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Chomsky Receives Highest Pentagon Honor
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 20:46
by Sherwood Ross

The Pentagon has paid anti-war activist Noam Chomsky the highest honor any totalitarian entity can bestow upon an author: they’ve banned his book “Interventions” at Guantanamo Bay prison.

They won’t say precisely why they “honored” Chomsky, but Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt told the Miami Herald that“Interventions”(City Lights Books) might negatively “impact on (Gitmo’s) good order and discipline.”

The Pentagon, of course, insists on “good order and discipline” running its prison camp. Chomsky likes order, too. What he objects to is the Pentagon spreading disorder globally.

Instead of thanking the Pentagon for his “honor,” Chomsky, is said to be angry. The Herald quotes him as saying, “This happens sometimes in totalitarian regimes.”

Indeed! Nazi newsreels show Hitler’s brown shirts igniting huge bonfires in German streets into which they pitched banned books. Hitler banned over 4,000 books ranging from anti-war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque to Jack London’s “The Call of The Wild.”

And just as Communist Russia wouldn’t let its citizens read “The First Circle” and “Cancer Ward” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, comrades in the Pentagon refused to allow Gitmo prisoner Hamza al Bahlul to read Chomsky’s “Interventions,” sent him by a defense lawyer.

The Pentagon’s ban mimics Iran’s campaign to kill British novelist Salman Rushdie for his 1988 epic “The Satanic Verses.” Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeni indicted Rushdie as “blasphemous against Islam.” The Pentagon, according to The Herald, won’t authorize a book that is “anti-American, anti-Semitic, (or) anti-Western.” Note the similarities of the Pentagon’s objections and the Ayatollah’s. Kissin’ cousins, maybe? Some might suspect its Pentagon censorship that’s “anti-American.”

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Censorship of Chomsky is not unique. The Pentagon has long pressured Hollywood to show the military in a favorable light. It also bans photographers from war zones if they snap pictures of slain U.S. troops. “I took pictures of something they didn’t like, and they removed me (from Iraq),” complained photographer Zoriah Miller who, like Chomsky, may also be said to be angry. “Deciding what I can and cannot document, I don’t see a clearer definition of censorship,” he said.

Back to Chomsky: What has he written the Pentagon doesn’t want Gitmo prisoners to read? Perhaps it’s where he quotes President Bush’s remark “the United States — alone — has the right to carry out ‘preventive war’…using military force to eliminate a perceived threat…” Chomsky adds this is the “supreme crime” condemned at Nuremberg.

If the Pentagon is upset over “Interventions” they’ll be really ticked at Chomsky’s “Imperial Ambitions(Metropolitan Books).In that book, he writes about how the Pentagon’s troops burst into Falluja General Hospital, (November, 2004) on asinine grounds it was “a center of propaganda against allied forces,” and kicked the patients out of their beds and handcuffed them and their doctors to the floor, which Chomsky rightly branded “a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions.”

The Pentagon might also oppose Chomsky for accusing them of genocide: “If civilians managed to flee Falluja, they were allowed out — except for men. Men of roughly military age were turned back. That’s what happened in Srebrenica in 1995. The only difference is the United States bombed the Iraqis out of the city, they didn’t truck them out. Women and children were allowed to leave; men were stopped, if they were found, and sent back. They were supposed to be killed. That’s universally called genocide, when the Serbs do it. When we do it, it’s liberation.”

Banning Chomsky will only call attention to his incisive depictions of Pentagon war crimes. While the Pentagon may worry Chomsky’s work might get Muslim prisoners angry, maybe it should be concerned that Chomsky’s comments such as the following on the Military-Industrial Complex might yet arouse bamboozled and disgusted U.S. taxpayers:

“Empires are costly. Running Iraq is not cheap. Somebody’s paying. Somebody’s paying the corporations that destroyed Iraq and the corporations that are rebuilding it. In both cases, they’re getting paid by the U.S. taxpayer. Those are gifts from U.S. taxpayers to U.S. corporations…..first you destroy Iraq, then you rebuild it. It’s a transfer of wealth from the general population to narrow sectors of the population.” Like the Pentagon, which will reap $664 billion next year.

Time to replace the Pentagon with the Peace Corps. It accomplishes far more with far less.

(Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based writer. Reach him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com)

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Comments (2)add comment

steve said:

Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky works for the Massachusettes Institute of Technology. The American Government has poured millions of dollars into this institutions development of weapons which have killed people in despotic regimes and wars around the globe. The MIT is the largest recipient for donations of this kind in the US. This is at complete odds with Chomskys declared political viewpoints. If he were any way true to his beliefs he would have resigned long ago.

Noam Chomsky joined the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1955 and in 1961 was appointed full professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics (now the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy). From 1966 to 1976 he held the Ferrari P. Ward Professorship of Modern Languages and Linguistics, and in 1976 he was appointed Institute Professor. As of 2010, Chomsky has taught at MIT continuously for 55 years.

During this time Defence Spending at the MIT increased rapidly over the years, being cited in books and articles critical of US support of despotic regimes in Latin America which were engaging in human rights abuses.

MIT is the number one non-profit Department of Defense contractor in the nation, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education (4/13/88). In 1987, MIT pulled in $407.6 million in DOD contracts, outdoing second runner-up Johns Hopkins University by $52.7 million. The MITRE Corporation was the third runner-up in military contracts with $347.5 million. The director of the MITRE Corporation is MIT Provost John M. Deutch '61.

Fifth runner-up was Draper Laboratories, with $164.7 million in DOD contracts. Until 1973, Draper Laboratories was the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. MIT divested from the I-Labs in 1973, following four years of student and faculty protests, which began with the 1969 March 4 research strike. The official divestiture, however, had little impact on MIT's ties to Draper.

According to the 1988-89 MIT Bulletin, "Draper Laboratories maintains a relationship with the Institute that permits students to engage in joint research activities" and enjoy "its unique contribution to the Institute's educational program." Draper definitely does provide a "unique" opportunity: specifically, classified applied weapons research.

April 06, 2011
Votes: -3

Wootie B. said:

"Steve" says above "This is at complete odds with Chomskys declared political viewpoints. If he were any way true to his beliefs he would have resigned long ago."

This of course is "Steve's" opinion, nothing else. There is nothing inherently irrational about Chomsky's position at MIT. We cannot abandon every institution because the empire is present there. That's absurd. "Steve" is perhaps working for "them". "They" would of course prefer to get every oppositional voice out of every institution. They could then claim they are supported 100% by the institutions of the professional class. "Steve" apparently thinks we should abandon every institution to the imperialists. That would certainly silence the voice of opposition. However, the imperialists do not own the university system. They have overrun it, yes to a certain extent. Perhaps "Steve" is content to move out to bumtown and write books on the backs of old supermarket bags. Perhaps that is why I've never heard of "Steve". His supermarket bag tomes never reach me at my end of the spectrum. Chomsky's, however, do. Good thing for me I'm pragmatic, yes?
July 05, 2011
Votes: +4

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