Posted by Noam Chomsky at 6:50am, May 10, 2016.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch.
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Below is
part 2 of Noam Chomsky’s essay, “Masters of Mankind,”
excerpted from his new book, Who
Rules the World?
I hardly need say it, but you really should pick up a copy of the book. It’s remarkable that, so
many decades later, Chomsky’s thinking is still so fresh and insightful (or perhaps it’s a sad measure of how little has actually changed when it comes to power and pain on this planet). If you missed the first part of his essay, click here to read it.
And a small reminder as well about the pile of TomDispatch-recommended
books that’s undoubtedly been growing by your bedside, just in
case you want to raise it a little higher: for any of you
willing to contribute $100 or more ($125 if you live outside
the United States), a signed, personalized copy of Nick
Turse’s powerful new Dispatch Book, Next
Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, is still
available, as is Rebecca Gordon’s American
Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for
Post-9/11 War Crimes. Check our
donation page for the details. To read the
Turse essay that launched his new book at TD, click
The Costs of Violence
Masters of Mankind (Part 2)
By Noam Chomsky
[This piece, the second of two parts, is excerpted from
Noam Chomsky’s new book, Who
Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books).
Part 1 can be found by clicking
In brief, the Global War on Terror sledgehammer strategy has spread jihadi terror from a tiny corner of Afghanistan to much of the world, from Africa through the Levant and South Asia to Southeast Asia. It has also incited attacks in Europe and the United States. The invasion of Iraq made a substantial contribution to this process, much as intelligence agencies had predicted. Terrorism specialists Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank estimate that the Iraq War “generated a stunning sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal jihadist attacks, amounting to literally hundreds of additional terrorist attacks and thousands of civilian lives lost; even when terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan is excluded, fatal attacks in the rest of the world have increased by more than one-third.” Other exercises have been similarly productive.
A group of major human rights organizations — Physicians for Social Responsibility (U.S.), Physicians for Global Survival (Canada), and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Germany) — conducted a study that sought “to provide as realistic an estimate as possible of the total body count in the three main war zones [Iraq, Afghanistan, and
Pakistan] during 12 years of ‘war on terrorism,'” including an extensive review “of the major studies and data published on the numbers of victims in these countries,” along with additional information on military actions. Their “conservative estimate” is that these wars killed about 1.3 million people, a toll that “could also be in excess of 2 million.” A database search by independent researcher David Peterson in the days following the publication of the report found virtually no mention of it. Who cares?
More generally, studies carried out by the Oslo Peace Research Institute show that two-thirds of the region’s conflict fatalities were produced in originally internal disputes where outsiders imposed their solutions. In such conflicts, 98% of fatalities were produced only after outsiders had entered the domestic dispute with their military might. In Syria, the number of direct conflict fatalities more than tripled after the West initiated air strikes against the self-declared Islamic State and the CIA started its indirect military interference in the war — interference which appears to have drawn the Russians in as advanced US antitank missiles were decimating the forces of their ally Bashar al-Assad. Early indications are that Russian bombing is having the usual consequences.
Global Climate Change