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November 11, 2001
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US war on Afghanistan is terrorist act: Chomsky

Papri Sri Raman in Madras

America's war against Afghanistan is 'a bigger terrorist act than what happened on September 11', renowned US intellectual dissenter Noam Chomsky has said.

"Like a mafia leader the US chose Afghanistan and struck at that country because it could not strike back," he said.

"It was America's military establishment that controlled the power centre," he contended at a discussion on Where is the World Heading on Saturday evening.

The United States did not seek the United Nations' approval for its Afghan action because it wanted to show the world that it did not need the world community's approval, Chomsky said.

"A unipolar world had increased America's hegemony," he said.

The large Music Academy hall in the city centre, the venue of the discussion, was overflowing with 5,000 people, with hundreds listening to Chomsky in the two foyers where the organisers had placed closed circuit television screens.

Continuing his criticism, Chomsky said, "The five countries who support America's action are all terrorist states themselves."

The renowned linguist not only debunked American militarism but also attacked several popular capitalist premises such as 'liberalisation', 'services' and the definition of 'terrorism' in the post-September 11 context, saying that even 'democracy' today meant a 'private power concentration'.

"Major decisions are no longer taken in the public arena," he pointed out.

"The US is not a democracy and the permanent interest of the country is the interest of the property-holders," he contended.

Attacking definitions used in modern-day parlance, Chomsky said, "Private power concentrations attack government regulations that threaten future profits and call it free trade, legitimising it by respectable analysis."

"The power of propaganda is such that even the victims begin to use the same language," he added.

Globalisation has only seen attacks on democracies and sharpened the divide between the rich and the poor, he argued.

"Globalisation is a misnomer. Globalisation assiduously promoted by Western governments had further sharpened the divide between the haves and have-nots."

Globalisation has only seen 'attacks on democracies' and 'socio-economic decisions have only been shifted to a concentration of power' in so-called open societies.

"There is no sense in transferring services to private hands," Chomsky said.

America's creed was 'nothing for anyone else', said one of the most bitter critics of US policies.

"There is no truth to the story of a boom in the American economy," he held.

Chomsky ended his interaction with this southern metropolis deftly fielding questions, arguing that if 'Hindu fundamentalism' was not fundamentalism but extremism, then Muslim fundamentalism too was a misleading term and should appropriately be called 'Islamic extremism'.

Chomsky's visit to Madras was organised as a part of his India tour that has been arranged by the Frontline magazine and the Media Development Foundation.

This is his second visit to India after 1996. He had already interacted with students of several colleges in New Delhi last week and visited the Asian College of Journalism in Madras on Saturday.

Indo-Asian News Service

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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