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Excerpt: "After the assassination of bin Laden I received such a deluge of requests for comment that I was unable to respond individually, and on May 4 and later I sent an unedited form response instead, not intending for it to be posted, and expecting to write it up more fully and carefully later on. But it was posted, then circulated.... The original letter ends with the comment that 'There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about.' Here I will fill in some of the gaps, leaving the original otherwise unchanged in all essentials."

Portrait, Noam Chomsky, 06/15/09. (photo: Sam Lahoz)
Portrait, Noam Chomsky, 06/15/09. (photo: Sam Lahoz)

Bin Laden's Death: Much More to Say

By Noam Chomsky, Reader Supported News

21 May 11


After the assassination of bin Laden I received such a deluge of requests for comment that I was unable to respond individually, and on May 4 and later I sent an unedited form response instead, not intending for it to be posted, and expecting to write it up more fully and carefully later on. But it was posted, then circulated. It can now be found, reposted, here.

That was followed by a deluge of reactions from all over the world. It is far from a scientific sample of course, but nevertheless, the tendencies may be of some interest. Overwhelmingly, those from the "third world" were on the order of "thanks for saying what we think." There were similar ones from the US, but many others were infuriated, often virtually hysterical, with almost no relation to the actual content of the posted form letter. That was true in particular of the posted or published responses brought to my attention. I have received a few requests to comment on several of these. Frankly, it seems to me superfluous. If there is any interest, I'll nevertheless find some time to do so.

The original letter ends with the comment that "There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about." Here I will fill in some of the gaps, leaving the original otherwise unchanged in all essentials.

Noam Chomsky

May 2011


n May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed in his virtually unprotected compound by a raiding mission of 79 Navy Seals, who entered Pakistan by helicopter. After many lurid stories were provided by the government and withdrawn, official reports made it increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law, beginning with the invasion itself.

There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 79 commandos facing no opposition - except, they report, from his wife, also unarmed, who they shot in self-defense when she "lunged" at them (according to the White House).

A plausible reconstruction of the events is provided by veteran Middle East correspondent Yochi Dreazen and colleagues in The Atlantic. Dreazen, formerly the military correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, is senior correspondent for the National Journal Group covering military affairs and national security. According to their investigation, White House planning appears not to have considered the option of capturing OBL alive: "The administration had made clear to the military's clandestine Joint Special Operations Command that it wanted bin Laden dead, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the discussions. A high-ranking military officer briefed on the assault said the SEALs knew their mission was not to take him alive."

The authors add: "For many at the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency who had spent nearly a decade hunting bin Laden, killing the militant was a necessary and justified act of vengeance." Furthermore, "Capturing bin Laden alive would have also presented the administration with an array of nettlesome legal and political challenges." Better, then, to assassinate him, dumping his body into the sea without the autopsy considered essential after a killing, whether considered justified or not – an act that predictably provoked both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.

As the Atlantic inquiry observes, "The decision to kill bin Laden outright was the clearest illustration to date of a little-noticed aspect of the Obama administration's counterterror policy. The Bush administration captured thousands of suspected militants and sent them to detention camps in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. The Obama administration, by contrast, has focused on eliminating individual terrorists rather than attempting to take them alive." That is one significant difference between Bush and Obama. The authors quote former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who "told German TV that the U.S. raid was 'quite clearly a violation of international law' and that bin Laden should have been detained and put on trial," contrasting Schmidt with US Attorney General Eric Holder, who "defended the decision to kill bin Laden although he didn't pose an immediate threat to the Navy SEALs, telling a House panel on Tuesday that the assault had been 'lawful, legitimate and appropriate in every way'."

The disposal of the body without autopsy was also criticized by allies. The highly regarded British barrister Geoffrey Robertson, who supported the intervention and opposed the execution largely on pragmatic grounds, nevertheless described Obama's claim that "justice was done" as an "absurdity" that should have been obvious to a former professor of constitutional law. Pakistan law "requires a colonial inquest on violent death, and international human rights law insists that the 'right to life' mandates an inquiry whenever violent death occurs from government or police action. The U.S. is therefore under a duty to hold an inquiry that will satisfy the world as to the true circumstances of this killing." Robertson adds that "The law permits criminals to be shot in self-defense if they (or their accomplices) resist arrest in ways that endanger those striving to apprehend them. They should, if possible, be given the opportunity to surrender, but even if they do not come out with their hands up, they must be taken alive if that can be achieved without risk. Exactly how bin Laden came to be 'shot in the head' (especially if it was the back of his head, execution-style) therefore requires explanation. Why a hasty 'burial at sea' without a post mortem, as the law requires?"

Robertson attributes the murder to "America's obsessive belief in capital punishment—alone among advanced nations—[which] is reflected in its rejoicing at the manner of bin Laden's demise." For example, Nation columnist Eric Alterman writes that "The killing of Osama bin Laden was a just and necessary undertaking."

Robertson usefully reminds us that "It was not always thus. When the time came to consider the fate of men much more steeped in wickedness than Osama bin Laden - namely the Nazi leadership - the British government wanted them hanged within six hours of capture. President Truman demurred, citing the conclusion of Justice Robert Jackson that summary execution 'would not sit easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride ... the only course is to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as dispassionate as the times will permit and upon a record that will leave our reasons and motives clear'."

The editors of the Daily Beast comment that "The joy is understandable, but to many outsiders, unattractive. It endorses what looks increasingly like a cold-blooded assassination as the White House is now forced to admit that Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot twice in the head."

In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress "suspects." In June 2002, FBI head Robert Mueller, in what the Washington Post described as "among his most detailed public comments on the origins of the attacks," could say only that "investigators believe the idea of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon came from al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, the actual plotting was done in Germany, and the financing came through the United Arab Emirates from sources in Afghanistan.... We think the masterminds of it were in Afghanistan, high in the al Qaeda leadership." What the FBI believed and thought in June 2002 they didn't know eight months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence. Thus it is not true, as the President claimed in his White House statement, that "We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda."

There has never been any reason to doubt what the FBI believed in mid-2002, but that leaves us far from the proof of guilt required in civilized societies – and whatever the evidence might be, it does not warrant murdering a suspect who could, it seems, have been easily apprehended and brought to trial. Much the same is true of evidence provided since. Thus the 9/11 Commission provided extensive circumstantial evidence of bin Laden's role in 9/11, based primarily on what it had been told about confessions by prisoners in Guantanamo. It is doubtful that much of that would hold up in an independent court, considering the ways confessions were elicited. But in any event, the conclusions of a congressionally authorized investigation, however convincing one finds them, plainly fall short of a sentence by a credible court, which is what shifts the category of the accused from suspect to convicted. There is much talk of bin Laden's "confession," but that was a boast, not a confession, with as much credibility as my "confession" that I won the Boston marathon. The boast tells us a lot about his character, but nothing about his responsibility for what he regarded as a great achievement, for which he wanted to take credit.

Again, all of this is, transparently, quite independent of one's judgments about his responsibility, which seemed clear immediately, even before the FBI inquiry, and still does.

It is worth adding that bin Laden's responsibility was recognized in much of the Muslim world, and condemned. One significant example is the distinguished Lebanese cleric Sheikh Fadlallah, greatly respected by Hizbollah and Shia groups generally, outside Lebanon as well. He too had been targeted for assassination: by a truck bomb outside a mosque, in a CIA-organized operation in 1985. He escaped, but 80 others were killed, mostly women and girls, as they left the mosque – one of those innumerable crimes that do not enter the annals of terror because of the fallacy of "wrong agency." Sheikh Fadlallah sharply condemned the 9/11 attacks, as did many other leading figures in the Muslim world, within the Jihadi movement as well. Among others, the head of Hizbollah, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, sharply condemned bin Laden and Jihadi ideology.

One of the leading specialists on the Jihadi movement, Fawaz Gerges, suggests that the movement might have been split at that time had the US exploited the opportunity instead of mobilizing the movement, particularly by the attack on Iraq, a great boon to bin Laden, which led to a sharp increase in terror, as intelligence agencies had anticipated. That conclusion was confirmed by the former head of Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI5 at the Chilcot hearings investigating the background for the war. Confirming other analyses, she testified that both British and US intelligence were aware that Saddam posed no serious threat and that the invasion was likely to increase terror; and that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan had radicalized parts of a generation of Muslims who saw the military actions as an "attack on Islam." As is often the case, security was not a high priority for state action.

It might be instructive to 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 (after proper burial rites, of course). Uncontroversially, he is not a "suspect" but the "decider" who gave the orders to invade Iraq - that is, to commit the "supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole" (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: in Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country and the national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region. Equally uncontroversially, these crimes vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.

To say that all of this is uncontroversial, as it is, is not to imply that it is not denied. The existence of flat earthers does not change the fact that, uncontroversially, the earth is not flat. Similarly, it is uncontroversial that Stalin and Hitler were responsible for horrendous crimes, though loyalists deny it. All of this should, again, be too obvious for comment, and would be, except in an atmosphere of hysteria so extreme that it blocks rational thought.

Similarly, it is uncontroversial that Bush and associates did commit the "supreme international crime," the crime of aggression, at least if we take the Nuremberg Tribunal seriously. The crime of aggression was defined clearly enough by Justice Robert Jackson, Chief of Counsel for the United States at Nuremberg, reiterated in an authoritative General Assembly resolution. An "aggressor," Jackson proposed to the Tribunal in his opening statement, is a state that is the first to commit such actions as "Invasion of its armed forces, with or without a declaration of war, of the territory of another State...." No one, even the most extreme supporter of the aggression, denies that Bush and associates did just that.

We might also do well to recall Jackson's eloquent words at Nuremberg on the principle of universality: "If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us." And elsewhere: "We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well."

It is also clear that alleged intentions are irrelevant. Japanese fascists apparently did believe that by ravaging China they were laboring to turn it into an "earthly paradise." We don't know whether Hitler believed that he was defending Germany from the "wild terror" of the Poles, or was taking over Czechoslovakia to protect its population from ethnic conflict and provide them with the benefits of a superior culture, or was saving the glories of the civilization of the Greeks from barbarians of East and West, as his acolytes claimed (Martin Heidegger). And it's even conceivable that Bush and company believed that they were protecting the world from destruction by Saddam's nuclear weapons. All irrelevant, though ardent loyalists on all sides may try to convince themselves otherwise.

We are left with two choices: either Bush and associates are guilty of the "supreme international crime" including all the evils that follow, crimes that go vastly beyond anything attributed to bin Laden; or else we declare that the Nuremberg proceedings were a farce and that the allies were guilty of judicial murder. Again, that is entirely independent of the question of the guilt of those charged: established by the Nuremberg Tribunal in the case of the Nazi criminals, plausibly surmised from the outset in the case of bin Laden.

A few days before the bin Laden assassination, Orlando Bosch died peacefully in Florida, where he resided along with his terrorist accomplice Luis Posada Carilles, and many others. After he was accused of dozens of terrorist crimes by the FBI, Bosch was granted a presidential pardon by Bush I over the objections of the Justice Department, which found the conclusion "inescapable that it would be prejudicial to the public interest for the United States to provide a safe haven for Bosch. "The coincidence of deaths at once calls to mind the Bush II doctrine, which has "already become a de facto rule of international relations," according to the noted Harvard international relations specialist Graham Allison. The doctrine revokes "the sovereignty of states that provide sanctuary to terrorists," Allison writes, referring to the pronouncement of Bush II that "those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves," directed to the Taliban. Such states, therefore, have lost their sovereignty and are fit targets for bombing and terror; for example, the state that harbored Bosch and his associate - not to mention some rather more significant candidates. When Bush issued this new "de facto rule of international relations," no one seemed to notice that he was calling for invasion and destruction of the US and murder of its criminal presidents.

None of this is problematic, of course, if we reject Justice Jackson's principle of universality, and adopt instead the principle that the US is self-immunized against international law and conventions - as, in fact, the government has frequently made very clear, an important fact, much too little understood.

It is also worth thinking about the name given to the operation: Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound that few seem able to perceive that the White House is glorifying bin Laden by calling him "Geronimo" - the leader of courageous resistance to the invaders who sought to consign his people to the fate of "that hapless race of native Americans, which we are exterminating with such merciless and perfidious cruelty, among the heinous sins of this nation, for which I believe God will one day bring [it] to judgement," in the words of the great grand strategist John Quincy Adams, the intellectual architect of manifest destiny, long after his own contributions to these sins had passed. Some did comprehend, not surprisingly. The remnants of that hapless race protested vigorously. Choice of the name is reminiscent of the ease with which we name our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Blackhawk, Tomahawk, ... We might react differently if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes "Jew" and "Gypsy".

The examples mentioned would fall under the category "American exceptionalism," were it not for the fact that easy suppression of one's own crimes is virtually ubiquitous among powerful states, at least those that are not defeated and forced to acknowledge reality. Other current illustrations are too numerous to mention. To take just one, of great current significance, consider Obama's terror weapons (drones) in Pakistan. Suppose that during the 1980s, when they were occupying Afghanistan, the Russians had carried out targeted assassinations in Pakistan aimed at those who were financing, arming and training the insurgents – quite proudly and openly. For example, targeting the CIA station chief in Islamabad, who explained that he "loved" the "noble goal" of his mission: to "kill Soviet Soldiers ... not to liberate Afghanistan." There is no need to imagine the reaction, but there is a crucial distinction: that was them, this is us.

What are the likely consequences of the killing of bin Laden? For the Arab world, it will probably mean little. He had long been a fading presence, and in the past few months was eclipsed by the Arab Spring. His significance in the Arab world is captured by the headline in the New York Times for an op-ed by Middle East/al Qaeda specialist Gilles Kepel; "Bin Laden was Dead Already." Kepel writes that few in the Arab world are likely to care. That headline might have been dated far earlier, had the US not mobilized the Jihadi movement by the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, as suggested by the intelligence agencies and scholarship. As for the Jihadi movement, within it bin Laden was doubtless a venerated symbol, but apparently did not play much more of a role for this "network of networks," as analysts call it, which undertake mostly independent operations.

The most immediate and significant consequences are likely to be in Pakistan. There is much discussion of Washington's anger that Pakistan didn't turn over bin Laden. Less is said about the fury in Pakistan that the US invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor had already reached a very high peak in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it.

Pakistan is the most dangerous country on earth, also the world's fastest growing nuclear power, with a huge arsenal. It is held together by one stable institution, the military. One of the leading specialists on Pakistan and its military, Anatol Lieven, writes that "if the US ever put Pakistani soldiers in a position where they felt that honour and patriotism required them to fight America, many would be very glad to do so." And if Pakistan collapsed, an "absolutely inevitable result would be the flow of large numbers of highly trained ex-soldiers, including explosive experts and engineers, to extremist groups." That is the primary threat he sees of leakage of fissile materials to Jihadi hands, a horrendous eventuality.

The Pakistani military have already been pushed to the edge by US attacks on Pakistani sovereignty. One factor is the drone attacks in Pakistan that Obama escalated immediately after the killing of bin Laden, rubbing salt in the wounds. But there is much more, including the demand that the Pakistani military cooperate in the US war against the Afghan Taliban, whom the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis, the military included, see as fighting a just war of resistance against an invading army, according to Lieven.

The bin Laden operation could have been the spark that set off a conflagration, with dire consequences, particularly if the invading force had been compelled to fight its way out, as was anticipated. Perhaps the assassination was perceived as an "act of vengeance," as Robertson concludes. Whatever the motive was, it could hardly have been security. As in the case of the "supreme international crime" in Iraq, the bin Laden assassination illustrates that security is often not a high priority for state action, contrary to received doctrine.

There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about. your social media marketing partner


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+86 # Activista 2011-05-21 21:47
Great analysis by Chomsky - no wonder that "experds" do not want to debate or comment professor - there is much logic there.
And media are censoring US dissidents - another analogy with totalitarian systems.
It would be nice to nominate Chomsky for the Nobel Peace price -
+27 # tomo 2011-05-22 00:05
Hear! Hear! Activista. So true about running from Chomsky. On the PBS NewsHour years ago, the moderator (Jim Lehrer, I think) did all he could to get Chomsky to "play nice within the sandbox"--answe r only the questions as asked, and to suffer an approving pat on the head when he gave good answers. Chomsky of course had come to call it as he saw it. Never got invited back, I think. And Charlie Rose wasted a whole hour asking Chomsky questions and then, almost without a breath, telling Chomsky what he was sure Chomsky's answers would be if only he (Rose) would shut up and listen. (Funny--if it weren't so sad.)
-13 # rock 2011-05-22 00:18
Guess the "Nobel Peace price" comes pretty cheap?
+6 # steven markell 2011-05-22 14:30
-51 # Syd 2011-05-21 22:08
Would Mr Chomsky have felt the same if Hitler was assassinated by British and American team?
+28 # thinkahol 2011-05-21 23:02
That seems to be the obvious implication. Crazy to think that some people might think that the law is more important than vengeance, i know.
+55 # ER444 2011-05-22 02:06
Heh, you must be a real history buff. Ever heard of the Nuremberg trials? It is all about principles here an that IS important. What used to make America different was its standing up for principles in the face of tyranny. We have lost those principles, and Mr. Obama should give the Nobel Peace Prize back. Neither he nor America deserves it.
+8 # SeriousCitizen 2011-05-22 02:41
Hitler was a military commander of a formal national army, against which there was a declared war. If he had been successfully targeted during WWII, he would have been a military casualty. I am sure Chomsky would have cheered. If Hitler had been assassinated in 1935, I am sure Chomsky would have called that an illegal act.
+54 # Ralph Averill 2011-05-22 05:18
"Would Mr Chomsky have felt the same if Hitler was assassinated by British and American team?"
Syd, you seem to have missed Mr. Chomsky's very valid point, also made by Michael Moore, that the Nazis, whose crimes were far, far worse than anything al Qaeda claims to have done, were put on trial at Nuremburg, at the insistence of American president Harry Truman. Back then, America was a nation that respected international law; we had just fought and won, at enormous cost, a world war to uphold international law. That nation, apparently, no longer exists.
+7 # davidfhayes 2011-05-22 06:49
Quoting Syd:
Would Mr Chomsky have felt the same if Hitler was assassinated by British and American team?

I think he would.
+13 # Yakpsyche 2011-05-22 08:52
Hitler was at war with the Brits and US. BinLaden was not. He was a straw man. There is no proof he had anything to do with 9-11. All the engineering data proves the twin towers were not brought down by hijacked airlines; that was a cover for pre-set, computer-contro lled planned demolition. The coordination of events, the explosives, the masking jet crashes, the foreknowledge, the simultaneous "exercises", etc. was far too complex to have been pulled off by even a very wealthy guy from out of the country.
What Chomsky is pointing out is that this is ALL American Empire at work. Killing OBL is the logical way to rub out a few fingerprints from the crime so the hoax can be perpetuated.
+1 # Alvin 2011-05-26 10:28
The comparison between Osama and Adolf can only come from the hateful and ignorant.
-89 # rock 2011-05-21 22:20
The most hilarious part of Noam's ramblings here, other than a complete lack of compassion for Bin Laden's thousands of victims, is that fact that everyone who spouts a view he agrees with is "eminent," "distinguished, " or "highly respected."

At least he appears to have the sense to realize that the leakage of fissile materials to Jihadi hands would be a horrendous eventuality.
+36 # thinkahol 2011-05-21 23:25
It's rather revealing that you like many others assume bin Laden's guilt. So it should be of no concern to you that even on the FBI's most wanted page he isn't wanted in connection with 9/11 (because there is no evidence linking him to 9/11 (Go ahead and ask the FBI yourself, others have)).

Beside the obvious fact there isn't any lack of compassion exhibited for 9/11 victims anyway, only the fruitful comparison to demonstrably, vastly greater crimes committed by the Bush regime and continued by the present one. Where is your compassion for those victims (of at least an order of magnitude greater quantity)?

No appreciates any kind of condescension, even the understanding kind. However if you believe what you've written you're clearly steeped in the most popular propaganda.

Consider these links my gauntlet:
+18 # Ralph Averill 2011-05-22 05:26
"At least he appears to have the sense to realize that the leakage of fissile materials to Jihadi hands would be a horrendous eventuality."
Chomsky also made the point that our incursion into Pakistan to assassinate bin Laden, along with drone attacks on Pakistani territory, could very well turn the Pakistani military against the US and bring about that "horrendous eventuality" of fissile material falling into Jihadi hands.
+37 # cadan 2011-05-22 08:44
Rock, i think if you disagree with Chomsky what would be most useful to everybody is to state exactly what facts he got wrong, or which steps in his reasoning are defective.

Do you think that Bin Laden killed more people in the attack on the WTC than Bush killed in Iraq? Or do you think Iraq had something to do with the attack on the WTC?

If you think so, and you can back it up, then that would be useful.

Saying that it is "hilarious" that Chomsky had "a complete lack of compassion for Bin Laden's thousands of victims" is probably not even what you meant.

It's like your not even trying to do anything except say "Chomsky is bad".

An added benefit of trying to analyze Chomsky's writings logically is that you might even change your mind on some points.

This is important because America is in deep trouble, spending all our disposable assets on these totally useless wars. We are headed for 3rd world status.

Attacking Chomsky does not help America.

Understanding Chomsky, thinking clearly, and trying to help pull the plug on the wars does help America.

A German who supported Hitler was hurting Germany.

And an American who supports the neocon wars is hurting America.
+25 # BOG 2011-05-22 09:05
Quoting rock:
The most hilarious part of Noam's ramblings here, other than a complete lack of compassion for Bin Laden's thousands of victims...

If you read his other work you'd know that he condemned those attacks, just as he's condemned the Taliban and al Qaeda. But you don't have to read his other writings-- he explains in the one above very clearly: if we are outraged by the killing of thousands of American civilians we should be at least as outraged over the killing of hundreds of thousands of foreign civilians.
-49 # Tim Sullivan 2011-05-21 22:34
Noam must be a lot of fun at parties.
+28 # tomo 2011-05-22 00:10
God, Tim--if bad days come (and they seem to be upon us), you at least will deserve them. What's your idea of party--drinking yourself silly, and then puking? Bet, too, you voted for Bush--a guy you can imagine drinking a beer with. Now that guy was a real barrel of fun!
-1 # Heh? 2011-05-22 21:38
Why's everyone thumbing you down? I thought that was hilarious.
+34 # Activista 2011-05-21 23:04
"in June 2002 they didn't know eight months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence"
of course the US war propaganda reported only the US part - that asked for Bin Laden, and that Taliban refused.
Do not see ANY of Chomsky adoration for Osama, just pragmatic facts. I doubt that Osama was center of planning directly 911 - likely one of his "generals".
It also looks like US military machine is desperately seeking new enemy/markets for their "services" - and Pakistan is so profitable for the drones made in USA (on the Chinese credit card)
+21 # acomfort 2011-05-21 23:12
Have we forgotten how/when to use the word alleged? When did everyone start taking as truth anything the US officials say, even with no evidence?

It is ALLEGED that Osama Bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals. Only ALLEGED as there is no evidence.

Actually there is more evidence that OBL died at the end of 2001 than in 2011. . .Try:

+5 # CommonSense 2011-05-22 07:18
Thanks, I was about to give up on this site as another Plato's Cave Allegory. In an age of thorough global communications and travel, the ignorance (or apparent ignorance I should say) of most people concerning the propaganda that surrounds them is truly appalling.
The evidence that 'former' CIA asset Osama bin Laden died in 2001-02 makes the 2011 scenario look like a Saturday morning cartoon show. The one linchpin of the house of cards being (the logical fallacies of) Appeal to Authority and (sled dog) Bandwagon.
+25 # Tara Margolin 2011-05-21 23:28
thank you Mr Chomsky for bringing the true voice of American exceptionalism, that being the very ideas upon which we were created, into clear focus amongst the madness of the contrived War on Terror...
+7 # koolmuse 2011-05-21 23:30
There are significant differences between the Nazi war criminals and Al qadia. For one thing the Nazis had surrendered and the war was over. That is not the case here.
+1 # koolmuse 2011-05-21 23:39
Also Hitler's body was "disappeared", evidence shows by the Soviets, so that there could be no memorial or shrine around which future generations could rally and reignite the Nazi cause.

With Bin laden, given the religious zeal of Islamic Jihadists, a shrine to he and his martyrdom would likely to be a very significant rallying point for years to come.
-9 # CTPatriot 2011-05-22 12:59
I applaud your ability to parrot the Democratic party and pro-government talking points. If you're not being paid for this, you should look into it -- could be lucrative.
-17 # koolmuse 2011-05-21 23:47
As to the matter of killing him, instead of was wise even if of questionable legality....But Osama was an active combatant by his own account...true or not....and in the darkness and uncertainty the safety of themselves and their fellows must come first to the troops.
Chomsky wasn't in the room with them, so who is he to question their veracity?
+11 # koolmuse 2011-05-21 23:51
Bin laden was likely "not guilty by reason of insanity"...and who could argue with that using our Western standards of justice?....and btw...Bush was just as deserving of such an ignominious end....his crimes for which he's never been even threatened with justice....are. Chomsky said much greater.
+3 # koolmuse 2011-05-21 23:55
Then there is the question of Pakistan's sovereignty. Well they gave up a certain amount of that when they took America's money on the promise to fight Al qaida and terrorism as allies...and here Obama found Bin laden right in their midst.
So I guess the first thing they'd have to admit nobody knew....and explain how that could be before they could make much of a case of being violated.
-12 # koolmuse 2011-05-21 23:58
In war, you try to kill the other general (as US Grant mentioned was always his goal.. Osama was their general. Take him out and you weaken the entire war effort... There is no indication that Osama tried to surrender. In fact it seems he fled into a room where weapons were found.
+6 # Activista 2011-05-22 09:39
"In fact it seems he fled into a room where weapons were found .."???
Obama must lie to American People - video showed killed on the bed - unarmed - protected by his wife.
Please provide the resources ...
-13 # koolmuse 2011-05-22 00:01
I oppose violence, war and the death penalty. I support American justice which Bush largely voided during his 8 years. But Bin laden was a murderous mad dog....and there are times when you "shoot first and ask questions later." This was one of those times.
-3 # Lestrad 2011-05-23 08:37
More affirmations with not a shred of proof. It's exactly what O8ama did.
+20 # tomo 2011-05-22 00:23
One reason I wish bin Laden had been kept alive is perhaps one reason he was so peremptorily dispatched. He might have shed light on how the U.S. response had been choreographed to accommodate the attack. Just as we had broken the message code of the Japanese before Pearl Harbor, so we had excellent intelligence coming out of Yemen well in advance of 9/11.
-20 # vet 2011-05-22 01:21
To all those who would apologize for taking out OBL. Where were you on September 11, 2001? Where were you during World War II and subsequently the Korean War?
+28 # futhark 2011-05-22 01:34
A dead Osama bin Laden provided the ritual object for a propaganda blood feast of appalling magnitude and could tell no tales.

A live Osama bin Laden may well have spilled some beans that those orchestrating the "War on Terror" may well wish had remained in the can.

In any event, the cycle of obfuscation, lies, hatred, and murder will certainly continue.
-2 # racetoinfinity 2011-05-28 04:46
Quoting futhark:
A dead Osama bin Laden provided the ritual object for a propaganda blood feast of appalling magnitude and could tell no tales.

A live Osama bin Laden may well have spilled some beans that those orchestrating the "War on Terror" may well wish had remained in the can.

In any event, the cycle of obfuscation, lies, hatred, and murder will certainly continue.

You said it!!
+19 # SeriousCitizen 2011-05-22 02:51
In the USA, the militarists usually wrap themselves in Christianity. Lots of reference to God, lots of prayers. But they seem to avoid thinking about The Golden Rule. The Bush/Obama administration doctrine of extra-judicial killing of anyone we imagine might be planning to attack the USA, means that we expect and approve foreign nations sending assassins here to kill anyone they imagine might be planning to attack their country. Chomsky made a factual case against Bush, for war crimes that he actually did. But the US doctrine extends to killing people we imagine might, in the future, do us harm. The convicting evidence is our imagination. For example, we are now trying to kill Gaddafi because we imagine that he might slaughter civilians. (Actually, of course, we want to control Libyan oil so that Chinese and Russians cannot get it.)
+13 # Riley1 2011-05-22 03:26
Rock: Oh so blind who cannot see. I lost my uncle in the 9/11 tragedy. I hold GWB and his fellow war criminals solely responsible. He single handed set in motion the consequences that caused the tragedy. I want to see him and his fellow collaborators with collective responsibility to stand trial for war crimes and the murder of my uncle.
If you want to criticise Chomsky do so with reason and logic. The man is beyond your ability for cogent reasoned thought. Your argument holds nothing of substance or reason. You shoot off at tangents. Your scribble wasted space here. Neo conservative apologists like you are two a penny and worthless commentators on serious issues primarily because of your limited understanding such issues are beyond your ability to think clearly on the subject raised for debate here.
Your scribbling showed a total lack of clarity. Chomsky's analysis is faultless
+16 # abdullahiedward 2011-05-22 04:29
When Saddam was captured it was originally reported that he would be tried for two specific crimes:- the gassing to death of over 5,000 Iraqi citizens in one village AND the execution of 147 villagers in another. The order of the prosecution of these two cases was determined by the USA. I say all that to say this: - 1) the involvement of Saddam, as I understand it, was that he signed the death warrants for each of them. This was his function in the order of things. Much the same as it was for G.W. Bush to sign the death warrants of all those executed in Texas when he was governor. 2) The gas used to kill the 5,000 other villagers was supplied by the USA and the debate on this issue wouldn't present the US in a favorable light if it was put forward by the defense in the course of the trial.
Finally, it would be interesting to learn just why the USA supplied these "Weapons of Mass Destruction" if they were so obviously opposed to using them, as they appear to be in the ex-post-facto arguments they pontificate about today.
+14 # sebouhian 2011-05-22 05:03
the media coverage of the hilarity that followed the President's message, reminds me of the public executions in England attended by families wildly rooting for every dramatic second of the death throes. we all owe Professor Chomsky a sad "thank you" for reminding us that murder is a crime of conscience regardless of legalities and "explanations," which simply add to the horror of the act. rationalization s regardless of even when ordered by a President.
+1 # Aaron Tovish 2011-05-22 05:47
Prediction: within weeks a rumor will take hold that the US faked his death (stun gun, whatever) and are holding bin Laden in a secret prison, torturing him to divulge co-conspirators (and that he is bravely resisting). Without hard evidence to the contrary, this 'wishful thinking' is bound to take root.
More to say:
(1) Justice is complicated; extrajudicial assassination is simple. After a war one has the luxury of time. In a war, the temptation to cut corners is huge. But succumbing to that temptation is never a right.
(2) I think the main reason for the assassination was that they could not be absolutely sure they would get him out of Pakistan alive. If anything went wrong at the compound or in the return to base and bin Laden had escaped alive, it would disaster of unprecedented proportions for US prestige. In fact, one helicopter had exploded open landing at the compound -- possibly alerting Pakistani forces. I suspect that if there had been any intention of bring bin Laden out alive, they were abandoned at that moment.
How many movies have you watched where the villain can't stop gloating in front of his victim-to-be, giving the vicitm's rescuers just enough time to come to his aid? They did not want to make that mistake: shot the guy and get it over with.
to be continued..
-2 # Aaron Tovish 2011-05-22 05:50
... continued from previous posting:
(3) I think equating the assassination with an 'invasion' is way off the mark. At most, it was an incursion -- not as big a deal under international law. It could also fall under the right of reprisal if it could be asserted that Pakistan had allowed terrorists to hurt US citizens, property, etc. If the US had experience with Pakistanis misusing shared intelligence to the benefit of terrorists (which seems to be the case), it is understandable that they acted unilaterally. In my view it would have been better if the US government had announced long ago that no matter where it tracked down bin Laden, it would go after him on its own if there was the slightest suspicion that informing local authorities would 'let the cat out of the bag.' This should not have become a narrowly US-Pakistan thing.
(4) Finally, I think Noam misses the point of naming weapons (or baseball teams) after American Indians. It is actually a token of respect for their combat prowess. So the proper analogy would be calling a weapon an 'Israelite' or a 'Slingshot'. Regarding Geronimo, it is worth recalling that he was taken alive. He died brokenhearted in Florida, far from his beloved homeland.
+2 # Lestrad 2011-05-23 08:42
Quoting Aaron Tovish:
It could also fall under the right of reprisal if it could be asserted that Pakistan had allowed terrorists to hurt US citizens, property, etc.

Would you mind pointing us to the text of whatever (presumably international) legislation recognizes a "right of reprisal"?
+10 # 2011-05-22 06:03
Thank you r#acomfort alleged claims of the latest death of Bin Laden by a group with a history of lying that is a US President, The Military, and the CIA. We have been lied to about the military target of Hiroshima, the JFK assassination, 9/11 Crime, the war on Iraq, Gulf of Tomkin and now so many respond with out skepticism, giving Obama the benefit of doubt, I can't.
+8 # rf 2011-05-22 06:05
Osama's death is evidence of a tragedy...that being a middle eastern man with obvious leadership talents taking the road of violence. Imagine what Osama could have accomplished if he had chosen the path taken by Dr. King in this country!
+11 # Activista 2011-05-22 09:42
One of the trigger of Osama metamorphosis was AMERICAN (Reagan) bombing of Beirut ...
-2 # carsten byrn 2011-05-22 06:13
This Seal team can hit a fly in the right eye and on top of this he was unarmed, so of course Bin Laden was taken alive. You don´t kill someone who knows where Mullah Omar and Al Zawairi are without torturing the information out of him. So you drop a sack of potatoes in the Arab Sea, and then he doesn´t exist anymore and you can start the waterboarding. When you have the information you want you just make him disappear.
And what if he will not say anything? Come on! Give me Dick Cheney and an electric drill and after half an hour he will sign that he is president of the gay community in San Francisco.
+19 # Vegan_Girl 2011-05-22 06:47
Noam Chomsky is a national treasure.
+22 # isittoolate? 2011-05-22 07:20
No matter how you view Mr. Chomsky, the sad state of affairs in America is reflected in the fact that this type of discourse and debate should be held on the floor of Congress. We get what we deserve - politicians who are incapable of logical, intellectual thought!
+11 # louis burner 2011-05-22 08:24
They ordered him executed because they didn't want him put on trial, where he would have confessed to being a CIA asset. He had too much to tell and that was why he was executed (if he was executed).....
+17 # nameravet 2011-05-22 08:35
Let us crunch some numbers. Some three million residents were killed in Vietnam, a country which never attacked the United States, and which has a population about one third that of the USA. Suppose a foreign country came over here, killed three million, or, proportionally, nine million. For every person killed during 9/11, a thousand were killed in Viet Nam, a smaller country.. We were outraged after 9/11. How are the people of Vietnam supposed to feel?
+6 # Activista 2011-05-22 09:45
yes - there was/is no retrospective in USA what bombing does - before or after 911.
+10 # williamofthetrees 2011-05-22 08:52
I thank Mr. Chomsky for this article.

My question would circle around the connectedness or disconnectednes s that we have around who leads our countries.
The leaders of a country inevitably represent the will of the people so what is the use of blaming our leaders when we support and allow them directly or indirectly?

If we can understand that our family is an extension of our selves as much as our nation, what keeps us from understanding with equal consciousness that human beings everywhere are an extension of our selves? That what is lawful is lawful everywhere for everyone and when an individual or nation takes the law onto its hands without respecting the objective lawfulness of the law, it is an act of crime?
+7 # Vegan_Girl 2011-05-22 14:35
Our "leaders" do not represent the will of the people. If you look at election debates, things that matter to us the people - ending NAFTA, stopping the wars, ending corporate welfare - are not even brought up since both sides agree. Both sides side against we the people. That is NOT a real choice.

I think our leaders represent the interests of corporations and the upper 2%.

The American people and American state power - two very different things.
+10 # murielschnierow 2011-05-22 09:13
While there may have been other ways to handle Bin Laden it is over.The Bush-Cheney administration is walking around free and very proud .let us look at all of it and make some decisions about the rule of law.
+8 # Deltabrain 2011-05-22 09:49
I basically agree with Mr. Chomsky but I would have been less concerned if the assasination of bin Laden had taken place soon after 9/11 as a more humane alternative to the invasions of Iraq & Afghanistan - and the violent death of hundreds of thousands of people - actions worthy of a war crime tribunal. If there is a rational way to fight terrorism, it is through careful criminal investigation, intelligence and surgical military operations. But we can't just drop the investigation and decide that this is a WAR and now we're going to execute everyone who looks guilty. If President Obama had taken care to capture bin Laden and really bring him to justice it could have been a logical repudiation of the unnecessary wars that Bush started. Instead it was reduced to just another cavalier bloodsoaked episode in our crusade against the Islamic world.
-11 # opieee 2011-05-22 10:20
There is no parallel between OBL and those who went on trial in Germany after WW2.

OBL publicly proclaimed his culpability as a mass murderer many times.

All the Germans (except for Speer)maintaine d that they were not guilty.

Frankly, Chomsky's stance strikes me as being a little "nasty nice".

It has never been against international law to kill the guy who is (avowedly in this case) trying to kill you.
+2 # Nick Gallup 2011-05-22 11:04
Okay, I admit that, at best, I am ambivilent, and that, at worst, I am a hypocrite. I agree that we as a nation have violated the principles established at Nuremberg many, many times. We have no evidence, other than his braggadocio on sundry tapes, that bin Laden was culpable for 9/11. We had no legal basis for our incursion into Pakistan. We had every opportunity to take bin Laden alive and showcase American justice to the world. (Seriously!) We have erred grievously at every step along the way. We are essentially an outlaw nation. I emphatically agree with everything Mr. Chomsky had to say. People voted for Bush II because he looked like the kind of guy they would like to have a beer or two with. Why, if I am so convinced we are a bunch of outlaws who summarily executed bin Laden, would I love to have a beer or two with the Seals who killed the SOB? Signed, "Confused in Haines City."
+3 # paradoctor 2011-05-22 14:01
Bin Laden operated in the grey area between crime and warfare. He was too big to be a mere criminal, with rights; and he was too small to be a political leader, with privileges. All he had was expediency, which Obama had too; and therefore bin Laden now sleeps with the fishes. The terrorist's real crime is that, by existing, he demonstrates the continuity between gangsterism and government.
+5 # williamofthetrees 2011-05-22 17:53
Our leaders represent the people in as much as the people are unconscious enough of their own will and allow the 2% to control who, how and why they are in power.

To be sovereign does not simply mean being sovereign in one's individuality but to be conscious of the whole that one is participating in and one's rights within that whole.

Democracy is far from being just the right to vote, it is the right to participate and decide and hold up one's sovereignty wherever one meets what opposes it in every act of life.

The sovereignty of a nation is limited by the sovereignty of every human being everywhere and beyond the nation is US: the human being sharing One Earth. Less greed would allow others to eat, to live, to evolve. How much is there is a fact, the quantity is limited and "sharing the pie" is what any civilized people would do but "bullying" the world over with the support of the voters is the real poverty of no matter what nation or individual.

Each human being is responsible for all of life, everywhere.
+1 # tomo 2011-05-23 09:58
williamofthetre es, I like your comment a lot. I hear in it the sweet voice of sanity. Much as many an economist --Larry Summers, for instance--would like to deny it, we live in a world of limited resources; we must therefore learn, somehow, to "share the pie." Simple compassion should lead us to know this. But enlightened self-interest points in the same direction. The alternative is for the "pie-owners" to ever be targets of the "pie-wanters." Given the kind of weaponry and given the great vulnerability of modern society, this alternative provides a very precarious life for all. Those economists whose solution is simply to bake a "larger pie" are Pied Pipers. Incrementally, yes, we can always "enlarge the pie;" but the increments tend to get smaller and smaller.
+1 # Nick Gallup 2011-05-23 11:29
William: Beautifully said. Reminds me of the John Donne essay, wherein he wrote: "So, do not send to ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." Nick.
+2 # tclose 2011-05-23 12:55
Excellent comment, williamofthetre es. Too bad so few Americans will understand your point. Only a progressive agenda will address the issue that you raise, and it is unlikely that the US will embrace a progressive agenda any time soon. And we have a progressive-min ded President who is taking on un-progressive policies due to this.
+1 # tonywicher 2011-05-22 19:04

I you believe that the real Osama bin Laden was killed this May, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would love to sell you, along with the rights to that fatty bin Laden "confession" video of Dec 13 2001, and all the other fake bin Laden videos and audios concocted by the CIA since 2001. Now here is what I think happened. The use of doppelgangers is a well-known intelligence technique. They have used various such doubles over the last ten years to make all those phony videos and audios. They had a safe house in Abbottabad where they had one or more of these doubles stashed. They could well have been making the fake recordings there. They decided to kill off the bin Laden character at this time, partly as a kickoff to Obama's 2012 presidential campaign, and partly to put more pressure on Pakistan, which is now being blamed for harboring him. All they had to do was send in an assassination team, kill the doppleganger, and dump his body in the ocean so we would have to take the administration' s word for it that it was really OBL.
+3 # Dona Quixote 2011-05-22 21:18
It probably was OBL but it doesn't matter to them since he had served his purpose. Yes, your comment about cut outs and dopplegangers was quite perceptive and correct. The entire 911 was a military operation carried off with great precision and then blamed on a bunch of patsies about whom legends (not very good ones either-Hani Hanjour could not even qualify to rent a Cesna from Freeway airport the summer before 911)were created.
+2 # tonywicher 2011-05-23 09:53

I would say it is conceivable that it was the real OBL, but highly unlikely given the well-substantia ted state of his health in 2001. He is said to have been visited by the CIA shortly before 9/11 in a hospital where he was receiving dialysis for kidney failure. But who knows, maybe they gave him a kidney transplant and kept him around. Not that it matters very much, as you say, whether it was the real OBL or a double. Both are CIA creations.
+1 # tonywicher 2011-05-23 10:04

Another good reason to doubt whether this was the biological Osama bin Laden that was killed is the fact that they dumped his body in the ocean. Presumably if it had been the real one, they would have been glad to have the body available to prove it was really him.
0 # Nick Gallup 2011-05-23 11:20
Tony: At first, I just thought you were being satirical and putting us on. Your response to Dona Quixote, however, convinces me otherwise. Doppleganger? Why don't you and Dona Quixote go tilt at some windmills? Or find a grassy knoll somewhere and sleep it off?
0 # tonywicher 2011-05-23 20:55

Your faith in the CIA is touching. You have absolutely no evidence for the real OBL having been killed. They dumped the body in the ocean, and you have nothing but their word for it. I have no idea why you take their word for it. I certainly don't.
+1 # Anarchist 23 2011-05-22 21:13
'There has never been reason to doubt what the FBI knew in2002..." Yes, Dead Men Tell No Tales. we will never know anything from OBL about 911, including the miraculous melting of steel by kerosene, when everyone else has to use blast furnaces! OBL meet Lee Harvey Oswald, another perpertrator who was killed before saying anything. Prez Obama acted like many another fascist leader when he sent an assasination team, ignored another country's soverienty and then assasinated an unarmed man. But I suppose we will still remain in Afghanistan.
+1 # tclose 2011-05-23 13:18
Again, another conspiracy theorist cannot resist places to put in his two cents worth. R.e. the melting of steel, the NIST report on the initiation of failure of the WTC buildings was due to expansion of steel girders combined with significant reduction in the tensile strength of the steel columns: steel melts at about 2500degF but loses 50% of its strength at 1100degF; the temperature reached in the building due to the fire was 1800degF. See
+1 # tonywicher 2011-05-23 17:54
The alleged expansion of the steel girders reported by NIST was one major part of the fraud that was the NIST report. What NIST failed to mention in that report is that the concrete to which the steel girders were attached by stud bolts expands when heated by almost exactly the same amount as the steel itself. Therefore thermal expansion would not have even broken the stud bolts, let alone caused a girder to "walk off" its support. This method of attaching steel girders to concrete has been tested by UL laboratories for fifty years and no such thermal expansion has ever been oberserved. If you would like to learn something about this subject, read David Ray Griffin's "The Mysterious Collapse of Building Seven: Why the Final NIST Report is Unscientific and False", or visit, the sit of whistleblower and former Underwriters Laboratory chemist and senior manager Kevin Ryan, who was fired for pointing out such facts in 2002.
+1 # tonywicher 2011-05-23 18:06
I would go on, but first you should read something reliable and not depend on 9/11 "debunker" sites run by CIA disinfo agents.
+3 # J. Glenn Evans 2011-05-23 02:33
Thank you, Mr. Chomsky for speaking out. The murder of Osama bin Laden is certainly not something the American people should celebrate. It just means they have created a martyr out the man they brought to prominence in their cold war against Russia. When blowback occurs, and it surely will, it will bring more ammunition for spreading fear of terrorists that works right into the hands of the Military/Indust rial Complex to keep up the demand for more killing machines.
J. GlennEvans
+2 # bobby t. 2011-05-23 13:05
The best part of this whole article, is that it made me read the Wikipedia version of manifest destiny (great read for anyone serious about American history)and the White Man's Burden. Wonderful professors motivate you to want to expand your knowledge, to become Homo Sapiens, or wise men.
My feeling about the killing of Osama Bin Laden is that hostages would have been taken to release him. One only has to read Exodus, to learn that only the death of a first born scares a leader into releasing people. The CIA must have advised the president that his daughters would have been taken hostage in order to get the release of Bin Laden. This has been the Arab way in Isreal. It has been sucessful in getting trades from Isreal. Without a prisoner, you have no need of hostages. I have two daughters. It is a no brainer for me.
+2 # SEAcomments 2011-05-23 19:31
Quoting bobby t.:
My feeling about the killing of Osama Bin Laden is that hostages would have been taken to release him. One only has to read Exodus, to learn that only the death of a first born scares a leader into releasing people. The CIA must have advised the president that his daughters would have been taken hostage in order to get the release of Bin Laden. This has been the Arab way in Isreal. It has been sucessful in getting trades from Isreal. Without a prisoner, you have no need of hostages. I have two daughters. It is a no brainer for me.

EXACTLY! Or imagine a school full of children being taken over in the U.S. or other western nation. With a hostage being killed every hour until OBL is released. Then what would have been the right decision. Or maybe his death IS exaggerated and he is being held in rendition somewhere until any & all information is retrieved.
0 # tonywicher 2011-05-24 08:16
I can't say for sure whether this is good information or not, but here is an interesting news story that came out on Pakistani TV:
0 # David Murphrey 2011-05-24 08:45
Finally, someone of notable intellectual stature has confirmed my claim that their has never been any proof that Bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. "There has never been any reason to doubt what the FBI believed in mid-2002, but that leaves us far from the proof of guilt required in civilized societies...The re is much talk of bin Laden's "confession," but that was a boast, not a confession.
Noam Chomsky
0 # M.E. 2011-05-24 14:49
It might be instructive to 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 (after proper burial rites, of course).

there's an idea!!
0 # mecarew 2011-05-24 14:50
It might be instructive to 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 (after proper burial rites, of course).

0 # RICHARDKANEpa 2011-05-25 18:36
Somehow people are forgetting how many times al Qaeda members committed suicide rather than captured sometimes taking many non al Qaeda people with them. If it wasn't for the helicopter crash al Qaeda members would feel the claim bin Laden was unarmed would be seen as a last straw insult to a great war hero,
-1 # Puzzled 2011-05-26 13:30
Can Chomsky really be serious about this:

"It is also clear that alleged intentions are irrelevant."?

Hitler intended to exterminate the Jewish people and killed at least 6 million of them in a horrific manner. Bush intended to remove Saddam Hussein, by all accounts a murdering monster, from power. Certainly, the removal of Hussein from Iraq led to many deaths, but also led to elections that could lead to a democratic country. It may or may not have been possible to remove Hussein with less loss of life.

Even if you assume that Bush was also attempting to secure Iraqi oil or seek revenge for a death threat against his father, for Chomsky to equate the US invasion of Iraq with Hitler's holocaust is simply absurd.
0 # tomo 2011-05-26 22:49
Not sure, but I think what Chomsky's "alleged intentions are irrelevant" means is that an unjust act is unjust even if the doer had thought up a real good reason for doing it. For instance, there may have been slave-holders in pre-Civil War America who actually thought the were "elevating" black people by keeping them in chains. However sincerely that silly idea may have been held by them, their act was still monstrously UNJUST.
-2 # Puzzled 2011-05-29 16:10
Would you agree that UNJUSTNESS can be rated on a scale, partially by considering intent, rather than by simply equating forms of UNJUSTNESS with the Nazi Holocaust?

For example:

Quite unjust: leaving Hussein in power in Iraq, allowing him to murder and torture people and perhaps develop weapons (in the future) to inflict mass destruction on Israel

Quite unjust: Bush invading Iraq and removing Hussein without a better post-Saddam plan, with far too many civilian deaths, and with the arrogance of "Mission Accomplished"

Extraordinarily unjust: the Nazi Holocaust of six million Jews

Chomsky invalidly uses Nazi analogies far too often (which you should learn to avoid in high school English class). To see other examples of Chomsky's Nazi analogies, google: chomsky nazi right-wing
0 # Puzzled 2011-05-29 17:02
Here is another example of how poorly argued this essay by Chomsky is. In the essay, he lists Eric Alterman as an American who has an "obsessive belief in capital punishment" and who was "rejoicing at the manner of bin Laden's demise." If you look at Alterman's article, Chomsky's claim is clearly false and is a rather despicable and dishonest smear against Alterman. To see Alterman's response, google: how dishonest is chomsky

If we were to go through all of Chomsky's quotes, I wonder how many would be this dishonest?
0 # Double_think 2011-06-18 02:24
"One significant example is the distinguished Lebanese cleric Sheikh Fadlallah, greatly respected by Hizbollah and Shia groups generally..."

Also responsible for the destruction of the US embassy in Beirut, which killed 300 people (no doubt many women and girls among them). No wonder he is so respected by Hizbollah terrorists. "Distinguished" is not the adjective I would use for him.

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