Thursday, September 29, 2011

The End of Debate: Playing the "G" Card

A book by Edward Herman published last year catalogs examples since World War II that argue that calling the deeds or effects of political opponents "genocide" is the chief weapon by which the US and its allies stain their images indelibly and at the same time shut off all debate or analysis that might in any way ameliorate their guilt or the magnitude of their purported crimes. The book further identifies the United States as the chief abettor, enabler, and instigator of the massacres in question in every case.

Herman's choice of time frame enables him to include a genocide of Palestinians that he marks as having begun in 1948 and continuing to the present day. It also enables him to exclude what people on both sides of the debate might call the "mother of all genocides," that in Europe from 1939 to 1945. In this 2007 blog post, Herman dismisses Paul Rassinier and Arthur Butz as "cranks," perhaps to mollify the terrible forces massed in defense of the Holocaust legend, but to my reading leaving open the possibility that with that word, he expresses not his own verdict, but rather the comparative impotence of these writers vis-à-vis popular opinion.

Despite his ducking the seminal instance of his subject, Herman's study and commentary are of great relevance also to people who do not regard Rassinier and Butz as cranks.

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