I think you’ll agree that, of all the bad things people are capable of, their refusal to think is one of the worst, mainly because it leads to most of the other bad things of which they are capable.
In one of his earliest books, Chomsky wrote that America requires a process of de-Nazification. He has denied saying this, but again, it’s right there in black and white.
I think its impossible to understand Chomsky’s politics without understanding that, to him, the US is morally equivalent to Nazi Germany and needs to be dealt with accordingly. It should be noted, by the way, that this was a very important aspect of post-war Stalinist propaganda, and I have no doubt that Chomsky adopted it from that rather dubious source…
I think that, in the beginning, he may have believed that it (Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia) was all a frame-up by the New York Times and the US-Nazi alliance or whoever else he made up to blame it on. No doubt a great deal of wishful thinking on his part was involved, but it’s possible he was sincere in his conspiracy theories.
Then, as the facts became more difficult to deny and he started looking worse as a result, things got more complicated. At some point, he must have realized that he was saying things that in all likelihood were false. My guess is that he justified it in two ways: First, by relativizing it. Something along the lines of “whatever the Khmer Rouge may have done, it can’t be as bad as what America did in Vietnam, or Chile, or Indonesia, etc. Therefore, I am justified in continuing to defend the regime.” Second, by demonizing his opponents, by saying “whatever the Khmer Rouge may have done, it’s more important not to allow my opponents to win, because they are evil, and it is morally wrong to allow evil to win.”