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Fisking Chomsky’s Latest Bilge on Iran

As usual, the hard left's favorite intellectual is as leaden and disingenuous as it's possible to be in print, this time on the subject of Iranian intrigue. Noam Chomsky writes, in a piece that has been syndicated in The Nation: … Read More

By / April 9, 2007
Jewcy loves trees! Please don't print!

As usual, the hard left's favorite intellectual is as leaden and disingenuous as it's possible to be in print, this time on the subject of Iranian intrigue. Noam Chomsky writes, in a piece that has been syndicated in The Nation:

The debate over Iranian interference in Iraq proceeds without ridicule on the assumption that the United States owns the world. We did not, for example, engage in a similar debate in the 1980s about whether the US was interfering in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and I doubt that Pravda, probably recognizing the absurdity of the situation, sank to outrage about that fact (which American officials and our media, in any case, made no effort to conceal). Perhaps the official Nazi press also featured solemn debates about whether the Allies were interfering in sovereign Vichy France, though if so, sane people would then have collapsed in ridicule.

1. Did the Soviet Union have a UN mandate to occupy Afghanistan, thus giving it legal authority to monitor foreign infiltration of the country and expel such infiltrators?

2. The U.S. is once again, in Chomsky's bankrupt mind, compared to Nazi Germany, even though the analogue for the Allies in this case is a theocratic fascist state that makes it a matter of state policy to deny the signal crime of the Nazi regime. This no longer rises to the level of moral equivalence. It's cartooning as polemic.

Added to which, Chomsky can't keep his anarcho-syndicalist prescriptions straight. He now contradicts himself in the same essay. So, for instance, we get this —

Even if the White House clique is not planning war, naval deployments, support for secessionist movements and acts of terror within Iran, and other provocations could easily lead to an accidental war.

— with no attempt whatsoever to clarify what he means by "secessionist movements" (let alone "acts of terror"), while a just few paragraphs down, we get:

Democracy promotion at home is certainly feasible and, although we cannot carry out such a project directly in Iran, we could act to improve the prospects of the courageous reformers and oppositionists who are seeking to achieve just that. Among such figures who are, or should be, well-known, would be Saeed Hajjarian, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, and Akbar Ganji, as well as those who, as usual, remain nameless, among them labor activists about whom we hear very little; those who publish the Iranian Workers Bulletin may be a case in point.

Please explain how our supporting oppositionists will somehow not be seen by Tehran as a "provocation" that may lead to accidental war. And given the opportunity to secede from the fetid mullahocracy that rules Persia, would Hajjarian, Ebadi and Ganji not happily count themselves among the secessionists, even if they did blanch at the idea of receiving American aid or encouragement?

The rest of this screed is awash with the same platitudes about spreading "democracy at home," an idea that draws from the fact that the war powers delegated by the Constitution to the president of the United States are not automatically held in check by the latest Zogby/ABC News poll. That a majority of Americans oppose the surge and yet the surge is still undertaken means we don't live in a true democracy. There's political sophistication for you.

I suppose it would be small beer to Chomsky, given his frequent and cavalier recourse to 20th century history, to point out that prowar opinion ensnared Europe in the charnel event that was World War I, and antiwar opinion kept Europe from stopping Hitler when it might have done some good. But then, most people will concede that a genocide did indeed occur in the mid and late 1990's on European soil. So much for public opinion, eh, Noam?

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