One of my readers sent me in a list of five question the BBC had asked Noam Chomsky. Below are the questions and my response.
Thanks for sending along your thought provoking questions. I’ll answer them in the order in which you asked them.
1. Do I think the U.S. government and its institutions have always been wrong and with mala fide intentions?
Not always. Our history has been a struggle between a gradual movement towards decency and an aggressive hubris that has sought power for power’s sake. What we are seeing now is the death throes of a militarized era that began with World War II. That war morphed into the Cold War, which resulted in the establishment of a permanent military establishment and the gradual transformation of the country into a nuclearized security state. Militarism and democracy cannot coexist. Fortunately, like most empires, we are in the process of bankrupting ourselves both financially and morally. Whether the seeds of decency that have lain dormant for too long began to sprout again remains to be seen.
With the fall of the Soviet Union we found ourselves with a bloated military and no place to go. The warfare and aggression now coming from America is the frantic thrashing of an aged dinosaur fighting for survival.
2. Has there been any good coming out of them at all?
All too often the United States is identified with Wall Street, the Pentagon and our nation’s capital. It is my belief that neither of them represents our core values of freedom and democracy. Unfortunately, these are the institutions that have dominated our society since the dawn of the twenty-first century. Prior to the GWB administration, and especially in the sixties, there was an emergency of the above mentioned decency. Tragically, it is now dormant.
3. Did the US and its allies go into Iraq to satisfy some inner greed, prejudice and personal agendas of a few in the saddle?
I firmly believe they did. The rationales given for the invasion lacked credibility. It was an ugly, imperial invasion intent only on getting our hands on Iraq’s oil.
4. Are these Arabs goodies, have the good of their people at heart and have to wish to inflict death on the USA and its people?
No country or culture is purely good or purely evil. With the exception of a fringe group, I don’t believe the Arab world wishes to harm us. They are, however, intent on defending themselves from our aggression.
5. Do you subscribe to the view that the second Crusade has began as some Arab scholars claim?
I can well understand why they would believe this, but no, I don’t see another Crusade. The original Crusades were aimed at seizing Jerusalem so it would be in “Christian” hands. The current American aggression in the Middle East has to do with all the oil the region is sitting on. I’ve always contended that it would be a hell of a lot cheaper and burn less oil to fly a trade delegation over to cut the best deal we could instead of sending in an invading army.
I hope the above answers your questions. I don’t really think of myself as a cynic, but more as a skeptic who tries to cut through the fog of propaganda that issues forth from our mass media. If is the duty of every citizen in a democracy to cast a jaundiced eye on the machinations of its government.