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On the Eve of the Gulf War

Program #CHON-AHME001. Recorded in New York, NY on January 13, 1991.

One of the rare recordings of these two intellectual titans recorded just a few days before the attack on Iraq. From the very beginning of the crisis precipitated by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Chomsky says, the U.S. prevented "any diplomatic initiative" including sanctions. Quoting Bush 1, "America stands where it always has, against aggression, against those who would use force to replace the rule of law." To which Chomsky says, "As a matter of logic principles cannot be selectively upheld." Chomsky predicts, the U.S. will "shift confrontations to the arena of force where it ranks supreme." Ahmad reviews the historical background, the colonial structures and the so-called New World Order. He rightly predicts that war would lead to great loss of life in Iraq. He goes over Washington's double standards, particular in the Middle East, which privileges Israel and oil above all else. After this war "people will organize to attack America."

Speaker(s):

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor practically invented modern linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” At 87, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World Works, and Power Systems with David Barsamian.

Eqbal Ahmad

Eqbal Ahmad was Professor Emeritus of International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He was born in Irki, Bihar, to an Indian Muslim landowning family. His father was murdered while parceling out the estate to landless peasants. Upon the partition of India in 1947 he went to Pakistan. He came to the U.S. to attend Princeton. For many years he was managing editor of the quarterly Race and Class. His articles and essays appeared in The Nation and other journals throughout the world. He wrote a weekly column for Dawn, Pakistan's oldest English newspaper. He was one of the the most original and influential anti-imperialist thinkers of his era. He was a leading figure in the anti-Vietnam War movement. He was a remarkable and persuasive orator. As a teacher, he was mentor and inspiration to many. He was a close ally of Edward Said, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. Confronting Empire and Terrorism Theirs & Ours are the two books he did with David Barsamian. Eqbal Ahmad died in Islamabad on May 11, 1999.

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