, the reader is free to dip into any page or any point without having to labour through a prior set of arguments. Above all like the justice and pure honesty which characterises all Chomsky’s work this book brings the facts to the public.

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    A piece previously published in the print issue of Islamica Magazine between 2003-2009. The following has been an effort to digitize and archive as a free service. Author citations can be found at islamicamagazine.com as we continue to work on improving the digital archives here.

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