Bailey83221 (bailey83221) wrote,
Bailey83221
bailey83221

Two debates, including an acknowledgement that Chomsky's reasoning is fallacious


Debates are listed from newest to oldest

Debate 1: Chomsky: East Timor and Cambodia

http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A1P36RUHP0SL96/ref=cm_aya_rev_more/102-7994298-5063369?%5Fencoding=UTF8

Amazon Review Written by
paulsrb (London, UK)

Manufacturing Consent : The Political Economy of the Mass Media by EDWARD S. HERMAN, NOAM CHOMSKY

Manufacturing Distortions, November 24, 2004
Resurrecting Marcuse's theory of "repressive tolerance," Chomsky and Herman argue that America is not truly free because a capitalist media cabal indoctrinates the public on questions of foreign policy. Their evidence for this claim is somewhat limited: they ignore most national newspapers, nearly all magazines, all television channels, all wire services, radio news, talk radio, and nearly the whole of the Internet, including weblogs and webcasts. Furthermore, this book systematically distorts the historical record while manipulating facts, references, numbers and logic to promote an ideological agenda.

Consider the discussion of Vietnam. According to Chomsky and Herman, American intervention designed to prevent South Vietnam from being conquered by North Vietnam was morally equivalent to the Soviet invasions which conquered Eastern Europe and Afghanistan; thus resistance to totalitarian aggression is the same as totalitarian aggression (pp175-6, 184-5). Turning from questions of morality to issues of fact, they announce that the South Vietnamese government "had killed tens of thousands of people" by 1959 (p180). They offer no evidence, because the charge is untrue. On the other hand, they completely ignore the North Vietnamese terror, which resulted in 50,000-100,000 massacred and 300,000-500,000 starved to death during the same period (Robert F. Turner, "Vietnamese Communism: Its Origins and Development," pp142-4).

Chomsky and Herman also tell us that by 1965, "over 150,000 people" had been killed in South Vietnam according to "figures cited by Bernard Fall," which include "victims of the state terrorism of the US-installed regimes" (p183). Turning to their source, we find that this figure (actually 160,000) is not an estimate of civilian losses from Bernard Fall but an estimate of combat losses from Viet Cong propaganda (New Society, UK, April 22, 1965; Marcus G. Raskin and Bernard B. Fall, "The Vietnam Reader," p261). Meanwhile, they do not mention the very real communist atrocities: the death-squad murders of 37,000 civilians (Guenter Lewy, "America in Vietnam," p272); the slaughter of up to 155,000 refugees on the road to Tuy-Hoa (Louis Wiesner, "Victims and Survivors," pp318-9); the post-1975 massacre of up to 200,000 opponents (Al Santoli, "To Bear Any Burden," pp272, 292-3); the murder of 165,000 in concentration camps (Orange County Register, April 29, 2001); the mass expulsions which drowned as many as 250,000 boat people (San Diego Union, July 20, 1986); and so on.

On Cambodia, Chomsky and Herman quietly abandon their earlier view that the Khmer Rouge had killed only 25,000, that its crimes had been inflated by "a factor of 100" and that Pol Pot's brutality had "saved many lives" ("After the Cataclysm," pp139, 160). Now they try to equate American bombing with communist genocide, arguing that "the responsibility of the United States and Pol Pot for atrocities" in Cambodia is "roughly in the same range" (pp264-5).

They generate this conclusion by a remarkable sleight of hand. First, they give estimates of 500,000-600,000 dead in the civil war (1970-5) (p263), more than twice the real figure (Marek Sliwinski, "Le Génocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Démographique," pp42, 48). Second, they attribute the civil war deaths - all deaths, both military and civilian, on all sides - to American bombing (p260), in truth only a minor factor (Sliwinski, p43). Third, they reduce the toll of Khmer Rouge atrocities (1975-9) to 750,000-1 million (p263), only half of the actual number (Sliwinski, p57). Finally, they maintain that the starvation component of this toll "must be attributed to the conditions left by the US war" (p263), and not to the Khmer Rouge policy of enslaving the whole population while abolishing medicine and hospitals and rejecting food aid in the midst of famine. Doubtless unfairly, I am reminded of the techniques of Holocaust deniers, who exaggerate the cost of Allied bombing and then attribute Jewish deaths in the camps to starvation and disease caused by the war against the Nazis (see Deborah Lipstadt, "Denying the Holocaust," p186; Michael Sherman and Alex Grobman, "Denying History," p100).

Also of interest is the catalogue of misquotations and misrepresentations in this section:

(a) Discussing the civil war, Chomsky and Herman report that "[Francois] Ponchaud gives the figure of 800,000 killed," but "seems to have exaggerated the toll of the US bombing" and is "a highly unreliable source" (p383n31). In fact this exaggerated figure came not from Ponchaud but from Khmer Rouge propaganda which he quoted (Francois Ponchaud, "Cambodia Year Zero," p92).

(b) As evidence of "conditions left by the US war," they offer the desperate state of Phnom Penh in 1975 (pp263-4). But American bombing had ended two years earlier, and the city had been mercilessly shelled by the Khmer Rouge for months before it fell (John Barron and Anthony Paul, "Murder of a Gentle Land," pp1-3).

(c) They add that Nixon Administration sources "predicted a million deaths in Cambodia if US aid were to cease" (p264). The prediction actually referred to the likely death toll from the communist takeover (Far Eastern Economic Review, July 25, 1975).

(d) They also say that a CIA demographic study placed Khmer Rouge executions at 50,000-100,000, along with an estimate of total mortality that is "meaningless" (pp383-4n31). Concealed in this formulation is the fact that the execution figure referred only to a single purge, while the CIA's overall estimate of population decline under the Khmer Rouge was 1.2-1.8 million (CIA, "Kampuchea: A Demographic Catastrophe," online).

The list goes on.

Next we are given the untenable analogy of Cambodia and East Timor (pp284-5, 301-3). With identical reasoning, Nazi apologists equate Auschwitz and Dresden. The Khmer Rouge slaughtered millions in Cambodia, while Indonesia killed tens of thousands in East Timor. Pol Pot murdered a quarter of his subjects, while Suharto killed less than one percent. There is no comparison between the two crimes. But these distortions are only the tip of the iceberg.


----------
psrb10@yahoo.co.uk

Mr. Paul,
You wrote on your description at Amazon:


" About me: I welcome constructive comment on my reviews and lists. I can be reached at psrb10@yahoo.co.uk."

my Amazon nickname:
bailey83221_livejournal

Here is my “constructive comments” on your reviews:

I cannot comment on the book, since I have not read it yet, I have only watched the video with the same name (Note: I read a similar book called Propaganda and the Public Mind by Chomsky). But I can easily comment on “Paulsrb” illogical criticisms in the review:

"Manufacturing Distortions, November 24, 2004"

Paulsrb wrote:

"NEXT WE ARE GIVEN THE UNTENABLE ANALOGY OF CAMBODIA
AND EAST TIMOR (PP284-5, 301-3). WITH IDENTICAL REASONING,
NAZI APOLOGISTS EQUATE AUSCHWITZ AND DRESDEN. THE KHMER
ROUGE SLAUGHTERED MILLIONS IN CAMBODIA, WHILE INDONESIA KILLED
TENS OF THOUSANDS IN EAST TIMOR. POL POT MURDERED A QUARTER OF
HIS SUBJECTS, WHILE SUHARTO KILLED LESS THAN ONE PERCENT.
THERE IS NO COMPARISON BETWEEN THE TWO CRIMES."


PAULSRB’S AD HOMINEM FALLACY OF LOGIC

Paulsrb wrote:
“WITH IDENTICAL REASONING, NAZI APOLOGISTS
EQUATE AUSCHWITZ AND DRESDEN.”

Paulsrb first attempts a simplistic Ad Hominem character attack, by identifying Chomsky with Nazis, using a completely unrelated event in history.

ARGUING THE NUMBER DEAD, TO CONFUSE AND DOWNPLAY THE UNDERLYING POINT

Paulsrb wrote:
"THE KHMER ROUGE SLAUGHTERED MILLIONS IN CAMBODIA,
WHILE INDONESIA KILLED TENS OF THOUSANDS IN EAST TIMOR…
POL POT MURDERED A QUARTER OF HIS SUBJECTS, WHILE SUHARTO
KILLED LESS THAN ONE PERCENT. THERE IS NO COMPARISON
BETWEEN THE TWO CRIMES."

Earlier in his review, Paulsrb accuses Chomsky of manipulating facts, references, numbers, and Paulsrb own number is blatantly distorted and fallacious:

“SUHARTO KILLED LESS THAN ONE PERCENT [OF EAST TIMORESE]”

I believe that Paulsrb is combining the total number of Indonesians in the entire country, to lump them together with the East Timorese. The total killed from the invasion of East Timor is estimated between: 100,000 and 250,000 in a population of 600,000, hardly “1%” that Paulsrb claims.

Similar to his entire argument, Paulsrb downplays that there were crimes in East Timor in passing, by saying: “There is no comparison between the two crimes.”

We can go back and forth about the ACTUAL numbers killed. This actual of numbers killed seems very important to Paulsrb. In fact, almost his ENTIRE REVIEW focuses on statistics and numbers dead. By arguing dead bodies, Paulsrb clumsy attempts to discredit Chomsky.

It is no wonder that Paulsrb focuses on numbers dead because this is a very typical tactic of American apologists. In the apologist’s book, “A Patriots History of the United States” an entire page is devoted to the number of dead Native Americans, explaining that some historians believe the number of Native Americans killed is actually much less. Never mind that America ruthlessly slaughtered tens of thousands of American Indians, this is ignored or downplayed in the book.

Paulsrb uses this same unoriginal tactic, by arguing and focusing on the number of dead, Paulsrb, like “A Patriots History of the United States” attempts to downplay American foreign policy behind those deaths.

And let’s be completely honest, as shown by Paulsrb’s other book reviews, regardless of the actual number of victims that America has killed, directly or indirectly, Paulsrb will always be an apologist for American actions. If all else fails, Paulsrc can use a “red herring” fallacy of logic: There is always another atrocity which is worse than Americas, which somehow that makes Americas atrocities justified.

For example:
In Paulsrb’s review of :
The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism (Political Economy of Human Rights, Vol 1) by Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman

Paulsrb writes:
… “ALTHOUGH NOT ONE OF THE REACTIONARY CRIMES CITED BY
THE AUTHORS AMOUNTS TO EVEN A MICROSCOPIC FRACTION OF
THE TENS OF MILLIONS WHO HAD JUST BEEN SLAUGHTERED IN THE
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA OR THE MILLIONS WHO WERE DYING
AT THAT VERY MOMENT AT THE HANDS OF COMMUNIST BUTCHERS IN
VIETNAM, LAOS AND CAMBODIA, LET ALONE THE COUNTLESS VICTIMS
OF GENOCIDAL SOVIET CLIENT REGIMES, FROM ETHIOPIA AND UGANDA
TO ANGOLA AND MOZAMBIQUE.”

To Paulsrb, statistical numbers are used draw the reader away from the foreign policy behind the conflict and to confuse the subject.

As Nancy Gibbs wrote in the Time article at the height of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal:

“When we are reduced to insisting that our depravity isn't as bad as the other guy's, we have fallen deep into a pit of moral equivalence that reveals what we have lost.”
(Their Humiliation, and Ours, The U.S. was forced to see itself as the world does — and it was painful to behold Time magazine, Monday, May. 17, 2004)

Paulsrb, what have you lost?


WHAT PAULSRB INTENTIONALLY IGNORES

The point of Chomsky, which Paulsrb dishonestly ignores, is that the United States media completely ignored the "crime " in East Timor while focusing solely on the "crime " in Cambodia, because the "crime " in East Timor was created and encouraged by America.

Paulsrb ignores the most shocking point in the video "Manufacturing Consent" which is also in the book:

Between 1975 and 1979 the New York Times gave 70 column inches of coverage to Timor but 1,175 column inches to Cambodia. During the height of the atrocities, the coverage of East Timor abruptly stopped.

Indonesia invaded East Timor with Henry Kissinger's blessing, and with American weapons.

When Indonesia started to run out of weapons killing East Timorese, Western countries eagerly sold them more.


OTHER EXAMPLES

Another example touched upon in the movie is the murder of Guatemalan priests with death squads trained by the CIA school of Americas at the same time that Polish solidarity movement members were persecuted and imprisoned by the USSR. The persecution of the solidarity movement members was covered extensively in American newspapers, the murder of Guatemalan priests by our client terrorists was ignored almost completely.

I have seen this same biased media coverage myself:

How many Americans realize that Tuesday, September 11th is a date that Americans share with Chile? This was the same date that the America CIA overthrew the democratically elected leader of Chile and installed Pinochet, who killed and tortured thousands of Chileans.

When the trial was on television of Pinochet for war crimes, it was difficult to find, I personally had to look really hard, for any mention of the CIA backed overthrow. The mainstream media ignored it completely.

Same situation with East Timor. When East Timor received independence a few years ago, the mainstream media completely ignored the bloody history of East Timor, which America helped create.


MY OWN AD HOMINEM CHARACTER ATTACK

Let me finish with my own Ad Hominem character attack, in your reviews you discount Daniel Goldhagen's best-seller "H-tler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Hlcaust". I can see the same patriotic blindness and ideological zeal in your apologist writing which I read about with those Ordinary Germans who so eagerly embraced the state-sponsored hlcaust.

Shame on you, you and your ilk are the reason that Martin Luther King said:
“The greatest purveyor of violence on earth is my own government.”

(And let me add, since you are in the UK, its lapdog Britain)
----------------
Thank you for your message. My replies are below.

> PAULSRB’S AD HOMINEM FALLACY OF LOGIC
>
> Paulsrb wrote:
>
> “With identical reasoning, Nazi apologists
> equate Auschwitz and Dresden.”
>
> Paulsrb first attempts a simplistic Ad Hominem character attack, by
> identifying Chomsky with Nazis, using a completely unrelated event in
> history.

Er... no. It is not an ad hominem identification of Chomsky with Nazis,
but rather an objection that the logical structure of Chomsky's
argument (diverting attention from the Cambodian genocide by making
irrelevant and inaccurate comparisons with Timor) is identical to that
found in the rhetoric of Holocaust deniers (attempting to divert
attention from the Final Solution by making irrelevant and inaccurate
comparisons with Allied bombing).

> ARGUING THE NUMBER DEAD, TO CONFUSE AND DOWNPLAY THE UNDERLYING POINT
>
> Paulsrb wrote:

>
> "The Khmer Rouge slaughtered millions in Cambodia,
> while Indonesia killed tens of thousands in East Timor…
> Pol Pot murdered a quarter of his subjects, while Suharto
> killed less than one percent. There is no comparison
> between the two crimes."
>
> Earlier in his review, Paulsrb accuses Chomsky of manipulating facts,
> references, numbers, and Paulsrb own number is blatantly distorted
> and fallacious:
>
> “Suharto killed less than one percent [of East Timorese]”

I did not write this; I wrote that Suharto killed less than one percent
of the people under his control, which is the relevant analogy with Pol
Pot.

> I believe that Paulsrb is combining the total number of Indonesians
> in the entire country, to lump them together with the East Timorese.
> The total killed from the invasion of East Timor is estimated
> between: 100,000 and 250,000 in a population of 600,000, hardly “1%”
> that Paulsrb claims.

See the preceding comment. The leading Indonesia specialist Robert
Cribb has demonstrated that the total death toll from ALL causes -
killings by both sides, starvation, disease, etc. - was 80,000, and
that the standard figure of 200,000 is a population deficit (i.e.,
including never-born children), not a death toll.

> Similar to his entire argument, Paulsrb downplays that there were
> crimes in East Timor in passing, by saying: “There is no comparison
> between the two crimes.”

If this (entirely accurate) statement qualifies as "downplaying"
Indonesian crimes, then presumably an argument that there is no
comparison between Nazi Germany and Sandinista Nicaragua qualifies as
"downplaying" Sandinista crimes!

> We can go back and forth about the ACTUAL numbers killed. This
> actual of numbers killed seems very important to Paulsrb. In fact,
> almost his ENTIRE REVIEW focuses on statistics and numbers dead. By
> arguing dead bodies, Paulsrb clumsy attempts to discredit Chomsky.

Well, to quote Chomsky, my view is that "facts matter." If we are going
to ignore the facts in the interests of ideology (e.g. knee-jerk
anti-Americanism), then rational discussion becomes pointless.

> It is no wonder that Paulsrb focuses on numbers dead because this is
> a very typical tactic of American apologists. In the apologist’s
> book, “A Patriots History of the United States” an entire page is
> devoted to the number of dead Native Americans, explaining that some
> historians believe the number of Native Americans killed is actually
> much less. Never mind that America ruthlessly slaughtered tens of
> thousands of American Indians, this is ignored or downplayed in the
> book.
>
> Paulsrb uses this same unoriginal tactic, by arguing and focusing on
> the number of dead, Paulsrb, like “A Patriots History of the United
> States” attempts to downplay American foreign policy behind those
> deaths.

I'm sure you would agree that if some right-wing fanatic maintained
that Cuba had killed 10 million people, when the real figure was a
small fraction of that number, this error would be of some
significance. Facts matter.

> And let’s be completely honest, as shown by Paulsrb’s other book
> reviews, regardless of the actual number of victims that America has
> killed, directly or indirectly, Paulsrb will always be an apologist
> for American actions. If all else fails, Paulsrc can use a “red
> herring” fallacy of logic: There is always another atrocity which is
> worse than Americas, which somehow that makes Americas atrocities
> justified.

Now this really is an ad hominem fallacy. Even if you could show that I
was a paid proagandist for the CIA, this would in no way prove the
truth or falsehood of anything I said.

> To Paulsrb, statistical numbers are used draw the reader away from
> the foreign policy behind the conflict and to confuse the subject.
>
> As Nancy Gibbs wrote in the Time article at the height of the Abu
> Ghraib torture scandal:
>
> “When we are reduced to insisting that our depravity isn't as bad as
> the other guy's, we have fallen deep into a pit of moral equivalence
> that reveals what we have lost.”

So you regard it as unimportant that the Union was morally superior to
the Confederacy, that Britain was morally superior to Nazi Germany,
that America is morally superior to al-Qaeda, or that the ANC was
morally superior to apartheid South Africa?

> The point of Chomsky, which Paulsrb dishonestly ignores, is that the
> United States media completely ignored the "crime " in East Timor
> while focusing solely on the "crime" in Cambodia, because the "crime
> "in East Timor was created and encouraged by America.

No, the point of Chomsky is that Khmer Rouge killings in Cambodia
numbered "at most in thousands" and that the Western media had
exaggerated them "by a factor of 100."

> Paulsrb ignores the most shocking point in the video "Manufacturing
> Consent" which is also in the book:
>
> Between 1975 and 1979 the New York Times gave 70 column inches of
> coverage to Timor but 1,175 column inches to Cambodia. During the
> height of the atrocities, the coverage of East Timor abruptly
> stopped.

Between January 1, 1975 and January 1, 1980, the New York Times
published no fewer than 70 reports on East Timor, despite the fact that
the atrocities there were numerically and proportionally insignificant
in comparison with the murder of millions in Cambodia.

> Indonesia invaded East Timor with Henry Kissinger's blessing, and
> with American weapons.
>
> When Indonesia started to run out of weapons killing East Timorese,
> Western countries eagerly sold them more.

What you fail to consider is this: had the West cut off the arms supply
to Indonesia, the generals would still have invaded East Timor, but
they would have done so with Soviet weaponry instead. Indonesia was the
fifth most populous country in the world, not a tiny banana republic
which the superpowers could bend to their will.

> Another example touched upon in the movie is the murder of Guatemalan
> priests with death squads trained by the CIA school of Americas at
> the same time that Polish solidarity movement members were persecuted
> and imprisoned by the USSR. The persecution of the solidarity
> movement members was covered extensively in American newspapers, the
> murder of Guatemalan priests by our client terrorists was ignored
> almost completely.

Similarly, the murder of a few dozen Guatemalan priests received more
publicity than the murder of 100,000 tribespeople in communist Laos
(post-war), the murder of 100,000 dissidents in communist Ethiopia
(pre-famine), the murder of 100,000 peasants in communist Afghanistan
(pre-invasion), etc. By your logic, it would follow that American
journalists are apologists for communism.

Your claims about America and Guatemala are the standard left-wing
myths. The School of the Americas trained 60,000 Latin American army
officers, of whom less than one percent were later accused of human
rights abuses. The Guatemalan generals during the 1980s were not
American "client terrorists," as Congress had cut off all military aid,
precisely because of their human rights abuses.

> How many Americans realize that Tuesday, September 11th is a date
> that Americans share with Chile? This was the same date that the
> America CIA overthrew the democratically elected leader of Chile and
> installed Pinochet, who killed and tortured thousands of Chileans.
>
> When the trial was on television of Pinochet for war crimes, it was
> difficult to find, I personally had to look really hard, for any
> mention of the CIA backed overthrow. The mainstream media ignored it
> completely.

For the simple reason that it isn't true:

http://www.nixonlibrary.org/articles/falcoff.pdf

> MY OWN AD HOMINEM CHARACTER ATTACK
>
> Let me finish with my own Ad Hominem character attack, in your
> reviews you discount Daniel Goldhagen's best-seller "H-tler's Willing
> Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Hlcaust". I can see the same
> patriotic blindness and ideological zeal in your apologist writing
> which I read about with those Ordinary Germans who so eagerly
> embraced the state-sponsored hlcaust.

Do you really believe that defending the world's freest country is
morally equivalent to serving the Nazi regime?

> Shame on you, you and your ilk are the reason that Martin Luther King
> said:
>
> “The greatest purveyor of violence on earth is my own government.”
>
> (And let me add, since you are in the UK, its lapdog Britain)

King said this when tens of millions had been murdered in the Soviet
Union, which was in military occupation of the Ukraine, Latvia,
Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Albania, and
East Germany; when millions had died in Soviet-sponsored North Korean
aggression against South Korea and North Vietnamese aggression against
South Vietnam; when tens of millions were being murdered in communist
China, which was occupying Tibet; and so on. It wasn't his most
convincing statement about public affairs.

Sincerely,

Paulsrb


------------------
Appreciate your comments. I also appreciate that you remained focused on the facts, whereas, unfortunately, I let my emotions get the best of me.

“ER... NO. IT IS NOT AN AD HOMINEM IDENTIFICATION OF CHOMSKY WITH NAZIS, BUT RATHER AN OBJECTION THAT THE LOGICAL STRUCTURE OF CHOMSKY'S ARGUMENT (DIVERTING ATTENTION FROM THE CAMBODIAN GENOCIDE BY MAKING IRRELEVANT AND INACCURATE COMPARISONS WITH TIMOR) IS IDENTICAL TO THAT FOUND IN THE RHETORIC OF HOLOCAUST DENIERS (ATTEMPTING TO DIVERT ATTENTION FROM THE FINAL SOLUTION BY MAKING IRRELEVANT AND INACCURATE COMPARISONS WITH ALLIED BOMBING).”

Why choose the Nazi’s? Nazi’s are the world’s bogeymen. You must have thought that by identifying Chomsky with Nazi’s that readers would make this connection. This kind of historical connection is typical but fallacious; many partisan groups connect their enemies to the bogeymen of their culture’s history.

I recently read a really nasty article about the left group moveon.org, absurdly connecting the KKK (another boogeyman group in American culture) with moveon.org.

http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18212

On the right, I have heard gun advocates attack any gun control by quoting Nazi’s gun control programs. On the left, peace activists quote Hermann Goering and other Nazi leaders when describing Bush.

“...DIVERTING ATTENTION FROM THE CAMBODIAN GENOCIDE BY MAKING IRRELEVANT AND INACCURATE COMPARISONS WITH TIMOR”

Compared to you, I am much less familiar with Chomsky’s quotes on Cambodia and the controversy around his statements. I will take your statements about his exaggerations at face value.

“I DID NOT WRITE THIS; I WROTE THAT SUHARTO KILLED LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE UNDER HIS CONTROL, WHICH IS THE RELEVANT ANALOGY WITH POL POT.”

What you conveniently disregard, because this does not support your thesis, is the stark difference between Cambodia, Indonesia, and East Timor. East Timor was a different nation, independent from Indonesia. Indonesia invaded East Timor. Cambodian genocide did not involve an invasion.

When China invaded Tibet, a sovereign nation, or Iraq invaded Iran or Kuwait, both sovereign nations, or any other invasions in Americas bloody history, would you count the percentage killed by the population of both the invading nation and the invaded nation?

The way you count the dead, by a percentage, to my knowledge, has no historical precedent, is not the scholarly norm, and is simply dishonest. You will disagree, because quoting 1% (dishonestly) bolsters your argument.

“SEE THE PRECEDING COMMENT. THE LEADING INDONESIA SPECIALIST ROBERT CRIBB HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT THE TOTAL DEATH TOLL FROM ALL CAUSES - KILLINGS BY BOTH SIDES, STARVATION, DISEASE, ETC. - WAS 80,000, AND THAT THE STANDARD FIGURE OF 200,000 IS A POPULATION DEFICIT (I.E., INCLUDING NEVER-BORN CHILDREN), NOT A DEATH TOLL.”


“I'M SURE YOU WOULD AGREE THAT IF SOME RIGHT-WING FANATIC MAINTAINED THAT CUBA HAD KILLED 10 MILLION PEOPLE, WHEN THE REAL FIGURE WAS A SMALL FRACTION OF THAT NUMBER, THIS ERROR WOULD BE OF SOME SIGNIFICANCE. FACTS MATTER.”

Great, let me find my own “leading Indonesia specialist” to counter your numbers. My point, and I believe Chomsky’s point, is that Indonesia was invaded by a dictatorship sponsored by America. You attempt to “downplay” this as Chomsky downplays Cambodia deaths.

When America invaded Haiti in 1915, America, during its 19 year occupation, I believe by some estimates, killed only ”3,000” or “30,000” people. Now I may differ from Chomsky, but to me, the number dead IS not the point. The American invasion of Haiti, like the invasion of Central America, China, the Philippines, the 35 interventions since World War 2, etc. is the point.

Like Cambodia, many, many people died in East Timor. I think we can both agree, like all wars, the exact number of people killed will always be in dispute.

How many American Indians died Paul? Does the number dead really matter, especially when we can’t truly know for sure? The bottom line in this case, is that Europeans invaded and killed many Native Americans, and destroyed their culture.

“WELL, TO QUOTE CHOMSKY, MY VIEW IS THAT "FACTS MATTER." IF WE ARE GOING TO IGNORE THE FACTS IN THE INTERESTS OF IDEOLOGY (E.G. KNEE-JERK ANTI-AMERICANISM), THEN RATIONAL DISCUSSION BECOMES POINTLESS.”

Ah, I see, you are the rational American, and I am the irrational anti-American ideologue.

I argued that you tried to discredit Chomsky’s statistics, using your own very questionable statistics (1%), to disprove Chomsky’s underlying point, which had nothing to do with the number dead, but American media coverage in East Timor compared to Cambodia.

“NOW THIS REALLY IS AN AD HOMINEM FALLACY. EVEN IF YOU COULD SHOW THAT I WAS A PAID PROPAGANDIST FOR THE CIA, THIS WOULD IN NO WAY PROVE THE TRUTH OR FALSEHOOD OF ANYTHING I SAID.”

Yes as written it is, my apologies. Let me change what I wrote:

“Regardless of the actual number of victims that America has killed, directly or indirectly, Paulsrb will use a “red herring” fallacy of logic: There is always another atrocity which is worse than Americas, which somehow that makes Americas atrocities justified.”

“RED HERRING” FALLACY OF LOGIC

One of the most common forms of ignorantio elenchi is the “Red Herring.” A red herring is a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument from the real question at issue;

For instance, “Senator Jones should not be held
accountable for cheating on his income tax. After all, there
are other senators who have done far worse things.”

Another example: “I should not pay a fine for reckless driving.
There are many other people on the street who are dangerous
criminals and rapists, and the police should be chasing them,
not harassing a decent tax-paying citizen like me.”


Certainly, worse criminals do exist, but that it is another issue! The question at hand is, did the speaker drive recklessly, and should he pay a fine for it?


The “red herring” fallacy of logic is so common Paul, on both the right and the left.

More Examples:
“Bill Clinton smoked dope”, “well Bush did cocaine”.

Tom Delay has credit cards charges from paid lobbyists; well I am sure other congressmen did the same thing (Rush Limbaugh’s argument today).

My point is that 80,000 East Timorese died (your number) because of the green light from America. There will always be some country in history that killed more people than another country, there will always be one countries atrocities worse than another country’s atrocities. By stating this fact does not somehow excuse the atrocities of China, or Russia, or Cambodia. No, of course not. But as I illustrated in my first e-mail, this is exactly what you do in your fallacious arguments, you excuse the atrocities of one country by arguing that another country is worse.

In 1901, General Macarthur took over as the head of the military occupation of the Philippines. He wrote a long list of atrocities that the Philippines had committed, and therefore excused himself from “civilized warfare” and started “Indian warfare”, which meant burning villages, killing everyone in certain villages, torturing captives, and murdering POWs. One command he gave was to kill all men over the age of 10 years old. This is the same, sad, immoral, unoriginal, slippery slope that you engage in.

Your immoral and dangerous logic boils down to this: There is always some country which is worse, so our atrocities are OK. You excuse the atrocities of one group of people (the Indonesians) by saying hey, the Cambodians were worst. This is morally and ethically wrong, and on an intellectual level, patently illogical.

“> AS NANCY GIBBS WROTE IN THE TIME ARTICLE AT THE HEIGHT OF THE ABU GHRAIB TORTURE >SCANDAL: “WHEN WE ARE REDUCED TO INSISTING THAT OUR DEPRAVITY ISN'T AS BAD AS THE >OTHER GUY'S, WE HAVE FALLEN DEEP INTO A PIT OF MORAL EQUIVALENCE THAT REVEALS >WHAT WE HAVE LOST.”


So you regard it as unimportant that the Union was morally superior to the Confederacy, that Britain was morally superior to Nazi Germany, that America is morally superior to al-Qaeda, or that the ANC was morally superior to apartheid South Africa?”

No. The bombing of Dresden was immoral. Does that make the atrocities of the Nazi’s any less immoral? No. This is the red herring argument, all over again. You assume that because I point out the atrocities of America, that I am somehow forgiving the atrocities of the Nazi’s or the atrocities of al-Qaeda, or the atrocities of the ANC.

You seem like a very, very intelligent person Paul, don’t fall for such simplistic ideological absolutes. By pointing out the bombing of Dresden, I am not excusing the atrocities of the Nazis.

I lived in the island country of Malta. If memory serves me well, I believe in the 15th century Islamic ships bombarded and invaded Malta. The Christian soldiers, the Knights of Malta, under siege held out for months. I can’t remember the atrocity that the Islamic people did, but in reaction and in revenge, the leader of the besieged Christians ordered many of the Islamic captives beheaded and their heads shot by catapult over the walls. When I read that I was horrified, and sickened, but my father, who is as big as American apologist as you are, read the exact same book, thought that these besieged Christians were justified. I disagreed strongly, for the same reason I disagree now. There is a dangerous slippery slope that your emotionally ideology can and does lead you down.

“NO, THE POINT OF CHOMSKY IS THAT KHMER ROUGE KILLINGS IN CAMBODIA NUMBERED "AT MOST IN THOUSANDS" AND THAT THE WESTERN MEDIA HAD EXAGGERATED THEM "BY A FACTOR OF 100."”

Okay, Chomsky was wrong, I agree 100%. You are focusing on numbers again. Chomsky may argue the statistics, and the statistics may matter to both of you. I see your 1% argument as just as fallacious and dishonest as Chomsky. <<<< (Red Herring)

To remedy this red herring: I repeat:

I agree 100%, Chomsky was wrong. See above for what I see as the point of Chomsky’s example.


“BETWEEN JANUARY 1, 1975 AND JANUARY 1, 1980, THE NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISHED NO FEWER THAN 70 REPORTS ON EAST TIMOR, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE ATROCITIES THERE WERE NUMERICALLY AND PROPORTIONALLY INSIGNIFICANT IN COMPARISON WITH THE MURDER OF MILLIONS IN CAMBODIA.”

Could you please quote your source? Are you confusing the statistic “column inches” with “independent news articles” which appeared in the NYT?

“WHAT YOU FAIL TO CONSIDER IS THIS: HAD THE WEST CUT OFF THE ARMS SUPPLY TO INDONESIA, THE GENERALS WOULD STILL HAVE INVADED EAST TIMOR, BUT THEY WOULD HAVE DONE SO WITH SOVIET WEAPONRY INSTEAD. INDONESIA WAS THE FIFTH MOST POPULOUS COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, NOT A TINY BANANA REPUBLIC WHICH THE SUPERPOWERS COULD BEND TO THEIR WILL.”

Paul, wow, I expected more from you, with all of your statistics and carefully cited footnotes. Do I really have to point out what a completely weak argument this is? Can you see it yourself? I will not waste my time pointing this out, because you can probably see it yourself. Just replace the word with a Soviet client state and an invaded country, and I think you will see the point.

“SIMILARLY, THE MURDER OF A FEW DOZEN GUATEMALAN PRIESTS RECEIVED MORE PUBLICITY THAN THE MURDER OF 100,000 TRIBES PEOPLE IN COMMUNIST LAOS (POST-WAR), THE MURDER OF 100,000 DISSIDENTS IN COMMUNIST ETHIOPIA (PRE-FAMINE), THE MURDER OF 100,000 PEASANTS IN COMMUNIST AFGHANISTAN (PRE-INVASION), ETC. BY YOUR LOGIC, IT WOULD FOLLOW THAT AMERICAN JOURNALISTS ARE APOLOGISTS FOR COMMUNISM.”

Wow, excellent point, you got me there.

“YOUR CLAIMS ABOUT AMERICA AND GUATEMALA ARE THE STANDARD LEFT-WING MYTHS. THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS TRAINED 60,000 LATIN AMERICAN ARMY OFFICERS, OF WHOM LESS THAN ONE PERCENT WERE LATER ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES. THE GUATEMALAN GENERALS DURING THE 1980S WERE NOT AMERICAN "CLIENT TERRORISTS," AS CONGRESS HAD CUT OFF ALL MILITARY AID, PRECISELY BECAUSE OF THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.”

Wow, there is a “1%” quote again. Excuse me if I question your scholarly integrity after the Indonesian statistic. :)

Can you give me the source of this statistic?

I will have to agree with you because of my ignorance.

Right now, I know next to nothing about Guatemala. Maybe we can talk about this later after I have read some books on this subject. Any books that you could suggest?

“DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT DEFENDING THE WORLD'S FREEST COUNTRY IS MORALLY EQUIVALENT TO SERVING THE NAZI REGIME?”

No, the more I think about it, it was a stupid example. Not even good flamebait.

“...DEFENDING THE WORLD'S FREEST COUNTRY”

You are confusing Americas internal freedoms with its external behavior. I have written a little on this subject myself, how most Americans confuse the freedoms we enjoy with our foreign policy, and recently heard a quote from Chomsky on this (on the manufacturing Consent video, in fact). This is a VERY common unconscious “knee-jerk” defense that Americans use when faced with criticism of American foreign policy.

Chomsky says it better than I ever was able too:

In the 1988 Massey Lectures, as shown on the movie "Manufacturing Consent", Noam Chomsky said:
"Greece was a free society by the standards of Athens, it was also a vicious society from the point of view of its imperial behavior. There is virtually no correlation maybe none--between the internal freedom of society and it's external behavior"


“KING SAID THIS WHEN TENS OF MILLIONS HAD BEEN MURDERED IN THE SOVIET UNION, WHICH WAS IN MILITARY OCCUPATION OF THE UKRAINE, LATVIA, LITHUANIA, ESTONIA, GEORGIA, ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN, KAZAKHSTAN, UZBEKISTAN, POLAND, HUNGARY, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, BULGARIA, ALBANIA, AND EAST GERMANY; WHEN MILLIONS HAD DIED IN SOVIET-SPONSORED NORTH KOREAN AGGRESSION AGAINST SOUTH KOREA AND NORTH VIETNAMESE AGGRESSION AGAINST SOUTH VIETNAM; WHEN TENS OF MILLIONS WERE BEING MURDERED IN COMMUNIST CHINA, WHICH WAS OCCUPYING TIBET; AND SO ON. IT WASN'T HIS MOST CONVINCING STATEMENT ABOUT PUBLIC AFFAIRS.”

I guess when you look at it by the number of people killed, and on many other levels, then I agree, “It wasn't his most convincing statement about public affairs.” You now have managed to tarnish, if not destroy one of my most favorite quotes : (

I am reading the Kissinger article now.

Nice to talk to you. Please no more red herrings from both of us okay?
----
Paulsrb response:

> Why choose the Nazi’s? Nazi’s are the world’s bogeymen. You must
> have thought that by identifying Chomsky with Nazi’s that readers
> would make this connection. This kind of historical connection is
> typical but fallacious; many partisan groups connect their enemies to
> the bogeymen of their culture’s history.

The parallel in this instance is Khmer Rouge/Nazi Party, which is not
at all exaggerated or inappropriate. Accordingly, the parallel Khmer
Rouge apologist/Nazi apologist is also appropriate. Hence my comment
about Chomsky.

> What you conveniently disregard, because this does not support your
> thesis, is the stark difference between Cambodia, Indonesia, and East
> Timor. East Timor was a different nation, independent from
> Indonesia. Indonesia invaded East Timor. Cambodian genocide did not
> involve an invasion.
>
> When China invaded Tibet, a sovereign nation, or Iraq invaded Iran or
> Kuwait, both sovereign nations, or any other invasions in Americas
> bloody history, would you count the percentage killed by the
> population of both the invading nation and the invaded nation?
>
> The way you count the dead, by a percentage, to my knowledge, has no
> historical precedent, is not the scholarly norm, and is simply
> dishonest. You will disagree, because quoting 1% (dishonestly)
> bolsters your argument.

I see where you are going with this now. Chomsky raised the
Cambodia/East Timor analogy on the basis that the two atrocities were
in some way comparable. Initially, he argued that they were comparable
in absolute terms, but once that argument was discredited, he argued
that they were comparable in proportional terms. One can approach this
comparison in two ways. Either one refers to the proportion of total
subjects killed, in which case there is clearly no comparison, or one
refers to the proportion of the targeted group killed, in which case
there is still no comparison, because Pol Pol murdered half of the
Chinese-Cambodians, all of the Vietmamese-Cambodians, etc. Now you want
to consider East Timor in isolation from Cambodia, as a case of
genocidal foreign invasion - a perfectly reasonable approach, but one
which makes the Cambodia analogy totally irrelevant.

> Great, let me find my own “leading Indonesia specialist” to counter
> your numbers. My point, and I believe Chomsky’s point, is that
> Indonesia was invaded by a dictatorship sponsored by America. You
> attempt to “downplay” this as Chomsky downplays Cambodia deaths.

I made no attempt to downplay the the atrocity, merely to clarify the
facts; and my comments about proportionality were designed to counter
Chomsky's false and misleading analogy.

> Like Cambodia, many, many people died in East Timor. I think we can
> both agree, like all wars, the exact number of people killed will
> always be in dispute.

The exact number of people killed in any large-scale event is always a
matter of dispute, but the approximate number can usually be
established with a reasonable degree of certainty; and what the
research tells us is that in Cambodia, the death toll was in the
millions, while in East Timor, it was in the scores of thousands.

> How many American Indians died Paul? Does the number dead really
> matter, especially when we can’t truly know for sure? The bottom line
> in this case, is that Europeans invaded and killed many Native
> Americans, and destroyed their culture.

I maintain that it is a matter of some importance whether the numbers
were in the tens of thousands or the tens of millions.

> I argued that you tried to discredit Chomsky’s statistics, using your
> own very questionable statistics (1%), to disprove Chomsky’s
> underlying point, which had nothing to do with the number dead, but
> American media coverage in East Timor compared to Cambodia.

Comparing media coverage of two events only makes sense if the two
events were in some sense comparable in the first place.

> Yes as written it is, my apologies. Let me change what I wrote:
>
> “Regardless of the actual number of victims that America has killed,
> directly or indirectly, Paulsrb will use a “red herring” fallacy of
> logic: There is always another atrocity which is worse than
> Americas, which somehow that makes Americas atrocities justified.”

Again, the ad hominem fallacy: anyone who tries to get at the facts is
somehow suggesting that "America's atrocities are justified."

> My point is that 80,000 East Timorese died (your number) because of
> the green light from America. There will always be some country in
> history that killed more people than another country, there will
> always be one countries atrocities worse than another country’s
> atrocities. By stating this fact does not somehow excuse the
> atrocities of China, or Russia, or Cambodia. No, of course not. But
> as I illustrated in my first e-mail, this is exactly what you do in
> your fallacious arguments, you excuse the atrocities of one country
> by arguing that another country is worse.
>
> In 1901, General Macarthur took over as the head of the military
> occupation of the Philippines. He wrote a long list of atrocities
> that the Philippines had committed, and therefore excused himself
> from “civilized warfare” and started “Indian warfare”, which meant
> burning villages, killing everyone in certain villages, torturing
> captives, and murdering POWs. One command he gave was to kill all
> men over the age of 10 years old. This is the same, sad, immoral,
> unoriginal, slippery slope that you engage in.
>
> Your immoral and dangerous logic boils down to this: There is always
> some country which is worse, so our atrocities are OK. You excuse
> the atrocities of one group of people (the Indonesians) by saying
> hey, the Cambodians were worst. This is morally and ethically wrong,
> and on an intellectual level, patently illogical.

I did not "excuse" the atrocities in East Timor; I challenged Chomsky's
assertion that they were either absolutely or proportionally comparable
to Cambodia. You have said nothing so far to indicate that they were.

> No. The bombing of Dresden was immoral. Does that make the atrocities
> of the Nazi’s any less immoral? No. This is the red herring
> argument, all over again. You assume that because I point out the
> atrocities of America, that I am somehow forgiving the atrocities of
> the Nazi’s or the atrocities of al-Qaeda, or the atrocities of the
> ANC.
>
> You seem like a very, very intelligent person Paul, don’t fall for
> such simplistic ideological absolutes. By pointing out the bombing
> of Dresden, I am not excusing the atrocities of the Nazis.

During the Stalinist terror of the 1930s, American leftists would
respond by asking: "What about the oppression of Negroes in the South?"
After the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi apologists kept asking: "What about
the bombing of Dresden?" Drawing attention to atrocities so radically
different in scale that they are not remotely comparable is a perfect
example of the "red herring" fallacy which you affect to deplore.

> “Between January 1, 1975 and January 1, 1980, the New York Times
> published no fewer than 70 reports on East Timor, despite the fact
> that the atrocities there were numerically and proportionally
> insignificant in comparison with the murder of millions in Cambodia.”
>
> Could you please quote your source? Are you confusing the statistic
> “column inches” with “independent news articles” which appeared in
> the NYT?

I am referring to independent news articles. My source is a ProQuest
New York Times Historical Archive search.

> “What you fail to consider is this: had the West cut off the arms
> supply to Indonesia, the generals would still have invaded East
> Timor, but they would have done so with Soviet weaponry instead.
> Indonesia was the fifth most populous country in the world, not a
> tiny banana republic which the superpowers could bend to their will.”
>
> Paul, wow, I expected more from you, with all of your statistics and
> carefully cited footnotes. Do I really have to point out what a
> completely weak argument this is? Can you see it yourself? I will
> not waste my time pointing this out, because you can probably see it
> yourself. Just replace the word with a Soviet client state and an
> invaded country, and I think you will see the point.

Given that this was the height of the Cold War, it was a matter of very
great strategic (and therefore humanitarian) significance whether the
fifth most populous country in the world became an American or a Soviet
ally. Or do you think that nothing hinged on the question whether the
Soviet Union became a British or a Nazi ally during WW2?

> “Your claims about America and Guatemala are the standard left-wing
> myths. The School of the Americas trained 60,000 Latin American army
> officers, of whom less than one percent were later accused of human
> rights abuses. The Guatemalan generals during the 1980s were not
> American "client terrorists," as Congress had cut off all military
> aid, precisely because of their human rights abuses.”
>
> Wow, there is a “1%” quote again. Excuse me if I question your
> scholarly integrity after the Indonesian statistic. :)
>
> Can you give me the source of this statistic?

"Out of sixty thousand graduates less than 1 percent have ever been
linked to human rights violations, and fewer still have actually had
allegations substantiated against them."
- Historian Robert Freeman Smith, Journal of American History, Vol. 86,
No. 3, December 1999, p1443.

> You are confusing Americas internal freedoms with its external
> behavior. I have written a little on this subject myself, how most
> Americans confuse the freedoms we enjoy with our foreign policy, and
> recently heard a quote from Chomsky on this (on the manufacturing
> Consent video, in fact). This is a VERY common unconscious
> “knee-jerk” defense that Americans use when faced with criticism of
> American foreign policy.
>
> Chomsky says it better than I ever was able too:
>
> In the 1988 Massey Lectures, as shown on the movie "Manufacturing
> Consent", Noam Chomsky said: "Greece was a free society by the
> standards of Athens, it was also a vicious society from the point of
> view of its imperial behavior. There is virtually no correlation
> maybe none--between the internal freedom of society and it's
> external behavior"

Chomsky's statement is absurd. American interventions during WW2 and
the Cold War have resulted in democratic governments throughout Europe
and the Western hemisphere.
---
ABORTED RESPONCE TO PAUL

It is nice to finally met someone who makes me feel stupid and ignorant. I was getting tired of being the teacher instead of being the taught.

I truly know when to simply "shut up" and acknowledge I am ignorant about a subject, and that I can learn something from someone, even someone sith starkly different ideologies. I hope you don't mind this role as teacher, I personally got impatient debating with people who obviously knew much less about a subject than I did.

> THE PARALLEL IN THIS INSTANCE IS KHMER ROUGE/NAZI PARTY, WHICH IS NOT
> AT ALL EXAGGERATED OR INAPPROPRIATE. ACCORDINGLY, THE PARALLEL KHMER
> ROUGE APOLOGIST/NAZI APOLOGIST IS ALSO APPROPRIATE. HENCE MY COMMENT
> ABOUT CHOMSKY.

> DURING THE STALINIST TERROR OF THE 1930S, AMERICAN LEFTISTS WOULD
> RESPOND BY ASKING: "WHAT ABOUT THE OPPRESSION OF NEGROES IN THE SOUTH?"
> AFTER THE NUREMBERG TRIALS, NAZI APOLOGISTS KEPT ASKING: "WHAT ABOUT
> THE BOMBING OF DRESDEN?" DRAWING ATTENTION TO ATROCITIES SO RADICALLY
> DIFFERENT IN SCALE THAT THEY ARE NOT REMOTELY COMPARABLE IS A PERFECT
> EXAMPLE OF THE "RED HERRING" FALLACY WHICH YOU AFFECT TO DEPLORE.

The red herring fallacy is not comparing two examples which are completely different in scale (reread the provided definition) a red herring fallacy is: “A red herring is a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument from the real question at issue.” In the two examples you mention the blacks in the south and the Nazis with Dresden, both groups are “deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument from the real question at issue.” It is the same tactic you use in another book review:

The difference between the Chomsky example: comparing East Timor with Cambodia is fundamentally different. Chomsky is not excusing or justifying the massacres of Cambodia, he is trying to draw parallels between two events in history that happened roughly the same time, and, as he argues, received different media attention.

The issue is East Timor, NOT Cambodia. “A red herring is a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert the argument from the real question at issue.” Cambodia was not the issue, East Timor was.

Whereas in the two examples above, the issue was Nazi atrocities and the issue was Stalinist terror.

I cannot judge Chomsky’s words in the book Manufacturing Consent, nor in his earlier books, in which his critics probably justifiably lambasted his downplaying the dead in Cambodia. Please enlighten me on these issues, if you wish. I can only judge the current Chomsky on the Manufacturing Consent video I watched, in which East Timor was the central issue, and both Cambodia and East Timor were seen as needless slaughters.

CORRECTION
I stand corrected, Chomsky was dead wrong, reactionary and incorrect, your quote, which I lambasted you about earlier, in context makes sense, and I agree. I read it quickly and thus sloppily. My apologies:

"WASHINGTON HAS BECOME THE TORTURE AND POLITICAL MURDER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD" (P16), ALTHOUGH NOT ONE OF THE REACTIONARY CRIMES CITED BY THE AUTHORS AMOUNTS TO EVEN A MICROSCOPIC FRACTION OF THE TENS OF MILLIONS WHO HAD JUST BEEN SLAUGHTERED IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA OR THE MILLIONS WHO WERE DYING AT THAT VERY MOMENT AT THE HANDS OF COMMUNIST BUTCHERS IN VIETNAM, LAOS AND CAMBODIA, LET ALONE THE COUNTLESS VICTIMS OF GENOCIDAL SOVIET CLIENT REGIMES, FROM ETHIOPIA AND UGANDA TO ANGOLA AND MOZAMBIQUE.

This is still a red herring argument, but in the context of a response to an outrageous and absurd claim of Chomsky’s which you rightly criticize:

"WASHINGTON HAS BECOME THE TORTURE AND POLITICAL MURDER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD" (P16)

I think it is a legitimate “red herring”.

> I SEE WHERE YOU ARE GOING WITH THIS NOW. CHOMSKY RAISED THE
> CAMBODIA/EAST TIMOR ANALOGY ON THE BASIS THAT THE TWO ATROCITIES WERE
> IN SOME WAY COMPARABLE. INITIALLY, HE ARGUED THAT THEY WERE COMPARABLE
> IN ABSOLUTE TERMS, BUT ONCE THAT ARGUMENT WAS DISCREDITED, HE ARGUED
> THAT THEY WERE COMPARABLE IN PROPORTIONAL TERMS. ONE CAN APPROACH THIS
> COMPARISON IN TWO WAYS. EITHER ONE REFERS TO THE PROPORTION OF TOTAL
> SUBJECTS KILLED, IN WHICH CASE THERE IS CLEARLY NO COMPARISON, OR ONE
> REFERS TO THE PROPORTION OF THE TARGETED GROUP KILLED, IN WHICH CASE
> THERE IS STILL NO COMPARISON, BECAUSE POL POL MURDERED HALF OF THE
> CHINESE-CAMBODIANS, ALL OF THE VIETMAMESE-CAMBODIANS, ETC. NOW YOU WANT
> TO CONSIDER EAST TIMOR IN ISOLATION FROM CAMBODIA, AS A CASE OF
> GENOCIDAL FOREIGN INVASION - A PERFECTLY REASONABLE APPROACH, BUT ONE
> WHICH MAKES THE CAMBODIA ANALOGY TOTALLY IRRELEVANT.

>INITIALLY, HE ARGUED THAT THEY WERE COMPARABLE
> IN ABSOLUTE TERMS, BUT ONCE THAT ARGUMENT WAS DISCREDITED, HE ARGUED
> THAT THEY WERE COMPARABLE IN PROPORTIONAL TERMS.”

By “Chomsky” do you mean me, trav, or did Chomsky actually do this himself?

I am willing to accept your statistics on East Timor as truth simply because I am too lazy to nit pick about an issue that in the broader picture, I don’t see as relevant.
--------
ACTUAL RESPONSE SENT TO PAUL:

Thank you Paulsrb,
Your logic is sound, I would be dishonest to argue otherwise. I realized this when I started to write a rebuttal. The Cambodia and East Timor analogy is fallacious. Comparing tens of thousands to millions dead is simply not the same.

When my central argument collapsed, any minor disagreements I have with what you wrote becomes side issues and distractions from the central thesis: which you have proven admirably to be correct. I won't waste our time arguing those minor disagreements. I will not lead our conversation down a tangent when the central reason for writing you has now been shown to be fallacious.

Two of my favorite quotes are these:


A person who finds a topic very confusing will often suspend judgment and keep right on believing in whatever he hopes is true. Over time, his questions lose urgency, and though not resolved, cease to become bothersome. Trust in a system will also help sustain a person through confusion until he reaches the point of no longer caring whether an answer is reasonable or not, or indeed, whether an answer even exists. --Chapter 12 By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri


"When adults first become conscious of something new, they usually either attack or try to escape from it... Attack includes such mild forms as ridicule, and escape includes merely putting out of mind." - W. I. B Beveridge, The Art of Sci. Investigation, 1950



I have promised myself, as much as humanly possible, not to do what most adults have a tendeny to do, it is intellectually dishonest.

I read the Nixon archive article on Chile. Thank you. As the article states, few Americans know much about Chile, myself included. I take issue with many of the items in the article, but without further study, I would again be wasting our time arguing the points.

Could you please recommend any books on Chile, other than the author of the Nixon archive article?

Could you also please recommend any books on the Indonesia invasion of East Timor that you have read?

Thank you,
Trav

Debate Two:


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