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Saturday: July 8, 2006

Ignorance Unashamed

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:04 PM GMT-0500

Thomas Nadelhoffer (one of Brian Leiter’s interchangeable gnoams) writes:

If America were actually struggling to help spread democracy and political freedom throughout the world–rather than trying to set up puppet regimes that better serve corporate interests–many of the very people who get dismissed as anti-American would be on board so long as we were going about it in a peaceful manner. But as Chomsky himself points out, it is worth asking whether we would be in Iraq right now if their chief exports were “lettuce and pickles” rather than crude oil. The answer to anyone who happens to prefer honesty to make-believe is obviously “no” (think North Korea), but to merely pose the question is to be dismissed tout court as anti-American.

Perhaps the answer would be less obvious if the asker did not restrict his comparative study to two countries. Republican presidents have invaded more countries than just Iraq in the last few decades, and have failed to invade more countries that deserved it than just North Korea. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Nadelhoffer – or to Chomsky, for that matter – that Reagan invaded liberated Grenada, whose principal exports* are “bananas, cocoa, nutmeg, fruit and vegetables, clothing, mace”. (The last refers to the spice, not the crowd-control chemical.) Of these, the only ones for which Grenada controls much of the market are nutmeg and mace, two products of the same tree. I would hate to have to make my Christmas eggnogs and Walter Mondale memorial quiches without nutmeg, but it is far less important to the U.S. economy than “lettuce and pickles”. The fact that Reagan invaded liberated Grenada anyway should offer a clue to the clueless, but it probably won’t.

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*Yeah, that’s from the CIA Factbook, and, to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies, “they would say that, wouldn’t they?” Got any evidence that it’s incorrect in any way?