Re: [americancomm] Bush vs. Bin Laden: a reaction
I'm not a Bush hater or politcal supporter, but I think that it was appropriate to select Bush instead of Obama because race could not be used to distract us from whatever point Chomsky was trying to make. In all honesty however, Bin Laden was on a world wide wanted list. To my knowledge, Bush is on no such list. Assasinating Bush on US soil serves no constructive purpose.
BTW. I respect Chomsky's contribution to liguistics, but sociopolitically, I understand that he's been a bit of a loon for years.
From: Andrea Webb
Sent: May 10, 2011 2:41 PM
Subject: Re: [americancomm] Bush vs. Bin Laden: a reaction
I understand that Bush may be part of the discussion but Chomsky uses Bush to kill off in his supposition, why not Obama, who ordered the kill?Everyone wants to be a Bush hater but no one will mention Obama.Don't worry. I can deduce the meaning of your statement as well as the push on Chomsky's part to further a liberal agenda, while keeping Obama out of the discussion completely.
--- On Tue, 5/10/11, folushology@... <folushology@...> wrote:
From: folushology@... <folushology@...>
Subject: Re: [americancomm] Bush vs. Bin Laden: a reaction
Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 2:26 PM@Andrea, There is no way you talk about September 11 and Osama Bin Laden without mentioning George W. Bush. The three are synonymous. I hope you can deduce the meaning of my statement above.Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTNFrom: Andrea Webb <andreawebb1977@...>Sender: email@example.comDate: Tue, 10 May 2011 11:19:59 -0700 (PDT)To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>ReplyTo: email@example.comSubject: Re: [americancomm] Bush vs. Bin Laden: a reactionFor the record, I didn't say that there wasn't any ground for discussion on Chomsky's comment, however, at first glance I think many would agree that while we can discuss and debate the communication nuances, we can also agree that the comment is political in nature. Obviously people feel passionately about the issue as some members have asked to be removed.I think we need to be very careful in how we approach issues of communication so that our intellectual discussions do not become a political forum. Issues that are very much political, like the Tea Party movement, Libyan unrest, and the death of Bin Laden can be discussed, but maybe they would be much better served discussion on a current events or events in world history groupserve, instead of one of communication. Maybe it would be more fitting on this groupserve to discuss Osama and his messages on video tape. What kind of communication style did he have? Why did he tape himself and then watch himself?The points you raised about governments versus other non-governmental entities is a good one, and I think it applies in this case. I think in many ways it was the point I was trying to make about his 'comparison' (comparing a legitimate man in an office of power to a terrorist). Obviously there are other avenues of discussion that can be had, but Chomsky's choice to choose Bush in his comparison instead of Obama, who has Bin Laden's blood shed on his hands, leads many to believe that this is much more of a political statement than any other.
--- On Tue, 5/10/11, Chad Emery <cemery65@...> wrote:
From: Chad Emery <cemery65@...>
Subject: Re: [americancomm] Bush vs. Bin Laden: a reaction
Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 1:55 PMVery well-stated, Brett. I am grateful for your contribution, which has brought to light aspects of Chomsky's statement that I had not yet considered.2011/5/10 Brett Lunceford <brettlunceford@...>For all of the squawking about this being an academic forum and that the link to Chomsky’s article should not have been posted, the responses have been decidedly un-academic.First, I am saddened to see that those professing a love of the First Amendment seem to understand it so little. Any First Amendment scholar will tell you that its purpose is not to protect speech that everyone agrees with. Rather, it is there to protect dissent. Consider the statement attributed to Voltaire: I may disagree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. The First Amendment does more than protect speech and the press. There is also that little thing about petitioning the government for a redress of grievances (along with religion and assembly). From the very beginning, there was the assumption that government would not always be the benevolent entity that the “America: Love it or leave it” crowd seems to believe in. Not everyone will think that what the government is doing is right. Should we extend such logic to groups such as the Tea Party, who obviously does not think that the government is on the right track? Should they be invited to leave the country if they don’t like it?Second, no one seems to actually want to take on Chomsky’s arguments here. We do believe in things like due process and the judicial system. We believe in ideals like “innocent until proven guilty.” After all, confession does not always equal guilt. Let me note that I am not saying that Bin Laden was not guilty, but rather that this is not for me to decide, but the courts. Unless, of course, I do not believe in the judicial system, in which case, I suppose I should have to leave the country. But instead of actually addressing and refuting Chomsky’s arguments, people have resorted to misrepresenting his arguments (nowhere does he say that he loves Bin Laden, for example), either/or fallacies, or simply calling it treason. Last I checked, making a case that something America did was wrong is not treason, although it is quite convenient to label it as such.Finally, no one has responded to the one thing Professor Lamba pulled out of the article: “We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.” From a communication perspective, we have much to note here. We could begin simply by considering the notion of news framing. Chomsky provides an alternate way to frame the operation – as an assassination. He does so by claiming that the operation violated international law. No one has stated, for example, that there are provisions in international law that warrant such force. Rather, it seems that respondents have simply dismissed Chomsky as a “traitor.” There are other issues that we could discuss, even from this forum, such as what constitutes supporting the enemy in a time of war; the nature of war against a non-governmental entity; the rhetorical construction of the war on terrorism; or the near impossibility of hearing dissenting voices in a media landscape of conglomerates (see McChesney, for example). After all, in Republic.com, Cass Sunstein notes that the ability to filter out viewpoints different from our own will diminish the potential for serious deliberation and thus democratic practice itself. So whether we agree with the viewpoint, the best thing that academics can do is to rationally engage it rather than to simply dismiss it.BrettOn Tue, May 10, 2011 at 11:34 AM, Andrea Webb <andreawebb1977@...> wrote:This information shouldn't be posted on an intellectual forum such as this one. If you agree with him, great, but why post on this forum that is supposed to be focused on Communication. We discuss the process, the art, and the nuances. This is not a political forum.That being said, this failed comparison by Chomsky is ridiculous to suppose in the first place.Bin Laden was never the leader of the free world, a United States president, or a person in a legitimate office of power. He is a dangerous radical made legitimate only by other dangerous radicals.Bush was the president of the United States, and a leader of the free world. While many will criticize everything he did in his presidency, he did see the country through 9/11. How short are our memories that we can be so callous in regard to what happened here? 9/11 was a scary day with all planes grounded. Not to mention the fear of planes hitting/attacking not only the WTC, but the Pentagon and possibly the White House.If you hate Bush, fine, but surely you don't hate the institutions we have built in America that symbolize our freedoms, like the White House, Pentagon, WTC, etc.If you love Bin Laden that much, then you can't fault Bush saying he was responsible for 9/11. You cannot have it both ways. Either you hate Bin Laden and feel he is responsible for 9/11 or you hate Bush and feel he is responsible. It's like believing in Heaven but not Hell. If one exists, the opposite must as well.For Chomsky, if he feels such a deep devotion to Bin Laden and the destruction of American institutions, then I invite him to leave our country. It is a tragedy that in America we provide a veil of protection for people under the first amendment, so that they can say crap like this and denouce that provided protection.Maybe Chomsky can get a job in Pakistan teaching sand combing.
I would like to thank you for your analysis of the piece that Chomsky wrote. This is really good piece and good explanation of Chomsky’s thought. I agree with many of the points analysis you made. I am sure if we read the lines carefully we learn one or two points from both of contents. Thank you!
Chomsky is not in love with Obama either. He directly calls him a liar. Here's my quick critique of his article . . .
Paragraph 1 opens by stating his primary claim - The operation was illegal; it violated "elementary norms" of international law. His reasoning is that there was no attempt to apprehend a suspect, it was an illegal assassination mission. Since there was minimal resistance, if bringing a suspect to trial had been the goal then it could have been achieved. Bin Laden is defined as a "suspect" because no evidence has been presented. To demonstrate this lack of evidence he cites FBI head Mueller and then Bush's dismissal of the Taliban's 4/02 request for evidence and explains that the confession was not evidence but a boast. Obama is labelled a liar for saying there is evidence.
That's a summary of the opening. To fully evaluate the claim I'd need to learn more about international law, but his points about respect for law and fair trials do resonate with me personally. Aren't fugitives usually extradited and tried when found? A pro-assassination case would presumably need to argue for suspension of international law in this particular situation. Moreover, if Chomsky's claim about lack of evidence were false a trial would show this.
The second point starts in paragraph 3, it is Chomsky's critique of U.S. media coverage of the event. Americans are very informed about government anger toward Pakistan for presumably harboring bin Laden but not very informed about Pakistani anger at a U.S. invasion or how sea-burial increases anti-Americanism among Muslims.
To properly evaluate this claim I'd need to do a content analysis of U.S. media coverage. As an average citizen who is not a news junkie I suspect Chomsky may be right; U.S. news tends to cover U.S. perspectives not world perspectives. However, I'm also pretty sure he did not do a content analysis either, so this is an opinion point that IMO is much different from claim #1, where there are clearly established international laws and precedents to measure facts against.
Paragraph 4 is where he gets aggressive with his rhetoric. He makes an analogical move where Bush replaces bin Laden, Iraqi commandos replace Navy Seals, and the Bush compound replaces Pakistan. All analogies are weak arguments because everything is like everything else in some respect; the reader's task is to evaluate just how alike they are. Chomsky knows this and moves forward by attacking Bush. In his view Bush is not comparable, instead he is a more justified target because, unlike bin Laden, there is incontrovertible evidence that Bush did command war crimes. Chomsky brings out the big guns by quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal and asking us to agree that the devastating consequences of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are directly attributable to Bush's criminal decisions.
Again, to properly evaluate the Bush is a war criminal argument I would need to know more about law, but the rhetorical result is clear - Chomsky bolsters an incendiary analogy with an argument that is verifiable by measuring facts against laws. Counter-arguers would need to make a case about why laws would need to be suspended in this particular case, not just disagree with an analogy. To my limited knowledge most war laws are about fighting countries, not terrorist movements, so there would first need to be judgments about which laws apply and which do not.
The final two paragraphs are ancillary. #5 charges U.S. hypocrisy by equating imprisoning a terrorist with harboring him and comparing that choice with Bush's doctrine that societies harboring terrorists are equally culpable. #6 describes the U.S. imperialist ideology that prevents Americans from seeing that "Operation Geronimo" is a title that casts bin Laden as courageous and the U.S. as a "genocidal invader." He closes with an invitation to think.
So anyway, in my reading, Chomsky is not a loon. He is an activist with a perspective on current events and he is comfortable using aggressive rhetoric to advance his agenda. IMO Chomsky is also not anti-American; he argues for basic American values like truth, justice, and the rule of law. His problem is with specific leaders, policies, and actions, not the Constitution. Is his rhetoric effective? I don't know, probably not. Political rhetors are often "preaching to the choir." Chances are that audiences who already agree with him are strengthened in their convictions a bit, people who disagree are so angered that they refuse to read past the headline, and the vast majority are too busy watching American Idol to know that the 8th most cited scholar of all time has expressed an opinion about bin Laden's death.