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Noam Chomsky: "Bush Needs Fear for Reelection"

By Anthony Boadle

Thu October 30, 2003: (Reuters) HAVANA - U.S. linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky said on Wednesday that President Bush will have to "manufacture" another threat to American security to win reelection in 2004 after U.S failure in occupying Iraq.

Chomsky, attending a Latin American social sciences conference in Cuba, said that since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, the Bush administration had redefined U.S. national security policy to include the use of force abroad, with or without U.N. approval.

"It is a frightened country and it is easy to conjure up an imminent threat," Chomsky said at the launching of a Cuban edition of a book of interviews published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, when asked how Bush could get reelected.

"They have a card that they can play ... terrify the population with some invented threat, and that is not very hard to do," he said.

After the "disaster" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush could turn his sights on Communist-run Cuba, which his administration officials have charged with developing a biological weapons research program, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of linguistics said.

Chomsky said the military occupation of Iraq, to topple a "horrible monster running it but not a threat to anyone," was a failure.

"The country had been devastated by sanctions. The invasion ended sanctions. The tyrant is gone and there is no outside support for domestic dissidence," he said. "It takes real talent to fail in this endeavor."

Chomsky said it was reasonable to assume the Bush administration would try to "manufacture a short-term improvement in the economy" by incurring in enormous federal government debt and "imposing burdens on future generations."

The Bush administration was a continuation of the Ronald Reagan presidency that declared a national emergency over the threat posed by Nicaragua's leftist government in the 1980s, he said.

"The same people were able to present Grenada as a threat to survival of the United States the last time they were in office," Chomsky said, in reference to the U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island in 1983 to thwart Cuban influence.

Chomsky, a leftist icon who is better known today for his critique of U.S. foreign policy than for his revolutionary theory of syntax and grammar in the 1960s, gave a lecture on the U.S politics of domination on Tuesday night that was attended by Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The author of "Language and mind," "Manufacturing Consent," "Profit Over People" and "9-11" said the Bush administration was out to dominate the world by the use of military force if need be, and Iraq was the first test.

Chomsky criticized Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar for backing the United States and Britain in invading Iraq under a false pretext that the Arab country possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Chomsky praised Cuba's defiance of U.S. hostility and trade sanctions for four decades. But he also criticized the jailing of 75 Cuban dissidents earlier this year by Castro's government.

"Yes, I have criticized them for that," he said in an interview on August 28 with Radio Havana. "I think it was a mistake."

© Reuters 2003. All Rights Reserved.

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