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The Lessons of Vietnam

Program #CHON022. Recorded in Madison, WI on March 31, 1985.

2 CDs

The U.S war on Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia is shrouded in mythology. After the massive death and destruction President Carter was asked about reparations and he said there would be none. Why? Because “the destruction was mutual.” In this detailed and brilliant lecture Chomsky traces the tenets of U.S. imperialism. The rationale for intervention is the same: we are defending ourselves against aggression. Chomsky says, this “has deep roots in American history” and is a “fundamental principle not only of American statecraft but liberal scholarship as well.” How far does U.S. “sadism” extend? When “India in 1977 tried to send 100 water buffalo to Vietnam to replace the tens of thousands that we had wiped out in the war the U.S. threatened to withdraw Food for Peace aid to India.” The lecture is followed with a brief Q&A on Greece, the Peace Corps and the Middle East.


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.” He is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 90, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World WorksPower Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.

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