Noam Chomsky & Christopher Hitchens on OBL and 9/11

George Scialabba on Hitchens when he writes about Noam Chomsky.

Over the last decade, Hitchens has reenacted the drama of Dorian Gray: his prose style has waxed ever more elegant, while his political judgment and his polemical morality have decayed.

American intellectuals, whose responsibility it was to lead the national conversation beyond uncritical acceptance of the premises of state policy, failed entirely.

If the American citizenry ever learn, in relation to their country’s international behavior, Auden’s simple yet difficult lesson that “Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return” (or their benighted sympathizers do), it will be despite rather than because of the efforts of Hitchens and the large majority of American intellectuals who, about these matters at least, agree with him.

Suppose someone says that Pearl Harbor so inflamed American feeling that the firebombing of Japanese cities and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though morally indefensible, were all but inevitable. Does saying this absolve the American officials who ordered the bombings or imply that the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians who died as a result was “richly deserved”? By Hitchens’s logic, yes.

Noam Chomsky’s reaction to OBL’s assassination.

It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”

There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.

Zack De La Rocha And Rage Against The Machine

At Rage’s first reunion show, de la Rocha made a strong speech during “Wake Up” in which de la Rocha called members of the Bush administration to war criminals, citing a statement by Noam Chomsky regarding the Nuremberg Principles:[16]

A good friend of ours said that if the same laws were applied to U.S. presidents as were applied to the Nazis after World War Two that every single one of them, every last rich white one of them from Truman on would have been hung to death and shot – and this current administration is no exception. They should be hung, and tried, and shot. As any war criminal should be. But the challenges that we face, they go way beyond administrations, way beyond elections, way beyond every four years of pulling levers, way beyond that. Because this whole rotten system has become so vicious and cruel that in order to sustain itself, it needs to destroy entire countries and profit from their reconstruction in order to survive – and that’s not a system that changes every four years, it’s a system that we have to break down, generation after generation after generation after generation after generation… Wake up.

Zack de la Rocha