[Reader-list] excellent LRB issue. best so far

S.Gautham gauthams at vsnl.com
Wed Oct 3 21:36:05 IST 2001

I have been an avid reader of all that is being said and contested on
the list and ths is my first posting. It is a

Brilliant article by Anatol Lieven from the LRB. Best thing I've read on
the whole fiasco yet...

"Who says we share common values with the Europeans? They don't even go
church!" Will the atrocities of September 11 push America further to the

right or open a new debate on foreign policy and the need for alliances?
this exclusive online essay from the London Review of Books, Anatol
considers how the cold war legacy may affect the war on terrorism

Friday September 28, 2001

Not long after the Bush Administration took power in January, I was
to lunch at a glamorous restaurant in New York by a group of editors and

writers from an influential American right-wing broadsheet. The food and

wine were extremely expensive, the decor luxurious but discreet, the
clientele beautifully dressed, and much of the conversation more than
insane. With regard to the greater part of the world outside America, my

hosts' attitude was a combination of loathing, contempt, distrust and
not only towards Arabs, Russians, Chinese, French and others, but
'European socialist governments', whatever that was supposed to mean.
went with a strong desire - in theory at least - to take military action

against a broad range of countries across the world.

Two things were particularly striking here: a tendency to divide the
into friends and enemies, and a difficulty verging on autism when it
came to
international opinions that didn't coincide with their own - a
more appropriate to the inhabitants of an ethnic slum in the Balkans
than to
people who were, at that point, on top of the world.

Today Americans of all classes and opinions have reason to worry, and
someone real to fear and hate, while prolonged US military action
is thought to be inevitable. The building where we had lunch is now
Several of our fellow diners probably died last week, along with more
six thousand other New Yorkers from every walk of life. Not only has the

terrorist attack claimed far more victims than any previous such attack
anywhere in the world, but it has delivered a far more damaging economic

blow. Equally important, it has destroyed Americans' belief in their
country's invulnerability, on which so many other American attitudes and

policies finally rested.

This shattering blow was delivered by a handful of anonymous agents
in the wider population, working as part of a tightly-knit secret
international conspiracy inspired by a fanatical and (to the West)
'alien' and 'exotic' religious ideology. Its members are ruthless; they
remarkable organisational skills, a tremendous capacity for
and self-discipline, and a deep hatred of the United States and the
way of life. As Richard Hofstader and others have argued, for more than
hundred years this kind of combination has always acted as a prompt for
paranoid and reactionary conspiracy theories, most of them groundless.

Now the threat is real; and for the foreseeable future we will have to
with and seek to reduce two closely interlinked dangers: the direct and
potentially apocalyptic threat posed by terrorists, mainly (though by no

means exclusively) based in the Muslim world, and the potential
strengthening of those terrorists' resolve by misguided US actions.

The latter danger has been greatly increased by the attacks. The
have raised to white heat certain smouldering tendencies among the
Right, while simultaneously - as is usually the case at the start of
wars -
pushing American politics and most of its population in a sharply
direction; all of which has taken place under an unexpectedly right-wing

Administration. If this leads to a crude military response, then the
terrorists will have achieved part of their purpose, which was to
the other side to indiscriminate retaliation, and thereby increase their

It is too early to say for sure how US strategies and attitudes will
develop. At the time of writing Afghanistan is the focus, but whatever
happens there, it isn't clear whether the US Administration will go on
launch a more general campaign of military pressure against other states

which have supported terrorist groups, and if so, what states and what
of military pressure? US policy is already pulled in two predictable but

contradictory directions, amply illustrated in the op-ed pages of US
newspapers and in debates within the Government.

The most unilateralist Administration in modern American history has
forced to recognise, in principle at least, the country's pressing need
allies. There are the beginnings, too, of a real public debate on how US

policy needs to be changed and shaped to fight the new 'war'. All this
reminiscent of US attitudes and behaviour at the start of the Cold War,
Communism was identified as the central menace to the US and to Western
capitalism and democracy in general.

On the other hand, the public desire for revenge has strengthened
attitudes - especially in the Republican Party and media, as well as
of the Administration - which, if they prevail, will not only be
in themselves, but will make the search for real allies difficult. And
allies are essential, above all in the Arab and Muslim worlds. In the
run, only the full co-operation of Arab regimes - along with reform and
economic development - can prevent the recruitment, funding and
of Arab-based terrorist groups.

As for Europe, British military support may be unconditional, but most
European countries - Russia among them - are likely to restrict their
to intelligence and policing. Apart from the fact that most European
are useless when it comes to serious warfare, they are already showing
unwillingness to give the US a blank cheque for whatever military action
Bush Administration chooses to take.

Yet a blank cheque is precisely what the Administration, and the greater

part of US public opinion, are asking for. This is Jim Hoagland, veteran

establishment foreign correspondent and commentator, in the generally
liberal Washington Post:

"Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many of the other Arab states Powell hopes
recruit for the bin Laden posse have long been part of the problem, not
of the solution to international terrorism. These states cannot be given

free passes for going through the motions of helping the United States.
European allies cannot be allowed to order an appetiser of bin Laden and
share in the costs of the rest of a meal cooked in hell."

If this is the Post, then the sentiments in the right-wing press and the

tabloids can well be imagined. Here is Tod Lindberg, the editor of
Review, writing in the Washington Times:

"The United States is now energetically in the business of making
governments pick a side: either with us and against the terrorists, or
against us and with them... Against the category of enemy stands the
category of 'friend'. Friends stand with us. Friends do whatever they
can to
help. Friends don't, for example, engage in commerce with enemies,
they aren't friends."

A strong sense of righteousness has always been present in the American
tradition; but until 11 September, an acute sense of victimhood and
persecution by the outside world was usually the preserve of the
Right. Now it has spread and, for the moment at least, some rather
ideas have almost vanished from the public debate: among them, that
states have their own national interests, and that in the end nothing
compels them to help the US; that they, too, have been the victims of
terrorism - in the case of Britain, largely funded from groups in the
States - but have not insisted on a right of unilateral military
(this point was made by Niall Ferguson in the New York Times, but not as
in any op-ed by an American that I have seen); and that in some cases
states may actually know more about their own part of the world than US
intelligence does.

Beyond the immediate and unforeseeable events in Afghanistan - and their

sombre implications for Pakistan - lies the bigger question of US policy
the Arab world. Here, too, Administration policy may well be a good deal

more cautious than the opinions of the right-wing media would suggest -
which again is fortunate, because much opinion on this subject is more
rabid. Here is AM Rosenthal in the Washington Times arguing that an
range of states should be given ultimatums to surrender not only alleged

terrorists but also their own senior officials accused by the US of

"The ultimatum should go to the governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran,
Libya, Syria, Sudan and any other devoted to the elimination of the
States or the constant incitement of hatred against it... In the three
the terrorists consider the American ultimatum, the residents of the
countries would be urged 24 hours a day by the United States to flee the

capital and major cities, because they would be bombed to the ground
beginning the fourth."

Rosenthal isn't a figure from the lunatic fringe ranting on a backwoods
radio show, but the former executive editor of the New York Times,
in a paper with great influence in the Republican Party, especially
the present Administration.

No Administration is going to do anything remotely like this. But if the

Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has emerged as the voice of
with a proper commitment to multilateralism, other voices are audible,
Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defence, has spoken of "ending
states which support terrorism", and in the case of Iraq, there are
who would now like to complete the work of the Gulf War and finish off
Saddam Hussein.

Here, too, the mood of contempt for allies contributes to the ambition.
Kim Holmes, vice-president of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, argued

that only deference to America's Arab allies prevented the US from
destroying the Iraqi regime in 1991 (the profound unwillingness of Bush
Senior to occupy Iraq and take responsibility for the place also played
part in the decision): "To show that this war is not with Islam per se,
US could be tempted to restrain itself militarily and accommodate the
complex and contradictory political agendas of Islamic states. This in
could make the campaign ineffectual, prolonging the problem of

Getting rid of Saddam Hussein is not in itself a bad idea. His is a
pernicious regime, a menace to his own people and his neighbours, as
well as
to the West. And if the Iraqi threat to the Gulf States could be
US troops might be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia: it was their permanent
stationing on the holy soil of Islam that turned Osama bin Laden from an

anti-Soviet mujahid into an anti-American terrorist.

But only if it were to take place in the context of an entirely new
towards Palestine would the US be able to mount such a campaign without
provoking massive unrest across the Arab world; and given what became of

promises made during the Gulf War, there would first of all have to be
evidence of a US change of heart. The only borders between Israel and
Palestine which would have any chance of satisfying a majority of
Palestinians and Arabs - and conforming to UN resolutions, for what they
worth - would be those of 1967, possibly qualified by an
internationalisation of Jerusalem under UN control. This would entail
removal of the existing Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories,
would be absolutely unacceptable to any imaginable Israeli Government.
win Israeli agreement would require not just US pressure, but the threat
a complete breach of relations and the ending of aid.

There may be those in the Administration who would favour adopting such
approach at a later stage. Bush Sr's was the most anti-Israeli
Administration of the past two generations, and was disliked accordingly
the Jewish and other ethnic lobbies. His son's is less beholden to those

lobbies than Clinton's was. And it may be that even pro-Israeli US
politicians will at some point realise that Israel's survival as such is
an issue: that it is absurd to increase the risk to Washington and New
for the sake of 267 extremist settlers in Hebron and their comrades

Still, in the short term, a radical shift is unlikely, and an offensive
against Iraq would therefore be dangerous. The attacks on New York and
Pentagon and the celebrations in parts of the Arab world have increased
popular hostility to the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in
particular, a hostility assiduously stoked by Israeli propaganda. But
it comes to denouncing hate crimes against Muslims - or those taken to
Muslims - within the US, the Administration has behaved decently,
because they have a rather sobering precedent in mind, one which has led
genuine shame: the treatment of Japanese Americans during world war two.

This shame is the result of an applied historical intelligence that does
extend to the Arab world. Americans tend - and perhaps need - to confuse
symptoms and the causes of Arab anger. Since a key pro-Israel position
the US has been that fundamental Palestinian and Arab grievances must
not be
allowed legitimacy or even discussed, the only explanation of Arab
to the US and its ally must be sought in innate features of Arab
whether a contemporary culture of anti-semitism (and anti-Americanism)
sanctioned by Arab leaderships, or ancient 'Muslim' traditions of
to the West.

All of which may contain some truth: but the central issue, the role of
Israeli policies in providing a focus for such hatred, is overwhelmingly

ignored. As a result, it is extremely difficult, and mostly impossible,
hold any frank discussion of the most important issue affecting the
of the US in the Middle East or the open sympathy for terrorism in the
region. A passionately held nationalism usually has the effect of
or silencing those liberal intellectuals who espouse it. This is the
case of
Israeli nationalism in the US. It is especially distressing that it
afflict the Jewish liberal intelligentsia, that old bedrock of sanity

An Administration which wanted a radical change of policy towards Israel

would have to generate a new public debate almost from scratch - which
not be possible until some kind of tectonic shift had taken place in
American society. Too many outside observers who blame US
forget that on a wide range of issues, it is essentially Congress and
the White House or State Department which determines foreign policy;
this is
above all true of US aid. An inability or unwillingness to try to work
Congress, as opposed to going through normal diplomatic channels, has
been a
minor contributory factor to Britain's inability to get any purchase on
policy in recent years.

The role of Congress brings out what might be called the Wilhelmine
of US foreign and security policy. By that I do not mean extreme
or a love of silly hats, or even a shared tendency to autism when it
to understanding the perceptions of other countries, but rather certain
structural features in both the Wilhemine and the US system tending to
produce over-ambition, and above all a chronic incapacity to choose
diametrically opposite goals. Like Wilhelmine Germany, the US has a
legislature with very limited constitutional powers in the field of
policy, even though it wields considerable de facto power and is not
either institutionally or by party discipline to the executive. The
resulting lack of any responsibility for actual consequences is a
invitation to rhetorical grandstanding, and the pursuit of sectional
interests at the expense of overall policy.

Meanwhile, the executive, while in theory supremely powerful in this
has in fact continually to woo the legislature without ever being able
command its support. This, too, encourages dependence on interest
groups, as
well as a tendency to overcome differences and gain support by making
appeals in terms of overheated patriotism rather than policy. Finally,
both systems, though for completely different reasons, supreme executive

power had or has a tendency to fall into the hands of people totally
unsuited for any but the ceremonial aspects of the job, and endlessly
to manipulation by advisers, ministers and cliques.

In the US, this did not matter so much during the Cold War, when a range
Communist threats - real, imagined or fabricated - held the system
in the pursuit of more or less common aims. With the disappearance of
unifying threat, however, there has been a tendency, again very
to produce ambitious and aggressive policies in several directions
simultaneously, often with little reference at all to real US interests
any kind of principle.

The new 'war against terrorism' in Administration and Congressional
has been cast as just such a principle, unifying the country and the
political establishment behind a common goal and affecting or
determining a
great range of other policies. The language has been reminiscent of the
global struggle against Communism, and confronting Islamist radicalism
the Muslim world does, it's true, pose some of the same challenges, on a

less global scale, though possibly with even greater dangers for the

The likelihood that US strategy in the 'war against terrorism' will
that of the Cold War is greatly increased by the way Cold War structures
attitudes have continued to dominate the US foreign policy and security
elites. Charles Tilly and others have written of the difficulty states
in 'ratcheting down' wartime institutions and especially wartime
In the 1990s, this failure on the part of the US to escape its Cold War
legacy was a curse, ensuring unnecessarily high military spending in the

wrong fields, thoroughly negative attitudes to Russia, 'zero-sum'
perceptions of international security issues in general, and perceptions
danger which wholly failed, as we now see, to meet the real threats to
security and lives.

The idea of a National Missile Defense is predicated on a limited
revival of
the Cold War, with China cast in the role of the Soviet Union and the
Chinese nuclear deterrent as the force to be nullified. Bush's foreign
security team is almost entirely a product of Cold War structures and
circumscribed by Cold War attitudes (which is not true of the President
himself, who was never interested enough in foreign policy; if he can
his mind round the rest of the world, he could well be more of a
free-thinker than many of his staff).

The collapse of the Communist alternative to Western-dominated
and the integration (however imperfect) of Russia and China into the
capitalist order have been a morally and socially ambiguous process, to
it mildly; but in the early 1990s they seemed to promise the suspension
hostility between the world's larger powers. The failure of the US to
use of this opportunity, thanks to an utter confusion between an
victory and crudely-defined US geopolitical interests, was a great
misfortune which the 'war against terrorism' could in part rectify.
Since 11
September, the rhetoric in America has proposed a gulf between the
'civilised' states of the present world system, and movements of
violent protest from outside and below - without much deference to the
ambiguities of 'civilisation', or the justifications of resistance to
remarked on since Tacitus at least.

How is the Cold War legacy likely to determine the 'war against
Despite the general conviction in the Republican Party that it was
Reagan's military spending and the superiority of the US system which
destroyed Soviet Communism, more serious Cold War analysts were always
that it involved not just military force, or the threat of it, but
ideological and political struggle, socio-economic measures, and
state-building. The latter in particular is an idea for which the Bush
on their arrival in office had a deep dislike (if only to distance
themselves from Clinton's policies), but which they may now rediscover.
Foreign aid - so shamefully reduced in the 1990s - was also a key part
the Cold War, and if much of it was poured into kleptocratic regimes
Mobutu's, or wasted on misguided projects, some at least helped produce
flourishing economies in Europe and East Asia.

The Republican Party is not only the party of Goldwater and Reagan, but
Eisenhower, Nixon and Kissinger. Eisenhower is now almost forgotten by
party. 'Eisenhower Republicans', as they refer to themselves, are
far closer to Tony Blair (or perhaps more accurately, Helmut Schmidt)
anyone the Republican Party has seen in recent years, and I'd wager that
majority of educated Americans have forgotten that the original warning
about the influence of the 'military industrial complex' came from

Kissinger is still very much alive, however, and his history is a
that one aspect of the American capacity for extreme ruthlessness was
also a
capacity for radical changes of policy, for reconciliation with states
hitherto regarded as bitter enemies, and for cold-blooded abandonment of

close allies and clients whose usefulness was at an end. It would not
altogether surprise me if we were now to see a radical shift towards
co-operation with Russia, and even Iran.

In general, however, the Cold War legacies and parallels are
and dangerous. To judge by the language used in the days since 11
ignorance, demonisation and the drowning out of nuanced debate indicate
much of the US establishment can no more tell the difference between
and Afghanistan than they could between China and the Soviet Union in
early 1960s - the inexcusable error which led to the American war in
Vietnam. The preference for militarised solutions continues (the 'War on

Drugs', which will now have to be scaled back, is an example). Most
worryingly, the direct attack on American soil and American civilians -
worse than anything done to the US in the Cold War - means that there is
real danger of a return to Cold War ruthlessness: not just in terms of
military tactics and covert operations, but in terms of the repulsive
endangered regimes co-opted as local American clients.

The stakes are, if anything, a good deal higher than they were during
Cold War. Given what we now know of Soviet policymaking, it is by no
clear that the Kremlin ever seriously contemplated a nuclear strike
America. By contrast, it seems likely that bin Laden et al would in the
use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons if they could deliver them.

There is also the question of the impact of US strategies (or, in the
of Israel, lack of them) on the unity of the West - assuming that this
is of
some importance for the wellbeing of humanity. However great the
exasperation of many European states with US policy throughout the Cold
the Europeans were bound into the transatlantic alliance by an obvious
Soviet threat - more immediate to them than it was to the US. For the
critical first decade of the Cold War, the economies of Europe were
hopelessly inferior to that of the US. Today, if European Governments
that the US is dragging them into unnecessary danger thanks to policies
which they disapprove, they will protest bitterly - as many did during
Cold War - and then begin to distance themselves, which they could not
afford to do fifty years ago.

This is all the more likely if, as seems overwhelmingly probable, the US

withdraws from the Balkans - as it has already done in Macedonia -
Europeans with no good reason to require a US military presence on their

continent. At the same time, the cultural gap between Europeans and
Republican America (which does not mean a majority of Americans, but the

dominant strain of policy) will continue to widen. 'Who says we share
values with the Europeans?' a senior US politician remarked recently.
don't even go to church!' Among other harmful effects, the destruction
this relationship could signal the collapse of whatever hope still
for a common Western approach to global environmental issues - which
in the end, pose a greater danger to humanity than that of terrorism.

ยท Anatol Lieven is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace in Washington DC.


Thought this might be of interest  -  I thought it was
All love and see you soon

-----Original Message-----
From: black.milk at virgin.net [mailto:black.milk at virgin.net]
Sent: 25 September 2001 09:14
To: Camilla Lowther
Subject: FW: chomsky interview

noam chomsky:

Interviewing Chomsky
Radio B92, Belgrade

Q: Why do you think these attacks happened?

Chomksy: To answer the question we must first identify the perpetrators
the crimes. It is generally assumed, plausibly, that their origin is the

Middle East region, and that the attacks probably trace back to the
Bin Laden network, a widespread and complex organization, doubtless
by Bin Laden but not necessarily acting under his control. Let us assume

that this is true. Then to answer your question a sensible person would
to ascertain Bin Laden's views, and the sentiments of the large
reservoir of
supporters he has throughout the region.

About all of this, we have a great deal of information. Bin Laden has
interviewed extensively over the years by highly reliable Middle East
specialists, notably the most eminent correspondent in the region,
Fisk (London_Independent_), who has intimate knowledge of the entire
and direct experience over decades.

A Saudi Arabian millionaire, Bin Laden became a militant Islamic leader
the war to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. He was one of the many

religious fundamentalist extremists recruited, armed, and financed by
CIA and their allies in Pakistani intelligence to cause maximal harm to
Russians -- quite possibly delaying their withdrawal, many analysts
-- though whether he personally happened to have direct contact with the
is unclear, and not particularly important. Not surprisingly, the CIA
preferred the most fanatic and cruel fighters they could mobilize. The
result was to "destroy a moderate regime and create a fanatical one,
groups recklessly financed by the Americans" (_London Times_
Simon Jenkins, also a specialist on the region). These "Afghanis" as
are called (many, like Bin Laden, not from Afghanistan) carried out
operations across the border in Russia, but they terminated these after
Russia withdrew. Their war was not against Russia, which they despise,
against the Russian occupation and Russia's crimes against Muslims.

The "Afghanis" did not terminate their activities, however.  They joined

Bosnian Muslim forces in the Balkan Wars; the US did not object, just as
tolerated Iranian support for them, for complex reasons that we need not

pursue here, apart from noting that concern
for the grim fate of the Bosnians was not prominent among them. The
"Afghanis" are also fighting the Russians in Chechnya, and, quite
are involved in carrying out terrorist attacks in Moscow and elsewhere
Russian territory. Bin Laden and his "Afghanis" turned against the US in

1990 when they established permanent bases in Saudi Arabia -- from his
of view, a counterpart to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but far

more significant because of Saudi Arabia's special status as the
guardian of
the holiest shrines.

Bin Laden is also bitterly opposed to the corrupt and repressive regimes
the region, which he regards as "un-Islamic," including the Saudi
regime, the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime in the world,
from the Taliban, and a close US ally since its origins. Bin Laden
the US for its support of these regimes. Like others in the region, he
also outraged by long-standing US support for Israel's brutal military
occupation, now in its 35th year: Washington's decisive diplomatic,
military, and economic intervention in support of the killings, the
and destructive siege over many years, the daily humiliation to which
Palestinians are subjected, the expanding settlements designed to break
occupied territories into Bantustan-like cantons and take control of the

resources, the gross violation of the Geneva Conventions, and other
that are recognized as crimes throughout most of the world, apart from
US, which has prime responsibility for them. And like others, he
Washington's dedicated support for these crimes with the decade-long
US-British assault against the civilian population of Iraq, which has
devastated the society and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths while
strengthening Saddam Hussein -- who was a favored friend and ally of the
and Britain right through his worst atrocities, including the gassing of
Kurds, as people of the region also remember well, even if Westerners
to forget the facts. These sentiments are very widely shared. The _Wall
Street Journal_ (Sept. 14) published a survey of opinions of wealthy and

privileged Muslims in the Gulf region (bankers, professionals,
with close links to the U.S.). They expressed much the same views:
resentment of the U.S. policies of supporting Israeli crimes and
the international consensus on a diplomatic settlement for many years
devastating Iraqi civilian society, supporting harsh and repressive
anti-democratic regimes throughout the region, and imposing barriers
economic development by "propping up oppressive regimes." Among the
majority of people suffering deep poverty and oppression, similar
are far more bitter, and are the source of the fury and despair that has
to suicide bombings, as commonly understood by those who are interested
the facts.

The U.S., and much of the West, prefers a more comforting story. To
quote the lead analysis in the_New York Times_ (Sept. 16), the
acted out of "hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom,
tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage." U.S.

actions are irrelevant, and therefore need not even be mentioned (Serge

This is a convenient picture, and the general stance is not unfamiliar
intellectual history; in fact, it is close to the norm. It happens to be

completely at variance with everything we know, but has all the merits
self-adulation and uncritical support for power. It is also widely
recognized that Bin Laden and others like him are praying for "a great
assault on Muslim states," which will cause "fanatics to flock to his
(Jenkins, and many others.). That too is familiar. The escalating cycle
violence is typically welcomed by the harshest and most brutal elements
both sides, a fact evident enough from the recent history of the
Balkans, to
cite only one of many cases.

Q: What consequences will they have on US inner policy and to the
self reception?

Chomsky: US policy has already been officially announced. The world is
offered a "stark choice": join us, or "face the certain prospect of
and destruction." Congress has authorized the use of force against any
individuals or countries the President determines to be involved in the
attacks, a doctrine that every supporter regards as ultra-criminal. That
easily demonstrated. Simply ask how the same people would have reacted
Nicaragua had adopted this doctrine after the U.S. had rejected the
of the World Court to terminate its "unlawful use of force" against
Nicaragua and had vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on all
to observe international law. And that terrorist attack was far more
and destructive even than this atrocity.

As for how these matters are perceived here, that is far more complex.
should bear in mind that the media and the intellectual elites generally

have their particular agendas. Furthermore, the answer to this question
in significant measure, a matter of decision: as in many other cases,
sufficient dedication and energy, efforts to stimulate fanaticism, blind

hatred, and submission to authority can be reversed. We all know that

Q: Do you expect U.S. to profoundly change their policy to the rest of

Chomsky: The initial response was to call for intensifying the policies
led to the fury and resentment that provides the background of support
the terrorist attack, and to pursue more intensively the agenda of the
hard line elements of the leadership: increased militarization, domestic

regimentation, attack on social programs. That is all to be expected.
terror attacks, and the escalating cycle of violence they often
tend to reinforce the authority and prestige of the most harsh and
repressive elements of a society. But there is nothing inevitable about
submission to this course.

Q: After the first shock, came fear of what the U.S. answer is going to
Are you afraid, too?

Chomsky: Every sane person should be afraid of the likely reaction --
the one that has already been announced, the one that probably answers
Laden's prayers. It is highly likely to escalate the cycle of violence,
the familiar way, but in this case on a far greater scale.

The U.S. has already demanded that Pakistan terminate the food and other

supplies that are keeping at least some of the starving and suffering
of Afghanistan alive. If that demand is implemented, unknown numbers of
people who have not the remotest connection to terrorism will die,
millions. Let me repeat: the U.S. has demanded that Pakistan kill
millions of people who are themselves victims of the Taliban. This has
nothing to do even with revenge. It is at a far lower moral level even
that. The significance is heightened by the fact that this is mentioned
passing, with no comment, and probably will hardly be noticed. We can
a great deal about the moral level of the reigning intellectual culture
the West by observing the reaction to this demand. I think we can be
reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest
of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled. It
would be instructive to seek historical precedents.

If Pakistan does not agree to this and other U.S. demands, it may come
under direct attack as well -- with unknown consequences. If Pakistan
submit to U.S. demands, it is not impossible that the government will be

overthrown by forces much like the Taliban -- who in this case will have

nuclear weapons. That could have an effect throughout the region,
the oil producing states. At this point we are considering the
of a war that may destroy much of human society.

Even without pursuing such possibilities, the likelihood is that an
on Afghans will have pretty much the effect that most analysts expect:
will enlist great numbers of others to support of Bin Laden, as he
Even if he is killed, it will make little difference. His voice will be
heard on cassettes that are distributed throughout the Islamic world,
and he
is likely to be revered as a martyr, inspiring others. It is worth
in mind that one suicide bombing -- a truck driven into a U.S. military
-- drove the world's major military force out of Lebanon 20 years ago.
opportunities for such attacks are endless. And suicide attacks are very

hard to prevent.

Q: "The world will never be the same after 11.09.01". Do you think so?

Chomsky: The horrendous terrorist attacks on Tuesday are something quite
in world affairs, not in their scale and character, but in the target.
the US, this is the first time since the War of 1812 that its national
territory has been under attack, even threat. Its colonies have been
attacked, but not the national territory itself. During these years the
virtually exterminated the indigenous population, conquered half of
intervened violently in the surrounding region, conquered Hawaii and the

Philippines (killing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos), and in the
half century particularly, extended its resort to force throughout much
the world. The number of victims is colossal. For the first time, the
have been directed the other way. The same is true, even more
of Europe. Europe has suffered murderous destruction, but from internal
wars, meanwhile conquering much of the world with extreme brutality. It
not been under attack by its victims outside, with rare exceptions (the
in England, for example). It is therefore natural that NATO should rally
the support of the US; hundreds of years of imperial violence have an
enormous impact on the intellectual and moral culture.

It is correct to say that this is a novel event in world history, not
because of the scale of the atrocity -- regrettably -- but because of
target. How the West chooses to react is a matter of supreme importance.
the rich and powerful choose to keep to their traditions of hundreds of
years and resort to extreme violence, they will contribute to the
of a cycle of violence, in a familiar dynamic, with long-term
that could be awesome. Of course, that is by no means inevitable. An
public within the more free and democratic societies can direct policies

towards a much more humane and honorable course.

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