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Right Intention: Ward Churchill

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Ward Churchill

Here's an angle on the story that most people are missing, in my opinion.

I listened to the endless chatter about it on talk radio. I read the news stories, along with the editorials condemning Ward Churchill's essay. I have just gotten around to reading what the professor actually wrote.

The University of Colorado professor could have used a good editor. That's the first thing I noticed. And certainly, he holds back not at all in casting blame for Sept. 11.

What struck me the most, though, is how familiar it all was. The Eichmann reference clearly was stupid and was designed to be incendiary. A fair reader of the essay will not, though, be tripped up by it. In no way was he saying children, police officers and firefighters deserved to die.

Instead, he is saying they were the enemy's "collateral damage," no different from the innocent Iraqis, Afghans, Vietnamese and a host of others who have been killed when our military weapons miss and, sometimes, hit their targets.

The familiarity of what Ward Churchill wrote comes from the books and extensive articles in national publications that have been written in recent years on this very subject, with the same accusatory finger for Sept. 11 pointed directly at the U.S. and its citizenry for closing a blind eye to our country's adventures overseas.

It's good to see a spotlight is being shone on this idiot. But let's not only look at him. As this article makes clear, he is far from being the only one who harbors the "America had it coming" viewpoint. We are way too focused on one sick mind, and not on a widespread mindset. People who have this point of view need to be exposed.

That said, I think the calls for Churchill's ouster from the University of Colorado are misplaced. The best way to combat this type of speech is with more speech, not to make them martyrs. Moreover, I doubt the university could do it. It is free speech at a government institution. I'm no lawyer, but I'm sure he's protected. And in any event, those of us in the middle and the right should not lower ourselves to the standard of the left, which is "free speech for me, but not for thee".

We must not forget the hypocrisy of the left from last year. The left claimed to be staunch defenders of free speech while best selling anti Bush books were coming out weekly (check out this list!), and Hollywood was pumping out anti Bush propaganda films, and news organizations were desperately trying to find something new about Bush's National Guard service. But free speech was not so important in the case of the swiftvets (look here, and here) and Sinclair broadcasting.

We in the middle and right are better than that. Let Ward Churchill stay. We should just expose him, and those like him, for the fools they are to the entire world.


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