Saturday, March 05, 2005

Online sources

In 'The revolutionary pacifism of A J Muste' (American Power and the New Mandarins -see )  Chomsky compares US counter-insurgency efforts in South-east Asia in the 1960s to those of Japan 30 years earlier. There are no prizes for guessing who comes worse out of this comparison: after all the Japanese were encircled.

One of his sources (Note 77) is Chong-sik Lee,  Counter insurgency in Manchuria: The Japanese Experience, RAND  Corporation Memorandum RM-5012-ARPA, January 1967. Since ARPANET was a forerunner to the Internet, I thought it worth seeing if this was available online. It can be downloaded  for free here (be aware it is quite big - 15Mb, 361 pages).

It is striking that, compared to the all too familiar polemic of recent years, little has changed in the tone of the rhetoric, even if the 'enemy' has. From 'The Responsibility Of Intellectuals'   (Op.Cit., Chatto & Windus, 1969, Note 29, P289):
It is con­ceivable that at some future time a powerful China may be expan­sionist. We may speculate about such possibilities if we wish, but it is American aggressiveness that is the central fact of current politics.
He also wilfully misrepresents the idea of an "open society": 'in our peculiar sense of this term-a society, that is, which remains open to American economic penetration or political control.' 

Oliver Kamm has also been (re-)reading Chomsky's classics - see, for example, Chomsky and the Vietnam War - a study in failure . In fact, look at the whole of the January 2005 and November 2004 archives. This pretty well sums it up:
He runs separate passages together, adding tendentious interpolation, in order to give a false account of the argument he claims to be presenting. It is intellectual dishonesty of a high order. If you are summarising someone else’s argument – especially an argument you are criticising – you are duty-bound to give an accurate account of it. Ellipses must not be used to omit relevant material; interpolations must be aids to clarity of exposition and not editorial devices; passages must not be shorn of context that would alter their meaning.
Chomsky and the Vietnam War - a study in propaganda  I can't resist quoting this, too:  'It’s encouraging to learn that The Guardian, then [in 1973] a liberal newspaper, wrote a leading article on the affair entitled “Closed minds at Sussex”. '

A search for the title ('The revolutionary pacifism...') and Manchuria also gives an interesting result.


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