Sunday, July 3, 2011

Power and Terror - Conflict, Hegemony and the Rule of Force by Noam Chomsky

Power and Terror - Conflict, Hegemony and the Rule of Force
by Noam Chomsky

Pluto Press, 2010
http://www.plutobooks.com/

Review by Ramona Wadi

"The list of the states that have joined the coalition against terror is quite impressive. They have a characteristic in common. They are certainly among the leading terrorist states in the world. And they happen to be led by the world champion."  Noam Chomsky

Power and Terror is a logical breakdown of an irrational facade of justice. Chomsky's rendition of power is less of an opinion; more a sliver of reality which the US is capable of manipulating and presenting as its own concept of truth.

The US government's rhetoric of human rights and freedom serves to alienate the world from its complicity in oppressions. The world's superpower has engaged in many wars, supported right wing military dictatorships in Latin America and waged a 'war on terror' after September 11 which led to the invasion of Iraq. The flagrant hypocrisy of imperialism bludgeoned language to create terminology that soothed their involvement in exploitation and torture.

Hence 'counter-revolutionary' activities was the term used for any terror the US indulged in. Drawing on interference in various countries, Chomsky exhibits the relation between aid and torture, between human rights rhetoric and human rights abuses. For all its condescending attitude, the US government had no qualms about disregarding popular opinion regarding the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions.

In the 90's Colombia had the worst human rights record, yet it was regarded as a US ally and therefore received aid by the world's superpower. Colin Powell had declared "Colombia meets Washington's human rights standards." Taken at face value, considering only the illusion conjured by power, the statement creates a dissonance. Yet, when one considers that the crimes perpetrated by the US in various countries the statement makes perfect sense. The US continues to breach the Geneva Conventions, it supplies Israel with tanks, helicopters and other war supplies to assist in annihilating the Palestinians, it votes against any UN resolutions in order to remain the world's superpower, exploits countries by supplying aid which gives the means to torture, creates and discards allies as it did with Saddam Hussein and blocks any diplomatic efforts in a manner that enhances the possibility for war.

In the world of power, only one side is destined to receive condolences for the dead. The millions of victims exterminated due to the US interpretation of human rights and freedom seem to be almost irrelevant in the grander scheme of things; collateral damage, an unfortunate circumstance which power was reluctant to prevent.

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