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Kenneth Roth’s Strange Review of Noam Chomsky’s New Book


Kenneth Roth’s Strange Review of Noam Chomsky’s New Book

Howard Friel

In the first paragraph of his surprisingly inept and unfriendly review in the New York Review of Books of Noam Chomsky’s Who Rules the World? (May 2016), Kenneth Roth described the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as a “blunder.” This wasn’t a good sign, since it signaled either ignorance or rejection of the UN Charter’s prohibition of the threat or use of force by states in the conduct of their international relations.


OK, Roth, just invite Chomsky to a debate. Problem solved.


That Roth an ex director of HRW helps show that HRW little more than a mouthpiece for imperialism. They issue their critiques and statements on the policies of Governments worldwide to create the meme that the really "bad guys" are those in Countries that the USA in conflict with.

In their carefully worded critiques of Governments such as that of the USA they create the illusion that they are impartial.


Thanks for this close reading of Kenneth Roth's review of Chomsky's new book. you've helped clarify my understanding of the framework of Chomsky's foreign policy analysis.

That Human Rights Watch would want to limit it's application of war-related law to international humanitarian law (that is, providing aid to the victims of war) without taking a stand on the legality of the initiation of force in the first place strikes me as self-serving. As long as there are wars and the ensuing horror and misery, there will be plenty of demand for HRW.

I wonder if somewhere along the way HRW felt it's funding was in jeopardy if it criticized certain acts of aggression. I'm just saying...


It has been a very long time since any journal, print, electronic, whatever, has brought focus to the intellectual discussions considering any aspects of genuine democratic deliberations anywhere around the US. To be sure, such deliberations have mostly withdrawn from the public sphere and up into the several "cities on the hills" our universities and colleges aspire to embody. Nevertheless, with deliverance today of the Zogby article - an astonishingly bold challenge to business as usual D Party nonsense and GOP wilful ignorance as usual; and with this article bringing attention to Chomsky's historical leadership of the genuine US democratic culture, CD offers the hint that it will become the long-needed political organ hosting genuine, serious, poignant public deliberations in the US.

Thank you and kudos to the CD editors for these articles as well and the growing host of other articles on items of interest to democracy-loving, -respecting and -cultivating readers nationwide and globally! May this blog give the Guardian a run for its position leading deliberative decency in the anglophone world!

Thank you, readers, for all the contributions! And for us all: how do we welcome and privilege the more engagingly intelligent while marginalizing the merely cheer-leading and sound-bite-mimicking emptiness?


As most are pointing out, there is this from the article:
"Roth—the long-time head of Human Rights Watch—"
A short perusal of a HRC's web site reveals:
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Cargill, Shell, BP, and on.
Impressive list.
That in hand, no real need to read further. No need to waste energy expounding on this clown's attacks on the honorable Professor Chomsky.


Thank you for this unmitigated praise of Common Dreams. It is not alone, as there are news outlets such as In These Times, Truthout, The Hartmann Report, The Intercept and RT to name some of the best. Without them, I would be sitting here in Europe wondering what is really happening in a strong US counterculture. The older generation in the US is to a great degree ossified. That generation There may still be some hope for all the nations that make up this planet Earth to function cohesively enough to present the possibility of survival.


Perhaps Roth is jealous of Dr. Chomsky's intellect, incredible writing ability, clarity, appeal to all readers, and ongoing productivity/scholarship.... Roth's review smacks of "sour grapes."


Thank you, Mr. Friel for the exhaustive, detailed analysis. I totally concur with your arguments and conclusion.

Keep in mind that the pattern of embedding significant organizations (Humanitarian, Environmental, Civil Rights, etc.) with CIA types goes back at least to 1947's inception of the NSA.

It seems that Mr. Roth fits the bill. Chipping away (or attempting to) at Chomsky's arguments and credibility to play down drones and play the role of "neutral observer" to newly triggered (on Fixed cases) wars hardly sounds like the calling of a Human Rights proponent. It sounds more like a pro-military embed saying what he thinks he needs to say to undermine a key intellectual's arguments against Wars of Aggression, and extrajudicial death squads which is essentially what the Drone syndrome is all about.


Anyone who refers to a brutal invasion, based on overt lies, of a sovereign country that resulted in the deaths of at least hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the crushing of that country's infrastructure resulting in deep, long-term suffering AND the creation of millions of refugees as a "blunder" is NOT to be taken seriously. Mr. Roth, your "blunder" was the greatest foreign policy disaster in U.S. history and the suffering and turmoil that spreads over the ME to this very day are directly attributable to it.
It never ceases to amaze me how some Americans give this country a free pass when it comes to our endless imperialism and "wars". We are the "good guys" and our motives are seen as being basically good and justified. George W. Bush, arguably our very worst president, had the gall to speak of the 9/11 attacks has having occurred because "they hate our freedoms". That was bullshit. The appalling 9/11 attacks were the result of what Chalmers Johnson called "blowback", ie they were the result of what WE had done in the first place throughout that region.
I will always consider the work of Chomsky and his speeches as well worth reading and listening to. He is a regular on the program "Alternative Radio" which I can get from a local FM station. They have a website.


Blowback implies revenge. You and Chalmers Johnson really think it was angry foreigners who stole the missing gold from the basement vault? Foreigners who had the time and access to wire and detonate the towers? Foreigners who guided a cruise missile into the Pentagon offices where they kept Rummy's records about his missing billions? Foreigners who murdered 3000 faithful peons who were not warned to stay home that day? Absurd. It was an inside job. Google it Bruce, educate yourself.


Tell me something. If the Pentagon was hit, as you claim, by a missile (several witnesses stated that they SAW a commercial plane hit the building and a missile could not have knocked down the light poles in the parking lot) then that means that you think that the actual plane that was missing after the disaster was taken somewhere with its passengers. Where did it go? What happened to the people? Have they all been in detention since 2001 so they can't contradict your theory? Believe me. I despise the war criminals like Cheney, Rumsfeld and their ilk who took advantage of this appalling attack to advance their PNAC agenda and I am quite willing to accept that the Bush Regime knew that something was coming and they let it happen. However, I do not believe that the whole thing was an "inside job". It would have nearly impossible for it to have remained a secret after all these years with so many people in on the deception. By the way, remains of human bodies from the plane were found after the crash and pieces of engines that corresponded to the airliner were also identified.


Body parts in the Pentagon? Of course. Airline luggage was not reported, but that missile definitely killed some people at work, while destroying Rummy's financial records. . The debris outside and parts from a smaller jet engine were delivered, per photos taken the next day. Wouldn't ya know, all their security cameras were off that day .

The hit on the Pentagon was not seen by many, and immediately the area was secured. The reporting from there is not reliable. Airplanes that hit lightpoles would lose their wings. That missile sheared one but the others probably came down at night under heavy security. There was no airplane at the Pentagon, according to all reports I have found. Try YouTube.if still curious.

If those clever Americans could manage to wire and implode three WTC towers without detection, under the pretext of earthquake upgrades, then the Pentagon missile trick was relatively simple for them. The planning that must have been involved was remarkable. Probably a homing signal was planted in Rummy's records to guide that missile and avoid damage to other parts of the Pentagon.

The passengers on those 4 airliners were disappeared. I hope they survived. I hope they are living well somewhere. The high-jackers are reportedly living well in Saudi. Evidently planes were swapped in a masterful deception.

This is all available on YouTube. Some of our fellow Americans did this to re-create Pearl Harbor. It worked, and I also fell for it. We have become a nation of sheep.