As the author of this piece makes clear, this is not a polemic to insist that Noam Chomsky is above criticism, which would be ludicrous, but to underscore Hitchens’ painful unravelling after occupying a high perch on the Left.
|posted by Rakhmetov|
|Since his treacherous abandonment of the true Left, apostate Chris “Judas” ‘Itchens has committed many sins and crimes against the Holy Left, ones which of course have been thoroughly cataloged and chastised by us Watchers and Hitchhunters the world round. But none of his transgressions have been greater nor more heinous than the ultimate offense that he has so unapologetically committed. Namely, his flagrant flouting of the most sacred and holiest of all commandments on the Left: Thou shall not smite thy Chomsky. Yes, attacking Noam Chomsky is the supreme international crime on the Left, encompassing all the evil that follows. One can be sure that as you read these words, somewhere somebody is on the internet scathingly denouncing someone else for denouncing Chomsky.
So naturally, as a card-carrying Leftie, my hackles were up and I bristled at this fatuous, crude, and dishonest drivel published in Slate (see bonus feature below) posing as a vulgar attempt at a hit-piece against Chomsky for his reaction to Bin Laden’s death.
The article is off the rails the moment it leaves the station. First there’s the revelation that Hitchens doesn’t seem to understand what cognitive dissonance is (it’s not a contradiction for someone to believe simultaneously that Bin Laden wasn’t behind 9/11 yet the attack was justified). Next, more insidiously, he obliquely implies that Chomsky is not just paranoid, wrong and–aghast!–”stupid and ignorant”, but that he can be conflated with conspiracy theorists and may even in fact be one of the Truther variety himself at heart. Of course this is not even risible to anyone who knows anything about the Troofers. They tend to hate Chomsky more than Cheney. And the hypocrisy is rather rank for Hitch to stick his nose up at this sort of thing when he’s done his own share of batty conspiracy theorizing himself (unlike Chomsky). Such as alleging that the Lusitania sinking was a vast, vast conspiracy conducted by none-other than Winston Churchill in order to draw the US into the war, or that the Russian apartment bombings in September 1999 may have actually been a false flag and the handiwork of Vladimir Putin and the FSB.
To parse some of what CH writes:
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.
Chomsky has left the “central” question of whether 9/11 actually happened open? That’s news to me, or any honest person who has actually read the Guernica article, where Chomsky obviously does nothing of the sort. Such a ludicrous accusation is about as delusional and serious as the Truthers’ allegations, appropriate though, as Hitchens is becoming about as marginal and credible as them.
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.
No, it’s just a simple fact that claims made by Bin Laden about 9/11 are not necessarily true and indisputable. Hitchens knows this, and clearly agrees with this truism given how he discounted Bin Laden’s multiple “confessions” in the years after 9/11 that he was not responsible for it.
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.”
Of course CH knows that Chomsky is not agnostic about who was behind 9/11, he’s disingenuously refusing to address the point NC raises, i.e. that the evidence that OBL was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks is actually more thin than conventional wisdom suggests, to the degree that it might have factored into Obama’s reluctance to capture and try Bin Laden rather than assassinate him. Hitchens goes on to sneer at Michael Moore for daring to reiterate an elementary principle of a society governed by the rule of law: that criminal suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. And on top of Hitchens’ snide contempt for the very values of the society he claims he is trying to protect from Islamofascism (talk about facile moral equivalence, Bin Laden is no Hitler, 9/11 was not remotely as bad as the Holocaust!), he then strangely suggests that it’s somehow a contradiction to plausibly suspect Bin Laden was a culprit behind 9/11 whom should be apprehended and his guilt ascertained by the courts (and that we should rightly be aware of the US role in the creation of jihadi movement). Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t mean that the police aren’t allowed to have suspects in a case. This is pretty basic.
Unlike some, I don’t really have a beef with folks attacking Chomsky, but a pathetic, fatuous and desperate attempt like this is pretty reprehensible and low, even for someone as shameless and dishonest as our Hitch. Another clear demonstration of how Hitchens seems to have genuninely lost it, morally and intellectually.
Rakhmetov will only admit to being of the male persuasion, and an “Evil Nihilist.”
The Offending Article by Hitchens
By Christopher Hitchens // Posted Monday, May 9, 2011
Anybody visiting the Middle East in the last decade has had the experience: meeting the hoarse and aggressive person who first denies that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center and then proceeds to describe the attack as a justified vengeance for decades of American imperialism. This cognitive dissonance—to give it a polite designation—does not always take that precise form. Sometimes the same person who hails the bravery of al-Qaida’s martyrs also believes that the Jews planned the “operation.” 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 thebomb 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?
With the paranoid anti-war “left,” you never quite know where the emphasis is going to fall next. At the Telluride Film Festival in 2002, I found myself debating Michael Moore, who, a whole year after the attacks, maintained that Bin Laden was “innocent until proved guilty” (and hadn’t been proven guilty). Except that he had, at least according to Moore one day after the attacks, when he wrote that: “WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden! Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA!” So, innocent unless tainted by association with Langley, Va., which did seem to have some heartland flying schools under surveillance before 2001 but which seemed sluggish on the uptake regarding them. For quite some time, in fact, the whole anti-Bush “narrative” involved something rather like collusion with the evil Bin Laden crime family, possibly based on mutual interests in the oil industry. So guilty was Bin Laden, in fact, that he was allowed to prepare for a new Pearl Harbor on American soil by a spineless Republican administration that had ignored daily briefings on the mounting threat. Gore Vidal was able to utter many croaking and suggestive lines to this effect, hinting at a high-level betrayal of the republic.
And then came those who, impatient with mere innuendo, directly accused the administration of rocketing its own Pentagon and bringing about a “controlled demolition” of the World Trade Center. This grand scenario seemed to have a few loose planes left over, since the ones that hit the towers were only a grace note to the more ruthless pre-existing sabotage and the ones in Virginia and Pennsylvania, complete with passengers and crews and hijackers, somehow just went missing.
It’s no criticism of Chomsky to say that his analysis is inconsistent with that of other individuals and factions who essentially think that 9/11 was a hoax. However, it is remarkable that he should write as if the mass of evidence against Bin Laden has never been presented or could not have been brought before a court. This form of 9/11 denial doesn’t trouble to conceal an unstated but self-evident premise, which is that the United States richly deserved the assault on its citizens and its civil society. After all, as Chomsky phrases it so tellingly, our habit of “naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk … [is] as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes ‘Jew’ and ‘Gypsy.’ ” Perhaps this is not so true in the case of Tomahawk, which actually is the name of a weapon, but the point is at least as good as any other he makes.
In short, we do not know who organized the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or any other related assaults, though it would be a credulous fool who swallowed the (unsupported) word of Osama Bin Laden that his group was the one responsible. An attempt to kidnap or murder an ex-president of the United States (and presumably, by extension, the sitting one) would be as legally justified as the hit on Abbottabad. And America is an incarnation of the Third Reich that doesn’t even conceal its genocidal methods and aspirations. This is the sum total of what has been learned, by the guru of the left, in the last decade.
To breathe the true air of freedom and democracy you need independent media lungs. Staffed with journalists and political observers not beholden to the status quo.
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