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com / By Patrick Smith 29 COMMENTS Chomsky’s Right: The New York Times’ Latest Big Lie More misleading half-truths from a paper too cowed by power and myth to tell the truth about U.S. foreign policy.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com !orthfoto !o"ember #$% &'#( | Never e!ore have " written a col#mn concerning nothing more than a $air o! %#otation marks. Then again& never #ntil now have " seen the $ower o! $#nct#ation so $ernicio#sly 'e$loye'. "t is not a new trick. (ery $o$#lar in hack'om '#ring the Col' )ar 'eca'es. *nclose something in %#otation marks an' all etween them is instantly 'e+ legitimi,e'- no arg#ment or e.$lanation nee' e ma'e. /ere& try it: )* the Cuban +doctors, sent to -ngola*. 0r: )* So"iet-made +farm e/uipment, in Portugal since its #012 re"olution*. )ell& they were 'octors an' it was !arm e%#i$ment. "n the latter category " sat in a Soviet tractor o#t in the 1ort#g#ese vineyar's& an' 'amn it i! the cam$on2s 'i' not !in' it #se!#l.
"n the en'& this kin' o! thing is sim$ly $assive aggression& my least !avorite ne#rosis. No one actively lies s#ch that one can con!ront an' reveal. "t is lying y mislea'ing an' y im$lication& so sen'ing #s o!! !#ll o! gro#n'less conviction an' $re3#'ice. "n this case& we have the irres$onsi le #se o! inverte' commas& as the Brits say& to sha$e national o$inion on a %#estion o! vital im$ortance. The %#estion is "ran. 4n' now to the s#$ine& corr#$te' an' corr#$ting organ. Yo# have taken a wil' g#ess& an' yo# are right. )e have o#r !amiliar $ro lem with o#r !rien's on *ighth 4ven#e& the New York Times& !aith!#l servants o! the sanctione' ortho'o.y. " give these !olks an 546 !or clever 'isg#ise this time& an' " !l#nk them in the $ro!essional ethics class. Sim$ly shame!#l& this ro#n' o! reckless chicanery. /ere is the sit#ation. 4s all know& a 'eal with "ran over its n#clear $rogram is the iggest game going these 'ays 7 an historic o$$ort#nity& as $revio#sly asserte' in this s$ace. 8#m le this& an' the 0 ama a'ministration will go 'own as ho$elessly moronic on the !oreign+relations si'e. Yo# may know& too& that a ro#n' o! talks etween si. worl' $owers an' the "ranians 3#st hit a $othole. "t is essential to #n'erstan' why. The $ara'o. is a$$arent& not real. 9nowing why reveals what a nation with im$erial am itions looks like when it is nearing e.ha#stion an' wo#l' rather 'ecline than sha$e #$& re+imagine itsel!& an' take a new an' constr#ctive $lace in the glo al comm#nity. Not knowing why enco#rages 4mericans to $reserve their righteo#s sel!+image even as the moths o! history chew holes in it. Best& in )ashington’s view& that we 'o not know why talks in :eneva last weeken' !aile'. Com$le. story& #t we can take care o! it sim$ly. "ran wants a n#clear $rogram& an' this incl#'es the ca$acity to enrich #rani#m. This is "ran’s right #n'er international law. )ashington an' the ma3or *#ro$ean $owers 'o not want "ran to have s#ch a $rogram eca#se they worry "ran will event#ally #il' a n#clear
wea$on. The talks in :eneva went so#r eca#se the ;.S. an' the *#ro$eans 'eman'e' that "ran s#rren'er its right. 0.9. /ere is the lea' in the Times re$ort !rom the City o! <i$lomacy: The "ranian government’s insistence on !ormal recognition o! its 5right6 to enrich #rani#m emerge' as a ma3or o stacle& 'i$lomats sai' S#n'ay. Two ig $ro lems. Nothing emerge' as an o stacle in :eneva other than Secretary o! State 9erry’s '#$licity& given that his "ranian co#nter$art& =ohamma' >ava' ?ari!& now charges him with mislea'ing "ran as to 'eman's to e ma'e on the enrichment %#estion. "ran has een %#ite clear all along: *nrichment #n'er law will never get on the ta le. ?ari! wo#l' have ski$$e' the tri$ ha' he known 9erry’s $lans- 9erry knew this. Then the %#otation marks. )ith them& the Times $ro$oses to 'e$rive "ran o! its stat#tory rights so that )ashington can lie to #s as well as to the "ranians. Yo# are all set now !or the corker. Yo# search thro#gh the $iece to #n'erstan' the %#otation marks& an' yo# come to this& e'ite' 'own so as to get to the $oint: "ran has asserte' re$eate'ly that it has the right to enrich #rani#m@. The 0 ama a'ministration is $re$are' to allow "ran to enrich #rani#m to the low level o! A.B $ercent@. B#t the a'ministration is not $re$are' to acknowle'ge at this $oint that "ran has a 5right6 to enrich@. This is how the conscio#sness o! em$ire is 'ri le' into #s an' s#staine'& one to#ch at a time. "ran asserts only the vali'ity o! international law. )hat the a'ministration is $re$are' to allow or acknowle'ge has nothing to 'o with what "ran can an' cannot 'o as a sovereign nation. This is also why these talks are very likely to !ail. "! they 'o& it will e the !a#lt o! )ashington an' its allies an' the com$licit me'ia. "t is this kin' o! lang#age that
ena les Congress to egin 'e ates on new sanctions against "ran. Concessions an' 'eman's are 'i!!erent: "ran may choose to conce'e this or that- the ;.S. cannot 'eman' those things y $reten'ing international law 'oes not CsomehowD a$$ly. "n my view& we are ami' a $an'emic o! misin!ormation as to o#r glo al ehavior. The 'ishonesty with which we are given the worl' 7 an essentially !antastic version o! it 7 is ecoming a 3ect to the $oint o! 'anger. 4n' it is !righteningly will!#l. /ere is the $ara'o.: )e cannot ear to see things as they are eca#se things as they are constit#te a re!#tation o! o#r 'earest mythologies& #t we m#st see things as they are i! we are to make sense o! o#rselves in the EFst cent#ry. The "ran case has 3#st ecome #rgent in this regar'. 4s " have asserte' $revio#sly& it will e $ro!o#n'ly 'etrimental i! the ;.S. an' the *#ro$eans 'o not $#rs#e what is a $atently serio#s e!!ort on "ran’s $art to claim its rights an' ease the worl'’s worries as to its n#clear $rogram. "! the honora le e'itor will $ermit the #nconventional& two things elong in ca$s so that a mo'est !ew 4mericans might sto$ wan'ering in the 'ark $#r$osely create' y the Times an' all the other me'ia too weak+min'e' to make 3#'gments witho#t re!erence to the Times: 0N*: "R4N /4S 4N ;N4=B":;0;S R":/T ;N<*R L4) T0 4 N;CL*4R 1R0:R4=& "NCL;<"N: *NR"C/=*NT& *(*N "8 T/"S =49*S "T C4S "T )"LLD N*4RLY C414BL* 08 )*410N"?"N:. R*4< Y0;R <4"LY N*)S <0S4:* )"T/ T/"S "N ="N<. T)0. T/*R* "S ?*R0 *("<*NC* T/4T "R4N <*S"R*S 4 N;CL*4R )*410N& 4N< <*C4<*S 08 10L"CY T0 "N<"C4T* "T 1R*8*RS 4 N;CL*4R+8R** ="<<L* *4ST. T/*R* "S 0NLY 0N* R*4S0N "R4N )0;L< C/4N:* "TS ="N<: "SR4*L’S N*(*R+=*NT"0N*< 4RS*N4L 08 N;9*S. T/* =0T"(* )0;L< B* <*T*RR*NC*& 4N< =0ST 08 ;S )0RS/"11*< 4T T/* 4LT4R 08 <*T*RR*NC* )*LL *N0;:/ <;R"N: T/* C0L< )4R. "R4N /4S S":N*< T/* N;CL*4R N0N+ 1R0L"8*R4T"0N TR*4TY- "SR4*L <*CL"N*S T0 <0 S0. The a'age among $ro$erly cynical 'i$lomats #se' to e that they were sent a roa' to lie !or their co#ntry. <#ring the Col' )ar& as )ashington’s s$onsore' atrocities
grew evi'ent& the tho#ght took a t#rn: <i$lomats were sent a roa' to lie to their co#ntry. Consi'er it a tem$late an' a$$ly it to o#r $ress !olk. Corres$on'ents #se' to e sent a roa' to kee$ the co#ntry in!orme' Cin theory& at leastD. Now corres$on'ents go !orth to sen' home a sim#lacr#m o! tr#th& a sem lance& while kee$ing their co#ntry misin!orme'. "t is no goo' $ositing some gol'en age o! s$otless integrity& some yesteryear when news$a$ers& the wires an' roa'casters glistene' with high $rinci$le. There never was s#ch a time. 4 goo' $ress is ever a work in $rogress& re%#iring the callo#se' han's o! each generation to make it however goo' it can& always an' y 'e!inition short o! any i'eal. Too !ar short when one consi'ers this col#mnist’s cohort. Patrick Smith is the author of )3ime !o 4onger: -mericans -fter the -merican Century. was the 5nternational 6erald 3ribune,s bureau chief in 6ong 7ong and then 3okyo from #089 to #00&. :uring this time he also wrote )4etter from 3okyo. for the !ew ;orker. 6e is the author of four pre"ious books and has contributed fre/uently to the !ew ;ork 3imes% the !ation% the <ashington =uarterly% and other publications.
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