This article could better be entitled “Chomsky’s critics,” since it doesn’t say much about Chomsky, and certainly not about the substance of what his critics have to say about him – which would be much more interesting. Sure, people from all over the political spectrum have had plenty to say about him, some of it justified and some not. But a person reading this article certainly wouldn’t know where to start in trying to understand where Chomsky has been right or wrong.
Chomsky has made numerous statements on the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo that have been incorrect and uninformed. And – there’s no way to gloss over it – he states apparent falsehoods, when he knew better. He has associated himself, by endorsement, with outright liars who deny the Srebrenica massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims.
Chomsky has made numerous statements that are at odds with the extensively documented facts, although when challenged he claims not to be denying those facts. As editor of Balkan Witness, I have worked with other researchers to compile detailed documentation on Chomsky’s record of misinformation. Articles on this topic are cataloged at http://balkanwitness.glypx.com/chomsky.htm . I will summarize a few of them here and in postings following this one. Not all of them are by people with whom I have complete political agreement, on this subject or others, but I find them to be accurate and reasonable in the realm of the subject of my expertise.
I urge interested readers to study the articles for what they say, rather than engaging in the sort of ad hominem attacks that characterize Mr. Sayeed’s article.
While I have been a progressive political activist for decades, and I have learned much from Chomsky, his poorly thought-out position on the wars of dissolution of the former Yugoslavia have disillusioned me about his perception and his intellectual integrity. Though he might have taken the positions he did in order to focus attention on the crimes of Western governments, he is not justified in minimizing, ignoring, or misrepresenting the crimes of other nations.
Chomsky statements denying or minimizing Serbian crimes against the peoples of Bosnia and Kosovo. See http://balkanwitness.glypx.com/chomskydenial.htm
Professor Noam Chomsky has made misleading statements with the effect of denying or minimizing Serbian crimes against the peoples of Bosnia and Kosovo. We list some of those statements below.
When challenged, Chomsky has not denied or retracted his statements. Rather, he switches the subject to freedom of expression, unbalanced reporting, or the worse crimes of U.S. imperialism.
Chomsky appears not to be particularly knowledgeable about the history of the former Yugoslavia or about the recent conflicts there. Rather, he speaks off-handedly and inaccurately.
While we respect the contribution that Chomsky has made to our understanding of media, propaganda, and the framing of messages, we are saddened that in this case he has become a denier of major crimes of war. Unfortunately, he has not applied his prodigious analytical abilities to the former Yugoslavia.
We invite Professor Chomsky to clarify or retract the positions enumerated in this discussion.
1. Serbian concentration camps in Bosnia / Living Marxism (LM) controversy
2. The Srebrenica massacre
3. The Kosovo War
4. John Norris book Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo
See http://balkanwitness.glypx.com/chomskydenial.htm for details.