Lets look at the evidence then.
"Chomsky supported the Vietnamese (by that I mean the NLF/"Viet Cong" and NVA) in their struggle against American and Saigon forces."
Next, Chomsky comes to the aid of Kmer Rouge (anti-US at the time) in these awful sladerous accusations of mass murder that must be the workings of an American Media Plot against its own people.
Then, "after irrefutable evidence of Khmer Rouge atrocities emerged, Chomsky started to assail the US government for not being more active in opposing the Khmer Rouge. (see: Chomsky, After the Cataclysm -- 1979)" --Lode Runner
Later as you claim he even argues "the Reagan administration gives support to a rebel alliance that includes the Khmer Rouge in their bid to drive out the Vietnamese-backed government that replaced Pol Pot." After the atrocities are brought to light.
I think that shows a pretty definate pattern of flip flopping entirely on the axis of "the enemy of the US is his friend". But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now and still say "maybe".
Now, to the other point you raise...
The only question was: what were the real numbers? Chomsky, IMHO, tries very hard to figure out what the real numbers are and fails.
That may be your question but not Chomsky's. Lets start with the peaceful accounts.
Lode Runners quote could fit here since even though an estimated one out of every five people were killed in Cambodia, he quotes a friends aquaintance who bicycled and saw no evidence of executions. But there are more
"in contrast, there are lengthy reports by Carol Bragg on a visit to Vietnam earlier this year by a six-person AFSC delegation, including two who had worked in Vietnam and are fluent in Vietnamese. The group traveled widely in the South and spoke to well-known leaders of the non-Communist Third Force who are active in the press and government, as well as ordinary citizens. They report impressive social and economic progress in the face of the enormous destruction left by the war, a 'pioneering life' that is 'difficult and at times discouraging,' but everywhere 'signs of a nation rebuilding' with commitment and dedication."
"there is...ample expert eyewitness testimony, including that of journalists of international repute, visiting Vietnamese professors from Canada, American missionaries and others who have traveled through the country where they worked for many years. Jean and Simonne Lacouture published a book in 1976 on a recent visit, critical of much of what they saw but giving a generally very positive account of reconstruction efforts and popular committment."
Now to the Maybe not peaceful accounts, but wrongly accused.
"Even if the [Washington Post] photographs had been authentic, we might ask why people should be pulling plows in Cambodia. The reason is clear, if unmentioned. The savage American assault on Cambodia did not spare the animal population."
"Hildebrand and Porter present a carefully documented study of the destructive American impact on Cambodia and the success of the Cambodian revolutionaries in overcoming it...In another editorial on the 'Cambodian Horror' (April 16, 1976), the Journal editors speak of the attribution of postwar difficulties to U.S. intervention as 'the record extension to date of the politics of guilt.'"
And we haven't even gotten to the part where he starts ceeding to the possibility of deaths yet. Read on, but it is more of the same. Although this sentance sticks out strangely...
"In brief, Hildebrand and Porter attribute "wrecking" and "rebuilding" to the wrong parties in Cambodia."
However the context of this seems to be that they attribute the wrecking and rebuilding to wrong parties according the the media and therefore don't get published, rather than they are simply wrong (as was evident in the years to follow.) Or as Chomsky says, "the mass media are not grateful for the Hildebrand-Porter message, and have shielded the general public from such perceptions of Cambodia." Yep, rather than any motives like truth and accurate reporting are dismissed as it must be a plot against the American people.
Now to the ceeding of casualties in the order Chomsky presents it.
"In contrast, the media favorite, Barron and Paul's 'untold story of Communist Genocide in Cambodia' (their subtitle), virtually ignores the U.S. Government role. When they speak of 'the murder of a gentle land,'" Will someone double check and verify that the title of the story is about the 'Communist Genocide in Cambodia', and not a cut and paste conspiracy in my American propagandist Computer? Becuase if that is so, then why would they talk about the US's role? Is this a Stallmanesque demand for their trademark values to be included in everyone elses writings also?
Then he disputes that they are even credible for mentioning the genocide becuase..."Their point of view can be predicted from the 'diverse sources' on which they relied: namely, 'informal briefings from specialists at the State and Defense Departments, the National Security Council and three foreign embassies in Washington.' Their 'Acknowledgements' mention only the expertise of Thai and Malaysian officials, U.S. Government Cambodian experts, and Father Ponchaud. They also claim to have analysed radio and refugee reports."
The Refugee reports he later mentions are obviously tainted becuase of the state that the US left the country in.
"Thus they claim that Ponchaud attributes to a Khmer Rouge official the statement that people expelled from the cities 'are no longer needed, and local chiefs are free to dispose of them as they please,' implying that local chiefs are free to kill them. But Ponchaud's first report on this (Le Monde, February 18, 1976) quotes a military chief as stating that they 'are left to the absolute discretion of the local authorities,' which implies nothing of the sort."
So they are wrong. How? In a quote that implies the murderous attitudes of an official, becuase he can dig up another quote from the same authors writings that someone else that says something more benign. Now, there are probably lots of interesting facts in that book. But we are to dismiss it on that? Why?
Because "Published in France in January 1977, it has become the best-known unread book in recent history, on the basis of an account by Jean Lacouture (in the New York Review of Books), widely cited since in the press, which alleges that Ponchaud has revealed a policy of 'auto-genocide' (Lacouture's term) practiced by the Communists." means that it must be what the media wants you to hear.
Now for the ceeding to deaths, with more mention of who really is to blame.
"and others elsewhere, have provided analyses by highly qualified specialists who have studied the full range of evidence available, and who concluded that executions have numbered at most in the thousands; that these were localized in areas of limited Khmer Rouge influence and unusual peasant discontent, where brutal revenge killings were aggravated by the threat of starvation resulting from the American destruction and killing. "
Look at that one closely, becuase it is a close as you'll get to ceeding that the Kmer Rouge caused any deaths, and the number is one hundredth of what really took place. And although they might have pulled the trigger, America (although not supporting the Kmer Rouge as he later claims) made it happen.
The next few lines are pretty telling (were still on the ceeding deaths and sticking the blame on America)...
"These reports also emphasize both the extraordinary brutality on both sides during the civil war (provoked by the American attack) and repeated discoveries that massacre reports were false. They also testify to the extreme unreliability of refugee reports, and the need to treat them with great caution, a fact that we and others have discussed elsewhere (cf. Chomsky: At War with Asia, on the problems of interpreting reports of refugees from American bombing in Laos). Refugees are frightened and defenseless, at the mercy of alien forces. They naturally tend to report what they believe their interlocuters wish to hear. While these reports must be considered seriously, care and caution are necessary. Specifically, refugees questioned by Westerners or Thais have a vested interest in reporting atrocities on the part of Cambodian revolutionaries, an obvious fact that no serious reporter will fail to take into account."
I quoted a lot there, becuase at every corner he ceeds he includes a jab that America is still to blame becuase they caused the reports, interpretations, killings, and circumstance. Lode Runners point is put across clearly here also. If such care and consideration is neccissary, then he is hippocritical in what he is saying about Afghanistan, predicting doom and massive killings before the fact. I see where Lode Runner has every reason to question Chomsky's commentary. Also Lode Runner did mention how Chomsky later directly charges the US as not doing enough to stop the Kmer Rouge, after all this evidence of what the US was trying to do to bring it to light.
The next paragraph was what Lode Runner mentioned even,
"To give an illustration of just one neglected source, the London Economist (March 26, 1977) carried a letter by W.J. Sampson, who worked as an economist and statistician for the Cambodian Government until March 1975, in close contact with the central statistics office. After leaving Cambodia, he writes, he "visited refugee camps in Thailand and kept in touch with Khmers," and he also relied on "A European friend who cycled around Phnom Penh for many days after its fall [and] saw and heard of no ... executions" apart from "the shooting of some prominent politicians and the lynching of hated bomber pilots in Phnom Penh." He concludes "that executions could be numbered in hundreds or thousands rather than in hundreds of thousands," though there was "a big death toll from sickness" -- surely a direct consequence, in large measure, of the devastation caused by the American attack. Sampson's analysis is known to those in the press who have cited Ponchaud at second-hand, but has yet to be reported here. And his estimate of executions is far from unique."
What was that estimate? Lets see if I can quote... "executions could be numbered in hundreds or thousands rather than in hundreds of thousands," and is it of little concequence of America? Is it just some concequence of America? Not it is a "a direct consequence, in large measure, of the devastation caused by the American attack." Again no mention of any support of Kmer from the Americans yet, but they are to blame in any case. (And later to blame for not doing enough.)
Next he goes on how the more accurate estimates are really over-exagerated, and mis-marked on blame. I have to go to work now, so I won't get in to it.
But it is evident already that Chomsky's question is not just the real numbers but who really is to blame, either indirectly by circumstance or directly to blame in use of B52's. After reading it I support Lode Runners position that he was directly downplaying and even dismissing the attrocities in Cambodia. Not only does he call in to question the accurate numbers, but that there are any numbers at all. He questions all of it with a few instances of journalism he can bring in to doubt, rather than the whole of it, or even the most convincing portions of it.
And never in the article does he accuse the Kmer Rouge of direct US backing. I guess that is saved until after he found out what they did, and then they I suppose he concludes that anyone who kills millions has to have been backed by the US somehow.
[ Parent ]