Chomsky uses the Russian defence

This is really rather amusing. George Monbiot writes to Noam Chomsky about denialism over Srebrenica and the Rawandan Tutsi genocide. The back and forth has to be read to be believed.

Chomsky is taking the Russian defence one step further. That defnece used to be that, whenever the Soviets were accused of wiping out a few more artists or Jews or Baptists of whatever in the Gulag, well, the Americans lynch Negroes, don\’t they?

What I believe is known as the tu quoque.

Chomsky\’s taking it a stage further. He\’s not even saying yes, Hutus slaughtering near a million Tutsis with machetes is bad but look at what happened to the American Indians.

He\’s saying it\’s irrelevant what happened to the Tutsis because look at the American Indians.

Sorta confusing: I thought grammarians were supposed to at least be aware of logic.

19 thoughts on “Chomsky uses the Russian defence”

  1. The only thing Chomsky is aware of is his massive sense of self importance. There’s no room for anything else in the building.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Chomsky is so full of sh!t you could compost his sweat. But I did like this:

    I’m referring to Fallujah, different from Srebrenica in many ways, among them that in the latter case the women and children were trucked out, and in the former case the destruction and slaughter was so extreme that current studies in medical journals estimate the scale of radiation-related deaths and diseases at beyond the level of Hiroshima

    I would be intrigued to know of one medical journal that has claimed any noticeable release of radiation at Fallujah, much less enough to kill more people than Hiroshima.

    Tim adds: Here:

    http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/7/7

    And yes, it’s by Chris Busby. Loon di tutti loons.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Chomsky’s taking it a stage further. He’s not even saying yes, Hutus slaughtering near a million Tutsis with machetes is bad but look at what happened to the American Indians

    I am not sure that is quite what Chomsky is saying. I think he is saying that an intellectual of any quality has to be anti-American. Anything else is collaborating with genocidal capitalism. Thus any discussion of genocide must focus on crimes committed by America and its allies. Thus Monbiot’s problem is that he does not grasp that his function is to serve the coming Revolution by inciting hatred of America. Regardless of who killed whom when.

    Which is presumably why Chomsky is happy to give speeches to Hezbollah.

  4. Basically, you don’t need to read anything he says from the moment he quotes the now utterly debunked Lancet Iraq deaths study. They were out by a factor of ten. But the BBC, Guardian etc loved it because it proved they were right about the evil imperialist armies in invading Iraq.

    It took a lot of effort to get them to see it was all a lie. Even the Guardian and the BBC stopped using it ( though it still pops up in the mouths of true believers now and then).

    The fact that Chomsky states it as being ‘true’ tells you everything you need to know about his relationship with reality.

  5. The surprising thing about this is that Chomsky still commands so much respect. He revealed his intellectual dishonesty in these matters in the Faurisson affair over thirty years ago “As far as I can determine, he is a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort”, and has been consistent about it, most notoriously in his defence of the Khmer Rouge.

  6. You missed the best quote from Monbiot:

    this paper is a broad church, whose members are often sharply at odds with each other.

    Yes the range goes all the way from A to B!

  7. Poor George, one has been startled recently by the massive crashes as the scales fall from his eyes; first that renewables don’t make much sense, now that Chomsky turns out to be an arrogant idiot. He’ll be preaching the virtues of liberal globalised capitalism next.

  8. Incredible arrogant wriggling from Chomsky, although it was more than a surprise to see he is still so enraged about the ITN court squashing of Living Marxism (which is now Spied online, of course). 😉

  9. I am the proud father of 5 1/2 year old twins.

    Why am I reminded of their logic when I read the wisdom of one of the world’s most quoted professors?

    …..But Daddy, he did it first….
    …..OK darling but you still shouldn’t do it….
    …..etc etc…..

  10. There are two things to be said about the study. First, it presents no evidence as to the cause of the increases in infant mortality and cancer it reports, the authors say

    the results reported here do not throw any light upon the identity of the agent(s) causing the increased levels of illness and although we have drawn attention to the use of depleted uranium as one potential relevant exposure, there may be other possibilities and we see the current study as investigating the anecdotal evidence of increases in cancer and infant mortality in Fallujah.

    When Chomsky describes the deaths as “radiation-related” he’s not reporting a scientific finding.

    Second, the study’s method is to ask selected householders in Fallujah to fill in a questionnaire about members of the household and their health. No one knows how accurate this is. The paper says

    Whilst the results seem to qualitatively support the existence of serious mutation-related health effects in Fallujah, owing to the structural problems associated with surveys of this kind, care should be exercised in interpreting the findings quantitatively.

    (You could even imagine the study being deliberately subverted, though if that was done the subverters were sophisticated enough to have instructed the respondents to report an recently elevated ratio of female to male births.)

  11. His work on formal grammars was (and still is) wonderful. But that’s formal logic. Discerning that Hezbollah and the Khmer Rouge are evil requires moral calculus. Because he can’t do that, he’s pretty much bound to fall into the moral equivalence pit.

  12. Maybe Chomsky doesn’t understand that depleted uranium generates a trivially low level of radiation. The half-life of U238 is comparable to the age of the universe.

  13. He’s saying it’s irrelevant what happened to the Tutsis because look at the American Indians.

    No, he’s saying “the slaughter of tens of millions in the Western hemisphere, about 10 million in the territorial US alone” and “the virtual genocide … in the Guatemalan highlands” are “incomparably more significant” than whether the people who died in Rwanda were Tutsis or Hutus , not that what happened in Rwanda is irrelevant.

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    PaulB – “Second, the study’s method is to ask selected householders in Fallujah to fill in a questionnaire about members of the household and their health. No one knows how accurate this is.”

    Not only for randomly chosen Iraqis to fill out a questionnaire, but to do so in the presence of a local notable. They took, presumably, a former member of the Ba’ath Party around with them to get people to fill out the forms. The impact of this can be seen by the fact so many did so.

    No possible sources of bias there.

    “(You could even imagine the study being deliberately subverted, though if that was done the subverters were sophisticated enough to have instructed the respondents to report an recently elevated ratio of female to male births.)”

    Or it is just noise.

  15. Random noise that happens to match what would certainly happen if the data were genuine, but what would be unlikely to be reported if it were rigged? Hmm.

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