Guernica: You cite a story in the New York Times where “the reviewer,” you write, “constitutional lawyer Noah Feldman, described Osama [bin Laden]’s descent to greater and greater evil over the years, finally reaching the absolute lower depths, when ‘he put forth the perverse claim that since the United States is a democracy, all citizens bear responsibility for its government’s actions, and civilians are therefore fair targets.’” What’s significant about this?
Noam Chomsky: What’s significant is what directly follows it. There had been an election in Palestine, actually the first really free election in the Arab world, and two days after Noah Feldman’s article appeared, Steven Erlanger on the front page of the New York Times reported blandly that the U.S. government has just undertaken to punish the people of Palestine for voting the wrong way in a free election. Well, that makes Osama bin Laden look pretty tame. And these things appear right next to each other, and no one notices it.