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by Am Johal
Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004 at 10:44 PM
It's time for Noam Chomsky to make an independent run for President in 2008.
As Democrats are left salivating over a possible Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama ticket in 2008, progressives are looking for different kind of campaign and a different candidate next time.
As US foreign policy will continue to be the issue in the coming years, there is a need for America's public intellectual and most vociferous critic of its foreign policy to make an independent run for President. Noam Chomsky should make a run as the People's President if only to provide a new platform to critique American foreign policy in an age when many are feeling helpless and distraught at the recent Republican rout.
It's time for the distingued linguist, author of over 80 books, MIT professor and public intellectual to take his show on the road and take his critisms to a broader audience. He's been visiting Congress since the 60's lobbying against the Vietnam War - this is hardly new to him.
There a myriad of reasons why he should run. The death toll in Iraq is now over 100,000 and larger if you include the effect of sanctions prior to the War, over 1,000 US fatalities, 65 UK and 66 'other' soldiers. There are also over 12,000 injured soldiers. 21,972 have been evacuated for medical and 'other' reasons. 600 US military troops have deserted the military since the beginning of the war and 21 have committed suicide. As least one in 5 soldiers returning home reported serious mental health problems. The major political parties and the mainstream news media have not asked the important questions that need to be asked.
This, of course, doesn't tell the whole story. As Richard Hill articulately argued in Arena Magazine, the Pentagon does not count deaths of non-US citizens that are part of the American forces. This seems to be a ludicrous oversight given that up to 40% of the 140,000 military in Iraq are non-US citizens who signed up for service in the hopes getting a green card or other government benefits.
Russian journalist Vladimir Radyuhin estimates that the American death toll is in fact closer to 2,000 with over 12,000 injured. One of the first soldiers to die was Jose Gutierrez, an orphaned immigrant from Guatamala who was homeless in California before being recruited to the US military. Many like him died for his adopted country but are not worthy enough to counted amongst the dead.
British MP George Galloway referred to these 40% non-American citizens citizens as "cannon fodder." With tightened immigration controls since September 11th, the military route to establishing citizenship in America is a preferred route for some including many Latinos. As well 1/3 of the US military is comprised of African Americans, many of whom come from impoverished backgrounds are reservists for the Army National Guard and Army Reserves.
The Bush re-election will mean a continuation of aggressive American foreign policy, the continuation of the Nixon/Kissinger inspired use of client states, and the "You're either with us or against us" Bush doctrine which has drawn the ire of much of the rest of the world.
This time, more than any other, requires a new space for critical discourse, for public intellectuals to "speak truth to power," for new civil society institutions to be born, and to give citizens a different perspective from the prevailing power structures which are enamoured by the propaganda of war and falling back into that dangerous Orwellian "doublespeak" that is characteristic of a nation at war.
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