[sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-digest V1 #739

From: John C Mcmillian (mcmill@fas.harvard.edu)
Date: Tue Dec 11 2001 - 19:35:45 EST

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    Dear Ron,

    I've just finished reading your essay "Terrorism of War." You begin by
    claiming that although we've heard plenty about the war against terrorism in
    recent months, "What the media doesn't tell us ... are the stories of the
    thousands of civillians rendered homeless at the onset of the Afghani winter
    ... and the near certain starvation thousands of Afghanis face."

    This puzzled me a little bit, since there was a story in today's New York
    Times about the plight of Afghan refugees. So just for fun, I did a
    Lexis-Nexus search for all the articles in major newspapers since September
    11th that contain the words "Afghanistan and refugees" in either the headline
    or the lead paragraph. The result? A window appeared that read "This search
    has been interrupted because it will return more than 1000 documents."
    Another search, using the keywords "Afghanistan and winter" brought over 200
    articles. "Afghanistan and starvation" called up 194.

    I bring this up because I found the rest of your article so exasperating.
    If your lead paragraph can't withstand even the barest amount of critical
    scrutiny, how can you expect us to take your piece seriously?
    There's plenty of evidence to go around for U.S. militarism and imperialism,
    but are you sure you want to defend the claim that "This war has very little
    to do with defeating terrorism and much to do with attempting to establish
    permanent U.S. domination of the world and its resources?" Do you really
    think that your facile comparison between Marxism and Islamic
    fundamentalism offers any useful insight? Can anyone take seriously
    your claim that "Before the occurences [nice euphamism] of September 11, 2001
     ... the US corporate plan for economic hegemony was under attack," and
    that this led US "authoritarians" to seize on the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to
    combat "a threat to the rule of the capitalist world"?

    These are difficult times, and - as your essay suggests - there don't seem
    to be any easy answers. But it seems to me that the least we can do is
    hold ourselves to the same analytically rigorous standards that we demand
    from the Right. To simply impose an automatic leftwing template onto all
    of the world's problems, and to indulge in tiresome cliches about the US war
    machine, Vietnam, COINTELPRO, McCarthyism, HUAC, George Orwell and
    "The US empire's need to dominate the world" isn't useful to anyone.


    John McMillian

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