Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Saturday Links

with 24 comments

* Unpopular opinions, number one: Yes, colleges should absolutely ban fraternities. I feel certain that at many schools donor flight is the only thing keeping the frats open.

* Unpopular opinions, number two: I think Campos and Chomsky are assuming facts not in evidence when they assert that bin Laden was targeted for assassination rather than killed while resisting arrest. There have been multiple contradictory reports of what exactly happened in the compound, and second-guessing the SEALs at this point seems really premature and ill-advised. Chomsky’s piece in particular is pretty terrible; it comes shockingly close to Trutherism in its opening paragraphs and completely elides the important legal distinction between state violence and terrorist violence in its middle. Only the last paragraphs provide something approaching a useful comment on the bin Laden arrest:

Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”

* BREAKING: Obama bans the American flag! It’s exhausting to try and dialogue with people this stupid.

* Judge Gives Immigrant in Same-Sex Marriage a Reprieve From Deportation. According to my Facebook feed this is the first time this has been granted. Very promising sign.

* And Huckabee speaks the truth: St. Ronald himself couldn’t win the Republican nomination today.

24 Responses

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  1. on the chomsky and campos articles – i don’t agree with your opinion of either response. since there are multiple contradictory reports of what happened, why give the official story the benefit of the doubt? part of the problem here is that as campos argues it’s likely that the preference for killing instead of capturing bin laden was implicit and not explicitly stated.

    this seems uncontroversial:

    “What can be said with confidence is that SEAL Team 6 seems to have carried out its orders flawlessly—and that at the very least those orders put no premium on capturing bin Laden rather than killing him.”

    but how is the (initially wildly off base to the point of fantastical) u.s. account more convincing than pakistan’s?
    http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/05/04/147782.html

    or the anonymous defense official quoted by reuters?
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/02/us-binladen-kill-idUSTRE7413H220110502

    on the distinction between state violence and terror violence, chomsky is an adherent of the (non-mainstream) ‘state terrorism’ theory, which disputes that distinction in specific circumstances:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_terrorism

    and the trutherism claim is totally unfounded. there’s nothing in that article that claims the u.s. government was behind 9/11, it just repeats the well-documented ad-hoc, evidence-poor way in which the u.s. initiated the ‘war on terror.’

    traxus4420

    May 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

  2. since there are multiple contradictory reports of what happened, why give the official story the benefit of the doubt?

    Well, first off, it’s not a question of giving the “benefit of the doubt” to the official story; Chomsky and Campos are affirmatively declaring that this was a kill mission rather than a capture mission, rather than saying (correctly) that we don’t know yet. The standard to make that assertion hasn’t been met (yet); there are equally credible stories that bin Laden was reaching for a weapon or otherwise resisting arrest when he died.

    Pointing to contradictions or corrections in the initial reporting isn’t sufficient evidence for that claim either.

    and the trutherism claim is totally unfounded. there’s nothing in that article that claims the u.s. government was behind 9/11, it just repeats the well-documented ad-hoc, evidence-poor way in which the u.s. initiated the ‘war on terror.’

    Suggesting that bin Laden is only a “suspect,” or that the U.S. has no evidence for its claims of his guilt, is a Trutherist staple. I doubt Chomsky is a Truther but he’s definitely whistling one of their tunes.

    gerrycanavan

    May 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm

  3. they’re making that assertion based on evidence, in opinion columns; i think it’s a valid interpretation — this was a military and not a law enforcement operation, the justification is he was a leader of an opposing force. there’s 0 positive evidence that ‘capture’ was prioritized above ‘kill,’ only that they were willing to capture him if he presented no threat, which they have to say under normal rules of engagement. i mean bombing the site was a serious option; this operation was no different in terms of ethical/legal justification than drone assassinations.

    and according to everyone except dubya, bin laden IS ‘only’ a suspect — he was indicted (for crimes other than 9/11, which he wasn’t directly in charge of) but not convicted. and nothing he says about the weakness of the u.s.’s case at various key ‘decision points’ (like whether or not to invade other countries) is incorrect. the truthers are sustained because the u.s. hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with its legal case, even against the hijackers themselves – not until last month do we get this, for instance:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j4SwOJr5Cj0bRjE7yJOS2F2W7YIw?docId=CNG.5a0e3995fb9faa6c2c3a59ced3489c33.81

    traxus4420

    May 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm

  4. Well, we’re just bickering, but Chomsky goes significantly beyond the legal formalism you’re advancing here (which, for the record, I don’t find especially persuasive as a claim against the bin Laden mission — police are allowed to use force against suspects who resist arrest). Chomsky doesn’t just claim he’s technically “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law”; he claims there’s an actual lack of evidence that bin Laden is the head of al Qaeda and responsible for its crimes:

    * “In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany.”
    –> wildly over-reads a single word
    * “What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have.”
    –> Part one is misleading; the Bush administration didn’t provide evidence not because they didn’t have it but because they wanted to invade Afghanistan no matter what. Part two is wrong, as your own link and any number of other links that might be provided shows.
    * Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”
    –> does not follow from the above

    He also dismisses the confession as mere boasting, which is silly, and which (again) suggests he actually thinks bin Laden isn’t guilty.

    I don’t think there’s any serious doubt that bin Laden was the head of al Qaeda, and I don’t think we can blame the U.S. government being “not exactly … forthcoming” about evidence for the existence of truthers. One, I don’t think it’s right that the U.S. hasn’t been forthcoming, and two, I don’t think the truthers are rationally balancing the evidence when they come to their conclusions.

    I really think essays like Chomsky’s are criticism in search of (some, any) rationale. I don’t think it’s the role of the left to latch on to any criticism of power, no matter how specious. It demeans and distracts from our real critiques.

    gerrycanavan

    May 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm

  5. “–> wildly over-reads a single word” – it’s not an over-reading if we’re talking about the justification for bombing that had started 8 months earlier, and not simply the understandable provisionality of an ongoing criminal investigation.

    there was also that seymour hersh new yorker article that came out just after the attacks which found that bush/powell lacked hard evidence when they made the decision to invade. don’t you remember that whole ‘we’ll show you the evidence,’ ‘wait, no, it’s classified,’ ‘look, just watch this video’ song and dance? the article i linked to doesn’t prove they had the evidence in 2001 — that was the product of 10 years of investigation, which also claimed to prove that khalid sheikh mohammed (found in pakistan, not afghanistan) was in charge of 99% of the operation, in line with his own confession. obviously bush wanted to invade afghanistan no matter what, but we’re talking about the official justification.

    no clue where you’re getting the idea that chomsky doesn’t think osama had anything to do with 9/11 or al-qaeda. there is still serious, non-truthy debate over what exactly his role was — due to a lack of evidence — which matters when you’re charging people with crimes. hopefully the information they found at his hideout will shed some light, but the whole point of the term ‘terrorism’ is so we can dispense with such concerns whenever terror warriors deem it necessary. any critique that points that out is perfectly ‘real’ to me.

    traxus4420

    May 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    • “–> wildly over-reads a single word” – it’s not an over-reading if we’re talking about the justification for bombing that had started 8 months earlier, and not simply the understandable provisionality of an ongoing criminal investigation.

      But Chmosky is only talking about the latter; the stress on “believes” comes after a sentence that reads: I stress “suspects.” You’re the one bringing in the question of the invasion.

      This is also where I’m getting the idea that “chomsky doesn’t think osama had anything to do with 9/11 or al-qaeda.” I don’t know what he really believes, but he’s definitely suggesting here that there’s reason to doubt bin Laden was guilty of the crimes for which he is accused. (My understanding is that some [maybe all] of his existing indictments are independent of 9/11 anyway, which makes the issue of his specific responsibility for 9/11 beside the point in any case.)

      but the whole point of the term ‘terrorism’ is so we can dispense with such concerns whenever terror warriors deem it necessary. any critique that points that out is perfectly ‘real’ to me.

      I agree with that critique in general but I simply don’t think that’s what happened here.

      To me the left critique of the bin Laden killing is not that it was wrong but that it’s what we should have done in the first place, rather than invade Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m not sure what you think should have been done in place of what happened.

      gerrycanavan

      May 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      • I find it kind of hard to think of Chomsky as being even remotely egregious or out of line here. Agree with most of what Traxus has said, but moreso: it seems quite problematic to justify *anything* on the grounds of its legality (hence, I suppose, T’s comment that maybe the only grounds we have for objection are moral). Obviously, fascism, Nazism, etc. came to pass PRECISELY by the enactment of law — that is, by BEING legal. Seems important to take seriously the problem of state terrorism.

        (Also, don’t you think what Chomsky is questioning — as a number of people have — by calling bin Laden a ‘suspect’ is his precise role within Al Queda? (e.g. ‘spiritual leader’ versus actual commander.)

        Also, find it a little shocking that you *don’t* think the left critique is that the killing itself was wrong. . . am seeing mostly the critique of assassination and lack of (something like) due process, etc. (Not, of course, that I think anything like due process could have come to pass — gone are the days of the possibility of something like the Nuremberg trials. And I don’t even know what ‘due process’ in this case would consist of, since the killing of bin Laden seems to totally assume that the US is innocent, that it hasn’t killed *more* people in Afghanistan, etc., in even worse ways.)

        Lindsey

        May 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      • it seems quite problematic to justify *anything* on the grounds of its legality (hence, I suppose, T’s comment that maybe the only grounds we have for objection are moral). Obviously, fascism, Nazism, etc. came to pass PRECISELY by the enactment of law — that is, by BEING legal.

        Well, I hardly think the Nazis discredit the very idea of law as such, any more than they discredit the idea of language or eating food.

        Seems important to take seriously the problem of state terrorism.

        No disagreement whatsoever — my point was only that they require very different sorts of responses. You can’t send in police to arrest current heads of state, as Chomsky fantasizes you might; you have to work through other means. This is especially true insofar as Chomsky’s ideas about state terrorism are (as T says) very much out of the mainstream of legal thought.

        (Also, don’t you think what Chomsky is questioning — as a number of people have — by calling bin Laden a ‘suspect’ is his precise role within Al Queda? (e.g. ‘spiritual leader’ versus actual commander.)

        No, and I don’t see how that impacts the debate even if that is what he meant. As I mentioned in one of the other comments bin Laden has outstanding indictments completely independent of 9/11. Crossing borders to grab him is more questionable but it seems like everyone involved has agreed to ignore that aspect.

        Also, find it a little shocking that you *don’t* think the left critique is that the killing itself was wrong. . . am seeing mostly the critique of assassination and lack of (something like) due process, etc.

        Right, I think all that stuff is completely wrong-headed, and additionally is “bad for the left” in the sense that it makes us look like we have our heads in the clouds (or up our asses). Sending in a squad of SEALs to capture or kill terrorist leaders is vastly preferable to wars in either Afghanistan or Iraq. It’s exactly how the U.S. should have been fighting terrorism all along.

        And I don’t even know what ‘due process’ in this case would consist of, since the killing of bin Laden seems to totally assume that the US is innocent, that it hasn’t killed *more* people in Afghanistan, etc., in even worse ways.

        I don’t see how that follows either. It’s perfectly consistent to think both that the U.S. has unnecessarily killed a lot of people in wars it should never have waged AND that bin Laden is a criminal. There’s no contradiction that I can see at all.

        gerrycanavan

        May 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      • Just to clarify that “capture or kill” — I mean it in that order, capture if possible and kill if not, just as with any police action. I think a bin Laden trial would have been a toxic shitshow but rules are rules and they should have captured him if possible.

        I just have trouble imagining any realistic version of this mission that doesn’t end with bin Laden dead. If he was executed, that’s bad — but I don’t agree with Traxus and Chomsky that his execution was the preselected/preordained outcome. It’s just by far the most likely outcome when you’re raiding a terrorist leader’s secret compound.

        gerrycanavan

        May 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

  6. also i guess i have to reiterate that they were going to bomb him. also targeted killings have been legally defensible in the U.S. since 9/11, have actually been carried out multiple times, and their justification further strengthened under obama. so it could be that our only ground for critique is moral. but there’s no real reason to think the seal team was especially serious about capturing him alive, even discounting the anonymous reports that it was a ‘kill mission’ or that the seal team was told to shoot him as long as he was wearing clothes.

    traxus4420

    May 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    • So let’s say the SEALs went in with only the slimmest, ha-ha-not-really willingness to capture him. Assuming anything but the most extreme case — bin Laden immediately and plainly surrenders and they execute him anyway — what exactly is the criticism and what exactly would you rather have had happened? And if it’s capture, what price are you willing to pay to insure that outcome? Total mission failure? War with Pakistan? The mission is a chaotic, seat-of-the-pants situation that’s obviously easy to criticize from an after-the-fact perspective, but it seems both (1) unfair Monday morning quarterbacking and (2) extremely ill-advised from a messaging perspective. This is not a hill the left needs to die on.

      gerrycanavan

      May 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    • PS: Obama rejecting the “bomb him” option could just as easily be taken as proof that he wanted to take him alive. You’re using a weird sort of psychoanalytic critique here where the disavowed option nonetheless remains the secret desire after all.

      gerrycanavan

      May 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm

  7. ugh. he’s calling osama a ‘suspect’ because that’s what he is in legal terms. that is in addition to long-standing doubt about what exactly his connection to 9/11 was — which, no, doesn’t have to do with the 1998 bombings but chomsky, like the u.s. gov for the last 10 years, isn’t talking about that. it’s beyond obvious that we went after him because of 9/11.

    i think what makes this confusing is the collision of contradictory narratives.

    what we have, in essence, an ambiguously defined attack on ‘the homeland’ (9/11), a hastily cobbled together accusation of (formally indicted) 1998 bombing suspect osm used as specious justification for the long-desired military invasion and occupation of afghanistan and then (to a lesser extent) iraq. then, in the background, a serious investigation with necessarily provisional results that the u.s. gov cherry picks from time to time to justify this or that military action. chomsky is pointing out the discrepancy between the results of that investigation and the ideological uses to which it was put. in this case that use is the targeted killing of someone the u.s. had basically already given itself permission to kill at will prior to any investigation, by cobbling together its own legal process after 9/11 largely in defiance of international law. so, leftists can critique the u.s. gov for breaking laws they no longer respect, or they can critique the u.s. for starting wars for reasons that were, as everyone agrees but is not allowed to say in public, bullshit anyway. either one makes us look like we have our heads up our asses. but that kind of goes with the territory. maybe you could call it ‘utopian.’

    i’ll admit it’s easy to misread chomsky’s “Nothing serious has been provided since.” but if we’re going to be precise, that refers to his responsibility for 9/11, which the u.s. initially considered ‘full’ (so as to invade faster) but was very quickly dialed down to something more vague in favor of ksm and his team, who did the real work themselves.

    traxus4420

    May 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    • Saying “I stress ‘suspects'” and going on to provide a list of reasons why you think the evidence against said suspect is sketchy is plainly more just than an attempt to be legally precise. The only possible implication is that bin Laden may not actually be guilty, and that implication seems to me to be obviously wrong.

      I only highlighted the other indictments only because they make Chomsky’s list irrelevant; the legal case against bin Laden doesn’t rely on any particular culpability for 9/11 specifically. I don’t disagree that they went after him so strongly because of 9/11, but then again I have no doubt that he is among those responsible. Do you? Does Chomsky?

      gerrycanavan

      May 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      • ok, we’ve gone as far as we can on this question i guess.

        “then again I have no doubt that he is among those responsible. Do you? Does Chomsky?”

        there’s a difference between ‘probable’ and ‘convicted.’ the legal case also, as far as i know, doesn’t authorize ‘getting’ him (i’ll use the euphemism) in a sovereign nation without their consent. or at least it didn’t pre-dubya.

        traxus4420

        May 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      • there’s a difference between ‘probable’ and ‘convicted.’

        Obviously, but to become “convicted” he has to be tried, and he can’t be tried if he isn’t apprehended. *YOU* think he was summarily executed by a team sent there to kill him. But you haven’t demonstrated that, and your gut feeling that it must be true doesn’t count as evidence. If anything resembling the official story is accurate, and bin Laden refused to surrender or was “reaching for a weapon” or was otherwise resisting capture as has been reported, then he’s not a unconvicted man being executed — he’s a suspect who was shot while resisting arrest.

        the legal case also, as far as i know, doesn’t authorize ‘getting’ him (i’ll use the euphemism) in a sovereign nation without their consent.

        I said above I thought that was likely illegal, though there are well-known cases that suggest it might not be (or might not be that serious). In any event I don’t think it adds up to much of a critique under the circumstances. This, and the preoccupation with bin Laden’s technical status as a “suspect,” sound to my ear like casting about for some reason to criticize what was otherwise a pretty exemplary example of how terrorism *should* be prosecuted.

        gerrycanavan

        May 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm

  8. also i’m not sure why you keep defending the seals (who i’m not criticizing by the way – support the troops and all that) by comparing them to cops trying to arrest a suspect while at the same admitting that this was not a police action and involves a completely different set of rules (including the ones we opportunistically changed). you also keep using moot legal defenses, like he was a ‘criminal,’ even though according to criminal law he should be treated as a ‘suspect.’

    “Obama rejecting the “bomb him” option could just as easily be taken as proof that he wanted to take him alive.”

    not if you look at the available evidence. all justifications given to the media for the seal mission were PR-related – to minimize civilian casualties during a mission the world would scrutinize, and to make the fact of his death uncontroversial – they were only 60% or 80% certain he was even there. that’s been reported everywhere, as far as i’m aware.

    “…that his execution was the preselected/preordained outcome. It’s just by far the most likely outcome when you’re raiding a terrorist leader’s secret compound.”

    well then it would be awfully irresponsible for a military planner not to assume that outcome, wouldn’t it? even swat teams and (usually) intelligence services are expected to make every effort to take suspects alive. when they fail, they suffer public and legal scrutiny. these expectations and consequences largely don’t apply to the military.

    as for what should have happened, once again there’s a collision of narratives. the u.s. did not act simply to capture the perpetrators of 9/11. if that were all, the outcome would have been determined by international law and the criminal investigation. the whole point of u.s. action was to counter that possibility. so to say we ‘should’ have just used special forces (very close incidentally to rumsfeld’s afghanistan strategy) is to propose a total fantasy that’s not based on anything.

    setting aside the practical difficulties (there are tactical reasons why these kinds of high-risk operations are rare), if sending special ops commandos to sovereign nations on assassination missions based on secret evidence is your version of left anti-terrorist praxis, i find that pretty disappointing.

    traxus4420

    May 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    • The imprecision between “suspect” and “criminal” is just a case of switching registers between legal formalism and every speech. He’s been indicted but not yet convicted; that doesn’t mean he can’t be called a criminal.

      Obviously I don’t dispute the differences between this and everyday police action. There are many.

      even swat teams and (usually) intelligence services are expected to make every effort to take suspects alive. when they fail, they suffer public and legal scrutiny. these expectations and consequences largely don’t apply to the military.

      “Make every effort” isn’t really true the way you’re using it; we generally don’t expect police to bring in suspects alive at the cost of their own lives, for example. Sometimes the use of deadly force is justified under the circumstances, sometimes it isn’t. In the absence of an explicit “kill” order or proof that he was summarily executed it’s going to be very hard under these circumstances to argue that “excessive force” was used here. And if that case isn’t made — and it hasn’t been yet — then a lot of the handwringing over this mission has to evaporate.

      I certainly agree that the military is free from expectations and consequences in a way that is toxic to justice.

      setting aside the practical difficulties (there are tactical reasons why these kinds of high-risk operations are rare), if sending special ops commandos to sovereign nations on assassination missions based on secret evidence is your version of left anti-terrorist praxis, i find that pretty disappointing.

      At this point I think you’re being overly generous to Chomsky and significantly under-generous to me. But I stand by this: sending special ops units to apprehend terrorist leaders — preferably under international command, or at least ultimately answerable to the International Criminal Court, but if not operating under the norms of international law — would be vastly preferable to the current paradigm. That’s a “fantasy” in the sense that it’s not what Bush or Obama are doing, but it’s not some structural impossibility. It’s even possible we could have had permission or even cooperation from Pakistan if we hadn’t spent the last few years killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. And again with the “secret evidence” — didn’t you link to an article about the evidence in this very thread? What standard of transparency are you advocating here?

      And I think I again missed the part where you proposed an alternative left anti-terrorist praxis that *wouldn’t* disappoint you.

      gerrycanavan

      May 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      • maybe we just disagree on fundamentals. but i keep pursuing this past the point of blog decency because it also kind of seems like we don’t. and you asked me a question.

        “That’s a “fantasy” in the sense that it’s not what Bush or Obama are doing, but it’s not some structural impossibility.”

        yes on both counts. but i don’t think what obama actually did should be considered acceptable or defended because it’s ‘closer’ to the ideal than full-scale military invasion, both of which were launched for different reasons. the targeted killings are in fact being carried out under presidential authority, with no oversight from anyone, no recourse if there are ‘mistakes’ (obama said himself they were only ’55-45′ on whether bin laden was even there), and under a vague interpretation of international law. there are probably significantly fewer civilian casualties in commando operations than drone strikes but we don’t hear about them (they’re secret) and they operate on the same principles (the decision over which to use is tactical). the fact that they killed a celebrity overrides all of that for most commentators (including the u.n.), but it is still an example of the quasi to extra legal way this war has always been carried out. defending it defends u.s. policy and creates a precedent that may well become accepted as legal.

        i guess this isn’t obvious, but i agree it would be ideal for terrorists to be treated more like international criminals than vague non-state military threats (‘terrorist’) that we can do anything to. i maintain the point of the chomsky piece was to rhetorically emphasize that difference. this is necessary because even defenders of assassination, torture, extraordinary renditions, and offshore prisons (actual anti-terrorist praxis) sometimes seem compelled to use criminal justice arguments, even though they don’t apply. that inconsistency is what drives of most of the public debate about this and keeps it in a state of perpetual cluelessness. leading to bizarre situations in which an assertion from an unreliable, secondhand source that says osama was ‘reaching for his gun’ or ‘maybe doing something else threatening’ can singlehandedly repress not only the competing accounts from u.s. officials and others (a few of which i cited at the top of the thread though what the hey, here’s another) but the simple commonsense acknowledgement that the operation was on military/CIA/Team America rules, therefore existing on a higher ontological plane than our mere legal formalisms can hope to reach.

        traxus4420

        May 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      • the fact that they killed a celebrity overrides all of that for most commentators (including the u.n.), but it is still an example of the quasi to extra legal way this war has always been carried out. defending it defends u.s. policy and creates a precedent that may well become accepted as legal.

        This makes a lot sense to me, and I’ll concede it’s a big problem with what I’ve said here.

        gerrycanavan

        May 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

  9. Coda: Glenn Greenwald endorses the Canavan position that the bin Laden killing is legal “unless it’s post-capture.”

    gerrycanavan

    May 9, 2011 at 11:07 am

    • he also makes every single one of my points. i don’t feel confident to decide if it was legal or not, and according to which set of laws. greenwald seems to think it was legal only according to the ones we made up, and only if the u.s.’s flimsy defense is true.

      also, sorry i’ve been ungenerous — i think i’ve just been taking you at your word, but i could be wrong — but this whole thing started because you were being profoundly ungenerous to chomsky, associating him with truthers simply for pointing out that evidence connecting osama to 9/11, as it’s been revealed, and by criminal justice standards, is awfully flimsy and indirect considering what’s been done with it. the military self-defense rationale, his declarations of fatwa, our educated guesses about his involvement in 9/11, and his responsibility for the 1998 bombings were points we added.

      traxus4420

      May 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      • Well, I wasn’t trying to be unfair to Chomsky. This whole thing started because we disagree on whether we can definitvely say it was a “kill” mission and what the proper reading of “I stress ‘suspects'” is. Twenty comments later, we’re still here…

        gerrycanavan

        May 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm

  10. [...] blog debate with a friend over Chomsky’s piece on the killing of Osama bin Laden here. Having spent way too many words on it to let them all go to waste, I decided to republish [...]


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