Noam Chomsky - The New War on Terrorism: Fact and Fiction (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Noam Chomsky

The New War on Terrorism: Fact and Fiction (2003)

G7 Welcoming Committee

Whether you agree with the opinions within or not, this is definitely interesting from a historical perspective. This is the first public statement after the September 11 attacks from one of the most widely consulted voices on the American left. This lecture from October 18th, 2001 at MIT was delivered in the atmosphere when most public figures (even those who would otherwise have supported Chomsky's views) avoided any opinion or criticism that could have possibly labelled them as "anti-American." For us who received news feeds from both inside and outside America, it was amazing how little the US news media looked to the historical causes of terrorism. Chomsky's October lecture tried to answer this question of "why?"

Yet for all the supposed controversy surrounding his views, there's very little here that deserves that hype. Take the opening statement to the lecture "I'm going to assume two conditions for this talk. The first one is just what I assume to be a recognition of fact. That is that the events of Sept. 11 were a horrendous atrocity, probably the most devastating instant human toll of any crime in history outside of war. The second has to do with the goal. I'm assuming that our goal is that we're interested in reducing the likelihood of such crimes, whether they're against us or against someone else." -- definitely not the words of a radical ideologue. That sane tone is held throughout the lecture.

Now we reach the difficult part of reviewing a spoken word release: it's daunting to take a rather well researched lecture by a linguistics professor and judge it's worth like its the new Bouncing Souls record. So on that note I really do believe the material on here speaks for itself and needs to be judged by the listener. I'm not going to tell you what to think. To his credit though Chomsky's lecture is well sourced and very firmly grounded in fact analysis. There's little to no unnecessary rhetoric here, as most of his arguments look at cause and effect relationships in America's foreign policy. In terms of the audio the quality on this release is clear and crisp. Chomsky's experience as a lecturer keeps his vocals assertive and listenable.

This is a well-researched and historically important lecture. It's themes and the viewpoints are still relevant today. The inevitable downfall of these kinds of releases is that 90% of the people who listen to them are likely already of the same political cloth. In terms of "going to the record store to buy a CD" spoken word records more often than not preach to the converted. However if you're interested in a fairly non-sensationalist and fact-based look at what lead to the events of 9/11, this is definitely worth a listen.