Noam Chomsky gave a talk (broadband Real Video link) at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, on November 16, 2004, and during the question period, this exchange took place;
Q. “Could you think of or imagine any form or shape in which you might support American military action which is taken in anticipation of – like the present justification – of an imminent and dangerous threat to the United States?
Can you conceive of any form in which you might support such action?”
NC. “Why don’t you generalize it? And say can you conceive of any action which any state might take?
Yeah sure, you can imagine such things, i mean let’s say you’re in Iran right now … [laughter from crowd] Iran is, uh, I mean there’s a real problem, Iran is – first of all Iran is under attack by the world’s superpower, with embargoes, this that and the other thing; it’s surrounded by states either occupied by its superpower enemy, or having nuclear weapons. A little way down the road, is the regional superpower, which has hundreds of nuclear weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction and is, essentially, an offshore US military base, and has the biggest air force, and technologically most advanced air force in NATO, more than any NATO power (outside the United States), and in the past year, has been supplied by the global superpower with a hundred advanced jet bombers, openly advertised as able to fly to Iran and back to bomb it; and also provided (I’m talking about Israel) [laughter from crowd] with what the Hebrew press calls “special weaponry”. Well, nobody knows what that means, but if if you’re an Iranian intelligence analyst, you’re going to give a worst case analysis of it, of course; and has actually been publicly provided with smart bombs and deep penetration weapons and so on. I mean they have a terrific case for anticipatory self-defense – better than any other case I can think of, but do I approve of it? Like, do I approve of their bombing Israel, or carrying out terrorist acts in Washington or so on? no. Even though they have a pretty strong case. Better than anything I can think of here, just as the Japanese had a much better case than any I can think of here, but I don’t approve of Pearl Harbor; so yeah, we can conceive of cases, and in fact, some of them are right in front of our eyes, but none of us approve of them. None of us.
Chomsky goes on to say;
“And in fact, the threat of terror and weapons of mass destruction is very severe, very severe, and the Bush administration, like the Clinton administration, doesn’t care about it. In fact, they are acting, consciously, in ways to increase the threat.
If you want to listen to this exchange, move the slider near the 1:02:13 mark, although the entire talk is well worthwhile.