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LeoCasey at LeoCasey at
Wed Feb 21 12:04:43 MST 1996


In a message dated 96-02-21 11:24:07 EST, Dan Axtell writes:

>When I was in high school, I read a book called
>"Murder in a Gentle Land", published by readers
>Digest, that gave detailed accounts of the attrocities
>committed by the Khymer (?) Rouge in Cambodia.  I
>thought to myself, "these Communists are sick,
>how could anyone do this?"  Years later, I read Chomsky
>& Herman's analysis of that book which exposed it to be largely

In other words, the "killing fields" -- like the gulag and the crimes of the
Shining Path -- is a creation of right-wing, anti-communist ideology. Uncle
Joe, Uncle Pol, Uncle Gonzalo -- what a bunch of misunderstood guys.

For the record, Chomsky's rather unconsidered analysis, made in the aftermath
of the fall of Kampuchea to the Khymer Rouge, have been definitively
surpassed. In the preface to their text, Chomsky and Herman were already
backtracking and hedging their bets: "...there can be little doubt that the
war followed by an outbreak of violence, massacre and repression, and it
seems that the bloody repression continued through the period under review."
{p. xiv.} Today, there are no credible analysts who would deny the existence
of the "killing fields."

And Chomsky has a rather checkered record on matters of this sort -- I refer
specifically to the Faurisson affair, in which he chose to write a favorable
preface to a book by one of France's leading Holocaust deniers. In this book,
Faurisson set out to "prove" that the Holocaust could not have taken place;
the noted left-wing French historian of classical Greece, Pierre
Vidal-Naquet, has described it, in his critique, as  _A Paper Eichmann_. {For
a complete analysis of the book, and Chomsky's part in this sordid affair,
including the basis for the quotes below, see Vidal-Naquet's _Assassins of
Memory_. (Columbia University Press,  1992.)}

Faurisson wrote that in requiring Jews to wear the yellow Star of David
starting at age six, "Hitler was perhaps less concerned with the Jewish
question than with ensuring the safety of German soldiers," but Chomsky sees
no evidence in the book that he is anti-Semitic --  just a free-thinking
scholar, "a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort." It is sheer
coincidence, I imagine, that Faurisson invents a declaration of war by the
international Jewish community against the Nazis, or that he concludes that
the Holocaust was a fabrication of Jewish propaganda.

To compound matters, once the preface became the center of a dispute, Chomsky
chose to add his name to the following petition:
"Dr. Faurisson has served as a respected professor of 20th century French
literature and document criticism for over four years at the University of
Lyon 2 in France. Since 1974 he has been conducting extensive independent
historical research into the "Holocaust" question. Since he began making his
findings public, Professor Faurisson has been subject to a vicious campaign
of harassment, intimidation, slander and physical violence in a crude attempt
to silence them. Fearful officials have even tried to stop him from further
research by denying him access to public libraries and archives."
Of little consequence, of course, are the facts that Faurisson has never
banned from archives and libraries, and that he continues his "independent
historical research into the 'Holocaust' question" unhindered to this day.
And it did not end there: Chomsky gave his permission for the publication of
an exchange of friendly letters with Faurisson, which were prefaced by Pierre
Guillaume, the leader of the revisionist (as in Holocaust denial) league in
France; Guillaume, Chomsky avers, is a "libertarian and anti-fascist on
principle." (Could this be a new mandarin engaging in a little bit of
Orwellian newspeak?)

To this day, Chomsky dismisses this entire affair as simply a "free speech"

When has Amnesty International, or the Americas Watch, or NACLA, or any of
the credible sources cited with respect to Peru have engaged in such errors
of judgment?

IMHO, the great political horror of this century has been the various
totalitarian states, and the genocide and mass murder undertaken in their
names. If there is any question on which I will not compromise, and on which
I will fight with great tenacity, it is this one. One's political soul is at
stake here.

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