ZNet Commentary: 09.30.01 Chomsky Interview – Part 5

If the Taliban falls and bin Laden or someone they
claim is responsible is captured or killed, what
next? What happens to Afghanistan? What happens
more broadly in other regions?

Michael Albert: If the Taliban falls and
bin Laden or someone they claim is responsible is
captured or killed, what next? What happens to
Afghanistan? What happens more broadly in other

Noam Chomsky: The sensible
administration plan would be to pursue the ongoing
program of silent genocide, combined with
humanitarian gestures to arouse the applause of
the usual chorus who are called upon to sing the
praises of the noble leaders committed to
"principles and values" and leading the
world to a "new era" of "ending

The administration might also try to convert the
Northern Alliance into a viable force, perhaps to
bring in other warlords hostile to it, like
Gulbudin Hekmatyar, now in Iran. Presumably they
will use British and US commandoes for missions
within Afghanistan, and perhaps resort to
selective bombing, but scaled down so as not to
answer bin Laden’s prayers.

A US assault should not be compared to the failed
Russian invasion of the 80s. The Russians were
facing a major army of perhaps 100,000 men or
more, organized, trained and heavily armed by the
CIA and its associates. The US is facing a ragtag
force in a country that has already been virtually
destroyed by 20 years of horror, for which we bear
no slight share of responsibility.

The Taliban forces, such as they are, might
quickly collapse except for a small hard core. And
one would expect that the surviving population
would welcome an invading force if it is not too
visibly associated with the murderous gangs that
tore the country to shreds before the Taliban
takeover. At this point, most people would be
likely to welcome Genghis Khan.  

What next?

Expatriate Afghans and, apparently, some internal
elements who are not part of the Taliban inner
circle have been calling for a UN effort to
establish some kind of transition government, a
process that might succeed in reconstructing
something viable from the wreckage, if provided
with very substantial reconstruction aid,
channeled through independent sources like the UN
or credible NGOs.

That much should be the minimal responsibility of
those who have turned this impoverished country
into a land of terror, desperation, corpses, and
mutilated victims.

That could happen, but not without very
substantial popular efforts in the rich and
powerful societies. For the present, any such
course has been ruled out by the Bush
administration, which has announced that it will
not be engaged in "nation building" —
or, it seems, an effort that would be more
honorable and humane: substantial support, without
interference, for "nation building" by
others who might actually achieve some success in
the enterprise. But current refusal to consider
this decent course is not graven in stone.

What happens in other regions depends on internal
factors, on the policies of foreign actors (the US
dominant among them, for obvious reasons), and the way matters proceed in Afghanistan. One can hardly be confident, but for many of the possible courses reasonable assessments can be made about the outcome — and there are a great many
possibilities, too many to try to review in brief

[ also see related items:

Osama bin Laden 101: Understanding bin Laden – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1500

First hand Reportage from Afghanistan: 5.5 Million Starving – http://theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1483

Noam Chomsky On the Bombings – http://theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1474 ]

Author: Noam Chomsky and Michael Albert

News Service: ZNet

URL: http://www.zmag.org/albintchom.htm