Three pieces of feedback from Scoop readers…
Subject: An Apology For The Previous Apology
(See... Feedback: God Save America)
Congratulations to Tim Mycock for taking the prize in the "Best Example of War Hysteria" category.
We are satisfied that all of the
requisites have been met:
- Emotional appeal at the cost of rational thought;
- Pronounced jingoism with demagogic flair;
- combined with a mightily selective reading of events.
Of course, what made his entry really shine, and clinch the award, was his raving invective in the service of silencing dissent.
Good onya, mate!
Trounce those dissenters!
Subject: Let us now learn
It was with sickening horror and sadness that I, along with the rest of the world, watched on 11 September the very type of event unfold which I had written to you about on 31 August in relation to illegal immigrants and the opportunity for subversive or terrorist activity this can encourage.
Perhaps now, the Government and those idealist will recognise that continuing to follow a course of political correctness, defence naivety and out-dated ideological nonsense is simply courting disaster.
The world is changing faster than at any time in its history and instead of distancing our nation from traditional alliances, the Government should be endeavouring to strengthen them in every way possible.
The Governments response to a number of events since taking office suggests (to me at least) they are floundering in a pit of indecision born of a total lack of understanding and appreciation of what the global society is (and always has been) about.
Volatile and largely unpredictable. Benign (as perceived through the rose coloured glasses seemingly worn by our Prime Minister) it is very definitely not.
Subject: Chomsky Interview
I have just been reading Noam Chomsky's reply to 6 questions. I believe that he glosses over a number of import moral questions in order to lend weight to his criticism of the US government.
Afganis have been fleeing the Taliban regime ever since it came to power. Now that there is a fear of US bombing even more are attempting to leave. Chomsky puts the blame for this at the US government's door.
This is reminiscent of what happened in Kosovo. Kosovo refugees were fleeing for their lives before the onslaught of a fascist army. The US and UN, in-order to stop the killing of civilians, threatened and then carried out attacks on the Serbian army. This led to the withdrawal of Serbian forces and contributed to the eventual overthrow by the Serbian people of their fascist government. It also caused the deaths of Serbian and Kosovo civilians and a temporary worsening of the refugee crisis. Does this mean that what the US and Nato did was wrong?
My intention is not to try and answer this question but to raise important ethical questions that Chomsky does not consider.
What do you do when people are suffering when in-order to stop that suffering others may also suffer? Chomsky would probably reply that there are always means of achieving this that do not cause innocents to suffer. Maybe there are, maybe sometimes there are not. Most people on the left agreed that the violent struggle by the ANC against apartheid was a just cause even though innocent people died as a result of some ANC actions. Maybe apartheid could have been ended with out violence, maybe not. I am sure that the ANC leadership tried to avoid the deaths of innocent people as much as they could.
Closer to home, most people on the left support our government's commitment to peace keeping in East Timor despite the fact that at least 2 innocent people have lost their lives - the two NZ soldiers. As a country must accept responsibility for their deaths and the suffering of their families. As a country we do in-fact accept a level of violence so that certain "good" causes are promoted.
This is the age old means vs ends dilemma which to which I am offering no easy solution. Chomsky appears to believe in a black and white world where there are no difficult choices, a world were there is no necessary evil, a world where every good cause is reached by a path of moral purity. This is a very worthy point of view, but to disagree with it does not make someone any the less concerned with for the welfare of others.
Chomsky's historical arguments are also problematic. Understanding the roots of hatred may be useful in many ways but may not necessarily provide a solution.
It has be argued that one of the historical causative factors that led the KKK was the economic, cultural, and political devastation of the Confederate South by the Union North. Perhaps if the peace was more just the KKK would not have arisen. But who in their right minds would oppose the US Federal Government's successful but often violent campaign against the KKK on the basis that perhaps their formation could have been prevented?
Of course, just as with the Taliban, there were a range of factors which contributed to the creation of the KKK. Being able to change some of them may have lead to a different outcome (I qualify this because can anyone actually be sure that the Taliban would not have happened if the US had not been one of the major backers of the anti-Soviet forces? To quote from Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum": "Counterfactual conditionals are always true because the premiss is always false."). But it is now a moot point.
Chomsky is right to fear that any US military intervention in Afghanistan may lead to the deaths of innocent people but for him to then go on to argue that because of this the US should not use force is to miss debating the essential moral dilemma: is it necessary that people die in order to make the world a better place?