Sunday, April 04, 2004

Chomsky Online

Yes, now even Noam Chomsky has a blog: Turning the Tide.

On Iraq:
Arthur Schlesinger, perhaps the most respected mainstream American historian, had ample reason to recall the attack on Pearl Harbor as the bombing of Iraq began. FDR was right to condemn the Japanese attack as a date that will live in infamy, Schlesinger wrote, but now it is Americans who live in infamy as their government adopts the policies of imperial Japan, he added, as the first bombs fell on Baghdad.

The invasion of Iraq brought two murderous regimes to an end: the sanctions regime, and the rule of Saddam Hussein. Orders from on high are that we are to ignore the first, on the usual grounds: we are responsible for those crimes, and therefore they must be dispatched deep down the memory hole. But we are not obliged to subject ourselves to the commands of state authority and doctrinal managers.

Every decent person should welcome these two outcomes, and all serious opponents of the war have always done so, though advocates of state violence labor to suppress this fact. The sanctions regime killed hundreds of thousands of people, by conservative estimates. It devastated the civilian society, strengthened the tyrant, and compelled the population to rely on him for mere survival. It's because of these hideous consequences that the highly respected international diplomats who administered the programs, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest at what Halliday called the "genocidal" sanctions regime. Recall that they are the Westerners who knew Iraq best, having access to regular information from a great many investigators in all parts of the country. The sanctions regime was administered by the UN, but everyone understood that its cruel and savage character was dictated by the US and its British subordinate. Ending this regime is certainly a very positive aspect of the invasion, and a cause for gratification. But of course that could have been done, and sanctions could have been directed to weapons programs instead, without an invasion. So this beneficial consequence, doubtless greatly welcomed by Iraqis, provides no justification for the invasion.
Regardless of whether you believe the U.S. and Britain or Hussein were ultimately responsible for those sanctions, the results were the same. How many innocent people around the world are we condemning because of our desire to punish their wicked leaders? Perhaps things aren't as black and white as Chomsky paints them, but his thoughts demand our careful and honest consideration.

Zmag and Me

BTW, Chomsky's blog is published on the far-lefty Z Magazine site. Those guys are such commies that they republished my Cult of Jared piece on their site without telling me or offering me any dough. Oh well, I was flattered. Sort of.

When I ran across it, I emailed the mag to ask for a copy of the issue my piece appeared. The editor replied to tell me the piece hadn't been published in their print mag, only online. He really seemed pissed that I'd even asked, as if it's common accepted practice for a nationally-known magazine to republish a writer's work online or in print without first requesting their permission.

This is why I'll never be a communist.

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