In May, I published an article on the most recent spat between Noam Chomsky and Alan Dershowitz, with whom President Obama will meet this week. What follows are some emails I received in response to the piece (I’ve removed any personally identifying information).
thank you allen for the your piece on dershowitz
he truly is as bad as limbaugh and the fox-tv gang
Chomsky does call bin Laden an “unarmed victim,” and after an overlong
consultation with the Oxford English Dictionary, I must concede that Dershowitz
has a point here, at least insofar as bin Laden doesn’t seem, to this writer at
least,…I am surprised, and amused, that you did not understand what Chomsky meant and
needed a long detour through the hallowed OED. Common sense and the OED reference did not mix in this
case.UBL was unarmed when shot (no weapon in his hands, no threatening capability
from an old man who is not a martial art expert, no defensive move of any kind
reported, etc…).He was shot when he could have been captured and taken away. No self-defense
was invoked by the shooter. UBL is therefore technically the victim of
an assassination squad. Period.
Obama did not really deny that he wanted him definitely-dead-and-not-alive (you
seem to value the use of
hyphenations), as opposed to “Dead or Alive”. If UBL had been tried in absentia,
convicted and sentenced to death, in this manner ( of law then “victim” would be debatle.
Allen,It is nice for once to read a piece by a writer who apparently has a grasp of NC’s work and yet refuses to indulge in bashing or revering him. Obviously Dershowitz, having come unhinged some time ago (childhood?) grabbed your attention in this instance.But you do say Dershowitz offers valid criticisms of Chomsky’s positions on the Cambodian genocide. I’m curious to know if you could provide specific evidence of NC denying the KR killings. By that I mean can you quote him as saying it didn’t happen? (I’ll assume you too are ignoring Dershowitz’s drivel about NC “admiring” them) I have read “After the Cataclysm…” from which I’m sure is the main source for the gross distortions of Chomsky’s and Ed Herman’s work on Cambodia. My take on it is they were focused on how the western imperial powers used the KR killings as a means to rebuild imperial ideology (subtitle of book) by changing the subject from the three million corpses still rotting in the region in the wake of the US’ thirteen year romp. They did painstaking work showing how rumor and hearsay evidence about KR atrocities got front page treatment in the west while solid evidence that might refute such killings was ignored. This is standard practice continuing to this day: trumpet official enemies’ crimes while ignoring or suppressing our own. They wrote the book when things were very fluid in Cambodia. They admit there were massacres by the KR. And their numbers ended up being lower than most subsequent work by wide range of scholars. They have written at length since the publication of that book updating their research. But it is a disingenuous to suggest they deliberately suppressed or denied KR atrocities.Anything you could provide that might enlighten me on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
Dear Jim East,I will not to contribute in this fundraiser, for the following reason:Notable and beloved historian Howard Zinn just died and NPR saw it fit to invite a right wing demagogue without credentials, David Horowitz, to slander his memory.Is NPR turning into Fox News?Horowitz has made a career to instigate irrational hatred against progressives. For illustration, Horowitz distributed a pamphlet on college campuses depicting Howard Zinn’s colleague and friend Noam Chomsky as Osama Bin Laden with a photoshopped image on the front page. I picked one up while at Brandeis University in March 2002. The contents of this rant were virtually indistinguishable from Nazi propaganda.Distributing this rubbish just months after the September 11 attacks looked like a calculated call to assassinate Prof. Chomsky.Horowitz’ next move was a McCarthy witch hunt campaign encouraging students to denounce and defame liberal professors to create fear.This disgusting figure has no credibility whatsoever. Furthermore, SourceWatch.org has identified his dubious funding sources.A judicious editor would be well advised to ignore lying propagandists like Horowitz, in fact, it is the responsible thing to do.But there is no excuse for defaming the recently departed.Shame on you. Call me when the responsible news editor found a new job and NPR made a commitment against slandering those who have dedicated their lives to create a more just and peaceful world.SincerelyNAME REDACTED