2005/02/02

The persecution of Ward Churchill




For those of you not aware Ward Churchill is a professor in Colorado currently facing persecution for stating what is really the obvious: America will face more 911 style attacks if it does not change its foreign policy. Ward Churchill is an expert on genocide and widely recognized. He works in the department of Ethnic Studies:

Get your op/ed here:
or spin here:
or here from an oxycontin addict:


To me, this is not news. Policy what it is. He now faces BS that runs the gambit from being fired to death threats, here is what he has responded with:

Press Release - Ward Churchill January 31, 2005
In the last few days there has been widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage concerning my analysis of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, coverage that has resulted in defamation of my character and threats against my life. What I actually said has been lost, indeed turned into the opposite of itself, and I hope the following facts will be reported at least to the same extent that the fabrications have been.

The piece circulating on the internet was developed into a book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens. Most of the book is a detailed chronology of U.S. military interventions since 1776 and U.S. violations of international law since World War II. My point is that we cannot allow the U.S. government, acting in our name, to engage in massive violations of international law and fundamental human rights and not expect to reap the consequences.


* I am not a "defender"of the September 11 attacks, but simply pointing out that if U.S. foreign policy results in massive death and destruction abroad, we cannot feign innocence when some of that destruction is returned. I have never said that people "should" engage in armed attacks on the United States, but that such attacks are a natural and unavoidable consequence of unlawful U.S. policy. As Martin Luther King, quoting Robert F. Kennedy, said, "Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable."

* This is not to say that I advocate violence; as a U.S. soldier in Vietnam I witnessed and participated in more violence than I ever wish to see. What I am saying is that if we want an end to violence, especially that perpetrated against civilians, we must take the responsibility for halting the slaughter perpetrated by the United States around the world. My feelings are reflected in Dr. King's April 1967 Riverside speech, where, when asked about the wave of urban rebellions in U.S. cities, he said, "I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed . . . without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today - my own government."

* In 1996 Madeleine Albright, then Ambassador to the UN and soon to be U.S. Secretary of State, did not dispute that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of economic sanctions, but stated on national television that "we" had decided it was "worth the cost." I mourn the victims of the September 11 attacks, just as I mourn the deaths of those Iraqi children, the more than 3 million people killed in the war in Indochina, those who died in the U.S. invasions of Grenada, Panama and elsewhere in Central America, the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and the indigenous peoples still subjected to genocidal policies. If we respond with callous disregard to the deaths of others, we can only expect equal callousness to American deaths.

* Finally, I have never characterized all the September 11 victims as "Nazis." What I said was that the "technocrats of empire" working in the World Trade Center were the equivalent of "little Eichmanns." Adolf Eichmann was not charged with direct killing but with ensuring the smooth running of the infrastructure that enabled the Nazi genocide. Similarly, German industrialists were legitimately targeted by the Allies.

* It is not disputed that the Pentagon was a military target, or that a CIA office was situated in the World Trade Center. Following the logic by which U.S. Defense Department spokespersons have consistently sought to justify target selection in places like Baghdad, this placement of an element of the American "command and control infrastructure" in an ostensibly civilian facility converted the Trade Center itself into a "legitimate" target. Again following U.S. military doctrine, as announced in briefing after briefing, those who did not work for the CIA but were nonetheless killed in the attack amounted to no more than "collateral damage." If the U.S. public is prepared to accept these "standards" when the are routinely applied to other people, they should be not be surprised when the same standards are applied to them.

* It should be emphasized that I applied the "little Eichmanns" characterization only to those described as "technicians." Thus, it was obviously not directed to the children, janitors, food service workers, firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9-1-1 attack. According to Pentagon logic, were simply part of the collateral damage. Ugly? Yes. Hurtful? Yes. And that's my point. It's no less ugly, painful or dehumanizing a description when applied to Iraqis, Palestinians, or anyone else. If we ourselves do not want to be treated in this fashion, we must refuse to allow others to be similarly devalued and dehumanized in our name.

* The bottom line of my argument is that the best and perhaps only way to prevent 9-1-1-style attacks on the U.S. is for American citizens to compel their government to comply with the rule of law. The lesson of Nuremberg is that this is not only our right, but our obligation. To the extent we shirk this responsibility, we, like the "Good Germans" of the 1930s and '40s, are complicit in its actions and have no legitimate basis for complaint when we suffer the consequences. This, of course, includes me, personally, as well as my family, no less than anyone else.

* These points are clearly stated and documented in my book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, which recently won Honorary Mention for the Gustavus Myer Human Rights Award. for best writing on human rights. Some people will, of course, disagree with my analysis, but it presents questions that must be addressed in academic and public debate if we are to find a real solution to the violence that pervades today's world. The gross distortions of what I actually said can only be viewed as an attempt to distract the public from the real issues at hand and to further stifle freedom of speech and academic debate in this country.

Watching “The O’Reilly Idiocy” tonight slick willy ran the gambit of the neocon spin on this. He characterized the man as saying that “all the victims of 911 were Nazi’s that deserved to die". The quotes are what O’Reilly said, not Churchill (just to be clear). What was really telling that he later corrected himself by saying “…comparing them all to little Eichmans”. So he had more precise information, He chose to spin it as “hate” and all but justifying death threats against the professor. Yesterday he called for him to be fired and today retracting that. Interesting “Fair and Balanced” reporting of shows on Fox news.

Don’t be lost in the rhetoric of conservative spin and the left’s response. The message is true. If America does not change its illegal “White Man’s burden” course of foreign policy it will probably face more terrorist attacks. Like I have stated, this is not news to me or the many other people of the world who believe the same thing.

I find it highly unlikely that 911 occurred because those people “hate freedom", as president Bush would have you believe. I do agree that “they hate our values” if our values have become imperialistic invasions of sovereign nations for economic or political gain. What kind of values are those? This is what we can expect from a “moral” America? Not my morals thanks. Are those yours? Don’t answer that: the answer is as self-evident as the chance of the US invading the Saudi Arabian dictatorship (infamous for brutal human rights violations) in the name of Freedom and Democracy.

10 Comments:

I wasn't aware but I am now. Thanks for the links. I have read one and will get to the others later today.

As an American living in another culture and a once blind, deaf and dumb capitalist I will offer an opinion, such as it is.

I do believe America is in danger of future terrorist attacks and does need to protect itself internally. How to do this is the question??? Isolationist and big brother tactics will only increase the risk of terrorism.

Warfare is not the way to change government policy.

Most Americans are too blind in their comforts to really see and accept the truth that lies behind their comfort. Until the reality of homelessness, poverty, disease and out of business signs become more obvious than they are today, most Americans will continue to casually accept their lifestyle as a 'God given right' and ignore it's cost to others around the world.

As Jose Bove, here in France, is fighting globalization with boycotts and civil disobedience so will others around the world begin to actively become involved in bringing big government/corporate capitalism to it's knees.

Of course, the wealthy will call this terrorism.

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."
I don't know who said it, but ain't it the truth? 

Posted by Dianne
2/02/2005 12:55:00 pm  
America will face many things if it does not change it foreign policy. Venezuela is want to try to export oil to China, since they have more in common idealogically. Venezuela provides 15% of our oil supply (our 4th largest supplier). President Chavez is a sharp critic of our foreign policy and because of that, Chavez (who was DEMOCRATICALLY elected) has been reffered to by Condeleeza Rice as a "negative force in the hemisphere" and the admin has said the he is trying to destabilize Latin America.

Until this admin wakes up, faces the truth and realizes that basically the only countries that support it are England and Poland, we will be at risk for many things. Lets just hope rising oil prices are the worst thing that could happen 

Posted by angiekruger
2/02/2005 02:11:00 pm  
“... the only countries that support it are England and Poland...”.

And even then, there is a difference between gov support and People's support. I don't have stats but I'd be surprised if the majority of UK and Polish citizens supported Bush's policies. And when govs keep on engaging in policies with which the majority of citizens disagree, they can get kicked out.

Look at Spain: the gov went along with Bush on the Iraq war from day one. But 94% of Spanish citizens were against it. Next election the gov was kicked out. 

Posted by WhyNot
2/02/2005 03:52:00 pm  
yeah, i have quite a few friends in england, and from what they tell me Blair is on his way out, they view him as bush's monkey and are tired of him bowing to the will of our pres. 

Posted by angiekruger
2/02/2005 04:04:00 pm  
This whole thing about Churchill has gotten out of hands. I'm tired to see conservative blogs critizising a text they haven't read because when read it doesn't say anything untrue. However words can be taken out of context and there are lots of headlines like "Colorado U professor says that the 9-11 victims weren't innocent" 

Posted by Priapo
2/02/2005 05:02:00 pm  
Dianne -

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

LMAO! I love that... note to self! Thanks 

Posted by deviant1
2/02/2005 06:56:00 pm  
Angie-

Unfortunately for everyone, the Bush administration is not going to wake up. We can only hope to minimize the damage that they have done, are doing, and will continue to do, in the next administration. 

Posted by deviant_1
2/02/2005 06:58:00 pm  
when will it all end... 

Posted by april
2/02/2005 11:43:00 pm  
I've read his appearance at Hamilton College has been canceled because of death threats but more likely to be from a desire by the college to avoid controversy.

Hmm First Amendment come to mind anyone? What a shame!


 

Posted by Dianne
2/03/2005 03:22:00 am  
Yea deviant, I may find a prominent spot for this quote on my tblog site. The fight against capitalist rape and pillage has always been a hard one. Maybe we will one day come to understand what the word 'social' means. 

Posted by Dianne
2/04/2005 10:07:00 am  

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