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Chomsky critiques U.S. policy at Milwaukee Area Technical College

Chomsky has indicted the United States as a rogue nation, bullying and oppressing poor people from South America to Europe to further its interests and the interests of large corporations.

Students hear linguist's views on oppression, Bush administration

By TOM HELD
theld (at) journalsentinel.com
Last Updated: Nov. 1, 2002

Noam Chomsky rattled off a list of oppressive atrocities like a prosecutor reading a lengthy indictment - his views of history and U.S. responsibility seeming to stream around dozens of students.

In an hourlong session Friday at Milwaukee Area Technical College, the guru of the far left answered just six questions. Each served as a chapter heading in a lecture on the failures of U.S. foreign policy, from appeasement of Hitler before World War II to support for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein throughout the 1980s.

Dazzled, the students soaked up Chomsky's words, trying to process volumes of history, policy and opinion from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics professor.

"It was great to hear someone who's so knowledgeable and lets his mind flow," said Daniel Ross, a 25-year-old liberal arts student. "He's not as radical as I expected."

In a word that Chomsky never uttered, Galileo Aceosta described the hour as "awesome."

For decades, Chomsky has inspired radical followers and enraged mainstream critics with his verbal attacks on U.S. leaders and their actions at home and abroad. He is soft-spoken, even when condemning presidential administrations with scathing critiques.

"I'm sure every one of you knows from your own lives and the lives of the people around you that the Bush administration is carrying out a major attack against the American population," Chomsky said.

In his view, its agenda follows the outline set by Ronald Reagan in the early '80s: Drive the country into a huge budget deficit, use that fiscal crisis to slash social programs, and hide behind a propaganda campaign that instills fear across the country.

"They are trying to enrich a pretty small group of corrupt gangsters, who they are protecting all the time," Chomsky said. "And they are carrying out a war against the public to do it."

In his writings, Chomsky has indicted the United States as a rogue nation, bullying and oppressing poor people from South America to Europe to further its interests and the interests of large corporations. His critics charge that Chomsky bases his views on unfounded and distorted history.

For his supporters, Chomsky serves as an intellectual counter to the Bush administration and its calls for war in Iraq.

His appearance in Milwaukee was part of the 15th annual Beans and Rice banquet, sponsored by the Milwaukee Pledge of Resistance.


A version of this story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 2, 2002.
 
 

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