Submitted by FRIM PARADO
> > Subject: Noam Chomsky's clairty: history & the future
> >
> >
> > > > Radio B92, Belgrade
> > > > 20 September, 2001
> > > >
> > > > Interview with Noam Chomsky
> > > >
> > > > Why do you think these attacks happened?
> > > >
> > > > To answer the question we must first identify the
> > > > perpetrators of the crimes. It is generally assumed, plausibly, that
> > their
> > > > origin is the Middle East region, and that the attacks probably
trace
> > back
> > > > to the Osama Bin Laden network, a widespread and complex
organization,
> > > > doubtless inspired by Bin Laden but not necessarily acting under his
> > > > control. Let us assume that this is true. Then to answer your
question
> a
> > > > sensible person would try to ascertain Bin Laden's views, and the
> > > > sentiments of the large reservoir of supporters he has throughout
the
> > > > region. About all of this, we have a great deal of information. Bin
> > Laden
> > > > has been interviewed extensively over the years by highly reliable
> > Middle
> > > > East specialists, notably the most eminent correspondent in the
> region,
> > > > Robert Fisk (London 'Independent'), who has intimate knowledge of
the
> > > > entire region and direct experience over decades. A Saudi Arabian
> > > > millionaire, Bin Laden became a militant Islamic leader in the war
to
> > > > drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. He was one of the many
> religious
> > > > fundamentalist extremists recruited, armed, and financed by the CIA
> and
> > > > their allies in Pakistani intelligence to cause maximal harm to the
> > > > Russians -- quite possibly delaying their withdrawal, many analysts
> > > > suspect -- though whether he personally happened to have direct
> contact
> > > > with the CIA is unclear, and not particularly important. Not
> > surprisingly,
> > > > the CIA preferred the most fanatic and cruel fighters they could
> > mobilize.
> > > > The end result was to "destroy a moderate regime and create a
> fanatical
> > > > one, from groups recklessly financed by the Americans" ('London
Times'
> > > > correspondent Simon Jenkins, also a specialist on the region). These
> > > > "Afghanis" as they are called (many, like Bin Laden, not from
> > Afghanistan)
> > > > carried out terror operations across the border in Russia, but they
> > > > terminated these after Russia withdrew. Their war was not against
> > Russia,
> > > > which they despise, but against the Russian occupation and Russia's
> > crimes
> > > > against Muslims.
> > > >
> > > > The "Afghanis" did not terminate their activities,
> > > > however. They joined Bosnian Muslim forces in the Balkan Wars; the
US
> > did
> > > > not object, just as it tolerated Iranian support for them, for
complex
> > > > reasons that we need not pursue here, apart from noting that concern
> for
> > > > the grim fate of the Bosnians was not prominent among them. The
> > "Afghanis"
> > > > are also fighting the Russians in Chechnya, and, quite possibly, are
> > > > involved in carrying out terrorist attacks in Moscow and elsewhere
in
> > > > Russian territory. Bin Laden and his "Afghanis" turned against the
US
> in
> > > > 1990 when they established permanent bases in Saudi Arabia -- from
his
> > > > point of view, a counterpart to the Russian occupation of
Afghanistan,
> > but
> > > > far more significant because of Saudi Arabia's special status as the
> > > > guardian of the holiest shrines.
> > > >
> > > > Bin Laden is also bitterly opposed to the corrupt
> > > > and repressive regimes of the region, which he regards as
> "un-Islamic,"
> > > > including the Saudi Arabian regime, the most extreme Islamic
> > > > fundamentalist regime in the world, apart from the Taliban, and a
> close
> > US
> > > > ally since its origins. Bin Laden despises the US for its support of
> > these
> > > > regimes. Like others in the region, he is also outraged by
> long-standing
> > > > US support for Israel's brutal military occupation, now in its 35th
> > year:
> > > > Washington's decisive diplomatic, military, and economic
intervention
> in
> > > > support of the killings, the harsh and destructive siege over many
> > years,
> > > > the daily humiliation to which Palestinians are subjected, the
> expanding
> > > > settlements designed to break the occupied territories into
> > Bantustan-like
> > > > cantons and take control of the resources, the gross violation of
the
> > > > Geneva Conventions, and other actions that are recognized as crimes
> > > > throughout most of the world, apart from the US, which has prime
> > > > responsibility for them. And like others, he contrasts Washington's
> > > > dedicated support for these crimes with the decade-long US-British
> > assault
> > > > against the civilian population of Iraq, which has devastated the
> > society
> > > > and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths while strengthening
Saddam
> > > > Hussein -- who was a favored friend and ally of the US and Britain
> right
> > > > through his worst atrocities, including the gassing of the Kurds, as
> > > > people of the region also remember well, even if Westerners prefer
to
> > > > forget the facts. These sentiments are very widely shared. The 'Wall
> > > > Street Journal' (Sept. 14) published a survey of opinions of wealthy
> and
> > > > privileged Muslims in the Gulf region (bankers, professionals,
> > businessmen
> > > > with close links to the U.S.). They expressed much the same views:
> > > > resentment of the U.S. policies of supporting Israeli crimes and
> > blocking
> > > > the international consensus on a diplomatic settlement for many
years
> > > > while devastating Iraqi civilian society, supporting harsh and
> > repressive
> > > > anti-democratic regimes throughout the region, and imposing barriers
> > > > against economic development by "propping up oppressive regimes."
> Among
> > > > the great majority of people suffering deep poverty and oppression,
> > > > similar sentiments are far more bitter, and are the source of the
fury
> > and
> > > > despair that has led to suicide bombings, as commonly understood by
> > those
> > > > who are interested in the facts.
> > > >
> > > > The U.S., and much of the West, prefers a more
> > > > comforting story. To quote the lead analysis in the 'New York Times'
> > > > (Sept. 16), the perpetrators acted out of "hatred for the values
> > cherished
> > > > in the West as freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism
and
> > > > universal suffrage." U.S. actions are irrelevant, and therefore need
> not
> > > > even be mentioned (Serge Schmemann). This is a convenient picture,
and
> > the
> > > > general stance is not unfamiliar in intellectual history; in fact,
it
> is
> > > > close to the norm. It happens to be completely at variance with
> > everything
> > > > we know, but has all the merits of self-adulation and uncritical
> support
> > > > for power.
> > > >
> > > > It is also widely recognized that Bin Laden and
> > > > others like him are praying for "a great assault on Muslim states,"
> > which
> > > > will cause "fanatics to flock to his cause" (Jenkins, and many
> others.).
> > > > That too is familiar. The escalating cycle of violence is typically
> > > > welcomed by the harshest and most brutal elements on both sides, a
> fact
> > > > evident enough from the recent history of the Balkans, to cite only
> one
> > of
> > > > many cases.
> > > >
> > > > What consequences will they have on US inner policy and to the
> > > > American self reception?
> > > >
> > > > US policy has already been officially announced. The
> > > > world is being offered a "stark choice": join us, or "face the
certain
> > > > prospect of death and destruction." Congress has authorized the use
of
> > > > force against any individuals or countries the President determines
to
> > be
> > > > involved in the attacks, a doctrine that every supporter regards as
> > > > ultra-criminal. That is easily demonstrated. Simply ask how the same
> > > > people would have reacted if Nicaragua had adopted this doctrine
after
> > the
> > > > U.S. had rejected the orders of the World Court to terminate its
> > "unlawful
> > > > use of force" against Nicaragua and had vetoed a Security Council
> > > > resolution calling on all states to observe international law. And
> that
> > > > terrorist attack was far more severe and destructive even than this
> > > > atrocity.
> > > >
> > > > As for how these matters are perceived here, that is
> > > > far more complex. One should bear in mind that the media and the
> > > > intellectual elites generally have their particular agendas.
> > Furthermore,
> > > > the answer to this question is, in significant measure, a matter of
> > > > decision: as in many other cases, with sufficient dedication and
> energy,
> > > > efforts to stimulate fanaticism, blind hatred, and submission to
> > authority
> > > > can be reversed. We all know that very well.
> > > >
> > > > Do you expect U.S. to profoundly change their policy to the rest
of
> > > > the world?
> > > >
> > > > The initial response was to call for intensifying
> > > > the policies that led to the fury and resentment that provides the
> > > > background of support for the terrorist attack, and to pursue more
> > > > intensively the agenda of the most hard line elements of the
> leadership:
> > > > increased militarization, domestic regimentation, attack on social
> > > > programs. That is all to be expected. Again, terror attacks, and the
> > > > escalating cycle of violence they often engender, tend to reinforce
> the
> > > > authority and prestige of the most harsh and repressive elements of
a
> > > > society. But there is nothing inevitable about submission to this
> > course.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > After the first shock, came fear of what the U.S. answer is going
to
> > > > be. Are you afraid, too?
> > > >
> > > > Every sane person should be afraid of the likely
> > > > reaction -- the one that has already been announced, the one that
> > probably
> > > > answers Bin Laden's prayers. It is highly likely to escalate the
cycle
> > of
> > > > violence, in the familiar way, but in this case on a far greater
> scale.
> > > >
> > > > The U.S. has already demanded that Pakistan
> > > > terminate the food and other supplies that are keeping at least some
> of
> > > > the starving and suffering people of Afghanistan alive. If that
demand
> > is
> > > > implemented, unknown numbers of people who have not the remotest
> > > > connection to terrorism will die, possibly millions. Let me repeat:
> the
> > > > U.S. has demanded that Pakistan kill possibly millions of people who
> are
> > > > themselves victims of the Taliban. This has nothing to do even with
> > > > revenge. It is at a far lower moral level even than that. The
> > significance
> > > > is heightened by the fact that this is mentioned in passing, with no
> > > > comment, and probably will hardly be noticed. We can learn a great
> deal
> > > > about the moral level of the reigning intellectual culture of the
West
> > by
> > > > observing the reaction to this demand. I think we can be reasonably
> > > > confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of
> what
> > > > is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled. It
would
> be
> > > > instructive to seek historical precedents.
> > > >
> > > > If Pakistan does not agree to this and other U.S.
> > > > demands, it may come under direct attack as well -- with unknown
> > > > consequences. If Pakistan does submit to U.S. demands, it is not
> > > > impossible that the government will be overthrown by forces much
like
> > the
> > > > Taliban -- who in this case will have nuclear weapons. That could
have
> > an
> > > > effect throughout the region, including the oil producing states. At
> > this
> > > > point we are considering the possibility of a war that may destroy
> much
> > of
> > > > human society.
> > > >
> > > > Even without pursuing such possibilities, the
> > > > likelihood is that an attack on Afghans will have pretty much the
> effect
> > > > that most analysts expect: it will enlist great numbers of others to
> > > > support of Bin Laden, as he hopes. Even if he is killed, it will
make
> > > > little difference. His voice will be heard on cassettes that are
> > > > distributed throughout the Islamic world, and he is likely to be
> revered
> > > > as a martyr, inspiring others. It is worth bearing in mind that one
> > > > suicide bombing -- a truck driven into a U.S. military base -- drove
> the
> > > > world's major military force out of Lebanon 20 years ago. The
> > > > opportunities for such attacks are endless. And suicide attacks are
> very
> > > > hard to prevent.
> > > >
> > > > "The world will never be the same after 11.09.01". Do you think
so?
> > > >
> > > > The horrendous terrorist attacks on Tuesday are
> > > > something quite new in world affairs, not in their scale and
> character,
> > > > but in the target. For the US, this is the first time since the War
of
> > > > 1812 that its national territory has been under attack, even threat.
> > It's
> > > > colonies have been attacked, but not the national territory itself.
> > During
> > > > these years the US virtually exterminated the indigenous population,
> > > > conquered half of Mexico, intervened violently in the surrounding
> > region,
> > > > conquered Hawaii and the Philippines (killing hundreds of thousands
of
> > > > Filipinos), and in the past half century particularly, extended its
> > resort
> > > > to force throughout much of the world. The number of victims is
> > colossal.
> > > > For the first time, the guns have been directed the other way. The
> same
> > is
> > > > true, even more dramatically, of Europe. Europe has suffered
murderous
> > > > destruction, but from internal wars, meanwhile conquering much of
the
> > > > world with extreme brutality. It has not been under attack by its
> > victims
> > > > outside, with rare exceptions (the IRA in England, for example). It
is
> > > > therefore natural that NATO should rally to the support of the US;
> > > > hundreds of years of imperial violence have an enormous impact on
the
> > > > intellectual and moral culture.
> > > >
> > > > It is correct to say that this is a novel event in
> > > > world history, not because of the scale of the atrocity --
> > regrettably --
> > > > but because of the target. How the West chooses to react is a matter
> of
> > > > supreme importance. If the rich and powerful choose to keep to their
> > > > traditions of hundreds of years and resort to extreme violence, they
> > will
> > > > contribute to the escalation of a cycle of violence, in a familiar
> > > > dynamic, with long-term consequences that could be awesome. Of
course,
> > > > that is by no means inevitable. An aroused public within the more
free
> > and
> > > > democratic societies can direct policies towards a much more humane
> and
> > > > honorable course.
> >
> >
>