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I'd agree that Noam Chomsky's linguistic contribution is of the highest order, but I'm not so sure about his political analysis. Here are his comments in 1977 regarding the reported genocide in Cambodia [1]: "We do not pretend to know where the truth lies amidst these sharply conflicting assessments; rather, we again want to emphasize some crucial points. What filters through to the American public is a seriously distorted version of the evidence available, emphasizing alleged Khmer Rouge atrocities and downplaying or ignoring the crucial U.S. role, direct and indirect, in the torment that Cambodia has suffered. Evidence that focuses on the American role, like the Hildebrand and Porter volume, is ignored, not on the basis of truthfulness or scholarship but because the message is unpalatable."

And on the veracity of reports about horrific slaughter made by Cambodian refugees: "Refugees are frightened and defenseless, at the mercy of alien forces. They naturally tend to report what they believe their interlocuters wish to hear. While these reports must be considered seriously, care and caution are necessary. Specifically, refugees questioned by Westerners or Thais have a vested interest in reporting atrocities on the part of Cambodian revolutionaries, an obvious fact that no serious reporter will fail to take into account."

Did Chomsky show poor judgement by discounting such refugee reports? Was the evidence of genocide really so muddy in 1977 that you could not 'know where the truth lies'?

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20131207072650/http://www.abc.ne...

[2] https://m.jpost.com/Opinion/Terra-Incognita-Chomsky-and-the-...




He says his statements made in 1977 were qualified, and the best he had with the scholarship available. Since then he’s criticized the Cambodian Khmer Rouge as genocidal. It’s a forgivable mistake considering his political & historical output, which is very significant.




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