9 de julho de 2009

McNamara e a cegueira moral, por Noam Chomsky

Em 1995, Robert McNamara publicou pela primeira vez seu mea culpa pelo desastre da guerra do Vietnã. In Retrospect reconhece "erros terríveis" que deveriam ser explicados para as "futuras gerações", mas defende que esses erros não eram de ordem moral e intencional. Ele, McNamara, e todos os outros responsáveis pela guerra das administrações Kennedy/Johnson, teriam agido "sob a luz dos princípios e tradições desta nação". Naquele mesmo ano, Chomsky reagiu de maneira ácida:

Actually, he's correct about the values. If somebody tries to disobey us, our values are that they have to be crushed and massacred. Those are our values. They go back hundreds of years, and those are exactly the values they acted upon.


There's only one criticism that he sees, or that any of his critics see, or even his supporters, the whole range of discussion, including people who were very active in the peace movement, I should say. I've been shocked by this, the people who are active in the peace movement who are saying, "We're vindicated because he finally recognized that we were right. It was an unwinnable war."

What about the maybe, if you count them up, four million Indochinese that died, something on that order? What about them? Actually, he has a sentence or two about them, and even that sentence is interesting. He talks about the North Vietnamese who were killed. An interesting fact about the book -- and you can't blame him for this, because he's just adopting the conventions of the culture that he comes from, he's completely uncritical and couldn't think of questioning it -- throughout the book the "South Vietnamese" are the collaborators whom we installed and supported. He recognizes that the population was mostly on the other side, but they're not "South Vietnamese." The attack on them doesn't appear.


On the bombing of the North, there was meticulous detailed planning. How far should we go? At what rate? What targets? The bombing of the South, at three times the rate and with far more vicious consequences, was unplanned. There's no discussion about it. Why? Very simple. The bombing of the North might cause us problems. When we started bombing the North, we were bombing, for example, Chinese railroads, which happened to go right through North Vietnam. We were going to hit Russian ships, as they did. And there could be a reaction somewhere in the world that might harm us. So therefore that you have to plan for. But massacring people in South Vietnam, nothing. B-52 bombing of the Mekong Delta, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, destroying hospitals and dams, nobody's going to bother us about that. So that doesn't require any planning or evaluation.

Not only is it interesting that this happened, but also interesting is the fact that no one noticed it. I wrote about it, but I have yet to find any commentator, scholar, or anyone else, who noticed this fact about the Pentagon Papers. And you see that in the contemporary discussion. We were "defending" South Vietnam, namely the country that we were destroying. The very fact that McNamara can say that and quote Bernard Fall, who was the most knowledgeable person, who was utterly infuriated and outraged over this assault against South Vietnam, even though he was a hawk, who thought Saigon ought to rule the whole country -- you can quote him and not see that that's what he's saying -- that reveals a degree of moral blindness, not just in McNamara, but in the whole culture, that surpasses comment.

Mais da interessantíssima entrevista com Chomsky sobre a guerra do Vietnã, aqui.

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