At first I thought it was because the site's founding editor Denis
Dutton and managing editor Tran Huu Dung sometimes include maverick
pieces from the left that have intellectual heft. Besides, I figured
they have a grudging respect for Chomsky's take on the world even if
they disagree with it.
But the thinking part of my brain -- actually, my friend Bill Osborne
-- disputes that. He believes the A&L editors occasionally aggregate
far left articles they deem "so extreme that they pillory themselves,"
especially feminist articles they regard as nonsense. Chomsky article
is different however. It makes enormous sense.
"So something else seems to be at work," Osborne says.
Here's what the thinking part of my brain came up with: "The right has
to find a new narrative, and there is something in the article they
think they can work with." It hints at the new story the right is
going to tell us:
1. The Middle East has always been a cauldron and so we
are not to blame for the mess in Iraq.
2. The Middle East is of such historical strategic importance that
even our "failed" attempt was justified. We must, for example, not
let China control Middle Eastern oil -- to say nothing of the
3. Freedom is the essence of good government and economies, so the
Iraqis (not America) are to blame for the chaos, killing, and poverty
because they would not accept the "freedom" we offered.
"One could twist Chomsky's logic to that narrative," Osborne says. "I
am pretty sure this is going to be the new empty oil barrel they drum
on." And he adds:
The right is now also openly admitting that genocide is evolving, so
they need a narrative to explain it. They must hide that we planned on
the genocidal civil war from the outset, and that the war has not been
a failure at all. Let them bleed each other white, then go in for the
kill. (That same strategy was used for Germany and the Soviet Union
before and during the Second World War.)
These high-level government people are ingenious, the cream of our
elite schools. They always amaze me. And of course, actions speak for
themselves. We see that in the end those schools, and the entire
governmental and economic system they support, ring as morally hollow
as someone kicking an empty oil barrel.
Which bolsters what Arianna Huffington wrote last week, "Bill Kristol:
On the Train to Delusionville," about his article in the Washington
Post, "Why Bush Will Be A Winner," and what she calls this morning
"The Long Tail of Bill Kristol's Delusions."