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by Noam Chomsky
Friday, Jul. 01, 2005 at 3:11 AM
"The occupying powers torpedo democratization in Araq by declaring there will be no binding date for their withdrawal.. The distinction of pro- and anti-American is a concept from the arsenal of totalitarian rule techniques.."
The Linguist and Essayist Noam Chomsky on Democratization in Iraq and Love of America
[This interview published in: Freitag 23, 6/10/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.freitag.de/2005/23/05230702.php.]
[Noam Chomsky is one of the most famous linguists today. He was well known worldwide through his radical criticism of US foreign policy and the preventive war doctrine as defended by the Bush administration.]
FREITAG: No day passes without attacks in Iraq. You have always vehemently criticized the offensive war of the US on this Arab country and haven’t changed in that general elections were possible.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Yes, Bush’s invasion had nothing to do with democratization in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world. The first free elections in the region occurred in 1999 in Katar. The greatest democratization impulses came from the television station al Jazeera. In my understanding the Bush administration attempted in different ways to prevent the elections on January 30. The US changed the constitution and installed a system of delegates that it could control. When massive resistance formed including not only the suicides with their bombs but the passive nonviolent resistance under the symbolic figure of the Ayatollah al-Sistani, the Americans and Brits had no other choice than to allow the vote on January 30. The occupying powers torpedo democratization in Iraq by declaring there will be no binding date for their withdrawal.
FREITAG: How should the left in Europe, especially in Germany, relate to this policy? Europe can become an independent force in international politics but that independence is feared by critics of Euro-imperialism.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Why? Going its own way need not mean fighting with the US but doing what is felt to be right in the European interest in the Middle East. If the Israeli-Arab conflict should intensify again, the European Union with an independent Middle East policy would do well to ignore the US and solve the problems that can be solved.
FREITAG: In other words do you think in a “good cop-bad cop” production or stagecraft?
NOAM CHOMSKY: To do that would mean being the victim of an ideology, seeing the states as units and ignoring people with their shock and dismay. Europe and the US are not units free of contradiction in themselves. People here and there have the same interests and oppose the ruling classes of their respective states in the same way. Therefore we should not let ourselves be seduced by a propaganda that likes to invoke the chimera of the national unity.
FREITAG: In the US you are reproached for anti-Americanism on account of your Iraq position? Do you love America?
NOAM CHOMSKY: What a question! What is America? If you equate America with its state authority, I say: No, I don’t usually support state authorities. This distinction of pro- and anti-American is a concept from the arsenal of totalitarian rule techniques. Dissidents in the old Soviet Union were condemned as “anti-Soviet.” Can you imagine someone in Italy characterizing critics of Berlusconi as “anti-Italian”?
FREITAG: Not yet.
NOAM CHOMSKY: The reproach of anti-Americanism is ridiculous. Therefore the answer to the question “Pro- or anti-American” must be the deconstruction of the question itself.
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