International

Chomsky on horrible monsters and mistakes

A Reuters report via the Aljazeera website:

Noam Chomsky, attending a Latin American social sciences conference in Havana, said the military occupation of Iraq, to topple a “horrible monster running it but not a threat to anyone,” was a failure.

Leaving aside the question of failure, let’s consider the description of Saddam Hussein as a “horrible monster… but not a threat to anyone.” I think most reasonable people can agree with the “horrible monster” part of Chomsky’s description. But “not a threat to anyone”? Aren’t horrible monsters, as a rule, a threat to someone? Isn’t that what makes them horrible monsters? And even Chomsky must recognize that millions of dead, tortured, imprisoned and displaced Iraqis would differ with him on Saddam’s unthreatening nature.

Reuters also reports that Chomsky gave a lecture on the US politics of domination that was attended by Fidel Castro. In addition:

Chomsky praised Cuba’s defiance of US hostility and trade sanctions for four decades. But he also criticised the jailing of 75 Cuban dissidents, earlier this year, by Castro’s government.

“Yes, I have criticised them for that,” he said in an interview on 28 August with Radio Havana. “I think it was a mistake.”

The article doesn’t make clear whether Chomsky criticized the jailings in Castro’s presence– if he did, I congratulate him– but can you imagine his reaction if the US government rounded up and jailed 75 American dissidents? Would he be satisfied simply to call that a mistake?

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