By Noam Chomsky
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Additional resources for After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology (The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume 2)
Opinion, who reflect basic power forces in the United States, are restless and concerned that the "Vietnam hang-up" may pose obstacles to the use of force to protect "the national interest," a mystification favored by ideologues to refer to the interests of those small groups who dominate the domestic economy and play a major role in setting foreign policy. The more general context is an attempt to heat up the cold war, which has served both superpowers so effectively as a cover for enlarging the military budget and creating the psychological environment for imperial intervention.
But the impression of internal dissidence is misleading. A more careful analysis shows that this controversy takes place, for the most part, within the narrow limits of a set of patriotic premises. Thus it is quite tolerable-indeed, a contribution to the propaganda system-for the Free Press to denounce the govern- 30 AFTER THE CATACLYSM ment for its "errors" in attempting "to defend South Vietnam from North Vietnamese aggression," since by so doing it helps to establish more firmly the basic myth: that the United States was not engaged in a savage attack on South Vietnam but was rather "defending" it.
S. society have undergone no significant change. And the intelligentsia can be expected to resume their traditional role, somewhat eclipsed with the trauma of the war in Indochina, in support of state violence and terror. They will construct an appropriate version of history and an interpretation of the contemporary world that will enlist popular support for these programs, or at least ensure a requisite degree of passivity and unconcern. It is in this context that we must approach the investigation of how the propaganda system is coming to terms with developments in postwar Indochina.
After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology (The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume 2) by Noam Chomsky