"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Mandatory Chomsky Rebuttal

Update (and a spell check)

Letter to the Irish Times:

Dear Madam,

Maurice Foley's attempted demolition of Noam Chomsky and Co.'s letter of last Friday was a worthwhile exercise. He managed to find, albeit I presume with an amount of difficulty, several mainstream sources for that relatively unknown event Mr. Chomsky referenced, the kidnapping of two Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military.

Unfortunately, Mr. Foley's criticism is flawed. Mr. Chomsky did not say that the story hadn't been reported, he said it had 'scarcely' been reported, this is true. In order to ascertain how scarcely this crime against International Law was reported we need only compare it to the reporting of the Israeli soldiers kidnapping on the Lebanese border. An Internet search for "Israeli soldier kidnapped" gave over 8.7 million results, I challenge Mr. Foley to find even one thousandth this number devoted to the 'scarcely' reported crime.

The shame is that there many other scarcely reported crimes, Independent film maker Gabriele Zamparini has compiled a list of some of them on his blog The Cat's Dream. He asks, Did you know: “45% of those killed in Lebanon are children and of the 500,000 people who have fled to safety, some 200,000 are children”?, “Lebanon's president accused Israel on Monday of using phosphorous bombs in its 13-day offensive and urged the United Nations to demand an immediate ceasefire”?, “Israeli military has said it will destroy 10 buildings in predominantly Shia south Beirut for every rocket fired at the Israeli port of Haifa, army radio said Monday”?, “The delivery of at least 100 GBU 28 bunker busters bombs containing depleted uranium warheads by the United States to Israel for use against targets in Lebanon will result in additional radioactive and chemical toxic contamination with consequent adverse health and environmental effects throughout the middle east.”?, “[a]ccording to the Lebanese police force, the two [Israeli] soldiers were captured in Lebanese territory”? and the list goes on.

Therefore Mr. Foley's suggestion that "we care so little about Hamas attacks on Israel that they fail even to raise an eyebrow in the West" is absurd. If this were the case, how is it that an Irish Times reader could tell you exactly how many rockets Hizbollah have fired on Israel, and perhaps even where the majority of these have landed. While I doubt anyone reading this paper, or any other, can tell us how many bombs and missiles Israel have dropped on Lebanon and Palestine in the last month.

But this is, as Mr. Chomsky says, irrelevant. Israel is presently conducting two illegal and immoral wars against civilian populations, and hundreds are dead.

Yours etc...

Maurice Foley's successful demolition of Noam Chomsky and co.'s shamelessly un-footnoted letter of last Friday was a breath of fresh air. He evidenced with little effort that theirs is a misrepresentation of what has and has not been reported by the mainstream press. Citing the Observer and the LA Times he revealed the extent of Mr. Chomsky's misleading rhetoric.

The kidnapping Mr. Chomsky cites as a precedent to the much publicised kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, and therefore poses Israel as the principle aggressor, was not as he implies 'scarcely' reported, it was in fact reported by every man and his dog. The Observer, for instance, had a 50 odd word readers letter at the bottom of its letters page semi-devoted to the case. The LA Times, as well, had...I don't know, I couldn't find it.

The point Mr. Foley misses is that the word 'scarcely' doesn't mean it wasn't reported, it was, what it means is that it wasn't reported alot. It was and never will be reported that Israel's illegal capture and detention of Palestinian civilians caused the present crisis to 'escalate'.

The most important point Chomsky and co. make is that:

"Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation."

Mr. Foley's search for 'peace' through the horrors of war is doomed.