Stuart Alan Backer talked to philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky is probably one of the greatest interviews this year published in the Phnom Penh Post.
While the interview provides a greater insight into Cambodia and United States relations over the past decades, it’s also interesting to take a look at what ordinary Cambodians think about the comments by Noam Chomsky, who said “the United States owes Cambodia not only an apology but massive reparations for the B-52 bombing campaign called Operation Menu that killed up to a million people.”
I heard he supported the KR but never think he supported the secret bombings of Cambodia. He instead maintains his belief that the secret bombings led to the victory of the KR.
I can finally come to a conclusion that the world has been not run by justice but forces. Democracy means the freedom to use forces against others.
I agree with the fact that it’s better to ask a historian on this issue. Among all his controversial points Chomsky raised, his argument about Kissinger and Nixon is plausible. His ideas about how the KR came into power are quite weird/biased against the US though–of course, it’s not the only one factor in this matter.
Thanks, Sis, for also pointing out the writer’s reporting style. I feel the beginning of his description on Chomsky was rather too pleasant.
This is a horrible piece of journalism. The Post took Noam Chomsky’s press release biography and re-published it, without even adding an “on the other hand” criticism. Then they ask him easy questions that he copied and pasted from his other ramblings.
Chomsky is good linguist but his history is not known for even being remotely close to a balanced and accurate picture. I love his quote, “But that was surely not the only factor,” about the reasons for the Khmer Rouge numbers swelling. If he were to give fair space to those other factors, most notably Cambodia’s crazy prince Sihanouk, his entire argument would be severely weakened. The Post needs to ask about history to Kiernan et al instead of a linguist.
I agree with his point that the US bombing was horrible, and that it helped the KR recruit soldiers, but he places way too much emphasis on what the US did immediately leading up to the KR. But the article is pure PR on a man who has denied atrocity after atrocity in the name of bashing US policy.
Please note the reporter who did this “interview” runs a school in Bangkok called “The Enlightenment Institute,” which bases its curriculum on the philosophy of Noam Chomsky. The author also says he’s close to Chomsky, having exchanged hundreds of emails with him. Why didn’t the Post do a simple Google search into his background, or at least make the article less promotional, before they allowed him to publish it? Sloppy, sloppy.
Cambodian politicians who love U.S.A. should not be silent on this issue. Cambodian leaders of all political parties should demand the US to pay Cambodia.
In an email discussion on one of Cambodia’s active email discussion groups, Savora Tia wrote today that:
I would love to see Professor Chomsky’s opinion on bringing former US Presidents, HK [Henry Kissinger] and NX [Nixon]- the massive Cambodian killing perpetrators, to court for (Cambodian) justice to become a reality. Faisal Shahzad who was just a Times Square Bomb Plotter in NY was recently sentenced to life in prison. Comparing the Faisal case to those of the US presidents who were highly educated and elected by the US citizens, but presented their atrocities against our nations, the two guys who issued orders to massacre the lives of Cambodian innocents by bombing on our territory should be thousand times heavier .
The current US Administration can object to the plea on debt relief submitted by our Government. We, too, we should perhaps start to impute all the costs resulted by the US bombing in the 1970s and using it as a ground to counteract the US stance toward Cambodia and demanding them to cover all the costs. Or, should we simply take it as granted, getting our mouth shut and bowing our heads to the world gang master to receive their current assistance rather than walking ourselves into the risky zone that would cost our nation and the generations to come?
Chomsky, although being a renowned scholar, does not represent the US administration and he is not alone to fault the US for the many troubles it gave or is giving to the world. If the US would be responsible for its conducts (i.e., war, invasion) and make reparations to countries suffered due to its “mind”-made disasters, many other industrialized countries would also be incriminated for similar conducts. For a myriad of reasons, they just can’t do so, let alone the fact that the state is normally the biggest organized crime syndicate in and of itself (much worse than the Mafia, Triads, and Yakuza).
Here I disregard other aspects, but point out just one aspect as a food for thought. One thing I note about democratic nations is the independence and integrity of their scholars. They are totally safe to question and criticize their govt’s actions. This is very crucial to the development of the country in many respects. Apparently, this is not yet the case in Cambodia where there are allegedly plenty of politician-scholars or pseudo-scholars, rather than scholars “without these adjectives”.
The Phnom Penh Post: Noam Chomsky maintains the rage