by Noam Chomsky
AVAILABILITY: Usually ships within 1-2 weeks
Publication Date: 2002
Publisher: Seven Stories
Topics: Crime & Punishment, Democracy: Theory & Practice, History: Local to Global, Media, Militarism, Third World Peoples, United States
Description: A New York Times, Book Sense, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, and Village Voice bestseller. Published worldwide in 27 languages. It has become the single most influential post-9-11 book both in the US and around the world, selling 300,000 copies in its English-language edition alone.
In '9-11' Noam Chomsky dissects the root causes of the September 11th catastrophe, the historical precedents for it, and the possible outcomes as the United States government responds with its "new war on terrorism."
For Chomsky, the atrocities of 9-11 "are something quite new in world affairs," marking the first time since 1812 that the U.S. mainland was attacked (an important distinction from Pearl Harbor, which was U.S. territory, but effectively a colony). As Chomsky writes, "in the past half century particularly, [the U.S.] resorted to force throughout much of the world... For the first time, the guns have been directed the other way. That is a dramatic change." Chomsky believes that the attacks have been harmful in ways that extend far beyond the initial death toll and ongoing national emergency. For example, he believes they represent "a devastating blow" to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Most importantly and provocatively, Chomsky argues that in the world after 9-11, it is no longer possible to hold our enemies to one standard, ourselves to another.
Chomsky argues for an international rule of law; existing bodies such as the U.N. and World Court must be given credence and then relied upon. "React with extreme violence," he writes, "and expect to escalate the cycle of violence, leading to still further atrocities such as the one that is inciting the call for revenge." But if the goal is to reduce the probability of further atrocities, then rather follow lawful procedure, presenting the evidence and letting independent world bodies direct the appropriate response.
As for why the attack happened, Chomsky writes that "this question is rarely raised in a serious way." And he adds, "To refuse to face this question is to choose to increase significantly the probability of further crimes of this kind."
In '9-11', Noam Chomsky comments on the September 11th attacks, the new war on terrorism, Osama bin Laden, U.S. involvement with Afghanistan, media control, and the long-term implications of America's military attacks abroad. Informed by his deep understanding of the gravity of these issues and the global stakes, '9-11' demonstrates Chomsky's impeccable knowledge of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia, and sheds light on the rapidly shifting balance of world power. Speaking out against escalating violence, Chomsky critically examines the United States' own foreign policy record and considers what international institutions might be employed against underground networks and national states accused of terrorism. '9-11's analysis will affect debate for years to come, and will also be a measure of how well the media is able to serve its role of informing the citizenry, so crucial to our democracy in times of war.
Review(s): "...possibly the most accessible of Chomsky's works." - Paul Murray, The Daily Yomiuri, Tokyo
"...a collection of interviews, serving as a badly needed corrective to news coverage of the present-day 'war on terrorism.'" - Norman Solomon, San Francisco Chronicle Review