The Fifth Freedom
Gangster Pimping in the Culture of Terrorism
Stephen Marshall: Hi Noam.
Noam Chomsky: Hello. What are we going to
be talking about today?
Id like to begin with a brief discussion about your work in
linguistics and how that developed into a major concentration on
U.S. foreign policy. Id like to then move on to the subject
of the current conflict. Looking at it from the perspective that
is presented in The Culture of Terrorism. And then I want to focus
on stuff like the Fifth Freedom and your opinion about how the Bush
Administration is handling the retaliations. Is that cool?
Ok. Maybe well just start with the fact that your original
scholastic focus was in the field of linguistics. Some people might
actually be surprised to hear that. I wanted to ask you if there
is a connection between the study of language and that of political
systems. How should we look at language in our political studies?
Well, my professional field happens to be linguistics and Ive
been in it since I was 17 years old. But it has basically nothing
to do with my interests in international affairs and social and
economic issues, which actually preceded it from childhood. Just
There are certainly questions about the use of language, thats
a very important question but you dont have to be a professional
linguist to say anything about those. Those are just common sense.
Take, say, a word like terrorism, for example. Like
most terms of political discourse it has two meanings: theres
a literal meaning and if you want to know what that is you can look
up the official U.S. code or army manuals, theyll tell you
what terrorism is. And its what you would think, terrorism
is "the calculated use of violence against civilians to intimidate,
induce fear, often to kill, for some political, religious, or other
Thats terrorism, according to its official definition.
But that definition cant be used. Because if that definition
is used, you get all the wrong consequences. For one thing, that
definition turns out to be almost the same as the definition of
official U.S. policy. Except, when its U.S. policy, its
called counter-insurgency or low-intensity conflict
or some other name. But, in fact, if you look at the definition,
its essentially terrorism. In fact, almost a paraphrase. Furthermore,
if you apply the literal definition, you conclude that the U.S.
is a leading terrorist state because it engages in these practices
all the time. Its the only state, in fact, which has been
condemned by the World Court and the Security Council for terrorism,
in this sense. And the same is true of its allies. So, right now,
theyre putting together what they call a coalition against
terror, for the war on terror, and if you run
down the list, every one of them is a leading terrorist state.
So obviously you cant use that definition.
So therefore, theres a propagandistic definition which is
the one actually used and in that definition terrorism is "terrorism
which is directed against the United States or its allies and carried
out by enemies." Well, thats the propagandistic use and,
if you read the newspapers and the scholarly literature, theyre
always using that use. And thats not just the U.S. Every country
does that, even the worst killers, the worst mass murderers do it.
Take the Nazis, they were combating an occupied Europe. They combated
what they called terrorism, namely partisan resistance, which often
was, in fact, terrorism in the technical sense.
Resistance usually is.
The American Revolution is a good example - plenty of terrorism.
So, the Nazis were combating terrorism and they called what they
were doing, which was extraordinarily brutal, counter-terrorism.
And the U.S. basically agreed with them. The U.S. Army, after the
war, made extensive use of Nazi training manuals
which did careful analysis of them, thinking what was right, what
was wrong - meaning did it work or didnt it work - essentially
accepting the same framework, and, furthermore, immediately started
carrying out the same actions against, pretty much, the same enemies.
The U.S. Army manuals, on what is called counter-terrorism',
drew from German manuals and even involved the high German officersWehrmacht
officers who were used as consultants. And, in every other
state, its the same. The terrorism they dont like is
called terrorism and the terrorism they do like, because
they carry it out or their allies carry it out, is called counter-terrorism.
Well, this all has to do with the use of language. But you certainly
dont have to be a professional linguist to see this. This
just requires having ordinary intelligence and looking at the facts.
And the same is true throughout, I mean the terms that are used
are twisted in ways to satisfy the needs of whoevers using
them, which turns out mostly to be concentrated power centers, state
or private, and thats true wherever you look.
And thats a serious issue.
So you can look at the use of language and propaganda and ideology
and schools and so on, but its really just common sense.
In many of your writings, you have discussed the notion of state
deception, especially when it comes to historical revision. Something
happened one night during a news broadcast that made me question
how immediate the revision is becoming. I was watching CNN after
Bushs address to Congress, and they were discussing Bushs
use of the word crusade. And there was an advisor or
policy analyst who came on and said: "Its unfortunate
that Bush and his speechwriters didnt understand the implications
of a word like crusade." And I was shocked. I mean,
do you believe that George Bushs speechwriters would not understand
the implications of a word like crusade to the Islamic
people and, on the converse, arent words like those used to
incite or trigger responses?
Well, youre right to emphasize George Bushs speechwriter
because he probably doesnt even know what hes saying.
But the speechwriters picked the word crusade,
and you can understand it. In English, the term crusade
is used quite generally. A crusade against something just means
a struggle against it. But in the Islamic world it has a different
meaning, it refers to the crusades, which were an extremely brutal
and violent invasion of their land by Christian fundamentalist fanatics
who left a horrendous trail of bloodshed.
And thats part of their history.
Its usually the victims who remember the history, not the
perpetrators. So the use of the word crusade in the
Islamic world carries many strong memories and associations and
Bushs speechwriters hadnt thought about it. So they
withdrew the word crusade. Thats happened a couple of times
The first operation against Afghanistan was called Infinite
Justice and they withdrew that when it was pointed out to
them that the only infinite justice is Gods justice,
and they were being interpreted as regarding themselves as divinity.
And they didnt want to do that for obvious reasons, so they
changed it to some other phrase. The phrase they did pick is interesting.
The campaign is now called Enduring Freedom. Well, a
number of comments about that.
If you want to look at the kind of freedom they have
in mind, theres an ample historical record of the kind of
freedom they impose. The other point is, nobody seems to have noticed
it but, the word enduring is actually ambiguous. It
can mean lasting or it can mean suffering from.
So, Im enduring pain is another interpretation of enduring
and, in fact, if you think of the kind of freedom they impose and
enduring freedom in the other sense, that is: somehow living
with the horrendous consequences of it, is not an inaccurate
Nobodys pointed that out to them yet so theyre still
using this phrase, but if someone does maybe theyll make another
Yeah, but I wondered if it wasnt a bit of a ploy, if there
isnt a bit of incitement going on. Kind of subliminal psychological
intimidation. I mean, these speechwriters are, I imagine, are some
of the best in the country. They must implicitly understand the
import and potential impact of every word -
No, I dont think so. I think theyre just mistakes.
Fair enough. Now, sticking with this analysis of language and, specifically,
the use of the word freedom. In The Culture of Terrorism,
you discuss something called the fifth freedom. Can
you please just define that for us and maybe describe how it has
any relevance right now?
Well, theres a famous concept called The Four Freedoms. In,
I think it must have been 1944 approximately
towards the end of the war, announced that the allies were fighting
for the four freedoms. Thats freedom from want,
freedom from fear, I forget the exact other words, but all good
things. So those were the four freedoms we were fighting for.
We actually have a declassified record, a released internal record
of the background
what they were afraid of at the time. Remember,
that at the time the world was mostly colonies and the colonies,
in fact, often welcomed, especially, the Japanese. They welcomed
the Japanese because the Japanese were throwing out the colonial
oppressors - they were throwing out the British, and the French,
and the Dutch, and the Americans and so on.
And it was understood, internally, that it was necessary to make
some appeal to the huge part of the world which was the colonial
world - we now call the south or the Third World - which would make
them believe that we were really fighting for good things. Not just
to restore colonialism.
And out of that came the Four Freedoms. And by the fifth
freedom, I meant the one that they didnt mention. But the
crucial one. Namely the freedom to rob and exploit, thats
a freedom that we and our powerful countries, the imperial countries,
insist on. And that was the real freedom that was being fought for.
And the colonial world, if they didnt know it already, discovered
that very fast after the Second World War. Thats a good part
of the history of the last 50 years
is the record of how the
great powers - primarily the United States, because its the
most powerful - pursued their own freedom to rob and exploit and
oppress and so on. Thats the real history. It may not be taught
in school here but the real history of British imperialism wasnt
taught in British schools either. Its known by the victims.
Historical revisionism. On that topic, you published an official
reaction to the terrorist attacks and the proposed U.S. reaction
on October 8th. There is a lot to that but I wanted to focus on
one point you made, namely this concept of historical revisionism.
In that text, you used the words "systemic falsification of
the past" to describe the Wests approach to its history.
Id like to ask to define that terminology for people who dont
understand it, and how it plays a role in current events in allowing
them to sustain itself. Is it a mode of behavior that can have severe
Its very typical over history, over time, for the world to
look very different depending on whether youre holding the
whip, or youre under the whip.
It just looks different.
For a couple hundred years, Europe and its offshoots - were
one of it offshoots - have been holding the whip. Theyve been
carrying out massive atrocities against others, and thats
U.S. history. Thats the history of England, France, Belgium,
Germany and others. Theyve always been attacking people outside
and conquering the world; they didnt conquer the world in
a pretty fashion. And they have a picture which is about how they
were bringing freedom and justice and
maybe they made
some mistakes, but it was all well intentioned
on. From the other end of the guns, it looks very different.
Now, our systematic falsification of history
just take where were talking right now:
Well, were here in New England because religious fanatics,
extreme fanatic religious fundamentalists, very much like Islamic
fundamentalists, landed here and mercilessly destroyed the indigenous
population. So were here. Thats not the way its
taught, but thats the way it was. And the founding fathers
were well aware of it. And they recognized it, sometimes with regret,
sometimes not, and it continued until the national territory was
conquered. There were, after all, maybe 7 or 8 million or maybe
more inhabitants here, they werent around by the year 1900.
And the U.S., for example, conquered half of Mexico. Well, the Mexicans
know it; we dont get taught it in school. When the U.S. took
over the Philippines, they killed a couple hundred thousand people.
Filipinos, they know it, we dont talk about it.
And this falsification of history has consequences. In fact, we
saw some of them on Sept 11th. Here, the commentary often
much of the commentary is: "Well, why do they hate us?"
And a lot of the commentary, op eds, in The New York Times and so
on, by big thinkers, was: "Well, they hate us because we stand
for freedom and democracy and prosperity and therefore they hate
Well, thats a nice, comforting point of view, but its
totally false. And some of the press, to its credit, did begin to
look at the history. So the Wall Street Journal very soon, within
a few days, began running articles on actual attitudes of people
in the Middle East towards the United States. They sampled the wealthy
and the privileged - the people who theyre concerned about
- not beggars and rural people, but bankers, and lawyers for international
corporations, businessmen, and they did several good studies of
their attitudes. And, it turns out, that theyre very bitter
and angry and frustrated about the United States though theyre
very pro-American and, in fact, all involved in the U.S. system.
And their anger is precisely the opposite of what the elite intellectuals
They dont hate us for our democracy, they hate us because
we repress democracy. They hate us because weve supported
the oppressive and brutal and authoritarian regimes and undermined
any attempt at democracy in the region, and because of their explicit
policies. So the policy of the last ten years
the U.S. and
Britain have devastated the civilian society of Iraq meanwhile,
strengthening Saddam Hussein. And they know very well, even though
we dont like to say it, that the U.S. and Britain supported
Hussein right through his worst atrocities. The ones that are now
being brought up to show how terrible he is. Like the gassing of
the Kurds. A horrible atrocity, and, yet, the U.S. and Britain supported
him right through it, continued to support him afterwards. And they
know that. They also know that the policies are destroying the civilian
society and strengthening Saddam Hussein, and that stands alongside
the U.S. policies towards Israel and Palestine.
I mean, they know, even if we pretend not to, that there has been
a brutal military occupation, now going into its 35th year, which
has relied crucially on U.S. support - diplomatic support, military
support, economic support. When Israel builds settlements to break
up the occupied territories illegally, the U.S. is paying for it.
When it sends helicopters to carry out assassinations or attack
civilian complexes, they are U.S. helicopters sent with a certain
knowledge that thats how theyre going to be used. On
the diplomatic front, they know, even if we pretend not to, that
for twenty-five years, the U.S. has been blocking a diplomatic settlement
which has almost total - almost, the whole world has been in favor
of it for 25 years, including the Arab states, Europe, former Soviet
Union, everybody [in favor of] some sort of two-state settlement.
And the U.S. has been blocking it, and theyre still blocking
Well, they know all of this. And such policies towards say, Iraq
and the consistent U.S. support for brutal and oppressive regimes.
Even its own atrocities within the region, which are not slight
its opposition to democracy, those are the attitudes of the pro-American
elements. The wealthy, privileged elements. If you get out on the
streets, you hear the same things, its just much more bitter
and theyre also furious about the fact that the wealth of
the region, which is real - mostly oil wealth - is not being used
for them, but its going to the West. Its going to purchase
U.S. Treasury securities, or U.S. arms, or pay off U.S. and British
investment firms, well they know all that.
Theyre living in misery and the wealth is going to the West.
These are the real attitudes. Now if we choose not to pay attention
to those attitudes and to pretend that theyre angry because
were so wonderful, well, were just guaranteeing that
there will be more terrorist acts. If you dont want to understand
the reasons, you can be pretty sure that it will continue. And this
is true of, take any crime you like - robbery in the streets or
a major atrocity - whoever is committing it has reasons. I mean,
maybe its just pathology, that could happen too, but usually
they have reasons. And if you look at the reasons, theres
usually something behind them, even something legitimate behind
them. So, when
take the Oklahoma city bombing, when it first
happened, there were big headlines about "Lets Bomb Beirut"
or something like that. It was assumed that it had some Middle East
connection and if it had some Middle East connection, the U.S. probably
would have gone to war, like its doing now. Well, it turned
out not to have a Middle East connection, but to be a domestic person
with militia associations.
OK, what was the reaction?
Was the reaction to bomb Idaho and destroy Montana and bomb the
Republic of Texas, which has declared independence of the oppressive
government of Washington? No that wasnt the reaction, that
would have been crazy. The reaction was to find the person who was
responsible, bring him to trial, follow legal procedures, and consider
the grievances. I mean, the militia movements come out of something.
And if you look at what they come out of, you find that there are
some things that really ought be attended to. Theyre important.
And thats typically the case. We can choose not to do that,
but then were just guaranteeing that the cycle of violence
will escalate, like tribal warfare - you hurt me, Im going
to hurt you more. Thats a way to go on, and we know the consequences.
OK. Further to that
how would you then characterize the
foreign policy of the United States, which goes and empowers someone
like Saddam Hussein while he is administrating over such brutal
atrocities? Because, that is a direct policy. It is premeditated
and conscious and one which, in my view, constantly creates a sort
of strife. Its almost like a sort of Machiavellian concept
maybe, perhaps, of divide and conquer. Can you sort of characterize
Well, the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein for, what they considered,
sound policy reasons. For one thing, Saddam Hussein was anti-Communist
and hes a brutal monster and always was since the time he
took power. But he was applying his atrocities to U.S. enemies,
namely the domestic Communist parties. After that, the U.S. backed
him, as did Britain, in his war against Iran; he invaded Iran, and
Iran was a U.S. enemy by that time.
So Iraq invaded Iran.
The U.S. gave it pretty strong support, as did Britain and others.
And, in fact, U.S. support ended up being decisive. The U.S. ended
up actually shooting down an Iranian commercial airliner in Iranian
airspace, killing 290 people. Here its not taken very seriously.
In fact, the warship that did it came back and the commander got
a heros welcome and the Legion or Merit of Honor. But the
Iranians paid attention. It was one of many events which made them
understand that the U.S. was going to go to the limit to make sure
that Iraq won the war, and they effectively capitulated.
And the U.S. continued to back Saddam.
This was the period of the really huge atrocities, like the massacre
of the Kurds, with gassing. These were Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. continued
to support him. In fact, the first Bush administration was providing
him with an enormous amount of agricultural aid, which he needed
because the Kurdish regions that were destroyed were agricultural
regions, supplying him with technology that could be used for weapons
of mass destruction, as was recognized. Britain did too. Britain
actually had a serious government inquiry into it later and revealed
a lot of the facts, here its kind of ignored. And that continued
almost up until Saddam Hussein made his first mistake, from the
U.S. point of view. Namely, he disobeyed orders. His takeover of
the U.S. was opposed to that; clients arent supposed
to disobey orders. In comparison with his other crimes, it didnt
amount to much, but it was the one that counted, so then he became
And theres case after case like that.
Take say, just a few months before Iraq invaded
Kuwait, the United States invaded Panama, and killed maybe a couple
thousand people, destroyed residential neighborhoods and kidnapped
someone they didnt like. Namely Manuel Noriega. He was kidnapped,
brought to trial in Florida and, if you look at the charges against
him, I mean, they were surely accurate, but they were charges from
the period when he was on the CIA payroll, almost entirely. He had
been a client of the United States: he was a gangster and a killer.
But he was a client, he was doing the things the U.S. wanted. He
was participating in the U.S. war against Nicaragua, which was a
major terrorist crime - thats the one that the World Court
condemned the United States for and, as long as he was doing
that, it didnt matter much if he stole elections and tortured
dozens and killed his opponents, it was okay.
But a couple of years later, he was getting too big for his britches.
He was, sort of, acting on his own. He was not cooperating in the
war and the U.S. decided "well, okay, hes a criminal,"
which, of course, he was, and invaded the country brutally, and
kidnapped him, which is totally illegal, of course, and brought
him here. Well, here its considered a great triumph, but not
in the rest of the world, especially not in the Third world, theyre
too familiar with it. And that goes on constantly.
Take, right at this moment for example, the U.S. wants Afghanistan
to turn over Osama bin laden. Now, the Taliban regime - which is
a very cruel and oppressive regime (and that didnt bother
the United States before but now it does), they have said "give
us some evidence." Well, that happens to be a very reasonable
request. If a country approached the United States and said "hand
over so and so, because we think hes a criminal" and
they didnt provide any evidence, nobody would even bother
laughing. Well, this Taliban request is considered ridiculous, you
know, it just shows how awful they are: "look theyre
asking for evidence, theyre not allowed to do that, we say
we want him, hand him over."
Well, it happens that theyre right on this. You should provide
convincing evidence, and the U.S. hasnt provided it, probably
because it doesnt have it and, besides, they just treat them
with contempt when they offer to negotiate.
You kick em in the face.
Well, the world notices that. Certainly the Arab world. And many
people may notice something else: the U.S. has criminals, internally
major criminals. Other countries are asking for their extradition,
want them handed over, and the U.S. wont do it, even though,
in this case, the evidence is quite strong. So, right in the midst
of all this focus of attention on the Taliban and Osama bin Laden,
Haiti has repeated its request which it has been raising for a year
that the United States turn over Emanuel Constant, who is not only
indicted but was sentenced in absentia in Haiti for a leading role
in the murder of four to five thousand people in the early 90s,
during the coup period.
Now, the U.S., the first Bush and the Clinton administrations were
tacitly supporting the military junta and the rich elite, its
not very hard to show. Constant, who was the head of the murderess
paramilitary forces, had close ties to the U.S., to the CIA, and
others, and probably thats why the U.S. doesnt want
to hand him over. But here was a man who was a leading figure in
the killing of four to five thousand people in a country right next
door: theyve had the evidence, theyve brought him to
trial, in fact, convicted him, and now they want him handed over.
Not only the will the U.S. not do it but, in fact, it isnt
even discussed. We do what we want.
And there are other such cases.
I mean, Costa Rica, for example, which is the one long-time democratic
state in Central America. For about fifteen years now theyve
been asking the U.S. to hand over a man named John Hull, who was
a rancher in Costa Rica. They discovered that his land was being
used by the Reagan administration as a base for major terrorist
attacks against a neighboring country, namely Nicaragua. Well, in
Costa Rica its a crime to have your land used for terrorist
attacks against another country, and theyve been asking the
U.S. to hand him over. The U.S. wont think about it. In fact,
it punished them for making the request by economic sanctions of
a kind, but here its never discussed. And we can go on. These
are things that people, especially in the Third world, know quite
well. We may choose to look in some other direction but they see
it, and theyre aware of it and they suffer the consequences.
I know that we are getting short on time, so I want to jump into
a different question entirely. It has to do with the way that 9-11
is being used to shape policy. If we look back in history, to the
1920s when the Council on Foreign Relations was created, there
was this whole concept of a New World Order and a world government
that was trotted out. Obviously, the evolution of Communism as a
dominant world power got in the way of that but by the end of the
Reagan administration and the fall of the Berlin Wall the notion
seemed to be in vogue again. In fact, George Bush reiterated publicly,
during his address to Congress in 1991 when he spoke about the Iraqi
conflict. My question is, has this recent attack in an ironic way,
furthered that concept of creating a broad-lateral coalition of
world government in the sense that our enemy is justifiably an enemy
of the entire so-called free world; including, finally, Russia?
Its the same, you know. The basic policies remain very stable.
The policies are rooted in the domestic institutions. Like in any
country, if you want to figure out what its policy is, you
look at who runs it internally. Well, internally, the United States
is formally democratic but power is overwhelmingly in the hands
of a highly concentrated business sector, corporate sector, closely
linked to government, closely linked to military, and so on. They
have a very strong impact on how policy is formed, and theyre
stable over very long periods of policy, stable over long periods
of time. It adjusts, tactically adjusts
there are changes.
Take this war on terrorism. Its not a new war. The Reagan
administration came into office 20 years ago, announcing very clearly
that its major concern was the plague of international terrorism,
which had to be destroyed. And they proceeded to combat the plague
by creating the most extraordinary international terrorist network
that ever existed, and using it to launch major terrorist wars in
Central America, to support South African depredations against their
neighboring countries which killed a million and a half people in
the Reagan years alone.
This time, theres supposed to be a coalition of countries
against terrorism and, as I already mentioned, if you look at the
coalition, its terrorist states. So the Russians are happy
to join the coalition because they want U.S. support for their brutal
and murderous war in Chechnya. And the Chinese are quite happy to
join because they want U.S. support for their murderous activities
against Muslim groups in western China. Turkeys delighted
to join because they want U.S. support, which has always been there,
for the massive ethnic cleansing and atrocities that theyve
been carrying out inside Turkey in the late 90s against their
own Kurdish population. And we can run through the list; every one
of them is happy to join because they want U.S. support for their
terrorist activities. So yes, thats a coalition of the
just, if you like. But its just an adjustment of traditional
policies to new circumstances.
OK. Last question: there is a critique of the anti-war Left and
its , and youve heard it often, over and over again, "you
guys want peace, you advocate detente, you want some sort of solution,
but you dont have any solutions. At least the Right has a
solution." If you were president, what would be your policy
goals toward -
U.S. policy subsequent to the Sept 11 attacks...
Its very straightforward; its been stated over and over.
The left has plenty of concrete solutions. Its just that power
centers dont want to pursue them. What happened on September
11 was a major atrocity, one of the worst terrorist attacks in history.
Actually, unfortunately, it wasnt unique in scale.
Lets take an uncontroversial case. Uncontroversial because
we have the judgement of the World Court and the Security Council,
the highest international authorities - namely the war against Nicaragua.
That war was much worse than even the World Trade Center bombing,
they killed tens of thousands of people, practically destroyed the
country. It may never recover. What did Nicaragua do? They didnt
set off bombs in Washington. They went to the World Court with their
case, a strong case. In fact, they won it. Now, the Court accepted
their case, ordered the United States to stop what they called "unlawful
use of force," which means international terrorism, and to
pay substantial reparations. The U.S. dismissed the Court judgement
and immediately escalated the war.
And so Nicaragua went to the U.N. Security Council, which considered
a resolution, calling on all states to observe international law.
It didnt mention anyone but everyone knew it meant the United
States. The U.S. vetoed it. Nicaragua, then, went to the General
Assembly where theres no veto and they got essentially unanimous
agreement for two years in a row, for essentially the same resolution.
The U.S. and Israel were opposed, thats all. Well, Nicaragua
couldnt do anything. Its facing a violent superpower,
cant do anything. On the other hand, if the U.S. pursued the
lawful course, using the precedent of law-abiding states, nobody
would block it, everybody would applaud. And thats exactly
what the U.S. should have done in the beginning, and should still
Notice what they are doing.
What the U.S. is doing, is killing an enormous number, we dont
know how many, but plenty of innocent Afghans. Now, Im not
talking about the collateral damage from bombing - as they call
it with collateral damage, meaning civilians who happen to be killed
when a bomb hits a residential neighborhood - I mean, thats
a crime but its very small in comparison to the real crime.
Now, the real crime is starving the population to death and that
could be hundreds of thousands, it could turn out to be millions
of people. The U.N., which has been trying to do something about
the food problem for years, estimates that there may be 7 million
Afghans just on the verge of starvation. They were being kept alive
by food shipments from international agencies, primarily the U.N.
World Food program, Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid, and
others. Those programs were all terminated when the U.S. threatened
to bomb. The international agencies had to withdraw their international
workers, and the food shipments stopped. And , of course, people
were terrified by the bombing threats and began to flee, but they
couldnt go anywhere. Now, we dont know how many people
died in the first several weeks, but it must have been a lot. Well,
finally the World Food program, the main one, did start in early
October shipping some food back in. Well, then, the U.S. started
bombing. Food shipment stopped, distribution stopped. By now, it
has started again but at about half the rate that is estimated to
be necessary to keep 7 million people alive. And its only
going to go on for another few weeks then the winter comes.
Well, just do the arithmetic. Ill do it for you
arithmetic and those are the assumptions of policy planners.
Well, Im strongly opposed to policies that are aimed at killing,
I dont know how many, it could turn out to be millions of
Afghans, who have nothing to do with the Taliban. Theyre victims
of the Taliban. If the right thinks thats the right thing
to do, well, we know where to place them in history.
I dont think so.
I dont think we should be following such policies. I think
we should be following the policies of lawful states, law-abiding
states, thats a very concrete proposal. And we can go on to
consider more concrete proposals. To say that critics have no policy
proposals, thats just a lie. They have very explicit proposals
on case after case after case, its just that power centers
dont want to consider them for their own reasons.
Thank you Noam.
Noam Chomsky is an author and Professor of Linguistics at M.I.T.
The New York Times Book Review has said that he "is arguably
the most important intellectual alive."
Transcription provided by Lisa Hsu. www.guerillanews.com