This is a long article, and it may take a few moments to load. Genocide and So On "I mean the great act of genocide in the modern period is Pol Pot, through - that atrocity - I think it would be hard to find any example of a comparable outrage and outpouring of fury and so on and so forth.
In a long, illustrious career, Chomsky has amassed a formidable array of books, articles, and speeches. He has been a tireless advocate for the underdog, and has demonstrated admirable commitment to his principles. The underdogs, however, are not always the good guys, a fact clearly illustrated by the Khmer Rouge.
The question of whether or not Noam Chomsky supported the Khmer Rouge is not as clear as either his critics or his defenders would like to pretend.
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His critics frequently extract a handful of quotes from "Distortions at Fourth Hand" or After the Cataclysm and suggest that Chomsky was an enthusiastic advocate for the Cambodian communists.
His defenders, meanwhile, limit their collections of quotes to Chomsky's disclaimers and qualifiers, conveniently ignoring the underlying theme of his articles: Gathering all of Chomsky's fig leaves into a single pile, they exclaim: My, what a lot of greenery.
There was an atrocity, people were outraged, so on and so forth, blah blah blah. The reaction is Chomsky's primary concern; genocide itself is a lesser point. If Chomsky was initially skeptical of the reports of Khmer Rouge atrocities, he was certainly not alone.
Given that he now acknowledges the brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime, is it fair to continue to criticize him? A peculiar irony is at the heart of this controversy: Noam Chomsky, the man who has spent years analyzing propaganda, is himself a propagandist.
Whatever one thinks of Chomsky in general, whatever one thinks of his theories of media manipulation and the mechanisms of state power, Chomsky's work with regard to Cambodia has been marred by omissions, dubious statistics, and, in some cases, outright misrepresentations.
On top of this, Chomsky continues to deny that he was wrong about Cambodia. He responds to criticisms by misrepresenting his own positions, misrepresenting his critics' positions, and describing his detractors as morally lower than "neo-Nazis and neo-Stalinists.
Misconceptions, it seems, have a very long life. The Right Villains Any detailed examination of Chomksy's comments on Cambodia should begin with his comments in the wake of Lon Nol and Sirik Matak's coup, which overthrew Prince Norodom Sihanouk, and brought to power a staunchly pro-American regime.
In Cambodia, prior to the coup, the war in neighboring Vietnam had been held largely in check. Fighting was limited mainly to the border areas, where large numbers of Vietnamese communists had set up sanctuaries inside Cambodian territory. After the coup, Sihanouk promptly allied himself with the rebels, and in June,Chomsky wrote a long article in the New York Review of Books, outlining the dire consequences of American involvement in Cambodia.
Despite some misleading remarks, it is, on the balance, a very astute analysis. Chomsky accurately predicted the repercussions of Sihanouk's alliance with the rebels: This would seem unlikely.
Now, however, Sihanouk, the 'most ardent and passionate advocate' of the national cause, the person whom one American expert described as being 'a significant expression of the Cambodian people's will,' has identified himself with the rebels.
It is doubtful that the right-wing Lon Nol government, with its narrow urban base, can counter this popular force or win it over. So many reputations and careers are at stake that glorious victories are guaranteed. On probabilistic grounds alone, one would expect that American military intelligence can't always be wrong about everything.
The headquarters of the Vietnamese resistance forces and the bases that they use for R-and-R must be somewhere, and they may well be found and destroyed during the American-Saigon sweep.
Whether the invading troops will withdraw remains to be seen. That the countryside will be devastated and its population removed or destroyed is reasonably certain.
Very probably, if these territories are abandoned by the invading forces, some, at least, will be joined to the area on the South Vietnamese side of the border as an extended free fire zone. With the coup, the delicate balance that had kept Cambodia out of a wider war collapsed.Dear Twitpic Community - thank you for all the wonderful photos you have taken over the years.
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The Effective Writing Center offers guidelines for developing a solid essay structure. "It is a virtual certainty that great victories will be claimed in the Cambodian invasion, and that the military will release reports of arms caches and rice destroyed, military bases demolished, and much killing of 'North Vietnamese,' i.e., people who find themselves in the way of an American tank or in an area bombed or strafed.
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