By Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman
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Extra resources for After the cataclysm, postwar Indochina and the reconstruction of imperial ideology
The second volume, After the Cataclysm, reviews the immediate aftermath in Indochina along with some relevant but overlooked comparative and historical material. As discussed in the preface to the original publication, the two volumes are devoted to both facts and beliefs: the facts insofar as they could be obtained, and beliefs arising from the way facts were selected and interpreted through the distorting prism of a very powerful ideological system, which gains much of its power from the belief that it is free and independent.
It is both irrational and deeply immoral for the propaganda systems of the West to pretend that Western sensibilities are shocked by postwar atrocities and suffering, a transparent effort to efface its own record of barbarism—primarily, though not solely, that of the leader of the Free World. But total irrationality has never offered much of an impediment to propagandists in the past, and as we shall see, it is no more of a problem in the present case. As usual, a fair degree of fabrication and deceit also comes in handy.
S. efforts dating back to the 1940s eventually failed. S. clients had been defeated in all parts of Indochina, leaving incredible carnage, bitterness, and near insoluble problems of reconstruction. The United States thereafter refused reparations or aid, and exerted its considerable influence to block assistance from elsewhere. 2 Historical comparisons are of only limited value—too many factors vary from case to case—but it nevertheless may be suggestive to compare the situation in Indochina after 1975 with that of Western Europe as World War II came to an end.