Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Soth will rise again

Hello again, beloved imaginary readers. Once again I am avoiding school work in order to shout into the ether. My previous post was a response to some comments left by a gentleman from Georgia who shares my name. He apparently read my post, and had some other thoughts. Following are his reply and mine:

Hello John: I still cannot see how Israel can dislodge another 1M Palestinians when the entire world except for the US and its minions are against it and the World Court has declared the wall to be illegal. If the Israelis had built the wall on their own territory, it would be a means of protection. By building where they have, it is just another move to expropriate land from the Paleastinians.

The lies that Bush told have caused the death of over 900 men now. I was able to use the internet beginning in the summer of 2002 to find the information that contradicted wha

[message abruptly ends]

John F.,

Thanks for responding, although I think part of your response was inadvertently cut off. I would be interested in seeing what you had to say next, so please feel free to re-post.

Here are my thoughts on what you wrote.

1. You seem to believe that Israel is in the process of dislodging an additional one million Palestinians. I can only assume you believe the cause to be the construction of Israel’s new security wall. I find this hard to believe, since there are only perhaps four million people living in the areas nominally governed by the Palestinian Authority.

(source: http://www.pnic.gov.ps/english/Population/Population_Increase.html)

Are a quarter of all Palestinians going to be made homeless by the wall? Here are some maps of the wall:


To me it appears that not much territory formerly under the Palestinian Authority is now on the Israeli side of the wall. Some is, but not much. Not enough to dislodge one million Palestinians. So after careful consideration, the one million homeless figure seems to be a Chomsky-style wild exaggeration.

2. You find it hard to understand how Israel can pursue policies which are opposed by many other countries, and which have been declared illegal by the World Court. This is very easy for me to understand, because when faced with a choice between security and international popularity, states usually choose security. The wall may be unpopular, but it has reduced the number of suicide bombings carried out by Palestinian terrorists. I’m sure some Israelis have been persuaded that the wall is bad because of the World Court’s decision, but my guess is that this number is dwarfed by the number of Israelis who have been convinced that the court itself is bad.

3. You worry that the wall allows Israel to expropriate property from the Palestinian Authority. I agree that this might happen. But we already know that the wall has reduced the number of people killed and wounded in the conflict. That’s a fact, and it holds true for Palestinians as well as Israelis. I think that outweighs the worries about possible future land annexes.

Further, the reason the wall is being built is because the Palestinian Authority rejected peaceful negotiation as the way to settle the conflict. They didn’t like the border that they were offered by the Israelis. They decided to return to fighting, hoping that they would be able to make some gains t

Why did the Israelis put up the wall? Because of Palestinian suicide bombing. Why did the Palestinian Authority support suicide bombings? Because they did not like what they were being offered as a result of peaceful negotiation, and they hoped that terrorism would make the Israelis back down and offer them a better deal.

So, if some time in the future the security wall ends up being the border between Israel and an independent Palestinian state, the Palestinians have only themselves to blame. The Palestinian Authority was offered more expansive borders in negotiations, and they rejected them because they thought they could get better by fighting for it. Well, they fought, and they lost, and future Palestinians will have to live with the consequences of Arafat’s choice. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

4. You say that Bush lied, and that nine hundred men are dead because of it. I assume you are referring to the (roughly) nine hundred American soldiers who have died in Iraq. Again, I would like you to be specific: what lies has President Bush told? To be fair, you seemed to be heading in this direction when your letter cut off, so you must have a few particular lies in mind. Please write me again and tell me what they are.

But think about this first. John Kerry and George W. Bush had access to the same intelligence on Iraq, more or less. The two of them said more or less the same things about Iraq, its weapons, and the threats it posed. And John Kerry voted for the resolution authorizing George W. Bush to go to war in Iraq. Yet the people who say that Bush lied do not say that Kerry lied. Why not? He said the same allegedly false things about Iraq as President Bush. Then again, Senator Kerry believed those things were true when he said them, so it should not count as a lie. That sounds reasonable to me, but the same standard must apply to President Bush. He only lied if he knew what he was saying was false.

Simply put, both Bush and Kerry relied on the same information, and both men said the same things, so either both men acted in good faith or both men were liars. Which is it?

I look forward to your reply.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Republicans in soth Georgia

Greetings, imaginary readers. Had to respond to this comment from a gentleman from Georgia who shares my name:

John: We nearly have the same name. I was born in 1936. It was also interesting that you father was teaching at Sam Houston State in Texas. I was born in Tennessee and am kin To Sam Houston.
Your politics seem to fit with the Republicans in soth Georgia. I would have hoped that Chomsky would have have indoctrinated you by now. The US and Israel cannot treat the Arabs with total disregard for Arab life. As a Pol Sci major or Ph D candidate I would have expected you to realize that there will be no peace until we treat Arabs as we treat Jews.
At present the Republican party in the South is composed of the big R's- the rdenecks, the rich , the relious right, and the racists.
Dubya should have been impeached for the lies he has told to get us into a war that should never have been started. As a Vietnam vet with over 9 years in the service before being retired, I agree with John Kerry. Having seved in Can Tho, I could not believe the couage of the guys in Kerry's group. These guys were nuts to risk their lives every day. I just wish I had a rich Daddy to get me into the National Guard. I went to Yale on scholarship, not as a legacy. I was in debt when I graduated. I had to suceed as I did not have my family and the bin Laden family to bale me out everytime iI drilled a dry hoe.
Please rethink your positions. I voted for Dole in 1996. I believe I was right then. The young Bush is not only learning disabled, but he is psychotic. John Payne, Thomasville, GA


You are perceptive enough to figure out my politics (even if only to lump me in with “the rdenecks [sic] ... and the racists”). So you can hardly be surprised that Noam Chomsky has so far failed to indoctrinate me. Chomsky is a professor at MIT, but he teaches linguistics, not political science. I have not read enough of his theories on language to comment intelligently on them, but I have read enough of his political writings to know that he is either an exceptionally poor researcher or a deliberate deceiver.

In his long career Chomsky has continually apologized for totalitarian Communist regimes while continually attacking this great country I love. The fall of the Soviet Union has not changed his tune. I attended one of his sermons as the war in Afghanistan was beginning. He not only predicted that millions would be killed (by starvation), but asserted that this was the true purpose of the American intervention. Anyone who can say such things is a great fool, or simply twisted. Either way, he is no friend of mine.

On the Palestinian question, I agree that the US and Israel can not behave with total disregard for Arab life. What would such behavior look like? Let us imagine. If Israel had no regard for the lives of Arabs, they would simply kill or expel all Arabs from the occupied territories, and from Israel itself. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs would die, and millions would be evicted from lands now controlled by the Palestinian Authority. As it is, the Israelis have put a wall between terrorists and their targets. This and other Israeli actions have succeeded in reducing the numbers not only of dead Jews, but dead Arabs. Are you incapable of seeing the difference between the hypothetical strategy outlined above and the actual strategy pursued by Sharon’s government?

Obviously I disagree with you about impeaching the president. I supported Clinton’s impeachment because he perjured (as is admitted in his autobiography) and obstructed justice. Bush has committed no crime of which I am aware. I do not believe that he knowingly told lies to get us into war. (If you have an example, I would like to hear it.) And I am glad we threw out Saddam Hussein and his goon squad. That man was a real psychotic, as were many of his thugs. Are you sorry they are gone?

For your service in Viet Nam, I thank you. Likewise, I thank Senator Kerry. President Bush’s service in the National Guard was less glamorous and less heroic, but no less honorable. Like those who were exempted from the draft through marriage or education, he has nothing to be ashamed of.

Good for you for finding success on your own. My grandfather started out as a shepherd and ended up as a college professor, thanks to his own hard work and to Providence. As you noted, Bush succeeded in large part thanks to his family. This is a less inspiring achievement, but neither major-party candidate in this election could be called a self-made man.

Please rethink your positions. I voted for Bush in 2000. I believe I was right then. I believe I am right now to support him again.

PS - Noam Chomsky is not only intellectually dishonest, but he is a nihilist, a Communist and an vicious anti-semite. And his slavish cult of dope-smoking, self-loathing teenage conspiracy theorists carries with it the oh-so-proletarian smell of unwashed feet.