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    Dear Keith Windschuttle
    An open letter by Jay Bulworth

    Dear Keith,

    Just read your piece on Chomsky.

    Nice work. Love the bit where you denounce him for spending 'most of his adult life ... in the critique of other intellectuals'. Such a contrast to what you've had to do in recent years.

    And that rhetorical flourish at the end is a beauty. Should go down well next time you speak to an audience of rich folks who keep flatterers like you as pets.

    Just a few points to help the cause.

    1. You shouldn't spend so much time talking about Cambodia. Brad DeLong didn't do too well with that one. (I KNOW you know what I'm talking about).

      a. You gotta read Francois Ponchaud's book before you praise it. You see, it's Ponchaud, not Chomsky, who writes favourably about Pol Pot's "genuine egalitarian revolution" and the "new pride" that peasants have under the Khmer Rouge. Ponchaud later praised Chomsky's "responsible attitude and precision of thought". What're you like with French archives? Someone might ask which parts of Cambodge Annee Zero you've read. Thin ice Keith. You gotta skate away quick or that corporate money won't be behind you this time.

      b. You say that the Cambodian death toll of 21 per cent of the population was "proportionally the greatest mass killing ever inflicted by a government on its own population in modern times, probably in all history". Tut, tut. Over the same period (1975-79), the East Timorese genocide resulted in a loss of about 30 per cent of the population — with Western support. Chomsky and Ed Herman were pointing out how the two atrocities were treated very differently by power-worshipping guys like you: East Timor wasn't discussed but Cambodia was given the full treatment. Just like in your article, right?

      c. You say "the Vietnamese invasion put an end to the regime". True, but it's embarassing. There might be some naive readers out there who'll ask why the US opposed this humanitarian intervention. And why the US defended the Khmer Rouge. Best to stay clear of this terrain, Keith. It's treacherous.

      d. People might ask how Pol Pot came to power. Careful here. Ben Kiernan, whom you cite so approvingly, actually wrote a book called How Pol Pot Came to Power. You'll have to find some way to avoid talking about the hundreds of thousands killed during the US Air Force bombing of Cambodia.

    2. When you say Chomsky "was seeking to play a role in the reorganisation of the international order", you'll have to show how. It's not enough to cite his "advocacy of revolutionary change". That's like saying my grandma is "seeking to play a role in the reorganisation of world trade" just because "she reckons Dilmah tea shouldn't cost so much".

    3. When you're sucking up to the wealthy and the powerful, it helps to pretend you're independent. Too close a connection to big moneyed think-tanks makes it hard to pretend you're above politics. Might help if you watched Johnny carefully and took notes. He's good at that.

    4. Best to wait a while before saying the "CIA suspected Iraqi scientists were manufacturing the nerve agent VX" in Sudan. People know the whole thing was a lie invented to convince them to support an oil-grab. Better to talk about something else for now.

    Come to think of it, maybe it's best if you stuck to bashing blackfellas. Much easier to stay on the corporate payroll if you write about how the Abos and Whiteys were happy until leftie historians began causing problems.

    Then you can appear in newspapers owned by our billionaire masters while complaining about how the "left-wing media" won't give you publicity.

    Yours in servitude to the rich.


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    Comments welcome. Ozleft

    Since September 8, 2003