- Series: Seven Stories' Open Media
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Open Media/Seven Stories Press; 1 edition (October 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1583224890
- ISBN-13: 978-1583224892
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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9-11 1st Edition
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From Library Journal
MIT-based Chomsky revolutionized linguistics in the late Fifties, but for nearly as long he has been better known as an energetic and constructive debunker of American establishment politics and behavior. However, the current Chomsky contributes nothing to the legacy he established decades ago. These two most recent productions do not reveal systematic efforts to sustain or develop any aspect of his prolifically expressed critique; indeed, they are not so much authored as collaged, with Chomsky's sanction, from talks, after-talk Q&As, and interviews with generally converted interlocutors. Understanding Power draws mainly on vintage utterances from the Nineties, and its most penetrating passage takes on, of all pressing matters, literary theory. Chomsky, who is relentless in condemning the media as incapable of any function other than converting the masses to elite desires, just as relentlessly samples mainstream reporting sources for instances of corporate and government ill doings. In trying to illustrate that he is not a crude conspiracy theorist, he conveys the opposite impression. The shorter 9-11 could not have been planned, of course, though it mostly consists of interviews conducted while the calendar still read September, suggesting both the urgency Chomsky felt to get his perspective on the record and his utter disinclination to reexamine any of his cemented opinions about world affairs. Chomsky condemns the attacks specifically and then suggests that the deaths are entirely the responsibility of capitalist globalization, which nonetheless he asserts is irrelevant to the September 11 actors. However, consistency is even less a priority for Chomsky than humility. Apparently, Chomsky believes that he has discovered the concept of blowback, not to mention imbalance in coverage of the perpetual Israeli-Palestinian murder-and-misery fetish. For him, a direct line runs from Reagan's mining of Nicaragua's harbors to the flying of commercial airliners into buildings. 9-11 is a worthwhile purchase for public libraries intent on demonstrating (or risking) balance; Understanding Power is not half as useful as Chomsky's earlier, authentic innovations in political literature, especially Manufacturing Consent (coauthored with Edward Herman). Libraries truly wishing to ensure representation of the most lucid nonconventional opinion should first check that their subscriptions to the Nation a proud carrier of Chomsky for 40 years are current. Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., PA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
• "9-11 was practically the only counter-narrative out there at a time when questions tended to be drowned out by a chorus, led by the entire United States Congress, of ‘God Bless America.’ . . . it is possible that, if the United States goes the way of nineteenth-century Britain, Chomsky's interpretation will be the standard among historians a hundred years from now." --New Yorker
• "A badly needed corrective to news coverage of the present-day ‘war on terrorism.’"
--Norman Solomon, San Francisco Chronicle Review
• "Every word of 9-11 is more relevant than ever." --Amnesty International Journal (Ireland)
• "Chomsky laments that the U.S. government largely dismissed these human rights problems in its quest to “secure our interests.” The invasion of Afghanistan was far from the first time NATO overran unstable civilian populations in the search for terrorists (Chomsky offers several examples in the book) and, as we now know, it was not the last."
--Foreign Policy in Focus
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Un pensamiento que hace meditar al lector, es aquel en el que menciona que en USA es terrorismo todo lo que hacen los demás contra ellos, pero no aceptan calificar como acciones terroristas o como violencia si sucede lo contrario (patrocinados por su gobierno como en el caso de Nicaragua y los "contras" o el bombardeo a una fabrica farmaceutica en Sudan y numerosos ejemplos más).
Preferible leer un libro suyo que una recopilación de entrevistas repetitivas como es este caso.
Chomsky notes that the United States played a vital role in the creation of the jihadi network. In the 1980's in Afghanistan, the US and other countries joined with the Islamist dictatorships of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to organize, train and arm the most fanatic Islamic extremists--many of them not native to Afghanistan--in order to fight the Soviets. As Chomsky observes, the first visible demonstration of blowback from this policy occurred when jihadis assassinated President Sadat of Egypt in 1981. Since the end of the Soviet occupation, the jihadi veterans of the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan have spread out across the world and committed grizzly atrocities. After the Communist regime fell in Afghanistan in 1992, Chomsky observes, quoting a Human Rights Watch official, Afghanistan descended into the worst period in its history. The fundamentalist warlords backed by the US in the 80's took to pillaging, raping and murdering with such intensity in the period 1992-96 that many Afghans welcomed the Taliban's takeover. These fundamentalist warlords, of course, are now back in power in Afghanistan.
Chomsky notes that Bin Laden and other jihadis have explained their motives clearly. They want to overthrow the corrupt and brutal dictatorships (e.g. Saudi Arabia) that the US and other western countries prop up and install in their places their vision of a pure Islamic state. They want the US military out of the Middle East and they opposed murderous US sanctions on Iraq--which strengthened Saddam--and the provision of weapons to Israel so it can butcher Palestinians. The charges against US imperialism made by the jihadis are also widely believed by ordinary Arabs. The same feelings exist among wealthy and secular Middle Eastern Muslims. Chomsky quotes a Wall Street Journal survey days after 911 which showed widespread resentment against the US among wealthy Muslims. These Muslims are westernized and don't hate the US because of our freedom but resent the US support for regressive dictatorships and other reasons.
Chomsky, of course, believes that the US is the leading terrorist state in the world. In this book, he goes through his familiar litany of US crimes, for example in Latin America in the 1980's, including the terrorist war against Nicaragua. Chomsky observes that Michael Kinsley and Time Magazine both wrote sympathetically of the terrorist methods of the Contras. Chomsky notes that when a US backed coup installed the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia in 1965 and the Indonesian military proceeded to slaughter hundreds of thousands of peasants, the US media was elated. The Suharto regime, of course, beginning in 1975, engaged in a genocidal occupation of East Timor, with plenty of weapons from the US, Britain and other nations until Clinton ordered the Indonesian generals to cease the occupation in September 1999.
Chomsky also compares 9-11 to Clinton's bombing of the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan in 1998. The bombing destroyed the source of the majority of pharmaceutical and veterinary supplies in the country. The bombing probably led to the death of tens of thousands of people, including from easily treatable diseases like malaria and TB, which supplies from Al Shifa had been used to combat. He quotes sources like Johanthan Belke of the Near East Foundation (writing in the Boston Globe), the former German ambassador to the Sudan and an article by James Astill in the London Guardian to prove his argument.
Chomsky argues that 9-11 should have been treated as an international law enforcement matter and not used as a basis for war. The US should have tested the Taliban's offer to turn over Bin Laden in return for the presentation of evidence of his guilt. They should have avoided embarking on a path of war-making that would cause great suffering and strengthen Islamic terrorists. Chomsky says that the British solved the problem of IRA terrorism not by carpet bombing Northern Ireland or Boston--the latter city a significant source of funding for the IRA. Instead, the British made an effort to address the grievances that the IRA used to fuel its terror. But the US is not really interested in fighting terrorism, according to Chomsky. It is interested in using events like 911 as a cover for policies to increase its world domination and empower its domestic elite.
The first essay in this book was written shortly after Bin Laden's assassination. Chomsky quotes Anatol Lieven , a Wikileaks cable from the US ambassador to Pakistan and New York Times reporter Jane Perlez about the extremely fragile state of Pakistan. This fragile state has been greatly exacerbated by US policies in the country, including the Bin Laden assassination and Obama's murderous drone war that has killed many Pakistani civilians. The Pakistani military is extremely resentful of US violations of the country's sovereignty, including the Bin Laden assassination, and a military coup is not completely unlikely. Also the country has a relatively large nuclear weapons program and if the country descends into chaos, fissible material will likely fall into the hands of jihadis.
Chomsky also mentions that the United States harbors terrorists (apart from US government officials involved in terrorism). It harbored Orlando Bosch before he died around the time of Bin Laden's assassination, and still harbors the Haitian death squad leader Emmanuel Constant despite Haiti's call for his extradition. It also refuses to extradite the former CEO of Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal gas explosion that killed thousands in India in the 1980's.