Dear Keith Windschuttle
An open letter by Jay Bulworth
Just read your piece
Nice work. Love the bit where you denounce him for spending
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
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.
DeLong didn't do too well with that one. (I KNOW you know what I'm
a. You gotta read Francois Ponchaud's book before you praise
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
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
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.
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
3. When you're sucking up to the wealthy and the powerful, it
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
Then you can appear in newspapers owned by our billionaire
while complaining about how the "left-wing media" won't give you
Yours in servitude to the rich.