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Noam Chomsky's Denials of Serbian War Crimes
and other misleading and false statements he has made on the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts


A discussion of various Chomsky statements denying or minimizing Serbian crimes against the peoples of Bosnia and Kosovo, compiled and edited by Roger Lippman.

See No Evil How did genocide denial become a doctrine of the internationalist left? By George Monbiot, May 21, 2012
Supporting material: Monbiot's correspondence with Noam Chomsky, June 2011

Correspondence with Noam Chomsky, in which Chomsky shows himself to be incapable of responding to criticism that he endorsed Edward Herman and David Peterson's denial of the Bosnia and Rwanda genocides. By George Monbiot, June 2011

A Critical Chomsky Reader When Truthdig interviewed Noam Chomsky in April 2010, three activists who had respect for his work were disappointed. The article ignored Chomsky's persistent misrepresentation of Balkan war crimes, even though author Chris Hedges had risked his life to report them. There are broader lessons for radicals here, about humanity, solidarity, and complexity. Western involvement in the wars of Yugoslav dissolution has confused many anti-imperialists, who still distort the facts to fit preconceptions. Though we've valued Chomsky's insights on other subjects, from Israel and Palestine to propaganda, we’ve been forced to reappraise his analysis. By Roger Lippman, Daniel Simpson, and Owen Beith, May 2010

Noam Chomsky invited to give the annual Amnesty International Lecture (October 2009)

Noam Chomsky and Ian Williams engage in a debate over the UN's Responsibility to Protect (R2P) declaration, and others weigh in. In the course of the discussion, Chomsky still defends his statement that "NATO air raids on Serbia [beginning March 24, 1999] actually precipitated the worst atrocities in Kosovo," and Ian Williams rebuts.
  The articles:
Ban Ki Moon and R2P, by Ian Williams, August 3, 2009
Kosovo, East Timor, R2P, and Ian Williams, by Noam Chomsky, August 17, 2009
Response to Chomsky, by Ian Williams, August 21, 2009
Response to Williams, by Noam Chomsky, September 1, 2009
Response to Chomsky II, by Ian Williams, September 8, 2009
Noam Chomsky and genocidal causality, by Marko Hoare, August 25, 2009

In a 2006 interview with the New Statesman, Noam Chomsky, if he is quoted accurately, makes an egregiously false statement about the 1999 Kosovo war. Speaking of Serbian actions in Kosovo, Chomsky says that "there were terrible atrocities, but they were after the [NATO] bombings."
Chomsky's ethical and political failure is tragic for those of us who agree in substance with many of his positions on US foreign policy, most notably the catastrophe in Iraq. By legitimizing historical deceit and diminishing the sufferings of the Bosnians and Kosovars, he only succeeds in causing moral and political confusion where authentic principle and political clarity are most needed.
   Response by Roger Lippman, June 21, 2006
   Response by
Michael Bérubé, June 22, 2006
   Response by David Watson, June 23, 2006
   Response by Oliver Kamm, June 2006. Refutes Chomsky's reference to a British parliamentary inquiry.

In writings and interviews, Chomsky misrepresents the statements of a former high Clinton State Department official on the causes of the Kosovo intervention. Click here for several discussions of this issue.

Chomsky has expressed his support for one of the most notorious Serbian ultra-nationalist war criminals facing the Hague Tribunal, Vojislav Seselj, who set up paramilitary groups to accomplish the annihilation of Kosovo Albanians and Bosnian Muslims. (See Seselj's party's Program for "Cleansing" Kosovo, 1991 and Program for a Greater Serbia Theocracy, 1996.)

Chomsky appears at the top of a list of Seselj's foreign supporters. (Scroll down, to find Chomsky in the company of such genocide apologists as Edward Herman, Sara Flounders, and David Peterson. At the top of the list is Smilja Avramov, the first person to testify in Milosevic's defense at his war-crimes trial.)

Seselj says he expects to pay for the services of famous experts, including the US intellectual Noam Chomsky.

When Seselj's Serbian Radical Party held a rally in Belgrade in December 2006 demanding Seselj's release, Noam Chomsky sent a letter of support that was read aloud at the event. See report in Der Tagesspiegel, December 4, 2006, in German.

Serbia Honors Chomsky for Criticizing NATO Bombing Also honored by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic was Smilja Avramov, known as a strong supporter of Slobodan Milosevic, along with Serbian army chief of staff Ljubisa Dikovic, who was recently accused of being responsible for war crimes in Kosovo. Activists from the Serbian NGO Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) staged a protest in front of the Serbian parliament and presidency on Sunday, saying that army chief Dikovic should be investigated for war crimes. A group of around 100 activists held up banners with slogans like “General, you shoot civilians,” “Investigation, not award,” and “I love Serbia, but I love truth more.” “We believe this award is offensive for the whole of society and for the victims,” said Anita Mancic from YIHR. Balkan Insight, February 16, 2015

In April 1999, Chomsky and others signed a manifesto entitled "Academics Against NATO's War in Kosovo." For critical comments on Chomsky's statement, see the response by Igor Korsic of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Chomsky condemned the NATO action in Kosovo on principle without being able to offer plausible alternatives, using theories often based on a world order that no longer exists. Discussion of ill-informed observations by Chomsky and other Left critics, and how their words were appropriated by the Serb lobby. The Serb Lobby in the United Kingdom, By Carole Hodge, 2003

Controversy over the interview with Chomsky in the Guardian (UK) Though flawed, the Guardian article had some interesting observations on Chomsky's attitude toward the Srebrenica massacre. October 31, 2005

Chomsky ignores lessons of wars on Kosovo Review of Noam Chomsky's book The New Military Humanism, criticizing Chomsky for not making enough of Milosevic's crimes. -- Peter Hudis, July 2005

Srebrenica and Honesty The writer criticizes Chomsky for soft-pedaling the Serbian massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. "I cannot believe you are ignorant of the facts about Srebrenica and the Yugoslavian wars. You've devoted your life to uncovering hypocrisy and dispelling ignorance. So how am I to understand your bias in this matter?"  By Julie Wornan, member of Americans Against the War, France, January 4, 2005

Chomsky bamboozles on the Balkans II In an interview with Radio-TV Serbia, Chomsky endorses the lies of LM Magazine. Oliver Kamm rebuts and rebukes Chomsky. June 2006

Chomsky misrepresents the Dutch investigation of Srebrenica. June 2006

The Left Revisionists An extensive review of a broad array of those on the Left who downplay the violence and suffering involved in the wars in the former Yugoslavia and shift the blame to the Western alliance. Among those discussed are Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, Michael Parenti, Michel Chossudovsky, Diana Johnstone, Mick Hume, John Pilger, Harold Pinter, and Jared Israel. By Marko Hoare, November 2003

Nothing Is Left A review of several books covering the former Yugoslavia, by authors Philip Hammond, Edward Herman, Michael Parenti, Diana Johnstone, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and Kate Hudson. By Marko Hoare, Bosnia Report, October-December 2003

My Very, Very Allergic Reaction to Noam Chomsky Khmer Rouge, Faurisson, Milosevic. By Brad DeLong, June 17, 2002

Chomsky's prior
Averaging Wrong Answers: Noam Chomsky and the Cambodia Controversy
Chomsky's work with regard to Cambodia has been marred by omissions, dubious statistics, and, in some cases, outright misrepresentations. On top of this, Chomsky continues to deny that he was wrong about Cambodia. He responds to criticisms by misrepresenting his own positions, misrepresenting his critics' positions, and describing his detractors as morally lower than "neo-Nazis and neo-Stalinists." Consequently, his refusal to reconsider his words has led to continued misinterpretations of what really happened in Cambodia. By Bruce Sharp, 2004

Chomsky after the Balkans (more of same)
Chomsky and the Syria revisionists: Regime whitewashing In denying the Syrian regime's responsibility for recent sarin attacks, Chomsky's main authority is a scientist with a reputation for dabbling in zany conspiracism. By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, May 5, 2017

 


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