The morning after the U.S. hit Iraq with Shock and Awe, I went out to the street in Kabul—the Street of Martyrs, as it happened—to face Sharif, my driver.  He was in a deep, sorrowful rage.  “Already you forget Afghanistan,” he said.  “Just like before.” “Before” was 1992, after the Soviet occupation.  Soviet troops had already gone home when we dispatched the Afghan mujahidin—our proxy Cold Warriors—to bring down the central government they’d left behind.  Then we abandoned the country to civil war.  Every Afghan remembers that American betrayal. Suddenly, the Bush administration recalls it too. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently warned Canadians, alarmed by their soldiers’ rising death toll, against abandoning Afghanistan “again.”  Rice said, “The consequences will come back to haunt us.” The consequences the first time around were bad enough.  For Afghans, the chaos of civil war led to the rule of the Sharia-law-and-order Taliban, sponsored—some […]

This post originally appeared on The Nation Blog: Watch most TV channels and if Iraq is the subject, you see bombs going off. You hear grisly tales of tortured Iraqis slaughtered in the internecine strife that’s gripped that country, and you get the almost daily accounts of American troops dying in small but steady numbers. But just as the Bush administration promised us, there is good news, Virginia — and it’s been over on Fox for the last two months. Since late July, if your timing was right, you might have caught a lilting, almost Edenic-looking ad at Fox, one of a series from "the other Iraq." We’re talking about the autonomous region of Kurdistan here. The ad begins with a male over-voice in mellifluous English: "Saddam’s goal was to bury every living Kurd. He failed." By now, you’re seeing Kurds of every stripe, young and old, many with small […]

President Chavez of Venezuela spoke to the UN General Assembly earlier today.  During his remarks he held up a copy and recommended that everyone read Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival.  Here is the transcript of his comments. "Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it. Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, ‘Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States.’" [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.] "It’s an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what’s happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet. The hegemonic pretensions of the […]

The editors of this blog asked Noam Chomsky to comment on Thomas Friedman’s "Land for NATO" editorial in the September 13th edition of the New York Times.  The following is Mr. Chomsky’s response. I’ve been asked for comments on Thomas Friedman’s "Land For NATO" editorial, NYT, Sept. 13, 2006. Friedman’s main point is that the UN force in Southern Lebanon offers a possible model for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians: "Israel withdraws and the border is secured by a force that is U.N. on the outside but NATO on the inside." Friedman’s thesis is based on two crucial tacit assumptions.  The first is that “the border is secured” for Israel; the problem of security arises for Israel, not for the Palestinians and Lebanese.  The second is that Israel has been willing to withdraw from the occupied territories if security is guaranteed, or would even contemplate that possibility. The […]

On September 5, Chevron and two allied energy firms announced the biggest oil discovery in U.S. territory in years: the 30,000-feet deep “Jack No. 2 Well” located some 175 miles south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico. Early estimates suggest the new field may house as much as 3 to 15 billion barrels of oil, equivalent to 10 to 50 percent of America’s proven reserves of 29 billion barrels. Because other energy firms are exploring in adjacent areas of the Gulf, some industry analysts predict a new Golden Age of American oil production. But before we set aside all our anxieties about future energy shortages, there are several aspects of the Chevron discovery that bear closer attention. First, the Jack No. 2 field sits beneath five and half miles of ocean water plus additional hundreds or thousands of feet of rock and salt, and will require costly and […]

In August, even before the official announcement that some two dozen would-be terrorists had been arrested in London, President Bush and his top advisers swung into action. Their goal was not to stop the terrorists, who were already safely behind bars, but to use the threat to justify the president’s seemingly endless “War on Terror.” The problem is, almost everything that President Bush understands about his own war on terrorism is wrong. According to nearly a dozen former high-ranking officials who have been on the front lines of the administration’s counterterrorism effort, the president is not only fighting the wrong war — he is fighting it in a way that has actually made the threat worse. The war on terrorism, they say, has been mismanaged and misdirected almost from the start, in no small part because the president simply does not understand the nature of the enemy he is fighting. […]

As the United States and its allies debate how to salvage the disastrous occupation of Iraq, many ideas have been put forward of how to move forward, from sending more troops, to partitioning the country, to redeploying all troops to Kurdistan or to neighboring countries. But the one option no one is seriously considering is the one that makes the most sense: withdrawal and an end to the occupation. The reality is, the longer the occupation continues, the worse things get for most Iraqis. Rather than being the solution to Iraqi troubles, the occupation is the problem. Indeed, The arguments for why the Unites States and its partners cannot leave Iraq are just as specious as the claims that were used to get us into Iraq in the first place. The occupation is not preventing civil war from breaking out, but instead is fueling sectarian conflict and increasing the chance […]