Comments: Important Haiti Actions

A small correction, it is the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Same one that SOAW is sending money to.

Posted by RickB at January 14, 2010 02:13 PM

Should I hold my breath and hope and expect the administration to do the right thing?
With Reagan administration's support of Baby 'Doc' Duvalier's regime when Tonton Macoutes were killing people openly in the streets and they were trying to escape in rickety boats, those 'boat people' were called "economic refugees" and when they made it to US shores and applied for asylum, the administration certainly was not very generous.

"RACIAL IMPLICATIONS OF U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY" Richard Lapchick ...by R Lapchick - 1982 - Cited by 2 - Related articles
of this, the Reagan Administration cut aid to Southern. African refugee education programs by 500% while, at the ... evidence, including an Amnesty International Report listing .... response to Haitian applicants for political asylum is similar: only 5 people out of 5453 applicants have been granted such status. ...
www.jstor.org/stable/1166531

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 14, 2010 02:17 PM

No, I certainly wouldn't hold my breath for this administration to do the right thing where anything other than immediate emergency disaster aid is concerned.

On February 6, just over two weeks into her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton met with Pres. Rene Preval, a former Aristide ally (and his Prime Minister). The next day, the Haitian electoral council threw all the Lavalas party candidates off the ballot for the upcoming Senate elections. Lavalas called a boycott, and turnout was somewhere between 5% and 11%.

The UN and the U.S. State Department funded that election and the next round, in which the boycott was even more complete. No matter: the U.S. recognized the results of the elections and had not a word of criticisms for the antidemocratic lockout. They named Bill Clinton Special Envoy, and prepared for the general elections, which are scheduled to be held this coming February 28 (one day short of the sixth anniversary of the CIA-supported coup against Aristide). In late November, the electoral council once again rejected the applications of all Lavalas candidates.

This is U.S. policy. This is the context of the Obama administration's projection of itself as the kindly savior of the Haitian people.

Posted by Nell at January 14, 2010 10:24 PM

one group that has an unmatched 20 year record of impeccable medical and public health work in Haiti is Partners in Health!
http://www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti

Posted by tooearly at January 14, 2010 11:22 PM

RUPA SHAH

My brother-in-law was in Haiti doing AIDS project work for six months last year, and one of my farmer cousins goes there every January to do basic assistance work (he hadn't arrived yet this year). It appears to be a lovely country with wonderful people, though the poverty is extreme. Even if our government sucks, not everybody does.

Getting any really good non-opportunistic assistance out of the 'Obama administration' is going to to require a successful end run around the bureaucracy, because the bureaucracy will want a lot of phony PR to look good while working behind the scenes to please its institutional masters, who speak through the megaphone of the Heritage Foundation urging 'the Obama administration' to use some Shock Doctrine tactics before the smoke clears. I think if Obama leaves direction of policy to Hillary Clinton, bad things will happen. (That's no defense of Obama, because he knows that too.)

So far I can't really think of evidence that Obama has tried to bypass the bureaucracy much.
But since nobody seems to even recognize the existence of factions and lobbies within our government, and since nobody ever suggests the military wears no clothes, it's hard to get good reporting on that.

Posted by N E at January 15, 2010 08:01 AM

since nobody ever suggests the military wears no clothes ...

It must be very pleasant on your planet.

Posted by Duncan at January 15, 2010 08:57 AM

N E
I have very close friends in Haiti ( like family--my friend is in New Orleans--imagine what happened to him and his family during Katrina! his parents and siblings and their families are in Haiti) and I have been to Haiti and in spite of the poverty, it is a beautiful country, warm, welcoming people, majestic mountains and beautiful beaches and lovely music and amazing paintings ( I have one hanging on the wall ).

As I mentioned above, the heartless discrimination against Haitians is deeply rooted. I even went and protested in front of immigration office when Reagan administration was letting boat people drown. If TPS is not given to the undocumented Haitians considering how long it is going to take to rebuild the country, it will be the WORST kind of shameless hypocrisy coated with fake compassion, sympathy, empathy, you name it, by the President.

ps btw, after being without any conatct with the family for more than twelve hours, we were able to connect with them via email and as my friend's brother wrote, "we are all alive but it is horrible".

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 15, 2010 11:08 AM

Rupa Shah

I'm glad the family close to you is ok and I hope it isn't as horrible there as everything suggests.

Duncan

I think my feet are squarely planted on earth on that point. This is a neighborhood highly opposed to warmongering, and even if I took a tally of the number of times people around here (not counting me) complain about Obama versus the number of times they complain about the military as a whole or the Pentagon or Petraeus or McCrystal or the CIA, the military would come out sounding almost uncriticized. The Pentagon and intel agencies are political entities with enormous political power that they freely use, and they should be treated like it. They no longer are very often, even by people who consider themselves lefties.

This has big consequences. The way the government actually operates allows very nationalistic, right-wing types in the military and intel agencies to undermine policies they don't like, foreclose other policy options, work the media, and effectively ensure that "liberal" or "dovish" policies fail while SIMULTANEOUSLY ensuring that the comparatively dovish President who endorses those policies will get all the blame. Now that's a hell of a trick.

Maybe realizing that won't take the fun for you out of howling about Obama, but if you ponder the dynamic of the process a little more, you might ever come to at least partly share my sickening sense of how we have arrived at our present state of affairs, in which US military spending is soaring right out of the earth's atmosphere into outer space and wars are happening all over the place and we attack anywhere we want without any meaningful political consideration of it by the public and we cannot afford to pay for anything else and yet only very weak political opposition exists to our unbridled militarism.

Posted by N E at January 15, 2010 01:18 PM

Come now, the sickening shame belongs to all of us.

Posted by Save the Oocytes at January 15, 2010 03:40 PM

It's just a load of horseshit that Hillary and Bill Clinton have only the interests of the Haitian people at heart, but are being constrained and thwarted by the evil USAID and CIA bureaucracy. Their policies are entirely continuous from 1992 to now:
- weaken political organizations that are led by and respond to Haiti's impoverished majority
- gut union protections
- wedge the Haitian state and economy into the sweatshop export model that's worked so well ... for Andy Apaid and his ilk, and for the Clintons themselves.

The depth of self-delusion among liberals about our connection to conditions in Haiti is just staggering. Take a look at Josh Marshall's post title: We didn't break it..., over a reader email that is one giant steaming pile of white man's burden bullshvt. (Without, as far as I'm aware, a mention there or anywhere on the TPM site of the TPS issue for Haitians in the U.S.)

Posted by Nell at January 15, 2010 05:40 PM

stO

Agreed, but I meant that I seem to have a less common (and for me sickening) sense of how the National Security bureaucracy effectively controls the political process without anybody even recognizing it.

So I'll play my song. Almost all Presidents who have tried to oppose the National Security bureaucracy (not all do) have figured out sooner or later that they weren't as in charge as the Commander in Chief title is supposed to make them. Some, like FDR and Nixon, knew it even before taking office. Others, like JFK, learned the hard way right out of the box. This doesn't mean these Presidents are nice guys (though some, like JFK and FDR, I greatly admire). Nixon most definitely wasn't a nice guy. But it's a huge problem that militarists within the National Security bureaucracy collectively have all this unaccountable power. That's what I have the sickening sense of.

But you're right we all get to share in the sickening shame that results from that problem.
And people in Haiti (and the Phillipines and Afghanistan and Iraq and El Salvador and Honduras and so on and so on and so on) get worse.

But you know that.

Posted by N E at January 15, 2010 06:15 PM

It's just a load of horseshit that Hillary and Bill Clinton have only the interests of the Haitian people at heart, but are being constrained and thwarted by the evil USAID and CIA bureaucracy. Their policies are entirely continuous from 1992 to now:
- weaken political organizations that are led by and respond to Haiti's impoverished majority
- gut union protections
- wedge the Haitian state and economy into the sweatshop export model that's worked so well ... for Andy Apaid and his ilk, and for the Clintons themselves.

The depth of self-delusion among liberals about our connection to conditions in Haiti is just staggering. Take a look at Josh Marshall's post title: We didn't break it..., over a reader email that is one giant steaming pile of white man's burden bullshvt.

Breaking: Administration grants 18 months temporary protected status for Haitians now in U.S.; Napolitano estimates this affects 100-200,000 people.

Posted by Nell at January 15, 2010 06:21 PM

Apologies for double-post, but at least the second one has some on-topic news.

Posted by Nell at January 15, 2010 06:26 PM

Peter Hallward succinctly and eloquently makes the points that I'd been driving at with clumsy, teeth-gnashing efforts (here and on my blog).

Posted by Nell at January 15, 2010 06:50 PM

Nell

Not all Presidents oppose the National Security bureaucracy (or any powerful interests), and that "bureaucracy" is a lot more than CIA. I have never said Bill Clinton ever opposed anybody, let alone taken risks to do it, and Hillary Clinton IS part of the bureaucracy now and seems to have been pretty tight with it for even longer, as has Bill frankly since at least 1995. I can't remember ever saying much good about either Clinton. I dislike them as much as some around here dislike Obama, who hasn't disappointed me but hasn't impressed me all that much either.

People think of bureaucrats as low-level paper-pushers, so maybe referring to the National Security bureaucracy is unhelpful, because that's obviously not who has power. I'm referring to rich, powerful politicians, usually lawyers, who are very connected, not people filling out forms. They have cabinet posts or aren't far from it, and collectively they have lots of power. Plus, they have the highly useful ability of using the covert capabilities of the military and intel agencies. That's the trump card.

I agree liberals are deluded, but they certainly aren't alone.

Posted by N E at January 15, 2010 07:03 PM

Nell

The Hallward article is very good. Thanks.

Posted by N E at January 15, 2010 08:06 PM

I just came home and saw the breaking news about the administration granting TPS to undocumented Haitians for 18 months. May be, I was too harsh in my comment at 11.08am. Unfortunately, past history is not conducive to make one feel charitable!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/15/AR2010011501920.html

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 15, 2010 10:30 PM


Street on Haiti, the "classquake" and the American Empire. Good brief history lesson on the US and Haiti.-Tony


http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/23640

Posted by tony at January 16, 2010 10:10 AM

You all suffer from a crippled epistemology. How dare you question the machinations of the ruling class.

--Cass Sunstein, future Supreme Court Justice

PS. Not exactly the usual group of cognitive infiltrators, eh? Delusion, thy name is meliorism.

Posted by Oarwell at January 16, 2010 10:28 AM

Tony

Lots of what Paul Street writes is great, but he likes the less accurate and most misleading parts of Chomsky too much. I chortle when I read the phrase "Wilson's troops." ("Clinton's Pentagon" is just as good. Linda Tripp worked for 'Clinton's Pentagon'.) And Robert Lansing (the uncle of John Foster and Allen Dulles) was indeed Wilson's Secretary of State, but he was disloyal to Wilson, who never trusted or liked him.

I agree with Streets point about the devastation from the earthquake being man-made, and that the US has meddled in Haiti for more than a century with ruinous effect. But to stop our destructive interference requires understanding why it keeps happening even when Presidents like Woodrow Wilson don't want it to happen. Woodrow Wilson was quite sincere in his desire for self-determination for Haitans and other peoples of the world, but he didn't accomplish it. Those who assume he wasn't sincere have got the history wrong. For anyone who wants to know about that, I recommend a book Donald Johnson provoked me into checking out of the library and reading to see what really happened with the US occupation of Haiti in 1915. It is The United States Occupation of Haiti by Hans Schmidt. The most pertinent part about how Wilson wanted self-determination for Haitians but was foiled in those efforts is found at 114-115.

To stop this, it is not sufficient for a President to be well-intentioned. What is sufficient is not clear, because it hasn't happened yet. But alas, it is clear that it isn't going to be easy.

Posted by N E at January 16, 2010 03:11 PM

Oarwell

Apostasy, thy name is fatalism.

Posted by N E at January 16, 2010 03:28 PM

NE,

I suggest you take up your points with Street himself. His email address is below everyone of his articles, or you can comment below his articles at z and see his response. I simply forward his articles for those that might be interested and because I feel he is on point.


But to stop our destructive interference requires understanding why it keeps happening.

I think he-Street- understand quite well why the US follows the actions that it does all around the world for decades..It is rather silly to suggest otherwise. You might not agree with his perspective but that is another question.

The most pertinent part about how Wilson wanted self-determination for Haitians but was foiled in those efforts is found at 114-115.

I really dont have the time to read this right now but what was the evidence offered regarding Wilson wanting self determination for the Haitians?-Tony


Posted by tony at January 16, 2010 03:39 PM

Is everybody saving up for their Conspiracy Theory Tax?

Posted by Marcus at January 16, 2010 03:56 PM

Tony

Not a bad suggestion about contacting Street. And I do appreciate your forwarding. I comment on things I believe inaccurate, which always seem to fall into the same category, possibly because i don't know anything else.

I think you're partly right about what Street understands. But he takes the Chomsky line, under which good politics trumps accuracy. My problem with that is, Chomsky's approach (which includes treating the ruling class and government elite as monolithic) hasn't been at all effective. An approach that compromises accuracy for results and then doesn't get results doesn't seem all that great to me.

As for how Wilson ended up doing so many wrong and unsuccessful things despite his good intentions, he ran into many of the same pitfalls many other liberal Dem Presidents have run into. Here's a very abridged version:

Teddy Roosevelt and the militarists wanted the US to get into WWI and said Wilson was endangering the country. Haiti has a deep water port near the newly-opened Panama Canal, and Germany had an increasing commercial presence in Haiti. American banks wanted to increase their commencial presence and get rid of competition, and the navy trumpeted a security threat, as it does to this day. Wilson had no experience in foreign affairs, and his first secretary of state, William Jennings Bryan, was a well-spoken hayseed (quoted by Schmidt at 48 as exclaiming 'Dear me! Think of it! Niggers speaking French!'). Bryan turned to Roger Farnham, a lawyer who was a VP of National City Bank, for guidance as to how to handle Haitian affairs. (We know what comes of that.) WWI put the Haitian government in financial trouble, the bank took advantage, the navy and the GOP increased their constant complaints that Wilson was exposing the canal to German attack, and when the serpent Lansing replaced bumpkin Bryan the pressure for seizure of the Haitian ports increased even more. Wilson went along with the consensus within his own party and administration and the opposition and ordered the invasion in 1915, and though he continued to resist pressure to enter WWI, he ultimately yielded there too (much more reluctantly than any reader of Chomsky would ever know).

Wilson's Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels (FDR's then-boss and friend) said Wilson tried to extricate the troops from Haiti once before his stroke in 1919, and that he never intended to keep them there, but both Lansing and others in the administration were imperialists and delayed the move. Even before Wilson's stroke, he had been politically immobilized on all fronts except his effort for the League of Nations, and the stroke finished that effort too.

The consequences of Wilson's overall failure are just history now, and it's easy for armchair Presidents to sit back and say he shouldn't have done this or that, but he was a very smart man and very talented politician, and for a long while he kept the wolves at bay very adroitly. He did try, and it's a pity he failed. The consequendes of that failure include millions of lives lost, and it wouldn't be too much of a stretch too include the Holocaust in the list.

Part of what happened to Wilson was ordinary dirty politics, part his own folly, part the dreadful racism of our country at that time, part the duplicity of those in his own administration. But a big part was military insubordination and perhaps even treason, because if Woodrow Wilson wasn't poisoned on April 3, 1919 when Bela Kun and Bolsheviks had taken control of Hungary and German Spartacists were threatening insurrection, then Wilson's own doctor was fooled for a few hours, before the good doctor came to his senses and decided it was just the flu. Ralph van Deman, a crazy anti-communist who headed military intelligence at Versailles and hated Wilson more than most of the military, was probably less than ecstatic that Wilson didn't die. He certainly loathed him and all his left-leaning principles.

The abuse of power by those within or in control of the military didn't start happening after the CIA was created. That goes back ages. Wilson did wrong by Haiti, as in Mexico and other places, but it wasn't because he was eager to do wrong or because he lacked good intentions. I have seen nothing that suggests to me that he was insincere about self-determination for Haitians and Mexicans and other peoples (though I have no doubt that like virtually all other white people, he thought them inferior). He just didn't get to have the final say in the matter.

Posted by N E at January 16, 2010 05:01 PM

NE:Not a bad suggestion about contacting Street. And I do appreciate your forwarding. I comment on things I believe inaccurate,

From this i assume you will be commenting over on znet on the Street article I gave a link too? I look forward to your exchange with Street!

NE:I think you're partly right about what Street understands. But he takes the Chomsky line, under which good politics trumps accuracy.

I have no idea what this means...maybe you can provide a quote or an example, or maybe you can bring this up with Street over at z and see what he has to say? Again he is very easy to find and question.

NE:My problem with that is, Chomsky's approach

What is Chomsky's approach?


NE: (which includes treating the ruling class and government elite as monolithic)

In what way? What exactly do you mean? Provide an example. He has written lots of books. Maybe you can quote him on this?

NE:hasn't been at all effective.

What does this mean? Not effective in what way? Effective in regards to what?


NE:An approach that compromises accuracy

Provide an example of what you mean.

NE:for results and then doesn't get results doesn't seem all that great to me.

Honestly NE, I have no idea what you are talking about. I've read Chomsky pretty closely for years and I literally don't know what you are saying.


As for the rest of your post, my original question asked for the evidence that Wilson was in favor of Haitian self determination. I didn't see it in what you provided.-Tony

Posted by tony at January 16, 2010 05:50 PM

Tony

I'll work backwards. If you didn't see it in what I provided, all I can do is refer you to Schmidt's book. Maybe you'll see it there, maybe not. I thought and think it's pretty clear in what I summarized, but that might depend on what else you know. That was my best shot for a comment.

I provided a link about Peter Dale Scott commenting on Chomsky either on this thread or another one in the last couple of days. But basically, Chomsky and Howard Zinn are activists, and they aren't interested in history or ideas for their own sake. They simplify, and that's fine, but they haven't had a political payoff. When I say they treat the ruling class as monolithic,I mean they don't really account for interests or factions, which obviously exist. In that regard, Scott's analysis is more accurate and less superficial. (I could have sworn that you have previously recognized that Chomsky acknowledges that he is a simplifier, but maybe I misremember.)


There is no significant political movement today that follows Chomsky's ideas. He seems more politically irrelevant than ever, so much so that he isn't even considered subversive, and if the point of simplifying ideas is to give them mass appeal, that hasn't worked for him. I recommend telling people the truth and seeing where that goes, even if the truth is complicated. Peter Dale Scott's opinions are less superficial, and I my views much more strongly resemble Scott's. I respect Chomsky a lot, but not everythign he says is correct. i am not terribly impressed by his historical analysis, especially because he stays clear of "conspiracy" issues that he full well knows exist. That being said, he is extremely good at calling bullshit, and brave about it.

Here's the link to the Dale Scott interview I mentioned. Maybe that will explain more, though perhaps not enough.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_uad3-RsQk

Posted by N E at January 16, 2010 07:14 PM

NE:I'll work backwards. If you didn't see it in what I provided, all I can do is refer you to Schmidt's book. Maybe you'll see it there, maybe not. I thought and think it's pretty clear in what I summarized, but that might depend on what else you know. That was my best shot for a comment.

My question,NE, seems pretty straight forward and easy to answer.

You mentioned a book that supposedly provided evidence of Wilson's belief in the right of self determination for Haiti...This coming from a man that invaded the country, which lead to a virtual slave state and destroyed the constitution of the country and paved the way for the country to be taken over by US corporate interests...a not too uncommon phenomenon in US history..

You gave two pages in the book you mentioned where the evidence for the claim can be found and I asked what it was. You did not provide it in your answer previous to this, nor have you provided the evidence in this response except to say go read the book.


NE:I provided a link about Peter Dale Scott commenting on Chomsky either on this thread or another one in the last couple of days. But basically, Chomsky and Howard Zinn are activists, and they aren't interested in history or ideas for their own sake.

This, frankly, is nonsense. Both Chomsky and Zinn are interested in history which can easily be seen by simply reading what they write. You may not like what they write, or you may not agree with their sympathies and bias, which all history or political writers have, but to say they aren't "interested in history or ideas for their own sake" is a ridiculous statement.

NE:They simplify, and that's fine,

This maybe true....and once again please provide and example of what you mean....

You say a lot of things and throw around a lot of accusations but provide no quotes or examples of what you mean.

NE:but they haven't had a political payoff.

Maybe its because you are confused since the above implies that Chomsky and Zinn are some kind of leaders of a political movement interested in developing a following to their cause, or the "Chomsky approach," whatever that is, which if you were even remotely familiar with Chomsky views on politics and anarchism you would know your statement above is just total confusion.


NE:When I say they treat the ruling class as monolithic,I mean they don't really account for interests or factions, which obviously exist.

Again this could be true...provide an example.

Hawks and doves exists, if that is what you mean, and you are wrong to say that both NC and HZ don't acknowledge both which they do...they may focus on the similarities between the two and how the views of such are much more similar than different, which again if one just looks at the structure of power in the US it would be hard for it, if not impossible, for it to be otherwise. This can be easily seen with the current war criminal occupant of the White House and the similarities with the previous war criminal which is perhaps best summed up in a Wall ST. Journal editorial:

"One benefit of the Obama Presidency is that it is validating much of George W. Bush's security agenda and foreign policy merely by dint of autobiographical rebranding [and with] ....artfully repackaged versions of themes President Bush sounded with his freedom agenda. We mean that as a compliment..." Wall Street Journal Editors, "Barack Hussein Bush," June 5, 2009

Maybe the first time ever in my life I agree with the editors of the WSJ...but yeah that is a correct and accurate statement that shows the similarities between the two "factions" of the business party as opposed to their differences which again both NC and HZ acknowledge and write about.

NE:(I could have sworn that you have previously recognized that Chomsky acknowledges that he is a simplifier, but maybe I misremember.)

In regards to how he writes-very simple ideas and straight forward language- and how easy it is to understand politics. He has often said and written that any high school age person can understand US political economy. I agree...there is no need for big words and dense language that requires a degree in the latest Post Modernist gibberish to understand how the world works....yes he is very much against that trend which is a part of some segments of the left, regrettably.

NE:There is no significant political movement today that follows Chomsky's ideas

Again you are completely confused as to your understanding of Chomsky's politics since he is not about having anyone follow his idea's.

I think you should read a history of anarchism or familiarize yourself with socialists libertarian history to gain some insight into NC political beliefs before commenting on them.

NE:He seems more politically irrelevant than ever,

I dont know...that packed speaking schedule booked two years in advance and the fact that he is one of the most quoted people in history seems to suggest otherwise....and just a general point on anarchism, it is certainly going through a upswing in say the last 10 years or so...

also, given that NC views are very much in line with the majority of the population on issue after issue I cant see how he is "politically irrelevant." Maybe from the view of the democratic party structure and ruling class elites, or from the viewpoint of elitists in general, but who cares whether state reactionaries find NC important or not? I am sure they hate him which is good.

NE:so much so that he isn't even considered subversive, and if the point of simplifying ideas is to give them mass appeal, that hasn't worked for him.

Again total confusion based on your ignorance of his writings and beliefs...see above.

NE:especially because he stays clear of "conspiracy" issues that he full well knows exist.

really? Wow!! You have a crystal ball or can read NC mind.

I will watch the link you provided....

and again I look forward to seeing you over on z pointing out to Paul Street the errors in his "inaccurate" analysis since "he takes the Chomsky line, under which good politics trumps accuracy" which again we are left to wonder what exactly this is since no example or quote is given.

Again Street is very easy to find and interact with.-Tony

Posted by tony at January 17, 2010 12:20 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_uad3-RsQk

NE,
I watched your link of Scott and i must say the views and idea he presented were rather standard and comical...

He starts of with a rather latent racist comment that we know that 9/11 could not have been committed by "19 arabs following the directions of man with a beard in a cave..."

Really? Why not? Were they too stupid to hijack planes and fly them into buildings...What is so hard about that?

Later he then makes the same logical error that you hear time and again about the Bush administration benefiting from 9/11 imply then that they must have been behind the whole thing. I mean this is just a staggering error in logic that it is hard to comment on it.

Elites always use catastrophes of one form or another to further their agenda...Always. So the fact that the Bush administration used 9/11 to further draconian measures in the US and as a spring board to invade Iraq proves nothing. Any excuse they can use will be used to push through some kind of regressive policy or another. History also shows it is rather easy for states to whip up a propaganda campaign to justify a certain action it wants to carry out. I don't think I need to give examples...

The existence of the Soviet Union was used for years by the US to justify all kinds of interventions and attacks all over the world and justify crack downs on free speech, political parties, unions and so on. As you know, it-communism in general- was used as the main reason behind the creation of the NSS to begin with...does this mean that the USA acted with and in support of the Bolsheviks in bringing about the Russian Revoltion?

There has been a whole industry created around conspiracy theories...I have no idea how many books, films, groups and whatever have come about by the growth of people believing in conspiracies. Obviously there are people benefiting from the creation of the industry. Does this mean that the people benefiting from the industry played a part in the death of JFK?

This is obviously nonsense and i don't believe it but the logic is the same that Scott and others use regarding the US being involved in 9/11.

I agree with him when he describes Chomsky as a structuralist if he means that Chomsky looks at the major political economic institutions of the country and how that translates to what the USA does both at home and internationally. Of course that is true. States have always been instruments of class rule and domination throughout history. So I don't see Chomsky arguing this as being even controversial. Its common sense. Scott doesn't really offer a contrary view except to say that there are factions in society within the political economic elite that often compete with one another. This is true and don't see how it contradicts a structuralist view or Chomsky since he doesn't say otherwise.

I also agree with him that there should be a full unbiased investigation into 9/11...we dont know the whole story and and we haven't seen all the documentation and so on, but it is leap to take that and then say the US govt was involved.-Tony

Posted by tony at January 17, 2010 03:27 PM

Interesting and enlightening article...
http://www.zmag.org/zspace/commentaries/4112

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 18, 2010 10:35 AM

And USA still wants to play "the bully", even in relief effort, turning away a plane with inflatable hospital ( from DWB/MSF ).

"French minister criticizes US aid role in Haiti"
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8904367
"Anger at US builds at Port-au-Prince airport"
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5guma2WKnHthswP2UVPiCIuLm_ocQ

And images from the devastated areas.....
It is worse than one can see.
http://www.corbisimages.com/Search/SearchResults.aspx?q=haitian+earthquake

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 18, 2010 01:04 PM

Tony and N E
Frankly, I am not knowledgeable about the history regarding W.Wilson but your exchange made me look for an answer to the question posed. And what I found was......

On the negative side, Wilson's idealism sometimes led to him astray. If his commitment to self-determination led him to set the Philippines on the road to independence, in Latin America, his desire to promote the benefits of democracy produced the invasion and military occupation of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. And if he generally avoided those mistakes in Mexico, it is hard not to suspect that major reasons for his restraint were the practical problems associated with imposing a regime on that large nation. He tolerated no dissent during the war and authorized serious violations of Americans' civil liberties in his quest for victory. Nor did his zest for humanitarian justice extend to American blacks:

http://millercenter.org/academic/americanpresident/wilson/essays/biography/9

This has been an educational lesson for me and thanks for the same.

ps I posted a comment before this one but it had links and has gone to the moderator.

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 18, 2010 01:30 PM

Hello Rupa,
Thanks for your links and quote, but I would not take them all that seriously since Wilson's commitment to self determination and democracy for the poor the benighted natives in US colonies is on par with Stalin's commitment to the same in Hungary and Poland.-Tony

Posted by tony at January 18, 2010 02:54 PM

Hi Tony,
I interpreted the quote as supporting your thesis that Wilson did not have interests of Haitians in mind.
rupa

Also, additional info from, where else, the US state dept!!
What US does best....that is in its best interest!
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/wwi/88275.htm

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 18, 2010 04:41 PM

Hi Rupa,

My comments in response to your post where directed at the Pravda article, I mean the miller center, article you posted, not you. Sorry if that was not apparent in my first post. I usually dont have all day when i respond and post here and at other blogs so my intention and words may not be all that clear. My apologies if you took my comments the wrong way.-Tony

Posted by tony at January 18, 2010 06:50 PM

Tony

I attached the clip because you asked me what I meant about Chomsky taking certain positions for political reasons, not because I was trying to change your views about 9/11. People don't change their minds about such things because of blog comments or discussion, or perhaps for that matter anything else.

But since you bring it up, you may be wrong to assume it would have been easy to fly planes into the towers. I am no pilot, but I have heard pilots interviewed about that. It certainly is possible to fly a jet at those speeds into a structure, but many experienced pilots think it would have been difficult, not easy. (Beats me. The sky would be hard enough for me to hit.) There is a whole organization of pilots that has formed because of their doubts about such aspects of the 'official story.' Most of what you said in that comment is just assumptions, and I doubt you give any of it that much thought. That's almost universal. It's those issues of belief formation that fascinate me and strike me as important, because when Karl Rove told Ron Suskind some years ago that they make reality now, he wasn't just whistling Dixie. 9/11 really did change everything, and to make an understatement, that doesn't seem to have been entirely accidental.

As for history, the statement that "Wilson's commitment to self determination and democracy for the poor the benighted natives in US colonies is on par with Stalin's commitment to the same in Hungary and Poland" is ridiculous hyperbole. You should read Thomas Knock, and just about anything else other than Chomsky, before you try to argue that point with anyone who knows anything about Wilson. I rather like Wilson, and not because I like racism or hypocrisy or trodding upon the backs of the oppressed.

The problems with our politics were and are structural and systemic, but not in the cartoonish way that Chomsky insists upon. Powerful people sometimes do try to do the right thing (even if sometimes they also don't), and when they do other powerful people try to stop them, right up to and including by killing them, or trying to, and none of that is one bit inconsistent with structural theories of society and government. In fact, it's arguably MORE consistent with them, because powerful interests should be expected to use the machinery of the state to protect themselves and to thwart democratic and humanistic initiatives. That is, after all, what powerful interests have always done everywhere else, and nobody seems surprised by that. Perhaps you and Chomsky don't think that anyone with power can be a mixed bag of good and bad--that the same man who held the condescending, racist attitudes towards most non-whites that pervaded his class could also sincerely believe in principles of self-determination. But it doesn't surprise me; it almost strikes me as typical.

In any event, keep up your good work towards a better society. That's more productive.

Posted by N E at January 18, 2010 07:44 PM

Posted by Tony at January 18, 2010 06:50 PM:

Hi Tony,
No apologies needed.
rupa.

Posted by Rupa Shah at January 18, 2010 07:59 PM

Ne,

First off this will be my last post on the matter since I really don't like to get involved with debates regarding conspiracies theories....they don't interest me all that much and they are more a distraction and a waste of my time more than anything else. And why I avoid them .

NE:Most of what you said in that comment is just assumptions, and I doubt you give any of it that much thought.

Well it is very easy to quote me which you never do so I don't know what you are referring too. But what is the point


NE:"Wilson's commitment to self determination and democracy for the poor the benighted natives in US colonies is on par with Stalin's commitment to the same in Hungary and Poland" is ridiculous hyperbole.

Invasion, destroying the constitution, re-institution of a virtual slave state says otherwise...

Nice sounding rhetoric about self determination and democracy should be seen for what they are. the history of imperialism is full of nice sounding words about how the aggressor state is only acting in the best interest of those attacked and conquered. As if Wilson's Foreign Policy, or any other US presidents, is a branch of the Red Cross.

I think it was Henry Kissinger who said that Foreign policy should not be confused with missionary work. He was right and it applies to your hero as much as it does to George Bush. That's how states operate.

I don't see the point to responding to anything else you say because if I do you will just ignored it anyway.

And the cartoon illustrator Chomsky is as easy to contact on z as is Paul Street. I look forward to your exchange with both since you have taken plenty of shots at both in the safety of this blog and I know you will want to show them the error of their ways, but I wont hold my breath.-Tony

Posted by tony at January 18, 2010 08:22 PM

Tony:

You wrote: "regarding conspiracies theories....they don't interest me all that much and they are more a distraction and a waste of my time more than anything else. And why I avoid them."

That's what I was talking about when I said most of what you wrote was assumptions that you haven't thought much about. Not surprisingly, if you don't think much about something, what you think about it won't be worth much. I didn't mean to be insulting. I don't think about lots of things.

As for Wilson, you really seem stuck on the idea that everything that happens during a President's term in office was his doing. That certainly isn't true in the United States, notwithstanding how prevalent the view is. I don't think you understand how the government actually works, or even try to understand that, and I don't think Paul Street does either, but I doubt I'd do any better telling him than I have telling you. Wilson certainly wasn't my hero. I have a higher opinion of Debs, who was a better man, but Wilson did try to do some great things, and your opinion of him is unfair and misguided. I don't consider myself an expert on how the National Security bureaucracy works, but I do at least try to understand it, because I think that's the crux of the problem. I admire your commitment to your ideals, and your willingness to think hard and work for what you believe, but I don't think your approach will work, because our politics are effectively rigged.

By the way, I don't consider myself saying anything in the "safety" of this blog. I think as honestly as I can and let the chips fall where they may. I'd say the same thing to Paul Street as to you, without blinking, and I am a bit of a broken record, so I wouldn't think that would surprise you. I rather doubt Paul Street would pay any attention to me. I assume he has heard it all before; I know Chomsky has. I would guess that Chomsky had heard everything I have to say long before I had even thought of any of it, because there just isn't much new under the sun. Or in my head anyway.

Sorry that you feel I'm ignoring what you say. I don't mean to seem dismissive, but I sometimes get a belated glimmer of recognition that I'm repeating myself.

Posted by N E at January 18, 2010 08:53 PM

NE: "The problems with our politics were and are structural and systemic, but not in the cartoonish way that Chomsky insists upon ... Perhaps you and Chomsky don't think that anyone with power can be a mixed bag of good and bad--that the same man who held the condescending, racist attitudes towards most non-whites that pervaded his class could also sincerely believe in principles of self-determination. But it doesn't surprise me; it almost strikes me as typical."

What is cartoonish here is your caricature of Chomsky. He has often pointed out that people who work in institutions can sincerely believe in all kinds of kissyface-huggybear principles, but if they don't carry out their jobs, they won't keep their jobs. A corporate CEO may sincerely believe in treating workers well, in the importance of preserving the environment, etc., but he has to cut costs, maximize profits, etc., or he won't be a CEO for long. He also points out that the systems of control (whose power you have previously considered total or nearly total) are not perfect, that they contain a certain amount of wiggle-room in which people can make a difference, that reporters and editors find ways to get useful information into news stories, and so on.

Tony's point about the racism in supposing that a bunch of Arabs could not have carried out the 9/11 hijackings is well-taken. It reminds me that a bunch of little yellow people in black pajamas managed to fight off the most powerful nation on earth, despite its greater firepower and other resources. By your logic, that would imply that Vietnam must have been an "inside job" -- that John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson secretly supported the Vietnamese people, sending 55,000 American boys to their deaths in the jungle so as to increase the power of the National Security State.

Posted by Duncan at January 19, 2010 10:54 AM

NE:That's what I was talking about when I said most of what you wrote was assumptions that you haven't thought much about. Not surprisingly, if you don't think much about something, what you think about it won't be worth much. I didn't mean to be insulting. I don't think about lots of things.

well I am going to take back what I said in my last post and respond to you.

I stand by what I said NE for the reason given in my response to the Scott video...He offered no evidence, just mad accusation after accusation, some boarding on racism, and then made a logicl error that I pointed out by the examples I gave...that's is not evidence of anything except of Scott's poor logic and argument and yes it is the same argument I have heard over and over from accepting the US was behind the whole thing...so yeah I dint give it much time because one, I dont see it deserving more time than I give it and two, I concern myself with the actions I know the US is committing all over the world and try to do something about those very real actions since they have consequences. It is as simple as that..

I dont put anything past what the US govt can and will do..This is a country that dropped atomic bombs on civilians, but I don't leap to conclusions on what the US has done based on arguments that say, well the US benefitted from the attack so the Bush administration must have been behind the whole thing....Its just sheer nonsense based on bad logic...Sorry but I try to steer clear of such arguments.

NE:As for Wilson, you really seem stuck on the idea that everything that happens during a President's term in office was his doing.


No i don't...I asked over and over for the evidence that Wilson was in favor in Haitian self -determination beside empty rhetoric...None has been given for a simple and obvious reason... There isn't any.

You can talk all you want about back stabbers, and turn coats and whatever, but the fact remains this is true of all bureaucratic structures...I mentioned in post way back when that it was true of the Bolsheviks...so tho say that there are factions within a ruling party is like saying the sky is blue when the sun shines...there is an overall set of assumptions and values that one has in the structure or you are not part of that structure. The US has financial and business interests in Haiti that just ruled out by fiat Haitian independence because those financial and business interests would come under attack if the Haitians did indeed have independence. If you think Wilson was going to let that happen than I thin you need to ask yourself whether you "understand how the government actually works, or even try to understand that..."

As for the conditions and circumstances of Haiti under the benign occupation of the US see the following links....I less I missed it, none of this has ever appeared in any of your posts.

http://haitiforever.com/windowsonhaiti/haiti_occupation_series_00.shtml

NE:but Wilson did try to do some great things, and your opinion of him is unfair and misguided.

You're putting words in my mouth... maybe because you never quote me...

i never said Wilson did not do some great things. I said show me the evidence that Wilson was in favor of self-determination for the Haitian people. I am still waiting to see that evidence.

Wilson is like any other head of state...sure he can do some good and not...Again you can find some good things done by Hitler or Stalin or whatever monster you want to pick...


NE:I don't consider myself an expert on how the National Security bureaucracy works, but I do at least try to understand it, because I think that's the crux of the problem.

And I don't disagree with you on this point, but the larger point that you never can see even when it has been pointed out to you over and over, is that people don't get to the top of that bureaucracy unless they have internalized the values and world view of that bureaucracy. Its like saying someone becomes the head of Goldman Sachs and then questions the validity of the profit system. That's is not going to happen.

So by the same token someone doesn't get to the top of the imperial state by questioning the validity of the imperial state or what the imperial state does especially when there are large financial interests involved.

NE:By the way, I don't consider myself saying anything in the "safety" of this blog. I think as honestly as I can and let the chips fall where they may. I'd say the same thing to Paul Street as to you, without blinking, and I am a bit of a broken record, so I wouldn't think that would surprise you. I rather doubt Paul Street would pay any attention to me. I assume he has heard it all before; I know Chomsky has. I would guess that Chomsky had heard everything I have to say long before I had even thought of any of it, because there just isn't much new under the sun. Or in my head anyway.

Ok, but NE be serious....you have taken shot after shot, especially at NC, without ever quoting him or linking to an article to show what you mean and so on....I mean how many books on politics has NC written? I honestly don't know...maybe something like 50...You would think that instead of throwing around claims and accusations about what NC thinks and believes in you would at least quote him one time. That doesn't seem to hard to do.

Not once, imagine that. You joined a long list of mud slingers.

Now that is all I am going to say on this thread.-Tony


Posted by tony at January 19, 2010 02:05 PM

Tony

Your first paragraph:

I believe that Scott LIKES Chomsky, and I don't think he accused him of much. They go wake back, as do he and Zinn. They aren't enemies, so if you got that impression, you misunderstood their relationship. As to "bordering on racism," I don't know what you're talking about. That kind of blows my mind. Peter Dale Scott certainly isn't a racist in any way I understand. As for me leaping to conclusions, that's kind of funny too. In that case, it sure was a slow, laborious "leap" for me, especially in comparison to your own views, which you previously admitted are basically off the cuff. You would be more persuasive calling things "sheer nonsense" and "bad logic" if you at least took the time to understand them first.

Your second paragraph:

You complain that I didn't pay attention to what you said, but I have the same complaint. I never said Haiti was under a benign occupation. I think Haiti has been treated abominably. And despite your complaint, I did point out my understanding, from Schmidt's book, of how Wilson ended up sending troops into Haiti despite his view favoring self-determination for the peoples of the world. I also referred to the views of members of Wilson's cabinet, expressly of his secretary of the navy, that he wanted to withdraw US troops as soon as he could without jeopardizing the Panama Canal during WWI. The rest of what I recited is posted, as well as in Schmidt's book. Other than a seance, I don't know what more you want me to do. That IS evidence. Of course, what Wilson wanted didn't end up mattering, and his legacy is what he DID, not what he would have preferred to happen, which is a valuable lesson for Presidents and others with power. But we aren't arguing about what Wilson did, or whether Wilson was a great guy. We're arguing about whether the problem that led to the invasion and oppression of Haiti was that Wilson was an imperialist, racist, and banking interests, or whether he was a non-imperialist, favored self-determination for Haitians and others, and generally was both good and bad but ended up maneuvered into doing the wrong things with regard to Haiti, despite his sincere intention to give Haitians self determination, because that's the way our political system operates. The latter is my position. The idea that there is some good and some bad to all heads of state is perhaps technically true, in a meaningless way, but when it leads to your suggestion that Wilson is comparable to Hitler or Stalin, it has become dumb. That is an offensive insult to Wilson and just plain ridiculous. Good grief, I don't think even Chomsky wants you to take that away from his writings!

As to your third paragraph:

You purport to agree with me that the National Security bureaucracy is the crux of the problem, but then you contend something inconsistent with my point. Being President and Commander in Chief and opposing militarism or empire is NOT like being the head of Goldman Sachs amd questioning the profit system. Apparently it now seems that way to many people, including you, such is the power of the National Security State nowadays, but our government does not exist exclusively to wage war and maintain an empire, and it should not even principally exist to do that. Certainly a President shouldn't think that, and many have not thought it. We have many militarists, and many military interests, but not all of our Presidents have been among them, and they need not be. Some have tried, and I hope will try again, to scale back our military and empire, but it will be hard for them to succeed, even harder if everyone just ASSUMES that they have full control of the military and intelligence agencies. At present, the reverse seems to be closer to true. Blaming Presidents misidentifies the problem, and it therefore may impede fixing the problem. That's my concern. That's what has led me to bother saying this over and over again for a while, just in case anyone gets anything from it.

As to your fourth paragraph:

I haven't meant to throw mud at Chomsky, and I don't think I've thrown as much mud at anyone as you have at me this time, Tony, but I am not thin-skinned at this point and you seem like a good guy to me even when you're mad, so don't fret. You may rest assure that any little bits of mud I've thrown at Chomsky would be trivial to him, because he has been bombarded by avalanches of it over several decades, including all the self-hating Jew crap, and he must have a vastly tougher hide than I do or he would have withered under those assaults long ago. I admire that and other things about him, especially that he's a brilliant guy willing to call bullshit on powerful people, which is rare. But in my opinion Chomsky is not so foolish as to let honesty take him to some political destinations that he doesn't want to visit. I don't really hold that against him, but I think if you don't understand that about him, you can't really understand how his IQ can drop as much as it does on some subjects. His opinions sbout "conspiracy theories" are not among his sharper views, which some time ago made me want to figure out why.

Posted by N E at January 19, 2010 04:50 PM

Duncan

Geez. Here goes. What is a little cartoonish about Chomsky's view is that although, as you point out, he accepts that Presidents and other people in power may WANT to do the right thing, he doesn't really concede that any of them really TRY to do the right thing. At least he doesn't go far down that road, so he ends up taking some historically incorrect positions. His history is an excellent antidote to mainstream US history, which is all about flag waving, but as Peter Dale Scott explained in the clip I linked to, Chomsky really doesn't address the existence of factions and interests within our society and government. Thus, he ends up describing a monolithic ruling class, which is at best only crudely accurate.

This somewhat superficial analysis leads Chomsky to some oversights, essentially because he wears ideological blinders, in my own view deliberately because he thinks it's good politics. But I disagree with him. His views about the Kennedy administration are wrong, and they have proved to be bad politics too. I don't see how anyone can try to defend the position that Chomsky's politics have been effective. The ineffectiveness may not be his fault, but that's a different question. And the record is clear about his views about the Kennedy administration. I would bet that he even senses that at this point.

Whether the 19 people supposedly responsible for 9/11 were arabs isn't the key to what Scott said or meant. His point was that 19 individual people without substantial training can't coordinate attacks like that and foil air defense and accomplish what was accomplished. (He of course knows that demonizing arabs was the point.) You, like Tony, apparently think someone can just get on a plane, take it over, change the course, and fly for an hour or two into a building any old time and nothing would happen to prevent it, and that four planes could do it at the same time just as easily, but that isn't so. (And a little thinking should make you lose your false confidence, but apparently it doesn't.) Pilots and air force personnel understand that just shouldn't happen, which is why one of those nutty "Truthers" you loathe was Colonel Robert Bowman, a former air force interceptor pilot. People accept the bizzarre and inexplicable as ordinary more than we like to admit. Neither 19 arabs nor jews nor pakistanis nor indians nor egyptians nor japanese nor chinese nor russians nor serbians nor americans nor whomever could have easily accomplished 9/11, because the US military has fighter jets to intercept plains and NORAD and other measures to prevent such things from happening. And we had such measures before 9/11 too, as Colonel Bowman could explain to you, because doing that was once his actual job.

By the way, Peter Dale Scott, an emeritus english professor at Berkeley, wrote what has been called by one reviewer the best political poem written in the english language during the last several decades. I mention that because the subject of the poem was the Indonesian military's murder of half a million or more members of the PKU in 1965, a slaughter that appalls Scott even now 45 years later. During the 60s, Scott, like Chomsky and Zinn, was active in the antiwar effort in the US to stop the slaughter of all those "little yellow people in black pajamas" that you apparently know so much more about than he does, being that you're not a racist and all. Scott has been working against US imperialism every bit as long as Chomsky has, and unlike NC, Scott has never been invited to address the cadets at Annapolis. (Or was it West Point--I can't recall!) Anyway, that's neither here nor there, except that somebody forgot to tell the military how much more subversive Chomsky is!

I sense, Duncan, that you've got it all figured out, and you are certainly brimming with confidence and quick to dismiss whacky and unsettling opinions which suggest that maybe there is more going on than you understand, but sometimes that confidence leads you to tell me things that I know, and have even said, as if the fact you are stating should surprise me. This leads me to believe that you are excessively interested in getting me to come around and join you in a good chant against Obama, whose cute nickname I can't recall at the moment, but that I'm sure will return to me in my sleep. That approach doesn't actually seem new to me, and it doesn't seem to have worked. Maybe nothing will work, because the odds are always long, but that's what I am trying to figure out--what will work.

Which takes us back to the Vietnamese, because as you point out, they won. And just as it wasn't because of their styling black pajamas, it wasn't because of their great chanting either. They won though at enormous cost, partly because they had legitimacy and popular support, and partly because they had significant Chinese and Soviet assistance, and most of all because they were smart and disciplined and they didn't give up. That's a valuable lesson.

But the Vietnamese also won because they realized the US public didn't consider the war worth the sacrifice and cost. Or at least that is the opinion of the US elite, and especially the military. In fact, that is the lesson of Vietnam that our leadership remembers, and even before we finished losing in Vietnam, the military set out to make sure that wouldn't happen again. You and they seem to have some common opinions. Like you, they actually think they were defeated by a bunch of little yellow people in pajamas, though also and more importantly by a bunch of no-good, ungrateful lefty students back home.

You can be sure that isn't going to happen to our military again if they have anything to say about it. And alas, they have a lot more to say about it than you recognize.

Posted by N E at January 19, 2010 06:15 PM

Ne,
I know i said i was done but I will respond to some of your comments since some are beyond belief.

Your first paragraph:

I did not say anything about Scott and Chomsky so i don't really understand your points regarding both. I have no idea what their relationship is. I only responded in regards to the video link you gave and the argument presented in it by Scott...and yes, the argument is ridiculous for the reasons I gave in the examples I gave that you ignored. I don't see any reason to repeat on this matter.


Your second para:

No need for a seance NE, just proof beyond self serving rhetoric that Wilson was in favor of self determination for the Haitians which you still have provided for the reason I gave before. There isn't any. Your proof is "his view favoring self-determination for the peoples of the world" which again is nothing but words that flies in the face of actual facts.

I stated that the history of imperialism and state violence is full of nice sounding words. I am sure you can come up with some. You can start with the Declaration Of Independence as a prime example. The Constitution of the Soviet Union is full of ideas and beliefs that we would both agree with. The problem arises when rhetoric meets the hard realities of power and control and domination. So Wilson or whomever can say all they want about freedom and self determination of colonial subjects but the realities of capitalism and the logic of Empire rule it out since freedom and self determination of the Haitians threatens US domination and control in the area. And no Empire openly undermines its own domination and control especially in its own back yard, which again, even the most casually look at say the history of the area over the last 200 years proves.

So to be clear, Wilson or any other head of state can profess till they are blue in the face about the his belief in self determination of his colonial subjects but it doesn't apply to them since if it did they would no longer be colonial subjects and that simply will not be tolerated by the ruling power no matter who it is.

And I am sorry you took offense my saying that Wilson's belief in self determination for his subjects is on par with Stalin's but that's the way it goes when you are running an empire.

Interesting that you don't take Stalin's rhetoric seriously, which you should not, or say George Bush's rhetoric when he say we are only trying to bring democracy to the people of Iraq and so on. Maybe you can explain the difference between Wilson's wanting "self determination for the people of the world" and Stalin's? Since my idea is so "dumb" I one would like to know the differences between the two. Please explain.

Your third para:

Well we just have to disagree on this matter.

No one becomes president unless they have internalized the values of the capitalist system and the domination and force needed to protect that system....That is just not possible. If they did not internalize the value system they would not be president. You don't give any examples of what you mean so it is hard to comment on what you say...

So I don't know what it means when you say "but our government does not exist exclusively to wage war and maintain an empire," This is truly a staggering statement that shows a level of political understanding that is hard to digest...

Doesn't the post WWII history tell you otherwise? Doesn't the invasions, coups, support of despots, or the ramming down the throats of others of a neo-liberal economic order that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of the few over the great mass of humanity say otherwise. If it is not the result of war and empire then what is it a result of?

I'll agree that it does not exist "exclusively" for this purpose, but if the end result is wealth and power concentrated in the hands of the few-which I hope you are not going to contend-then logic says that one of its main purposes, if not the main purpose, is to do exactly what it does.

4th Para:

Save your condescending comments for others NE.

Again all questions regarding NC should be directed to NC himself.... A very easy task to complete. But for reasons unknown you choose not too.-Tony

Posted by tony at January 20, 2010 03:02 PM

Tony

Chomsky does not take questions from people like me on this, which I have to say is pretty sensible of him as I imagine he is busy, and if he answers somebody on something like 9/11 or JFK, he will then be deluged with follow-up questions. Personally, I think he would be crazy to respond, and I don't think he is. I don't think I misunderstand him, but I don't think he's going to get too worried about it anyway even if I do misunderstand him. And it isn't that important--it is just interesting to me and maybe a few other people, but I doubt many.

Most of the rest of our exchange we just disagree about, and I don't have more to say, but you have expressly asked why I think comparing Woodrow Wilson to Stalin (and Hitler) is dumb, so I'll answer. I will say that most of your opinions aren't dumb, and my sense is that you are very honest, so don't think I think YOU are dumb. My remark referred to only that particular opinion.

Stalin = dictator, mass murderer; Wilson = speechmaker, moralizer. Stalin killed people who threatened his power. Woodrow Wilson didn't even fire people who were openly disloyal and insubordinate, and in some cases probably even committed treason. Woodrow Wilson can be blamed for being too weak for the challenges he faced, but they were huge challenges. Stalin can be blamed for some things too, such as starving millions of people in the Ukraine, slaughtering the whole officers corps of the Red Army in 1937 (which probably wasn't the best of times to do that), murdering Trotsky and all the old Bolsheviks around that time too, betraying the Revolution (The Revolution Betrayed was Trotsky's book, you might recall), possibly poisoning Lenin, suppressing worker's rights, cutting a deal with Hitler, selling out communist parties elsewhere, and generally behaving like a psychopath and criminal, which I agree does not distinguish him from more politicians than people think.

Of course, Wilson had failings too. He did fail to end war for all time, and he didn't get the navy or army to pay much attention to his speeches about self-determination, including the 14 points, which our militarists didn't like at all. Maybe if Wilson had killed most of the officers in the navy and army they would have become more attentive listeners, but alas he didn't. That was Stalin's approach.

Now, I will concede that not many people aspire for their tombstone to say "Better than Stalin."

Posted by N E at January 20, 2010 05:31 PM