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Christopher Hitchens: Reactionary Dickweed Honky?
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Raoul DeGroot



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Christopher Hitchens: Reactionary Dickweed Honky?  Reply with quote  

Yes.
Fuck that guy and his whole atheism trip too which I never got on board with either. -not because I have a religious bone in my body, but because his whole method of thought is reactionary, british, and suspect.

Don't try to come at Chomsky, bro. It can never make you look good.
Do you guys agree this piece makes him sound like a real dennis miller type asshole?


Quote:

Chomsky's Follies

The professor's pronouncements about Osama Bin Laden are stupid and ignorant.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, May 9, 2011, at 2:36 PM ET
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anybody visiting the Middle East in the last decade has had the experience: meeting the hoarse and aggressive person who first denies that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center and then proceeds to describe the attack as a justified vengeance for decades of American imperialism. This cognitive dissonance—to give it a polite designation—does not always take that precise form. Sometimes the same person who hails the bravery of al-Qaida's martyrs also believes that the Jews planned the "operation." As far as I know, only leading British "Truther" David Shayler, a former intelligence agent who also announced his own divinity, has denied that the events of Sept. 11, 2001, took place at all. (It was apparently by means of a hologram that the widespread delusion was created on television.) In his recent article for Guernica magazine, however, professor Noam Chomsky decides to leave that central question open. We have no more reason to credit Osama Bin Laden's claim of responsibility, he states, than we would have to believe Chomsky's own claim to have won the Boston Marathon.

I can't immediately decide whether or not this is an improvement on what Chomsky wrote at the time. Ten years ago, apparently sharing the consensus that 9/11 was indeed the work of al-Qaida, he wrote that it was no worse an atrocity than President Clinton's earlier use of cruise missiles against Sudan in retaliation for the bomb attacks on the centers of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. (I haven't been back to check on whether he conceded that those embassy bombings were also al-Qaida's work to begin with.) He is still arguing loudly for moral equivalence, maintaining that the Abbottabad, Pakistan, strike would justify a contingency whereby "Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic." (Indeed, equivalence might be a weak word here, since he maintains that, "uncontroversially, [Bush's] crimes vastly exceed bin Laden's.") So the main new element is the one of intriguing mystery. The Twin Towers came down, but it's still anyone's guess who did it. Since "April 2002, [when] the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it 'believed' that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan," no evidence has been adduced. "Nothing serious," as Chomsky puts it, "has been provided since."

Chomsky still enjoys some reputation both as a scholar and a public intellectual. And in the face of bombardments of official propaganda, he prides himself in a signature phrase on his stern insistence on "turning to the facts." So is one to assume that he has pored through the completed findings of the 9/11 Commission? Viewed any of the videos in which the 9/11 hijackers are seen in the company of Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri? Read the transcripts of the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker"? Followed the journalistic investigations of Lawrence Wright, Peter Bergen, or John Burns, to name only some of the more salient? Acquainted himself with the proceedings of associated and ancillary investigations into the bombing of the USS Cole or indeed the first attempt to bring down the Twin Towers in the 1990s?

With the paranoid anti-war "left," you never quite know where the emphasis is going to fall next. At the Telluride Film Festival in 2002, I found myself debating Michael Moore, who, a whole year after the attacks, maintained that Bin Laden was "innocent until proved guilty" (and hadn't been proven guilty). Except that he had, at least according to Moore one day after the attacks, when he wrote that: "WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden! Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA!" So, innocent unless tainted by association with Langley, Va., which did seem to have some heartland flying schools under surveillance before 2001 but which seemed sluggish on the uptake regarding them. For quite some time, in fact, the whole anti-Bush "narrative" involved something rather like collusion with the evil Bin Laden crime family, possibly based on mutual interests in the oil industry. So guilty was Bin Laden, in fact, that he was allowed to prepare for a new Pearl Harbor on American soil by a spineless Republican administration that had ignored daily briefings on the mounting threat. Gore Vidal was able to utter many croaking and suggestive lines to this effect, hinting at a high-level betrayal of the republic.

And then came those who, impatient with mere innuendo, directly accused the administration of rocketing its own Pentagon and bringing about a "controlled demolition" of the World Trade Center. This grand scenario seemed to have a few loose planes left over, since the ones that hit the towers were only a grace note to the more ruthless pre-existing sabotage and the ones in Virginia and Pennsylvania, complete with passengers and crews and hijackers, somehow just went missing.

It's no criticism of Chomsky to say that his analysis is inconsistent with that of other individuals and factions who essentially think that 9/11 was a hoax. However, it is remarkable that he should write as if the mass of evidence against Bin Laden has never been presented or could not have been brought before a court. This form of 9/11 denial doesn't trouble to conceal an unstated but self-evident premise, which is that the United States richly deserved the assault on its citizens and its civil society. After all, as Chomsky phrases it so tellingly, our habit of "naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk … [is] as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes 'Jew' and 'Gypsy.' " Perhaps this is not so true in the case of Tomahawk, which actually is the name of a weapon, but the point is at least as good as any other he makes.

In short, we do not know who organized the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or any other related assaults, though it would be a credulous fool who swallowed the (unsupported) word of Osama Bin Laden that his group was the one responsible. An attempt to kidnap or murder an ex-president of the United States (and presumably, by extension, the sitting one) would be as legally justified as the hit on Abbottabad. And America is an incarnation of the Third Reich that doesn't even conceal its genocidal methods and aspirations. This is the sum total of what has been learned, by the guru of the left, in the last decade.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the Roger S. Mertz media fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2293541/



Post Tue May 10, 2011 2:33 am
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TurnpikeGates



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Hitchens is a sputtering, gleefully point-missing troll. Chomsky is probably the most consistently insightful analyst of U.S. foreign policy

Still, turgidity aside, if you cut the Hitchens critique down to its main thrust, I think he's sort of right on the points he raises.

When I read that Chomsky article, I sort of had to shake my head. Is the evidence of Bin Laden's involvement with the WTC attacks really the fulcrum on which one's opinion of the Abottabad strike should pivot? I think Chomsky should have stuck with pointing out that the U.S. Gov't has been clearly disinterested in using legal means (U.S. law, international law, whatever) to apprehend Bin Laden, without resorting to questioning his guilt in the matter. It's just not germane, and leaves openings for fuckheads like Hitchens.

On the other hand, if Chomsky was concerned with these kinds of trolls (or most believers of received wisdom) he wouldn't call Bush's crimes worse than Bin Laden's. So if he has Hitchens foaming at the mouth, it's no biggie; too bad Hitchens didn't bother to take on the issues of international law, the Taliban extradition offer, Pakistani sovereignty, the comparison to the war in Iraq, Bosch, etc.

Chomsky has probably had the single most profound influence on my thinking on U.S. foreign policy, international relations in general, and the politics of media, but every once in a while I question why the hell he feels the need to make some rhetorical point that doesn't much help his case while giving rhetorical ammunition to his critics.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 3:32 am
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mancabbage



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Re: Christopher Hitchens: Reactionary Dickweed Honky?  Reply with quote  

Raoul DeGroot wrote:
, british,



oi watch it sandy pants why you think we exiled him to you lot in the first place?


I'll shit on jesus any day of the week.. but the guy is a pompous tit
Post Tue May 10, 2011 5:36 am
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neveragainlikesheep



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I generally like Hitchens. I think both of them are off on this one though.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 6:15 am
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icarus502
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He's come at Chomsky before. Hence Norman Finkelstein's response to him, which was pretty brutal as well.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 6:52 am
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futuristxen



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Who cares about Chomsky?
Post Tue May 10, 2011 9:04 am
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icarus502
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futuristxen wrote:
Who cares about Chomsky?


Lots of people. He may be the most famous living American intellectual. And this has been the case for twenty years.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 9:13 am
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name



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Re: Christopher Hitchens: Reactionary Dickweed Honky?  Reply with quote  

Raoul DeGroot wrote:

Don't try to come at Chomsky, bro. It can never make you look good.



please tell me you're not serious.

bro.

hitchens owns chomsky on this. and most everything else. why? because he is far better at applying logic to the construction of a rational argument. or in this case, skewering those who can't reasonably defend the garbage they spew. chomsky was entertaining in high school. then i came to my senses. it's certainly not about "selling out" or becoming more conservative as you age. it's about rejecting warped logic that is riddled with ideological leaps of faith. incidentally, that is what is at the core of hitchens' whole "atheism trip", as you call it. which you also classify as "reactionary".... yet you're a big fan of chomsky? pot meet kettle.

i'm not sure why, but this thread is really depressing me. in fact, a lot of what i've been reading on this forum lately has been depressing me. is this really where we're at? i bet we could have a 20 page thread on how the mmr vaccine causes autism. or about how genetically modified foods should be banned. or about how 9/11 was an inside job.

please don't make it worse by providing links to those threads.


Last edited by name on Tue May 10, 2011 10:22 am; edited 2 times in total
Post Tue May 10, 2011 9:30 am
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Z-0



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the Wall Street Journal had a poke too.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730804576312923866840988.html

...........................................................................................................
How fitting that Noam Chomsky would waste little time denouncing the killing of Osama bin Laden as the "political assassination" of an "unarmed victim" whose complicity in 9/11 remains, in the professor's mind, very much in doubt. Osama was fond of quoting the MIT sage in his periodic video messages—Jimmy Carter is another American so honored—so maybe the eulogy was just a matter of one good turn deserving another.

Then again, philosophical fellow traveling is always interesting, not least for what it tells us about ourselves.

In 1946, Martin Heidegger, incomparably the most significant philosopher of the 20th century, was banned from teaching for five years at the insistence of occupying French forces. The crime? He had been a Mitläufer—a "fellow-walker"—of the Nazi Party during its time in power. He had extolled the "inner truth and greatness of this movement." He had tormented Jewish professors. True, he had done so with caveats and reservations, and from a philosophical vantage that operated according to its own logic, distinct from simple National Socialism. But he had done it all the same.

Does anyone today doubt that the teaching ban was justified? Most of us would say that far worse was due the man who lent Adolf Hitler an aura of intellectual respectability.

Mr. Chomsky is no Martin Heidegger: His contributions to linguistics and cognitive psychology, considerable as they are, pale next to Heidegger's contributions to political philosophy. Nor is he a Heidegger in the sense that he has brought no material harm to anyone, as Heidegger did to his mentor Edmund Husserl.

Yet when it comes to making excuses for monsters, the two thinkers are evenly matched. Among the subjects of Mr. Chomsky's solicitude have been Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson (whom he described as a "relatively apolitical liberal"), the Khmer Rouge (at the height of the killing fields), and Hezbollah (whose military-style cap he cheerfully donned on a visit to Lebanon last year).

As for bin Laden, Mr. Chomsky asks, rhetorically, "how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden's."

Ho-hum: Can anyone be surprised anymore by what Mr. Chomsky thinks and says? Not really. In one of those little ironies of leftist politics, the author of "Manufacturing Consent" has become a victim of what my former colleague Tom Frank likes to call "the commodification of dissent," in which even the most radical ideas come stamped with their own ISBN number. In the West at least, the marketplace of ideas is also the great equalizer of ideas, blunting edges that might once have had the power to wound and kill.

So it is that Mr. Chomsky can be the recipient of over 20 honorary degrees, including from Harvard, Cambridge and the University of Chicago. None of these degrees, as far as I know, was conferred for Mr. Chomsky's political musings, but neither did those musings provoke any apparent misgivings about the fitness of granting the award. So Mr. Chomsky is the purveyor of some controversial ideas about this or that aspect of American power. So what?

Here's what: Dulled (and dull) as Mr. Chomsky's ideas might be in the West, they remain razors outside of it. "Among the most capable of those from your side who speak on this topic [the war in Iraq] and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war," said bin Laden in 2007. He was singing the professor's praises again last year, saying "Noam Chomsky was correct when he compared the U.S. policies to those of the mafia."

These words seem to have been deeply felt. Every wannabe philosopher—and bin Laden was certainly that—seeks the imprimatur of someone he supposes to be a real philosopher. Mr. Chomsky could not furnish bin Laden with a theology, but he did provide an intellectual architecture for his hatred of the United States. That Mr. Chomsky speaks from the highest tower of American academe, that he is so widely feted as the great mind of his generation, that his every utterance finds a publisher and an audience, could only have sustained bin Laden in the conceit that his thinking was on a high plane. Maybe it would have been different if Mr. Chomsky had been dismissed decades ago for what he is: a two-nickel crank.

Now bin Laden is dead. Yet wherever one goes in the Arab world, one finds bookstores well-stocked with Chomsky, offering another generation the same paranoid notions of American policy that mesh so neatly with an already paranoid political culture.

In 1946 a self-confident West had no trouble demanding that Heidegger be banned. Ideas, it was understood, had consequences. Today nobody would dream of banning Mr. Chomsky from anything. Yet ideas have consequences even today.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 9:31 am
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name



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Re: Christopher Hitchens: Reactionary Dickweed Honky?  Reply with quote  

icarus502 wrote:
futuristxen wrote:
Who cares about Chomsky?


Lots of people. He may be the most famous living American intellectual. And this has been the case for twenty years.


that is sad.
not saying you're incorrect.
just that it's sad.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 9:39 am
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mlanifesto



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Re: Christopher Hitchens: Reactionary Dickweed Honky?  Reply with quote  

mancabbage wrote:
Raoul DeGroot wrote:
, british,


oi watch it sandy pants why you think we exiled him to you lot in the first place?



To be fair his thinking is pretty British. A specific kind of ye olde British, but British.

Typical silver-spoon knobjockey. Did PPE at Oxford, has a hissy-fit if people refer to it as Oxbridge even. The association with Cambridge rubs his nubs the wrong way. Shits on people with regional accents because he thinks they talk like oiks. Quite fine with a bit of imperialism if it fits his ends.

Same kind of 'British' Thinking as Bill Clinton and his other Oxford Uni mates, quite a few other of the American gentry too.

Good thing is they'll be extinct soon enough. Most of them died of heart failure when they heard the black guy on Radio 4 a few years back.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 9:57 am
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crash



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i'm not a fan of hitchen's atheism act or a lot of his other beliefs but that article is on point. chomsky's really reaching with that bullshit.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 10:15 am
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Z-0



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has anybody read hitchen's "Missionary Position"? i'm thinking of ordering it to satisfy my tall poppy syndrome.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 10:22 am
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crash



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i did a while ago. it's a quick read and fun in an iconoclastic sort of way. it's also great to leave out on the coffee table.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 10:41 am
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icarus502
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crash wrote:
i did a while ago. it's a quick read and fun in an iconoclastic sort of way. it's also great to leave out on the coffee table.


This. Totally fun read.
Post Tue May 10, 2011 10:54 am
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