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After The Cataclysm: The Political Economy Of Human Rights (Volume 2) [Paperback-2015]
Noam Chomsky
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Category:Politics- Political Science
Publisher: Pluto Press Uk | ISBN: 9780745335506 | Pages: 0

As committed as the first volume, but shifting gears from ‘third world fascism’ in general to the attempt to reconstitute imperial authority in the wake of the failure of the subfascist system in Vietnam. The statement of purpose: the postwar condition of the three states of Indochina: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia […] from mid-1975 to the end of 1978 […] a double focus: on Indochina itself and on the West (primarily the United States) in relation to Indochina. We will consider the facts about pos As committed as the first volume, but shifting gears from ‘third world fascism’ in general to the attempt to reconstitute imperial authority in the wake of the failure of the subfascist system in Vietnam. The statement of purpose: the postwar condition of the three states of Indochina: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia […] from mid-1975 to the end of 1978 […] a double focus: on Indochina itself and on the West (primarily the United States) in relation to Indochina. We will consider the facts about postwar Indochina as they can be ascertained, but a major emphasis will be on the ways in which these facts have been interpreted, distorted, or modified by the ideological institutions of the West. (vii) Context of postwar Indochina is that the US’ unlawful attack “left the countries devastated, facing almost insuperable problems” (viii), including destruction of agricultural lands and the resettlement of most rural population in inadequate urban areas—a deliberate US policy of forcing the agricultural workforce out of the country via bombing, both as a demographic warfare and a means to disrupt the revolutionary organizations in each state. It is overall an outrage, both the initial crimes and the subsequent attempt to shift the responsibility from the US to its victims. There’s plenty more, but suffice to say that the US went halfway around the world and dropped more bombs on Indochina than were dropped by all belligerents in all theatres during World War II—and of course no Indochinese state dropped anything on the United States. So, yaknow—fuck off, worthless waste of space US jingos. There is no reasonable defense for the US on the jus ad bellum question. Chapters on the refugee crisis (49 ff.), Vietnam proper (61 ff.), and Laos (119 ff.). thing unexpected in these. Basic thesis is that the US fucked everything up, and then lied about it. Duh? The reason anyone reads this book these days, if indeed they do in fact read, is the 6th chapter, regarding Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, which constitutes approximately half the volume. The rightwing position has generally been that authors herein deny that genocide occurred in Cambodia 1975-79. This position is not borne out by the text. That is to say, those who think that this text denies genocide are either liars or illiterate. For “in the case of Cambodia, there is no difficulty in documenting major atrocities” (135). However “the sources of the policies of the postwar Cambodian regime in historical experience, traditional culture, Khmer nationalism, or internal social conflict have been passed by in silence as the propaganda machine gravitates to the evils of a competitive socioeconomic system so as to establish its basic principle that ‘liberation’ by ‘Marxists’ is the worst fate that can befall any people under Western dominance” (136). Although Cambodia became “the most extensively reported Third world country in US journalism” (id.), US journalism liked “to pretend that their lone and courageous voice of protest can barely be heard, or alternatively that controversy is raging about events in postwar Cambodia” (id.). A “common device” in this propaganda process is to complain that antiwar activists “‘had better explain’ why there had been a bloodbath, or ‘concede’ that their ‘support for the Communists’—the standard term for opposition to US subversion and aggression—was wrong; it is the critics who must, it is claimed, shoulder the responsibility for the consequences of US intervention, not those who organized and supported it or concealed the facts concerning it” (138). These seem like familiar rhetorical maneuvers for more recent atrocities management. The commonly noted 2.5M dead from a 7M population appears to have first been alleged by George McGovern in Congress during 1978 (only Nixon can go to China, indeed) (see 138). His source for the figure at that early date (when “Cambodia had been almost entirely closed to the West” except for refugees (135)) is a State Department hack (138) and thence Lon l, CIA stooge and reliable subfascist (139). Refugee reports are the main substantive evidence for the Khmer genocide—“or to be more precise, from accounts of journalists and others of what refugees are alleged to have said” (140). Much thoughtful commentary on how refugee testimony is to be handled in general (140 ff.). Thereafter much detailed interrogation of not merely refugee reports, but the processes through which refugee reports were produced—such as how Thai refugee “camp authorities had organized French and English speaking refugees as informants to give the official line to journalists who came to visit” (146) or how “competent researchers fluent in Khmer” were denied entry to Thai refugee camps (147). One topos of this text is to suggest that the “gang of thugs” thesis may not be entirely correct, and that, rather, many persons were killed in Cambodia not only by US bombs, and the starvation concomitant with the destruction of the Khmer economy by same, but also by “a peasant army, recruited and driven out of their devastated villages by US bombs and then taking revenge against the urban civilization that they regarded, not without reason, as a collaborator in their destruction” (150), which fits the known primitivist components of Khmer Rouge policy (which components are inconsistent with basic Marxist ideas, of course). This thesis makes some sense, considering that the Khmer Rouge “took over at a time when society was in ruins, so that there were no normal means of government” (153). There were certainly estimates of deaths at the time contrary to McGovern/Lon l, such as the 1977 US report that Cambodia had suffered several hundred thousand deaths from all causes, “a marked shift from the estimates just six months ago, when it was popular to say that anywhere between 800,000 and 1.4 million Cambodians had been executed by vengeful Communists” (159). Holbrooke, US thug extraordinaire, estimated “tens if not hundreds of thousands of deaths from all causes” (id.). The objective of the text here is not, in 1979, to deny that killings occurred in Cambodia—quite the contrary. The thesis is that the refugees reports and analyses of causation and estimates of quantum were highly varied in the late 70s, precisely because Cambodia was shut away, and therefore that US estimates of a Cambodian centrally-coordinated autogenocide were unwarranted at the time on the basis of the available evidence, that the ideological imperative was to assume a genocide, as one had been predicted for Vietnam and had failed to materialize. Much of the analysis proceeds by comparison with the situation in East Timor, wherein US ally Indonesia at the same time was killing approximately the same proportion of East Timorese as alleged to have been killed in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge—to more or less complete silence in the US. Standard manner of analysis here: And there is good reason why Aikman fails to mention the names of those ‘political theorists’ who have defended ‘the Cambodian tragedy’—as this would require differentiating those who have exposed media distortions and tried to discover the facts, instead of joining the bandwagon of uncritical abuse, from those who say that no serious atrocities have occurred (a small or non-existent set that Time has searched for, apparently without success). (164) The Time article alleges that the genocide is “the logical consequence of an athe

About the Author

am Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the author recently of "Hopes and Prospects" (2010) and "Power and Terror" (Paradigm 2011). His articles and books revolutionized the contemporary study of linguistics and his political writings are widely read and translated throughout the world. In 2003 a profile of Chomsky in the "New Yorker" described his influence as one of the most cited scholars in history.

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