Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One of the Craziest Things I've Ever Read

Admittedly I know very little about Noam Chomsky. I wrote about him the other day, because I found it noteworthy that he thinks the US is the leading world terror state, and the worldwide media found his quote unworthy of reporting.

A number of my close friends have read a lot of what Chomsky has written, and I admit I was disinterested. However, I read this portion of "Failed States" and I find it one of the most insane and stupid pieces of writing I have ever seen. Should we begin?

That brings up a fourth issue that should deeply concern Americans, and the world: the sharp divide between public opinion and public policy...

Noam argues that this supposed disconnect signals that Democracy is dying in the US. I'm not sure of his evidence of this divide, other than Bush's low poll numbers. However, it's plain to see that the last seven presidents (at least) have all had low or lower poll numbers than Bush during their terms. Every "record low" poll is only Bush's record low (which isn't good) but it's not like Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan weren't ever just as low.

In Iraq, as we have seen, mass nonviolent resistance compelled Washington and London to permit the elections they had sought to evade. The subsequent effort to subvert the elections by providing substantial advantages to the administration's favourite candidate, and expelling the independent media, also failed. Washington faces further problems.

This statement makes absolutely no sense. Noam's purpose here is to point out that directives from Bush to encourage Democracy are all lies - all America wants is for countries like Iraq to be dependent "client" states. Not only is this statement "imperialistic" and a touch Marxist, Noam's comment that Washington wanted to "avoid" elections in Iraq is just ridiculous. One of our primary goals was free elections, and the idea that elections weren't a major goal that Bush refused to postpone shows either Noam's ignorance or willful neglect of the facts.

The problem of elections arose in Palestine much in the way it did in Iraq. As already discussed, the Bush administration refused to permit elections until the death of Yasser Arafat, aware that the wrong man would win.

What? What control of the PA did America have when Arafat was around? The only person preventing elections then was him.

After his death, the administration agreed to permit elections, expecting the victory of its favoured Palestinian Authority candidates.

Indeed. We (wrongly) assumed that a terrorist organization who's goals are to murder Jews, Christians, and destroy Israel wouldn't win a popular election. We were wrong, and the Palestinians will pay the price for their votes for terror (maybe).

The US and Israeli governments now have to adjust to dealing somehow with a radical Islamic party that approaches their traditional rejectionist stance, though not entirely, at least if Hamas really does mean to agree to an indefinite truce on the international border as its leaders state.

This is the crux of the Israel - Palestinian debate. As Noam would like us to believe, when a terrorist murderer (Hamas) politician says they want peace with Israel we know what that means. It means they hope that Israel will relax its security a bit so that Palestinians can kill a few more Jews. Chomsky seems to miss this point.

Hamas's refusal to accept Israel's "right to exist" mirrors the refusal of Washington and Jerusalem to accept Palestine's "right to exist" - a concept unknown in international affairs...

He makes it seem pretty simple, right? Hamas refuses Israel's "right to exist," but so does Israel where Palestine is concerned! But wait - Hamas doesn't just not recognize Israel - it's stated purpose is to destroy Israel and murder all the Jews there. It seems that Noam doesn't see this difference, either. And the reference that a Palestinian state is "unknown" in international affairs is ridiculous.

Finally, Noam's craziest list of "what America should do now:"

In addition to the proposals that should be familiar about dealing with the crises that reach to the level of survival, a few simple suggestions for the United States have already been mentioned: 1) accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court;

So that countries can take our troops and citizens to jail and try them indiscriminately? If the World Court is as effective as the UN accepting or rejecting this is clearly irrelevant.

2) sign and carry forward the Kyoto protocols;

So that our strong economy can flail under restrictions based on an incomplete theory, while third world countries and China can continue their industrial expansion unabated?

3) let the UN take the lead in international crises;

So that it's members can be again bribed by a country in order to prevent international action against that country?

4) rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terror;

Nothing says "fighting the war on terror" like laying down and dying!

5) keep to the traditional interpretation of the UN Charter;

You mean the interpretation that says that the UN will oppose genocide (except in the case of a small part of Sudan called Darfur)?

6) give up the Security Council veto and have "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind," as the Declaration of Independence advises, even if power centres disagree;

This one I agree with. What's the point in having a veto within a completely worthless and impotent organization? Besides, a couple of million dollars in barrels of oil will buy a vote with French and Russian representatives...

7) cut back sharply on military spending and sharply increase social spending.

Excellent idea. Who needs a military? Just prop up the economy artificially; make sure that everyone has a job if they want it but can live comfortably without one; give free health care to all (including non-citizens) as long as the government is in charge of what doctor you see and when you go; pretty much become more like western Europe! What's that called - oh, socialism! And as we can see from their example it really works great. What does France have - 25% unemployment?

I don't mean to be an unbridled apologist for American foreign policy of the past. We've interfered with foreign countries, propped up dictators and the like. Some for good, and most for bad which is mostly what Noam is getting at here. But I must protest his lack of an understanding of reality and his desperate attempt to badmouth America at all costs. It seems silly to me, as does his argument. Again, this is just one section from one of his many books, but if this is what they're all like I doubt I will waste my time in the future.

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