Sorry about the long delay between posts, but I have been roused out of my blogsleep by my utter disgust at Noam Chomsky’s latest piece of vomit, this one on the subject of the raid that killed bin Laden.
I should say in preface that there is plenty of reason to be skeptical about international raids on individual targets and that one of Chomsky’s regular villains, George W. Bush, is also in my pantheon of modern blackguards. So you’d think I’d be inclined to agree with Chomsky, and I might have if he had stuck to his own advice to think about the “most obvious and elementary facts.” The problem is that Chomsky invented a lot of his own so-called facts, and in one case, the invention is so palpably dishonest as to raise questions about his personal integrity.
Says Chomsky, “We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.”
Well, let’s spot the differences. Firstly, bin Laden was not a head of state, he was the founder and spiritual leader and continuing organiser of an international terrorist organisation. Secondly, whatever one thinks of Bush the Younger (and I doubt anyone’s opinion could be much lower than mine), he is no longer active as President whereas on the evidence available to me, bin Laden was actively involved in planning terrorist activities up to the day of the raid. Thirdly, the Iraqi occupation, rather than leading to the assassination of its head of state, led to the capture, trial, and legal (although botched and unnecessary in my opinion) execution of Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi judicial system.
Says Chomsky, “Uncontroversially, his [Bush's] crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s…”
Uncontroversially? Uncontroversially? Really? You can see right there the basic flaw in Chomsky’s public personality. If he believes something to be true, he believes that there can be no argument, no evidence, not even a controversy against it. If he thinks it, then it must be true, obviously true, even uncontroversially true; no opinion of his, no matter how far removed from reality, can be anything other than an obvious and elementary fact.
Says Chomsky, “There’s more to say about [Cuban airline bomber Orlando] Bosch, who just died peacefully in Florida, including reference to the ‘Bush doctrine’ that societies that harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves and should be treated accordingly.”
Now I agree fully that the Bush Doctrine (although that term means different things to different people) is fatally flawed on both the moral and the effectiveness axes. But I didn’t know much about Orlando Bosch. What I found was very interesting. If, indeed, one wants to point out US turpitude and the hypocrisy of the Bush Doctrine, then Bosch is an excellent example. But the distinctions between Bosch and bin Laden are so huge that it’s odious of Chomsky to make this equivalence.
Bosch was convicted of terrorist crimes in the US — for firing a recoil-less rifle at a ship. There were no deaths or injuries, but this hardly mitigates Bosch’s intentions. Had it not been for an FBI sting that caught him placing what he thought was a bomb on a British freighter, he would no doubt have killed many people in the following months.
Bosch was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, was paroled after four years of his sentence and skipped the US and spent the next decade moving from Venezuela to Costa Rica to Chile, all the while involving himself in (usually unsuccessful) attempts to damage Cuban interests, kill Cuban ambassadors, and so on. Eventually he was associated with a major terrorist effort that came off: the bombing of Cubana Flight 455, killing all 73 people on board.
Bosch was arrested for complicity in the bombing and spent four years in a Venezuelan prison awaiting trial…in which he was acquitted. He was convicted of the lesser crime of holding forged papers, but his four years already served meant that he walked out of court a free man.
Bosch eventually returned to the US, claiming that he wanted to return to his wife and children. At the time, he was still wanted for skipping out on his parole and so he was arrested and detained, but lobbying from Cuban-Americans eventually led (unforgivably, in my opinion) to a presidential pardon. Bosch was released after six months detention.
Now, as anyone can see, Bosch was a dangerous man who did little to atone for his terrorist activities and was allowed to live his last years in undeserved peace because it suited the political purposes of the Bush family. But unlike like bin Laden, Bosch had been convicted in the US for crimes targeting Cuba (then and now a political enemy of the US), had served four years in prison in the US, four years in Venezuela, and another six months detention back in the US, and appears to have ceased his terrorist activities by the time he was pardoned.
Says Chomsky, “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.”
So now we’re into cheap 9/11 conspiracy theories. bin Laden had motive, means, and opportunity (which already elevates it above Chomsky’s Boston Marathon) and was a demonstrable associate of many of the terrorists involved in 9/11. His confession means nothing to Chomsky other than a boastful attempt to take credit for someone else’s actions. bin Laden, in Chomsky’s jaundiced eyes, is still to be considered innocent because he was never tried in court — a definition of innocence that would exonerate Mengele, Amin, Pinochet, and indeed Chomsky’s favourite war criminal, Mr George W. Bush. Note, however, how easily he attributes guilt to Orlando Bosch for bombing Cubana Flight 455, despite the fact that Bosch himself denied any involvement (i.e. no confession), even to his death, and was acquitted of the crime in a Venezuelan court. Should we believe Bosch? Probably not. But there’s a double standard at work in Chomsky’s attempt to twist logic into pretzels by proclaiming bin Laden’s innocence while insisting on the guilt of Bosch and Bush.
Now for the pinnacle of Chomsky’s deceit. This is where there is nothing left to say other than that Chomsky is an outright liar…
Again, trying to intimate the innocence of bin Laden, Chomsky says, “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.”
Now, the problem for Chomsky is that this speech is in the public record. And what Mueller actually said was this: “Al-Qaeda, for example, is believed to have a presence in some 60 countries worldwide. The September 11th hijackers all came from nations outside the US, and their attacks were the culmination of years of effort that included training camps in Afghanistan, sophisticated financing arrangements in the Middle East, and a planning unit in Hamburg, Germany. Today, threats continue to pour in from around the world.”
Note the polar-opposite difference between Mueller’s speech and Chomsky’s manipulated quote, with the “believed” taken out of one sentence and applied to contents of a different sentence to which it most definitely did not belong. At no time did Mueller say that he or the FBI had any doubts about the training camps in Afghanistan, the financing in the Middle East, or the planning in Germany.
I’m not even going to touch Chomsky’s ridiculous equivocating about the Holocaust or his idea that naming a weapon Tomahawk demonstrates genocidal intent (irony perhaps, but not intent). But I do have one question that still irks me. Why does anyone take this old fraud seriously any more?