The Lessons of Vietnam
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, 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. His contributions to modern linguistics are legendary. 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.” The New Statesman calls him “the conscience of the American people.” He is 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 94, he is still active; writing and giving interviews to the media all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, his latest are Consequences of Capitalism, Chronicles of Dissent and Notes on Resistance.