Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Professor Ward Churchill: 9/11 Truthteller, or Nincompoop?

Active response to jihadist attacks on this country began in earnest with the 9/11 attacks. That may be one reason why so many opponents of the War on Terror focus on the 9/11 attacks, either calling them justified, or denying that they were made by terrorists or jihadists.

Those who believe that the United States of America has no right to defend itself against alleged terrorists now have a martyr of sorts: professor Ward Churchill, who accused victims of the 9/11 attacks of bringing the attacks on themselves.

He's a martyr some of them may not want.

Ward Churchill's academic offense, according to everything that's filtering out from the University of Colorado at Boulder, was lying: and writing books under an assumed name so that he could cite them in his own scholarly works.

It's 'obvious' that professor Ward Churchill's firing was a violation of his free speech rights.

Or maybe not.

Representative Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, assured readers of the Rocky Mountain News that controversial views, and those who hold them, will find a safe haven in his state's universities.

Also a salary that's nothing to sneeze at. Churchill will collect one year’s salary of $96,392 as severance pay, according to Rocky Mountain News.

Back to Rep. Udall. He's all for academic freedom, but said that professor Churchill got in trouble because of his academic misconduct.

"But Ward Churchill’s actions have gone far beyond giving voice to reprehensible points of views," he said. "As much as Ward Churchill would like us to believe otherwise, today’s dismissal is about his academic conduct. It is a shame that Ward Churchill still tries to deny the disservice he has done to CU by claiming the university is interfering with his right to free speech." (Rocky Mountain News, "CU regents fire Ward Churchill" July 24, 2007)

I agree with Representative Udall on this. Professors are paid to make outrageous, insane, ludicrous proclamations. And then, try to back them up with something with at least a passing resemblance to truth.

Professor Churchill failed to live up to this high ideal.

Now that his firing is official, professor Churchill is becoming a victim.

One post identified professor Churchill as "cause celebre of the hysterical right."

Another posted a well-written piece, defending what he calls "academic freedom." "All that has been proven is that Churchill made some dubious claims in his writings without any real evidence, and that he engaged in ghost writing for some other academics," he wrote This blogger called professor Churchill's academic faux pas "appalling," but he believes that a professor of Churchill's caliber shouldn't be fired.

And one blogger, with a keen perception of how a group can be discredited by an excessively-enthusiastic member, posted, "Churchill is not a 9/11 truthteller, and he doesn't speak for me." This blogger goes on to say, "Comparing the victims in the World Trade Center to nazis (!) is both offensive and idiotic, and Churchill never even discussed the fact that the 9/11 attacks were allowed -- or made -- to happen by elements within the U.S. government."

I'm waiting for someone to declare that professor Ward Churchill was forced or maneuvered into the position of writing his 2001 essay, and 2003 book. 'Obviously,' he is being used as a tool to discredit all the folks who know that 9/11 was somehow or other a fake.

One thing that's struck me about conspiracy theories is how mediocre they are. Honestly: "elements within the U.S. government?" I've heard phrases like that for decades. I would have expected someone to come up with something more imaginative, after all these years.

I strongly recommend reading this article in the Rocky Mountain News, CU regents fire Ward Churchill (July 24, 2007). In addition to other detail, this article quotes people whose work, in the view of the U of C, Boulder, was "mischaracterized by Churchill."

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.