What would an earth-shaking event be without remarks from the ivory tower’s most prolific and predictable scholar, Noam Chomsky? His recent commentary on the operation that led to the demise of Bin Laden would indicate that his once sharp critical mind has dulled considerably over the years. I would go so far as to suggest it’s incontrovertible proof that Chomsky has, in fact, been dead for some time now and that a very simple computer algorithm generates his rather boilerplate missives. His full commentary can be read here, but I’d like to draw your attention to a particularly laughable excerpt in which Chomsky addresses Geronimogate:
Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”
Wouldn’t naming an implement of destruction as brutal and efficient as the ones he mentions be a sign of respect for the warrior prowess of the Native American? It’s a sign that well over a hundred years after the Indian Wars and the excesses our federal government engaged in against the Native American, we, as a people, no longer see him as the simple savage that our ancestors might have.
The Jewish people and the Gypsies were treated the way they were for being, according to Nazi ideology and the popular eugenic science at the time, genetic pollutants. The Third Reich had no respect for them as a people, which led them to truncate their individual liberties to the extent that systematic extermination was viewed as ethical. They would therefore never name a weapon – something meant to command respect on the battlefield—the “Jew” or the “Gypsie” as Chomsky suggests.
However, were the modern German army to name a weapon the “Anielewicz”, after one of the primary organizers of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, it would be a sign of respect towards those they had once treated as less than human. This would indication that as a society they have adopted that struggle against Nazi excesses as a part of their common heritage, and not an adoption of a “profound imperial mentality” as Chomsky suggests.
The questions Chomsky raises in the complete piece require a more complex analysis, but that particular aspect would indicate that he believes society is incapable of progress and must remain mired in what many believe to be a dark period of its past. Contrary to being progressive, his outlook is anything but. I think it’s time for someone at MIT to update the Chomsky algorithm.