on 20 June 2010
I've owned this book for years & thought I'd try to review it. There are several points that ought to be made:--
 The 'white guilt' aspect. Chomsky talks of the USA (and, earlier, Europe) as though decisions made by 'elites' are group decisions. ('Manufacturing consent' - doesn't that imply that *you* consented to e.g. bombing Vietnam, or supplying Turkey with weapons?) I'm not saying this is a dominant thread, but it lurks in there.
 He loves quotations - there are 8 to 10 on almost every page, probably 2000 or so total. However, the people quoted are mostly journalists from the USA or state (or tax exempt) 'think tanks'. One has to wonder whether such people are simply paid hacks; they are trained to pick out misleading statistics, to disguise what they say, to use emotive language, and all the rest, including of course supporting decisions already secretly made. As a check, I looked up the extended passages on Nicaragua, and virtually all the notes were were US sources, apart from eg a Nicaraguan Society of Doctors. Much of this book reads like patients' testimonials in regard to an illness; it is evidence, but not of the most serious type.
 Chomsky systematically and, it must be deliberately, ignores the Jewish element in the world. For example, he says Russia was invaded after WW1, which is true. What he omit is the Jewish coup and subsequent mass-murders, supported, not by 'you', or even in a sense the US 'elite', but by the specifically Jewish component which had links with eastern Europe. It's inconceivable he doesn't know about this. It must be deliberate suppression. Having granted that, it must be deliberate that he refuses to consider the truth about e.g. Pearl Harbor, Kennedy's murder, 9/11. He describes Israel as a 'client state' of the USA - an alternative view is that the USA is a client state of Israel. Certainly if someone donated billions to me, I'm not sure I'd count as a 'client'!
 Chomsky seems to insist there must be purpose behind killings, but I'm not sure that's true. If a corporation makes money from supplying weapons, it doesn't matter to them what if anything they're used for. If another corporation simply dismantled them again, that would be as profitable as bombing people - more so, if it's the same corporation! This is related to other issues, e.g. the question of NASA's fraudulence, and issues related to whether weaponry, particularly the really costly sort, in fact works, or whether it's partly a way to mop up tax dollars. My personal belief is that nuclear weapons may be of this sort - there's clear evidence the early film of tests is faked. There's plenty of evidence that money is wasted on spurious weapons projects - the secrecy of course helps keep it covered up.
 His writing style resembles that of the 'screamers' who turn up to scream slogans to disrupt meetings of e.g. revisionists. Time and again in this book Chomsky turns from what may be a serious topic (e.g. the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' clock), to another topic - in this case, the Cuba crisis (if it was a crisis!) He switches constantly to discussions on Italy and Germany in the 1920s, and so on - Manchuria, Ethiopia. He never mentions the fact that national socialism, fascism, and whatever Japan and Spain had, POSTDATED so-called 'communism'. He is of course convinced that Germany was the worst nation that has ever existed. And yet, again, he MUST know about revisionist work - he even wrote a pro-free speech preface for a book by Faurisson which, I'm sure, he never read.
 Some of his historical generalisations are wrong, I think mainly because of an innumerate approach - some massacres, after all, are bigger and presumably worse than others. Here and there Chomsky seems to be saying that all massacres are equally bad - but, he also maintains the 'Holocaust' was the worst thing ever, which is a complete counter-argument, unless you assume Jews are different.
Another problem is changes in the meaning of the word 'war'. He says for example that Europeans spent much of their time slaughtering each other. There are of course some examples of that, notably post-Reformation, just as the US had a bloody civil war. However many 'wars' in Europe were so localised and small most people had no idea they were even happening. He seems to have little idea of the dynamics of countries which so far aren't very industrialised; Islam being the now-obvious example.
 As to 'hegemony', what niggles with me is the fact that it seems untrue. Of course, now, with Obama, the true state of the US economy is being revealed. But even when Chomsky wrote, it was obvious that there wasn't much in the way of 'hegemony' over the world's oil - notably in Saudi Arabia, who have received absolutely astronomical amounts of money for a resource which they knew nothing about, and did nothing to use or develop. Chomsky takes a traditional view, which is that countries exist, and should own their territorial resources. However, like it or not, the fact is things are distributed unevenly.
 Chomsky entirely ignores the criticisms of the 'Fed' and these other organisations designed to secretly take a percentage of everything. His anti-capitalist stuff seems very outdated - though this must be deliberate, I think. He also accepts the material on global warming, on the say-so of various people - though he has no methodology that I can see for deciding which group's views are more likely to be true than some other group.
Hence I think 'superficial' is a correct remark; so is 'inherent bias' in the sense of ignoring Jewish influence. My best guess is that he's a splinter group of Jewish intellectuals: mostly they agree (e.g. they want third world immigration; they are undemocratic almost by instinct; the Germans were the worst people ever etc). BUT there are other issues - not all Jews favour mass immigration now. Possibly Chomsky represents a humanitarian movement within Judaism?