This chapter explores the criticisms against Noam Chomsky. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Chomsky said a number of entirely true and useful things. He said that the attacks demonstrated the foolishness of “missile defense,” and that they would lead to a restriction of civil liberties and the expansion of state surveillance within the United States. He also said that the most likely response from the Bush–Cheney administration would be the escalation of violence in a far greater scale. However, the escalation he speaks of is not the war in Iraq, but the temporary interruption of aid convoys from Pakistan. What made Chomsky’;s response to 9/11 so destructive to the left, then, was his willingness to suggest that American actions from the al-Shifa bombing to the interruption of Afghan aid convoys were far worse than what might result from the hijacking of civilian airliners.
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