Review of Noam Chomsky's '9-11: Was There an Alternative?'

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In the book ‘9-11: Was There An Alternative?’ written by Noam Chomsky, he writes about a collection of interviews that were conducted following the horrific atrocities of September 11, 2001. Chomsky writes about what was majorly the first terrorist attack to happen to the United States of America, but also talks about how it is not like they have never attacked any other country prior. This is not to say that the attack on 9/11 was not a terrible act, which it was, but Chomsky writes that the United States of America has definitely been the attacker in the victim vs. attacker sort of prompt within history. This book was very interesting to read, as for me, it was the first material to really make me think about the other side of power. It did not really occur to me to ever wonder why the United States had been attacked on 9/11. Rather, I had just assumed that there was a war going on and the United States was hit by a terrorist attack; But, of course, I was only four years old when the event occurred. Chomsky says in the book that, “Nothing can justify crimes such as those of September 11th”, but it has definitely been a trend in his writing to get an understanding of the causes of the event. In Chomsky’s book, two themes that are prevalent include a double standard from the United States and how violence is not the answer.

In Chomsky’s book, many double standards are followed by the United States government in condemning terrorism. As the attack of 9/11 was a relatively new occurrance for the United States, becasue it is not regular for the country to be a victim of national terrorism, the United States can not say the same for their own doing. 9/11 is an event that is reflected on throughout the United States to this day, and is widely viewed in an American view of typically being one-sided.

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Chomsky talks about how the United States had bombed the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan in 1998. In this event, America bombed Sudan’s plant area that produced more or about fifty percent of the country’s mecinal products arguing that the plant was producing chemical products, Chomsky writes. The bombing has revealed no weapons, and yet America did not and refused to send aid to the many people dying and affected by the diseases they caused that could have been prevented. This is just one example of how the United States has a double standard, from being a victim to being the attacker.

Chomsky also mentions many other examples that find the United States following this double standard. Other events caused by the United States resulted in suffering, destruction and numerous deaths. Events like suck include the Western murdering of Native Americans, people of the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, United States conquests of Hawaii, Phillippines and more, all that Chomsky writes about. These are all events that Chomsky says has an enormous significance historically, but yet most of them still remain largely ignored to the people that live in the country or the Western world.

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Review of Noam Chomsky’s ‘9-11: Was There an Alternative?’. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Review of Noam Chomsky’s ‘9-11: Was There an Alternative?’.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
Review of Noam Chomsky’s ‘9-11: Was There an Alternative?’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
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