Sunday, May 24, 2009

9/11 in perspective

I haven't always been Noam Chomsky's biggest fan. There's a certain one-dimensionality that infects both his linguistics and his political analyses. Nevertheless I hope I share some of his genes because at age 81 he's still bringing it:
Horrifying as [9/11] was, however, it could have been worse. Suppose that the perpetrators had bombed the White House, killed the president and established a vicious military dictatorship that killed 50,000 to 100,000 people and tortured 700,000, set up a huge international terror center that carried out assassinations and helped impose comparable military dictatorships elsewhere, and implemented economic doctrines that so radically dismantled the economy that the state had to virtually take it over a few years later.

That would indeed have been far worse than September 11, 2001. And it happened in Salvador Allende's Chile in what Latin Americans often call "the first 9/11" in 1973. (The numbers above were changed to per-capita US equivalents, a realistic way of measuring crimes.) Responsibility for the military coup against Allende can be traced straight back to Washington. Accordingly, the otherwise quite appropriate analogy is out of consciousness here in the US, while the facts are consigned to the "abuse of reality" that the naive call "history."

3 comments:

TGGP said...

The CIA did attempt an earlier coup in Chile but failed. After Pinochet was ousted, Nixon congratulated Kissinger but received the response that they had nothing to do with it.

It's rather comical when burnt out lefties try to analyze foreign policy in Leninist terms, waxing about nefarious oil corporations that would really prefer less aggression against compliant petrostates (Halliburton had actually lobbied for easing of sanctions). Michael Neumann has given one of the few sensible accounts of how the Iraq war came about. As Homer Simpson said "History is just a bunch of stuff that happened".

And before anyone else jumps Chomsky with it - CAMBODIA!

Jenny said...

What does Neumann mean by recruitment as a solution, exactly?

ac said...

TGGP you must be responding to a different post to the one I read... or maybe the stuff about Lenin and oil corporations was so between the lines that I missed it...