Monday, May 9, 2011

Christopher Hitchens Rips Noam Chomsky on Bin Laden

Chomsky: all that learning for just one idea -- American imperialism
is the beginning and end of all the evil in this world. 

I read Noam-Chickens Coming Home to Roost-Chomsky's predictable piece about the Bin Laden killing in Guernica today and wondered what to do with it; where to even start. Luckily the great Mr. Hitchens came to the rescue. There's still gold in them thar hills:

"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."
Read the rest here.

What's the main difference between these two? Chomsky with all his book-learning has only ever propounded one idea -- American imperialism is responsible for all the world's woes, whereas Hitchens' erudition encompasses so many as to boggle the mind. As Hitchen's says, "This is the sum total of what has been learned, by the guru of the left, in the last decade." 


  1. "What's the main difference between these two? Chomsky with all his book-learning has only ever propounded one idea"

    A simple google search would have disproved your 'one trick pony' theory. So why choose not to research your articles?
    Chomsky revolutionised the study of lingusitics to give just one example of his ideas. Please google Chomskian Linguistics, or Noam Chomsky to find some information on just how many ideas he has produced. He has written over 50 books, not to mention articles speeches etc on a vast number of topics.

    As a fellow admirer of Hitchens I urge you to 'do your own thinking' and read the full dialogue between these two. I think you might be suprised by what you find.


  2. The focal point of Chomsky's work, and the reason he does what he does, is that our crimes far exceed theirs, and it is our responsibility to do what WE can do to mitigate the crimes that are made in our name (more or less). He's not an intellectual for the sake of intellectualism; he has a clearly defined, tangible purpose.

  3. Dear Anonymous - I disagree completely but thank you for reading my blog.

  4. What a pointless method of disagreement - one with no substance.

  5. You disagree? On this basis of what? Not reading Chomsky's work? At least even the Soviet Union was familiar enough with Chomsky's argument to realize that, in fact, he did not believe as you falsely charge that "American imperialism is responsible for all the world's woes." If that were the case, the Soviets wouldn't have banned his books, a decision Chomsky said, was "an honor." If Chomsky were merely blaming the United States for the world's problems, the Soviet Union would have loved him. I suggest actually reading his works rather than dismissing him simply because an intellectually dishonest bully who constantly kept his finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing has decided to critique him.

  6. thank you ryan. that was well put and well researched. apparently this blogger needs to do more of that.
    chomsky is one of the few intellectuals who understands we all bear the burden of responsibility, not just the United states.

  7. To dumb it down to the masses, when considering which of these two gentlemen to take seriously-one of them was an outspoken propagandist for the invasion of Iraq-something even Bill O'Reilly has apologized and said he was wrong about.

    I find it disgusting that in America today it is considered downright unpatriotic to even question the assassination of an unarmed man within a foreign territory. Even Jon Stewart waves his pom poms for this extra judicial killing.

    What is truly sad is that Hitchens run-of-the-mill arguments give him so much notoriety that Chomsky feels he needs to address them at all. Hitchens is a guy who argued with an Iranian woman in the audience and claimed that she could not dress as she wished in Iran, when the woman herself said she was just there! I know MANY Iranian women and they dress western style even in Iran. Yet Hitchens refused to even listen to her. How closed minded is that! (and go to youtube if you want to watch the video).

    1. I agree with your defense of Chomsky, and of people condemning the assassination without trial of Bin Laden.

      But about Hitchens and the Iranian woman, I beg you to watch the video again: she's saying that you can see her hair in Iran because her veil would be low, contradicting the previous statement that she can dress in Iran like she's dressed in Australia. She's the one trying to trick the audience with falsity and paying very bad service to Iranian women who aren't as lucky as she is.

  8. What alot of anonymous apologia. Very tiresome.

    Chomsky's fans religiously ignore his denial of the extent of Pol Pot's killing fields, his defense of Holocaust denier Robert Fourrison, that there is no evidence that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 and he peddles convoluted justifications for Hamas and Hezbollah. An interesting piece in Gaza Gateway, which is highly critical of Israeli policies, describes how Chomsky manipulates facts and timelines in order, in my opinion, to overwhelm his interlocutors with random evidence. That has always been his method and the reason he has seduced so many people.

  9. "Chomsky's fans religiously ignore his denial of the extent of Pol Pot's killing fields,My understanding of that is that
    his defense of Holocaust denier Robert Fourrison, that there is no evidence that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 and he peddles convoluted justifications for Hamas and Hezbollah."

    Seeing as you seem to be a fan of Christopher Hitchens you may enjoy this - - that rubbishes the claims you make about Fourrison and Pol Pot. He doesn't justify Hamas or Hezbollah. He does however explain why they have mass appeal. A lot of it is t do with social programmes they run. It is also the case that they both resist Isreal's invasions and occupations. In Hamas's case he compares this with Fatah who are corrupt, have failed to achieve anything for the Palestinians through peaceful means and act as a police force for the illegal Israeli occupation (some may call this collaboration). He also brings to attention the fact Hamas are willing to accept a two state solution in line with world opinion. He doesn't deny that they are pretty unpleasant in many ways.

  10. Dear Anonymous to the Nth (why can't commentors have the courage of their convictions and name themselves). To use a 1985 piece by Hitchens when he was still toeing the party line is rather naive. It is to his credit that his analyses became more nuanced as he matured, and that cannot be said of Chomsky.


    I will no longer be accepting comments on this subject unless someone has something truly noteworthy to say rather than another version of same old apologia written anonymously. Cheers!


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