by Mike Powers on 26-03-2013

Iraq Solidarity asked Noam Chomsky in a short interview to comment on four questions that need to be discussed after a decade of war and occupation. We are grateful that he took time in his busy schedule to address these issues.

1. How do you evaluate the results of the war on Iraq? Why?

The invasion devastated the society, increased terror (as anticipated by US and other intelligence agencies), and exacerbated latent conflicts that are now tearing the country and the region apart.  The end result has been to increase Iranian influence while the US was compelled, step by step, to abandon its basic war aims – which were finally declared fairly clearly as the scale of the defeat became apparent.

2. What effects did the war have on the US and the US empire as a system?

The war costs amount to trillions of dollars, and undermined the hopes of the more extreme ultranationalist elements to achieve their goals by large-scale violence.  That has contributed to more cost-effective measures of control, such as Obama’s global assassination campaign (drones).  Predictably, the war has also contributed to an expansion of domestic state power and undermining of basic civil liberties, extending significantly under Obama.

3. In what ways can the anti-war and anti-imperialist movements continue  to demand justice and accountability for Iraq?

Major efforts should be undertaken to bring to the general public the truth about what happened and why.  The perpetrators of the crimes should be exposed and if possible brought to justice.  The primary culprits – the US and UK political leadership – should be brought to accept and implement their responsibility to compensate in such fashion as they can for what they have wrought, with large scale reparations.  There are many particular tasks that should be seriously undertaken, among them an honest inquiry into the impact of advanced weapons in regions subjected to really barbarous attack, such as Fallujah.  But primary concern should be to help the victims in any way possible.

4. What lessons can the US and world anti-war movements learn from the  the war and occupation in Iraq in organizing to avoid and end other on-going and future wars?

The Iraq war is the first in imperial history that was massively protested even before it was officially launched.  That did not prevent the aggression, but there is good reason to believe that it limited the means of destruction employed by the invaders, who never even contemplated what was done to South Vietnam by Kennedy and Johnson in the absence of organized protest.  Had protests continued at a high level the effects would have been greater.  We should also learn the importance of encouraging public discussion and understanding of the causes of the continued resort to violence and subversion to control much of the world, to nip future exercises in the bud, and to change the structures of power in our own societies that engender such crimes.


(11-05-2013) INSIDE IRAQ TODAY

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