Saturday, November 13, 2004

Chomsky's Law Enforcement 'War on Terror'

Noam Chomsky, the Anarcho-Syndicalist (I'm still not sure what that means, except that it looks alot like communism to me), blogs on, "How to fight terrorists."

Not surprisingly it is exactly like the Kerry doctrine of the war on terror.

In the case of crimes, the first steps are (1) determining who was probably guilty, apprehending them, and bringing them to a fair trial; and (2) attending to the background circumstances, [no doubt background circumstances means the oppressive American Imperialism that prompted the terrorists to hate us. -es] and where there are legitimate grievances in the background, addressing them, as should be done quite apart from the crimes.

It’s the same whether the crime is a street robbery or large-scale international terrorism. In the latter case, there is a virtual consensus on this among specialists and intelligence agencies (including former heads of Israeli intelligence). Furthermore, the evidence shows that these are the most effective courses to take, including contemporary Islamic terrorism (the only case we are allowed to talk about). In contrast, Cheney’s preferred method has consistently increased the threat of terrorism, which is quite natural: violence tends to increase violence and support for it in response. The current Iraq war is an illustration. It was undertaken with the expectation that it would probably lead to an increase in terrorism, as it did. That’s just another of the many indications that reducing the threat of terror is not a high priority for planners, and another reason…

Hysterical intellectuals who prefer to shriek rather than reduce the threat of terror choose to interpret (2) as “appeasement” or “submission to terror” or “rationalization of terror,” etc. In sharp contrast, specialists in terror and intelligence agencies typically take the opposite stand. Comment is hardly necessary, apart from questions of intellectual history.

Police investigation and action might, under some circumstances, involve military force. There cannot be any general answer to the question.

Hmm. Very similiar to what Kerry said on Meet the Press in April of 2004:

"The war on terror is...occasionally military. ... But it's primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world." Meet the Press.


Chomsky turns next to the preemption doctrine and again reiterates a key component of Kerry's philosophy --use of force only with UN approval, i.e. the global test.

As for “pre-emptive strike,” there has been a formal consensus on this since the UN Charter and the Nuremberg Tribunal. The formal consensus, the supreme law of the land in the US, bans the resort to force with narrow exceptions: when authorized by the Security Council, or in response to armed attack until the Security Council acts, in the latter case when “the necessity for action is instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation.” These principles were established because of explicit international rejection, led by the US, of doctrine that now prevails: that resort to force is legitimate if we “know”—that is, have some reason to believe—that someone has the intention of attacking us.

I don't see anywhere in the constitution any mention of the UN Security Council. Perhaps Mr. Chomsky could provide a reference for his claim?

Surprisingly lucid so far, (Chomsky usually explains his convoluted ideas with elaborate twists and turns of seemingly random vocabulary), we next come to the key component of Chomsky's anti-americanism: moral equivalency. Under Bush's doctrine of preemption Japan would have been justified in attacking Pearl Harbor for the perceived threat the US posed to the dictatoral regime. After all, America is a global hegemon with a history of barbaric Imperial conquests.

That doctrine would, for example, justify Japan’s attack on US military bases in Pearl Harbor and Manila. The Japanese could read the US press, with its lurid discussion of how US bombing could exterminate this inferior and vicious race by burning down Japan’s wooden cities, and they knew that flying fortresses capable of bombing Japan from Pearl Harbor and Manila were coming off the Boeing Assembly line, so they “knew” that there was a serious threat of extermination, not just terror. Therefore, according to the “Bush doctrine,” shared by Kerry and elites generally, Japan had every right to bomb Pearl Harbor and Manila. In fact, they had a far stronger case than the one enunciated by Colin Powell, etc.: that “intent and ability” suffice to allow the US to attack a country, committing the “supreme crime” of Nuremberg, which encompasses all the evil that follows—the crime for which any participants, such as the German foreign minister, were hanged.


Ah well. Chomsky's always good for a laugh. He's something of a curiosity, in a perverted sense like a carnival freak show. Well actually, his ideas would not be so scary if so many of them hadn't just been articulated by the Democratic nominee for President.

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