Stating flatly that the oppression black slaves faced has not changed in 400 years, progressive hero Noam Chomsky said that the time is now to pay descendants reparations for using Africans to build up the U.S. economy.

Asked at a Harvard University forum about supporting reparations, he said: "Would I? Very much so. Not just African Americans. We ourselves didn't own slaves, but we -- me -- are rich and privileged because of the torture of blacks for centuries. And yes we own them reparations," said Chomsky, the Institute Professor of Linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

And the famed scholar wouldn't end there, he said at the forum this week sponsored by the university's Institute of Politics. He suggested that any people or country the U.S. abused should be repaid.

"The same with the remnants of Native Americans. Same with countries that we've destroyed. What about Iraq? I mean we've devastated Iraq, killed hundreds of thousands of people, generated millions of refugees, created sectarian conflict that's destroying the place. Is it our responsibility? Sure," said Chomsky.

"I think the call for reparations is very legitimate," he said, adding that blacks still face similar oppression.

"In fact, it goes back 400 years, the first slaves came here in 1620 roughly, it's 400 years, very little has changed here, fundamentally. Of course, the nature of the oppression has changed dramatically," he said.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at