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Series | Noam Chomsky: Who Rules the World? Part 2

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  • The Consequences of Wielding a Sledgehammer Against All U.S. Enemies Around the World
  • Longtime activist and academic Noam Chomsky gives a broad overview of the state of the rulers and resisters around the globe.

Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch / In These Times

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[In These Times Editor's Note: This piece, the second of two parts, is excerpted from Noam Chomsky’s new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books). The piece first appeared at TomDispatch.]

May 10, 2016 | 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?

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. He is perhaps best known as a critic of all forms of social control and a relentless advocate for community-centered approaches to democracy and freedom. Over the last several decades, Chomsky has championed a wide range of dissident actions, organizations and social movements.

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Series | Noam Chomsky: Who Rules the World? Part 1