Pentagon Bans Book By Noted Linguist, Anti-War Activist Noam Chomsky

ChomskyInterventionsThe Pentagon has paid anti-war activist Noam Chomsky the highest honor any totalitarian entity can bestow upon an author: they’ve banned his book Interventions at Guantanamo Bay prison.

They won’t say precisely why they “honored” Chomsky, but Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt told the Miami Herald that Interventions, published by San Francisco-based City Lights Books, might negatively “impact on [Gitmo’s] good order and discipline.”

The Pentagon, of course, insists on “good order and discipline” running its prison camp. Chomsky likes order, too. What he objects to is the Pentagon spreading disorder globally.

Instead of thanking the Pentagon for his “honor,” Chomsky, is said to be angry. The Herald quotes him as saying, “This happens sometimes in totalitarian regimes.”

Indeed! Nazi newsreels show Hitler’s brown shirts igniting huge bonfires in German streets into which they pitched banned books. Hitler banned over 4,000 books ranging from anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque to Jack London’s “The Call of The Wild.”

And just as Communist Russia wouldn’t let its citizens read “The First Circle” and “Cancer Ward” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, comrades in the Pentagon refused to allow Gitmo prisoner Hamza al Bahlul to read Chomsky’s Interventions, sent him by a defense lawyer. tininess

The Pentagon’s ban mimics Iran’s campaign to kill British novelist Salman Rushdie for his 1988 epic “The Satanic Verses.” Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeni indicted Rushdie as “blasphemous against Islam.” The Pentagon, according to The Herald, won’t authorize a book that is “anti-American, anti-Semitic, (or) anti-Western.” Note the similarities of the Pentagon’s objections and the Ayatollah’s. Kissin’ cousins, maybe? Some might suspect its Pentagon censorship that’s “anti-American.”

Censorship of Chomsky is not unique. The Pentagon has long pressured Hollywood to show the military in a favorable light. It also bans photographers from war zones if they snap pictures of slain U.S. troops. “I took pictures of something they didn’t like, and they removed me (from Iraq),” complained photographer Zoriah Miller who, like Chomsky, may also be said to be angry. “Deciding what I can and cannot document, I don’t see a clearer definition of censorship,” he said.

Back to Chomsky: What has he written the Pentagon doesn’t want Gitmo prisoners to read? Perhaps it’s where he quotes President Bush’s remark “the United States—alone—has the right to carry out ‘preventive war’…using military force to eliminate a perceived threat…” Chomsky adds this is the “supreme crime” condemned at Nuremberg.

If the Pentagon is upset over Interventions they’ll be really ticked at Chomsky’s Imperial Ambitions. In that book, he writes about how the Pentagon’s troops burst into Falluja General Hospital, (November, 2004) on asinine grounds it was “a center of propaganda against allied forces,” and kicked the patients out of their beds and handcuffed them and their doctors to the floor, which Chomsky rightly branded “a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions.”

The Pentagon might also oppose Chomsky for accusing them of genocide:

If civilians managed to flee Falluja, they were allowed out—except for men. Men of roughly military age were turned back. That’s what happened in Srebrenica in 1995. The only difference is the United States bombed the Iraqis out of the city, they didn’t truck them out. Women and children were allowed to leave; men were stopped, if they were found, and sent back. They were supposed to be killed. That’s universally called genocide, when the Serbs do it. When we do it, it’s liberation.

Banning Chomsky will only call attention to his incisive depictions of Pentagon war crimes. While the Pentagon may worry Chomsky’s work might get Muslim prisoners angry, maybe it should be concerned that Chomsky’s comments such as the following on the Military-Industrial Complex might yet arouse bamboozled and disgusted U.S. taxpayers:

Empires are costly. Running Iraq is not cheap. Somebody’s paying. Somebody’s paying the corporations that destroyed Iraq and the corporations that are rebuilding it. In both cases, they’re getting paid by the U.S. taxpayer. Those are gifts from U.S. taxpayers to U.S. corporations…..first you destroy Iraq, then you rebuild it. It’s a transfer of wealth from the general population to narrow sectors of the population.

Like the Pentagon, which will reap $664 billion next year.

Time to replace the Pentagon with the Peace Corps. It accomplishes far more with far less.

Sherwood Ross formerly worked for The Chicago Daily News and other major dailies and as a columnist for wire services. He currently runs a public relations firm for “worthy causes”. Reach him at

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14 Responses for “Pentagon Bans Book By Noted Linguist, Anti-War Activist Noam Chomsky”

  1. John Stevens says:

    Banning a single Chomsky book at an illegal prison is not the worst thing that has been taken from them. Using the analogies of Nazis, Russia and Iran is weak and misleading. The thing that I don’t get about Chomsky is if he was so into this whole freedom thing, why doesn’t he publish his books for free on the web? If his words would really set the world free and make it peaceful, it should be enough to simply distribute the words he writes. Having said all that, I love his voice of dissent and his cause to cause critical thinking.

  2. Chelives says:

    “The Pentagon’s ban mimics Iran’s campaign to kill British novelist Salman Rushdie for his 1988 epic “The Satanic Verses.””

    Not quite. The Pentagon has yet to call for the death of Noam Chomsky. You could say that the ban mimic’s Iran’s campaign to ban the Satanic Verses, but that’s as far as you can carry that.

  3. Alex Sterling says:


    I think saying if he believes in freedom he should publish his books for free is comparing apples to oranges. Like saying I’d like everyone to hear this message, but I’ll publish it in the worst possible manner for it’s distribution. Just saying, publishing companies don’t only screw people. They are useful, although costly.


    Well the campaign started with banning, then killing. So in the beginning I guess it mimicked the circumstances.

    Overall the severity of this ban is minimal. It is, however, very dissapointing that banning anything is even considered the slightest bit appropriate. Hate Speech and Peace Anthems alike, freedom of speech is a supposed tenet in this country.

  4. DeSwiss says:

    It’s all those “Christian Warrior” generals who are responsible for this.

    The Pentagon needs a thorough house-cleaning.

  5. Nathan says:

    Like the Peace Corp would be much better. Government by it’s nature only cares about defending it’s interest and expanding it’s influence. Lets roll back the whole thing and let people live their lives unhindered by an ever expanding big brother.

  6. zach says:

    i think banning books is rediculous but this doesn’t surprise me…i sent howard zinn’s people’s history of the US to a friend in county and they wouldn’t let him have it. i find that to be far more alarming

  7. Cat says:

    Like ANYONE in the Pentagon has read Chomsky !?!?! More likely the back cover.

  8. Al Warner says:

    I guess the Pentagon thinks the soldiers of America are so stupid and easily influenced, that anything posing an opinion different from the Pentagon’s propoganda, can not be seen by said Armed Forces. I guess the Pentagon thinks if those boys are stupid enough to join up, the Pentagin wants to keep them that way.

  9. Pfluginator says:

    Chomsky and the public record have officially crossed the line into bigotry. The comparison between the pentagon and Iran in terms of censorship is ridiculous. The concept of a military organization acting totalitarian is healthy. The real question is how will that type is firewalled. In the case of Iran we have the broad censorship implicated on the general populace. In the case of the pentagon you have small scale censorship implicated on a small group of individuals who arguably do not have the same rights guaranteed to a citizen anyways. A watchful eye on the pentagon is not misplaced don’t get me wrong. However you need to let the military operate a bit offensively, otherwise it might as well exist at all. This is a stupid issue to be protesting about

  10. Rebecca R. says:

    John Stevens, c’mon. Publish his work for free? Dude’s gotta pay the rent like anyone else. It’s not like he writes the stuff after he finishes his shift at the 7-11.

  11. Mohamed Hassissi says:

    Why ban the man’s book if they are not terrified of the circumstances. it just reminds me of Macarthy and the phobia of communism that hovered on his brains and led him to set up the investigating committee which questioned the beliefs of so many an intellectual such as Arthur Miller. It is and it will be repeated along the history. A man like Chomsky, these people would never consider honoring him with a peace prize for the exhaustive work he has done in the cause of wars. Instead, people like Obama who has not warmed up his presidential chair yet are likely to be viewed as worriors of freedom and democracy with the aid of the disillusioning media of course. However, yes, i wouldn’t compare this event to that of Iran and Rushdy, for it will only add to its discredit. One talks about how the American tax payer is contributing to the meaningless waste of money in Iraq and Afghanistan as if they are willingly doing it on purpose. The issue is much more complicated than it may seem to be.

  12. Ira says:

    Chomsky is a traitor to this country. He should be in Gitmo along with his friends. I hope to see him put out of his misery soon.

  13. Ryke says:

    Ira, did you just implicitly endorse thoughtcrime?

  14. seism says:

    Who cares if these assholes can’t read a book by Chomsky? They’d kill him if they had half a chance. What a dupe that guy is. Oooo, so REVOLUTIONARY!
    Snore! DOUBLE SNORE!
    Sure this comment should be deleted as reparations for the USN deleting Muslim assholes chances to read his tripe.

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