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Chomsky's book on 9/11

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Leo

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Dec 3, 2001, 2:03:26 AM12/3/01
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I have just completed Noam Chomsky's book on September 11. To call it
a book is doing it a great deal more justice than it deserves. The
fact that you can finish it in about half an hour really sums up
Chomsky's academically half arsed predictable approach to the matter,
and indeed a great deal of his other endeavors. A series of half
truths with selective facts and of course the classic moral relativism
the Chomsky and the like are so fond of.
Claiming that American acts of terrorism are on the same par with the
likes of al-Qa'ida is not only laughable but dangerous. The 1985 CIA
car bombing of a Mosque in Beirut was, at best, disastrous American
foreign policy, no doubt resulting in the loss of innocent lives.
However this was not some willy nilly bomb planting done for some
weekend fun. It was targeting a Hizballah leader who was behind the
bombing of the US troop base in Beirut. They were not simply after a
"cleric they did not like." Despite what Chomsky would like 18 year
olds to believe, the CIA does not like going around and planting car
bombs. I personally don't think the troops should have been in Beirut
in the first place, but Chomsky selects facts and turns them into a
dangerous fiction that has no grounding. In this way it can justify
acts of terrorism upon America and its allies. For a man so concerned
with 'the truth', he often pays little attention to it.
But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad and
periodically quotes Gandhi to back up his claims. Well how can anyone
not like Gandhi, therefore Chomsky's got to be right. Manipulating
quotes from the likes of Gandhi fuels moron supporters of Chomsky who
fail to see that blindly supporting peace can have just as disastrous
effects and blindly supporting war. He goes on to say that "there's
probably majority sentiment against lashing out blindly and killing
plenty of innocent people." GEE, no Noam I'm actually for that, of
course there would be majority sentiment against killing innocent
people. But once again with his bizarre reasoning turns this into
majority support against the war full stop. In fact opinion polls,
not 'probably' polls, show extremely high rates of support for the
war. I could go on like this for hours (his comparison with the IRA
and not bombing Belfast another beauty) but I won't.
He does at times make some good points that are not as stupid as most,
for example showing the differences between this and the Vietnam war
and the pure stupidity of the bombing of Sudan in 1998. However many
sensible commentators have made these points before, and in a more
factual and less emotive manner.
This book is one written by a hack of the highest order. No doubt it
will fuel the reservoirs of stupidity at Universities such as mine
around the world. It is about an insightful as People Magazine or a
Little Golden Book, and will shortly be available at supermarkets
alongside these publications. Unfortunately it will be taken more
seriously.
Leo
Canberra,
Australia

zztop8970

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Dec 3, 2001, 8:59:09 AM12/3/01
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"Leo" <bloo...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:6a1ad4e.01120...@posting.google.com...

very well written.
The only part I disagree with is your final sentence. You needn't worry -
no one but his close circle of groupies takes Chomsky seriously.

Rich Vaughan

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Dec 3, 2001, 10:46:08 AM12/3/01
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> very well written.
> The only part I disagree with is your final sentence. You needn't worry -
> no one but his close circle of groupies takes Chomsky seriously.

You only say it is "very well written" because it blindly bashes Chomsky.
You pay little attention to whether or not the author's claims are true.

Take the following sentence, for example: "But of course Chomsky thinks that


all acts of violence are bad and periodically quotes Gandhi to back up his

claims." Clearly, anyone familiar with the work of Chomsky knows this
statement to be false. Chomsky is not a pacifist, and this fact is so
well-documented that anyone that denies it is either engaging in a smear
campaign or just plain ignorant. In either case, a piece with such a
characterization cannot be "very well written."

When various members of this newsgroup criticized Chomsky a couple of months
back for comparing 9-11 to the bombing of Sudan, they made a good case. I
didn't necessarily agree with them, but it was a valid criticism, and several
contributors -- if not most -- criticized Chomsky's comparision without
smearing him. In many instances, the posts were "very well written."

If somebody wants to critique or criticize Chomsky, that's fine. I actually
encourage them to do so. But tell the truth. People like you lose
credibility when they go around posting that any old anti-Chomsky tirade is
"very well written" when anyone with a rudimentary familiarity with Chomsky
can see the naked distortion of Chomsky's positions.

Rich

Clay Smith

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Dec 3, 2001, 11:16:04 AM12/3/01
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Below, you'll find segments of a critique of Chomsky's new book. (I
wasn't aware that Chomsky had written a new book and the author of the
post doesn't provide a title or publication information). I've
deleted all the text that doesn't pertain to a specific critique of
the book. For example, if the poster says that Chomsky's ideas are
stupid, I've deleted that sentence. However, if he cites a particular
idea which he feels is stupid and explains why it is is stupid, i've
that left in

The reasoning behind this approach is pretty straightfoward. Simply
put, it's impossible to have a meaningful discussion unless
assertions are backed up with arguments and facts. So if a critic
doesn't deal with specifics - if he just makes blanket statements such
as "this is all lies" or "no one believes this" - then there's no
substance to the critique and it can be disregarded.

One exception to the rule:
While it's very vague and pretty much devoid of substance, I've left
the first paragraph entirely intact. I reasoned that it constitutes a
sort of indtroductury paragrah and thesis sentence and as such, isn't
obligated to justify itself in any way. It's a statement of opinion
The remainder of the post is assigned the task of supporting that
opinion.

On 2 Dec 2001 23:03:26 -0800, bloo...@hotmail.com (Leo) wrote:

>I have just completed Noam Chomsky's book on September 11. To call it
>a book is doing it a great deal more justice than it deserves. The
>fact that you can finish it in about half an hour really sums up
>Chomsky's academically half arsed predictable approach to the matter,
>and indeed a great deal of his other endeavors. A series of half
>truths with selective facts and of course the classic moral relativism
>the Chomsky and the like are so fond of.

>The 1985 CIA
>car bombing of a Mosque in Beirut was, at best, disastrous American
>foreign policy, no doubt resulting in the loss of innocent lives.
>However this was not some willy nilly bomb planting done for some
>weekend fun. It was targeting a Hizballah leader who was behind the
>bombing of the US troop base in Beirut. They were not simply after a
>"cleric they did not like."

I take it, then, that you're arguing that it's acceptable for the CIA
to plant bombs in the trunks of cars outside of houses of worship if
they do so in an effort to kill someone who has killed Americans (or
more specifically, American troops)?. Suppose the FBI identified a
suspect behind the Anthrax letters. And suppose he hid out in a
mountain cabin every day of the week, except Sunday when he attends a
rural Baptist church? Would it be okay for the FBI to plant a bomb in
a car outside of the church?

Granted, the FBI has a lot more recourse within the US. They could
come in with a SWAT team and arrest the guy. A bomb wouldn't be
necessary. So maybe that's not an accurate comparison. Alright.
Suppose the man fled to France and continued his habit of going to
church every Sunday? Would it be alright to place the bomb outside of
the church there? Would it be alright to do it in the Vatican? Maybe
it would be okay in Mexico?


>But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad

This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*
If a US soldier kills an enemy in combat, the soldier will, I'm sure,
tell you that it was necessary and that soldiers should continue to do
such things when necessary. But if you ask him whether he'd like to go
do it again - say, this weekend, in Afghanistan -
for fun, he'll probably decline the offer.

Except for a few rare, supremely fucked up individuals - the sort we
keep locked up or under heavy sedation - no one regards killing other
human beings as good. Or, at least, I sure hope that's the case. If
it's not, we're all in trouble.


>He goes on to say that "there's
>probably majority sentiment against lashing out blindly and killing
>plenty of innocent people." GEE, no Noam I'm actually for that,

I think it's safe to say that this was sarcasm on Noam's part. He's
rather fond of this sort of smart alecery.

of
>course there would be majority sentiment against killing innocent
>people. But once again with his bizarre reasoning turns this into
>majority support against the war full stop. In fact opinion polls,
>not 'probably' polls, show extremely high rates of support for the
>war.

I haven't read the book yet (I didn't know until today that it had
been published), but I think there's another very logical
interpretation of Chomsky's argument, an interpretation you're
ignoring.

He's argued on a number of occasions that the Afghanistan war is
causing the unncessary deaths of thousands of innocent people. If
people realized this - Chomsky is presumably arguing - then they'd be
against the war.

Recall that the Gulf War was extremely popular in this country.
However, we voted out the president who initiated it and, since it
ended, even the most mainstream of media organs have indicated that
the US public has had some serious second thoughts about it.

>He does at times make some good points that are not as stupid as most,
>for example showing the differences between this and the Vietnam war
>and the pure stupidity of the bombing of Sudan in 1998.


>Leo
>Canberra,
>Australia


Clay Smith

Joseph Michael Bay

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Dec 3, 2001, 7:37:23 PM12/3/01
to
bloo...@hotmail.com (Leo) writes:


>Claiming that American acts of terrorism are on the same par with the
>likes of al-Qa'ida is not only laughable but dangerous. The 1985 CIA
>car bombing of a Mosque in Beirut was, at best, disastrous American
>foreign policy, no doubt resulting in the loss of innocent lives.
>However this was not some willy nilly bomb planting done for some
>weekend fun. It was targeting a Hizballah leader who was behind the
>bombing of the US troop base in Beirut. They were not simply after a
>"cleric they did not like."

An attack that kills innocents incidentally rather than as
the main focus still kills innocents, and is still indiscriminate
violence. It really doesn't matter what the point was supposed
to be.


>Despite what Chomsky would like 18 year
>olds to believe, the CIA does not like going around and planting car
>bombs.

That's hardly relevant. I'm sure there were plenty of concentration
camp guards who found their duties unpleasant, or even distasteful.
It doesn't change the outcome of their actions.

>I personally don't think the troops should have been in Beirut
>in the first place, but Chomsky selects facts and turns them into a
>dangerous fiction that has no grounding.

Again, this seems to be implying that attacks on innocents are
justified by the larger context, if they're being done by people
with the right intentions ("responsible men"?).


Anyway.


--
Chimes peal joy. Bah. Joseph Michael Bay
Icy colon barge Cancer Biology
Frosty divine Saturn Stanford University
"Your legs are too short to kickbox with the Buddha" - Thai saying

Kevin Waterson

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Dec 3, 2001, 8:15:38 PM12/3/01
to
zztop8970 wrote:

> very well written.
> The only part I disagree with is your final sentence. You needn't worry -
> no one but his close circle of groupies takes Chomsky seriously.

It sort of begs the question "Why do you bother with this NG"?

Kevin

Nark

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Dec 3, 2001, 8:21:30 PM12/3/01
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"Rich Vaughan" <less...@flash.net> wrote in message
news:3C0BA16A...@flash.net...

>
> When various members of this newsgroup criticized Chomsky a couple of
months
> back for comparing 9-11 to the bombing of Sudan, they made a good case. I
> didn't necessarily agree with them,

I missed that one. How are the two comparable?
In reference to said topic, Noam himself, in the Hitchens exchange - to be
linked below - said the following;

[Hitchens condemns the claim of "facile 'moral equivalence' between the two
crimes." Fair enough, but since he fabricated the claim out of thin air, I
feel no need to comment. ]

While Chomsky almost NEVER says anything concrete that lays out exactly what
he is talking about -- it's usually very vague and implied -- I am going to
assume that because he claimed that Hitchens "fabricated the claim (Chomsky
morally equating Sudan and 9-11) out of thin air", that he does not agree
with that claim. Am I making a safe assumption? Since he felt no need to
comment, base on the preceding words; would you say that he disagrees with
this 'fabrication'?

Sorry, all of that for this:

So, do you agree with Chomsky that the bombing of Sudan is not morally
equivalent to the terrible attack on the WTC?


> but it was a valid criticism, and several
> contributors -- if not most -- criticized Chomsky's comparision without
> smearing him. In many instances, the posts were "very well written."
>
> If somebody wants to critique or criticize Chomsky, that's fine. I
actually
> encourage them to do so. But tell the truth. People like you lose
> credibility when they go around posting that any old anti-Chomsky tirade
is
> "very well written" when anyone with a rudimentary familiarity with
Chomsky
> can see the naked distortion of Chomsky's positions.

How's this for starters? BTW, this is not yet a criticism...

What do you think about this?:

Here is what Chomsky told his audience at MIT on October 11:


I'll talk about the situation in Afghanistan.... Looks like what's
happening is some sort of silent genocide.... It indicates that whatever,
what will happen we don't know, but plans are being made and programs
implemented on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several
million people in the next--in the next couple of weeks.... very casually
with no comment.... we are in the midst of apparently trying to murder three
or four million people.


Do you agree with these blatent lies? Do you really believe that "we are in
the midst of apparently trying to murder three or four million people"?

Read this interesting exchange, if you haven't already..
http://www.thenation.com/special/20010911debate.mhtml

Nark

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Dec 3, 2001, 8:21:37 PM12/3/01
to

"Clay Smith" <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message
news:uZoLPGW9X6097h...@4ax.com...

> > On 2 Dec 2001 23:03:26 -0800, bloo...@hotmail.com (Leo) wrote:
>
> >I have just completed Noam Chomsky's book on September 11. To call it
> >a book is doing it a great deal more justice than it deserves. The
> >fact that you can finish it in about half an hour really sums up
> >Chomsky's academically half arsed predictable approach to the matter,
> >and indeed a great deal of his other endeavors. A series of half
> >truths with selective facts and of course the classic moral relativism
> >the Chomsky and the like are so fond of.
>
>
> >The 1985 CIA
> >car bombing of a Mosque in Beirut was, at best, disastrous American
> >foreign policy, no doubt resulting in the loss of innocent lives.
> >However this was not some willy nilly bomb planting done for some
> >weekend fun. It was targeting a Hizballah leader who was behind the
> >bombing of the US troop base in Beirut. They were not simply after a
> >"cleric they did not like."
>
> I take it, then, that you're arguing that it's acceptable for the CIA
> to plant bombs in the trunks of cars outside of houses of worship if
> they do so in an effort to kill someone who has killed Americans (or
> more specifically, American troops)?.

Without any other information, I would say no. But would you concede that
Hezbollah, considering they were targeting Americans, is QUITE different
than the targeting of civilians, which is the most common terrorist tactic?
There is a difference.

> Suppose the FBI identified a
> suspect behind the Anthrax letters. And suppose he hid out in a
> mountain cabin every day of the week, except Sunday when he attends a
> rural Baptist church? Would it be okay for the FBI to plant a bomb in
> a car outside of the church?

If it was the only way to stop him? It depends upon other unknown factors.

>
> Granted, the FBI has a lot more recourse within the US. They could
> come in with a SWAT team and arrest the guy. A bomb wouldn't be
> necessary. So maybe that's not an accurate comparison. Alright.
> Suppose the man fled to France and continued his habit of going to
> church every Sunday? Would it be alright to place the bomb outside of
> the church there? Would it be alright to do it in the Vatican? Maybe
> it would be okay in Mexico?

France is hardly a good comparison to Beirut. Your analogy is still weak.

>
>
> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
>
> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*

I think he is saying 'bad' in terms of overall net result.

> >
> of
> >course there would be majority sentiment against killing innocent
> >people. But once again with his bizarre reasoning turns this into
> >majority support against the war full stop. In fact opinion polls,
> >not 'probably' polls, show extremely high rates of support for the
> >war.
>
> I haven't read the book yet (I didn't know until today that it had
> been published), but I think there's another very logical
> interpretation of Chomsky's argument, an interpretation you're
> ignoring.
>
> He's argued on a number of occasions that the Afghanistan war is
> causing the unncessary deaths of thousands of innocent people. If
> people realized this - Chomsky is presumably arguing - then they'd be
> against the war.

The question is; Is his argument valid?


Here is what Chomsky told his audience at MIT on October 11:


"I'll talk about the situation in Afghanistan.... Looks like what's
happening is some sort of silent genocide.... It indicates that whatever,
what will happen we don't know, but plans are being made and programs
implemented on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several
million people in the next--in the next couple of weeks.... very casually
with no comment.... we are in the midst of apparently trying to murder three
or four million people."

Do you agree with these blatent lies? Do you really believe that "we are in
the midst of apparently trying to murder three or four million people"?

>


> Recall that the Gulf War was extremely popular in this country.
> However, we voted out the president who initiated it and, since it
> ended, even the most mainstream of media organs have indicated that
> the US public has had some serious second thoughts about it.

You are sadly mistaken. And realize, that G. Bush Sr. was ousted by the
Great Liar and Ross Perot. Clinton won the election with the lowest
percentage of votes ever. Please don't ignore the facts.


Justin Felux

unread,
Dec 3, 2001, 10:44:20 PM12/3/01
to
Clay Smith:

>> I take it, then, that you're arguing that it's acceptable for the CIA
>> to plant bombs in the trunks of cars outside of houses of worship if
>> they do so in an effort to kill someone who has killed Americans (or
>> more specifically, American troops)?.


Nark:


>Without any other information, I would say no. But would you concede that
>Hezbollah, considering they were targeting Americans, is QUITE different
>than the targeting of civilians, which is the most common terrorist tactic?
>There is a difference.


I am not sure what you mean here. Maybe you mistyped your sentence. I
don't know what to make of your distinction between "Americans" and
"civilians"

Clay Smith:


>> Suppose the FBI identified a
>> suspect behind the Anthrax letters. And suppose he hid out in a
>> mountain cabin every day of the week, except Sunday when he attends a
>> rural Baptist church? Would it be okay for the FBI to plant a bomb in
>> a car outside of the church?


Nark:


>If it was the only way to stop him? It depends upon other unknown factors.


This would obviously be an unacceptable tactic to anyone with an even
marginal degree of mental health.


Clay Smith:


>> Granted, the FBI has a lot more recourse within the US. They could
>> come in with a SWAT team and arrest the guy. A bomb wouldn't be
>> necessary. So maybe that's not an accurate comparison. Alright.
>> Suppose the man fled to France and continued his habit of going to
>> church every Sunday? Would it be alright to place the bomb outside of
>> the church there? Would it be alright to do it in the Vatican? Maybe
>> it would be okay in Mexico?


Nark:


>France is hardly a good comparison to Beirut. Your analogy is still weak.

Oh, of course. We forgot to account for the fact that French (or western
lives in general) are worth more than the lives of people in someplace like
Beirut.

It is a perfect analogy. Whether or not the places are alike in general is
irrelevant. The circumstances are what matters.

zztop8970-

unread,
Dec 3, 2001, 9:52:53 PM12/3/01
to
Clay Smith <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<uZoLPGW9X6097h...@4ax.com>...
<snip>

> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
>
> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*

No, they are not. If a policeman sees a crime in progress, He will
take steps needed, including violent ones, to stop it. Those violent
acts are not *bad*, and if asked if he would like to do it agian,
he'll probably tkae you up on it.

All acts of self defence, violent as they may be, are not *bad*.

Clay Smith

unread,
Dec 3, 2001, 11:24:54 PM12/3/01
to
On 3 Dec 2001 18:52:53 -0800, zzto...@yahoo.com (zztop8970-) wrote:

>Clay Smith <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<uZoLPGW9X6097h...@4ax.com>...
><snip>
>> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
>>
>> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*
>
>No, they are not. If a policeman sees a crime in progress, He will
>take steps needed, including violent ones, to stop it. Those violent
>acts are not *bad*, and if asked if he would like to do it agian,
>he'll probably tkae you up on it.

But if I ask him whether he'd like to do it again *for fun*, he'd look
at me like I'm crazy. If I ask him whether he enjoyed it, he'd
probably punch me in the face or tell me to find a psychiatrist.


Violence is sometimes necessary, but never good. All sane people
operate under that principle.


Clay


Clay Smith

unread,
Dec 3, 2001, 11:26:41 PM12/3/01
to

It's a pretty tiny difference. If I plant a bomb outside of a church
to kill a member of Hezbollah, I would have to be aware (unless I were
a total idiot) that there's a decent chance my bomb will kill a
civilian or two. Essentially, I'm saying "It's okay with me if my
actions cause the death of civilians." If I'm an Islamic extremist
terorist in Palestine and I plant a bomb in a resteraunt and set it to
explode during lunch hour, I'm saying "I intended my actions to cause
the deaths of civilians."

As I said, not a whole lot of difference. In addition, it's worth
pointing out that the dead probably don't give a damn whether they
were killed by a well meaning CIA bomb or an evil, fiendish terrorist
bomb.


>
>> Suppose the FBI identified a
>> suspect behind the Anthrax letters. And suppose he hid out in a
>> mountain cabin every day of the week, except Sunday when he attends a
>> rural Baptist church? Would it be okay for the FBI to plant a bomb in
>> a car outside of the church?
>
>If it was the only way to stop him? It depends upon other unknown factors.
>
>>
>> Granted, the FBI has a lot more recourse within the US. They could
>> come in with a SWAT team and arrest the guy. A bomb wouldn't be
>> necessary. So maybe that's not an accurate comparison. Alright.
>> Suppose the man fled to France and continued his habit of going to
>> church every Sunday? Would it be alright to place the bomb outside of
>> the church there? Would it be alright to do it in the Vatican? Maybe
>> it would be okay in Mexico?
>
>France is hardly a good comparison to Beirut. Your analogy is still weak.

France is a country. So is Lebanon. My point was that the original
poster was using a double standard; it's fine to blow people up in
Beirut, he tells us, but not in France or the Vatican or the US. Are
Lebanese lives worth less than French or American lives?

In case I'm not making myself clear, here...

No one has any right to set off car bombs in populated areas. Period.
What the CIA did was wrong and unnaceptable.


>>
>>
>> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
>>
>> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*
>
>I think he is saying 'bad' in terms of overall net result.

Well, in that case, the poster's assessment of Chomsky's views is
simply wrong. Chomsky has favored military action in cases where he
deemed it necessary and appropriate.

You *do* recall the facts and arguments he used to back up this
assessment, don't you? Do you dispute his facts? Can you show that his
arguments don't hold up?


>
>
>
>
>
>>
>> Recall that the Gulf War was extremely popular in this country.
>> However, we voted out the president who initiated it and, since it
>> ended, even the most mainstream of media organs have indicated that
>> the US public has had some serious second thoughts about it.
>
>You are sadly mistaken. And realize, that G. Bush Sr. was ousted by the
>Great Liar and Ross Perot. Clinton won the election with the lowest
>percentage of votes ever. Please don't ignore the facts.

That's hardly a vote of support for George Sr.

The facts are... we did vote out George Bush senior. And there has
been a lot of griping about the Gulf War.
>
>
>


Clay

Joseph Michael Bay

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 3:47:05 AM12/4/01
to
zzto...@yahoo.com (zztop8970-) writes:

Certainly in many cases they're less bad than allowing
whatever is happening to continue. In many cases they're
worse. There's a lot of judgement involved and a lot of
responsibility, and police are expected to use deadly force
as a last resort only.

Nathan Folkert

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 5:01:34 AM12/4/01
to
[apologies: this started off small, but got larger as I wrote and
read, and is now a rather imposing rant. Also, this is my first time
posting from Dejanews, so apologies in advance if formatting is off.
Finally, I am spoiled by ethernet, but have only a phone line, and am
too lazy to retrieve the URLs for my sources, though I'll try to
provide adequate citations.]

Rich Vaughn wrote:


> zztop wrote:
>> very well written. The only part I disagree with is your
>> final sentence. You needn't worry - no one but his close
>> circle of groupies takes Chomsky seriously.
>
> You only say it is "very well written" because it blindly
> bashes Chomsky. You pay little attention to whether or not
> the author's claims are true.
>
> Take the following sentence, for example: "But of course
> Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad and
> periodically quotes Gandhi to back up his claims." Clearly,
> anyone familiar with the work of Chomsky knows this statement
> to be false. Chomsky is not a pacifist, and this fact is so
> well-documented that anyone that denies it is either engaging
> in a smear campaign or just plain ignorant. In either case,
> a piece with such a characterization cannot be "very well
> written."

He's got you there, zztop. Take, for example, Chomsky's stance in the
New York City panel discussion of December 15, 1967, cited as "The
Legitimacy of Violence as a Political Act?" in Alexander Klein, ed.,
Dissent, Power, and Confrontation (McGraw-Hill, 1971), pp. 95-133,
which can be found online at the Bad News: Noam Chomsky archive
(www.monkeyfist.com). This seems like a fitting place to begin one's
research into what Chomsky thinks about the morality of violence. He
begins by characterizing absolute pacifism -- the belief that "one
must oppose violence in general, quite apart from any possible
consequences" -- as an *im*moral argument, arguing instead that
violence is legitimate when "consequences of such action are to
eliminate a still greater evil". The discussion which follows is
illuminating.


He addresses, as would be expected at the time, the use of violence in
the Vietnam war. He argues that there is no possible question of
justifying the terror on the part of the United States and Saigon. At
the time they were attempting to prevent a totalitarian terror state
(which had murdered perhaps a half a million people by the time
Chomsky made these remarks, and was itself an agent of the Soviet
empire) and their local partisans (who routinely engaged in terrorism
and assissination) from taking over the remainder of Vietnam. Here is
violence that Chomsky clearly, unquestioningly, and unequivocally
condemns, though by his own criteria it seems obvious that the
intended consequences were to eliminate an obviously greater evil,
though I suppose one could debate the facts.


On the other hand, he doesn't think that arguments in favor of NLF
terror should be "lightly dismissed", as he lightly dismissed any
arguments in favor of US intervention. He argues that there is a
"pretty strong case" for terror if it helps reluctant peasants
overcome their "passivity" by ridding them of their "inferiority
complex", thus allowing them to enter political life (though he
piously claims that he "would like to believe that it's not so"). How
partisan terror (directed at whom? Chomsky is unclear) would
encourage political ambition in peasants is unclear, though his
reasoning is probably based on the rather bloodthirsty ramblings of
the likes of Frantz Fanon which would have been popular about that
time. He supports this argument with the observation: "We know
perfectly well that, in countries such as North Korea and South
Vietnam and many others, it was necessary to rouse the peasants to
recognize that they were capable of taking over the land". (I'm sure
the people of North Korea and South Vietnam are very grateful for this
"rousing".) Summing up these arguments:

: I don't accept the view that we can just condemn the
: NLF terror, period, because it was so horrible. I
: think we really have to ask questions of comparative
: costs, ugly as that may sound. And if we are going to
: take a moral position on this -- and I think we
: should -- we have to ask both what the consequences
: were of using terror and not using terror. If it were
: true that the consequences of not using terror would
: be that the peasantry in Vietnam would continue to
: live in the state of the peasantry of the Philippines,
: then I think the use of terror would be justified.

Apparently one does not even need to question whether the use of
terror might prevent the peasantry of Vietnam from living in the state
of slavery, poverty, and terror that were imposed on them (and had
been imposed in the North, as was well known, a decade before Chomsky
said this). In the end, he lamely and with unconvincing sincerity
"rejects" these "arguments":

: With all these arguments in favor of this type of
: violence, I still think there are good grounds to
: reject it.

To support this position (which apparently he has not convinced
himself is true, as he states it comes down to almost a matter of
"faith"), he makes the argument that he doesn't think "it was the use
of terror that led to the successes that were achieved". In support
of this he cites *China under Mao* (which Chomsky believes does not
"deserve a blanket condemnation at all", but rather finds "many things
that are really quite admirable", especially the "very interesting
positive things" that "happened at the local level". These
"interesting positive things" are left unspecified, which is just as
well, as the Cultural Revolution was raging while Chomsky spoke these
words, probably claiming many more than a million dead, which was
preceded by massacres of "hated landlords" and "wreckers", purges,
forced labour, and other totalitarian terrors which had by then
murdered probably many tens of millions of (passive?) peasants and
others. China, Chomsky claims, achieved "communization and
collectivization" based largely on "mass participation" rather than
"mass terror" as in the Soviet Union, with "considerably greater"
success "in achieving a just society", thus perhaps terror wasn't
necessary for Third World revolution after all.


So there, see, zztop? Chomsky did not think that all acts of violence
were bad, and was readily willing to excuse any violence if it could
be shown that it was necessary to convince reluctant and passive
peasants (though he hoped this wasn't really the case) into seizing
others' land, (regrettably?) slaughtering hundreds of thousands of
<insert favorite derogatory term (e.g. "capitalist", "bourgeoisie",
"landlord", etc.) here -- though, of course, it's understood to mean
"other peasants">, and installing a totalitarian dictatorship
subservient to the Soviet Empire (or so I gather this is what Chomsky
must mean by "eliminating a greater evil").


He gives other illuminating examples in this panel, such as his
defense of the Japanese imperialists, which he expanded on in another
1967 work on the Pacific war, also available on the internet (same
site). I'm not sure whether he still holds the sympathetically Maoist
views that he does above (he's made noises recently suggesting that
one can blame Mao for millions of deaths in the Great Leap Forward,
but it's unclear if this was his argument or simply his using an
argument which his opponents would be sympathetic to -- in this case
the Black Book of Communism -- in a lame analogy to attack anyone who
is morally depraved enough to condemn the World Trade Center attacks
without also praising the brilliance of Chomsky's comparison of this
with the bombing of Al Shifa, which was, I believe, the context). He
has, however, definitely referred current readers to this piece on the
Pacific war fairly recently -- in ChomskyChat, if I recall correctly.


All this was three years before he made a fawning speech praising the
totalitarian regime of Ho Chi Minh on Hanoi radio. For a time I had
believed (or rather, wanted) this speech to be inauthentic -- the
result of some kind of CIA fraud -- or to mean something other than
what it obviously meant. Chomsky had responded to a query about it
from (I believe) Dan Clore, with some lame evasions that apparently
persuaded Dan that he'd never given a speech on Hanoi radio (an
argument I briefly favoured), though Chomsky never explicitly denied
it (rather he obfuscated, shamed Mr. Clore for wasting his time with
this irrelevancy, and called the original source (I believe it was
David Horowitz) a Stalinist). This belief seems extremely far-fetched
when one compares this speech with Chomsky's sympathetic report of his
journeys through North Vietnam, in which the same awed language
sometimes pokes through, and in which many of the same images are
invoked. The speech included, among other things:

: We also saw the (Ham Ranh) Bridge, standing proud and
: defiant, and carved on the hills above we read the words,
: 'determined to win.' The people of Vietnam will win, they
: must win, because your cause is the cause of humanity as
: it moves forward toward liberty and justice, toward the
: socialist society in which free, creative men control
: their own destiny.

(cf. his description in "In North Vietnam" August 13, 1970 The New
York
Review of Books:

: Near Thanh Hoa city, the Ham Rong bridge spans the Ma
: River. [...] The bridge was attacked daily from early
: 1965 until the suspension of the bombing -- in this region,
: in April, 1968. [...] We returned to the bridge the next
: day, this time accompanied by the head of the local branch
: of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, which is essentially the
: successor organization to the Viet Minh. [...] Carved in
: the hills beyond, just visible from where we stood, were
: the words: "Quyet Thang" -- "determined to win."
:
: The bridge still stands, severely damaged but proud and
: defiant, a symbol of deep significance to the people of
: Thanh Hoa. [...] So far as I can tell, the country is
: unified, strong though poor, and determined to withstand
: the attack launched against Vietnam by the great superpower
: of the Western world.

it seems the hope that the speech was a fraud is merely wishful
thinking).

and:

: Your heroism reveals the capabilities of the human spirit
: and human will. Decent people throughout the world see in
: your struggle a model for themselves. They are in your
: debt, everlastingly, because you were in the forefront of
: the struggle to create a world in which the chains of
: oppression have been broken and replaced by social bonds
: among free men working in true solidarity and cooperation.

An interesting exercise: contrast this with more recent moral
statements, such as his rant to Alexander Cockburn against Vaclav
Havel's (in Chomsky's words) "embarrassingly silly" and "morally
repugnant" address to Congress in 1990 (available again at Bad News).
Here he smears Havel, the Congress, the media, and "the Western
intellectual community at large" as being on a "moral and intellectual
level that is vastly below "that of "Stalinist hacks" for having the
"supreme moral hypocrisy and audacity to clothe his praise for the
defenders of freedom with gushing about responsibility for the human
race". He ends this rant by warning Cockburn that reporting this in
his column would not be well received, that "the sign of a truly
totalitarian culture [read: the US] is that important truths [read:
Chomsky's Havel screed] simply lack cognitive meaning and are
interpretable only at the level of 'Fuck You', so they can then elicit
a perfectly predictable torrent of abuse in response". In light of
what I have discussed above, I wonder whether Chomsky and his
defenders here (or the ghost of myself were I reading this a year ago
rather than today) will interpret this rather obvious portrait of
Chomsky as totalitarian sympathizer and moral hypocrite (by his own
standards laid out above) at the level of 'Fuck You'. I can only hope
so (nothing personal, of course. I know how it is). My only quibble
would be that this observation is hardly an "important truth", but
then it is no less so than Chomsky's "observation" of Havel's "moral
repugnance" (and no surprise to those who were swayed by earlier
evidence).


The mainstream media and other commentators commonly refer to Chomsky
along the lines of being "a Sixties figure", "a leading anti-war
intellectual of the Vietnam era", or some other such characterization
generally made to contrast past respectability with current
marginalization. Even Hitchens went out of his way recently to praise
Chomsky's past views while attacking his current ones as "robotic" or
"mindless" or something similar, if I recall correctly. My question
is: if these were his views in 1967 -- views which are transparently
sympathetic to totalitarianism and practically agnostic on the issue
of whether revolutionary terror is immoral -- why was he ever taken
seriously as a moral figure at all? I'm no longer vain enough to try
to excuse my past support for Chomsky on some imagined degeneration of
his arguments from when they used to persuade me (mainly his critique
of the Gulf War). Rather, I must admit that I was swayed by
sophistry, by my own ignorance and vanity, by undeserved
righteousness, by his cleverness, and by anything but reason,
objectivity, and concern for the truth, apparently, as it was not hard
to find.


- Nathan Folkert
nfol...@cs.stanford.edu

Dan Clore

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 6:12:05 AM12/4/01
to
Nathan Folkert wrote:

> All this was three years before he made a fawning speech praising the
> totalitarian regime of Ho Chi Minh on Hanoi radio. For a time I had
> believed (or rather, wanted) this speech to be inauthentic -- the
> result of some kind of CIA fraud -- or to mean something other than
> what it obviously meant. Chomsky had responded to a query about it
> from (I believe) Dan Clore, with some lame evasions that apparently
> persuaded Dan that he'd never given a speech on Hanoi radio (an
> argument I briefly favoured), though Chomsky never explicitly denied
> it (rather he obfuscated, shamed Mr. Clore for wasting his time with
> this irrelevancy, and called the original source (I believe it was
> David Horowitz) a Stalinist).

You're not talking about me (Dan Clore) here, though I did
participate much in that debate. True, Chomsky never gave a
speech on Hanoi radio. Perhaps a speech of his was recorded
and broadcast without his knowledge, or somesuch, but there
is no evidence that this occurred. As to the alleged speech
itself, it did not contain any of the objectionable material
that it was alleged to contain, so the point is rather moot
in any case. It does sound enough like Chomsky that I could
believe it is a real speech that had been translated two or
three times and ended up mangled in the process. I leave the
comparison texts below so that others can compare genuine
Chomsky with the alleged speech.

--
Dan Clore
mailto:cl...@columbia-center.org

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro

Lord We˙rdgliffe:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/necpage.htm
News for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

"It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
*anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
-- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
_Detective Comics_ #608

Jez

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 7:47:57 AM12/4/01
to

"Kevin Waterson" <ke...@oceania.net> wrote in message
news:3C0C272B...@oceania.net...
A common problem these days it would seem !
Why don't they go back to watching T.V.
and cleaning their guns?

Ho hum
Jez

Clay Smith

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 12:05:07 PM12/4/01
to
On 3 Dec 2001 18:52:53 -0800, zzto...@yahoo.com (zztop8970-) wrote:

>Clay Smith <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<uZoLPGW9X6097h...@4ax.com>...
><snip>
>> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
>>
>> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*
>
>No, they are not. If a policeman sees a crime in progress, He will
>take steps needed, including violent ones, to stop it.


It also occurs to me that 99% of the things that a cop does during the
course of his job involve procedures designed to minimize the need for
violence. The way they approach a stopped car, the questions they ask,
the techniques they use in domestic violence situations... They do
everything they can to avoid getting into a situation that will
involve violence. The reason for this is obvious: when violence
occurs, people get hurt. No one wants to bleed if they can help it.
And while the cops may not mind too much if a drug dealer gets his
nose broken during an arrest, they do have supervisors and others
looking over their shoulders to make sure they don't use any
unnecessary violence.

Point being: You argue that violence used to stop a crime is "good."
But the facts clearly argue otherwise. Police don't use violence
unless all other options are exhausted. Clearly, this means that, as
an institution, law enforcement regards violence as a bad thing.


Clay

D.Teale

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 3:52:50 PM12/4/01
to

"Nark" <bar...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3c0c1fce$0$71682$45be...@newscene.com...
<snip>

> Here is what Chomsky told his audience at MIT on October 11:
>
>
>
>
>
>
> "I'll talk about the situation in Afghanistan.... Looks like what's
> happening is some sort of silent genocide.... It indicates that whatever,
> what will happen we don't know, but plans are being made and programs
> implemented on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several
> million people in the next--in the next couple of weeks.... very casually
> with no comment.... we are in the midst of apparently trying to murder
three
> or four million people."
>
>
>
>
>
> Do you agree with these blatent lies? Do you really believe that "we are
in
> the midst of apparently trying to murder three or four million people"?

Quite right, manslaughter would be a much more appropriate term.

>
>
>
>
> >
> > Recall that the Gulf War was extremely popular in this country.
> > However, we voted out the president who initiated it and, since it
> > ended, even the most mainstream of media organs have indicated that
> > the US public has had some serious second thoughts about it.
>
> You are sadly mistaken. And realize, that G. Bush Sr. was ousted by the
> Great Liar and Ross Perot. Clinton won the election with the lowest
> percentage of votes ever. Please don't ignore the facts.
>

Did the UN ever look into the mass graves of Iraqi soldiers buried alive in
their trenches?

>
>


Nathan Folkert

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 4:26:23 PM12/4/01
to
Dan Clore <cl...@columbia-center.org> wrote in message news:<3C0CAF85...@columbia-center.org>...
Nathan Folkert wrote:

>> All this was three years before he made a fawning
>> speech praising the totalitarian regime of Ho Chi
>> Minh on Hanoi radio. For a time I had believed
>> (or rather, wanted) this speech to be inauthentic
>> -- the result of some kind of CIA fraud -- or to
>> mean something other than what it obviously meant.
>> Chomsky had responded to a query about it from (I
>> believe) Dan Clore, with some lame evasions that
>> apparently persuaded Dan that he'd never given a
>> speech on Hanoi radio (an argument I briefly
>> favoured), though Chomsky never explicitly denied
>> it (rather he obfuscated, shamed Mr. Clore for
>> wasting his time with this irrelevancy, and called
>> the original source (I believe it was David
>> Horowitz) a Stalinist).
>
> You're not talking about me (Dan Clore) here,
> though I did participate much in that debate.

My mistake. I believe it was you who originally posted Chomsky's
first response in alt.fan.noam-chomsky as well as, possibly, his
second, and argued (as I did) that the speech was of dubious
authenticity. I am unsure who, then, was involved in bringing the
matter to Chomsky's attention in ChomskyChat (the first or second
time) and was scolded by Chomsky. I no longer subscribe to the Z
Forums, so someone else will have to track that down, if they're
interested.

> True, Chomsky never gave a speech on Hanoi radio.

Whether or not he was actually being interviewed by Hanoi Radio at the
station is of little interest to me (it would be of interest to a
number of vets, as I learned some time ago in a debate on a
cross-posting to a Vietnam war newsgroup, as it might be argued that
lending oneself to the enemy's propaganda machine might be considered
treasonous. I, frankly, am more interested in what Chomsky said and
believed at the time than in where he said them). The speech was
allegedly broadcast on Hanoi Radio, though it may, of course, have
been recorded elsewhere or for other reasons (Chomsky was apparently
touring the country and speaking at rallies at the time).

> Perhaps a speech of his was recorded and broadcast
> without his knowledge, or somesuch, but there is no
> evidence that this occurred.

There is, in fact, in that we have a transcript of a speech that was
allegedly given by Chomsky at the time (Exhibit A). So we are faced
with two possibilities: 1) that the speech was never really given, and
that Exhibit A is purely a forgery, or 2) that the speech was given,
and the transcript is a reproduction of that speech. If possibility 2
is true, then there are other possibilities: a) that Chomsky gave the
speech as recorded, b) that Chomsky gave a similar speech that was
garbled in translation (if it was, indeed, translated) either
accidentally or deliberately at either the Hanoi or US end, or c) that
someone else gave the speech which was misattributed to Chomsky. Here
we might be at an impasse, but we have an article printed in the New
York Review of Books (Exhibit B) after Chomsky's return that is *not*
of dubious authenticity. In it, we see him describe visiting the "Ham
Rong" (Ham Ranh) bridge around the time he should have been there,
using the same adjectives ("proud and defiant") and reporting the same
inspirational vision of the phrase "determined to win" carved in the
hills above. This strongly suggests that 2(c) is unlikely. It also
suggests that accidental mistranslation as in 2(b) is unlikely, unless
one supposes that the words "proud and defiant" translate from English
into Vietnamese and back again by a completely different translator,
much less "two or three times", but that other parts of the speech
would be "mangled" (I suppose it's possible -- one would have to ask a
translator). That leaves us with the possibilities that the
transcript was a clever forgery -- that would have to have been
written after the publication of the article in the NYRB five months
after Chomsky's trip to Vietnam from which language and events were
lifted -- or that the original speech was deliberately altered by
malicious translators (if it was, indeed, translated), or that it is
authentic. One might argue for 1 or 2(b) on the grounds that the
style seems uncharacteristic for Chomsky (despite the shared imagery),
but unless one is comparing this to the style Chomsky adopts for
inspirational speeches (which I've never heard), then one has little
to base this on. I know that my style changes between when I am
writing a joke and when I am writing a poem and when I am writing a
speech and when I am writing an essay. I see no reason why Chomsky
would be immune to this. Moreover, if one reads "In North Vietnam"
and other commentary of contemporary Third World revolutions by
Chomsky, one does occasionally get a dose of Romantic imagery:

: Afterward, the workers in the cave grouped themselves
: at the end of the table where we were sitting and, as
: a welcome greeting, sang songs, patriotic and
: sentimental, and declaimed poems. The whole experience
: was intensely moving. As I left, I swore to myself not
: to speak or write about it, knowing how a
: sophisticated Westerner might react. Let the reader
: think what he may. The fact is that it was intensely
: moving to see the spirit of the people in this
: miserable place, working, in the face of all of the
: obstacles that American power can erect, to defend
: their country and to find their way into the modern
: age.
("In North Vietnam", www.monkeyfist.com/ChomskyArchive/essays/nv_html)

If one believes Chomsky incapable of writing inspiring, Romantic
addresses (especially when his audience would likely have been
"unsophisticated non-Westerners", I guess), then I suspect that one is
fooling oneself.

> As to the alleged speech itself, it did not contain any
> of the objectionable material that it was alleged to
> contain, so the point is rather moot in any case.

It is a fawning celebration of a totalitarian dictatorship that drips
with the crass rhetoric of Third World revolutionary socialism. One
might expect this speech from a fervent Maoist, but not a
self-proclaimed anarchist. It described a society of coerced
collectivization, slaughter of dissidents, forced labor, and other
hallmarks of Marxist-Leninist dictatorship as "brave young men and
women" working "with pride and with dignity to build a society of
material prosperity, social justice, and cultural progress", and going
on to express "the great joy that we feel in your accomplishments."
It is more than a bit objectionable. It is reminiscent of the fawning
celebrations of the Stalinist "Worker's Paradise" reported by visiting
Western socialists in the '20's and '30's. (In Chomsky's responses to
this speech, he routinely asks his questioner to imagine that the
accuser was a Stalinist apologist -- one wonders whether his
questioner or his readers ever thought to imagine that Chomsky was
speaking of the "social revolution of the Russian people" instead of
the "Vietnamese people" to determine whether there is anything
"objectionable" about his characterizations of their
"accomplishments".) Taken with Chomsky's performance in the panel on
the legitimacy of violence, one can only draw the conclusion that
Chomsky was perfectly aware of but simply didn't care too much about
the terror and violence directed at the peasantry of North Vietnam by
their own leaders. And, when contrasted with Chomsky's reaction to
Vaclav Havel's speech, it is also rather hypocritical.

The real question is: does any of this matter? Do Chomsky's views
from thirty or forty years ago really matter? Do his evasions
regarding these views matter? Does his non-recantation of these views
matter? (Unless he has, indeed, publicly recanted them, which may be
the case, but then it would seem rather simple to resolve all of
this.) I'm not sure. Contrary to what Chomsky seems to think, a
Usenet debate is not indicative of "the incredible power of the
propaganda systems organized by advocates of state terror and other
atrocities by the powerful". I just found it something interesting to
comment on during a bit of my free time.

- Nathan Folkert
nfol...@cs.stanford.edu

zztop8970-

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 5:09:54 PM12/4/01
to
Clay Smith <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<j04MPFgvB1v2mr...@4ax.com>...

> On 3 Dec 2001 18:52:53 -0800, zzto...@yahoo.com (zztop8970-) wrote:
>
> >Clay Smith <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<uZoLPGW9X6097h...@4ax.com>...
> ><snip>
> >> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
> >>
> >> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*
> >
> >No, they are not. If a policeman sees a crime in progress, He will
> >take steps needed, including violent ones, to stop it. Those violent
> >acts are not *bad*, and if asked if he would like to do it agian,
> >he'll probably tkae you up on it.
>
> But if I ask him whether he'd like to do it again *for fun*, he'd look
> at me like I'm crazy. If I ask him whether he enjoyed it, he'd
> probably punch me in the face or tell me to find a psychiatrist.

You're equating "good" with "something we do for fun". This is about
as childish as yoiu can get. Do you enjoy getting vaccines? I guess
vaccines are bad then.


>
>
> Violence is sometimes necessary, but never good. All sane people
> operate under that principle.

No, they don't. Violence enmployed in self defence is good.

>
>
> Clay

Dan Clore

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 5:24:17 PM12/4/01
to
Nathan Folkert wrote:
> Dan Clore <cl...@columbia-center.org> wrote in message news:<3C0CAF85...@columbia-center.org>...
> Nathan Folkert wrote:
>
> >> All this was three years before he made a fawning
> >> speech praising the totalitarian regime of Ho Chi
> >> Minh on Hanoi radio. For a time I had believed
> >> (or rather, wanted) this speech to be inauthentic
> >> -- the result of some kind of CIA fraud -- or to
> >> mean something other than what it obviously meant.
> >> Chomsky had responded to a query about it from (I
> >> believe) Dan Clore, with some lame evasions that
> >> apparently persuaded Dan that he'd never given a
> >> speech on Hanoi radio (an argument I briefly
> >> favoured), though Chomsky never explicitly denied
> >> it (rather he obfuscated, shamed Mr. Clore for
> >> wasting his time with this irrelevancy, and called
> >> the original source (I believe it was David
> >> Horowitz) a Stalinist).
> >
> > You're not talking about me (Dan Clore) here,
> > though I did participate much in that debate.
>
> My mistake. I believe it was you who originally posted Chomsky's
> first response in alt.fan.noam-chomsky as well as, possibly, his
> second, and argued (as I did) that the speech was of dubious
> authenticity.

That was probably me.

> I am unsure who, then, was involved in bringing the
> matter to Chomsky's attention in ChomskyChat (the first or second
> time) and was scolded by Chomsky.

I don't know who it was, but I don't recall any scolding.

> I no longer subscribe to the Z
> Forums, so someone else will have to track that down, if they're
> interested.
>
> > True, Chomsky never gave a speech on Hanoi radio.
>
> Whether or not he was actually being interviewed by Hanoi Radio at the
> station is of little interest to me (it would be of interest to a
> number of vets, as I learned some time ago in a debate on a
> cross-posting to a Vietnam war newsgroup, as it might be argued that
> lending oneself to the enemy's propaganda machine might be considered
> treasonous. I, frankly, am more interested in what Chomsky said and
> believed at the time than in where he said them).

Yes, but since the charge was that he was committing treason
by providing moral support to the enemy by broadcasting this
speech on Hanoi Radio, it is of note that this charge is
factually false.

There seems to be little more to deal with on the issue.
Chomsky himself pointed out that the alleged speech "vaguely
resembles" things he said and wrote around that time,
specifically pointing to the New York Review article that
you quote. (This was reprinted in _At War with Asia_ for
those interested.) What is more important than the
(acknowledged) similarities are the differences: in the
article, which we know that Chomsky is responsible for, he
attacks authoritarianism and centralization, warning that
any short-term gains from such will be offset by long-term
problems. As he also points out, since there is plenty of
material out there is definitely authentic, there is no
point wasting time over dubious allegations to find out what
he was saying and writing at the time.

zztop8970-

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 5:15:47 PM12/4/01
to
jm...@Stanford.EDU (Joseph Michael Bay) wrote in message news:<9ui2i9$8mq$1...@usenet.Stanford.EDU>...

> zzto...@yahoo.com (zztop8970-) writes:
>
> >Clay Smith <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<uZoLPGW9X6097h...@4ax.com>...
> ><snip>
> >> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
> >>
> >> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*
>
> >No, they are not. If a policeman sees a crime in progress, He will
> >take steps needed, including violent ones, to stop it. Those violent
> >acts are not *bad*, and if asked if he would like to do it agian,
> >he'll probably tkae you up on it.
>
> >All acts of self defence, violent as they may be, are not *bad*.
>
> Certainly in many cases they're less bad than allowing
> whatever is happening to continue.

'good' and 'bad' are in and of themsleves are subjective terms, and
always subject to relative meausures. The act of stopping a crime is
'good' relative to letting it continue, but 'bad' compared with
preventing it in the first place.
You need to be directing your criticizm at fools who declare "All acts
of violence *are* bad.*"

> In many cases they're


> worse. There's a lot of judgement involved and a lot of
> responsibility, and police are expected to use deadly force
> as a last resort only.

Of course they are. And if deadly force (note - his was your addition,
I said nothing about "deadly force") is the only way to stop a crime -
it is still 'good' compared to letting the crime continue.

zztop8970-

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 5:39:02 PM12/4/01
to
Kevin Waterson <ke...@oceania.net> wrote in message news:<3C0C272B...@oceania.net>...

I find it amusing. I get a kick out of watching Mr. Clore's hilarious
twisting and turning, I enjoy putting blowhards like Mr. John Smith
in their place, and I have personal gratification every time I expose
the antisemitism of the likes of Mr. Samirhibri.

As you can see, all this has nothing whatsoever to do with Chomsky -
he's just a convenient paltform.


>
> Kevin

zztop8970-

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Dec 4, 2001, 5:40:42 PM12/4/01
to
"Jez" <ys...@dial.pipex.com> wrote in message news:<3c0cc5d9$0$234$cc9e...@news.dial.pipex.com>...


Ah, the typical arrogance. ANyone who doesn't agree with you must be a
gun-owning bum, eh Jez?
Let me clue you in, laddie: Chomsky watches TV, as do most posters on
this group who think like you.

>
> Ho hum
> Jez

zztop8970-

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 5:45:30 PM12/4/01
to
Clay Smith <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<GEoMPLcd4Z7ppC...@4ax.com>...

It is NOT a tiny differnce. Intent is a major element in describing
and quantifying the seriousness of criminal actions.

>
> As I said, not a whole lot of difference. In addition, it's worth
> pointing out that the dead probably don't give a damn whether they
> were killed by a well meaning CIA bomb or an evil, fiendish terrorist
> bomb.

The fact that the dead don't care doesn't make all actions which
result in death morally equivalent. You are very childish in your
reasoning.

<snip>

Nark

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 7:04:13 PM12/4/01
to

"Justin Felux" <kar...@idworld.net> wrote in message
news:u0oafmb...@corp.supernews.com...

> Clay Smith:
> >> I take it, then, that you're arguing that it's acceptable for the CIA
> >> to plant bombs in the trunks of cars outside of houses of worship if
> >> they do so in an effort to kill someone who has killed Americans (or
> >> more specifically, American troops)?.
>
>
> Nark:
> >Without any other information, I would say no. But would you concede
that
> >Hezbollah, considering they were targeting Americans, is QUITE different
> >than the targeting of civilians, which is the most common terrorist
tactic?
> >There is a difference.
>
>
> I am not sure what you mean here. Maybe you mistyped your sentence. I
> don't know what to make of your distinction between "Americans" and
> "civilians"

I was assuming that everyone knew that this alleged car-bombing by the CIA
was in response to the bombing in Beirut that killed 241 "Americans" who
happened to be non-civilian US Marines.

>
> Clay Smith:
> >> Suppose the FBI identified a
> >> suspect behind the Anthrax letters. And suppose he hid out in a
> >> mountain cabin every day of the week, except Sunday when he attends a
> >> rural Baptist church? Would it be okay for the FBI to plant a bomb in
> >> a car outside of the church?
>
>
> Nark:
> >If it was the only way to stop him? It depends upon other unknown
factors.
>
>
> This would obviously be an unacceptable tactic to anyone with an even
> marginal degree of mental health.

Obviously not, as I am a fully functional mental genius. When you create
peculiar hypothetical examples, with huge gaps, I don't know how to answer.
Notice that I did not answer one way or the other, but rather asked for a
complete story.


>
>
> Clay Smith:
> >> Granted, the FBI has a lot more recourse within the US. They could
> >> come in with a SWAT team and arrest the guy. A bomb wouldn't be
> >> necessary. So maybe that's not an accurate comparison. Alright.
> >> Suppose the man fled to France and continued his habit of going to
> >> church every Sunday? Would it be alright to place the bomb outside of
> >> the church there? Would it be alright to do it in the Vatican? Maybe
> >> it would be okay in Mexico?
>
>
> Nark:
> >France is hardly a good comparison to Beirut. Your analogy is still
weak.
>
> Oh, of course. We forgot to account for the fact that French (or western
> lives in general) are worth more than the lives of people in someplace
like
> Beirut.

Your assumptions on the meaning of my statement are based on your own
twisted biases.

>
> It is a perfect analogy. Whether or not the places are alike in general
is
> irrelevant. The circumstances are what matters.

If you compare France, a peaceful state, with Beirut, a chaotic mess with
many warring factions... you are the one whose mental competence should be
questioned.

It would be like saying that an Anthrax terrorist suspect could be picked up
in a Church here in the US compares to a terrorist leader in his highly
fortified headquarters. Oh yeah, you agreed with that one too. You might
look up the word 'analogy' in the dictionary before we continue.

Nark

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 7:04:14 PM12/4/01
to

"Clay Smith" <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message
news:GEoMPLcd4Z7ppC...@4ax.com...

Whether you agree or not, would you concede that there is an argument to be
made that by not killing a terrorist, you are saying "It's okay with me if
my" inaction "causes the death of civilians"?

> If I'm an Islamic extremist
> terorist in Palestine and I plant a bomb in a resteraunt and set it to
> explode during lunch hour, I'm saying "I intended my actions to cause
> the deaths of civilians."

Exactly, that is the difference. Once has the express purpose of killing
civilians, the other has the purpose of avoiding the killing of civilians.
Motive is key. As is the End.

>
> > >> Suppose the FBI identified a
> >> suspect behind the Anthrax letters. And suppose he hid out in a
> >> mountain cabin every day of the week, except Sunday when he attends a
> >> rural Baptist church? Would it be okay for the FBI to plant a bomb in
> >> a car outside of the church?
> >
> >If it was the only way to stop him? It depends upon other unknown
factors.
> >
> >>
> >> Granted, the FBI has a lot more recourse within the US. They could
> >> come in with a SWAT team and arrest the guy. A bomb wouldn't be
> >> necessary. So maybe that's not an accurate comparison. Alright.
> >> Suppose the man fled to France and continued his habit of going to
> >> church every Sunday? Would it be alright to place the bomb outside of
> >> the church there? Would it be alright to do it in the Vatican? Maybe
> >> it would be okay in Mexico?
> >
> >France is hardly a good comparison to Beirut. Your analogy is still
weak.
>
> France is a country. So is Lebanon. My point was that the original
> poster was using a double standard; it's fine to blow people up in
> Beirut, he tells us, but not in France or the Vatican or the US. Are
> Lebanese lives worth less than French or American lives?

Right, you point is half valid. But the analogy is not true because of the
atmosphere in the two countries. In France, you don't need to use these
extreme tactics because the police can arrest suspects. Not so easy in
Lebanon.

>
> In case I'm not making myself clear, here...
>
> No one has any right to set off car bombs in populated areas. Period.
> What the CIA did was wrong and unnaceptable.

Your blanket statement is not acceptable to many people.

If you KNEW FOR A FACT, that you could save thousands of lives by setting
off a car bomb, would you? Maybe not. I might not either. But the point
is that there is a legitimate argument to be made that it is the "right"
thing to do. That's all I'm saying.


> >>
> >>
> >> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
> >>
> >> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*
> >
> >I think he is saying 'bad' in terms of overall net result.
>
> Well, in that case, the poster's assessment of Chomsky's views is
> simply wrong. Chomsky has favored military action in cases where he
> deemed it necessary and appropriate.

Like in my car bomb hypothetical? So sometimes it's okay to kill in order
to save more lives? Just as long as no car bombs are used? Interesting.

Well, for starters, "the death of several million people in the next--in the
next couple of weeks" didn't happen. And to call this genocide is
irresponsible and, in my opinion, a patent lie. The American people
overwhelmingly support the destruction of the Taliban regime and Al Qaeda,
and believe me, they don't want "genocide". The use of that word, in this
case, is pure demagoguery.

> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >>
> >> Recall that the Gulf War was extremely popular in this country.
> >> However, we voted out the president who initiated it and, since it
> >> ended, even the most mainstream of media organs have indicated that
> >> the US public has had some serious second thoughts about it.
> >
> >You are sadly mistaken. And realize, that G. Bush Sr. was ousted by the
> >Great Liar and Ross Perot. Clinton won the election with the lowest
> >percentage of votes ever. Please don't ignore the facts.
>
> That's hardly a vote of support for George Sr.

Never said it was. I'm just saying that it wasn't even close to a mandate
for Clinton. Bush barely lost, and most experts believe that Perot got
almost purely the conservative vote. People supported the Gulf war in large
numbers, and still do.

>
> The facts are... we did vote out George Bush senior. And there has
> been a lot of griping about the Gulf War.

Maybe a little

Nark out.
Peace.


Joseph Michael Bay

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 7:42:53 PM12/4/01
to
zzto...@yahoo.com (zztop8970-) writes:

>> >> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*

>> >No, they are not. If a policeman sees a crime in progress, He will
>> >take steps needed, including violent ones, to stop it. Those violent
>> >acts are not *bad*, and if asked if he would like to do it agian,
>> >he'll probably tkae you up on it.

>> >All acts of self defence, violent as they may be, are not *bad*.

>> Certainly in many cases they're less bad than allowing
>> whatever is happening to continue.

>'good' and 'bad' are in and of themsleves are subjective terms, and
>always subject to relative meausures. The act of stopping a crime is
>'good' relative to letting it continue, but 'bad' compared with
>preventing it in the first place.

Right. Or, as I put it "less bad" instead of "good".

>You need to be directing your criticizm at fools who declare "All acts
>of violence *are* bad.*"

They are, because they deprive others of life. I don't disagree
with violence categorically, but rather view it as at best legitimate,
to be undertaken with regret and only when absolutely needed. When
I say all acts of violence are bad, I don't mean that they must
therefore be avoided at all costs.


>> In many cases they're
>> worse. There's a lot of judgement involved and a lot of
>> responsibility, and police are expected to use deadly force
>> as a last resort only.

>Of course they are. And if deadly force (note - his was your addition,
>I said nothing about "deadly force")

My understanding of police procedure when dealing with
armed/dangerous criminals is that all force is deadly
force. Once the level of danger is such that shooting
to disarm would be called for, "non-deadly force" would
put the police and bystanders at unacceptable risk. The
goal is generally not to kill the suspect but attempting
to resolve the threat situation while specifically avoiding
deadly force is unwise.


>is the only way to stop a crime -
>it is still 'good' compared to letting the crime continue.

We're pretty much on the same page here except that I'd
say "less bad" instead of "good". Of course this is even
dealing with analogies, which are notoriously misleading.

--
Joseph M. Bay Lamont Sanford Junior University
Putting the "harm" in molecular pharmacology since 1998
When crime is outlawed, only outlaws will commit crimes.
LEGALIZE http://www.stanford.edu/~jmbay CRIME

Joseph Michael Bay

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 7:51:21 PM12/4/01
to
zzto...@yahoo.com (zztop8970-) writes:

>Clay Smith <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message news:<GEoMPLcd4Z7ppC...@4ax.com>...

>> It's a pretty tiny difference. If I plant a bomb outside of a church


>> to kill a member of Hezbollah, I would have to be aware (unless I were
>> a total idiot) that there's a decent chance my bomb will kill a
>> civilian or two. Essentially, I'm saying "It's okay with me if my
>> actions cause the death of civilians." If I'm an Islamic extremist
>> terorist in Palestine and I plant a bomb in a resteraunt and set it to
>> explode during lunch hour, I'm saying "I intended my actions to cause
>> the deaths of civilians."

>It is NOT a tiny differnce. Intent is a major element in describing
>and quantifying the seriousness of criminal actions.

>>
>> As I said, not a whole lot of difference. In addition, it's worth
>> pointing out that the dead probably don't give a damn whether they
>> were killed by a well meaning CIA bomb or an evil, fiendish terrorist
>> bomb.

>The fact that the dead don't care doesn't make all actions which
>result in death morally equivalent. You are very childish in your
>reasoning.

Although the injury (or death) inflicted on an innocent may
be unintended, it's still a fully forseeable consequence. It
is not some kind of accident which may be forgiven or dismissed.
How many bystanders are you justified in killing? Particularly
if the target can be killed without killing any bystanders.

Justin Felux

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 10:09:17 PM12/4/01
to
Justin Felux:

>> This would obviously be an unacceptable tactic to anyone with an even
>> marginal degree of mental health.


Nark:


>Obviously not, as I am a fully functional mental genius. When you create
>peculiar hypothetical examples, with huge gaps, I don't know how to answer.
>Notice that I did not answer one way or the other, but rather asked for a
>complete story.


I have to disagree with your self-assessment of your mental abilities.

Justin Felux:


>Oh, of course. We forgot to account for the fact that French (or western
>lives in general) are worth more than the lives of people in someplace
>like Beirut.


Nark:


>Your assumptions on the meaning of my statement are based on your own
>twisted biases.


Justin Felux:


>It is a perfect analogy. Whether or not the places are alike in general
>is irrelevant. The circumstances are what matters.


Nark:


>If you compare France, a peaceful state, with Beirut, a chaotic mess with
>many warring factions... you are the one whose mental competence should be
>questioned. It would be like saying that an Anthrax terrorist suspect could
be picked up
>in a Church here in the US compares to a terrorist leader in his highly
>fortified headquarters. Oh yeah, you agreed with that one too. You might
>look up the word 'analogy' in the dictionary before we continue.


So, you believe that since it would be somewhat more difficult to aprehend a
criminal in Beirut than it would be in a western state, it is therefore OK
to kill a sizable number of civilians? Interesting.


Jez

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 8:16:51 PM12/4/01
to

"zztop8970-" <zzto...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:35d69502.01120...@posting.google.com...

> "Jez" <ys...@dial.pipex.com> wrote in message
news:<3c0cc5d9$0$234$cc9e...@news.dial.pipex.com>...
> > "Kevin Waterson" <ke...@oceania.net> wrote in message
> > news:3C0C272B...@oceania.net...

> > A common problem these days it would seem !


> > Why don't they go back to watching T.V.
> > and cleaning their guns?
>
>
> Ah, the typical arrogance. ANyone who doesn't agree with you must be a
> gun-owning bum, eh Jez?
> Let me clue you in, laddie: Chomsky watches TV, as do most posters on
> this group who think like you.
>

I don't care if anyone agrees with me or not!
As for T.V. Chomsky watches it....so what?
And as for the 'guns' remark it just seems
that most folk here at the moment seem to glory in the idea of war,
(from a safe distance in front of their T.V.'s)
I thought it was the 21st century ,not 2000 years BC!
When will we (America and the UK) become civilised ?
My Grandfather fought in the 1st world war, and
taught us (his family)to belive in peace, based on what he saw there.....
(And the political situation that caused it)
and 80+ years later people have to keep trying to achive it.
Being super-powerful nations , how come we can't show
compassion for ALL who suffer from War, repression and poverty?
Seems simple? but perhaps it's just too much to understand.

Ho hum
Jez


Nark

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 9:08:13 PM12/4/01
to

"Justin Felux" <kar...@idworld.net> wrote in message
news:u0qspkd...@corp.supernews.com...

> Justin Felux:
> >> This would obviously be an unacceptable tactic to anyone with an even
> >> marginal degree of mental health.
>
>
> Nark:
> >Obviously not, as I am a fully functional mental genius. When you create
> >peculiar hypothetical examples, with huge gaps, I don't know how to
answer.
> >Notice that I did not answer one way or the other, but rather asked for a
> >complete story.
>
>
> I have to disagree with your self-assessment of your mental abilities.
>

Hold on right there! My 3 year old thinks I'm smart too. THAT is NOT
'self-assessment'.

BTW, my wife might agree with you. BUT, that doesn't prove anything.

How many civilians? It doesn't change the fact that your analogy was
inaccurate.


Nark

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Dec 4, 2001, 9:08:14 PM12/4/01
to

"Joseph Michael Bay" <jm...@Stanford.EDU> wrote in message
news:9ujr29$spp$1...@usenet.Stanford.EDU...

You assume that the job is easier than it proves to be. If it were that
simple, the CIA would certainly rid the planet of terrorists.

Let me ask you where YOU draw the line? If killing one innocent person
would definately save the lives of 500,000; would you agree that it was
justified? Some would, and their position is not entirely invalid. You
should concede that, for most of us, it is simply where we draw the line.
The difference between action and inaction is negligable. NOT working to
stop terrorism is almost as bad as committing terrorism.

If you can prevent it, and don't, you are irresponsible.


Clay Smith

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 11:37:12 PM12/4/01
to

Really... this is pretty bizarre. Please think about what you're
saying, here. If we follow your logic, then it's okay for me to kill
people as long as I'm not specifically targeting them. If I plant a
bomb in your house to kill you and, instead, it kills your wife and
child, then - by your logic - I'm not responsible for their deaths.

I really don't think you intended to argue that, but, honestly, I'm
not sure where else your argument could go. I mean, if you excuse
these guys because their intentions were - by some fucked up standard
- good... Well, that's just plain nuts. If you could convince me that
they honestly thought that no one besides their target would get hurt
or if you could convince me that they took steps to protect civilians,
then you might have a case of some kind. However, no one so far has
made any such claims.

It simply isn't morally acceptable to kill innocents in the process of
avenging a crime. Of course, it's really not morally acceptable to go
around extracting vengance in the first place, but we'll put that
issue aside for now. (In my view, there's a big difference between
justice [arresting someone and bringing them to trial] and vengance
[blowing someone up with a bomb on the street corner]).


>> As I said, not a whole lot of difference. In addition, it's worth
>> pointing out that the dead probably don't give a damn whether they
>> were killed by a well meaning CIA bomb or an evil, fiendish terrorist
>> bomb.
>
>The fact that the dead don't care doesn't make all actions which
>result in death morally equivalent.

My point - and I really didn't think I had to spell it out - was
simply that, whether the CIA guys were hoping to kill civilians or not
- they knew that their actions would probably result in some innocent
bystanders being blown up. And they went ahead with the plan anyway.
So it amounts to the same thing as cold blooded murder. (Which is just
another way of saying that the dead don't give a damn about the
murderer's intentions).

Clay

Nathan Folkert

unread,
Dec 4, 2001, 11:49:17 PM12/4/01
to
Dan Clore <cl...@columbia-center.org> wrote in message news:
<3C0D4D11...@columbia-center.org>...

> Nathan Folkert wrote:
> > Dan Clore <cl...@columbia-center.org> wrote in message news:
> > <3C0CAF85...@columbia-center.org>...

[snip]

> > I am unsure who, then, was involved in bringing the
> > matter to Chomsky's attention in ChomskyChat (the first or second
> > time) and was scolded by Chomsky.
>
> I don't know who it was, but I don't recall any scolding.

: What would we think of the performance, or the
: fact that dissident circles found themselves drawn
: into this shameful and degrading farce?

> > I no longer subscribe to the Z
> > Forums, so someone else will have to track that down, if they're
> > interested.
> >
> > > True, Chomsky never gave a speech on Hanoi radio.
> >
> > Whether or not he was actually being interviewed by Hanoi Radio at
> > the station is of little interest to me (it would be of interest to a
> > number of vets, as I learned some time ago in a debate on a
> > cross-posting to a Vietnam war newsgroup, as it might be argued that
> > lending oneself to the enemy's propaganda machine might be
> > considered treasonous. I, frankly, am more interested in what
> > Chomsky said and believed at the time than in where he said them).
>
> Yes, but since the charge was that he was committing treason
> by providing moral support to the enemy by broadcasting this
> speech on Hanoi Radio, it is of note that this charge is
> factually false.

Or, rather, we have Chomsky's testimony that this charge is factually
false. I rather suspect that in a very technical sense it is true
that he did not give a speech for Hanoi radio. More likely this
speech was recorded at a rally and broadcast, with or without his
knowledge. As I said, though, I have little interest in the charge
(and a repulsion from viewing speechmaking as treason) or in what
circumstances, exactly, he made the speech. Others more interested in
these details may make their own studies.

> There seems to be little more to deal with on the issue.
> Chomsky himself pointed out that the alleged speech "vaguely
> resembles" things he said and wrote around that time,
> specifically pointing to the New York Review article that
> you quote. (This was reprinted in _At War with Asia_ for
> those interested.) What is more important than the
> (acknowledged) similarities are the differences: in the
> article, which we know that Chomsky is responsible for, he
> attacks authoritarianism and centralization, warning that
> any short-term gains from such will be offset by long-term
> problems. As he also points out, since there is plenty of
> material out there is definitely authentic, there is no
> point wasting time over dubious allegations to find out what
> he was saying and writing at the time.

The allegations, in light of the facts, are quite a bit less dubious
than Chomsky's evasiveness, non sequiturs, and name-calling over the
issue. If the speech is authentic (and, short of assuming a CIA
defamation plot, it appears to me that it is), then this suggests that
he is either saying two contradictory things to two different
audiences, or that your characterization of his views in "In North
Vietnam" exaggerate Chomsky's "attacks" on the revolution, or both.
Mostly (aside from commentary about the American war) the article
seemed like a string of anecdotes about how well the revolutionary
system was working and about how happy and proud the people were,
about how much more productive they were and how much more intelligent
their children, now that they lived in a socialist paradise. The only
time he mentions authoritarianism is in reference to Saigon, and when
he does mention centralization, it is hardly an attack:

: That all of these tasks are compatible is not obvious,
: and it remains to be seen how they can be realized.
: Present plans appear to be a composite of Communist
: Party ideology, traditional Vietnamese social and
: cultural patterns, the exigencies of a wartime economy
: and of the general problems of modernization and
: development. My personal guess is that, unhindered by
: imperialist intervention, the Vietnamese would develop
: a modern industrial society with much popular
: participation in its implementation and much direct
: democracy at the lower levels of organization. It would
: be a highly egalitarian society with excellent
: conditions of welfare and technical education, but with
: a degree of centralization of control which, in the
: long run, will pose serious problems that can be
: overcome only if they eliminate party direction in favor
: of direct popular control at all levels.

Perhaps you had another attack in mind?

Coupled with his apologia for the violence of this and other
revolutionary socialist regimes in the panel on revolutionary
violence, I can't really accept the view that he was "attacking their
centralization and authoritarianism". He had similar good things to
say about Mao's revolution.

- Nathan Folkert
nfol...@cs.stanford.edu

Nark

unread,
Dec 5, 2001, 12:31:07 AM12/5/01
to

"Clay Smith" <Clay20...@softhome.net> wrote in message
news:WZ8NPMVeMSvRMZ...@4ax.com...

What about in prevention of a crime? This is the more relevant question.

((insert extreme hypothetical case here))

Would you kill X to prevent the deaths of many many more, that X was openly
announcing that he wanted to kill, and was known to be planning to kill, and
had already proven he would kill?


>
> >> As I said, not a whole lot of difference. In addition, it's worth
> >> pointing out that the dead probably don't give a damn whether they
> >> were killed by a well meaning CIA bomb or an evil, fiendish terrorist
> >> bomb.
> >
> >The fact that the dead don't care doesn't make all actions which
> >result in death morally equivalent.
>
> My point - and I really didn't think I had to spell it out - was
> simply that, whether the CIA guys were hoping to kill civilians or not
> - they knew that their actions would probably result in some innocent
> bystanders being blown up. And they went ahead with the plan anyway.
> So it amounts to the same thing as cold blooded murder. (Which is just
> another way of saying that the dead don't give a damn about the
> murderer's intentions).


It all boils down to the fact that some people (apparently you) think that
killing for preventative measures is hypocrisy.

Others (me) think that we are obligated to eradicate those who prey on the
innocent, simply to save more lives in the future. Not for vengeance, but
to provide security for peaceful people.

Both viewpoints have validity.

Nark

unread,
Dec 5, 2001, 12:33:05 AM12/5/01
to

"D.Teale" <tea...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:CIaP7.97578$6b.64...@news2.calgary.shaw.ca...

>
> "Nark" <bar...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:3c0c1fce$0$71682$45be...@newscene.com...
> <snip>
> > Here is what Chomsky told his audience at MIT on October 11:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > "I'll talk about the situation in Afghanistan.... Looks like what's
> > happening is some sort of silent genocide.... It indicates that
whatever,
> > what will happen we don't know, but plans are being made and programs
> > implemented on the assumption that they may lead to the death of several
> > million people in the next--in the next couple of weeks.... very
casually
> > with no comment.... we are in the midst of apparently trying to murder
> three
> > or four million people."
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Do you agree with these blatent lies? Do you really believe that "we
are
> in
> > the midst of apparently trying to murder three or four million people"?
>
> Quite right, manslaughter would be a much more appropriate term.

Maybe so, but who are the 3 or 4 million people again?


>
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > >
> > > Recall that the Gulf War was extremely popular in this country.
> > > However, we voted out the president who initiated it and, since it
> > > ended, even the most mainstream of media organs have indicated that
> > > the US public has had some serious second thoughts about it.
> >
> > You are sadly mistaken. And realize, that G. Bush Sr. was ousted by the
> > Great Liar and Ross Perot. Clinton won the election with the lowest
> > percentage of votes ever. Please don't ignore the facts.
> >
>
> Did the UN ever look into the mass graves of Iraqi soldiers buried alive
in
> their trenches?
>

Uh... i don't know.

Did Iraq ever look into the mass graves of Kuwatis who were randomly
massacred for no apparent reason?


Clay Smith

unread,
Dec 5, 2001, 12:39:39 AM12/5/01
to
On 4 Dec 2001 14:09:54 -0800, zzto...@yahoo.com (zztop8970-) wrote:


>> >> >But of course Chomsky thinks that all acts of violence are bad
>> >>
>> >> This is a rather bizarre statement. All acts of violence *are* bad.*
>> >
>> >No, they are not. If a policeman sees a crime in progress, He will
>> >take steps needed, including violent ones, to stop it. Those violent
>> >acts are not *bad*, and if asked if he would like to do it agian,
>> >he'll probably tkae you up on it.
>>
>> But if I ask him whether he'd like to do it again *for fun*, he'd look
>> at me like I'm crazy. If I ask him whether he enjoyed it, he'd
>> probably punch me in the face or tell me to find a psychiatrist.
>
>You're equating "good" with "something we do for fun".

If something is "good," this means that, for whatever reason, we like
it. Chocolate is good because we like the taste. Money is good because
it can be spent for things we want and need. Violence is not good
because it's a good way to get hurt or killed.

This is about
>as childish as yoiu can get. Do you enjoy getting vaccines? I guess
>vaccines are bad then.

Actually, there's some evidence to suggest now that vaccines aren't
good for you. My personal jury is still out on the issue.

But assuming that vaccines do prevent dangerous diseases, then, yes,
they're good things. But getting jabbed in the arm with a sharp needle
is a bad thing.

Wearing a comfortable shirt is a good thing. Working for pennies a day
in a sweat shop under unsafe conditions making that shirt is a bad
thing. Eating a thick T-bone is a good thing. Discovering that the
T-Bone has given you food poisoning is a bad thing. And so forth.

Just because an action has some good consequences doesn't mean that
it's a good thing. We restrict violence in a thousand different ways;
in theory, we only use it when it's necessary. This alone tells us
that it's a bad thing.


>
>
>>
>>
>> Violence is sometimes necessary, but never good. All sane people
>> operate under that principle.
>
>No, they don't. Violence enmployed in self defence is good.

The self defense is good. Continuing to breath is good. The violence
is bad.

Clay

Joseph Michael Bay

unread,
Dec 5, 2001, 12:59:01 AM12/5/01
to
"Nark" <bar...@yahoo.com> writes:

>> >The fact that the dead don't care doesn't make all actions which
>> >result in death morally equivalent. You are very childish in your
>> >reasoning.

>> Although the injury (or death) inflicted on an innocent may
>> be unintended, it's still a fully forseeable consequence. It
>> is not some kind of accident which may be forgiven or dismissed.
>> How many bystanders are you justified in killing? Particularly
>> if the target can be killed without killing any bystanders.
>>

>You assume that the job is easier than it proves to be. If it were that
>simple, the CIA would certainly rid the planet of terrorists.

I don't assume that. But a bomb is not a tool for killing a person,
a bomb is a tool for killing many people.

>Let me ask you where YOU draw the line? If killing one innocent person
>would definately save the lives of 500,000;

You assume a lot there, if I may say so. In this extremely
hypothetical example, Hezbullah plan to kill half a million
people, but if Fadlallah is killed, they will abandon this
plan, go forth and sin no more. Suicide bombers will say
"Oh no, Fadlallah was blown up! This Hezbullah thing I've
gotten myself into could be dangerous -- I'd better quit
and study circuit design instead of wearing all this dynamite."

>would you agree that it was
>justified? Some would, and their position is not entirely invalid.

Right, and if you could go back in time and impale baby Hitler
on a spike you would pretty much HAVE to, except that you can't
go back in time any more than you can predict really unlikely
future events like the one described above.

>You should concede that, for most of us, it is simply where we draw the line.

You would need to have a reasonable belief that your action is
going to have better consequences than inaction. Killing one
terrorist, even a high-profile terrorist, is as likely to provoke
a retaliation as it is to give terror organizations pause. More
so, I would guess.