On Africa and Chomsky

Re: Sudan: Western Oil Greed Trumps 'Genocide' Concerns

To the Editor:

The Western world is not interested in the fate of two million Africans in this conflict. Nor were they interested (except where they could make money by selling weapons or devilish expertise) in all the other massacres, genocides, lootings, savagery, psychopathic dictatorships, child slavery and slaughters, tortures, famines or even cannibalism of the recent past in African countries.

The reason is that Western governments are interested in power. And that’s all. They want to stay elected. And their voters are interested in their oil supplies, travel, pleasures, taxes, and not much else. They are not interested in a country that they see as completely separate from their existence.

The West has sat happily by the side of the road, sunning itself in the breeze, as children, villages, and entire societies are wiped out, not centuries ago, but today, this morning, and this afternoon.

They will continue to sit and do nothing because they feel the Africans’ problems are isolated. They have not yet reached a state of evolution where they share all humanity’s suffering.

To those individuals who understand that the failure or pain of one of us is the failure or pain of us all, even hearing of the unspeakable acts committed in these countries is spiritually unbearable.

The West can wring its hands all it wants, but if pushed, it will have to say it couldn’t care less, and will continue to be disinterested until the problems arrive on their doorstep, at which point they will spark off the usual cycle of military destruction followed by humble “time to move on” speeches.

No oil = no interest.

Iain Carstairs
Hitchin, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Re: The Future of Iraq and U.S. Occupation

To the Editor:

Noam Chomsky, as usual, is out to lunch. Our failure in Vietnam had more to do with the wrong-headed way L.B.J. and McNamara tried to fight the war than because of the reason he cites: it was “too brutal” for a “civilian” army. Also, he posits that a democratic Iraq will necessarily view Israel as its primary enemy. This is far from certain, and there is no particular reason why it should. There are deep divisions in the Muslim world itself that work against such an outcome.

Joe Lammers
Fort Pierce, Fla.

To the Editor:

Why, exactly, does anyone listen to Noam Chomsky? What are his foreign policy credentials? He throws out a bunch of “what-ifs” and paints a picture of doom and gloom based largely, it seems to me, on his utter contempt for the U.S. He should stick to linguistics — a topic, I trust, he knows something about.

John F. Wolfington
Philadelphia, Pa.

To the Editor:

After spending a year studying and discussing the dreams and aspirations [of Muslims] with Arab university students from Cairo, Beirut, Amman, and even Berzeit University in the Palestine, I can proudly respond to Mr. Chomsky in the same fashion a resilient 101st Airborne Commander responded to his German opposition, who were demanding surrender at Bastiogne in 1944: “Nuts.”

Ben Brandenburg
Saint Paul, Minn.