Wednesday, October 27, 2004

From a fellow reader, Dennis Josefsson, (my many thanks, and sorry this is so late) has translated an article for me written in Swedish regarding comments made by Chomsky. The original article can be found here:

Dagens Nyheter by Gellert Tamas

The translated version is here:

The battle of the front of words is now [front of words is a direct translation of "ordfronten", definite form of Ordfront]

This weekend, the association Ordfront have their congress. The result of the meeting might be decisive for the Swedish leftist debate.

No systematic killings have occurred in Bosnia. That assertion from Diana Johnstone, reproduced in a big, blown up, article in and by Ordfront Magazine’s editor’s secretary Björn Eklund, became the starting point of one of the most extensive and infected debates in Sweden’s cultural life. The last chapter will probably be written May 15th when the association Ordfront have their congress.

The debate in its entirety, one hundred contributions or so, can be read at the homepage of the publishing house Manifest. Even Noam Chomsky speaks out. He defends Diana Johnstone in an open letter to Ordfront. Chomsky’s tone is harsh. His contribution is based on the highly esteemed journal International Affairs which, according to Chomsky, contains a "very favourable" review of Johnstone’s book.

Chomsky raises a finger of accusation against the whole Swedish world of media:

"It would be interesting to learn how the Swedish press explains the fact that their interpretation of Johnstone's book differs so radically from that of Britain's leading scholarly foreign affairs journal, International Affairs", writes Chomsky. [Note: the letter is available online, http://www.manifest.se/balkan/chomsky.html, the quote in the article is translated into Swedish but I use Chomsky’s original words]

It is undeniably an interesting question that gets a whole new dimension when one reads the review.

That Chomsky reports the wrong name of the reviewer, Robert instead of Richard Caplan, can be blamed on negligence. But despite some benevolent lines can Caplan’s review, in its entirety, not even with the best of will be interpreted as "very favourable". It is rather the opposite.

Johnstone’s book is "revisionist" and "highly contentious", writes Caplan, a scholar of International Relations at the University of Oxford, and state that the book "contains numerous errors of fact on which Johnstone, however, relies on to strengthen her case". Johnstone is also "very selective" in her selection of facts, says Caplan and points out, with badly hidden sarcasm, that Johnstone, with this method, succeeds with the art of getting Milosevic "emerge as a multiculturalist". [I haven’t translated the quotes from Tamas’ article, instead they are from Caplan’s review in International Affairs]

The irony is that the of Chomsky cited review treats Johnstone’s book in the same way as more or less every media in Sweden have done; that is criticizing her blatant errors of facts and tendentious method of selection. The exception is Eklund’s interview in Ordfront.

Chomsky’s strange treatment of his source is sadly not unusual among the participants of the Ordfront debate and underlines once more two of the foundations of journalism; careful checking of sources and, to quote Chomsky, a permanent questioning of authorities.

The wars in former Yugoslavia are in many ways still a bleeding wound and the debate on their causes, lapses and happenings is therefore important. The discussion must be open, but have to in the same time, like all journalism and debate worth the name, be built on an intellectual, critically examining, attitude regarding sources and facts.

[The rest of the article is about Ordfront and not Chomsky]

46 Comments:

At November 6, 2004 at 6:32 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At November 7, 2004 at 8:16 PM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Luka you know better don't use foul language.

 
At November 8, 2004 at 12:58 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At November 8, 2004 at 10:46 AM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

Luka, that is the second time you did it. If you don't know how to control yourself I suggest you stop soming here.

 
At November 8, 2004 at 1:03 PM, Blogger LukaB said...

As I said before, I did not use foul language.

Please show me where I did (perhaps people in the States have different standards for this).

I'm assuming it was the word 'ass' as it is the only one that could even remotely be construed as such.


So I'll rephrase for our uptight Dhimmy.



Instead of posting hearsay, why don't you get of your lazy bottom and find the International Affairs article so we can see who said what about whom.

Does that meet your standards of decency?

 
At November 11, 2004 at 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LukaB,

I've found the review by Richard Kaplan in International Affairs (March 2003) p.453.

Reading it one could not say that Kaplan treats Johnstone's book "very favourbly" or that the review is "very respectful" as Chomsky contends. It is rather mixed review, that while not damning the book outright, is not exactly favourable.

He describes the book as "revisionist and highly contentious". He does credit Johnstone with drawing "attention to numerous aspects of the Yugoslav crisis where fair and accurate analysis has indeed been in short supply." Johstone, he argues, is on "firm ground" in bringing to light the war crimes committed by the Serbs opponents.

But, cautions Caplan "for all the book's constructive correctives, it is often difficult to recognize the world that Johnstone describes..." The book "also contains numerous errors of fact on which Johnstone, however, relies to strengthen her case." Such as her use of the 1996 SIPRI Yearbook to challenge claims that over 200,000 people were killed in the Bosnian War. That volume actualy advocates a higher toll of 230,000.

Johnstone, he charges is:

"herself very selective. She omits any discussion of Milosevic's own assault on the constitutional order (by abolishing Vojvodina's and Kosovo's autonomy); of the irregular if not extra-legal means he employed to remove the political leadership of Vojvodina, Montenegro and Kosovo; or of the extensive materiel and other support he provided to some of the most vicious Serb militias in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovnia."

In sum: "The result is an insightful but overzealous critique of western diplomacy and Yugoslavia. Fool's Crusade is well worth reading -- but for the discriminating eye."

Hope this clarifies matters.

WXB

 
At November 15, 2004 at 12:30 AM, Blogger Dhimmi said...

WXB,

Don't waste your time trying to explain anything to Luka; it’s mostly an exercise in futility. You see he uses the shoddiest material, articles full of unnamed sources by Sy Hersh, and expects everyone's sources to be impeccable.

 
At November 15, 2004 at 9:38 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

WXB said:

"I've found the review by Richard Kaplan in International Affairs (March 2003) p.453."

Great. At least someone is not lazy...

"Reading it one could not say that Kaplan treats Johnstone's book "very favourbly" or that the review is "very respectful" as Chomsky contends. It is rather mixed review, that while not damning the book outright, is not exactly favourable."

OK.

'"He describes the book as "revisionist and highly contentious". He does credit Johnstone with drawing "attention to numerous aspects of the Yugoslav crisis where fair and accurate analysis has indeed been in short supply." Johstone, he argues, is on "firm ground" in bringing to light the war crimes committed by the Serbs opponents."'

Just so you know (Dhimmi does already) - I'm from Slovenia (one of the ex Yugoslav republics) and I have an intimate knowledge of the subject.
And I agree with the above.


[Caplan's charges of one-sidedness]

I agree with all of those also, and I would add some more. But when I reread the book, I noticed something in the beginning which kind of slipped my mind on the first read (I remember it's on page 14 but can't give you an exact quote since I loaned the book to a Serbian friend). But I'll try to paraphrase from memory. Wait, I just found a paraphrase on amazon.com which will be better than my memory:

"Ms. Johnstone herself limits the scope of the book to the Serbian perspective and to challenge the assertion that NATO's intervention was just (see page 14)."

Once I reread this the rest of the book did not seem revisionist anymore. And all of Caplan's charges go out the window also. Perhaps Chomsky was referring to the first part of the review while recognising the fallacy of the latter part?

In any case, I'll take it up with Chomsky when I get the book back and I'll report what I find out.

"Hope this clarifies matters."

It certailny helps. I guess the whole review is not online?
Would you be able to get me a copy as this is a topic I'm really interested in? (It is my back yard and my country's history after all - not to mention it would help with my correspondence with Chomsky.)


And if I remeber correctly, I still owe you an answer for the Mandarins chapter, right?
(Confrim so I don't write it for nothing).

Thanks in advance.


Dhimmi said...

"Don't waste your time trying to explain anything to Luka; it’s mostly an exercise in futility."

:)

"You see he uses the shoddiest material, articles full of unnamed sources by Sy Hersh, and expects everyone's sources to be impeccable."

I cited one Sy Hersh article which you did not refute but chose to smear Hersh instead. That was it.
So the plural is dishonest. The rest is the continuation of the smear.

And I don't expect your sources to be impeccable.
But what I do expect from you is that if you accuse Chomsky of a lie, you provide more than an article in Swedish which even you cannot understand as proof. OK?

[WXB, check out the 'habitual liar' thread on this blog to see what I'm talking about].

 
At November 15, 2004 at 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LukaB,

The review is not available online. I am sure there is a way to get it to you.

I have not read Johnstone's book, only Caplan's review, so I am at a disadvantage. However, to decide his review and the charge of revisionism is debunked by the sentiments contained in this phrase -- "Ms. Johnstone herself limits the scope of the book to the Serbian perspective and to challenge the assertion that NATO's intervention was just (see page 14)” -- is most curious. As is your other assertion that Johstone’s intention means that “all of Caplan's charges go out the window also”. This does not make sense. How can limiting the scope of one’s study to two simple issues absolve you from charges of being factually inaccurate?

If we consider the question of Johnstone’s actual intention, according to Amazon statement, the answers are no clearer. Does that mean she merely limits herself to uncritically advocating what Serbs wanted to believe about what they were doing (or what Milosevic wanted them to believe) in Bosnia etc and the “unjustness” of the NATO response, or to what was true about the Serbian point of view that was otherwise ignored? If it is the former, then Caplan’s reticience to lavishly praise the book is understandable if he perceives it to be biased to the point of distorting facts (as he in fact documents); if the latter, then that explains Caplan’s praise in the first half of the review. But because she does both the review is inevitably mixed. Caplan’s criticisms are not refuted by her apparent intentions.

“Perhaps Chomsky was referring to the first part of the review while recognising the fallacy of the latter part?” Not quite. As already indicated I cannot see a “fallacy” in the second part of the review if Johnstone’s book is more than merely a review of Serbian opinion, but actually an argument about the justness of the Serbian view of the Bosnian War and subsequent NATO intervention. But more importantly, dare I say, what we have is a typical Chomskyian tactic of citing the opinion of another source, preferably an authoritative one, in this case the “leading British scholarly journal International Affairs” and “Britain’s leading scholarly foreign affairs journal”, rather than his own so he can deny any charges of whitewashing genocide. So Chomsky can only bring himself to describe Johnstone’s book as “quite serious and important”, but uses his reading of a review of the book to indicate how we should perhaps think about it: “very favourably reviewed” and a “very respectful review”. Of course, in doing so, and LukaB has inadvertantly recognised this, Chomsky has characterised this review very selectively by focussing on those statements which conform with what we can presume to be Chomsky’s real feelings about Johnstone’s book -- but which he will not publicly associate himself with too closely, lest Johnstone’s scepticism about Serbian atrocities be proved wrong –- while ignoring Caplan’s critical comments.

Chomsky has done this before. On Kosovo, Cambodia and any other instance where the “victim” of US-led oppression has been accused of genocidal behaviour, he both raises doubts by the veracity of such claims, but carefully, so very carefully, provides himself with an out to cite when the proper accounting is made. On Cambodia there were two lines he & Ed Herman made in “After the Cataclysm” that he trotted out again and again and again to absolve himself of any claims to have denied Khmer Rouge atrocities:

“The record of atrocities in Cambodia is substantial and often gruesome” p. 136

“When the facts are in, it may turn out that the more extreme condemnations [of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge] were in fact correct.” p.293.

Though we might ask with regard to the “record of atrocities” who actually committed them, given that (1) Chomsky & Herman do not identify the agent responsible in that sentence and (2) they spend a lot of time castigating the US media for not taking seriously the claims of various fellow-travellers that Kampuchea was a paradise. And we might also ask if the use of term “may” in the second sentence is in fact a sign of skepticism, but there is no point going over the same ground yet again to the same effect. But the point is that for good or ill that is how Chomsky operates.

Note in his letter to Ordfront that Chomsky allows himself only a few of apparent endorsements of Johnstone’s skepticism about the charges of major war crimes by the Serbs as criticized by article in the Swedish paper Svenska Dagbladet:

· Chomsky describes as “entirely appropriate”, Johnstone’s comment on the massacre at Srebrenica: “one thing should be obvious: one does not commit genocide by sparing women and children” (p117).

· With regard to Johnstone’s apparent claim that the alleged death toll in the Balkans has been exaggerated Chomsky carefully states: “I am aware of no evidence -- of course meaning evidence available to her at the time she wrote – that the statements she made in this regard (as distinct from those attributed to her) are incorrect.”

· “Johnstone argues – and in fact clearly demonstrates – that a good deal of what has been charged has not basis in fact, and much of it is pure fabrication.”

Finally we might consider Chomsky’s very restrained and filtered praise for Johstone’s book with the more vigorous endorsement of his collaborator Ed Herman in the pages of the Monthly Review:

http://www.monthlyreview.org/0203herman.htm

“Fool’s Crusade…is essential reading for anybody who wants to understand the causes, effects, and rights-and-wrongs of the Balkan wars of the past dozen years. The book should be priority reading for leftists, many of whom have been carried along by a NATO-power party line and propaganda barrage, believing that this was one case where Western intervention was well-intentioned and had beneficial results.”

“Diana Johnstone has written up this story in a readable, scholarly, and convincing way that I have been able to summarize all to briefly here. It is an important book, especially for a left that has been confused by the outpourings of a very powerful propaganda system.”

You can go to the Monthly Review website to see that his acceptance of her claims comes with far fewer filters or qualifiers than of his comrade Chomsky.

This is a complex issue usually about who said what. But I’d like to think, at a minimum, that it is evident that Chomsky, as per usual, is trying to have a bet each way.

WXB.

 
At November 15, 2004 at 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a great post, WXB. Especially when you point out how Chomsky leaves himself an 'out' so he can deny any charges thrown at him. My personal favorite that the Chomskyites use is the classic, "but he only criticizes the actions of his own government not the actions of others." And who can forget the "silent genocide" debacle where he accuses the United States of planning a genocide of the Afghan people but when he is called on it after the fact he just innocently claims it was based on UN and NGO accounts at the time.

 
At November 16, 2004 at 1:26 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

"The review is not available online. I am sure there is a way to get it to you."

If you could take a picture of it or scan it and send it to lukabbb _at_ yahoo _dot_ com
I would really appreciate it.


"I have not read Johnstone's book, only Caplan's review, so I am at a disadvantage."

Vice versa for me.

"However, to decide his review and the charge of revisionism is debunked by the sentiments contained in this phrase -- "Ms. Johnstone herself limits the scope of the book to the Serbian perspective and to challenge the assertion that NATO's intervention was just (see page 14)” -- is most curious. As is your other assertion that Johstone’s intention means that “all of Caplan's charges go out the window also”. This does not make sense. How can limiting the scope of one’s study to two simple issues absolve you from charges of being factually inaccurate?"

I wasn't referring to factual inacuracies (I can only comment on those when I read them and check them out) but the the second part.

"If we consider the question of Johnstone’s actual intention, according to Amazon statement, the answers are no clearer."

I will post a full quote when I get the book back. Until then, that's the best I can give you.

"Does that mean she merely limits herself to uncritically advocating what Serbs wanted to believe about what they were doing (or what Milosevic wanted them to believe) in Bosnia etc and the “unjustness” of the NATO response, or to what was true about the Serbian point of view that was otherwise ignored?"

The latter.

This is from memory so a grain of salt and all that.
She argues not the Serb view but the view that was never presented in the West (which overlaps with the Serb 'version' in a lot of places). We (Slovenians) got a lot of what she's written in the book simply by being so close to the whole situation - or part of it I should say (to give you a feeling, I live 250km from
Srebrenica).
So she is not trying to be 'fair and balanced' - but that is OK because she says that up front. She is presenting evidence that had been left out of the Western media and which shatter the 'just war' and 'benevolent intervention' theories of the West. She assumes the reader would probably have heard the other side of the story already (who of us could have missed all the stories about Serb 'monsters' etc.).

So she for example explains why Milosevic told Kosovar Serbs in 1989 that 'Nobody will beat you up anymore.'

That quote has been used to show as the start of the opression of Albanians in Kosovo and proof of Milosevic's nationalism and wish for a 'Greater Serbia.' Wich is all partly true.

But what the 'official Western version' does not contain is why he said it. Not to bore you too much, Albanians had been intimidating Serbs into selling their houses or leaving outright for decades. The intimidation included everything from verbal abuse to murder. Milosevic promised that he would put a stop to it. And then they took that quote (I've seen it probably a thausand times since the propaganda was especially strong here in Slovenia - they were our 'enemy'), ripped it out of context, and used it for a virtual enditment.
She also gives a histrical background of how the various constitutions were passed (there war half a dozen in the 50 years of Yugoslavia's existence) and how they influenced ethnic relations (in Kosovo and elsewhere).

Other stuff that you get from the book is the 'other' (not necessarilly Serb) point of view in Bosnia. We've all heard of Srebrenica, massacres, concentration camps etc. What we didn't hear about is Croats and Muslims doing the same to Serbs and each other. And she documents that rather well. Leaving out the Serb attrocities (except for cases where she disagrees with the official version - more later) but since she declared in the beginning that it would not be the topic of her discussion and we all know about them already (or can pick up a mainstream version book to find out) I don't have a problem with that.

Some food for thought perhaps - one conclusion we can draw from this is that NATO should have bombed everybody as they were all committing attrocities etc.
Not exactly someting you could put up a good argument for right?
But if you villanize just one of the parties commiting attrocities...

And then she deals with stuff which I would call trivial - like showing that the famous photo of a Bosnian Muslim in a concentration camp (we've probably all seen it - the really skinny man behind the barbed wire) was a fake. Well, not a fake, but not taken in a concentration camp but a refugee camp where people were free to come and go and some news crew happened to take a video of a very skinny man. And she backs it up by citing the crew who shot the video confirming her story. And some more similar stuff.
[I call it trivial as there really were concentration camps and using a fake picture doesn't change that.
It's interesting to see though what kind of fact-checking western media use - this picture was published in all of Europe's and US media]

Lastly, she deals with 'great power' involvment in the conflict. Especially with the German involvment which alone in my opinion outweighs the cost of the book. Anybody reading this - put your 'scepticism glasses' on and read the book.

"if the latter, then that explains Caplan’s praise in the first half of the review. But because she does both the review is inevitably mixed. Caplan’s criticisms are not refuted by her apparent intentions."

As I said above, I cannot speak about any fallacies till I read the review. So I will refrain from commenting on them.

'“Perhaps Chomsky was referring to the first part of the review while recognising the fallacy of the latter part?” Not quite. As already indicated I cannot see a “fallacy” in the second part of the review if Johnstone’s book is more than merely a review of Serbian opinion, but actually an argument about the justness of the Serbian view of the Bosnian War and subsequent NATO intervention.'

It's neither the Serbian view nor the Western view. But it is (a very effective I might add) debunking of reasons for war NATO countries gave us.

"But more importantly, dare I say, what we have is a typical Chomskyian tactic of citing the opinion of another source, preferably an authoritative one, in this case the “leading British scholarly journal International Affairs” and “Britain’s leading scholarly foreign affairs journal”, rather than his own so he can deny any charges of whitewashing genocide."

:)
Will return to the genocide claim below.
But I don't think you can blame him for citing 'a scolarly journal' as just his own 'radical' view would not have carried much sway with the people he was talking to in Sweden. At least not as much as 'a leading scolarly journal'. Or am I mistaken?

'So Chomsky can only bring himself to describe Johnstone’s book as “quite serious and important”, but uses his reading of a review of the book to indicate how we should perhaps think about it: “very favourably reviewed” and a “very respectful review”. Of course, in doing so, and LukaB has inadvertantly recognised this, Chomsky has characterised this review very selectively by focussing on those statements which conform with what we can presume to be Chomsky’s real feelings about Johnstone’s book -- but which he will not publicly associate himself with too closely, lest Johnstone’s scepticism about Serbian atrocities be proved wrong –- while ignoring Caplan’s critical comments.'

One thing I've noticed with Chomsky, he will rarely endorse a book outright. You may of course find something sinister in that but I suspect it has more to do with letting people decide for themselves. He very much hates the 'follower' phenomena where any endorsment he made would be taken as 'the truth' and any criticism in the same way.
And I agree with him on the matter.

Contrast Caplan's treatment of the book with the treatment of the book in Sweden and its mainstream media and Caplan's review might seem 'favourable' in contrast.

But I cannot say definitely till I read it.


"Chomsky has done this before. On Kosovo, Cambodia and any other instance where the “victim” of US-led oppression has been accused of genocidal behaviour, he both raises doubts by the veracity of such claims, but carefully, so very carefully, provides himself with an out to cite when the proper accounting is made."


Won't go into Cambodia again. Check previous posts here and at Benjamin's site for my views on the matter.

On Kosovo, he was more or less correct from what I've read. The majority of what was termed 'genocide' happened after the NATO air campaign started. And he quotes Wesley Clark (Supreme Commander of NATO at the time) saying that they expected this to happen (his comments were on Day 5 of the war). All those refugees you saw in Macedonia and Albania, those mountain passes where people marched without water, railroad wagons full of people; all of this was after the bombing started.

There was some of it before but on a very low scale and bombing certainly made things worse.

Will stop about this now but if you are interested in more, I will be happy to oblige. Have some anecdotal evidence also (my second cousing lives 20km from Kosovo).

"Note in his letter to Ordfront that Chomsky allows himself only a few of apparent endorsements of Johnstone’s skepticism about the charges of major war crimes by the Serbs as criticized by article in the Swedish paper Svenska Dagbladet:"

OK. Let's go one by one.

"· Chomsky describes as “entirely appropriate”, Johnstone’s comment on the massacre at Srebrenica: “one thing should be obvious: one does not commit genocide by sparing women and children” (p117)."

Wrestled with this one for a while but I agreed in the end. Because I looked up what genocide means:
the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.
Clearly, Johnstone is correct in this.
As gruesome as Srebrenica was, it was not genocide.

(By the way, part of the story Western media didn't give was that UN safehavens like Srebrenica were used by the Muslims for attack on Serbs - even though they were supposed to be demilitarised, this was tolerated or ignored by the UN. That was one of the major reasons for the attack on Srebrenica by the Serbs.)

"· With regard to Johnstone’s apparent claim that the alleged death toll in the Balkans has been exaggerated Chomsky carefully states: “I am aware of no evidence -- of course meaning evidence available to her at the time she wrote – that the statements she made in this regard (as distinct from those attributed to her) are incorrect.”"

Nothing to comment on here.

"· “Johnstone argues – and in fact clearly demonstrates – that a good deal of what has been charged has not basis in fact, and much of it is pure fabrication.”"

Indeed. See the 'concentration camp' comment above. There's a lot more stuff like that.

Don't have time for Herman's review right now, will have to get back to you on that one. But on after a quick read of the comments you cited, I agree with him.

"This is a complex issue usually about who said what. But I’d like to think, at a minimum, that it is evident that Chomsky, as per usual, is trying to have a bet each way."

If you want to look at it that way, yes.

I'd like to think, at a minimum, that it is evident that Chomsky, as per usual, is trying to let his reader decide for themselves by reading the book.

:)


Now to why we're even discussing this.
Dhimmy accused Chomsky of being a 'habitual liar'. I challenged his assertions and he provided us with 10 examples - this being one of them.
I think it's evident from our discussion up to now that Dhimmy chose a bad example - as it comes down to opinions and not fact.

I will of course reserve my judgement till I read the review and check it out with Chomsky to see what he meant by 'very favorable' etc.

I'll just comment on Caplans views you presented above ('out the window')...

'He describes the book as "revisionist and highly contentious".'

It is revisionist. I thought that goes without sayin as it revises the official version of the events.

Ditto for contentious.

"He does credit Johnstone with drawing "attention to numerous aspects of the Yugoslav crisis where fair and accurate analysis has indeed been in short supply." Johstone, he argues, is on "firm ground" in bringing to light the war crimes committed by the Serbs opponents."

Nothing to add here.
And this is the part that was missing from western propaganda. An anecdotal piece of evidence - all my friends from Australia viewed the Serbs as monsters and Muslims and Croats as the poor victims.
And as Johnstone nicely shows, they were all monsters and they were all poor victims.
A statistical piece of evidence. Serbs had the fewest 'concentration camps' in Bosnia - Croats the most, Muslims in between. In which of your newspapers did you read that?


'But, cautions Caplan "for all the book's constructive correctives, it is often difficult to recognize the world that Johnstone describes..." '

This is what happens when you're exposed to propaganda and established truths, no?

'The book "also contains numerous errors of fact on which Johnstone, however, relies to strengthen her case." Such as her use of the 1996 SIPRI Yearbook to challenge claims that over 200,000 people were killed in the Bosnian War. That volume actualy advocates a higher toll of 230,000.'

As I said, I'll have to leave this fallacy and others to when I read the review.

'Johnstone, he charges is:

"herself very selective. She omits any discussion of Milosevic's own assault on the constitutional order (by abolishing Vojvodina's and Kosovo's autonomy); of the irregular if not extra-legal means he employed to remove the political leadership of Vojvodina, Montenegro and Kosovo; or of the extensive materiel and other support he provided to some of the most vicious Serb militias in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovnia."'

Which is perfectly consistend with the page 14 comment. One wonders here whether Caplan missed it or whether he omits it on purpose.
If we can say I'm somewhat familiar with the situation, none of what Caplan described was new to me. It was part of the Western reporting.

'In sum: "The result is an insightful but overzealous critique of western diplomacy and Yugoslavia. Fool's Crusade is well worth reading -- but for the discriminating eye."'

I may be biased but this seems like a favorable review to me :)
Sorry, couldn't resist.



Anonymous said...

'My personal favorite that the Chomskyites use is the classic, "but he only criticizes the actions of his own government not the actions of others."'

That is my favorite too :)
And I agree with him.

"And who can forget the "silent genocide" debacle where he accuses the United States of planning a genocide of the Afghan people but when he is called on it after the fact he just innocently claims it was based on UN and NGO accounts at the time."

You've got the timing wrong on this one.
He said it was based on UN and NGO accounts before the attack.
And he didn't say that 'the United States of planning a genocide of the Afghan people' but that what the US was planning and doing at the time might result in a genocide of Afgans. Though most of the mainstream chose your interpretation - that he was saying the US was planning genocide. Which is not at all what he said. Be careful when you read this stuff.

 
At November 16, 2004 at 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He said it was based on UN and NGO accounts before the attack."
Yeah I know, that's what I was referring to, I didn't get the timing wrong.


"Plans are being made on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several million people. Very casually, with no comment and with no particular thought about it. It looks like what is happening is some sort of silent genocide."

"Though most of the mainstream chose your interpretation - that he was saying the US was planning genocide. Which is not at all what he said. Be careful when you read this stuff."

"Plans are being made on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several million people. It looks like what is happening is some sort of silent genocide."

If he had just stopped with the first sentence what you say would be true. By using the word "may" he can say that he is simply claiming that it's a possibility which is not the same as a prediction.

But, then he concludes with, "It looks like what is happening is some sort of silent genocide"

In other words, based upon what we are witnessing it appears that America is committing genocide. I don't know what the hell he mean's by "some sort," it's either genocide or not. But hey, that's part of his propaganda that he's used so effectively for decades. Throw a bunch of extra words in there to give himself an out.

And no this is not a lie by Chomsky. It's an assertion based upon the flimsiest of evidence. In fact the evidence is nothing more than a hyperbolic warning, it's not even actual tangible evidence. A wild accusation that blew up in his face big time. In fact it was such a colossal blunder you would think that if he had an ounce of intellectual honesty he might analyze why he was so far off. But, if he did that then the whole worldview that he has spent his life constructing would come crumbling down.

 
At November 16, 2004 at 1:40 PM, Blogger LukaB said...

"Yeah I know, that's what I was referring to, I didn't get the timing wrong."

This is what you said:
" he accuses the United States of planning a genocide of the Afghan people"

No mention of NGOs here.

And then:
"after the fact he just innocently claims it was based on UN and NGO accounts at the time"

And I said:
He said it was based on UN and NGO accounts before the attack.


Just wanted to clear that up, won't go into Afganistan & silent genocide again as I want to stick to the topic. If you are interested in my views, you can find them among the previous posts on this site.

Ah, can't resist.

You said:
"If he had just stopped with the first sentence what you say would be true. By using the word "may" he can say that he is simply claiming that it's a possibility which is not the same as a prediction."

I think you missed my (and his) point. He wasn't saying that the US was planning genocide. He was saying that the actions the US was planning on undertaking (to achieve whatever goals - not genocide) 'may' result in genocide.

"In other words, based upon what we are witnessing it appears that America is committing genocide."

Yes. Exactly. Based on what the most/more knowledgable people of the region said at the time, genocide was what was happening.
Lucky for the Afgans (and the US) those predictions and worries did not turn out to be true.

"And no this is not a lie by Chomsky."

Finally. :)

"It's an assertion based upon the flimsiest of evidence."

Why do you consider UN and NGO experts' warning 'the flimsiest of evidence'?


And a question I'm gonna ask any 'silet genocide' quoter from now on:
How much debate about the possibility of Afgan civilian deaths due to the attack did you see in the mainstream media before, during and after the attack?

That was, after all, the main point Chomsky was making in that speach.

 
At November 16, 2004 at 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is what you said:
" he accuses the United States of planning a genocide of the Afghan people"

No mention of NGOs here."

Just because I didn't mention NGO's in that sentence doesn't disprove the fact that he accuses the United States of planning a genocide. Yes I am aware that he uses the NGO's as evidence before and after.

"He was saying that the actions the US was planning on undertaking (to achieve whatever goals - not genocide) 'may' result in genocide."

Yeah, and then he adds that this is casually going on while in his opinion a genocide is in fact occurring. Which means he thinks that the American warplanners are causing a genocide. It's the exact same thing as accusing the Americans of planning a genocide.
'Their plan may cause a genocide and in fact a genocide is occurring.'


"Based on what the most/more knowledgable people of the region said at the time, genocide was what was happening."

Well apparently those people were not the most/more knowledgeable which is why they were so wrong.

"Why do you consider UN and NGO experts' warning 'the flimsiest of evidence'?"
In my opinion, accusing someone of planning and causing a genocide requires more evidence then the warnings of a couple of spokespeople.

"How much debate about the possibility of Afgan civilian deaths due to the attack did you see in the mainstream media before, during and after the attack?"
First of all it was three years ago so I don't have anything specific off the top of my head but of course the media reported on it how else could we have known about it then? And what's the big deal about the media not mentioning it beforehand, everybody knows that there are going to be some civilian deaths. Perhaps they were waiting to see what was happening first before making wild accusations and predicitions. On the other hand, Chomsky is a fringe figure here (for good reason) so he doesn't have to worry about his credibilty.

 
At November 16, 2004 at 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry if creates confusion, but my comments are in the square brackets.

At 1:26 AM, LukaB said...

"The review is not available online. I am sure there is a way to get it to you."

If you could take a picture of it or scan it and send it to lukabbb _at_ yahoo _dot_ com
I would really appreciate it.

[Sure thing.]

"I have not read Johnstone's book, only Caplan's review, so I am at a disadvantage."

[Vice versa for me.]

"However, to decide his review and the charge of revisionism is debunked by the sentiments contained in this phrase -- "Ms. Johnstone herself limits the scope of the book to the Serbian perspective and to challenge the assertion that NATO's intervention was just (see page 14)” -- is most curious. As is your other assertion that Johstone’s intention means that “all of Caplan's charges go out the window also”. This does not make sense. How can limiting the scope of one’s study to two simple issues absolve you from charges of being factually inaccurate?"

I wasn't referring to factual inacuracies (I can only comment on those when I read them and check them out) but the the second part.

"If we consider the question of Johnstone’s actual intention, according to Amazon statement, the answers are no clearer."

I will post a full quote when I get the book back. Until then, that's the best I can give you.

[Sure.]

"Does that mean she merely limits herself to uncritically advocating what Serbs wanted to believe about what they were doing (or what Milosevic wanted them to believe) in Bosnia etc and the “unjustness” of the NATO response, or to what was true about the Serbian point of view that was otherwise ignored?"

The latter.

[Really? Well that’s not immediately clear.]

This is from memory so a grain of salt and all that.
She argues not the Serb view but the view that was never presented in the West (which overlaps with the Serb 'version' in a lot of places). We (Slovenians) got a lot of what she's written in the book simply by being so close to the whole situation - or part of it I should say (to give you a feeling, I live 250km from
Srebrenica).

[Good for you. I live in a city and do not presume to know exactly what happens within its boundaries or even within a 250km radius of the city centre.]

So she is not trying to be 'fair and balanced' - but that is OK because she says that up front.

[That makes no sense, especially with regard to your dismissing as a “fallacy” Caplan’s criticisms of the factual errors in her account. A deliberately biased unfair account is propaganda.]

She is presenting evidence that had been left out of the Western media and which shatter the 'just war' and 'benevolent intervention' theories of the West.

[Is she merely presenting evidence or making an argument? Having found some of her other articles I would say the latter is more likely than the former. But even merely presenting evidence carries with it an implied argument.]

She assumes the reader would probably have heard the other side of the story already (who of us could have missed all the stories about Serb 'monsters' etc.).

So she for example explains why Milosevic told Kosovar Serbs in 1989 that 'Nobody will beat you up anymore.'

That quote has been used to show as the start of the opression of Albanians in Kosovo and proof of Milosevic's nationalism and wish for a 'Greater Serbia.' Wich is all partly true.

But what the 'official Western version' does not contain is why he said it. Not to bore you too much, Albanians had been intimidating Serbs into selling their houses or leaving outright for decades. The intimidation included everything from verbal abuse to murder. Milosevic promised that he would put a stop to it. And then they took that quote (I've seen it probably a thausand times since the propaganda was especially strong here in Slovenia - they were our 'enemy'), ripped it out of context, and used it for a virtual enditment.
She also gives a histrical background of how the various constitutions were passed (there war half a dozen in the 50 years of Yugoslavia's existence) and how they influenced ethnic relations (in Kosovo and elsewhere).

Other stuff that you get from the book is the 'other' (not necessarilly Serb) point of view in Bosnia. We've all heard of Srebrenica, massacres, concentration camps etc. What we didn't hear about is Croats and Muslims doing the same to Serbs and each other. And she documents that rather well. Leaving out the Serb attrocities (except for cases where she disagrees with the official version - more later) but since she declared in the beginning that it would not be the topic of her discussion and we all know about them already (or can pick up a mainstream version book to find out) I don't have a problem with that.

Some food for thought perhaps - one conclusion we can draw from this is that NATO should have bombed everybody as they were all committing attrocities etc.
Not exactly someting you could put up a good argument for right?
But if you villanize just one of the parties commiting attrocities...

[The Serbs appeared to be the main aggressors and mthe main winners in the wars that was why they eveutally copped it, but only after years of inaction and indifference from the West. Just out of interest, compare Chomsky's interpretation of Serbian atrocities that he mentions in his two books, "New Military Humanism" and "A New Generation Draws the Line", and what he says about the Croatian "cleansing" of the Krajina region. What do you see?]

And then she deals with stuff which I would call trivial - like showing that the famous photo of a Bosnian Muslim in a concentration camp (we've probably all seen it - the really skinny man behind the barbed wire) was a fake. Well, not a fake, but not taken in a concentration camp but a refugee camp where people were free to come and go and some news crew happened to take a video of a very skinny man. And she backs it up by citing the crew who shot the video confirming her story. And some more similar stuff.
I call it trivial as there really were concentration camps and using a fake picture doesn't change that.
It's interesting to see though what kind of fact-checking western media use - this picture was published in all of Europe's and US media.

[And what sort of fact-checking does Johnstone use?]

Lastly, she deals with 'great power' involvment in the conflict. Especially with the German involvment which alone in my opinion outweighs the cost of the book. Anybody reading this - put your 'scepticism glasses' on and read the book.

"if the latter, then that explains Caplan’s praise in the first half of the review. But because she does both the review is inevitably mixed. Caplan’s criticisms are not refuted by her apparent intentions."

As I said above, I cannot speak about any fallacies till I read the review. So I will refrain from commenting on them.

[But you do later]

'“Perhaps Chomsky was referring to the first part of the review while recognising the fallacy of the latter part?” Not quite. As already indicated I cannot see a “fallacy” in the second part of the review if Johnstone’s book is more than merely a review of Serbian opinion, but actually an argument about the justness of the Serbian view of the Bosnian War and subsequent NATO intervention.'

It's neither the Serbian view nor the Western view. But it is (a very effective I might add) debunking of reasons for war NATO countries gave us.

[So, contradicting your assertion above, Johnstone is making an overt argument and therefore Caplan’s criticisms are as fully justified as they would have been had she merely presented us with a compendium of facts and other claims whe might not have othewise known.]

"But more importantly, dare I say, what we have is a typical Chomskyian tactic of citing the opinion of another source, preferably an authoritative one, in this case the “leading British scholarly journal International Affairs” and “Britain’s leading scholarly foreign affairs journal”, rather than his own so he can deny any charges of whitewashing genocide."

:)
Will return to the genocide claim below.
But I don't think you can blame him for citing 'a scolarly journal' as just his own 'radical' view would not have carried much sway with the people he was talking to in Sweden. At least not as much as 'a leading scolarly journal'. Or am I mistaken?

[I think you need to read more of Chomsky to understand exactly what he is doing. In the first instance, it would appear that your reading carries some validity in that he is citing a supposedly authoritative source to back up any argument he is or is appearing to make. But equally Chomsky is using his opinion of Caplan’s review as a cover. He has done this sort of thing before. During his dispute with Leo Casey back in 2001, for instance, he derided Casey’s criticism of his claims about Sudan, specifically on whether the 1997 bombing had upset chances of resolving Sudan's political conflict.

Here's what Chomsky original appeared to argue:

"This only scratches the surface. The US bombing "appears to have shattered the slowly evolving move towards compromise between Sudan's warring sides" and terminated promising steps towards a peace agreement to end the civil war that had left 1.5 million dead since 1981, which might have also led to "peace in Uganda and the entire Nile Basin." The attack apparently "shattered...the expected benefits of a political shift at the heart of Sudan's Islamist government" towards a "pragmatic engagement with the outside world," along with efforts to address Sudan's domestic crises," to end support for terrorism, and to reduce the influence of radical Islamists (Mark Huband, _Financial Times_, Sept. 8, 1998).

In this respect, we may compare the crime in the Sudan to the assassination of Lumumba, which helped plunge the Congo into decades of slaughter, still continuing; or the overthrow of the democratic government of Guatemala in 1954, which led to 40 years of hideous atrocities; and all too many others like it." http://www.zmag.org/chomskyhitchens.htm

Then Casey, although understanding Chomsky's habit to quote other people's arguments, made the mistake of thinking Chomsky agreed with it:

"Chomsky goes on to approvingly quote the same article to the effect that, were it not for the 1998 bombing of this factory, the theocratic totalitarian state of the National Islamic Front would have shifted toward moderation and against terrorism." http://www.zmag.org/casey.htm

Chomsky, though, makes it clear we should never, ever assume just because he appears to be quoting someone approvingly that he necessarily supports their argument, or even has one of his own:

"These political costs may have been even more harmful to Sudan than the destruction of its "fragile medical services," Astill concludes three years after the attack, confirming the reasoned judgment of Financial Times correspondent Mark Huband, which Casey tries hard to evade, and ludicrously attributes to me."
http://www.zmag.org/chomreply.htm

[So Chomsky's tactic is clear. He will cite and quote at length the opinions of others to show how you are wrong, but if challenged on this suddenly they are not his views at all, they are someone elses and how dare you try to suggest he is any way in agreement with them.]

'So Chomsky can only bring himself to describe Johnstone’s book as “quite serious and important”, but uses his reading of a review of the book to indicate how we should perhaps think about it: “very favourably reviewed” and a “very respectful review”. Of course, in doing so, and LukaB has inadvertantly recognised this, Chomsky has characterised this review very selectively by focussing on those statements which conform with what we can presume to be Chomsky’s real feelings about Johnstone’s book -- but which he will not publicly associate himself with too closely, lest Johnstone’s scepticism about Serbian atrocities be proved wrong –- while ignoring Caplan’s critical comments.'

One thing I've noticed with Chomsky, he will rarely endorse a book outright. You may of course find something sinister in that but I suspect it has more to do with letting people decide for themselves. He very much hates the 'follower' phenomena where any endorsment he made would be taken as 'the truth' and any criticism in the same way.
And I agree with him on the matter.

[I disagree unequivocally with your view of Chomksy’s supposed thinking on this matter. I have before me a copy of “The Corporation” by Joel Bakan (the basis for an excreable documentary of the same name). On the back cover there is testimony from a notable person:

“This fine book was virtually begging to be written. With lucidity and verve, expert knowledge and incisive analysis, Bakan unveils the history and character of a devilish instrument that has been created and is nurtured by powerful modern states.” Noam Chomsky.

I would not say this sort of lavish endorsement by Chomsky is “rare” but is typical. So in his review of Alonzo Hamby’s Man of the People: A Life of Harry S Truman, Chomsky is unrestrained in criticizing the book, noting that:
“In place of evidence and analysis, we find appeal to American idealism and innocence, and devotion to 'morally desirable universalistic idealism' - 'impractical' because of the bad guys all around who prevent us from acting in accord with our unique virtue. And the rest of the familiar refrain, presented as obvious truth, requiring no argument.”

And:

“Hamby's account is not subject to serious critical evaluation. He provides a picture of personalities and domestic political maneuverings, but little beyond. Truman deserves better, however one judges his achievements.”

It is only when the subject is extremely controversial that he minces his words. So if we look at the infamous Chomsky/Herman review of three books on Cambodia in The Nation June 25, 1977 we find Chomsky & Herman carefully praising
Hildebrand and Porter’s pro-Khmer Rouge book “Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution” (1976) as “a carefully documented study of the destructive American impact on Cambodia and the success of the Cambodian revolutionaries in overcoming it, giving a very favorable picture of their programs and policies, based on a wide range of sources.”

As for the “media favourite”, Barron & Paul’s “Murder of a Gentle Land”, which explicitly accuses the KR of massive atrocities, Chomsky and Herman were dismissive charging that “their scholarship collapses under the barest scrutiny”. The Barron-Paul story, the observed “can hardly be regarded as credible” and was “a third-rate propaganda tract.”

Ponchaud's book “Cambodia: Year Zero”, which also referred to refugee accounts of KR brutaily is carefully praised as “serious and worth reading” on the one hand, but then criticized on the other: “the serious reader will find much to make him somewhat wary.”

That’s how Chomsky does things.]

Contrast Caplan's treatment of the book with the treatment of the book in Sweden and its mainstream media and Caplan's review might seem 'favourable' in contrast.

But I cannot say definitely till I read it.

[Perhaps. But is the review in isolation favourable to the book or not? I say it is more critical than not.]

"Chomsky has done this before. On Kosovo, Cambodia and any other instance where the “victim” of US-led oppression has been accused of genocidal behaviour, he both raises doubts by the veracity of such claims, but carefully, so very carefully, provides himself with an out to cite when the proper accounting is made."


Won't go into Cambodia again. Check previous posts here and at Benjamin's site for my views on the matter.

[Let me guess: Chomsky was not denying any thing, his critics on this matter are smearing him? I’ve read his articles on the matter, and After the Cataclysm and I firmly disagree. As mere “media analysis” it was both quantitively and qualitatively shoddy. To excoriate the US media for failing to take proper note of accounts about the KR’s kindness and benevolence that were manifestly untrue while picking apart and repeatedly denigrating as “fabrications” reports about KR brutality, requires a moral compass permanently pointed the wrong way… And to accept Chomsky’s own lies…well, you know the rest.]

On Kosovo, he was more or less correct from what I've read. The majority of what was termed 'genocide' happened after the NATO air campaign started. And he quotes Wesley Clark (Supreme Commander of NATO at the time) saying that they expected this to happen (his comments were on Day 5 of the war). All those refugees you saw in Macedonia and Albania, those mountain passes where people marched without water, railroad wagons full of people; all of this was after the bombing started.

There was some of it before but on a very low scale and bombing certainly made things worse.

Will stop about this now but if you are interested in more, I will be happy to oblige. Have some anecdotal evidence also (my second cousing lives 20km from Kosovo).

[Really? I am about as far from Kosovo as one can get, but being closer does not make one right. Chomsky lives closer to Kosovo than I do but that does not mean Chomsky is correct in his assessments. But more on that much later. His approach to Kosovo is interesting particularly a comment he makes in “A New Generation Draws The Line”, criticising a book reviewer who thought Chomsky was opposed to the NATO action in Kosovo. Chomsky set him straight.]

"Note in his letter to Ordfront that Chomsky allows himself only a few of apparent endorsements of Johnstone’s skepticism about the charges of major war crimes by the Serbs as criticized by article in the Swedish paper Svenska Dagbladet:"

OK. Let's go one by one.

"· Chomsky describes as “entirely appropriate”, Johnstone’s comment on the massacre at Srebrenica: “one thing should be obvious: one does not commit genocide by sparing women and children” (p117)."

Wrestled with this one for a while but I agreed in the end. Because I looked up what genocide means:
the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.
Clearly, Johnstone is correct in this.
As gruesome as Srebrenica was, it was not genocide.

(By the way, part of the story Western media didn't give was that UN safehavens like Srebrenica were used by the Muslims for attack on Serbs - even though they were supposed to be demilitarised, this was tolerated or ignored by the UN. That was one of the major reasons for the attack on Srebrenica by the Serbs.)

[I suggest that instead of consulting a dictionary you look at the UN definition of genocide and tell me if massacring all the males falls under that in any way.]

"· With regard to Johnstone’s apparent claim that the alleged death toll in the Balkans has been exaggerated Chomsky carefully states: “I am aware of no evidence -- of course meaning evidence available to her at the time she wrote – that the statements she made in this regard (as distinct from those attributed to her) are incorrect.”"

Nothing to comment on here.

[Yes there is. If Johnstone is proved wrong then Chomsky can say he never explicitly endorsed her arguments on this matter, only that he was not aware that the evidence she used was “incorrect.” Note that Chomsky has not expressed any doubts about her claim or appears to have made any effort to test its veracity. And note the qualifier LukaB: “of course meaning evidence available to her at the time she wrote.” Chomsky knows she might be wrong but carefully qualifies his pseudo endorsement by noting that he was unaware that the evidence she used *at the time* was incorrect. LukaB an’t you see what he is doing? Can’t you see how slippery and dishonest this is?]

"· “Johnstone argues – and in fact clearly demonstrates – that a good deal of what has been charged has not basis in fact, and much of it is pure fabrication.”"

Indeed. See the 'concentration camp' comment above. There's a lot more stuff like that.

[I see. All lies to further Western ends. Of course. I should have realised!]

Don't have time for Herman's review right now, will have to get back to you on that one. But on after a quick read of the comments you cited, I agree with him.

"This is a complex issue usually about who said what. But I’d like to think, at a minimum, that it is evident that Chomsky, as per usual, is trying to have a bet each way."

If you want to look at it that way, yes.

I'd like to think, at a minimum, that it is evident that Chomsky, as per usual, is trying to let his reader decide for themselves by reading the book.

[No. I disagree. Chomsky deliberately implies one very controversial argument, but does so in such a way that he can deny that *he* explicitly made such an argument if the evidence emerges to the contrary that would be futile for him to dispute.]

:)


Now to why we're even discussing this.
Dhimmy accused Chomsky of being a 'habitual liar'. I challenged his assertions and he provided us with 10 examples - this being one of them.
I think it's evident from our discussion up to now that Dhimmy chose a bad example - as it comes down to opinions and not fact.

I will of course reserve my judgement till I read the review and check it out with Chomsky to see what he meant by 'very favorable' etc.

I'll just comment on Caplans views you presented above ('out the window')...

'He describes the book as "revisionist and highly contentious".'

It is revisionist. I thought that goes without sayin as it revises the official version of the events.

Ditto for contentious.

"He does credit Johnstone with drawing "attention to numerous aspects of the Yugoslav crisis where fair and accurate analysis has indeed been in short supply." Johstone, he argues, is on "firm ground" in bringing to light the war crimes committed by the Serbs opponents."

Nothing to add here.
And this is the part that was missing from western propaganda. An anecdotal piece of evidence - all my friends from Australia viewed the Serbs as monsters and Muslims and Croats as the poor victims.
And as Johnstone nicely shows, they were all monsters and they were all poor victims.
A statistical piece of evidence. Serbs had the fewest 'concentration camps' in Bosnia - Croats the most, Muslims in between. In which of your newspapers did you read that?

[How big were the camps? How many prisoners per camp? How many were killed at the camps? Tell me what do the international human rights organisations, the same ones Chomsky uses when it suits him, say about who committed the most atrocities? Was it the Serbs, the Croats or the Muslims? And who were the kindly people besieging Sarajevo while the UN and the EU looked on? It was the gentle misunderstood Serbs was it not?]

'But, cautions Caplan "for all the book's constructive correctives, it is often difficult to recognize the world that Johnstone describes..." '

This is what happens when you're exposed to propaganda and established truths, no?

'The book "also contains numerous errors of fact on which Johnstone, however, relies to strengthen her case." Such as her use of the 1996 SIPRI Yearbook to challenge claims that over 200,000 people were killed in the Bosnian War. That volume actualy advocates a higher toll of 230,000.'

As I said, I'll have to leave this fallacy and others to when I read the review.

[So because Johnstone's book is an unfair and unbalance propaganda tract, pointing out this factual error is a fallacy? Is truth irrelevant when writing propaganda? Where does that leave Chomsky's restrained endorsement of this book? Does that make him merely a believer in anti-Western propaganda? What planet are you on?]

'Johnstone, he charges is:

"herself very selective. She omits any discussion of Milosevic's own assault on the constitutional order (by abolishing Vojvodina's and Kosovo's autonomy); of the irregular if not extra-legal means he employed to remove the political leadership of Vojvodina, Montenegro and Kosovo; or of the extensive materiel and other support he provided to some of the most vicious Serb militias in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovnia."'

Which is perfectly consistend with the page 14 comment. One wonders here whether Caplan missed it or whether he omits it on purpose.
If we can say I'm somewhat familiar with the situation, none of what Caplan described was new to me. It was part of the Western reporting.

[But is that reporting fundamentally untrue? You cite Johnstone’s p.14 comment as though this absolves her from any need to be truthful. That makes her book an unreliable propaganda tract as some other reviewers have concluded. I'll send you two reviews to that end.]

'In sum: "The result is an insightful but overzealous critique of western diplomacy and Yugoslavia. Fool's Crusade is well worth reading -- but for the discriminating eye."'

I may be biased but this seems like a favorable review to me :)
Sorry, couldn't resist.

[It is not favourable. Maybe to your prejudices and Chomsky’s, but Caplan is not praising it.]

WXB

 
At November 16, 2004 at 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"[So Chomsky's tactic is clear. He will cite and quote at length the opinions of others to show how you are wrong, but if challenged on this suddenly they are not his views at all, they are someone elses and how dare you try to suggest he is any way in agreement with them.]"

Exactly. Once a person realizes this it becomes quite clear how second-rate Chomsky actually is.

 
At November 17, 2004 at 5:09 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

I'll use the bracket reply method...


"He was saying that the actions the US was planning on undertaking (to achieve whatever goals - not genocide) 'may' result in genocide."

Yeah, and then he adds that this is casually going on while in his opinion a genocide is in fact occurring. Which means he thinks that the American warplanners are causing a genocide. It's the exact same thing as accusing the Americans of planning a genocide.
'Their plan may cause a genocide and in fact a genocide is occurring.'

[I'm sorry but saying that plans the US military is pursuing might lead or are leading to genocide and saying that the US military is planning genocide are two comepletely different things. Reread.

No wonder you think of Chomsky (or me) as a whaco if you believe what you wrote above.]



"Based on what the most/more knowledgable people of the region said at the time, genocide was what was happening."

Well apparently those people were not the most/more knowledgeable which is why they were so wrong.

[So by your reasoning, to use one of Chomsky's examples, the critics of the Soviets placing missles on Cuba were wrong as this didn't result in nuclear devastation?]


"In my opinion, accusing someone of planning and causing a genocide requires more evidence then the warnings of a couple of spokespeople."

[Nobody accused anybody of 'planning genocide'. See above.

But what evidence would satisfy you?
100 dead? 1000? 100,000? 1,000,000?]

"How much debate about the possibility of Afgan civilian deaths due to the attack did you see in the mainstream media before, during and after the attack?"
First of all it was three years ago so I don't have anything specific off the top of my head but of course the media reported on it how else could we have known about it then?

[If you read the rest of Chomsky's speech, and not just the 'silent genocide' quote, you'd know. And the first word in the quote should give you an idea of what he was talking about.]

"And what's the big deal about the media not mentioning it beforehand, everybody knows that there are going to be some civilian deaths."

[I would expect the media of the oldest democracy of the world to raise at least a peep if there seems to be a possibility that the plans the government is pursuing might lead to not 'some deaths' but millions of them]

Perhaps they were waiting to see what was happening first before making wild accusations and predicitions.

[WTF??? So you are saying that there should be no discussion of whether US government plans might result in genocide or not until that genocide has happened???
Cradle of democracy indeed.]


WXB, sorry have to run. Will reply shortly.

 
At November 17, 2004 at 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[I would expect the media of the oldest democracy of the world to raise at least a peep if there seems to be a possibility that the plans the government is pursuing might lead to not 'some deaths' but millions of them]

This is one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Who said that there "seems to be a possibility" of Genocide other than Chomsky? It's absurd. Chomsky comes out with a wild conspiracy theory, and the fact that no such genocide is reported just proves that the media is covering it up.

Let's set it up differently. Lyndon LaRouche claims that the Queen of England is running a cocaine smuggling ring, and the fact that the media doesn't cover the drug running British royal family proves that the media is covering it up. See how that works?

[WTF??? So you are saying that there should be no discussion of whether US government plans might result in genocide or not until that genocide has happened???
Cradle of democracy indeed.]

Chomsky did start the dicussion. It was dismissed because it had no merit. The genocide did not happen. See how simple it works?

And the cradle of democracy was Athens.

 
At November 17, 2004 at 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"[I'm sorry but saying that plans the US military is pursuing might lead or are leading to genocide and saying that the US military is planning genocide are two comepletely different things. Reread."

The only difference is between premeditation (the United States is intentionally committing genocide) and criminal negliegence (the United States is making plans that will lead to genocide and for some strange reason nobody in the mainstream dares mention it.)

"[So by your reasoning, to use one of Chomsky's examples, the critics of the Soviets placing missles on Cuba were wrong as this didn't result in nuclear devastation?]"

I have no idea how even you came up with that twisted logic.

 
At November 17, 2004 at 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On this Chomskyism about the "silent genocide" in Afghanistan around the time of the US offensive against the Taliban, the issue seems to be about whether or not Chomsky was arguing (1) whether it was happening and (2) whether the US was sought to halt aid shipments in the full knowledge that this "silent genocide" would occur once the food shipements were cut off.

There are some interesting links on this topic which further illuminate Chomsky's remarkable ability to divest himself of the charge of having done something it is not clear that anyone was accusing him of - who accused him of "predicting" the "silent genocide" as he alleges - and then through complex linguistic acrobatics confirm the original charge that he had claimed the US was pursuing policies in Afghanistan in the knowledge this would lead to mass death.

http://www.leftwatch.com/articles/2004/000014.html

http://semiskimmed.net/misc/chomsky_genocide.html

WXB

 
At November 18, 2004 at 10:48 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

[Good for you. I live in a city and do not presume to know exactly what happens within its boundaries or even within a 250km radius of the city centre.]

Well, did your city split up into 5 new countries and went through 3 civil wars in the past 15 years?


[That makes no sense, especially with regard to your dismissing as a “fallacy” Caplan’s criticisms of the factual errors in her account. A deliberately biased unfair account is propaganda.]

I never dismissed Caplan's 'factual errors' criticisms.(Show otherwise)


[Is she merely presenting evidence or making an argument? Having found some of her other articles I would say the latter is more likely than the former. But even merely presenting evidence carries with it an implied argument.]

She is also making an argument, of course.

[The Serbs appeared to be the main aggressors and mthe main winners in the wars that was why they eveutally copped it, but only after years of inaction and indifference from the West.]


See, this is the point Johnstone debunks nicely. I knew this before since I live in the ex-Yugoslavia but most of the people in the west I talk to share your view - 'the serbs appeared to be the main agressors and the main winners'.

That is complete crap.
(I feel somewhat strongly about this)

It was a civil war. You cannot say one was the agressor and the other a victim. They both played both parts, depending on when and where.

First, I should mention that Yugoslavia was divided into 6 republics whose boundaries were determined quite arbitrarily with little regard for historical and national bounderies (since it was one country then this did not matter all that much).

My country (Slovenia) was lucky. We lived in a nationally hemogenous republic - some 95% of the people were/are Slovenian. So we did have a 10 day war but it was mostly skirmishes and since there was no ethnical strife it came to an agreement with the Yugoslav army to stop hostilities.

Croatia and Bosnia were not so lucky.
Croatia had something like 20% of the population comprised of Serbs. They were living in the east and south part of Croatia and had been living there for centuries. When Croatia held a referendum to secede and most of it population (the Croats) voted yes but a significant majority (the Serbs who wanted to stay in the same country where the rest of their nation lived) voted no, all hell broke loose.

Without going into too much detail:
The Serbs rebelled, taking control of the territories where they held a majority. The rest of the Serbs (those not living in Croatia) provided them with assistance in doing so. But don't be fooled - the Croats were prepared for this. They had been arming themselves with the financial and political help of their expatries for almost a decade. Ethnic cleansing and the rest of the crap started on both sides, depending on which was more powerfull where.

So it's not like the Serbs invaded a sovreign nation as agressors and plundered it. They were defending their homes from what they saw as a Croatian land grab and trying to stay within the boundary of the state which they belonged to for 45 or so years. Their 'brothers' from across the border helped of course.

Same thing in Bosnia, only the mix war even greater with Bosnian Muslims thrown into the mix. Everybody was fighting everybody, killing everybody, ethnically cleansing everybody.

I just want to address your 'the main winners in the wars'.

There was no winner. That should be obvious.

But Muslims and Croats had a lot of sucess you are obviousely unaware of (since it was scarcely reported). The Croats managed to clense all of Krajina and parts of Bosnia of Serbs and Muslims. Hundreds of thausands of people were sent into exile. Where was the international condemnation then? Or at least the reporting?
Muslim victories got no press at all but they were there and not unsubstantial. Either against Croats or Serbs. The 'mujahedeen' brigade brought in by the US and Iran was known as especially ruthless (stories of throat cutting - which disturbs us so now - and sights of Serb heads on sticks did not calm tensions as they brought back memorries of the Turkish occupation). Check Johnstone's book for some details.

I dare to say that had those things been happening a decade later (now), Serbia and Milosevic would have been one of the major allies in the fight against the 'Muslim menace'.

You'll notice I haven't mentioned or said anything about the Serbs and their actions. I'm assuming you know about them.


[Just out of interest, compare Chomsky's interpretation of Serbian atrocities that he mentions in his two books, "New Military Humanism" and "A New Generation Draws the Line", and what he says about the Croatian "cleansing" of the Krajina region. What do you see?]

Sorry, don't have either.


If you want my opinion, I'd say the Serb 'cleansing' was far less systematic and planned than the Croatian one. Which is not to say that Croats were worse or anything to that effect.

[And what sort of fact-checking does Johnstone use?]

You should read the book and see for yourself.

[But you do later]

Where?

[So, contradicting your assertion above,]

What assertion would that be?

[Johnstone is making an overt argument and therefore Caplan’s criticisms are as fully justified as they would have been had she merely presented us with a compendium of facts and other claims whe might not have othewise known.]

Yes. She is making an overt argument that the NATO war, as we all saw it on TV was unjust and made the wole thing worse.
As for criticisms...
Any factual falacies Caplan might have found are of course justified and necessary.
Accusations of omission (takeover of the Vojvodina government by Milosevic etc.) are not as they are known to anybody who inquired at least a little bit into the whole Balkans mess.

If we just look at the part you quoted:
"[Johnstone is] herself very selective. She omits any discussion of Milosevic's own assault on the constitutional order (by abolishing Vojvodina's and Kosovo's autonomy); of the irregular if not extra-legal means he employed to remove the political leadership of Vojvodina, Montenegro and Kosovo; or of the extensive materiel and other support he provided to some of the most vicious Serb militias in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovnia.."

Which of these facts were you unaware of before reading them in the review?

If you take into account the p14 'disclaimer' and the 'common knowledge' about the events in Yugoslavia, Caplan's criticisms are unjustified and unwarranted. (more below)

[... But equally Chomsky is using his opinion of Caplan’s review as a cover.... Leo Casey ...]

[So Chomsky's tactic is clear. He will cite and quote at length the opinions of others to show how you are wrong, but if challenged on this suddenly they are not his views at all, they are someone elses and how dare you try to suggest he is any way in agreement with them.]

I don't see you making a case. For what you said above to be true, Chomsky would have to change his view - that is stop agreeing with Hubard and start scolding Casey for saying he ever agreed with him. He did not do that. He still agrees with Huband but has scolded Casey for 1. avoiding Hubard's 'reasoned judgement' and 2. for attributing the 'reasoned judgement' to Chomsky.


Nothing there.


[I disagree unequivocally with your view of Chomksy’s supposed thinking on this matter.]

I take what I said above back. You are correct.
Chomsky endorses some books. He trashes others.

My thinking was influenced from following formus on Znet where he is very reluctant to even suggest a book on a topic (though he does from time to time) as to not influence anybodys book list.

It is of course obvious that he would be praising books he agrees with and denouncing those with which he does not.


[That’s how Chomsky does things.]

It is how we all do things. I don't see how this distinguishes him from anybody else.

[Perhaps. But is the review in isolation favourable to the book or not? I say it is more critical than not.]

Well, first of all, 'favorable' is subjective - relies on one's criteria. Without knowing the other person's criteria, it's impossible to say why they deem a review 'favorable'. I gave you one option of why Chomsky might have thought so or what his criteria might have been (it would exclude the latter - critical part of the review as irrelevant).

As for my opinion, I will give it when I read the review (though there is no hurry as I am leaving for Egypt in a few days - have to find out more about the Middle East so Dhimmy won't scold me anymore :) ).


[Cambodia]

As I said, check previous posts here and at Benjmins' to see my view.

But one quick fact: the US media was screaming 2 million dead in 1975. It was unsubstantiated at the time of the reporting, it was shown not to be true afterwards (for 1975; and for the total).

It did virtually no reporting on East Timor where the same thing was happening at the same time, only this time with the approval of the US administation by a US ally.

[Really? I am about as far from Kosovo as one can get, but being closer does not make one right.]

It does not. But it does give you knowledge you would not have otherwise. And that knowledge can make you more right. See above for more.

Don't have "A New Generation Draws the Line" so can't comment.

To be honest, I would have thought he was against the NATO action. A quote perhaps?


[I suggest that instead of consulting a dictionary you look at the UN definition of genocide and tell me if massacring all the males falls under that in any way.]

Don't have time right now but since you brought it up I'm going to assume it does.

But going by the dictionary has served me well.

I would call Srebrenica a slaughter, indiscriminate killing, etc. but not genocide and not ethnic cleansing. For me, those include whole populations, not only men.
(Rwanda, for one example; WWII Germany for another; Cambodia for another though I hear that is self-genocide.)




[[Nothing to comment on here.]]

[Yes there is. If Johnstone is proved wrong then Chomsky can say he never explicitly endorsed her arguments on this matter, only that he was not aware that the evidence she used was “incorrect.” Note that Chomsky has not expressed any doubts about her claim or appears to have made any effort to test its veracity. And note the qualifier LukaB: “of course meaning evidence available to her at the time she wrote.” Chomsky knows she might be wrong but carefully qualifies his pseudo endorsement by noting that he was unaware that the evidence she used *at the time* was incorrect. LukaB an’t you see what he is doing? Can’t you see how slippery and dishonest this is?]

:)
This is interesting. Where you see slipperrines and dishonesty, I see honesty or a man being careful. Let me explain.

Of course Chomsky knows she might be wrong. He has never to my knowledge calimed he knows everyting.

He first makes a preemption - as his comments usually generate a flood of criticisms, he got rid of the obvious one in the comment itself (the timing issue reminds me of Cambodia in a way).

So according to the evidence at hand at the time of the writing he cannot refute Johnstone's claim. If some time in the future, there's a discovery of say a mass grave of 100,000 Serbs, his views on the matter could change.

He then says that he's aware of no evidence that refutes this (and we all know he's read up on the matter so I don't know where your '[doesn't appear] to have made any effort to test its veracity.' is going).

That is a perfectly honest statement. While it implies that he agrees with Johnstone it shows his reluctancy in saying this outright. He's not Lexis-Nexis. He can't know all the sources available for ex-Yu wars' bodycounts. But according to the ones available to him at the time of Johnstone's book ...

But this is obvious. If you and I could deduce it, so can anyone else reading what he said.

Now you see something sinister in this. Why, I don't know.


[I see. All lies to further Western ends. Of course. I should have realised!]

I realise you're being sarcastic but this was uncalled for. As you probably know as you've read Chomsky extensively, the media don't operate on lies outright.
The one cited above was just an obvious one.
Johnstone used it to show how 'hungry' the western media was for pictures which would denigrate the Serbs.

I have to rivisit this comment of yours due to the blunder above:
"This is a complex issue usually about who said what. But I’d like to think, at a minimum, that it is evident that Chomsky, as per usual, is trying to have a bet each way."

I agree that he is careful in what he is saying. Seems he's learned from Camboda.

[How big were the camps? How many prisoners per camp? How many were killed at the camps? Tell me what do the international human rights organisations, the same ones Chomsky uses when it suits him, say about who committed the most atrocities? Was it the Serbs, the Croats or the Muslims? And who were the kindly people besieging Sarajevo while the UN and the EU looked on? It was the gentle misunderstood Serbs was it not?]


This is just outright dishonest. And mocking.

'gentle ... Serbs'???

The point of my argument seems to have escaped you. It is irrelevant who killed most. The point is they were all doing it. And the bigger point is that only the Serbs' actions were reported. And the main point is that bombing the Serbs solved nothing. Or that bombing the Croats would have been just as justified. Or the Muslims.

If you're arguing that the side that killed the most should have been bombed (don't have the numbers but I am assuming it was the Serbs) then the US should have been bombed by aliens at the end of WWII as they killed a shitload more Japanese than vice versa.
Needless to say, I disagree.


[So because Johnstone's book is an unfair and unbalance propaganda tract, pointing out this factual error is a fallacy? Is truth irrelevant when writing propaganda? Where does that leave Chomsky's restrained endorsement of this book? Does that make him merely a believer in anti-Western propaganda? What planet are you on?]

Dude, I have no idea what you're talking about.

I just said that 'I'll have to leave this fallacy [aka error of fact] and others to when I read the review.'

Where you got the rest of the 'crazed frothing at the mouth', as a wise man once put it, I don't know.


[But is that reporting fundamentally untrue? You cite Johnstone’s p.14 comment as though this absolves her from any need to be truthful.]

No I do not. You are making way too many assumptions.
The reporting was, to my knowledge, not fundamentally untrue. It did not repeat the list of Serb crimes but that was stated openly on page 14 for everybody to see.
I mean, she could have included those but then the book would be 450 pages long and a third of it would be the repetition of stuff we already know.

[It is not favourable. Maybe to your prejudices and Chomsky’s, but Caplan is not praising it.]

As I said, will make up my own mind when I read it.


I'll just note here that you seem to be very critical of a book you haven't even read. How come?







Anonymous said...

"Exactly. Once a person realizes this it becomes quite clear how second-rate Chomsky actually is."

:)
See above




"Who said that there "seems to be a possibility" of Genocide other than Chomsky?"

If you read the speech, you'd know.
Let me quote it for you:
(all quotes are from Chomsky's speech though it is hard to determine which are direct ones and which paraphrases)

The New York Times :
- saying that "there are 7-8 million people in Afganistan on the verge of startvation"
- saying that "the United States demanded from Pakistan the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan’s civilian population"
- saying that "Refugees reaching Pakistan after arduous journeys from AF are describing scenes of desperation and fear at home as the threat of American led military attacks turns their long running misery into a potential catastrophe"
- on a back page inside a column on something else: "by the arithmetic of the United Nations there will soon be 7.5 million Afghans in acute need of even a loaf of bread and there are only a few weeks left before the harsh winter will make deliveries to many areas totally impossible ... but with bombs falling the delivery rate is down to ½ of what is needed".

NYT Magazine:
- an evacuated aid worker saying: "The country was on a lifeline and we just cut the line"


The Special Rapporteur of the UN in charge of food pleaded with the United States to stop the bombing to try to save millions of victims.

Major aid agencies OXFAM and Christian Aid and others joined in that plea
.

As Chomsky notes, there's no report on this in the NYT.



From this Chomsky deduces the 'silent genocide' claim.

But do check the passage next to the claim. Or actually, the continuation of the claim.

Wait, I'll quote it:

It also gives a good deal of insight into the elite culture, the culture that we are part of. It indicates that whatever, what will happen we don’t know, but plans are being made and programs implemented on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several million people in the next few months….very casually with no comment, no particular thought about it, that’s just kind of normal, here and in a good part of Europe. Not in the rest of the world. In fact not even in much of Europe. So if you read the Irish press or the press in Scotland…that close, reactions are very different. Well that’s what’s happening now.
(my emphasis)

Conspiracy theory indeed. You missed the whole point of his speech along with others that only read critiques.

Try to read the speech/book/whatever next time.

"the fact that no such genocide is reported just proves that the media is covering it up."

This just shows you know nothing about Chomsky's work.
The problem is not the media covering it up (it is not nor is Chomsky claiming so) but the 'elite culture' which produces no demand for this kind of news.

"Chomsky did start the dicussion. It was dismissed because it had no merit. The genocide did not happen. See how simple it works?"

So were it not for Chomsky, there would be no discussion. Right?

It doesn't work, it seems.


"And the cradle of democracy was Athens."

I know. I was trying to be sarcastic. The US seems to have a monopoly on democracy these days.

"The only difference is between premeditation ... and criminal negliegence."

Yes. And you were claiming Chomsky was accusing the US of the former while he was accusing them of the latter.

"and for some strange reason nobody in the mainstream dares mention it"

It's not a matter of daring to. It's a matter of the mainstream ignoring those who do. No, not even ingnoring. You have to be aware of something to ignore it.
The mainstream had absolutely no interest in this story.
It does say a lot about the elite (=mainstream) and its values.

"[So by your reasoning, to use one of Chomsky's examples, the critics of the Soviets placing missles on Cuba were wrong as this didn't result in nuclear devastation?]"

"I have no idea how even you came up with that twisted logic."

As Chomsky likes to say, hold yourself to the same standards you hold others.

I'm assuming you agree with me that criticizing the Soviets was perfecty valid even though their placing of the missles on Cuba did not result in a nuclear war.

In the same manner, criticizing US actions before and during the invasion of Afganistan and pointing out they might lead to genocide can be valid even though its actions did not result in genocide.

Just wanted to blow apart you argument that since there was no genocide, Chomsky's warnings were wrong.



WXB said...

"the issue seems to be about whether or not Chomsky was arguing (1) whether it was happening and (2) whether the US was sought to halt aid shipments in the full knowledge that this "silent genocide" would occur once the food shipements were cut off"

(1) I would say his use of the present tense was wrong. His assertions were based on unverifialbe reports and pleas and he should have been more careful (like with the Johnstone claims). But if you read the whole speech or just the passage quoted above, his blanked statement is toned down - he does say we don't know what will happen etc. And if we wanted to give the man a benefit of a doubt, we could say this was a speech where emotions can flare etc.
Still, the usage of 'is happening' was wrong. Change that into 'might be happening' and his comments and warnings stand.

(2) I would not agree on the 'full knowledge'.
One can very rarely have 'full knowledge' of anything (off topic, but that is part of why markets don't work all that well).
I would revise that into whether the US government could have reasonably expected that its actions would result in silent genocide.


But both points are minor ones.

I would add #3 (and being the main point I'm surprised you didn't include it).

(3) Why was there absolutely no discussion of possible consequences from the cutoff of food shipments and the bombing?


Apart from that, as Anonymous put it, ' everybody knows that there are going to be some civilian deaths' so what's the point discussing it beforehand.
(To minimize them, perhaps.)

I would understand Anonymous' "see how simple it works" if there was, I don't know, a headline in the NYT saying "8 million Afgans might starve to death" where the UN official's and the rest of the claims would be discussed.

And then the next day something like "Danger of mass starvation unfounded" containing a US government's spokesmen's assurances that the UN official's calims were unfounded as the US military is feeding these civillians or they expect the shipments to get to full speed within the week or whatever.

But there was none of this.
At least not until Chomsky started his 'silent genocide'. And even that discussion was kept at the fringes, nothing in the NYT.


Now go and see how many of your links or other criticisms of 'silent genocide' deal or even mention #3.

[links to leftwatch...]

The first link doesn't work for some reason.
Don't have time for the second now. (Bring it up if it has baring on what I wrote above).

 
At November 18, 2004 at 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what will happen we don’t know"

"Plans are being made on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several million people. It looks like what is happening is some sort of silent genocide."

So Chomsky doesn't know what's going to happen but then goes right ahead and says it looks like a genocide to him that may in fact lead to the deaths of several million people as he just pointed out.

So if a genocide does happen then Chomsky and his cultists would be in a position to say 'well there you go, just typical of the elite to have not even tried to stop this genocide even when there were serious warnings from experts.'

And when a genocide didn't happen the Chomsky cult can just say 'there never was a predicition about a genocide, just raising the issue of warnings from experts.'

No matter what happens Chomsky is never wrong.

"As Chomsky likes to say, hold yourself to the same standards you hold others."

Unfortunately he never holds those standards to himself and no I'm not impressed by the occassional time when he says 'don't beleive me just go check for yourself' And the fact that many others have held Chomsky to the standards he holds everybody else is why he is a fringe figure.

"In the same manner, criticizing US actions before and during the invasion of Afganistan and pointing out they might lead to genocide can be valid even though its actions did not result in genocide."

Unfortunately Luka, he said that "it looks like what is happening is some sort of silent gencoide."

"I'm assuming you agree with me that criticizing the Soviets was perfecty valid even though their placing of the missles on Cuba did not result in a nuclear war."

The difference is that the Soviets actually did place nuclear weapons in Cuba. The idea that in any way the American bombing of Afghanistan could possibly lead to the deaths of several million people is insane which is why the mainstream media never mentioned it. Only an anti-American fanatic who believes his own propaganda would mention it.

 
At November 22, 2004 at 2:20 AM, Blogger LukaB said...

"So Chomsky doesn't know what's going to happen but then goes right ahead and says it looks like a genocide to him that may in fact lead to the deaths of several million people as he just pointed out."

For him to say he knows what will happen would be ridicolous. Right?

So yes. He qualified his statement with a disclaimer. Perfectly normal to do so.

"So if a genocide does happen then Chomsky and his cultists would be in a position to say 'well there you go, just typical of the elite to have not even tried to stop this genocide even when there were serious warnings from experts.'"

Cultists???
Otherwise yes.

"And when a genocide didn't happen the Chomsky cult can just say 'there never was a predicition about a genocide, just raising the issue of warnings from experts.'"

Yes.

"No matter what happens Chomsky is never wrong."

Interesting eh?

But you avoided the main issue Chomsky brought up (can't say you missed it again since I've brought it up a couple of times here).

The issue Chomsky was raising was not whether there would or would not be genocide in Afganistan but that there was absolutely no discussion of this in the media. So when judging what happened you should look at whether there was any media coverage of this or not. The issue of genocide was secondary to the state of 'elite culture' if you will.


"Unfortunately he never holds those standards to himself"

examples?

"And the fact that many others have held Chomsky to the standards he holds everybody else is why he is a fringe figure."

I would suspect other reasons.

'Unfortunately Luka, he said that "it looks like what is happening is some sort of silent gencoide."'

So you agree with me that had he not used the present tense his comments would be OK?

"The difference is that the Soviets actually did place nuclear weapons in Cuba."

And the US did cut off food shipments and attack Afganistan.

"The idea that in any way the American bombing of Afghanistan could possibly lead to the deaths of several million people is insane which is why the mainstream media never mentioned it."

Insane?
I'm gonna love you backing that one up.
You are saying that concluding that people witout food will die is insane?

 
At March 11, 2005 at 11:14 PM, Blogger simulev said...

Ahum, Mr Tomas Gellert is a employee of the Olof Palme International Center, a social democrat sponsored affiliation, heavily pro-"palestinian" and thus by default anti-Israeli "critic" organization.

If you want decent Swedish views on Chomsky, you should read former deputy prime minister Per Ahlmarks book: Det öppna såret (the open wound, only available in Swedish).

 
At August 6, 2005 at 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boy, i sure hope chomsky enjoyed giving oral sex (get it... oral) to the communist and muslims (al jazeera is a -what- source of news?!) for their crimes while construing every act that was not unduly mercifull and pacifistic that america commited as a war crime (garrisoning a hospital doesn't bar anyone to a death sentence), i am actually one of those people who don't take this guy very seriously (he's a lot like the leftist version of the anti stem cell research people) but i would like to take a dump on the guy's headstone (this guy shouldn't have much longer to live)just to let him know that his initial support of pol pot may have been a bit hasty. I think that will still border between war crime and freedom of expression, though. ha ha!

 
At August 6, 2005 at 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can blame him for that as much as you can blame a girl for sexually servicing only one gender

 
At August 6, 2005 at 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey lukab does your life and/or oppinion ever feel like Seinfeld, you know, the show about nothing. maybe the reason that you have not supported chomsky with credible evidence, instead resorting to tell ME to "read the whole article/interview/book." (his opinions are not very lengthy, neither are quotes that would abolish the idea that the quote was taken out of context) so why don't you get off YOUR lazy *** ("rear end") and post it your own ******* ("gosh darn") self.

if you ever visited the nations and ideals which he advocates, you would very quickly begin to think that there is some series of things fundamentally wrong, both with chomsky and the nations he ferments such loving endorsements for.

 
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