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Friday, February 01, 2008

Chosmky - Bikes not bombs - Transcript?

If someone has a transcript of his speech, please post it (or the link) into the comments below!

Chomsky slams U.S. foreign policy

Ben Kruger-Robbins - 1 feb 1008

MIT professor Noam Chomsky speaks about the political, social and economic consequences of the ongoing war in Iraq at a benefit for Bikes Not Bombs at Roxbury Community College.

MIT professor Noam Chomsky speaks about the political, social and economic consequences of the ongoing war in Iraq at a benefit for Bikes Not Bombs at Roxbury Community College.

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Noam Chomsky denounced the Iraq War and "imperialistic" American foreign policy of the Nixon, Reagan and Bush administrations at Roxbury Community College last night.

Chomsky, a renowned linguist often noted as one of the nation's leading leftist intellectuals, condemned Gens. David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker's abusive actions against the Iraqi state to the crowd of more than 500.

"Lord Petraeus has initiated tyrannically destructive policies, including, but not limited to, the surge proposed on Sept. 11, 2007 in a despicably theatrical manner before Congress," Chomsky said. "Great sectarian violence, particularly in the Anbar Province, has all but consumed a once prosperous nation."

Chomsky drew comparisons between U.S. foreign diplomacy and the conduct of the Nazi Party within Germany, referencing the Nuremberg trials as a parallel to contradictions in U.S. political speech and government-sanctioned action.

"I think the ironies of United States deployed treacheries in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are self-evident," he said.

Chomsky said "Ronald Reagan's conservation coalition" caused the overthrow of the legally elected Sandinista-regime in Nicaragua in 1984.

"Reagan was a thug and a coward," he said. "He managed to physically diminish a democratically-elected government and throw a nation into civil chaos for well over a decade . . . because the Sandinistas didn't back U.S. trade policies."

Kim Foltz, executive director of Bikes Not Bombs, the peace-activism group that sponsored the lecture, said the group supports Chomsky's provocative political outlook.

"This is a week of protest as the world economic elite gathers in Switzerland to further manipulate the global markets," she said. "Professor Chomsky, the greatest intellectual in the nation right now, is dead on in his assessments."

Audience responses, while animated, sometimes drew disagreement. Some attendees said Chomsky's presentation confused them because of awkward comparisons and lapses in chronology.

"I wish he had provided some solutions instead of an endless stream of problems," said Emerson College junior Anna Murphy. "I came out feeling overwhelmed and queasy because of all the pessimism and hopelessness."

Emerson sophomore Julie Morse said though she acknowledged Chomsky's intelligence, she felt slightly lost in his rhetoric.

"I've read some of his work, like Chomsky on Anarchism," she said. "While I respect his ideas and admire his stamina, that work came across as dry, dense and convoluted."

Still, Chomsky is undeniably knowledgeable, said Vietnam veteran Joe Kebartas.

"He was right about Vietnam, and he's right about Iraq," he said. "The man is a prophet in his own right."



"Impacts of the Iraq War: political, social, and economic consequences"

Thursday, January 31st 2008

on the Main Stage, Media Arts Bldg
at Roxbury Community College
Doors at 6:00 pm


Noam Chomsky has been a Bikes Not Bombs donor and member for more than 12 years, and he will be speaking as a benefit for Bikes Not Bombs. As the war stretches on in Iraq and threatens to spread into unending war in more countries, this is an important time to hear from Professor Chomsky, deepen our understanding of the workings of power, and consider how we can best work towards lasting peace and social justice.

Doors open at 6:00pm. Musical introduction by a Brass Quintet, doing American shape note and Bulgarian village harmonies. Noam Chomsky will speak followed by a question and answer period. Next will be a slideshow by Carl Kurz, founder of Bikes Not Bombs, giving an illustrated history of BNB's beginnings in war-torn Nicaragua, and an updated overview of BNB's international and youth work today.

About Chomsky

"Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today," wrote Paul Robinson in the New York Times Book Review. Chomsky, a 79 year-old professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has attracted worldwide attention with his ground-breaking research into the nature of human language and communication. His linguistic theory has been acclaimed as one of the major achievements of the century. But Chomsky is perhaps better known as an impassioned critic of American foreign policy, especially as it affects ordinary citizens of Third World nations. In the 1960s he became "one of the most articulate spokesmen of the resistance against the Vietnam war," to quote Jan G. Deutsche in the New York Times Book Review. Chomsky attacked the war in articles, in books, and from the podium; in the process he became better known for his political views than for his linguistic scholarship. Nation essayist Brian Morton found "nothing exotic about his critique of the U.S. role in Vietnam: He attempted no analysis of arcane economic or political structures. All he did was evaluate our government's actions by the same standards that we apply when we evaluate the actions of other governments.

Since that time, Chomsky has published over 40 books and scores of articles, interviews, and speeches that deal specifically with current political issues (this is in addition to his publications within the field of linguistics). In response to U.S. declarations of a War on Terrorism in 1981 and 2001, Chomsky has argued that the major sources of international terrorism are the world's major powers, led by the United States. He uses a definition of terrorism from a U.S. Army manual, which describes it as, "the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological." Chomsky's controversial bestseller 9-11 (2002) is an analysis of the World Trade Center attack that, while denouncing the atrocity of the event, traces its origins to the actions and power of the United States, which he calls "a leading terrorist state."

According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, between 1980 and 1992 Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any living scholar, and the eighth most cited source overall. Chomsky was voted the leading living public intellectual in The 2005 Global Intellectuals Poll conducted by the British magazine Prospect. Chomsky also has his critics. For more information about Noam Chomsky, a list of books and publications, links to read excerpts of his writing online, and articles about his statements and work, see

At Bikes Not Bombs, we encourage you to come experience this talk. It is essential for all of us to deepen our understanding of the workings of power in the world today, as we look for positive solutions.


If someone has a transcript of his speech, please post it (or the link) into the comments below!

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