ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama

Hitchen’s And Chomsky.

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I couldn’t have done better:

“As far as I know, only leading British “Truther” David Shayler, a former intelligence agent who also announced his own divinity, has denied that the events of Sept. 11, 2001, took place at all. (It was apparently by means of a hologram that the widespread delusion was created on television.) In his recent article for Guernica magazine, however, professor Noam Chomsky decides to leave that central question open. We have no more reason to credit Osama Bin Laden’s claim of responsibility, he states, than we would have to believe Chomsky’s own claim to have won the Boston Marathon.

I can’t immediately decide whether or not this is an improvement on what Chomsky wrote at the time. Ten years ago, apparently sharing the consensus that 9/11 was indeed the work of al-Qaida, he wrote that it was no worse an atrocity than President Clinton’s earlier use of cruise missiles against Sudan in retaliation for the bomb attacks on the centers of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. (I haven’t been back to check on whether he conceded that those embassy bombings were also al-Qaida’s work to begin with.) He is still arguing loudly for moral equivalence, maintaining that the Abbottabad, Pakistan, strike would justify a contingency whereby “Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.” (Indeed, equivalence might be a weak word here, since he maintains that, “uncontroversially, [Bush’s] crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s.”) So the main new element is the one of intriguing mystery. The Twin Towers came down, but it’s still anyone’s guess who did it. Since “April 2002, [when] the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it ‘believed’ that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan,” no evidence has been adduced. “Nothing serious,” as Chomsky puts it, “has been provided since.”

Chomsky still enjoys some reputation both as a scholar and a public intellectual. And in the face of bombardments of official propaganda, he prides himself in a signature phrase on his stern insistence on “turning to the facts.” So is one to assume that he has pored through the completed findings of the 9/11 Commission? Viewed any of the videos in which the 9/11 hijackers are seen in the company of Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri? Read the transcripts of the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called “20th hijacker”? Followed the journalistic investigations of Lawrence Wright, Peter Bergen, or John Burns, to name only some of the more salient? Acquainted himself with the proceedings of associated and ancillary investigations into the bombing of the USS Cole or indeed the first attempt to bring down the Twin Towers in the 1990s? ” [My emphasis.]

(H/T: John-Paul Pagano)

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10/05/2011 at 00:40

Noam Chomsky, 9/11 And Wiggle Room?

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Pundits and commentators throughout the world are giving their opinions on the demise of Osama bin Laden.

Now one of the world’s leading intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, has seen fit to do the same.

Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death:

“It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”

Nothing serious has been provided since. 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.”

I feely admit that I find Chomsky’s writings less than clear. His use of compounded clauses in sentences is annoying and for a linguist he doesn’t communicate terribly well, often you are left trying to work out what he was actually getting at.

A cynic would suggest that Chomsky leaves himself wiggle room, lest he completely puts his foot in mouth.

Reading the above you are left wondering if Chomsky thinks that Al Qaeda committed 9/11? Or perhaps something else, when he says:

Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.” “

Does anyone really know what Chomsky is on about concerning 9/11?

Who knows? Frankly, who cares? We know from what he said that Chomsky is not a fan of Obama.

I suspect Chomsky’s tortured prose will end up in the dustbin of history, along with the remnants of his more peculiar views.

Written by modernityblog

07/05/2011 at 15:31

Osama Bin Laden, An Antifascist’s Approach.

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I had previously wrote a longer draft on the similarities between Osama bin Laden and other rich sociopaths that indulge their hatreds, but on reflection I am not so sure that is the best description for him.

For all I know bin Laden might just have been a misanthrope with a love for AK-47s?

Still, with his views and participation in the death of others he strikes me, at the very least, as a quasi-fascist, someone who revels in the use of violence and mass murder as a means to an end.

Directly or indirectly, he murdered hundreds of civilians in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

So in the same way I didn’t mourn over the deaths of António Salazar, Francisco Franco or Augusto Pinochet I don’t worry about bin Laden’s demise either.

Neither should anyone else, particularly those who consider themselves to be anti-fascists.

Update 1: Norm look at this way:

“As a subordinate matter here, those of us who recognize the above difference can’t help but notice the contrasting reaction of others ‘not mourning’ Bin Laden but seemingly capable only of biliousness in speaking about his death. Poor lost socialist, liberal and democratic souls (for that is what they mostly are). In the demise of a reactionary murdering theocrat they are unable to see and plainly articulate the sense of anything good. That, in its way, also gives grounds for satisfaction: many people bothered who ought to be.”

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05/05/2011 at 23:58

A Grumpy Stop the War Coalition And Bin Laden.

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StWC Tweets

StWC Tweets on bin Laden

I am not the only one to notice that the Stop the War Coalition were not too happy at bin Laden’s death.

StWC’s latest tweet suggests they are decidedly grumpy on this issue.

Carl Packman, at Though Cowards Flinch, ably analyses the problem with the StWC’s approach:

“However many of us are quietly pleased that Bin Laden is history.

That is, of course, with the exception of the Stop the War Coalition, who today put out a statement which had the following to say (authored by Lindsey German):

The US and Britain should remind themselves of the grievances which bin Laden claimed in 2001: the presence of US troops in the Middle East; the treatment of the Palestinians; and the continued sanctions against Iraq. All of these grievances have worsened in the last ten years. There are now western troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, US bases all over the region, and an intervention including troops and airstrikes in Libya. The Palestinians suffer even more, and have been subject to aerial attack by Israel. Iraq suffers full scale occupation as a result of the war in 2003.

Why have they chosen to dignify the grievances of Bin Laden? Granted these include worthy grievances, but to put Bin Laden’s name next them, on this day of all days, comes dangerously close to saying “Bin Laden was right” – in the same way the National Front would say Enoch Powell was right.

The way they’ve juxtaposed the name of an evil terrorist with legitimate concerns is tasteless – and should be retracted, and reworded. “

Read more.

Update 1: Ken Livinstone doesn’t seem too pleased at bin Laden’s demise either:

““I just looked at [the scenes of jubilation in the US] and realised that it would increase the likelihood of a terror attack on London… That’s very much the American style but I don’t think I’ve ever felt pleased at the death of anybody.

“The real problem for London is that after America we’re a big target so it’s a very dangerous time at the moment…

“We should have captured him and put him on trial. It’s a simple point – are we gangsters or a Western democracy based on the rule of law? This undermines any commitment to democracy and trial by jury and makes Obama look like some sort of mobster.

Update 2: Eamonn Mcdonagh has a funny take on it.

Rounding Up The End of Bin Laden’s Death.

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Written by modernityblog

03/05/2011 at 14:53

Nearly A Bin Laden Obituary.

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I was part way through writing my own short obituary of Osama bin Laden when I changed my mind on what I wrote, a common predicament for bloggers, realising that my words didn’t convey what I wanted to say, so I will leave it for another day.

In the interim here is a partial round up of other people’s views on this event.

David Wood at HuffPost talks about National Counterterrorism Center: How A Little-Known Spy Agency Helped Track Down Osama Bin Laden.

Adam Holland says He died a coward.

AP on 9/11 kin praise bin Laden death while nursing pain.

Washington Post’s David Ignatius on How the U.S. found and finished Bin Laden.

Whilst most people welcomed bin Laden’s demise, not everyone did, Hamas Leader mourns Bin Laden’s death:

Time’s Bin Laden: Wives Can Say The Darndest Things.

Stop the War Coalition didn’t seem to happy about it, as their tweets suggest and with their link to that crank, Justin Raimondo.

Channel 4 News, The man who tweeted the US raid on Osama bin Laden without knowing.

Jeffrey Goldberg on The Warp-Speed Rise of ‘Deatherism’.

Elsewhere Twitter when mad at the news, nice graph.

The Economist doesn’t miss the political angle, what this means for 2012.

Foreign Policy on After truthers and birthers, deathers?

Jonathan Kay is good on The Immortal Terrorist.

The New Yorker ponders killing Osama: Was it legal.

Over at NPR, How Do They Know He Was Bin Laden?

The Beeb video is informative, Osama Bin Laden killed in top secret operation.

Finally, Trump Demands Bin Laden’s Long-Form Death Certificate: Hawaiian Investigators Sent to Pakistan.

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03/05/2011 at 01:14

Noam and Obama.

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This revealing clip is from the Stop the War Coalition Youtube channel:

Obama is worse than George Bush and Tony Blair says Noam Chomsky.

And this is Chomsky’s previous statement, which he contradicts in the video.

If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged. By violation of the Nuremberg laws I mean the same kind of crimes for which people were hanged in Nuremberg. And Nuremberg means Nuremberg and Tokyo. So first of all you’ve got to think back as to what people were hanged for at Nuremberg and Tokyo. And once you think back, the question doesn’t even require a moment’s waste of time. For example, one general at the Tokyo trials, which were the worst, General Yamashita, was hanged on the grounds that troops in the Philippines, which were technically under his command (though it was so late in the war that he had no contact with them — it was the very end of the war and there were some troops running around the Philippines who he had no contact with), had carried out atrocities, so he was hanged. Well, try that one out and you’ve already wiped out everybody. “

I think Chomsky should stick to linguistics and avoid politics as his judgements are often simplistic, trite and other worldly.

Written by modernityblog

11/03/2011 at 01:38