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There was no more pivotal period than the Great War, which wiped out the better part of a generation of young British, French and Germans.Those who survived the meat grinder of the trenches gave us modern painting and literature, and modern political theories like communism and fascism.

In America, it's the former event that is the outrage, not the latter.During his talk, Chomsky cited Adam Smith in noting that the state is not a moral agent; accordingly, the U. could simply be an out-of-control juggernaut that we can't harness, despite the fact that we seem to have elections all the time.But the policies don't really change, even as we go to war over proxy issues every two years—it's blue versus red, Jon Stewart versus Rush Limbaugh, "Yes We Can" versus the Tea Party, while the issues are God, gays and guns—and, if we're lucky, feeble efforts to make our health care system marginally less cruel.In 1991, Saddam misinterpreted signals from Washington and invaded Kuwait; when he realized he'd overreached, he attempted to walk it back, to no avail.

The period of sanctions that lasted for 12 years—not to be lifted until the attacks ordered by Bush the Younger—were described as meeting the definition of genocide by two United Nations administrators who resigned in succession.

(After O'Donnell's primary defeat of Delaware Republican Mike Castle, Chomsky said, every remaining Republican running for Senate this year professes to doubt the existence of global warming.) Hope arrived with the last question: Should we rethink the ideal of nonviolent protest?