Unfortunately, his opinions get scant exposure in America. As a leftist, Chomsky commands few communications outposts. The New York Times Syndicate circulates his column but it has never appeared in the Times itself — or in other major U.S. newspapers.
Liberal media indeed.
Greg Ruggeriero in an editor’s note rightly complains that the Establishment is “unwilling to tolerate a range of thought wide enough to include Chomsky.” Peter Hart in the forward points out that American newspapers have a preponderance of conservative columnists and that many of so-called liberals are actually centrists.
In an earlier book, “Necessary Illusions,” Chomsky reported that in the first three months of the 1986 debate over Nicaraguan policy, 85 columns appeared in the Times and The Washington Post — all critical of the Sandinistas.
Terrorist regime. Rogue state. Evil empire. The terms America routinely apply to other nations fit the United States perfectly.
As Chomky wrote shortly after 9/11, the atrocities on U.S. soil provided a “pretext to implement long-standing plans to take control of Iraq’s immense oil wealth.” America strongly supported Saddam Hussein after he attacked Iran in 1980. America finds the U.N. relevant only when it follows U.S. orders.
Chomsky notes that 9/11 was the kind of horror that America has dealt all too frequently to other nations. The so-called “just war” that America launched against Afghanistan is a sad commentary on Western values.
“The Taliban requested evidence to support the U.S. demand that it turn over Osama bin Laden and associates,” Chomsky writes. “The Bush administration refused to do so because it did not have any.”
These are truths you will never read in Establishment newspapers.
America engages in preemptive wars. It seeks to rule the world by force. Central America has often felt the sting and humiliation of U.S. might. America preaches democracy selectively in the Middle East and elsewhere — but will not tolerate it when the democratic choice is not to America’s liking.
America imposed cruel economic sanctions on Iraq in 1990. Today it imposes cruel economic sanctions on harmless Cuba because socialism is anathema to the United States — and because of politics that ignores human decency.
“A 1964 State Department document declares Fidel Castro to be an intolerable threat because he ‘represents a successful defiance of the United States, a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of a century and a half,’ ” Chomsky writes.
America brazenly violates international law and the World Court by supporting the Israeli erection of a wall on Palestinian soil. It backs other heinous Israeli policies.
“Washington has reserved the right to set up permanent military bases in Iraq, in the heart of the world’s greatest oil-producing region and has imposed an economic regime that no sovereign country would accept, putting the country’s fate in the hands of Western corporations,” Chomsky declares.
More truths you will not read in Establishment newspapers.
He notes that Washington firmly supported the dictator Pinochet in Chile after engineering the overthrow of socialist Allende. Muslims do not hate our freedom, as President Bush proclaims. They justifiably hate U.S. policies.
Chomsky pooh-poohs the notion proclaimed by Bush that the mission of the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq is to bring them democracy.
The United States “has been tormenting Iranians for more than 50 years ever since a U.S.-instigated military coup overthrew the parliamentary government and installed the shah,” Chomsky writes. The shah “ruled with an iron hand” while compiling “an atrocious record of human rights violations.”
Still more truths you will not read in Establishment newspapers. You will read them in leftist magazines like The Nation and The Progressive. But those enlightened publications are preaching to a tiny, tiny choir.
Chomsky debunks the notion of the unique virtue of America, its mission to redeem the world, its professed ideals and faith in the nation’s “divinely ordained destiny.” He gives the lie to U.S. exceptionalism, the view that America is the most moral and most just nation in history.
Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“Interventions” By Noam Chomsky; City Life Books, San Francisco / 218 pages, paperback, $15.95