Noam goes down the list…starting with Ike

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Billy_T Billy_T 10 months ago.

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  • #65086
    wv
    wv
    Participant

    #65096
    Billy_T
    Billy_T
    Participant

    I understand he had to limit it to post-WWII in order to talk about “indictable offenses (Nuremberg, etc),” but it’s likely we could take that back to Day One.

    What American president didn’t start a totally unnecessary and monstrous war? Who oversaw any actual time of peace? I can’t think of one. If they weren’t expanding the American Empire westward, or eastward, or to the south — not so much to the north — they were overthrowing regimes all over the world, starting overt and covert wars, etc. etc.

    I can only think of two wars that could be called “justifiable”: 1812 and WWII. And in both, there were all kinds of war crimes committed by “our side.”

    We have a very, very ugly history, obviously. NC, as usual, puts this concisely, etc.

    #65098
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    And in both, there were all kinds of war crimes committed by “our side.”

    This is a free-flowing “my vote is” response and not an effort to win anything. Just contributing to the mix. Given that, in the interests of precision, can you think of any participant in any war that did not commit war crimes?

    And this isn’t coming from, obviously, any kind of jingoistic patriotic “place.”

    My own feeling about WW2 is, the japanese practiced vivisection as a technique of medical research on human bodies. (I have never made it through an entire article or chapter about this without just stopping cold and putting it down.) And that’s just one of the things they did. So, no deep soul-searching from me about that one.

    And that’s quite deeply NOT aimed at the japanese as an ethnicity/nationality/people. The Kempeitai (military police) was the basis of the Japanese military fascists power and dominated ordinary japanese society in ways that went beyond even the Gestapo in Germany (and I am of course not even mentioning Germany whose monstrosities are just better known). What we call “the japanese in ww2” are a mixture of policies, some of which, like the domination of the Kempeitai, was just an historical outcome and not a fore-ordained social/cultural inevitability.

    I know that Vietnam pro-war types would speak in much the same way about the americans being relatively speaking the good guys in WW2 as a way of, strangely, trying to silence current anti-war arguments. I remember those days. They were kind of using a half-truth to make a bad case.

    My own view is that a genuine coming to terms with all that amounts to looking forward and saying “must stop doing that.” Cause the past? Well every human being on the entire planet today is either living in a place that had once belonged to someone else and was taken by conquest, or they are among the conquered (like Australian original native people, who did not find other people there when they got there many thousands of years ago, so don’t qualify as conquerors). So I tend not to get moved by arguments about this or that group’s war history. It’s ALL war history.

    #65105
    Billy_T
    Billy_T
    Participant

    ZN,

    To me, it’s vital to remember that even in the midst of supposedly “just wars,” even the supposedly “good guys” commit war crimes and atrocities**. And I don’t limit that just to THE bomb, or the firebombing of Tokyo, though they, all by themselves, would have been more than enough to send the “losers” to the Hague. We “won,” and called all the post-war shots, so that wasn’t going to happen.

    It’s also Dresden and countless other acts. And it’s not some kind of tit for tat thing that requires a “Well, their side was even more monstrous.”

    The key test for me is basically Kantian in this case. Rawlsian as well. If you could blindfold the “judge,” and the judge has no way of knowing the country of origin for the perpetrator, or that ongoing score of tit for tat, would they call X a “war crime”? Would they call it a “crime against humanity”? Would they call it “evil” in the secular sense? And was it — and this only heightens the evil, IMO — necessary?

    **The main reason this is important is to recognize that in ANY war these atrocities will happen. And happen. And happen. Which does the opposite of excuse them in the “Well, mommy, Joey did it too!!” sense. It exposes the lie of “the guys in white hats can do no wrong” idea, and reminds people of the horrific costs of every war. It reminds people that no one is “innocent” once the war begins. So if they want to claim “innocence,” they can’t go to war, period.

    #65107
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    To me, it’s vital to remember that even in the midst of supposedly “just wars,” even the supposedly “good guys” commit war crimes and atrocities**.

    In all fairness I covered that BT. Namely, when I said, “in the interests of precision, can you think of any participant in any war that did not commit war crimes?”

    When it comes to ww2, I have no regrets.

    My view always is, look to the future and find ways to alter our actions.

    And, again, it was just a vote. If you don’t agree, that’s your vote, and our votes then differ.

    #65118
    wv
    wv
    Participant

    My own view is that it matters more to shine light on the war-crimes of the country you are IN. If i were in Germany I’d be complaining more about German war-crimes. Etc.

    I say that just because i think every nation does the ‘denial’ thing about its ‘own’ history.

    So, i rip into america because I’m here. Etc.

    But sure, every warring-nation is guilty of all the usual war-crime stuff.
    To me its not about ‘who is worse’ its just about which nation are you in.

    w
    v

    #65120
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    My own view is that it matters more to shine light on the war-crimes of the country you are IN.

    My view is that doing a distorted or mythed-up version of anything is never progressive. And to me, ANY bumper-sticker, street slogan, reductive approach to ANYTHING is always in danger of being mythed-up if it has not already crossed that line already. In terms of highlighting and examining the war horrors of one’s own national history, absolutely we should do that and DO do that. This is the only conquering nation I can think of that is ambivalent about its own foundational conquest. So there actually is a lot of that. Apparently not enough to stop it from continuing, but struggling among other forces, that awareness is there.

    To me this whole thing is really really tricky.

    I see myths on the left about american war crimes that will not convince anyone of anything precisely because they ARE myths, and it is easy to expose them as such.

    And meanwhile super-patriots deny all that stuff, or worse, glory in it.

    You will find I will usually just simply resist the bumper-sticker version of anything. No matter where it comes from. Fascists, the right, moderates, liberals, and fellow lefties.

    To me it is always better to be dialectical.

    So for example in the Pacific theater, the USA fought in many cases to restore european colonists to local power. Their anti-japanese rhetoric was insanely racist. They made fire-bombing the population regular military policy. There were race riots in the pacific at places where black cargo workers were considered unwelcome by some white troops. This just goes on.

    And. The Kempeitai are among the biggest monsters to ever exist. Right up there with Stalin and Hitler’s Germany, and in many respects–if this is even possible–far more horrifying. I have no second-thoughts about the defeat of the Kempeitai. And at the same time mixed in with all of this, local peoples such as in New Guinea and the Solomons welcomed americans for driving out the japanese, and these were people and places where the USA had no imperial/territorial ambitions.

    To me if you’re not dialectical about things like that, then, the way I see it, it’s falling into the bottomless pit of sloganizing.

    The left needs honest internal dissent too.

    #65126
    wv
    wv
    Participant

    My own view is that it matters more to shine light on the war-crimes of the country you are IN.

    My view is that doing a distorted or mythed-up version of anything is never progressive. And to me, ANY bumper-sticker, street slogan, reductive approach to ANYTHING is always in danger of being mythed-up if it has not already crossed that line already. In terms of highlighting and examining the war horrors of one’s own national history, absolutely we should do that and DO do that. This is the only conquering nation I can think of that is ambivalent about its own foundational conquest. So there actually is a lot of that. Apparently not enough to stop it from continuing, but struggling among other forces, that awareness is there.

    To me this whole thing is really really tricky.

    I see myths on the left about american war crimes that will not convince anyone of anything precisely because they ARE myths, and it is easy to expose them as such.

    And meanwhile super-patriots deny all that stuff, or worse, glory in it.

    You will find I will usually just simply resist the bumper-sticker version of anything. No matter where it comes from. Fascists, the right, moderates, liberals, and fellow lefties.

    To me it is always better to be dialectical.

    So for example in the Pacific theater, the USA fought in many cases to restore european colonists to local power. Their anti-japanese rhetoric was insanely racist. They made fire-bombing the population regular military policy. There were race riots in the pacific at places where black cargo workers were considered unwelcome by some white troops. This just goes on.

    And. The Kempeitai are among the biggest monsters to ever exist. Right up there with Stalin and Hitler’s Germany, and in many respects–if this is even possible–far more horrifying. I have no second-thoughts about the defeat of the Kempeitai. And at the same time mixed in with all of this, local peoples such as in New Guinea and the Solomons welcomed americans for driving out the japanese, and these were people and places where the USA had no imperial/territorial ambitions.

    To me if you’re not dialectical about things like that, then, the way I see it, it’s falling into the bottomless pit of sloganizing.

    The left needs honest internal dissent too.

    ————–
    Well this is a lot like the identity-politics thing weve battled about.

    We really arent that far apart, for me, its more a matter of emphasis and a matter of ‘what audience are you aiming’ at.

    I totally agree we should never mythologize or distort. But i dont agree that in every case, with every audience we should always be dialectical. I think sometimes for some audiences its better to emphasize things they likely DONT know. Things that have been suppressed. etc. Not to ‘distort’ but to UN-distortt what has already been distorted by the dominant culture.

    I mean i think of howard zinn for example. He chose to emphasize things that had NOT been emphasized in the mainstream history books. He was ‘un-distorting’ things by maybe…distorting things 🙂

    w
    v

    #65130
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    We really arent that far apart, for me, its more a matter of emphasis and a matter of ‘what audience are you aiming’ at.

    Audience? The truth. (As near as that can be found or approached).

    I am a leftist because to me the truth leads you there, and that is where there’s MORE truth. I actually believe that.

    When I see some blithe jingoistic american dismiss the dark side of our history, I see someone living in myths in order to protect some (to me dubious) core beliefs.

    When I see some blithely angry millennial go on about genocide to native people, I basically see just another slogan. It doesn’t move me.

    To me, making the USA uniquely awful in its history is just the jingoistic view turned upside down.

    It’s not uniquely awful in its history. To pick up on today’s theme, I challenge anyone to spend a day reading widely long and deeply about the story of the Kempeitai’s medical experiments on people. (Which to be fair is more than I’ve ever done…I have never actually finished anything I’ve read about that. Just can’t do it.)

    To me the problem is that we need to challenge ourselves to be better. IMO that doesn’t come from inverted dark patriotism (what I call vampire patriotism.) I just don’t have much patience for that. It always strikes me as being more of the same, just upside down. I don’t find it the least bit enlightening or progressive.

    .

    #65133
    wv
    wv
    Participant

    We really arent that far apart, for me, its more a matter of emphasis and a matter of ‘what audience are you aiming’ at.

    Audience? The truth. (As near as that can be found or approached).

    I am a leftist because to me the truth leads you there, and that is where there’s MORE truth. I actually believe that.

    When I see some blithe jingoistic american dismiss the dark side of our history, I see someone living in myths in order to protect some (to me dubious) core beliefs.

    When I see some blithely angry millennial go on about genocide to native people, I basically see just another slogan. It doesn’t move me.

    To me, making the USA uniquely awful in its history is just the jingoistic view turned upside down.

    It’s not uniquely awful in its history. To pick up on today’s theme, I challenge anyone to spend a day reading widely long and deeply about the story of the Kempeitai’s medical experiments on people. (Which to be fair is more than I’ve ever done…I have never actually finished anything I’ve read about that. Just can’t do it.)

    To me the problem is that we need to challenge ourselves to be better. IMO that doesn’t come from inverted dark patriotism (what I call vampire patriotism.) I just don’t have much patience for that. It always strikes me as being more of the same, just upside down. I don’t find it the least bit enlightening or progressive.

    .

    ——————-
    Yes, we have some differences. Nothing monumental and i totally respect your approach. Which is as i understand it — no agenda other than the facts as best we can obtain them.

    Thats certainly a respectable and honorable approach.

    Mine is different though — cause i think your approach ignores the dominant-agendas that suppress lots of things (i know you wont agree that that approach does that) (I also think you create a lot of strawmen by creating some really over-exaggerated stuff among fringe far-rightys and leftys )

    I mean if a system is, say, emphasizing Race, distorting gender, and completely suppressing Class (just a hypothetical) — then I would EMPHASIZE Class. Or over-emphasize it, in order to create some breathing space. In order to break through. In order to create some discussion against barriers.

    I would not ignore race and gender at all, but I’d spend more energy on class. That does not ‘mythologize’ anything. It just looks at the real history of suppression and ‘accounts for it’. So just as a TACTIC I’d spend more energy on the topic thats been suppressed. I wouldnt ‘distort’ or ignore race or gender.

    Now you would just say, Race, Gender, Class, talk about em all in an intersectional related way, and dont emphasize one over another.

    w
    v

    #65135
    zn
    zn
    Moderator

    Now you would just say, Race, Gender, Class, talk about em all in an intersectional related way, and dont emphasize one over another.

    w
    v

    YOu;re doing that be reasonable, thoughtful thing.

    I didn’t watch my buddies die face down in the muck to just end up being “reasonable.”

    #65138
    Zooey
    Zooey
    Participant

    In terms of highlighting and examining the war horrors of one’s own national history, absolutely we should do that and DO do that

    {snicker} zn said, “doo doo.” {snicker}

    #65143
    Billy_T
    Billy_T
    Participant

    In terms of highlighting and examining the war horrors of one’s own national history, absolutely we should do that and DO do that

    {snicker} zn said, “doo doo.” {snicker}

    Okay, Beavis.

    But you’re really really just being redundant and repeating yourself unnecessarily without any necessity to it. Cuz, um, your avatar is already snickering for all the world to see.

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