Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Williams 1, Chomsky 0

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 24, 2009

One of the more depressing things of the late 1990s was watching the far left make common cause with the far right over Kosovo, in large part because both groups insisted that any action undertaken by Bill Clinton was flat-out wrong no matter what.

Recently, Ian Williams reminded us all that Noam Chomsky claimed and still claims that the US and NATO air raids were the cause of the worst ethnic-cleansing bouts of Slobodan Milosevic. Professor Chomsky did not take kindly to this and in turn accused Williams of having blood on his hands. Williams was allowed to respond, and does so thus:

One can certainly accuse the West of neglecting the plight of the Kosovars, but it was Milosevic and his regime that deprived the Kosovars of their rights and then began to kill and deport them. It was that regime that had recently killed up to 8,000 Bosnians at Srebrenica, whose dismembered and reburied bodies are still being found. There was no NATO bombing to blame for that rather shameful inaction.

In fact, faced with that cold-blooded massacre, NATO leaders had every reason to fear the worst in Kosovo.

I would recommend that Chomsky read the judgment of the UN war crimes tribunal, after it had considered the evidence of 113 witnesses for the prosecution and 118 for the defense, not to mention tens of thousands of pages of documents submitted by both sides. It found five Serb officials guilty of the “criminal enterprise” that he attributes to NATO. It concludes that “the direct testimony from many witnesses demonstrates that the Kosovo Albanian population was fleeing from the actions of the forces of the FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia] and Serbia, rather than the NATO bombing and the KLA.”

For a flourish that should excite some indignation, the report added that “there is no doubt that a clandestine operation consisting of exhuming over 700 bodies originally buried in Kosovo and transferring them to Serbia proper took place during the NATO bombing” and adds that the “great majority of the corpses moved were victims of crime and civilians, including women and children.”

As Williams states, Chomsky, like many of the far left, “betrays a persistent Manichaean worldview in which the United States is always the source of evil in the world”. The truth is a bit more complex. Not everything the US does is wrong, and not everything its enemies does is right. Giving in to the urge to put things in black-and-white framings sets one up for making egregious errors, and for being bamboozled.

One Response to “Williams 1, Chomsky 0”

  1. Charles II said

    Plus, Western Europe and Russia bear a lot of blame for letting the situation get out of control. Early insertion of UN peacekeepers could have made a major difference. By the time the European actors (including Russia) let the US get involved, it was very late.

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