American Power and the New Mandarins: Historical and Political Essays
Noam Chomsky, Et. New Press, $18.95 (432pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-775-0
Whether assessing U.S. policy in the Middle East (Fateful Triangle) or analyzing the events of September 11 (9-11), linguist, intellectual giant and moral authority Chomsky has made a brilliant career out of telling his fellow Americans things they didn't want to hear. And it all began with this collection of provocative essays (first published by Pantheon in 1969), each advancing a cogent, rigorous argument for why we shouldn't have been in Vietnam. In his opening piece, ""Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship,"" Chomsky establishes the premise that U.S. presence in Southeast Asia was little more than updated imperialism; that theory informs much of the writing that follows. In ""The Logic of Withdrawal,"" Chomsky methodically debunks the accepted reasons for U.S. intervention in a foreign civil war, and in ""On Resistance,"" he restates his case even more bluntly, writing that ""no one has appointed us judge and executioner for Vietnam or anywhere else."" If it merely recalled the heady debates of a generation past, this volume would have been well worth reprinting. But at this moment in history, as America teeters on the brink of another war, Chomsky's ruminations about our role on the world stage take on renewed relevance.
Reviewed on: 11/11/2002
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