On September 19, 2001, eight days after the terror attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, and killed over 3,000 people, Noam Chomsky was asked to assess the historical impact of 9/11 by an Italian newspaper. In posing this question, the journalist was aware of Chomsky’s reputation as an extreme critic of America’s foreign policy, its free-market economics, and its political system. Even on the Left, where anti-Americanism stands as the reigning ideology, Chomsky is unique for the single-mindedness of his vision. Over four decades, he has forged a consistent record of blaming the United States for the entire panoply of the world’s problems: war, famine, genocide, poverty, even infectious disease. He also popularized the notion, now widely accepted on the Left, that the United States is itself the world’s number-one “terror state.”
Chomsky did not disappoint his interviewer. The fact that the United States had just come under deadly attack and faced the possibility of further and potentially deadlier aggression did not inspire reassessment or even moderation. He declared, in effect, that America had gotten what it deserved.
About the Author
Arch Puddington is director of research at Freedom House and the author, most recently, of Lane Kirkland: Champion of American Labor.