Joe Turnbull of InkyNeedles has reviewed Noam Chomsky and Andrew Vltchek’s new book, On Western Terrorism (Pluto, 2013). The book is a discussion between Chomsky and Vltchek on what led them to a life of activism, and, according to Turnbull, “[allows] the reader to draw the conclusions themselves from the evidence they present.”
Turnbull first outlines the background of the apparent hypocrisy of the word ‘terrorism’:
A perfect example of this hypocritical and inconsistent use of terminology is the way the CIA funded and trained the Mujahedeen in their war with the Soviets, with the Reagan administration publicly describing them as “freedom fighters”. This group spawned Al Qaeda, using the weapons, money and relations provided by the Americans. After 9/11 of course, Al Qaeda were international enemy number one, labelled terrorists. Thanks to constant reinforcement and repetition of the term terrorism in relation to Islamic extremist militants, the phrase has become synonymous with the ideology of militant Islamism. Of course this is a complete manipulation of the phrase which traditionally refers to a methodology of using violence and terror to serve political ends.
He is complimentary of the way the book presents facts and opinions without forcing them upon the reader:
On Western Terrorism then, can be seen as bold attempt by close friends, and long time correspondents Noam Chomsky and Andre Vltchek to redress that balance, and expose the barefaced hypocrisy of those gatekeepers who use the term terrorism with such vitriol. It is perhaps somewhat surprising that the book chooses not to directly engage with the recent discursive phenomenon relating to the word terrorism. In fact, the word is barely mentioned, and doesn’t even have an entry in the index. Nor at any point do the authors seek to explicitly justify the title of the book, instead allowing the reader to draw the conclusions themselves from the evidence they present.
He concludes by describing the book as “absolutely essential”:
The book covers such a breadth of topics revealing a vast trove of inconvenient truths. It is absolutely essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the current context of contemporary geo-politics by revealing the often-hidden histories that have given rise to it, as well as highlighting the pressing issues facing the world which are usually ignored going forward.
To read the article in full, click here.
On Western Terrorism can be bought for just £11.50. Find out more by clicking on the cover image.