Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chomsky joins a hypocritical attack on Obama

            I was prepared to leave Chomsky alone for awhile, but he intruded himself upon my attention by supporting the full-page "World Can't Wait" ad which appeared on page 17 of the 5-27-10 issue of The New York Review of Books.   Those who don't get the NYROB can see this ad in fine print at .   The impetus for the ad seems to be disappointment that Obama has turned out to be a normal American President and not a radical anarchist.  I see that William Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground and one of Obama's original sponsors also signed the ad.  He is probably part of the "World" that "Can't Wait" for Obama to turn into the anti-American radical that it hoped he would become.
            While I can't tell whether Chomsky was involved in the creation of "World Can't Wait," I do want to consider the ad as something he signed up to.  It is consistent with other things he has advanced. The full title reads "Crimes are Crimes no matter who does them."  This title deserves closer attention in light of Chomsky's anarchistic philosophy.  If we pass over the truistic nature of this cliché, an act is not a "crime" unless it has been established as such in some system of laws sanctioned by some established government supported by a more or less quiescent society.  Chomsky wants to tear down our Liberal-Democratic government and society; so he is at the very least hypocritical if he is using existing American laws to further this end. 
            But are there such laws?  He and the leaders of World Can't Wait fail to distinguish between a normal American citizen and an American president.  The President has the power to declare war -- something Chomsky considers a crime -- while the ordinary citizen does not. 
            And since the World Can't Wait ad centers on some of the events carried out in the course of president-initiated wars, let's look at them: 
            Chomsky and WCA object to the assassination of a terrorist whom the president deems a threat to national security.  Has Chomsky ever objected to any terrorist killing people in any Liberal Democracies.  If so, I missed it.  It typically isn't until the democracies, in this case the American one, respond or attempt to respond to terrorist activity that Chomsky becomes outraged. 
            Chomsky objects to U.S. troops firing on unarmed civilians.   Firing on unarmed civilians is not sanctioned by the US. government or the military, but collateral damage does occur.  This is one of Chomsky's favorite targets.  If Chomsky could show that the U.S targets unarmed civilians he might have a point.  But please note that's what the terrorists do.  So why does Chomsky go after American troops who kill civilians accidentally rather than the terrorists who do it on purpose?   As I have argued elsewhere, the reason Chomsky does this is that he is anti-American even more than he is anti-Liberal-Democracy, and he isn't above abandoning what logic he practices elsewhere to hypocritically attack the Americans who do kill civilians accidentally while giving a free pass to Islamist radicals who do it on purpose.
            The final paragraph in the "Crimes are Crimes" ad reads "Unsurprisingly the Obama administration has refused to prosecute any members of the Bush regime who are responsible for war crimes, including some who admitted to waterboarding and other forms of torture, thereby making their actions acceptable for him or any future president."   What is his definition of "war crimes" I would like to ask Chomsky?    "War Crimes" seems a pejorative swear-term rather than a legitimate classification of crimes.  Which court defined these "Crimes"?  Which Judicial System is responsible for prosecuting them?   Which government is responsible for punishing them?   It isn't a war crime or any other sort of crime for a President of the United States to do what he deems necessary to protect American citizens. 
            There seems to be the assumption that the American president needs to be utterly submissive to the American judiciary.  That is not an accurate understanding to the American governmental system which has three powers (the executive, legislative, and judicial) which were designed to balance one another.   The President (the head of the executive branch of the American government) has extensive powers, and while the legislative and judicial branches of government challenge those powers regularly, they do not have the power to declare them crimes.  I mention that  in passing, for neither the Legislative nor the Judicial branches of the U.S. government have declared Obama's actions crimes -- as Chomsky and "World Can't Wait" have done in their illogical, inconsistent and hypocritical way.


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