At War With Asia (Noam Chomsky) [1969]


Thus, after setting out to fight Communism in Asia, the American people will be obliged in the end to fight the peoples of ^ia. …This American aggression abroad will be associated with an increasing trend toward anti-Communist authoritarianism within the United States, which its victims will call fascism and which may even:ually make it impossible to have discussions like this one today. This


This [inducing popular fear in order to rally support for military-tech subsidies], indeed, was the primary economic lesson of World War II. New Deal measures had smoothed many of the rough edges of the great depression, but had not succeeded in bringing it to an end. The depression was overcome by wartime government spending…

o. Tactical atomic explosives are now conventional and >

” This Professor Huntington denies: the Maoist doctrine of revolutionary war no longer operate. The Maoist-inspired rural revolution is undercut by the American-sponsored urban revolution.

2, absent-mindedly, to c(

As I have already observed, like most of their predecessors in imperialist ventures, Americans have tended to regard their involvements in other countries—Southeast Asia in particular—as an exercise in benevolence. ^ow there is too much information available for a literate person, for a person with access to a television set, to retain any such belief. Surely

domestic analogue. T ….about $40 million ,n for a heavy B-52 raid, a sum that could purchase 3 four-hundred-bed hospitals 27 elementary schools or about 4,050 housing units. ^^^ T

In the Christian Science Monitor, October 14, 1969, there is a trontpage story reviewing such efforts. It explains that ” ”the proportion of tf^j^e country pacified’ has risen with the flow of peasants to resettlement and refugee areas,” although the Viet Cong ”currently are intensifying their campaign to drive peasants back to their home areas where [they] have a better chance of controlling them.” The picture is clear. We, in our magnanimity, are using our modernizing instruments, bombs, and artillery, to lead the suffering peasants to the promised land of resettlement and refugee areas, while the ferocious Viet Cong—mere ”village thugs,” as the MIT political scientist, Ithiel Pool, explains in the journal of the Gandhi Peace Foundation—cruelly driv, rh.m hack to their homes. The

Some time ago, I read with a slight shock the statement by EqbalAhmad that ”^mQnc2i has institutionalized even its genocide,” referring to the fact that the extermination of the Indians ”has become the object <^f public entertainment and children’s eames.”^^ Sh ‘^ Shortly after, I was thumbing through my daughter’s fourth-grade social science reader.^^ The protagonist, Robert, is told the story of the extermination of the Pequot tribe by Captain John Mason:

His little army attacked in the morning before it was light and took he Pequots by surprise. The soldiers broke down the stockade with leir axes, rushed inside, and set fire to the wigwams. They killed nearly all the braves, squaws, and children, and burned then :, and children, and burned their mrn and ther food. Tt

Cambodia  upper class coup v Sihanouk – ”nostalgic about American aid” (generals, right ing)

Within days after the coup, elite troops of the Saigon Army, wi American air and logistic support, entered Cambodian territory for exten¬ troops and also rool^ »^–^ :- -‘ * troops and also took narr in nlonninrv *^ sive attacks on Viet Cong positions. Amer …..Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops simply moved away from the sparsely inhabited border regions and deepCper into Cambodia, and, for the first time, began to take an active part in crfeating a Cambodian guerrilla army. They also, for the first time, c(conduaed r military operations against Cambodian troops^s^ Shor

And so we proceed to save the people of Cambodia frCf om Vietnamese aggression, just as we have been saving the Laotians and the Vietnamese themselves.

the architects of this new disaster in Cambodia will not pay the^-j^g costs of their blundering aggressiveness. Perhaps someday they will acknowledge their ”honest errors” in their memoirs, sppeaking of the bur dens of world leadership and the tragic irony of history. \ Their victims, the peasants of Indochina, will write no memoirs and will be forgotten. They will join the countless millions of earlier victims of tyrants and oppressors.

ethnic – SV in Cam, Kor / khmer in SV

:ry. After decades of French colonialism and years of extensive American aid, ”in I960 the country had no railways, two doctors, three engineers and 700 telephones.”^ In

^ao. The Laotian elite is busy building bowling alleys, rur running the prostitution and opium rackets,^” rentin

;rs. The Embassy in Vientiane supplied two documents by Edwin T. McKeithen, whom t^ they described as one of their outstanding specialists on the Pathet Lao. t

d1. P.L. cadres are urged to reason,^ ^^q question and to discuss with villagers until the villagers agree with the P.L. viewpoint. Direct orders are not enough; people must be ”taught’ until they genuinely believe in what they are doing. At th

es. They favored the ideas of adult literacy and agricultural development but not the ways that the P.L. had been carrying them out. They also spoke favorably of the virtual elimination of official corruption.

r. Prince Souvanna Phouma, in an interview with us, had n< o doubts about the North Vietnamese intention to conquer Laos. He explains as follows:

North Vietnam wants to colonize Laos with Vietnamese because their country is too overpopulated. It’s obvious. Look at their flag with its five-pointed star. One is for Tonkin, one for Annam, one for Cochin China,^^ one for Laos, and one for Cambodia.

He offered no other argument, apparently regarding this as conclusive. (Applying this reasoning to the American flag … )

). To p fight against a people’s war. it is necessary, here too, to eliminate the people, either by killing them, destroying their society, and forcing them into caves, or by ”urbanizing” t{iem—drivir


Hanoi itself, so far as I could see, was not badly hit, except r •ed. But as soon as one leaves the city limits, the destruction is enornous. We trav ;. A dozen times we were told how the Chinese had been beaten back, how the Mongols, who conquered most of Asia and Europe, were unable to cross the Annam Mountains into Vietnam because of the fierce resistance of the Vietnamese peasants, unified, even in feudal times, in opposisition to t\> the aggressor. As the

In Thanh Hoa Province, near the province capital, we visited a factory buried inside a mountain. Some 30 to 35 men and women work there with machine tools, making parts for buses and trucks. Generally there are two people at a machine, one a skilled worker, one an apprentice. Over tea and beer, in one corner of the dank and dimly lit cave, the manager told us how the entire factory had been dispersed during the ”air war of destn tion” to such sites as this one. The mountain itself had been heavily bombed, but no damage had been caused to the facilities inside the cave that was hewed out by hand while the bombing proceeded. Afterward, the workers in the cave grouped themselves at the end of the table where we were sitting and, as a gesture of welcome, sang songs, patriotic and sentimental, and declaimed poems. The whole experience was intensely movIg. As I left, I swore to myself not to speak or write about it, knowing how I sophisticated Westerner might react. Let the reader think what he may.

, I was asked to lecture about current work in linguistics at the Polytechnic University, and was able to do so for about seven hours, to a to a group of 70 to 80 linguists and mathematicians. Their work, in this rather remote area of science and scholarship, was at an international level. I lee1. I lectured approximately as I would at Tokyo, Oxford, or the Sorbonne. They

I, Bertrand Russell opened the second session of the International War Crimes Tribunal, in November 1967. The P

s. We have yet to show that this faith is justified. Russell 1

.. about 500 pounds of bombs for every man, woman and child in Vietnam.”^ The total of ”ordnance expended” is more than doubled when ground and naval attacks are taken into account. With no further information than this, a person who has not lost his senses must realize that the war is an overwhelming atroc)verwhelming atrocty

narrow dove – hawk -gap

he endless manpower of Vietnam, the Asian hordes with their Oriental indifference to death, confounded our strategy.

g. Ours is a plausible strategy—for those who are rich, who love life and fear pain. But happiness, wealth, and power are expectations that constitute a dimension far beyond the experience, and probably beyond the emotional comprehension, of : Asian poor. ^ (Townsend Hoopes,  undersecretary of the air force



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