Ahern 'shining the shoes of Bush', says Chomsky


Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was "shining the shoes" of President George Bush by allowing the use of Shannon airport by US military aircraft, a prominent American academic and commentator said yesterday.

Speaking in advance of a visit to Ireland next month, Prof Noam Chomsky asked: "Is Mr Ahern following the will of the Irish people or is he following orders from Washington?

"It can only be justified if the goal of the Government is to be the obedient servant of the global superpower. This tells you that western politicians despise democracy and prefer to shine the shoes of the power."

A leading critic of US foreign policy, Dr Chomsky is to deliver the Amnesty International annual lecture in Dublin on January 18th.

Professor emeritus of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr Chomsky received an honorary fellowship from UCD's Literary and Historical Society in 2002.

"New Europe follows orders from Crawford, Texas," he said yesterday.

"I cannot think of any other example in recent history of utter contempt for democracy expressed so clearly and accepted by western politicians.

"We had a public vilification of France because it didn't shine George Bush's shoes. Therefore we had to have 'freedom fries' instead of French fries in the senate lunch room," he said. - (PA)