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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Biases of Journal of Military History of USA

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Re: Greetings

Tuesday, 4 March, 2008 17:39

From:

abcdefgh@tds.net

 

To:

"Military and Security Review" <abcd@yahoo.com>

Agha Sahib
I am in deed fine and hope you are too. I am sorry that Vandervort did not publish my review of your book, even though he promised that he would. I tried talking to him but he seemed reluctant to talk, just promised the review would come out in the Spring edition of the Journal.

What are you doing these days and are you still in Kabul? From what I can gather the US preence in Afghanistan is wearing very thin, just hope whomever is elected this Fall will have enough intelligence to get us out of there and Iraq since we have no business in either country.

If it comes up, please let people there know that not all Americans are like Bush and his bunch of henchmen, in fact, a lot of us do respect other people nor do we fear them like the American Right Wing fanatics.

Well, I have to get off to work so must close.

Best regards to you my friend

Don

Re: Greetings

Tuesday, 24 June, 2008 19:01

From:

abcdefg@tds.net

To:

"Military and Security Review" <abcd@yahoo.com>

Agha Sahib

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, I've no tolerable excuse beyond my penchant to procrastinate.

Trust this e-mail finds you in good health a nd spirits.

How are things going for the US in Afghanistan as opposed to the distorted (to some extent) reporting the Bush Administration wants us to know, and what the media tells us. I understand your comment about why the US can't withdraw without loosing face, but in the long run, is it really going to be the US's choice to remain or withdraw, or, like the British long ago and the Soviet Union recently, find themselves with no choice but to leave.

After all, historically, the Afghans aren't prone to accept other countries presence when no longer welcome, and at some point if the US keeps alienating people and/or the Taliban becomes strong enough to exert the kind of pressure that results in a general rising throughout Afghanistan, similar to what happened to the Soviets, then the US could find it has no choice either.

In regards to this, would the US loose the same amount of face if booted out vs. simply doing a unilateral withdraw?



In regards to JMH, it is most unfortunate, even tragic, that people who profess a strong and open academic agenda are, in reality, as close-minded as the most intractable provincial official whose only true concern is in how best maintain their own and their groups status quo.

But what riles me the most is that in my phone conversations and e-mail exchanges with Vandervort, he presents himself as liking you and respecting your knowledge, plus his concern for accuracy in order to protect the reputation of his journal.

And yet, even though you cite sources and present cogent arguments concerning Tan Tai-Yong's 2000 article, which clarifies parts of his analysis, Vandervort  refused to publish your letter. That certainly doesn't sound like a man concerned with facts and truth, but rather a man concerned with some other agenda.

As to what that agenda is I am unclear, it well might be a paranoia about criticism, but that doesn't completely address why Vandervort never published my review of your book. Maybe it is as simple as the fact I have no academic or real world credentials that would make the JMH's readership take me seriously, and by extension your book.

I don't think that is it though, especially since Vandervort did publish some of your letters, had met you in person, and according to him, enjoyed meeting you and was looking forward o my review of your book; yet the review has not been published to date, despite promises and guarantees it would be, and his personal preference that your book should gain a wider audience of people knowing of its existence.

Quite frankly, Agha my friend, I am stumped by Vandervort's attitude and dismayed at his dishonesty, but ironically, I'm not surprised it happened.

Is prejudice that is at the core? Is it some inane anti-Muslim bias or. some Machiavellian mentality at JMH that is  afraid to roil the waters of what, I suspect, is the rather conservative readership of the JMH?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards
Don

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Re: Greetings

Sunday, 20 July, 2008 19:44

From:

abcdefgh@tds.net

To:

abcd@yahoo.com

Agha Sahib, thank you for inviting me to join the Military History... blog. I just completed the sign up process, but since I have never used a blog before I will need to spend a little prep time in learning how to blog (protocol etc.) and read some of the postings to date. Once I am comfortable with the process and appropriate content for this blog I will make a contribution of some type.

How long have you been involved on this blog and what postings should I look for that you have posted? Are there any on the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 or of northern and central India in this time period?

As to Vandervort and biases of the JMH, I am not currently in a position to make a supportable accusation since I have not had enough dealings with him or the journal; however, given his promises to publish my review of your book and then not keeping that promise, even though he said specifically that he would like to see your book reviewed so that there would be a wider audience of people aware of it. He also said he remembers meeting you and even said he liked you and etc. So I am at a loss as to why he chose, in the end, to publish the review; I do sense, after calling him a couple of times about the review not appearing as promised, that he was rather standoffish and anxious to end the calls. When the review did not appear for 3 successive issues I simple gave up because, though I could not categorically prove his and JMH biases, it was becoming clear, from your comments to me and excellent review of the Indian professor article, that more was going on than running an unbiased and professional level journal.

For me, in the guise of an academician (if an MA in ethnology qualifies me for such a "heady" label) and as strong supporter of bringing truth and facts to the forefront, regardless of whose feelings are going to be hurt or who is going to be embarrassed that their biases, lack of adequate research, or false assumptions/summations are disclosed for everyone to see, I find the actions of Vandervort to be unacceptable.

And for me as a citizen of the U.S. I am finding it more and more disquieting that these types of behavior (and even worse ones) are becoming more and more the norm, at least among the so called "Protectors of America's Freedom" as I like to term them (at least in a non vitriolic way, I could say ow I really feel, but want to keep things somewhat civil so I don't start acting like they do and wind up embarrassing myself). Tragically, these are people with selfish interests and covered agendas who are more akin to the KKK, Nazi's, and other hate mongers throughout world history, than they are protectors of America's hold on what freedom we do have. In fact, given the opportunity, these biased and arrogant individuals would like nothing less than to put the kibosh on everything that they don't find acceptable, and then call it the one and "True Democracy", and proclaim it to be "God's Will".

Sound familiar? Well, I know you know, but couldn't pass up the chance to say, sound familiar, sort of my style (or at least one style) of humor I enjoy, though I haven't a clue what style of humor, if any, it really is, it's just me being me. Anyway, I'm thinking specifically of Ridley Scott's move "Kingdom of Heaven" in which he makes the obvious statement through the characters that all religions and by extension (at least as I see it) any group or organization, will invoke the Will of God in their cause, even when it violates the basic tenets of a given religion or group; their purpose being, of course, to stir the masses to action in order to further or establish their agenda or goal. It also is the basic call to arms of the Taliban, the Christian Right here in the US, Islamic Fundamentalists (in most cases?, correct me if I am in error here) and others I can't think of at the present moment, or that I am not even aware of at this time.

I don't know if this type of thinking is appropriate for the Military History... blog, but it is an important issue that, at least for the present US government that seems completely beyond their understanding,needs to be understood, not just from ones own perspective, but from those one is taking exception with. After all, without understanding one cannot really formulate an effective strategy to either counter the other ones, or to come to some mutually agreeable compromise. I often think of Albert Einstein's statement, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood".

It goes to the heart of many things, not only among those who believe understanding is a good thing, but to those who shun or even condemn it.

Best regards my good friend

Don



 

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