That raving right winger, Chris Hitchens, writing for that bastion of conservatism, the Nation, spells it out for the appeasment crowd. Hitchens's essay
Unfotunately, he's just being incoherent.
Just kidding; a real response: I disagree that Chomsky ever implied that the US is responsible for the intolerance of the Taliban or bin Ladenism. He simply proffered a more nuanced reaction for why such factions might choose to bomb us than "we're liberals and they're fundamentalists" (a reaction to which Hitchens adds plenty of support in his proceeding essay.) I'm not sure why Hitchen intimates that Chomsky (plus his intellectual allies) blames the US for fundamentalist thought. He does blame us for helping it prosper in certain areas of the world.
“Does anyone suppose that an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza would have forestalled the slaughter in Manhattan?’
Probably not Chomsky, so why ask? It’s curious that while making his point against the "masochistic left" Hitchens, for once, overlooks the economical and military support of these fundamentalist sorts when it benefits our needs. (Even more curious, he concludes with an example of this very thing.)
“But the bombers of Manhattan represent fascism with an Islamic face, and there's no point in any euphemism about it."
Has Chomsky said anything different?
“What they abominate about "the West," to put it in a phrase, is not what Western liberals don't like and can't defend about their own system, but what they do like about it and must defend: its emancipated women, its scientific inquiry, its separation of religion from the state. Loose talk about chickens coming home to roost is the moral equivalent of the hateful garbage emitted by Falwell and Robertson, and exhibits about the same intellectual content.”
Agreed, but if, say, we helped train and/or fund some totalitarian or fundamentalist group that later comes around to bite us on the ass, doesn’t the phrase ‘chickens coming home to roost’ fit quite aptly?
“The new talk is all of "human intelligence": the very faculty in which our ruling class is most deficient. A few months ago, the Bush Administration handed the Taliban a subsidy of $43 million in abject gratitude for the assistance of fundamentalism in the"war on drugs." Next up is the renewed "missile defense" fantasy recently endorsed by even more craven Democrats who seek to occupy the void "behind the President." There is sure to be further opportunity to emphasize the failings of our supposed leaders, whose costly mantra is "national security" and who could not protect us. And yes indeed, my guide in Peshawar was a shadow thrown by William Casey's CIA, which first connected the unstoppable Stinger missile to the infallible Koran. But that's only one way of stating the obvious, which is that this is an enemy for life, as well as an enemy of life.”
Which is another way of saying, contrary to the more strident intonation of his preceding paragraphs (not knocking Hitchens here, it’s part of what I often love about his writing), Chomsky should’ve been more assertive (manly, even) in condemning the supposed nonthought of Fundamentalist thinking -- not just the economical and political matrix in which it is able to flourish -- it being presumably an entirely irrational human endeavor. In fine sophistic style, he was both able to agree with Chomsky’s thinking and dismiss it at the same time. I'm fairly certain, as Chomsky probably is too, that, ceteris paribus
, fundamentalism and liberalism wouldn't be the peanut-butter and chocolate of the moral realm, but that doesn't mean other issues aren't at stake when a fundamentalist kills a liberal. Hitchens has a flair for gaining media attention (a characteristic which I don’t particularly love), and this nonargument of a polemic should provide a vehicle through which his prompt return to Chris Matthews’s show is guaranteed. (More fun to read than any other current popular political writer, nevertheless.)
[This message has been edited by Charles Reece (edited 09-21-2001).]