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Letter to Kamm and non reply

 
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David Sketchley



Joined: 09 Jun 2005
Posts: 85

Post Post subject: Letter to Kamm and non reply Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Kamm,

You have deleted your posting about Pilger along with my comments and thus not given me the opportunity to reply to your ad hominem attacks.

These were your comments:

I should explain to my readers, who may well have worked it out for themselves, that David Sketchley is an indefatigable member of the Media Lens organisation. I have written about Media Lens from time to time owing to its practice of spamming journalists with email campaigns and then publishing their replies without their knowledge or permission. The passionate intensity of these email campaigns is, reliably, inversely related to the amount of political expertise invested in their formulation.
If you check the Media Lens site, you will enter a parallel universe in which the band of regulars assure each other of their own virtue and wisdom, condemn the Jews for their nefarious conspiracies (they don't even bother with the euphemism "Zionist"), and compare journalists (me in particular, for some reason) to excrement. The "media alerts" that guide the faithful invoke the research of such analysts as the 9/11 conspiracy crank Howard Zinn and - no joke, this - Neil Clark, a monoglot school teacher and Wikipedia editor from Botley whom Media Lens count a "Balkans specialist".
Mr Sketchley's distinctive contribution to this organisation is to promote the theory that the massacre of 8,000 Bosniak men and boys at Srebrenica is all a hoax. At one point, he couldn't stop himself from sending me angry emails from his home in Seville, and I endeavoured to answer courteously everything he sent my way; but evidently he has the bug again.
Mr Sketchley, now that my readers know what we're dealing with, let me answer your questions directly. You ask whether I would care to withdraw from my blog the disobliging references to John Pilger, and apologise to him. The answers are "no" and "no".
Almost every time I post on the Pacific War, some aggrieved commenter accuses me of being no expert on this subject, and I'm concerned to acknowledge the truth of that charge. I've never done a stroke of primary research into the subject, and don't read Japanese (or any non-European language). But I do know my way round the secondary literature, and the work of the leading historians in the field, several of whom have very kindly guided me through their own research.
I am consequently able to distinguish, as Mr Sketchley is not, between a "report" and a second-hand recycling of a hoary claim.This is how ideologically congenial myths get propagated. I have tried to track this one down before, and find that it eludes the leading scholars of the Truman administration whereas it's common knowledge to Pilger, Media Lens and various disarmament groups (who have plainly picked it up from Pilger's original documentary). How fortunate that we have Media Lens to cut through this web of official deceit.
Posted by: Oliver Kamm August 08, 2008 at 01:55 PM
Oh dear. I hadn't anticipated, as I ought to have done, the ease with which a Media Lens supporter can be confused. I was not, Mr Sketchley, taking issue with Truman's appellation of the bombing as a "success" - given that there were huge questions about whether the bomb would detonate at all, and many sceptics, it would be amazing if he hadn't made such a comment. I was referring to Pilger's alleged quotation from Truman that "the experiment was an overwhelming success". That was what I quoted and it is, as far as I am able to tell, a spurious quotation. Truman and the administration did not regard the bombing as an experiment; they regarded it as a necessary act to stop the war and terrible bloodshed. Truman recoiled from the notion that he might have to drop a third bomb, and there is much biographical evidence that the A-bomb decision weighed on his mind for the rest of his life.
Your Googled source Dennis Wainstock is, by the way, not a reliable source: he's a far-right editorialist. I can understand that the distinction will not necessarily be clear to Media Lensers.
Next.
Posted by: Oliver Kamm August 08, 2008 at 02:06 PM
1. I am not a "member of the Media Lens organisation". I have posted my own comments and other articles to their notice board, just as I posted a reply to your blog. By the same token I could be accused of belonging to an 'Oliver Kamm organisation'. But then as we can see you are not interested in accuracy just in discrediting anyone who dares disagree with you.

2. You insinuate that because I am a "member of the Media Lens organisation", then I am guilty by assocation with everything that you find wrong with Medial Lens from condemning "the Jews for their nefarious conspiracies (they don't even bother with the euphemism "Zionist")," (a cowardly way of accusing someone of anti-semitism) and comparing "journalists (me in particular, for some reason) to excrement". You are playing dangerously Mr Kamm and I would advise you to tread very carefully if you don't want a libel case thrown in your face.

3. Your technique is fairly simple in that you attempt to destroy the repuation of people who don't agree with you, by innuendo, straw men, and plain old ad hominems which are never backed up with facts, just opinion. ("Dennis Wainstock is, by the way, not a reliable source: he's a far-right editorialist" and "I ungraciously suspect Mitchell doesn't provide them because he doesn't know them, but is merely retailing a claim that he's picked up from a comrade. This is how ideologically congenial myths get propagated.")

By the way what proof do you have that Wainstock is a far-right editorialist? Apart from anything else that's very funny coming from you...What are you trying to say? That he's a supporter of the criminal David Duke or a neo-Nazi? This is nothing new, you tried to insinuate the same about me before. He is actually Associate Professor of History at Salem-Teikyo University in Salem, West Virginia.

Maj Robert F. Tate, USAF Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, book reviewer for the US Air Force's Air & Space Power Journal called the book "a well-written, highly documented account of the events leading up to the American use of atomic bombs against Japan" and "an extraordinarily balanced and riveting account of the political, military, and diplomatic maneuvering that took place on both sides of the Pacific and within Stalin's Soviet Union, resulting in the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan". Further he states "The author, despite making clear his position on the use of atomic bombs, does not preach unsupported and opinionated positions to the reader. Rather, he lets his research and documentation do most of the talking. There is no doubt left in the reader's mind that Wainstock does not approve of our using the bombs, yet he skillfully negotiates a maze of complicated political wickets and decisions in order to define what he feels were the real purposes for leveling Hiroshima and Nagasaki....His bountiful use of footnotes and historical references, gleaned from primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, adds significant credibility to his work. By using his sources with care, he has produced one of the significant pieces of work on this incredibly sensitive subject. Further, he artfully avoids the hard-core, pro-atomic Goliaths without simultaneously denigrating policy makers whose unsavory task it was to order the deployment and use of atomic weapons...Too often, books on this subject take one of two paths: "The Japanese deserved what they got; besides, the bombings saved hundreds of thousands of American lives"; or, "The Japanese were poor, unfortunate victims of the wanton and unbridled American lust for killing." As is usually the case, the truth resides somewhere in the middle. The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb takes an honest, objective, and detailed look at that sacred middle ground that too many revisionists or pseudohistorians try to avoid. I highly recommend this excellent book. "
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/bookrev/wainstock.html


4. You refer to Greg Mitchell in the following disparaging way: "Mr Sketchley's source has not "reported" any statement attributed to Truman, because he wasn't with President Truman at the time. He has cited, in an op-ed piece that does not bear the hallmarks of familiarity with the historical literature, a claim about President Truman that is noticeably short on verifiable detail. Who was this journalist, Mr Sketchley? What wire service? Why does Mitchell not provide these identifying details?
I ungraciously suspect Mitchell doesn't provide them because he doesn't know them, but is merely retailing a claim that he's picked up from a comrade. "
For your information here is verbatim what Greg Mitchell e-mailed to me in reply to my mail asking him for his sources (see below): "Those quotes are recorded and footnoted in the fairly prominent and reviewed on the front pages of book sections nearly everywhere -- book that I co-wrote with Robert Jay Lifton in 1995, "Hiroshima in America" (G.P. Putnam) They appear on page 23 of the book and the citations are not "some cliam picked up from a comrade" but rather The New York Times and Newsweek in August 1945. For the record, I started studying the atomic bombings 30 years ago, was editor of the national magazine Nuclear Times for four years, spent several weeks doing research in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, plus several weeks at the Truman Library, several months more at other research libraries, read thousands of articles published from 1945 to 1950, read dozens of books on this subject from authors with a variety of views, hundreds or thousands of magazines articles, examiend diaries and thousands of letters and diaries, interviewed many veterans of the war, consulted on leading films and museum exhibits, watched dozens of documentaries and, besides writing the book, have also penned hundreds of articles on this subject. GM

5. You state "Oh dear. I hadn't anticipated, as I ought to have done, the ease with which a Media Lens supporter can be confused. I was not, Mr Sketchley, taking issue with Truman's appellation of the bombing as a "success" - given that there were huge questions about whether the bomb would detonate at all, and many sceptics, it would be amazing if he hadn't made such a comment. I was referring to Pilger's alleged quotation from Truman that "the experiment was an overwhelming success". That was what I quoted and it is, as far as I am able to tell, a spurious quotation.".

Actually, apart from quite blatantly insinuating an apparent stupidity, Mr. Kamm, yours is the 'spurious quotation'. Pilger's actual words were "The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the "overwhelming success" of "the experiment"." NOT "the experiment was an overwhelming success" as you opine. That was Greg Mitchell's quote and he has already said where the quote came from: New York Times and Newsweek articles from August 1945. I could also comment here the 'ease' with which you 'can be confused'. This shows your aim is to be nasty and offensive. Why don't you go and look up the quotes at the publications in question if you're so doubtful?

You presumably know the Hiroshima bomb was the first uranium-based detonation. The Alamogordo 'experiment' was the same type of bomb as Nagasaki, plutonium-based, and Truman referred to the first plutonium-based explosion at Alamogordo as an "experiment" in his diary. Why wouldn't he refer to the first uranium-based explosion in the same way. They had little idea how it would turn out as the testimonies of all those involved prove.
http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/bomb/large/index.php?action=documentary

I notice you didn't re-post your piece about Pilger's article along with the comments in your new Times blog. Why am I not surprised?

I attach Greg Mitchell's original e-mail to me. I trust you will apologise to both him and me.

Yours Sincerely

Reply from Kamm:

EMAIL DELETED AFTER KAMM REQUEST - 7.9.09

Dear Mr. Kamm,

Please do relax. No, I don't want to take legal action against you and wouldn't even if I could afford to. Apart from anything else I live in Spain and you're not that important.

Putting that comment in the letter was a pre-meditated experiment to see if my theory about you was correct. It is. The theory being that you have no intention of engaging with anyone who doesn't think like you and you refuse to address any issues you find difficulty answering. In this case you found the perfect get out, the one phrase that would mean you wouldn't have to answer any of the points raised.

I will be posting all your replies to my blog.

Yours Sincerely
Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:43 am
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