Monday, August 23, 2004

Noam Chomsky and Al-Jazeera

It's hard to believe that there actually is any 'free and open' news organizations in the Arab World but according to Chomsky there is at least one. Witness the following,

The Arab world has had one free and open news source, the satellite TV news channel Al-Jazeera in Qatar, modeled on BBC, with an enormous audience throughout the Arab-speaking world.
Just in case you didn't know Al-Jazeera was created by one of the emirs of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, with a $90 million subsidy and 'gets an annual subsidy of some $30 million from the Qatari government.' Although the emir claims that Al-Jazeera enjoys total freedom, the network has yet to report any devastating critiques of the Qatari government, so much for 'free and open'.[1]

If the lie that Al-Jazeera was a 'free and open' new sources wasen't enough Chomsky has the nerve to state, "[Al-Jazeera] is the sole uncensored source, carrying a great deal of important news and also live debates and a wide range of opinion." A great deal of important news? Is Chomsky for real? One such 'great' debate with 'a wide range of opinion' was on the question ‘Is Zionism worse than Nazism?’ One of the guests was Noam Chomsky's long time friend and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. No wonder Chomsky' is such an advocate for Al-Jazeera. All those important questions and all those important people they need a place in the Middle East where they can further enlightened the masses, freely and openly of course.


[1] Borchgrave, Arnaud de Tutwiler's Mission Impossible.

26 Comments:

At August 23, 2004 at 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...the network has yet to publish any devastating critiques of the Quatari government..." Funny, I don't remember the mainstream US press questioning the American government on its reasons for invading Iraq until after the invasion turned into a never-ending rerun of "Stalingrad." And this from a country which brags about how free its press is!
Yes it is shocking how Faurisson and Chomsky are friends. Why, the number of times they appeared on stage together, wrote books together, and shot the bull on Pacifica radio is truly horrifying. Wait, wasn't that Edward Herman, and not Faurisson? Face it, Dhimmi, if they were truly friends, we would have seen more from a Chomsky-Faurisson partnership (as we have from Chomsky-Herman and Chomsky-Barsamian.) But reality must never enter the Dhimmi blog-writing process...

- Strelnikov

 
At August 23, 2004 at 4:25 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

1. Friendships come in many forms.
2. Are there problems with the American press, of course there are, just like there are with any institutions (though the problem that you claim wasn’t really there, maybe you haven’t read a newspaper or watched CNN before). But Comparatively American News Agencies are light years ahead of Arab ones, with regard to freedom and independence.

 
At August 24, 2004 at 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i emailed chomsky again and told him i needed his car.

afterall, he makes a lot of exploitation profit off his books and i just a poor immigrant working at publisher and my sister is poor and makes very little at bookstore.

meanwhile chomsky makes profits through corporations like Barnes and Noble Inc. and he won't even send me his car! he claims it isn't "relevent" that he has car and i don't. isn't he claiming it as property! and property is theft!

what should i do. i poor worker and need a car. he owes it to me. maybe i try emailing him again.

 
At August 24, 2004 at 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least on the Iraqi WMDs story, the US and British media didn't start reporting that there were likely none until two months after the invasion, and the last of the Iraq WMD stories for CNN were done back in February of this year (according to Google.) As for "The Island", do you really expect a news agency to bite the hand that feeds it? Al-Jazeera is backed by the Qatari government; CNN, etc. aren't, and yet they went along with every government proclamation on Iraqi WMDs, and even allowed their reporters to become propagandists for the various military units they were "embedded" with. So who is the greater whore?
If Faurisson is a Chomsky "friend", then Chomsky must also be friends with Salman Rushdie, because he signed the petition against the Iranian fatwah declared by Ayatollah Kohmeini [sic?] for Rushdie's 1980s novel "The Satanic Verses." And yet I never heard a word of thanks from Rushdie...

- Strelnikov

 
At August 24, 2004 at 8:58 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At August 24, 2004 at 9:01 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Well according to CNN.com (it’s really mind boggling how if you want to check whats on CNN you go to CNN itself) an August 21, 2004 report stated the following:

The CIA's final report on its search for weapons of mass destruction might include a reference to how Saddam Hussein regime's WMD capabilities would have evolved if the U.S. invasion hadn't occurred, CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said Friday. The 100-page report "will not be speculative," Mansfield said, and any reference to future capabilities will not be the focus of the report.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/08/21/iraq.main.int/index.html

Also for a report all about WMD’s see the following:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/07/15/britain.iraq/index.html

‘You got to get out more’ seems to have a bizarre ring to it now.

As for the WMD fiasco you aren’t being quite honest as to what was and wasn’t reported. I believe a fair representations of the facts were presented in the media. It seems like you’re still bitter that we actually went to war and can’t rectify why.

I just want to know have you ever seen Al-Jazeera to be asking who the bigger ‘whore’ is? I doubt Chomsky has either. But your in luck because most of it is translated into English at linktv.org (pro-Arab) and memri.org & memritv.org. Go watch it is very educational you will learn a lot about real journalism or lack there of in the Arab world. As for me I read the Iran Times (printed outside Iran) and watch Iranian TV sometimes on Sunday. And CNN, with all its faults I pefer FOX, is still better.

Leaving that aside, I though with the advent of television people would want to see the action first hand, I never knew that was called whoring in the communication business. The purpose of embedded reporters was to show life as a solider which I believe they did quite well.

 
At August 25, 2004 at 2:41 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

Dhimmi,

Chomsky is talking about the whole Arab world, not only Qatar. And in reference to the whole Arab world, al-Jazeera is 'free and open' especially compared to the rest of the media (like Syrian, Egyptian, ..., TV) there (though it of course is not perfect).

But let me quote the full passage:
[Questioner:]The free flow of information is one of the first casualties of any war. Is the present situation in any way an exception? Examples?

[Chomsky:]
Impediments to free flow of information in countries like the U.S. are rarely traceable to government; rather, to self-censorship of the familiar kind. The current situation is not exceptional-considerably better than the norm, in my opinion.
There are, however, some startling examples of U.S. government efforts to restrict free flow of information abroad. The Arab world has had one free and open news source, the satellite TV news channel Al-Jazeera in Qatar, modeled on BBC, with an enormous audience throughout the Arab-speaking world. It is the sole uncensored source, carrying a great deal of important news and also live debates and a wide range of opinion,- broad enough to include Colin Powell a few days before 9-11 and Israeli Prime Minister Barak (me too, just to declare an interest). Al-Jazeera is also "the only international news organization to maintain reporters in the Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan" (Wall Street Journal)... It has also provided lengthy interviews with bin Laden that I'm sure are perused closely by Western intelligence agencies and are invaluable to others who want to understand what he is thinking. These are translated and rebroadcast by BBC, several of them since 9-11.
Al-Jazeera is, naturally, despised and feared by the dictatorships of the region, particularly because of its frank exposures of their human rights records. The U.S. has joined their ranks. BBC reports that "The U.S. is not the first to feel aggrieved by Al-Jazeera coverage, which has in the past provoked anger from Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt for giving airtime to political dissidents."
The emir of Qatar confirmed that "Washington has asked Qatar to rein in the influential and editorially
independent Arabic Al-Jazeera television station," BBC reported. The Emir, who also chairs the Organization of Islamic Conference that includes 56 countries, informed the press in Washington that Secretary of State Powell had pressured him to rein in Al-Jazeera: to "persuade Al-Jazeera to tone down its coverage," Al-Jazeera reports. Asked about the reports of censorship, the emir said: "This is true: We heard from the U.S. administration, and also from the previous U.S. administration" (BBC, October 4 citing Reuters).
The only serious report I noticed of this highly important news is in the Wall Street Journal (October 5), which also describes the reaction of intellectuals and scholars throughout the Arab world ("truly appalling," etc.). The report adds, as the Journal had done before, that "many Arab analysts argued that it is, after all, Washington's perceived disregard for human rights in officially pro-American countries such as Saudi Arabia that fuels the rampant anti-Americanism."
.




Two exerpts:
"[Al Jazeera] has in the past provoked anger from Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt for giving airtime to political dissidents."

"Al-Jazeera is, naturally, despised and feared by the dictatorships of the region, particularly because of its frank exposures of their human rights records."

So much for 'free and open'.

And just because you don't agree with one of its debates (I don't either) doesn't mean it does not provide a wide range of opinion that is of value. Especially for audiences that have not had access to a similar range before.

But I'll let each reader decide for themsleves, of course.

 
At August 26, 2004 at 1:49 PM, Blogger educatedprofessor said...

Ok class it's good argument/bad argument time once again. (Good argument (in this case)

One of the things I always like to mention, as helping proving the Iraq was war WRONG, is that Saddam Hussein (leader of Iraq) was contained. (In Iraq). (This is pretty obvious in retroscept, Saddam Hussein infact as we now know now was completely well contained within teh boundaries of Iraq (was eventually found in spiderhole deep inside Iraq)).

A helpful metaphor here, borrowed from another context, is the "lockbox". Just say it this way: We had Saddam contained in a lockbox. Examine that sentece carefully. That sentence proves all you need to know, relly. (Frankly I don't understand why the Kerry people don't say this kind of thing more often)

This (containment) (lockbox too) is a geopolitical term of art. It means, when someone (i.e. a country) (Iraq, say) is contained, what has happened is, you have set up an International web of regulations and inspectors and adnimistrators to make sure they do no bad stuff (i.e. you make a list of bad stuff to prohibit and that's what they'll be prohibited from). Thus, no bad stuff (from them) becomes possible (not within realm of possibility). You can then proceed from there under they assumption they don't do the stuff you contained them from doing. VERY USEFUL in International Politics!

In the case of Iraq, we had a thing called sanctions(***). Sanctions(***) was where we prevented (prohibited, relly) certian stuff from crossing the border of Iraq. So we had that to count on. As long as we needed it (indefinately). Meanwhile there were (strongly worded) UN resolutions. These, too, limited what Saddam could and could not do. He must do this that and the other.

Now, a year or two ago the dhingers were filling are children's head's with horror stories about (boogeyman) Saddam. They were a Mendacious mixture of lies and half-truths sewn together with dissimulations. First of all let's admit. The dhingers would say that Saddam was a badman (true but don't forget NEVER forget other bad men). They would say that Saddam disliked the U.S.A. (true but is that a crime? I shudder to think). They would say that he would like to harm the U.S.A. (true but CAN HE DO IT?? I relly don't think he could of (AT ALL) (So why risk a Wrong war and risk his terroristic retaliation)?). But they would say Yes he could with WMD's that he could hand off to "so" called "terrorists". But he had no functional WMD's that we knew of (could find- identify- prove existence of). So why your panties in a wad, here?

As long as we can't prove he has WMD's, and the sanctions1 are securely in place to Contain him from getting more WMD material, well relly, I hate to point out the obvious, but the guy's been defanged. This is practically mathsematical in provability - if (1) he has no WMD and (2) no way to get them then (3) he will never have them QED.

Why (1)? Well ask the inspectors (Blix, Ritter) found NOTHING.

But why (2) (a dhinger might continue, knowing the futility of arguing with 1)?

Say it with me SANCTIONS(***). The bottom line is. Sanctions(***) are a time tested International approved way - proven and watertight effective - of preventing objects from crossing borders. Dhinger say Saddam was seeking WMD well I say "how? One word SANCTIONS(***)." How Saddam can possibly bring inside Iraq borders (or send out, come to think of it) WMD stuff( missile technology, centrifuge, bag of anthrax) with all the SANCTIONS*** going on?

Get real!

Saddam was contained and you know it. A much better (more peaceful) thing to count on for defense against his potential aggression than a WAR which is WRONG.

*** btw (just side note here) teh sanctions were a crime against the people of Iraq (5000000 babies kill/year). immoral and (frankly) (hate to say it though I do not use this word lightley) genocidal in scope. ever since Albright's horrid words "worth it" I've been protesting the sanctions every chance I get. with any luck (if the WRONG war hadn't started) we would of gotten those lifted, I relly fell like the momentum was on are side there

 
At August 26, 2004 at 7:36 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Your lockbox theory kind of gets unhinged when it’s revealed that Saddam gave 25,000 to the family of Suicide Bombers and put a hit out on a former US President. As for the sanctions being a crime against humanity (500,000 figure was from the Saddam himself, talk about buying propaganda) I have already discussed this topic. But as always it’s interesting to note when the Arab world finally decided to do something about what you call a genocide in Iraq (that would be in 2002, 11 years after the sanctions started), Saddam decided not to take their help. I wonder why? Maybe people would have found out then what we know now, namely Saddam was stealing all the money and the UN was comprised of a bunch of incompetent fools (though charlatans would be a better word). Next you can’t imagine how Saddam would have gotten WMDs with the sanctions, maybe you haven’t heard of the black market. Millions of barrels of Oil were being smuggled from Iraq to Jordan and Turkey on monthly bases; one nuclear bomb from Pakistan shouldn’t be too hard. Also, Russia has a serious problem with nuclear bomb accountability, so it was and still is possible.

 
At August 27, 2004 at 5:10 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

Dear educatedprofessor,

I think you need some more education or at least some fact checking before you post again.

For one, I think your finger got stuck on the zero key for a bit too long. It was not 5 million but 500,000 as Dhimmy pointed out (and that was not Saddam's figure, it was conceeded by Albright on CNN) and not per year but upto the interview (in the end of the 90s, not sure which year).

And to claim that containment means nothing can come through the borders is ... naive.
Just look at how much stuff and how many people are crossing the border now and the 'sanctions' uder which Iraq is now are far thighter than the ones before the war. Dhimmy is correct in pointing out that a lot of oil was exported illegaly to Jordan, Turkey and Syria.

Dhimmy,

the fact that Saddam was skimming the oil-for-food programme was widely known before the war. What is new is just who on 'our' side was involved.

I already posted the link about the 'assasination'.
Why you keep repeating the claim is beyond me.
There's plenty of other, more credible stuff, you can name.

Sponsoring suicide bombers...
What Saddam supposedly gave to Palestinian suicide bombers is peanuts to what US 'allies' (from Saudi Arabia to private individuals in the Gulf) give to suicide bombers. Yet the US is doing nothing about those.

And the effect of the sanctions (apart from effectively containing Saddam and preventing him from developing nukes) was to strenghten the dictator. An overwhelming percentage of the population depended on the regime for basic necesseties like food.


As for Saddam geting WMDs...
The will was certainly there but he had absolutely no means to deliver them to the US nor did he have anybody to buy them from (the Pakistanis would not have sold them to Saddam as they knew the wrath they would take from the US for doing so). If you meant the technology to produce nukes (like the technology Lybia handed over and got from the international smuggling network headed by Pakistanis), that is not something you can just hide. Especially with inspectors running around the country.

And let's say for the argument's sake that he did aquire nukes (or that Iran or North Korea did). Why on earth would he launch them at anybody (the US and Israel being the most obvious choices) if they know their own country with themselves included would be obliterated within the hour?

 
At August 27, 2004 at 9:48 AM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At August 27, 2004 at 9:49 AM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

First Luka you have never posted on this topic with me. Second Seymour Hersh isn't too creditable.

http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3654.html

Third the assassination plot has been talked about and 'proven' in may books, see "THE CONNECTION" By Stephen F. Hayes, which he also makes reference to the fact that Iraq was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Fourth we are talking about intelligence here not science. Is it 100 percent accurate? Probably no. Can it ever be? No. Does it have to be? No. All the evidence I have seen tends to indicate that Saddam was involved. And that’s good enough for me and apparently it was for the rest of the US administration, except for the unnamed sources of Hersh who might turn out to be conmen like the rest of his bogus stories (see point two).

Lastly about the death figures because of sanctions see my post on the topic.

 
At August 27, 2004 at 1:56 PM, Blogger LukaB said...

"First Luka you have never posted on this topic with me."

Sorry. Thought I did. Perhaps it was at Benjamin's.

"Second Seymour Hersh isn't too creditable."

So you believe the guy who broke the Abu Ghraib story is not credible?

And you quote the likes of James Donald and Werner Cohn?

Don't want to be obnoxious but the H word comes to mind again.

Have to admit I don't know much about him but perhaps that is even better - I only read the article without any preconceeved notions. And I found the article very credible.

But let's put that aside. Since I don't have acess to the book you cited, read the Hersh article and tell me on which counts he's wrong. The article itself seems quite credible and well researched to me. But I'm willing to change my mind.


"Third the assassination plot has been talked about and 'proven'"

Why 'proven' and not proven?

"[in] which he also makes reference to the fact that Iraq was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings."

Oh, no, no, no, no. Are your serious?

 
At August 27, 2004 at 3:45 PM, Blogger LukaB said...

As for the sanctions...
I checked out your post and since I can't reply there I'll do it here.

I'll have to admit I checked out your sources rather quickly but what they all seem to be saying is that it's not only the US (pretedning that it was the UN and not the US that pushed for the sanctions is disningenious - though its allies surely didn't mind participating) that is to blame for the deaths due to the sanctions but the Iraqi regime also.

Well, I agree with that. It even goes without saying and it would be idiotic to claim otherwise.

Now who bares the bigger responsibility, the US for imposing the sanctions or Saddam for not giving a damn about his won people... Well, that's speculation and it's subjective.
And unimportant.

The important point in my opinion is that the US is also at fault for those deaths. And since we can only be responsible for and can only affect the results of our own actions, our main emphasis should be on these.



Why were those sanctions set up?

Were they achieving their aims?

Were there any side-effects that we didn't anticipate?

What can we do about those?

Did we do anything?

Nobody in the mainstream was asking these questions (some mentions yes, a wider debate no). And that is the problem. We are perfectly content in killing hudreds of thausands of babies (about as many as died in the Holocaust - for some perspective, not equating) without giving it a second thought. Because "the price is worth it".

Read this perhaps:
http://www.fff.org/comment/com0311c.asp

or this
http://www.fair.org/extra/0111/iraq.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,232986,00.html

 
At August 28, 2004 at 12:21 AM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Seymour Hersh 'broke' more than Abu Ghraib. He 'broke' My Lai wrote a piss poor book on Kennedy where the documents he used turned out to be forgeries then wrote another crappy book on Israel and the nuclear bomb where his informant turned out to be a habitual liar. So to answer your question yes I think the man who broke Abu Ghraib has no creditability. Even his report on that was full of, well there really is no other word, nonsense. He made many rash generalizations and implicated leading officials with no evidence. And no I am not denying that there was mistreatment at Abu Ghraib just questioning who Seymour Hersh thinks was responsible. As for the article you posted well lets just say the conspiracy is just that until Seymour Hersh reveals who his unnamed sources are. Once he does that then maybe we can start talking about his work as if it were creditable. But hey maybe unnamed sources are 'quite credible and well researched' for you but for me well I hope people to a higher standard. Next, I put 'proven' in scare quotes because when you deal with intelligence information nothing is 100 percent provable. But if you bothered to read the rest of what I wrote you might have picked up on that. And yes I am serious about the first WTC bombing go buy the book, or do a search on Abdul Rahman Yasin. And news flash I know you didn't read my sources it shows by the way you comment. And again the figures what were coming out were wrong and given by Saddam so funny how the left embraced them though. Read the sources you might learn something.

 
At August 28, 2004 at 3:40 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

"Seymour Hersh 'broke' more than Abu Ghraib. He 'broke' My Lai wrote a piss poor book on Kennedy where the documents he used turned out to be forgeries then wrote another crappy book on Israel and the nuclear bomb where his informant turned out to be a habitual liar."

Didn't know this. Thanks for pointing it out.

But refresh my memory - My Lai did happen, right?
Israel does have nuclear weapons?


"He made many rash generalizations and implicated leading officials with no evidence. And no I am not denying that there was mistreatment at Abu Ghraib just questioning who Seymour Hersh thinks was responsible."

He's not the only one (though he was the first). The government's own inquiry into the matter comes to similar conclusions:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37221-2004Aug26.html

Plenty more articles/op-eds like this one will be coming out I suspect.

"As for the article you posted well lets just say the conspiracy is just that until Seymour Hersh reveals who his unnamed sources are."

I understand you scepitcism but I don't see how you can ask a journalist to reveal his anonymous sources. Just ask Bob Novak (on the Plame case). If journalists had to reveal all their sources, practically no reporting would be done.

"for me well I hope people to a higher standard."

No, you do not. Only when it fits your agenda.
For G-d's sake, Cohn?


"Next, I put 'proven' in scare quotes because when you deal with intelligence information nothing is 100 percent provable. But if you bothered to read the rest of what I wrote you might have picked up on that."

Did read it but did not pick up on it.

"And yes I am serious about the first WTC bombing go buy the book, or do a search on Abdul Rahman Yasin."

Talk about whacko conspiracy theories. If I may suggest a book, read 'Al-Qaida: Casting the shadow of terror' by Jason Burke. Not just for this argument, it's a great book on how militant and radical Islam developed and are developing and how what we are doing affects it.
He deals with the 1993 bombing also and discredits the conspiracy theory comepletely. And the guy knows what he's talking about (don't trust me on it though, read it).

"And news flash I know you didn't read my sources it shows by the way you comment."

It shows because I said so. I'm not gonna go read 100 pages of stuff I already know.

"And again the figures what were coming out were wrong and given by Saddam so funny how the left embraced them though. Read the sources you might learn something."¸

Well, looking at one of the sources you gave (chose the Nation article as it is the shortest one) it is quite clear that the 567,000 dead children claim came from The Lancet. They revised the number after it was pointed out to be incorrect.

The study I was referring to "Morbidity and Mortality Among Iraqi Children," was done by Columbia University's Richard Garfield (an expert on the public-health impact of sanctions).

To quote:
Garfield has recently recalculated his numbers, based on the additional findings of the Ali and Shah study, to arrive at an estimate of approximately 350,000 through 2000. Most of these deaths are associated with sanctions, according to Garfield, but some are also attributable to destruction caused by the Gulf War air campaign, which dropped 90,000 tons of bombs in forty-three days, a far more intensive attack than the current strikes against Afghanistan. The bombing devastated Iraq's civilian infrastructure, destroying eighteen of twenty electricity-generating plants and disabling vital water-pumping and sanitation systems. Untreated sewage flowed into rivers used for drinking water, resulting in a rapid spread of infectious disease.

So they were hardly Saddam's numbers (the original ones or the revised ones).

And I will repeat, I do not claim Saddam was not also responsible for those deaths or that he cooked the books on mortality rates etc.

And I'll just post a link to the original post here so I don't have to go looking for it every time.

And you did not comment on this:
"The important point in my opinion is that the US is also at fault for those deaths. And since we can only be responsible for and can only affect the results of our own actions, our main emphasis should be on these. ... We are perfectly content in killing hudreds of thausands of babies (about as many as died in the Holocaust - for some perspective, not equating) without giving it a second thought. Because "the price is worth it"."

I would really like your comment on this.

 
At August 28, 2004 at 11:10 AM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At August 28, 2004 at 11:20 AM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

First of all lets talk about Hersh. Yes, My Lai did happen and Israel does have nuclear bombs, however, his My Lai analysis was much like his Abu Ghraib theory... I am pretty sure you understand that. On the nuclear weapons issue in Israel Hersh was not the first person to report on it. He was reporting on certain aspects on it, which were not ‘known’ at the time. Then it turned out the parts that Hersh ‘broke’ were false because (surprise surprise) his unnamed sources where liars. So basically the man mixes facts with fiction to make his conspiracy theory work. That is why I said, “we are talking about intelligence here not science.” So can one be suspicious about the assassination attempt? Yes they can. But coming out of Hersh’s mouth it is kind of hard to believe since he has a history of playing around with the facts. Also just because a lot of people agree with his conclusions doesn’t make them right; popularity can’t be substituted for accurate information. But if you cared to read the article I linked:

http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3654.html

You would have known all this. And furthermore Cohn seems to me to be very creditable I have check out some of his sources, which I have cited here, and to me I think he portrays Chomsky accurately. To bad you can’t say the same for Hersh the man doesn’t tell you who you can contact to check the veracity of work.

Second the Abdul Rahman Yasin theory is just that a theory. No hard evidence here. But the man has admitted on television, I forgot the station that he mixed the chemicals that were used in WTC one attacks. That’s good enough for me to question Iraq’s involvement with the attacks.

Third the oil for food issue. Your own source debunks your claim 500,000 deaths were caused by the sanctions (by the way when I was talking with the 500,000 figure I was referring to the claim per year as the professor was which would put it into the millions this number came from Saddam and as the professor shows was swallowed by a large percentage of activists). If you read the following, from your own source, “an estimate of approximately 350,000 through 2000. Most of these deaths are associated with sanctions, according to Garfield, but some are also attributable to destruction caused by the Gulf War air campaign.” The majority of 350,000 dead is not 500,000. Also Garfield actually says the minimum number of children who died as a result of the embargo was 100,000 and the maximum was 350,000 (the report is very good and is online, but a long one). It’s interesting to note the article you sourced has him saying 350,000. Also Garfield indicates 75% percent were the result of sanctions and 25% were the result of the war. I wonder why the article you sourced leaves it vague. But that’s besides the point you can do the math; no way you can get 500,000 as a result of sanctions. However the actual number of dead is very sad indeed (Just a side note: I never said no one has died as a result of the sanctions). Next we move on to who is actually responsible. This one is easy it’s Saddam. First start with a quote of apathy from Saddam, “Let the enemies... cut medicine supplies so that children, pregnant women and the elderly die. God willing, Iraq will continue to be the leader of the continuous March.” (Side note I think the Albright quote just shows her ignorance of the situations I don’t think she really knows much about what was going on, though it is very saddening to see an American official make such claims) Second conditions in Iraq change dramatically after the adoption of the Oil-for-Food program even though as you admit it was very corrupt. But the problem was “by delaying his acceptance of UNSC oil-for-food resolutions for six years President Saddam Husayn bears heavy responsibility for the malnutrition (and possible deaths) of many Iraqi children.”[1] The international community was willing to help, albeit to fatten their own pockets at the same time, but Saddam refused it, instead opting to kill his own people. Next a comparative analysis of Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraq itself shows Saddam was the key factor that was making the difference if people were dying or going to survive. [1] And one last time when Saddam was offered more assistance this time by his Arab brethren in 2002 he refused again. Lastly do I think if the sanctions were removed the suffering in Iraq would have stopped? No, everything I have read puts most in not all of the responsibility on Iraq. I don’t think killing innocent babies is worth it, ever, but Saddam and the UN are the ones who should be held accountable. They stole the money; Saddam waited to get help and declined it in 2002, not America.

[1] http://209.196.144.55/articles/baram.html

 
At August 28, 2004 at 3:47 PM, Blogger LukaB said...

Finally a meaningful debate...

Will be more wary of Hersh's articles in the future.
Though I still don't see Saddam trying to assasinate a US president using a medic and a few smugglers that were later found wondering in the desert because they put wrong gasoline in the car they stole...

"Also just because a lot of people agree with his conclusions doesn’t make them right; popularity can’t be substituted for accurate information."

This is not 'a lot of people'. The info in the article cited is from the government investigation of the prison abuse scandal (as you know since you read the article).

As for Cohn... His sources clearly do not check out as I have shown on your site. I do not see how you can keep claiming (pretending) they do. While you are correct that the fact that you stopped replying to me does not mean you have conceeded I am correct, I made a careful examination of the author you presented, checked out his allegations and have proven them to be incorrect. You should either retort or leave me with the assumption that you are intentionally spreading lies. But we have been over this before.

Back to your post...
Invoking the UN as a guilty party is not fair. As we both know (I'm assuming) the UN (or the Secruity Council in this case) is not some independent body, it is a body made up of member states. And in the case of Iraq (others also, but I'll stick to the subject) the US was and is it's most influential member, the driving force behind it's policy (just look at who was the author of the resolutions on Iraq). So the US was/is using the UN as a lever to get what it wants. The only obstacle are veto powers of other countries (and even those don't matter if the US chooses to ignore them) but in the case of Iraq, everybody went along or at least didn' put in a veto.


I think this is an English proverb:
It takes two to tango.

My point being that the US shares the responsibility for those children dying. I don't think you will dispute that the US was the driving force behind those sanctions. And the driving force in maintaining them.

I'm not saying Saddam is not to blame. He is. But the US is to blame to. What proportion of the deaths each is guilty of one cannot determine in my view. But we can again use the principle that we should concern ourselves with the actions which we can influence - our own.

The fact is that the sanctions regime was termed 'genocidal' by Sponek or Halliday (the UN guys in charge of the Oil for Food programme at the time - and not implicated in any wrongdoing I should add - not sure which one of them said it, can check though). They said that the sanctions should have been changed in way which would prevent the importation of WMD material to Iraq but that would not kill hundreds of thausands of innocent people and strengthen the regime at the same time. And nobody in the West was more knowledgable about this and knew the situation in Iraq at the time better than them.

They both resigned in protest because the US (&UK) would not change the sanctions regime but stuck to the original formula thereby strenghtening Saddam and making regime change less likely.

(I'll add here that even though Saddam's strength was increased by the sanctions, his overall hold on the population was very weak as the Kay investigation showed - regime change from within was quite possible had the sanctions been changed)

Now we can ask ourselves why...
Why would the US want to prevent the fall of Saddam which is was clearly doing by keeping the sanctions in the form they were?

I will give you my assesment but I would like to hear your answer beforehand.

 
At August 28, 2004 at 4:02 PM, Blogger LukaB said...

A couple more things...

"First of all lets talk about Hersh. Yes, My Lai did happen and Israel does have nuclear bombs, however, his My Lai analysis was much like his Abu Ghraib theory... I am pretty sure you understand that."

Could you expand on this, I'm not sure I understand.


As for the Iraqi children estimates...
The first time I heard the per year mention was from the professor. So I don't think it's so widespread as I've read up on the subject a bit.

As for the number... I said in my second post on the subject that it was revised and then cited the source (your source, by the way, not mine) so I don't see why you had to go repeat it. But perhaps my not knowing about the per year claim explains the confusion.

 
At August 30, 2004 at 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What he means, LukaB, is that Hersh is spinning some kind of "conspiracy theory", i.e. that the Abu Graib abuse was condoned at the highest level of the military. Unfortunately, the conspiracy theory is probably the truth. Getting back to Al Jazeera, however; Dhimmi, I urge you to see the documentary "Control Room", which is about how the network covered Gulf War II. I think you might like it.

- Strelnikov

 
At August 31, 2004 at 10:46 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

"What he means, LukaB, is that Hersh is spinning some kind of "conspiracy theory", i.e. that the Abu Graib abuse was condoned at the highest level of the military."

[sarcasm on]
I thought of that too but it couldn't be it as I pointed out that a govenrment inquiry into the matter came up with (basically) the same stuff as Hersh. Why would he repeat a discredited claim?
[sarcasm off]

"Unfortunately, the conspiracy theory is probably the truth."

It seems so yes.
But you are a Chomskyite. You should have said fortunately. Perhaps Dhimmi is getting to you.

 
At September 20, 2004 at 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking for the source of a remark by Chomsky on the Faurisson case.

I have seen a quote from Chomsky to the effect that Faurisson was almost beaten to death by "Jewish thugs", but I can no longer find it on the Web.

I am planning to write a text on the subject (Chomsky and the Faurisson case), and I need to know where that quote came from (date, context, etc.).

Can anyone supply relevant information?

 
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