Noam Chomsky responds to Hitchens' criticism

May 13, 2011



Original post (syracuse.com)

36 comments:

Ian Clary said...

Ooh, this could be fun.

Trond Bie said...

" Not worth responding to", yet he still does. Get off your high horse, Chomsky.

celeritas3d said...

Actually he didn't respond to hitchen's article yet, he was responding to the questioner.

Jim Taylor said...

Chomsky not very deftly sidesteps having to defend himself.

Mettelindbjerg said...

Just read this great news in an article:

"Graydon Carter gave an emotional tribute to his long-time friend, who is showing "remarkable signs of recovery" from terminal 4 oesophagael cancer."

Phil said...

Can't win 'em all Hitch. This is one of those times.

Simon said...

Can anyone find the original sources of these alleged quotes by Chomsky and/or Hitchens?

Mars_Ultor said...

Does anyone else find Chomsky's groupies oohing and aahing to be a bit creepy? Its like a cult.

Mppace said...

In Chomshy's article "We Are All Complicit" published in The Prospect, January 22nd, 2006 he says, "I mentioned that the toll (of 911) may be comparable to the consequences of Clinton's bombing of the Sudan…"

Jay said...

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20010912.htm

Jay said...

"
The September 11 attacks were major atrocities. In terms of number of victims they do not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan" Chomsky 2001

Matthew said...

For all his hatred of Clinton, I'm finding it very, very difficult to believe Hitch ever stated that the Sudan bombing was worse than 9/11. Can anyone cite a source on this?

THP said...

A transcript of the video:

"He's been producing hysterical rants for 20 years, I just ignore them, they're not worth responding to. But if you really want to look, A [inaudible] (sovereign temple has taken?) [inaudible] many cases.

One of his claims is that I claim that Clinton's bombing in Sudan is worse then 9/11. Now you can check back and see what I said, it's a total fabrication. But there is something much more interesting, there are liars and there are brazen liars. There is one person who actually did say that the bombing in Sudan was much worse then 9/11, Christopher Hitchens.

You can find it, I've quoted it. Ok, is there any point in responding to Hitchens? It's like responding to a Soviet Kommissar."

Himanshu Rai said...

What Naom Chomsky is doing is to show mirror to the America by exposing hypocrisy in the foreign policy. But what is unvalid here is his comment on commando operation on George Bush.


Sovereignty granted to a nation also has certain obligations. If a country is not willing to
exercise its sovereign obligations to keep country safe and becoming hub of terrorists, then it
is perfectly understandable for others to question if they can trust
you. And this action will happen....

Rich Wilson said...

The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. And the enemy of my friend isn't necessarily my enemy. I've read, and admired, and disagreed with, both of these men. And will continue to do so. Not sure on the particular case, but I'd love to see what Hitch really said about Sudan vs. 9/11.

Skiles Paul said...

Sounds to me like you got him, Hitch!

Chrrowley21 said...

"hysterical rants" coming from Chomsky - and leveled against the best living essayist in the english language - is hilarity at it's finest.

C. A. Russell said...

"…but if you really want to look... So, for example—this is taken from one of his main cases—one of is claims is that…"

Ash said...

Weak. He wrote an absolutely terrible article that would barely garner a pass in first-year university, was rightfully slammed by Hitchens for such nonsense, and now he believes he's above criticism and need not provide a response? Truly pathetic.

Tom (DH) said...

Disqus didn't export these comments. This post was deleted by blogger some time ago and I had to re-post it, maybe that's the reason. Well, here they are copy-pasted.

Jon Smith
yesterday
Please have a look at this article, which provides a thorough rebuttal of Hitchens' recent attack on Chomsky. It also offers some more general observations about the British writer's "fondness" for Chomsky.

A Few Words On Christopher Hitchens’ Fondness for Noam Chomsky: http://abidnyc.wordpress.com/2...

Dave Jeffery
yesterday
You're misquoting Chomsky. He says that there were more victims in Clinton's bombing of Sudan than 9/11. He doesn't say that one is worse than the other.

If you look at the literature then even conservative estimates are much higher than the 3000 deaths in 9/11, although Chomsky correctly points out that we'll never know the exact number.

Contraire
2 days ago
correction. 9/11 didn't cause Hitch to come out as an anti-theist, his fear of losing ALL credibility as opposed to most after signing on to Bush's war forced him to seek out another gimmick.

1984
2 days ago
Unlike Bush, Clinton actually had some focus on AQ:
http://www.historycommons.org/...

1984
2 days ago
A bunch of hogwash. Of course religion plays part of it but it is not the only part.

It's also interesting to note that you never mentioned any of the Arabic Islamic dictatorships that the freedom loving west, including USA, supports RIGHT AT THIS F-CKING MOMENT!!!

'They hate our policies, not our freedom'
'Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies [the Pentagon report says]. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.'

Even the 9/11 commission speaks about blowbacks and Blair said before the (already decided, but not publicly) Iraq war that England would pay a bloodprice if they choose to take part in the latest imperial conquest by the west. Try to live in a world with no consequences, and I'll tell you that it doesn't exist. PNAC imperialist Wolfowitz stated that bases in Saudiarabia motivated AQ.

The methods of dealing with terrorism are completely wrong: http://www.rand.org/pubs/resea...

But who cares, as there are empires to be build, even if it means bankruptcy and endless warfare. Who's in the past? It seems to me that the west is still playing old games of colonialism and those who expect different results from it are truly insane.

And it's a bloody shame that supporters of Orwell are part of this war machine killing and maiming people in the thousands.

TomDH said...

cont.

GrimMonolith
2 days ago
This has been Chomsky's party line for the past decade. What changes is his figure. He forgets that Hitch defended him even into the mid-90s, and that they were good friends up until then. This is what has made me lose the most respect for him; the utter petulance at being challenged by one of his former allies.

Trond Bie
2 days ago
Well, he still replied ;)

sos
2 days ago
Hey Sassan, I see what you've done there. Very clever play on Noam Chomsky's name by misspelling it Chimpsky. What's even more clever is that it's a particularly ad hominum attack (hominum=chimpanzee - geddit?).

Oh no, wait a minute, it's not clever. Not even the first time, before you'd well-overused whatever smile value it might have had for the puerile among us. It's beneath what even our chimpanzee ancestors would consider bright. Grow up and debate the topic, not the men.

Georstock
3 days ago
I'm not surprised that Chomsky wasn't bothered to prepare a thorough response to Hitchens' column. It was one of the silliest things he has ever written. In the original article, Chomsky repeated the basis of the post-enlightenment judicial system: that people should be considered innocent until deemed guilty by a court. Because of the simple statement of fact, that bin Laden had not been found guilty of a crime and thus could not be lawfully punished for it, Chomsky became a conspiracy nut, who doesn't believe that bin Laden was involved in the WTC attacks.

This is marginally sillier than the column he wrote a few months ago, congratulating George Bush for his pivotal, even catalytic, role in the Arab Spring.

Outside of his handful of internet acolytes, the obedient journalists at the corporate press, and his son, who takes Christopher Hitchens seriously? I know plenty of people who read him -- I know none who agree with his foreign policy prescriptions.

The man is a loon. A bloated, moribund, sentimentalist.

Rodney Ulyate
3 days ago
Chomsky and Hitchens debated the 9/11-Shifa equivalency back in 2001. Tom may wish, for contextual purposes, to feature this lot:







James1357
3 days ago
Whatever you think of Hitchen's articles, they certainly are not "hysterical rants." In fact, "hysterical rant" is one of those expressions that, if you use it invalidly, then you are doing it yourself. "Ignorant assertion" would be another expression like this. So, it is fairer to say that Chomsky's reply was a hysterical rant than to say that Hitchen's article was one.

Is Chomsky actually famous for being the alpha linguist with a great command of rhetorical argumentation in English?

coventrian
3 days ago
From

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_...

Deadly legacyHitchens says that the deadly consequences of what he sees as a presidential PR stunt will be suffered for a long while yet.Hitchens says the bombing destroyed Sudan's ability to fight a meningitis outbreakThe bombing flattened a factory which he says produced 60% of the medical supplies for a country ravaged by civil war and famine.This means Sudan has been unable to effectively combat what he Red Cross has described as a "furious meningitis epidemic" which has claimed the lives of at least 2,000 children and young people, he says."So not only were there people killed needlessly in the bombing itself but people also have been and are dying down the road and all of them to save President Clinton's face," he says.

TomDH said...

cont.

Sassan K. Darian
4 days ago
I call him Noam Chimpsky because he should focus on trying to go find his theorized language acquisition device he has failed to find and leave politics, history, and religion to the big boys. Chimpsky speaking on such political/historical/religious matters has pretty much the same credibility as your neighborhood janitor. He may be a great linguist but the buck stops there. He is an apologist to radical Islam and if he was such an "intellectual" on such matters he would know that the "reason" behind Islamic attacks against the United States and the west is due to their fanatical messianic beliefs guided by the Hadith and quran (mostly Hadith for the prophecies). Therefore, Islamic radicals hate us because they are guided by their beliefs and I say this as an Iranian-American who has spent considerable time in Iran (I understand that the terrorist regime that has occupied our once great nation is Shiite and not Sunni like Bin Laden) but they are guided by the same tenets and same Hadith. Chimpsky tends to be a masochist in which as an atheist he should be ashamed to justify or blame the west and to put moral comparisons to such atrocities committed by terrorists and the liberations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Chimpsky also tends to be stuck in the past and not realizing we are in the year 2011 and times have changed from such past actions we may have committed. While we have evolved into the year 2011, other civilizations have gone backwards and done something unique: "de-evolution". In addition, it is no surprise that the world's most oppressed people whether my fellow Iranians, Kurdish brothers and sisters, or the nations of the former Communist blocs of Eastern Europe all tend to be strongly pro-American (their people). As someone who is studying psychology/neuroscience (while I can not give a diagnosis) I definitely see schizophrenic traits or other delusional personality traits with someone like Chimpsky. Chimpsky could never have the intellect, intelligence, and moral clarity that someone like Christopher Hitchens' stands on. In fact, Chimpsky's blind ignorance tends to make him no better than religious people as he basis his conspiracies and nonsense innuendo on zero credible and rational elements of evidence, logic, and rationality.

AaronBurr
4 days ago
"hypocrisy" - a concept oft used left of center; 19 or 20 times you see it used in today's political culture, it's used by a liberal. why is that? is it the necessity of moral equivalence to be sought in comparison of all actions, and thus to relieve the liberal of continuing an inquiry, argument or even, heaven forbid, something akin to intellectual labor and the learning process. liberals have learned all they need to know, so tag the argument du jour with "hypocrisy", and we can all go home and then fail to solve any problem thereby.

of course, there is the distinction between this defintion of the liberal, and the left. in the left, there is drive and testosterone. (even among female on the left.) the liberal is self marginalized by the hypocrisy copout and, thus, easier for the left to lead the liberal useful idiot around by the nose.

next time, THINK before you use the word "hypocrisy" think what task you are shrinking from by use of the term. think of the false moral equivalence between the WTC disaster and Clinton's flub in the Sudan. think of how you've allowed yourself to be brow beaten by the left, until you've "gotten it right".

if you understand this paradigm, you are a leftist; if not, you are a liberal, and have the left to answer to.

Sassan K. Darian
4 days ago
What a stupid and unintelligent response by Noam Chimpsky; he should leave politics, history, and religion to the big boys and focus on his language acquisition device which he can't locate. Truly, Chimpsky seems to be suffering from schizophrenia or some other delusional personality disorder.

TomDH said...

cont.


Wormdrink414
4 days ago
Today's Chomsky is a slightly above average academic and that's about it. He bores people into agreeing with him.

Gmac
4 days ago
"Ten years ago, apparently sharing the consensus that 9/11 was indeed the work of al-Qaida, he wrote that it was no worse an atrocity than President Clinton's earlier use of cruise missiles against Sudan in retaliation for the bomb attacks on the centers of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam."

- C. Hitchens, May 2011

"take the destruction of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, one little footnote in the record ofstate terror, quickly forgotten. What would the reaction have been if the bin Laden network had blown uphalf the pharmaceutical supplies in the U.S. and the facilities for replenishing them? We can imagine,though the comparison is unfair, the consequences are vastly more severe in Sudan. That aside, if the U.S.or Israel or England were to be the target of such an atrocity, what would the reaction be? In this case wesay, "Oh, well, too bad, minor mistake, let's go on to the next topic, let the victims rot." Other people in theworld don't react like that. When bin Laden brings up that bombing, he strikes a resonant chord, evenamong those who despise and fear him; and the same, unfortunately, is true of much of the rest of hisrhetoric.Though it is merely a footnote, the Sudan case is nonetheless highly instructive. One interesting aspect isthe reaction when someone dares to mention it. I have in the past, and did so again in response to queriesfrom journalists shortly after 9-11 atrocities. I mentioned that the toll of the "horrendous crime" of 9-11,committed with "wickedness and awesome cruelty" (quoting Robert Fisk), may be comparable to theconsequences of Clinton's bombing of the Al-Shifa plant in August 1998."- N. Chomsky, 2001 @ http://prernalal.com/scholar/N...
take the destruction of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, one little footnote in the record of
state terror, quickly forgotten. What would the reaction have been if the bin Laden network had blown up
half the pharmaceutical supplies in the U.S. and the facilities for replenishing them? We can imagine,
though the comparison is unfair, the consequences are vastly more severe in Sudan. That aside, if the U.S.
or Israel or England were to be the target of such an atrocity, what would the reaction be? In this case we
say, "Oh, well, too bad, minor mistake, let's go on to the next topic, let the victims rot." Other people in the
world don't react like that. When bin Laden brings up that bombing, he strikes a resonant chord, even
among those who despise and fear him; and the same, unfortunately, is true of much of the rest of his
rhetoric.
Though it is merely a footnote, the Sudan case is nonetheless highly instructive. One interesting aspect is
the reaction when someone dares to mention it. I have in the past, and did so again in response to queries
from journalists shortly after 9-11 atrocities. I mentioned that the toll of the "horrendous crime" of 9-11,
committed with "wickedness and awesome cruelty" (quoting Robert Fisk), may be comparable to the
consequences of Clinton's bombing of the Al-Shifa plant in August 1998."

- N. Chomsky, 2001 @ http://prernalal.com/scholar/N...

Nuovazeta
4 days ago
@Mars_Ultor - don't attack the man because you don't like his comments.

@216ca6335953385809949b720fa69c76


It is fair to take issue with what he says but personal attacks prove nothing except that there is no substance to your objections.

Matt Hone
4 days ago
Seeing as 9/11 motivated Christopher Hitchens to come out as an anti-theist, and become a citizen of the United States, I can't think there would be much worse in his mind than what the Islamists did that day. I am very skeptical of Noam Chomsky's claim.

Corporate_goon
4 days ago
Hitch's groupies do the same thing.

TomDH said...

cont.


1984
4 days ago
"The September 11 attacks were major
atrocities. In terms of number of victims they do not reach the level
of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no
credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and
probably killing tens of thousands of people (no one knows, because
the US blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it).
Not to speak of much worse cases, which easily come to mind. But that
this was a horrendous crime is not in doubt."


This was actually pretty stupid coming from Chomsky. It's worse than 9/11, but no one knows how many died. Huh? Then how do you know it was worse?

C. A. Russell
4 days ago
"…but if you really want to look... So, for example—this is taken from one of his main cases—one of is claims is that…"

Chrrowley21
5 days ago
"hysterical rants" coming from Chomsky - and leveled against the best living essayist in the english language - is hilarity at it's finest.

Skiles Paul
5 days ago
Sounds to me like you got him, Hitch!

Anonymous said...

here is a careful response to hitchens' recent attack on noam chomsky:
A Few Words On Christopher Hitchens’ Fondness for Noam Chomsky
http://abidnyc.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/a-few-words-on-christopher-hitchens-fondness-for-noam-chomsky/

Anonymous said...

Chomsky just whooped Hitchens ass!

Bambi said...

I'm not familiar enough with Chomsky's body of work to state claims one way or the other, but a simple review of Hitchens' No One Left to Lie To (particularly Chapter 5) in conjunction with his post 9/11 essays compiled in Love, Poverty, and War is more than enough to dispel Chomsky's latter claim that Christopher had indulged in such a ridiculous analogy. From what I can gather, Chomsky has made some utterances that can be taken or left as vague enough to insinuate a direct comparison between Al-Haifa and 9/11, but Hitchens has never contrasted the two except to poke holes in Chomsky's argument. Altogether, I think that Christopher considers both events seriously enough to avoid the cartoonish parallel that might be drawn by someone who is regrettably a linguistics professor, and should probably know better at the outset.

Bambi said...

Furthermore, Chomsky has made idiotic comments concerning the Srebrenica massacre that are completely in line with his apparent newfound revisionisism, endorsing Diana Johnstone's views of the slaughter's near non-occurrence, while later claiming that he was only advocating the article's 'literary' virtue. And before anyone feels the need to cite Hitchen's Irving article (as I have done some homework), Christopher made it quite clear from the beginning that he was wont to defend Irving's free speech while at the same time denouncing the validity of Irving's claims.

It has become plainly obvious that Chomsky, on the other hand, speaks with such unabashed caprice that he has made for himself room to deny his own statements at a later date. I have yet to decide whether this is wise, cowardly, or both.

Travis said...

this is bogus, Chomsky lied hitch never said that......produce the article or source....there isn't one....

it amazes me how so many people will here this and say "ooh he whooped hitches but" without ever looking up a single source or fact.....oh how the termites have spread......

Anonymous said...

Osama Bin Laden was fond of quoting Noam Chomsky in his videos. What does that say?

Anonymous said...

Hitchens used to idolize Chomsky but now regrets living under his shadow.

Ryan said...

Hello everybody.
You can find the full argument, in correct sequence, at this source:

http://humanities.psydeshow.org/political/chomsky-1.htm

I refer you to it without comment because I trust you will make up your own minds.

Anonymous said...

Jumping onto the Iraq War as some kind of academic agent provocateur never sat well with me. It demonstrated intellectual hubris on Hitchins part. A core criticism of fundamentalistic believes surely is the untold horror they have caused to mankind through the ages. Replacing "God" with (flawed) "logic" is no better. Flawed as in Iraq a main exponent of a Fascist Islamic State? Pakistan,Saudi Arabia, Iran. No sorry Hitch wrong target...wrong reason. Grandstanding on this premise ..advocating war...??
Sadam was a terrible despot...but almost every continent has them...some more than their fair share.
The people that effected that regime change did so on a lie...and more fool you for sliding up next to them without realizing
That said his illness saddens me immensely

Anonymous said...

This reply is a little late to the discussion, but it might be useful anyway.

Chomsky claims he quotes Hitchens about proportionality in 'Terror and Just Response' (You can find this piece on his website):

"The principle of proportionality therefore entails that Sudan had every right to carry out massive terror in retaliation, a conclusion that is strengthened if we go on to adopt the view that this act of "the empire" had "appalling consequences for the economy and society" of Sudan so that the atrocity was much worse than the crimes of 9-11, which were appalling enough, but did not have such consequences.[17]"

[17] Christopher Hitchens, _Nation_, June 10, 2002.

If you read this article, (it is called 'Knowledge and Power' and is on The Nation website) you find the article isn't about proportionality at all, rather it's about the lack of acting against Osama Bin Laden before 9/11. It has nothing to do with proportion, and clearly does not state anything about comparisons between attacks.

Anonymous said...

The only place where I can find Chomsky being disengenuous is when he claims that at one time Christopher Hitchens wrote interesting articles.

Robert Thorne said...

His avoidance just means he's hiding something that can damage him if let out. Looks like he doesn't have enough philippine prudential coverage yet.

 
 
 

Christopher reads from Hitch-22: A Memoir