Saturday, January 21, 2006

Noam Chomsky's Latest: "War on Terror"

Candide’s Notebooks Exclusive
“War on Terror”
Noam Chomsky’s Amnesty International Lecture
Trinity College, Dublin/Wednesday, January 18, 2006

[A minor exclusive, anyway: At the Notebooks’ home site, we make available here for the first time a printable, copyable and transmittable html version of the lecture, which Trinity College makes available in pdf format only.]

“Terror” is a term that rightly arouses strong emotions and deep concerns. The primary concern should, naturally, be to take measures to alleviate the threat, which has been severe in the past, and will be even more so in the future. To proceed in a serious way, we have to establish some guidelines. Here are a few simple ones:
(1) Facts matter, even if we do not like them.
(2) Elementary moral principles matter, even if they have consequences that we would prefer not to face.
(3) Relative clarity matters. It is pointless to seek a truly precise defmition of “terror,” or of any other concept outside of the hard sciences and mathematics, often even there. But we should seek enough clari~ at least to distinguish terror from two notions that lie uneasily at its borders: aggression and legitimate resistance. Read the full lecture...