Comment of the Day: “The Jaundiced Eye of Noam Chomsky”

You can find the original post here, and under it, my response to this comment by reader Trafford Gazsik. I’d say that Christopher Hitchens’ rebuttal to Chomsky, linked in the post, and my post about the ethics of bin Laden’s execution address the issues raised, make up your own mind.

“I like Chomsky and as a non-American, I can assure you that rather than filling my head with anti-American sentiments, his writings have reassured me that America remains a country populated with mostly decent people and that the world at large should not give up on the place just yet.

“I’m interested to know which part of Chomsky’s analysis you do not agree with:

– Do you disagree with the assertion that the Bin Laden ‘takedown’ was an assassination?

– Do you reject the assertion that the assassination took place within the territory of another sovereign state without the knowledge or permission of the government of that state, in clear contravention of international law and customs?

– Do you deny that Bin Laden had not been tried in any court, and was for legal purposes, an innocent civilian of Non-US nationality residing in Non-US territory?

“Don’t misunderstand my arguments here. I do not hate the US. I did not support Bin Laden. I do not feel any sadness at his passing, in fact my instinct – like many others here it seems – is to feel happy that he’s dead, that justice has been done. But none of that is relevant to the issues at hand.

“Consider the following scenarios:

1. An iraqi detachment sneaks into the US, storm into Dick Cheney’s house and execute him and another female who was residing there. They take his body and flee, later claiming that they were avenging the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by US forces over the past decade.

2. Without warrants and in violation of a number of US laws, FBI agents raid the home of a US citizen, execute him and another female, and leave. They later claim to have overwhelming evidence that the executed man was a serial killer who had killed hundreds of people.

“Have any ethical concerns with the above scenarios? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. So how was the Bin Laden ‘takedown’ any different?

“The US is the world’s only superpower. It could take on the rest of the world on its own, and win several times over. Does this mean that ‘might is right’ and it should trample all over international law? Or does it place it under a greater responsibility to uphold the rule of law, and exercise restraint?

“I suppose the question boils down to this: Does the US President have the power to order the summary execution of anyone, anywhere in the world at any time for whatever reason? If the answer is ‘no’, then what made it acceptable in Bin Laden’s case? Is this the kind of precedent Americans want to establish for others to follow?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.