March 20, 2006

Chomsky and tricks

Someone posted a link that was Chomsky's response to Oliver Kamm, which was discussed by Neo Neocon here. The precursor to Chomsky's riposte.

Kamm--whom I found via Austin Bay's link to this Guardian article of Kamm's on the reasons why, despite flaws in execution, he still supports the Iraq war--is what Norman Geras would call a "principled leftist" and what Kamm himself calls a "tough liberal." Kamm is also the author of an intriguing-sounding book (although I couldn't find it on Amazon) entitled: Anti-Totalitarianism: the Left-Wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy.

Chomsky sounds a lot more rational than I would have given him credit for. But then again, perhaps that explains his success. He is not a true believer and he is not crazy like Daily Kos. Whatever passion and excorciation he holds as his image, it still entitles him to the moral and logical position of the spiritual leader. A position highlighted by Haim Harari.

Words can be lethal. They kill people. It is often said that politicians, diplomats and perhaps also lawyers and business people must sometimes lie, as part of their professional life. But the norms of politics and diplomacy are childish, in comparison with the level of incitement and total absolute deliberate fabrications, which have reached new heights in the region we are talking about. An incredible number of people in the Arab world believe that September 11 never happened, or was an American provocation or, even better, a Jewish plot.
But words also work in other ways, more subtle. A demonstration in Berlin, carrying banners supporting Saddam's regime and featuring three-year old babies dressed as suicide murderers, is defined by the press and by political leaders as a "peace demonstration". You may support or oppose the Iraq war, but to refer to fans of Saddam, Arafat or Bin Laden as peace activists is a bit too much. A woman walks into an Israeli restaurant in mid-day, eats, observes families with old people and children eating their lunch in the adjacent tables and pays the bill. She then blows herself up, killing 20 people, including many children, with heads and arms rolling around in the restaurant. She is called "martyr" by several Arab leaders and "activist" by the European press. Dignitaries condemn the act but visit her bereaved family and the money flows.

There is a new game in town: The actual murderer is called "the military wing", the one who pays him, equips him and sends him is now called "the political wing" and the head of the operation is called the "spiritual leader". There are numerous other examples of such Orwellian nomenclature, used every day not only by terror chiefs but also by Western media. These words are much more dangerous than many people realize. They provide an emotional infrastructure for atrocities. It was Joseph Goebels who said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. He is now being outperformed by his successors.

I turned with interest to Oliver Kamm's critique of the "crude and dishonest arguments" he attributes to me (Prospect, Nov. 2005), hoping to learn something. And I did, though not quite what he intended; rather, about the lengths to which some will go to prevent exposure of state crimes and their own complicity in them. His substantive charges are as follows.

You can sense part of his strategy here. Parry and riposte. Re-posit rather than deposit. To put back what you had taken, rather than deposit, which puts your things into an account or withdrawal, taking what is yours from an account. Reposit, as you can see, takes what someone else has sent you and puts it back in its place. The idea isn't alien, because it combines equal parts defense and offense. Not only do you defend against your attackers, but you use the force of their attack against them. Which is part, though not the entire whole, of Chomsky's strategy here.

To demonstrate "a particularly dishonest handling of source material," Kamm alleges that "[Chomsky] manipulates a self-mocking reference in the memoirs of the then US Ambassador to the yield the conclusion that Moynihan took pride in Nazi-like policies." Kamm wisely evades the statements of Moynihan that I quoted from his 1978 memoirs. The topic is Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor, condemned by the Security Council, which ordered Indonesia to withdraw. But the order had no effect. Moynihan explains why: "The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success." He then refers to reports that within two months some 60,000 people had been killed, "10 percent of the population, almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War" - at the hands of Nazi Germany, of course. His comparison, not mine, as Kamm pretends. And his clearly expressed pride: there is not the slightest hint of self-mockery, and the only "manipulation" is Kamm's, in his desperate effort to deny truly horrendous crimes of state; his state, hence his complicity.

Presumably, this would be convincing as it uses the exact words of Moynihan. But as Kamm noticed, because it is so seamless you actually have to find the original. But what if you can't FIND the original, as most readers of Chomsky would not have access to the original source?

The only alternative, or perhaps a segment of the only alternatives, is to do a logical consistency analysis. In other words, move on and try to get the entire piece down and attack Chomsky through some other defensive fortification, where he might not be as strong.

Far more Timorese had been killed by the time Moynihan's memoirs appeared in 1978, thanks to immediate US military and diplomatic support (or as Kamm prefers, Ford's "indolence, at best"), joined by the UK in 1978 as atrocities were peaking, and continuing through the final paroxysm of violence in August-September 1999, until Clinton finally ordered a halt a few weeks later, under great international and domestic pressure. Indonesia instantly withdrew, making it crystal clear who bears responsibility for one of the closest approximations to true genocide of the post-war period.

The contention seems to be that in one scenario, Ford didn't care, and in the other, Ford cared enough to actively create the circumstances.

The review includes the assessment of the German Ambassador to Sudan in the Harvard International Review that "several tens of thousands" died as a result of the bombing and the similar estimate in the Boston Globe by the regional director of the respected Near East foundation, who had field experience in Sudan, along with the immediate warning by Human Rights Watch that a "terrible crisis" might follow, reporting very severe consequences of the bombing even in the first few weeks. And much more.

Read this and keep that in mind. It will be relevant much latter, when I compare this "scenario" and its being justified by "our good German ambassador", with an apparent flaw.

Kamm claims that I provided no evidence to support the judgment that the US was bombing Afghanistan with the knowledge that it might lead to the death of millions of people. It takes real talent to miss the extensive evidence cited in the few pages I devoted to these matters.

Here is the comparison necessary to acquire the entire meta-concept to Chomsky, and his flavor in the other incidents he hath quoted.

The Afghanistan situation, is portrayed on the same categorical time-line as the Indonesian affair.

Notice these specific congruences in attack methodology.

The topic is Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor, condemned by the Security Council, which ordered Indonesia to withdraw. But the order had no effect. Moynihan explains why: "The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success."

The citations include the New York Times report three weeks before the bombing that Washington "demanded [from Pakistan] the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population," and the Times report that the numbers at risk of starvation were estimated to have risen by 50% a month later, to 7.5 million.

To slice these two disaparate statements together, Washington demanded the civil war that killed [whatever numbers} X numbers quoted by Chomsky; Washington demanded that Pakistan eliminate food convoys.

Similar tactics can be defeated by recognizing the similarity and using the proper-counters. Because one counter that works for one tactic, will work for the other tactic, because both of Chomsky's attack-tactics are congruent in purpose and battlelayout.

To use a mathematical analogy. Sin over opposite side A, is equal to sin over opposite side B and is equal to sin over opposite side C. All are congruent, in the sense that all are EQUAL. And hence if you find the solution to one, you have the solution to the other. The same proto-analysis can be applied to what Chomsky has said.

To use a non-mathematical and non-military analysis, it is to compare apples to apples. The same size, different colors.

Now, back to our Chomsky uninterrupted.

Also cited are reports in the Times of the bitterness of fleeing aid workers who said that "The country was on a lifeline and we just cut the line" by threatening to bomb; the report by the UN World Food Program that the threat forced them to reduce food supplies to 15% of what was needed and later that the bombing itself caused them to terminate it entirely; warnings by major relief agencies of a likely "humanitarian crisis of epic proportions in Afghanistan with 7.5 million short of food and at risk of starvation";

7.5 million, quite a lot of people. Similar, perhaps, to the scenarios predicted before Afghanistan. Of "intense humanitarian crises" overwhelming the region. Oh wait, they are the SAME prediction, my bad.

Also included was the urgent plea by 1000 Afghan leaders in late October to terminate the "bombing of innocent people" and to adopt other means to overthrow the hated Taliban regime, a goal they believed could be achieved without slaughter and destruction; and the denunciation of the bombing by one of the anti-Taliban leaders who was most respected by Washington and Hamid Karzai, Abdul Haq, who described the bombing as "a big setback" for efforts to overthrow the Taliban from within, carried out because Washington "is trying to show its muscle, score a victory and scare everyone in the world" but "don't care about the suffering of the Afghans or how many people we will lose."

Not to go off on a tangent, but I just want to point out that the normal way of refutation (refuting the above) would be to point to a different anti-Taliban leader and quote what he said, to refute the other supposed "anti-Taliban respected whatever leader". But that is the normal refutation way, my purpose is to analyze the enemy's tactics and battle harmonization, in order to derive patterns that can be predicted and therefore defeated. The overall object is not to refute facts with facts, that is the direct manner. The overall goal should be to defeat the enemy with your strength while nullifying his strength. THe Oblique approach In Jujitsu, it is called using your Stahara (bastardized Japanese term for lower abdomen) against the opponent's arm. So in effect, the goal is to use 100% of your balanced and focused strength against the opponent's 20% strength as encompassed in his arm alone. Sledgehammer, meet arm bone. This as opposed to the facts vs facts slugfest otherwise known as "bring a bigger hammer", in which two opponents slug it out. One hits the other in the face, the other returns the blow to the face, then they trade the same set of blows over, and over, and over. You get the picture. The strongest man wins. And Chomsky, is strong in propaganda. Be wary of thinking you can beat the master at his own tricks.

Think of it this way. If you do go into a slugfest to defend some woman's honor, that might win the respect of the woman, who already has respect for you. Even if you lose. But losing will never convince the backers of your opponent, to support you instead of their friend. Now the analogies are going on a quantum bifurcation, so I'll stop.

For those interested.


Interview with Massoud

Massoud believed that you could not fight the Taliban or Al Qaeda through bombs and assassinations of certain people. He believed that "it wouldn't be enough". Why did he believe so? Because it was the system that had to be changed, in addition to the leaders. We witnessed that when Massoud was assassinated. It did not change the end result one iota in Afghanistan and democracy. Not one iota. Assassination is not enough, as the CiA wanted to do with Bin laden before 9/11, but ultimately failed to carry out. Assassination helps, it demoralizes the enemy and removes the leader's talents from the personnel pool, but it is in itself not enough to win.

Such things are not meant to counter Chomsky, but to educate those who seek knowledge and the truth. Because only through understanding yourself and others, can you ever understand your enemies.

Once again, much more instructive than the transparent falsification is Kamm's cold indifference to the reports he claims do not exist.

Kamm claims that I provided no evidence to support the judgment that the US was bombing Afghanistan with the knowledge that it might lead to the death of millions of people. It takes real talent to miss the extensive evidence cited in the few pages I devoted to these matters.

Comparing the bold with the italic, representing respectively the ending and beginning, certain conclusions can be drawn. Chomsky uses the "evidence" of the false predictions prior to Afghanistan to support and justify his conclusion of American intentionally risking Afghanistani lives. Because those lives were not lost, Chomsky can't say that we were responsible for a genocide. No, he can only accuse us of that in his Indonesian example, in the beginning of his attack methodology.

Chomsky knowingly manipulates Kamm's contention that this is no evidence, to mean that they didn't exist. But they do exist, but as evidence, they were completely fabricated. By the New York Times and Chomsky's propaganda apparatus even. The network comes full circle. What is produced in one arm supports Chomsky's contention in the other. Notice how Chomsky says the evidence "exists", not that the evidence wasn't fabricated. As a propagandist, you must be very careful in what you say and the exact words you use. Analogous to the honorable man, who is very careful to promise only what he can deliver. So if he says he will bring Agent B to a certain party if he captured that person, that means if he KILLS that person instead of captures him, then he didn't violate his promise. Honesty and honor are sometimes congruent with deception, in contrast with the fake liberal contention which they don't personally adhere to.

Attack one hand, the other hand strikes the fatality blow. Strike the other hand, and Chomsky's New York Times hand will excorciate you. It is comparable to the terroist cell structure, and quite a lot more effective since it is out in the open rather than hidden underground.

He does not try to refute the statement, but rather offers it to show that I "liken America's conduct to that of Nazi Germany" and that my "judgment of the US" is that it is comparable to Nazi Germany, a "diagnosis [that is] central to Chomsky's political output." The inference is too ridiculous for comment, and he does not tell us of his objection to the actual, and radically different, statement.

This is one of Chomsky's weak points. Chomsky knows he has to pull the Hitler card to get people like Soros to fund and make sure he has spending money. But he really can't say that, now can he.

It would be "too ridiculous" to comment on because to deny it, would be to refute his very existence. And that would be quite ridiculous, wouldn't you agree?

The context, which he again omits, is a 1968 report in the New York Times of a protest against an exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry where children could "enter a helicopter for simulating firing of a machine gun at targets" in Vietnam, with a light flashing when a hit was scored on a hut -- "even though no people appear," revealing the extremism of the protestors. This was a year after the warning by the highly respected military historian and Vietnam specialist Bernard Fall that "Vietnam as a cultural and historic threatened with extinction ...[as]... the countryside literally dies under the blows of the largest military machine ever unleashed on an area of this size."

One hand knowing exactly what the other hand is doing. Unlike a terrorist cell structure which is hampered by the fact that central coordination of resources is never possible without systemic security holes, Chomsky's network can work together and still procure benefits from being held separate.

Apart from misquoting and omitting the crucial context, Kamm also fails to tell us how one should react to this performance, apart from his own standard reaction of tacit acquiescence to horrendous crimes and his dedicated efforts, failing with impressive consistency, to find something to criticize in the efforts to terminate state crimes for which he and I share responsibility, particularly so in a free society, where we cannot plead fear in extenuation for silent complicity.

Very effective. Take Kamm's accusations of context manipulation and reflect it back at Kamm. Both initiating an attack and defending against one. Whatever damage you do to me, I shall reflect unto you a thousand fold.

UPDATE With the link to Kamm's Against Chomsky article.

Update A Kamm quote.

He once described the task of the media as "to select the facts, or to invent them, in such a way as to render the required conclusions not too transparently absurd—at least for properly disciplined minds." There could scarcely be a nicer encapsulation of his own practice.


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