I haven’t gone through the time-honored (18 months of honor by time, in this case) tradition of the fisk in quite a while. Perhaps it’s the fact that it tends to angry up the blood, or that my stomach isn’t any longer of the iron quality needed for the appropriate invective, or that my heart just isn’t in it any more.

Or that my pancreas is a bit distended.


The point is, I haven’t had it in me for a while to undertake the mental discipline necessary to gather up the journalistic slop that gushes into our homes via the sluice of media outlets after most (and sometimes all) nuggets of common sense have been expertly sifted out.

That is, of course, if there were any nuggets to begin with. In the case of uncle Noam, I’d be satisfied to find a few dust flakes of the stuff. But then, if you’re looking for reapeated dishonesties, barely concealed hatred against all things even remotely American and pathetic rhetorical tricks that were old in 1970, well brother, you’ve hit the mother lode.

Like a horror movie that’s just so bad it reaches some kind of critical mass of awfulness and suddenly becomes watchable as farce, Noam Chomsky has seen fit to take a dump on the electronic pages of the BBC. No surprise there, as the guy is relentless in his attacks on any and all large scale media outlets as pawns of the global corporate and Zionist conspiracies which seek to squash any kind of dissenting voice whatsoever. He is especially vocal on this point whenever the afore-mentioned dissent squashers graciously offer him the space to publish a thousand or so words of how all the voices have been silenced. However, I for one, never cease to be amazed that the British Ballyhoo Corporation for some reason has apparently decided to offer up their online space to recieve Chomsky’s feculent load as if he were the Golden Goose starting to bend over and getting that strained look on its face. I don’t understand why they would let Chomsky disseminate his ugly propaganda with their willing help, but then, as I’ve said before, I’m not that bright, so maybe I’m just missing something.

So, even though I have of late been hesitant to dive into the turbulent waters of fiskitude, I find that the opportunity presented by the one and only, the Noam Chomsky, offer simply too many vitriolic possibilities to pass up.

Right. So let’s do this thing.


You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it. And the arguments that have been given for it are not convincing.


This is, frankly, a deeply dishonest couple of sentences for Chomsky to use (of course pointing that out begs the question as to when is anything Chomsky says not deeply dishonest), for he seems to suggest that there are arguments which exist that are both for and against an attack on Iraq, and that currently the “burden of proof” for war has not been met. Such a stance presupposes however, that there is such a point at which a reasonable person can say that war is justified. But that proposition is inimical to Chomsky’s most deeply held beliefs, for he believes that all violent action by states (but particulalry Western states, and even more particularly, capitalist states) is unjustified at all times in all circumstances. He’s making it seem as if his position is “not in this situation,” when in reality, it is “never.” Of course he won’t come out and say that here, because it would allow people to see the kind of reactionary loon he really is, when every military action by a Western capitalist state, no matter the context, is always unjustified.


There is no debate about the importance of disarming Iraq and indeed other countries that have the capacity to use weapons of mass destruction. That is very important and everyone agrees on it.


Chomsky has long been a devotee of the rhetorical school that claims if you simply make a blanket statement like “everyone agrees on that” or “no one seriously disputes this” or “that’s just obvious,” no matter how bananer the actual claim is to which you’re referring, that somehow it’s just going to be accepted as fact, like magic! The really sad thing about it is that, at least among the intellectually lazy Chomsky-ite faithful who follow their pied piper down every path of lies of rhetorical decpetion that he can come up with, too often such bold-faced assertions actually are taken at face value. After all, they wouldn’t want to end up looking stupid questioning something that everyone agrees on.

So you have to sit back and ask yourself: Has there been any debate about whether a nuclear Saddam is a threat? I’m curious then as to what all those people who for months championed deterrence as a solution were doing? What Chomsky sees as a lack of a debate is really just an instance in which the side of the debate he would have backed ended up getting clobbered because its position was laughably untenable. It’s like when Cynthia McKinney cries censorship as a response to people excoriating her for making idiotic statements that she can’t support.

Likewise, those voices that agitated for a return to nuclear deterrence (because gosh, didn’t they think the Cold War just swell?) fell silent rather quickly because they lost the debate. Because it was pointed out to them numerous times that, even when you’re dealing with a reasonably rational foe, deterrence is still a horribly risky game. Is Chomsky getting too old to remember the Cuban missile crisis? And the the case was also credibly made, with no sufficient rebuttal, that even if you’re willing to accept the risks of deterring a rational foe, one cannot even reasonably consider Saddam such a predictable entity, for he has shown himself capable of gross miscalculations and strategic blunders, emanating from deeply personal impulses towards greed and revenge.

But I suppose that discussion flew under Chomsky’s radar . Or rather perhaps it is the much more common reason cited for both McKinney Chomsky, in which any loss of the argument means that there actually has been no debate, and that dissent has be supressed. In a decidedly Stalinist mode, the only way that there can be said to be an open climate of debate is for the opposing side that disagrees with them to, well… not disagree.


The way to proceed with that is the way that has been done – with careful inspection procedures and efforts to ensure that the US and Britain and others will no longer carry out the policies of the past and provide Saddam with means for developing weapons of mass destruction.


Ah, now that’s the Chomsky we all know and love. He started off a bit shaky, but now he’s kicked the mendacity motor up a few hundred RPMs, and is just humming along. See that wonderfully inelegant, completely obvious jab he tried to sneak in? See, we need inspections not to make sure that Saddam isn’t up to any WMD hanky-panky, but so that the US and the UK keep their noses clean. I’m sure that Chomsky is outraged that Hans Blix hasn’t yet rolled up on Los Alamos with his cadre of inspectors and demanded entry to make sure we’re not planning more genocide in countries with brown people. Saddam’s agency is completely brushed aside, and onus of guilt is placed on the US and Britain for every bit of WMD underhandedness Saddam has ever committed.

The fact that we allowed Iraq to import biologic cultures that can be used to create bioweapons speaks perhaps to an increased need for vigilence of those with whom we are pushed into alliances of convenience (like, say, Saudi Arabia today), but the decision to help Saddam (solely in his war with Iran) was based in the ugly necessity of a realpolitik situation that presented two bad choices, with Saddam acting as the counter to a much greater threat. After the Islamic revolution, Iran was the single greatest supporter of terrorism against the United States, and there was good reason to believe that their actions would only increase, with no doubt to the point of getting and using nuclear weapons, should the possiblity present itself. The ayatollahs also had the specific goal of overrunning the entire region with their brand of Islamomadness, cutting off oil supplies and plunging the world into a global recession, and at the time that seemed like a distinct possibility.

Chomsky of course ignores any mention of this slightly more nuanced view. He prefers the wonderfully storybook image of a giant greedy hegemon doling out all manner of WMD for the sole purpose of spreading pure evil to the people of the Earth.

He also ignores the fact that for the last 12 years, the US has been trying to eliminate these weapons from Saddam’s possession as part of the original cease-fire agreement of the first Gulf War. Chomsky would do well to remember that this is what the whole thing is all about, after all. I suppose, however, that it’s too taxing for him to hold all of this inconvenient information in his head when he’s busy focusing on the US in its role as global Sauron.

He also coveniently (or stupidly… maybe he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about) conflates chemical/biologic and nuclear weapons into one big lump. The former are more frightening for the horridness of their effects rather than their strategic capability to deal out large amounts of destruction. A bioweapon scare in a US city might very well public havoc and paralysis from fear, but the chances of some epidemic sweeping the country and killing millions of people are virtually nil. Chemical weapons would be even more difficult to deliver as anything but a highly localized agent. Even a small, crude nuclear bomb, however, placed in any of a dozen urban centers would almost certainly kill millions as a matter of course. While Saddam having chem-bio weapons is certainly nothing to rejoice about, it’s miles away from him having a nuke, and the US never helped him develop such a capability. Again, as mentioned above, all we’ve been doing for the last decade or so is try to pressure Saddam as peacefully as possible into giving up his nuclear aspirations, while countries such as France and Russia gleefully looked the other way, pouring billions into Saddam’s coffers with backdoor economic deals, no doubt fueling his progress towards having a working atom bomb.


It is extremely unlikely that Saddam Hussein would use nuclear weapons, which is a recipe for instant suicide – except in a desperate reaction to an attack.


Again, how Chomsky attributes this rational sensibility to Saddam is beyond me, though I suppose we should give him credit for not saying something more Chomsky-esque like, “It’s obvious to any thinking person that Saddam would never use a nuke. No one disputes this.”

What with such bizarre acts as the incredibly foolhardy invasion of Kuwait (and the continued refusals to leave certain territories when such a concession would have allowed him to keep a portion of the oil fields he had seized without a fight, ending in net gain) and the attempt on President Bush’s life (a move that would have gained him no pragmatic advantage and only invited the full wrath of the United States against him personally), Saddam himself has already made the excellent case that he cannot be counted as a rational actor who will behave within the limits of a deterrence model .


I think that nobody doubts that the world would be better off if he is eliminated. But the means that are proposed are outlandish. 

The means that are proposed are that we should carry out an attack which we understand may cause very severe humanitarian catastrophe and might also lead to the only real likelihood of his using weapons of mass destruction.


I’m sorry Noam, but after your accusation that the US was quietly and deliberately planning a genocide of about 4 million Afghans a year ago, your credentials to pontificate about humanitarian catastrophes have been permanently revoked.

And an ordered military attack that would restore order and ensure that no “humanitarian catastrophe takes place after Saddam’s inglorious exit from this world is an “outlandish” scheme? How else would you propose that he be “eliminated,” then? You’re not referring to those CIA death squads, are you? I didn’t realize you had suddenly become a fan of the vast underground conspiracy of the US government to control the world’s nations and flouridate the water supply. For your birthday I’ll get you a subscription to CIA International Conspiracy Beat magazine. I hear they’re going to have a cover story on Rumsfeld. I heard you had a crush on him.


There is simply no historical precedent in the history of the United States or of Europe for such overwhelming opposition to a war at this stage – that is before it has even been undertaken.


Yeah. There are lots of things unprecedented about this war. For one thing the amount of connectivity and access to information allows all of the fringe anti-war elements to coordinate and set up email lists to gather folks to demonstrate and make their big stinks so they can remind everyone of what they already knew: that the Workers’ World Party (the group that broke off from the Socialist Workers’ Party because those SWP pansies had the gall to oppose the Soviet invasion of Hungary), the Black Panthers, the Wymyn’s International Coalition, and the Open-Toed Brigade for Hemp Production are all against the war. Thanks, we’ll be sure to remember that.

I mean, it’s swell that’s they’re getting their marching groove on and providing some clever puns on comparing Bush to Hitler and all, but it’s not like they’re really reaching out to people and convincing anyone. They’re the usual suspects, just with better networking skills. In the immortal words of Mayor Quimby, “Are these morons getting dumber or just louder?”

Well Diamond Joe, I’m gonna have to say a little bit of both.


You can declare victory over the much weaker enemy – but anything longer than that is going to arouse the public which simply is not as willing to accept aggression and violence as Europe and the United States have been in the past.


What they are going to accept however, is a quick, very decisive military victory that ends up sending the entire country of Iraq into jubilant cries of liberation. That is, of course, when they’re not asking us, “So, what took you guys so goddamned long?”


Whether there will be large-scale humanitarian catastrophes, nobody knows.


Christ, Noam, now you’re just phoning it in. You sound like a network news anchor that can’t think of anything to close his report with, so he wimps out with “What will happen next? Only time will tell. And now the weather…”

What, no accusations of a methodically planned genocide? It must be really really “silent” this time, huh? I’m sure it will still be deadly though.

“Silent, but deadly.” Yeah, I like the sound of that.

I think perhaps even Uncle Noam has developed the slightest sense of shame and doesn’t want to be shown to be a complete idiot again when the humanitarian catastrophe that he promises all his eager young followers just slavering for some atrocity whose name can accompany their chants of “Amerikkka!” doesn’t materialize.


It is a reasonable possibility and sane people do not undertake actions when they know that there is reasonable possibility that it may lead to a humanitarian catastrophe unless they have enormously powerful arguments. 

The arguments that they have put forward are so weak that there can be no choice about this.


See what’s so frustrating sometimes about Chomsky? He posits a general principle that sounds all peachy-keen and sensible, but then applies it in a decidely whacked-out manner in horrendously selective circumstances.

I can imagine him putting forth the maxim that, “People love dogs because they are our loyal companions and should be regarded with respect and affection,” in response to a kid screaming for help because he’s being mauled by a pit bull.

Above, he completely dismisses as the ramblings of paranoids the notion that Saddam would ever get or use nuclear weapons, throwing caution to the wind when it comes to the humanitarian catastrophe that would result from him sending one of his Little Boys flying .

But you’re not allowed to think about these things, because “There can be no choice” about it.

We are the Noam. Resistence is futile.

last update : 23-5-2018

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