Chomsky, N. (2011). Was There An Alternative.

Quotes extracted from Noam Chomsky book, Was There An Alternative.

It is a short book going into the strategic thinking of Bin Laden in response to the US invasion of Afghanistan. The book also details the cause of the clash between Al-Qaeda and the American backed theocratic dictatorship of Saudi Arabia.

Chomsky in his piercing analysis of American foreign policy, brings to attention countless violation of international laws by the American military machine. He effectively demonstrates the mismatch between the narratives adopted by the US information apparatus in support of US led wars, and the actual lived experience of people who are bestowed with the ‘benevolent’ act of American military interventions. The facts clearly indicate, the narrative of ‘spreading democracy’, ‘ending brutal regimes’, and ‘fighting terror’ do not stand up to the most elementary level of scrutiny.

As always, the text within the squared brackets [ ] are added to clarify context.


Chomsky, N. (2011). Was There An Alternative. New York: Seven Stories Press.

Lieven: ‘U.S. and British soldiers are in effect dying in Afghanistan in order to make the world a more dangerous for American and British people. 18

The U.S. commandos who carried out the assassination [of Bin Laden in Pakistan] were under orders to fight their way out if necessary. 19

Bin Laden… [according to Eric Margolis] ‘he repeatedly asserted that the only way to drive the U.S. from the Muslim world and defeat its satraps was by drawing Americans into a series of small but expensive wars that would ultimately bankrupt them’. 21

[War on terror is a war against a nameless enemy]. 46

[Bin Laden regards U.S. has invaded Saudi Arabia as much as Russia invaded Afghanistan]. 50

Terrorist atrocities are a gift to the harshest and most repressive elements on all sides and are sure to be exploited to accelerate the agenda of militarisation, regimentation, reversal of social democratic programmes, transfer of wealth to narrow sectors, and undermining democracy in any meaningful form. 51

In the Islamic world, the most extreme fundamentalist state, apart from the Taliban, is Saudi Arabia, a U.S. client state since its origin; the Taliban are in fact an offshoot of the Saudi Version of Islam. 52

[Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda] draw from a reservoir of anger, fear, and desperation, which is why they are praying for a violent U.S. reaction, which will mobilise others to their horrendous cause. 59

On September 16, the New York Times reported that the U.S. has demanded that Pakistan cut off food aid to Afghanistan… Among other demands issued to Pakistan, it also ‘demanded… the elimination of truck envoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan’s civilian population’ – the food that is keeping millions of people just this side of starvation… what does that mean? That means that unknown numbers of starving Afghans will die. Are those Taliban? No, they’re the victims of Taliban. Many of them are internal refugees kept from leaving. 86

[Bin Laden’s] calls for the overthrow of brutal regimes of gangsters and torturers resonate quite widely, as does his indignation against the atrocities that he and other attribute to the United States, hardly without reason. 92

When Western states and intellectuals use the term ‘international community,’ they are referring to themselves. For example, NATO bombing of Serbia was undertaken by the ‘international community’ according to consistent Western rhetoric, although those who did not have their heads buried in the sand knew that it was opposed by most of the world, often quite vocally. 107

[bin Laden consider Saudi Arabia to be under U.S. occupation]. 109

The most populous state is Indonesia, a favourite of the United States ever since Suharto took power in 1965. 110

As soon as the U.S. established a permanent military base in Saudi Arabia, bin Laden and the rest announced that from their point of view, that was comparable to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan and they turned their guns on the Americans, as they had already happened in 1983 when the U.S. has military forces in Lebanon. 114

[Arundhati Roy talking about U.S. military operation, Infinite Justice in Afghanistan] ’Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death while they are waiting to be killed’. 128

[Secretary of Defense William Cohen stated] U.S. is committed to ‘unilateral use of military power’ to defend vital interest, which include ‘ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources,’. 140

The emir informed the press in Washington that Secretary of State Powell had pressured him to rein in Al-Jazeera: to ‘pressure Al-Jazeera to tone down its coverage,’ Al-Jazeera reports. 142

President Eisenhower and his staff discussed what he called the ‘campaign of hatred against us’ in the Arab world, ‘not by the government but by the people.’ The basic reason, the National Security Council advised, is the recognition that the U.S. supports corrupt and brutal governments that block democracy and development and does so because of its concern ‘to protect its interest in the Near East oil’. 149

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