REVISIONISMS, OLD AND NEW : FROM THE CENTER
ADVANCED STUDY OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS,
22 November 2005
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The articles received by CEIMSA this week speak to the issue of basic revisions of social understandings inside the
Today, as an intellectual sea-change brings the vessels home, we discover that the mass media have affected a substantial cognitive shift among a great part of the population in the industrialized world, away from seeking understanding of cause and effect, and toward a new political determination to conform to the demands of the harsh climate created by the efforts to save world capitalism from its latest crisis. The aggressively expansionist and militarized political economies that we are witnessing in the industrialized and the industrializing nations of the world will be successful in accumulating great quantities of capital and power only by introducing artificial scarcity --that true-and-tried method for destabilizing and disarming the laboring poor.
Decades of disinformation have taken its toll on the public, and a growing number of people seek leaders instead of wisdom to save them from their "enemies," real and imaginary. Many years ago, Neil Postman warned of this mental deformation in contemporary society. He attributed it to too much TV viewing :
Whatever the causes, the inability of a social class to recognize what its needs are and to identify those obstacles which must be overcome in order for it to satisfy these needs constitutes a real handicap for developing democratic controls of institutions. By promoting acquisitive individualism and unbridled competition, capitalist culture effectively retards any development of those skills necessary for cooperative community relations. It ravages democracy by the authority of rapport de force.
Below, readers will find five articles which address this subject of revisionism and tactical modifications necessary for political gains.
Item A. is the formal apology from the
Item B., sent to us by
Item C. is a little gallows humor sent to us by Edward Herman to lighten up the tunnel into which we have been led.
Item D. is a New York Times article sent to us by Information Clearling House in which journalist Frank Rich describes tactical adjustments within Republican War Hawks circles in the U.S. Senate, as mid-term election time approaches.
Item E. is an article by Gilbert Achcar (the author of The Clash of Barbarisms and Eastern Cauldron) and Stephen Shalom (author of Imperial Alibis, and Which Side Are You On? An Introduction to Politics) in which they discuss the revisionist thinking of
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3
from Diana Johnstone :
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005
Subject: IMPORTANT RETRACTION
to Chomsky, Publishes Total Retraction
of "No Massacre at
by CounterPunch News Service
detailed and categorical apology to Noam
appears in The Guardian for November 17. The Guardian's "readers'
editor", Ian Mayes, issues this virtually unprecedented
in effect a savage rebuke to its reporter Emma Brockes
- after complaints by Chomsky himself and others, and by detailed
exposes, first by Alexander Cockburn
and then by Diana Johnstone on this site.
The headline and text of The Guardian's retractions follow.
Corrections and clarifications :
The Guardian and Noam Chomsky
The readers' editor has considered a number of complaints from Noam Chomsky concerning an interview with him by Emma Brockes published in G2, the second section of the Guardian, on October 31. He has found in favour of Professor Chomsky on three significant complaints.
Principal among these was a statement by Ms Brockes that in referring to atrocities committed at Srebrenica during the Bosnian war he had placed the word "massacre" in quotation marks. This suggested, particularly when taken with other comments by Ms Brockes, that Prof Chomsky considered the word inappropriate or that he had denied that there had been a massacre. Prof
Chomsky has been obliged to point out that he has never said or believed any such thing. The Guardian has no evidence whatsoever to the contrary and retracts the statement with an unreserved apology to Prof Chomsky.
The headline used on the interview, about which Prof Chomsky also complained, added to the misleading impression given by the treatment of the word massacre. It read: Q: Do you regret supporting those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated? A: My only regret is that I didn't do it strongly enough.
No question in that form was put to Prof Chomsky. This part of the interview related to his support for Diana Johnstone (not Diane as it appeared in the published interview) over the withdrawal of a book in which she discussed the reporting of casualty figures in the war in former
Ms Brockes's misrepresentation of Prof Chomsky's views on Srebrenica stemmed from her misunderstanding of his support for Ms Johnstone. Neither Prof Chomsky nor Ms Johnstone have ever denied the fact of the massacre.
Prof Chomsky has also objected to the juxtaposition of a letter from him, published two days after the interview appeared, with a letter from a survivor of Omarska. While he has every sympathy with the writer, Prof Chomsky believes that publication was designed to undermine his position, and addressed a part of the interview which was false. Both letters were published under the heading Falling out over Srebrenica. At the time these letters were published, following two in support of Prof Chomsky published
the previous day, no formal complaint had been received from him. The letters were published by the letters editor in good faith to reflect readers' views. With hindsight it is acknowledged that the juxtaposition has exacerbated Prof Chomsky's complaint and that is regretted. The Guardian has now withdrawn the interview from the website.
from Frederic Meni :
17 November 2005
Bonsoir M. Feeley,
Jai trouv頵n article traitant de ce qui a 鴩 鶯qu頶endredi concernant les bons c du colonialisme : http://www.algeria-watch.org/fr/article/hist/colonialisme/peau_dure.htm
from Edward Herman :
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005
from Frank Rich
New York Times
One War Lost, Another
by FRANK RICH
11/20/05 "New York
Times" -- -- IF anyone needs further proof that we are racing for
exits in Iraq, just follow the bouncing ball that is Rick Santorum. A
Republican leader in the Senate and a true-blue (or red)
Mr. Santorum preferred to honor a previous engagement more than
They know the voters have decided the war is over, no matter what symbolic resolutions are passed or defeated in Congress nor how many Republicans try to Swift-boat Representative John Murtha, the marine hero who wants the troops out. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup survey last week found that the percentage (52) of Americans who want to get out of
Mr. Bush may disdain timetables for our pullout, but, hello, there already is one, set by the Santorums of his own party: the expiration date for a sizable American presence in
On the same day the Senate passed the resolution rebuking Mr. Bush on the war, Martha Raddatz of ABC News reported that "only about 700 Iraqi troops" could operate independently of the U.S. military, 27,000 more could take a lead role in combat "only with strong support" from our forces and the rest of the 200,000-odd trainees suffered from a variety of problems, from equipment shortages to an inability "to wake up when told" or follow orders.
But while the war is lost both as a political matter at home and a practical matter in
One hideous consequence of the White House's Big Lie - fusing the war of choice in
We have arrived at "the worst of all possible worlds," in the words of Daniel Benjamin, Richard Clarke's former counterterrorism colleague, with whom I talked last week. No one speaks more eloquently to this point than Mr. Benjamin and Steven Simon, his fellow National Security Council alum. They saw the Qaeda threat coming before most others did in the 1990's, and their riveting new book, "The Next Attack," is the best argued and most thoroughly reported account of why, in their opening words, "we are losing" the war against the bin Laden progeny now.
"The Next Attack" is prescient to a scary degree. "If bin Laden is the Robin Hood of jihad," the authors write, then Abu Musab al-Zarqawi "has been its Horatio Alger, and
Only since his speech about "Islamo-fascism" in early October has Mr. Bush started trying to make distinctions between the "evildoers" of Saddam's regime and the Islamic radicals who did and do directly threaten us. But even if anyone was still listening to this president, it would be too little and too late. The only hope for getting Americans to focus on the war we can't escape is to clear the decks by telling the truth about the war of choice in Iraq: that it is making us less safe, not more, and that we have to learn from its mistakes and calculate the damage it has caused as we reboot and move on.
Mr. Bush is incapable of such candor. In the speech Mr. Santorum skipped on Veterans Day, the president lashed out at his critics for trying "to rewrite the history" of how the war began. Then he rewrote the history of the war, both then and now. He boasted of
And once again he bragged about the growing readiness of Iraqi troops, citing "nearly 90 Iraqi army battalions fighting the terrorists alongside our forces." But as James Fallows confirms in his exhaustive report on "Why Iraq Has No Army" in the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly,
THAT'S the alternative that has already been chosen, brought on not just by the public's irreversible rejection of the war, but also by the depleted state of our own broken military forces; they are falling short of recruitment goals across the board by as much as two-thirds, the Government Accountability Office reported last week. We must prepare accordingly for what's to come. To do so we need leaders, whatever the political party, who can look beyond our nonorderly withdrawal from
The arguments about how we got into Mr. Bush's war and exactly how we'll get out are also important. But the damage from this fiasco will be even greater if those debates obscure the urgency of the other war we are losing, one that will be with us long after we've left the quagmire in
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
from Tom Feeley
Information Clearing House
On John Murtha's Position
by Gilbert Achcar and Stephen R. Shalom
11/21/05 "ICH" -- -- There is much of which to approve in the recent speech of Rep. John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, on
Murtha pointed out, as the anti-war movement has been pointing out all along, that the
Murtha pointed out that a recent poll indicated that 80% of Iraqis want the
There is no guarantee of what would happen in the event of a
Murtha has submitted a resolution to the House calling for the redeployment of
Nevertheless, the anti-war movement needs to be careful not to confuse Murtha's position with its own.
When Murtha says "redeploy" -- instead of withdraw -- the troops from
united the Iraqis against us. And so I'm convinced, once we redeploy to
area, that it will be much safer. They won't be able to unify against
we have to go back in, we can go back in."
resolution calls for the
We strongly disagree. The anti-war movement cannot endorse
Murtha, we need to keep in mind, is not opposed to
Murtha's resolution calls for redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq "at the earliest practicable date" -- which is reasonable only if it means that the withdrawal should be started immediately and completed shortly after the December elections, with the exact details to be worked out with the elected Iraqi government. In his press conference, however, Murtha estimated it would take six months to carry out the "redeployment," which seems far longer than the "earliest practicable date." (Recall that
Congressional Republicans, in a transparent ploy, offered a one-sentence resolution stating that the deployment of
The anti-war movement should and no doubt will relentlessly continue its fight for the immediate, total, and unconditional withdrawal of
Gilbert Achcar is the author of The Clash of Barbarisms and Eastern Cauldron, both published by Monthly Review Press. Stephen R. Shalom is the author of Imperial Alibis (South End Press) and Which Side Are You On? An Introduction to Politics (Longman).
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research