Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Iraq and US Foreign Policy

I found another interesting interview with Noam Chomsky, this time with Peshawa Abdulkhaliq Muhammed from Kurdistani Nwe Newspaper; it took place Dec 25. The interesting thing about this interview is that the interviewer didn’t seem on board with Chomsky’s views; I wouldn’t say he was exactly hostile, but he wasn’t agreeable, either. Unless it was simply a language issue, which is always possible.

Unfortunately, for a number of questions Chomsky had to defer to his previous books Hegemony or Survival, and Failed States, because to answer the question properly would have taken too much time in the interview. e.g. when asked to provide justification for viewpoints he’d expressed in previous interviews, he said that “Interviews do not have footnotes, but the sources are cited in my books Hegemony or Survival (2004) and Failed States (2006).”

On the plus side, however, he provides one of the best arguments for the U.S. withdrawing from Iraq immediately; many say that they can’t just pull out, because it will escalate the violence—a dubious claim, since most experts believe that the U.S. presence is escalating violence, but nevertheless, that’s the argument—but his response points out that even if that were true, it wouldn’t matter:

You and I are entitled to our own opinions as to what the invaders should do. We can even have an academic discussion about the topic. But our opinions mean nothing, just as the opinions of Bush, Blair, Cheney, and others mean nothing. What matters is what Iraqis want the occupying armies to do.

Apologists for Nazi Germany warned that withdrawal from occupied Europe would lead to major atrocities. They were right. In France, for example, thousands if not tens of thousands of collaborators were murdered. There were worse atrocities elsewhere. Were the Nazi apologists justified? Not in my opinion, nor I am sure yours. And for the same reason. The decision to withdraw does not lie in the hands of the invaders. That should be elementary.