Chomsky's views on the September 11 attacks.
One of the best inspirations I take away with me from the Chomsky clip is that it is better to criticize the government over facts that can be agreed on by many people, rather then to try to get them for something that is purely speculative (or at least, still controversial and debatable). This applies to the accusations of the CIA practicing torture during interrogations - this has been admitted, proven, observed, cataloged, put in the public record, by many NGOs, journalists, government agencies, etc. It's out there, in the open, available for anyone to comment on.
The only thing that is being debated (and flimsily) at this point is often language - whether water-boarding is "torture", for instance, and this is more a political issue then anything else (see Wikipedia article) - with the Attorney General candidate more afraid to set the administration for prosecution for its existing use of water boarding.
The question arises, though, whether - as Chomsky boldly puts it - any of it even matters. As written earlier in the Esquire article on revolution, even should it be revealed that atrocities have been committed by the U.S. government, such as backing for the September 11 attacks, people are unlikely to revolt. This is debatable, but it is important to note that atrocities HAVE been committed by the U.S. and there has been no great furor over them (I'm thinking of the millions of people killed in Vietnam, for instance, and the bombing of Cambodia), no reparations or apologies made, no individuals prosecuted (case in point, Henry Kissinger) . People know about this. And yet they're stuck on proving that there's a hidden conspiracy behind September 11, or the JFK assassination.
So, now it is out there that the CIA and the U.S. military torture, that they invade countries without justification, that they target civilians. And what happens? Why do we need to look to some obscure conspiracy theory when the agreed on facts are sufficiently terrifying?
Chomsky's argument does rest on a couple of assumptions which, while fair, are not watertight:
""it was interesting to hear Dr. Chomsky’s explanation of WHY he believes this to be the case ... He says it’s because ‘secrets’ leak out, so there’s no way they could have gotten away with it; because once that happened, the entire Republican party would be taken before a firing squad. He also says, (I think more than once) that they WOULD HAVE TO BE INSANE to try something like that. HUMM…yes, I agree to all of that. First, that they ARE insane. Next, that such ‘secrets’ would eventually leak out, because they have. The only thing that has NOT happened, is that the entire Republican party has been taken before a firing squad. (though I would love to see that). So, in my humble opinion, I agree. They would have to be crazy, but then they are. And, most assuredly, things have “leaked out’. BUT, it will never make any difference, because what is most needed to prove that they were involved in this, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is evidence that has been destroyed."
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