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In this first collection of interviews since the
bestselling 9-11, our foremost intellectual activist examines crucial new questions of U.S. foreign policy
Timely, urgent, and powerfully elucidating, this important volume of previously unpublished interviews conducted by award-winning radio journalist David Barsamian features Noam Chomsky discussing America's policies in an increasingly unstable world. With his famous insight, lucidity, and redoubtable grasp of history, Chomsky offers his views on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the doctrine of "preemptive" strikes against so-called rogue states, and the prospects of the second Bush administration, warning of the growing threat to international peace posed by the U.S. drive for domination. In his inimitable style, Chomsky also dissects the propaganda system that fabricates a mythic past and airbrushes inconvenient facts out of history.
Barsamian, recipient of the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, has conducted more interviews and radio broadcasts with Chomsky than has any other journalist. Enriched by their unique rapport, Imperial Ambitions explores topics Chomsky has never before discussed, among them the 2004 presidential campaign and election, the future of Social Security, and the increasing threat, including devastating weather patterns, of global warming. The result is an illuminating dialogue with one of the leading thinkers of our timeand a startling picture of the turbulent times in which we live.
About the Author
Noam Chomsky is the author of numerous bestselling political works, from American Power and the New Mandarins in the 1960s to Hegemony or Survival in 2003. A professor of linguistics and philosophy at MIT, he is widely credited with having revolutionized modern linguistics. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.
David Barsamian, founder and director of the award-winning and widely syndicated weekly show Alternative Radio, has authored several books of interviews with leading political thinkers, including Arundhati Roy, Howard Zinn, Edward Said, and especially Noam Chomsky. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Read an Excerpt
Imperial AmbitionsConversations on the Post-9/11 World [American Empire Project]
By Chomsky, Noam
Metropolitan BooksCopyright © 2005 Chomsky, Noam
All right reserved.
"America has formal democratic institutions, but they barely function. So it doesn't matter if, say, 80 percent of the population thinks we should have some kind of national health-care system. It doesn't even matter if the large majority regards this as a moral value. When commentators rave on about "moral values," they're talking about gay marriage, not the fact that decent health care for everyone is part of people's moral values. And the reason those commentators don't care is that it's not their interest. They're like me. They get fine health care. So it's not an issue for them. But for the large majority of the population, it's a serous issue, and it's becoming even more so. When Medicaid is destroyed, as it probably will be, that's going to really harm people. But people are unorganized: they're not in unions, they're not in political associations, there are no political parties in which they participate. They're isolated. The genius of American politics has been to marginalize and isolate the population so it can't act in its collective interest."
Excerpted from Imperial Ambitions byChomsky, Noam Copyright © 2005 by Chomsky, Noam. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Are we suposed to forget that almost 3000 good people were murdured? By the terrorists?
This book is structured as a series of interviews with Noam Chomsky, conducted by David Barsamian from 2003 through 2005. Though the main focus of the book is the Iraq War, a larger theme in the book is American imperialism in US foreign policy throughout the history of the country 'this is why the book was published as part of the American Empire Project'. The text is historically accurate to an amazing extent. Though some of the assertions it makes are rather out of the ordinary, every statement is backed with numerous sources. The impartiality of the sources used is often discussed within the text itself. Nineteen pages in the back are dedicated solely to citations of sources used ¿ the statements in the book are evidently quite well backed. The author of the text seeks to dispel rumors 'also known as historical inaccuracies'. He strives to present facts in a full context, making apt comparisons both between time periods within the USA and between the USA and other countries. Perhaps the most stunning example of Chomsky¿s revealing of the true character behind the actions of government officials is his discussion of the following quotation from the Kissinger-Nixon transcripts: ¿Hit everything¿ Anything that flies on anything that moves¿. That was an order given by Kissinger to Pentagon regarding the bombing campaign in Cambodia during the Vietnam conflict. Unlike sources such as The American Pageant, Chomsky takes care to provide hard evidence for even the most seemingly subjective statements. For instance, The American Pageant presents Ronald Reagan as a president who was perhaps susceptible to a touch of corruption and incurred debts upon the country, but was nevertheless very well liked by the public. That sounds strange, but we take it for granted because it¿s in our textbook. Chomsky, however, looks at public opinion polls and points out that every single president following Reagan was more popular than Reagan, with the sole exception of George Bush II. That makes sense. Another theme explored at length in the book is class struggles and distribution of power within the society, tied in with a discussion of how free the ¿free press¿ of America really is. Chomsky analyzes unpublished American public opinion polls and illustrates an amazing discrepancy between public opinion and the stances of political parties, which are dominated by a wealthy few, and, according to Chomsky, are designed to keep the wealth with the wealthy and avoid alliances and political integration among the less fortunate. The readers of this book will undoubtedly gain understanding of common themes in American history such as imperialistic trends and the effect of American exceptionalism on policy. I rate this book a 5 and would definitely recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in history or modern politics, or somebody who simply would like to have a better understanding of American motives in politics today. The language is easily accessible starting from the high school reading level, and explanations are supplemented by easily comprehensible examples and historical analogies. This is an especially good read after completing a course on American history.
'Imperial Ambitions: Conversation on the Post 9/11 World' is a collection of interviews conducted by David Barsamian with Noam Chomsky. The interviews cover a multitude of important and at times complex topics that affect present and future societies. Chomsky and Barsamian ponder topics ranging from Nazi Germany to the war in Iraq, with special attention given to the various forms of propaganda used by governments to fulfill their objectives. Chomsky¿s thoughts on Social Security, Medicaid, health care, rogue nations, US nation building, education, activism, the economy, corporate greed . . . are all too engaging. According to Chomsky, there are few straightforward answers to today's complex issues facts are hidden behind a veil of secrecy and deception. Chomsky recommends that individuals become critical thinkers ¿ take nothing for granted. While readers may not fully agree with all of Chomsky¿s assessments or analysis of political and societal assertions and conclusions, Chomsky does give readers cause to reflect. His suggestions are crucially simple people must learn to use 'skeptical intelligence' and 'critical examination' on important issues. Chomsky contends that history has shown propaganda to be a powerful, yet an abused and/or misused tool of governments. . . . Much of what readers will get from 'Imperial Ambitions' is that fear is the fuel that drives the propaganda machine and that governments make use of propaganda to control public opinion. Chomsky posits that by using the concept of 'intellectual self defense' people can decode manipulated and surreptitious information disseminated by the government and the media. ¿Imperial Ambitions: Conversation on the Post 9/11 World¿ makes interesting reading. It is a first-hand introduction to Chomsky¿s philosophical views on a range of issues -- at times controversial, but always engaging.