Ward Churchill's Comments--And the General's

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Mr. Briley is Assistant Headmaster, Sandia Preparatory School.

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Right-wing pundits are flexing their political muscles and publicly calling for the firing of University of Colorado professor Wade Churchill. (Click here and here.) The attacks have already taken their toll. Churchill’s speaking engagement was cancelled at Hamilton College in New York State, he has resigned as chairman of the university’s ethnic studies department, and Colorado’s Republican Governor Bill Owens has called for the professor’s firing. The tempest involves some inflammatory rhetoric in one of Churchill’s essays following 9/11 in which the professor compared the people who perished in the twin towers to little Eichmanns who were just following the orders of the corrupt American financial and military state.

Yet, the offensive remarks of Marine Corps Lt. General James Mattis, a career infantry officer, on February 1, before a forum in San Diego hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, have caused little controversy. Mattis described combat as a “hell of a hoot” and “a lot of fun.” He asserted, “It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up front with you, I like brawling.”

Speaking of Afghanistan, the Marine officer reduced the conflict to macho stereotypes. He referred to the Taliban as “guys who slap women around for five years because they don’t wear veils.” Mattis concluded, “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.” Rather than these remarks being greeted with moral outrage, newspaper reports assert that the officer’s comments were met with laughter and applause. The same talk shows demanding that professor Churchill be dismissed have been largely silent regarding the offensive language of Mattis, while the commandant of the Marine Corps simply stated that Mattis should watch his words in public. Nevertheless, the comments “reflected the unfortunate and harsh realities of war.”

Such a statement is an insult to the troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan by the Bush administration. Friends and neighbors who have been called into active service are not as simple-minded as Lt. General Mattis. They do not take pleasure in killing another human being. If the goal of the Marine Corps is to make killing “fun,” then there is all the more reason to resist the Iraqi conflict and the efforts of some in the military to make our children over into “killers.”

Unlike Ward Churchill, Lt. General Mattis issues his remarks as a uniformed officer in the United States military representing this nation and its citizens. Yet, Mattis does not speak for me and many other Americans when he takes a “video games approach” to the loss of human life. These are not the values upon which this nation was founded in the Declaration of Independence. General Mattis owes this nation and its soldiers an apology.

On the other hand, Ward Churchill would hardly be shocked by the comments of Mattis. Churchill’s scholarship, written from a Native American perspective, condemns the territorial expansionism, racism, and imperialism of the United States from the colonial era into the present. Churchill argues that America has never lived up to the promise of equality prescribed by the Declaration of Independence.

Thus, in his controversial 9/11 essay, Churchill attempts to assess why so many in the world perceive the United States as a symbol of oppression rather than freedom. He makes this argument while examining both the economic and military legacy of expansionism and imperialism. This approach is, of course, a difficult one for many Americans to understand. After all, we have a president who seems incapable of self-reflection. He can think of no mistakes that he has made on his watch, and in the wake of the 9/11 attacks he did not call on the American people to reflect upon the root causes of this tragedy. Rather, he ordered military action, reduced the terrorists to “evil doers,” and called upon the American people to continue their extensive habits of consumption.

Churchill’s rhetorical excess of labeling those who worked at the towers little Eichmanns certainly diverted attention from his larger argument—not to mention how the passengers on the doomed airlines fail to fit into this line of analysis. Nevertheless, the university environment is the arena where the debates regarding the nature of the American experience should be taking place. The state university is not simply a place where the conventional wisdom of the state’s population is to be reflected. It is rather an institution where scholars should feel comfortable in putting forth unpopular ideas and having them compete in the “marketplace” of ideas—an analogy with which those on the political right should be comfortable. Rather than simply calling for Churchill’s ouster at Colorado, the university model should provide for a debate of the ideas raised by his scholarship.

Does not Lt. General Mattis deserve the same respect and freedom of expression? The problem is that Mattis is speaking as a representative of the United States government, while a professor at the state university is hardly a spokesperson for state policy. If Lt. General Mattis wants to secure a university position, then in the spirit of academic debate he may engage the ideas of Churchill.

However, the current silence regarding Mattis, while television commentators call for the firing of Churchill, suggests that freedom of speech and intellectual inquiry in this country are in danger.

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Pat F. Hickey - 2/23/2005

Apples & Oranges - The General was exercising his freedom of speech - Ward was shilling his book.

Rachel Anderson - 2/20/2005

Thanks for the hint. Here's my test: test test IBM

Re. discredited sources and new scholarship, the Ward Churchill case goes way beyond that. This is very much a partisan issue because politics dominates the issue, not scholarship. It's pseudoscience in historiography. This is being turned into a struggle between the "progressive" forces against "the Man" and Ward will have his academic backers who will manufacture rhetoric rather then revise, just as homeopaths will never revise no matter how much evidence there may be against them. As you can see, his response to the reviews he is facing is to gather-'round the troops and have support rallies with drum-beating, rather than to make an effort to defend himself academically. This is the response of all obscurantists and fascists everywhere; turn your position into an atavistic struggle, heap hate and scorn against the critics and emotionally whip-up the supporters.

Jim Fuge - 2/19/2005

Hi Stephen;
I just read through this series of exchanges.
Even though Mr. Friedman has more facts and is better at displaying his ability to debate, you did a great job of nailing his lame tricks, and without geting rude didn't fall for his cheap shots. Nicely done.
Best of all you won the argument.
Jim Fuge

Jim Fuge - 2/19/2005

Regardless of the distracting mud slinging going on these conversations, the gist of W. Churchill's rant is that America's interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East and it's creation and unquestioning support of the modern state of Israel at the expense of Palestine, is the primary cause of the "blowback" of 9/11. His basic point is valid. If you mistreat and abuse people long enough they will eventually strike back. The attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon make sense. Those institutions are the engines driving the thuggery that now passes for American foreign policy.
America has further exacerbated the terrorist problem that is consuming us, by wasting 45% of the world's oil, being 6% of the world's population. Our dependance on oil mimicks a drug addicts behavior, they will do anything to get their fix. So will we with oil.
Our present foreign policy is being driven by the oil factor and the Hubbert curve. I predict that we will not leave the Middle East before their oil runs out.
Further, all the blind rah rah support I've read in the above commentaries supporting the Marine Corps general who thinks killing is such a hoot, perfectly explains why America has become so despised and feared in much of the world today. Our vaunted position in the world has been squandered, nor do I relish posting that ugly fact.

I challenge anyone who posts such morally bankcrupt rah rah support of this fun loving General to read USMC's Major General Smedley Darlington Butler's "War is a Racket" (1935) Google it/free on Net. (Reads in less than an hour). He was twice winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Only 19 Americans carry this distinction. This is a man who was one step away from the commandancy of the Marine Corps. He supports his self published book well, with his first hand experiences in Haiti, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Boxer rebellion.
Butler came to realize he was nothing but a hired thug for American corporate interests and his warning of Herr Hitler, penned in 1934, was on the money.
Now I suggest looking into a simple historical anomoly regarding Herr Hitler.
Where, at the height of the world wide Depression did Hitler get the money to rebuid Germany? To rebuild the Wehrmacht, and Luftwaffe, the Kriegsmarine, the wolf packs and panzer divisions and finish the autobahns (started under Weimar) et al., not to mention the Versaillis payments.(eventually abandoned)
A quick place to answer this conundrum is to Google Anthony Sutton's "Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler."
As most of you already know, G.W. Bushes grandfather Prescott Bush figures prominently in that sordid history. Congress actually had to employ the Trading with the Enemies act in Oct of 1942 to get him to stop secretly banking for the Nazi's in America,...ten month's AFTER Pearl Harbor! If you answer back to me, "sins of the father", then I'll point to G.H. Bushes involvement with the nortorious United Fruit Company and the Saudi royal family, and G.W.'Bush and Arbusto Energy.
War is Thuggery.
Finally, of course I don't need to do more than cite Geo. Washington's 1796 Farewell speech and Eisenhower's farewell warnings to have this historically knowledgeable audience know what I'm refering to.
War is a Racket.

N. Friedman - 2/17/2005


I read a different book than you. Your theory is illiberal.

Stephen Francis Kislock III - 2/16/2005

Favoring Reform or Progress.
When us senator zell miller, came to town, I was there with my Tolerance Sign, A Burning Cross and Hangmans Noose!
The Neo-Cons crossed the Street and got in our faces, they Called the Police and said we were Causing a Disturbance and to ARREST us!
Who is tolerant?
I looked up the definition of Liberal, there was Nothing about Israel?
Stephen F. Kislock III

Vernon Clayson - 2/15/2005

I had another thought on Ward Churchill and I posted it on another article but it is kind of worthwhile mentioning. Ward Churchill is no better and not unlike those old time movies where white men always played the parts of Indians and always spoke in gutteral monosyllables, e.g., "the white man speaks with forked tongue", "I shall return in the spring when my warrior's wounds have healed", or in profundities, "I saw in a dream that this land, given to us by the Great Spirit, now bears the white man's iron horse which brings more white men than there are stars in the sky", etc. His act must have been good as it appears that some Indians were fooled by him for a while but no more, now it is merely a few liberals that want to believe him.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 2/15/2005

Ms. Burwood,

I don't think we disagree on very much. I agree that much of the shouting about "politics in the classroom" is overblown. In my experience, most students, when feeling condescended to and lectured at, tend to quit paying attention, whether the demogogy comes from their professors or their parents. So it was for the boomers in the '60s ("Question Authority!), so it is for their students today.

My concerns lie more with the moribund state of intellectualism in the academy among the faculty. It no longer surprises me, that, in my experience, I find a more diverse and enlightened exchange of ideas on many internet sites than I do at faculty meetings. What passes for debate there is usually centered around the correct application of the latest theoretical fads rather than an insightful questioning of those theories themselves. Based on your comments, I think you would agree that creative debate is necessarily the product of a dialectic of two or more fundamentally different ideological positions -- a process in which all ideas are subjected to multilateral criticism and thus emerge more universal, applicable, and sensible. Few novel ideas will come from a room in which everyone agrees with each other.

Put a different way, communist or fascist art -- art constrained by a "correct" theory and incapable of entering into critical dialogue with other art or its society -- was really, really bad, better for its kitsch adornment of dorm rooms than display at an art museum.

Jonathan Dresner - 2/15/2005

HNN comments can handle some html codes: italics, bold, hyperlink, blockquote. You just have to do it by hand.

You're right about the problem of discredited sources; we all face the prospect of revising ourselves when new scholarship attacks our sources, though what that revision entails depends greatly on how we used those sources. It's not strictly a partisan issue, but the natural unfolding of new research and perspectives which we should, as best we can, integrate into our teaching and research.

There are, I assure you, a few people checking into Churchill's sources and citations (I know one personally, and I'm sure there are others), so there will be plenty of fodder for discussion when we both have access to more actual data.

Linnea Goodwin Burwood - 2/15/2005

Ms. Anderson,
You would be wrong about assessing my feelings about "paleoconservatives". I do not believe that calling for Larry Summers resignation for opening a dialogue that makes many feel uncomfortable is a good thing. It is time to discuss not attack ideas, even unpopualr ones for wither the left or right. Ward Churchill will have to answer to the Colorado Board of Regents and his own conscience, not me. If his scholarship is lacking then it up to them to take the case further, not me. Making someone think about uncomfortable issues is a very long way from agreement with the analysis of an individual on any topic. Mr. Rodriguez's comment about "ideological conformity" on campuses is a bit overstated. For those academics that wear their politics into a classroom, it is their right but visit their students ten years after graduation-I am certain one would find that the professor's political stance would not be found in the ex-student's reality. I do not believe that polemics and politicing are the best way to teach or research and am not an adherent of either. If you wear your politics as Ward Churchill does you must be ready to accept the criticisms that WILL come your way. My point was and remains that the bigger the tent in the academy to discuss multiple points of view, both the comfortable and uncomfortable, the better we all will be at our chosen craft.

Rachel Anderson - 2/15/2005


Dr. Salmanson would not normally ineterest me, although I'll be keeping an eye on what comes out from his pen in the future on this matter. His responses to the Churchill fiasco will provide me with a moderate amount of amusement, to be sure. If he has used some of Churchill's "research," as you say, and Churchill lands in the proverbial dust heap of history as a fraud, then Dr. Salmanson, among many others I'm sure, will have some tough decision to make. Should he back Churchill to the hilt and appear principled, but risk "contracting leprosy," or should he bail from that sinking ship and risk angering Churchill devotees and The Cause? I imagine the advice of a career counsellor unencumbered by such things as integrity and honesty would be: Bail gently, almost imperceptibly. Focus on the "good research" (easy, since everyone has some), publish tepid, convoluted and confusing "two-sides-of-the-issue" statements and don't appear either as a back-stabber of an icon to those on the left, an apologist for a demagogue to those on the right, or a defender of a fraudulent crank to honest peers. Most of all, get busy with other projects to gain some distance, allowing time and aforgetfulness to do their work. Dr. Salmanson's musings on the history of the tampon spring to mind.

As for hard evidence, I doubt I can satisfy you. I'm not an academic and I'm far from being an expert on American history. For whatever it matters, I'm merely an amateur student of history, a dilentante really, one who is mostly amused by the battles between science and pseudoscience, no matter where they take place. Since evidence, not partisanship, appears to guide you, I suppose the question of Churchills alleged falsification of publicly available sources should be the easiest to check and maybe that should be your starting point.

Re use of italics, I don't remember asking you about them, but now that you mention it, how *do* you make them without an html editor here?

Rachel Anderson - 2/15/2005

Ms. Burwood,

Mr. Rodriguez hits the nail on the head and there is little to add. It's my guess that you wouldn't feel the same way about Ward Churchill if instead of being the long-haired ageing hipster peddling popular leftist rhetoric he were a suited paleoconservative accused of making women and minorities "feel uncomfortable."

As for firing Churchill, yes, he should be fired if after due process he is proven to be a fraud who falsified his credentials and research, for which there appears to be strong and growing evidence. If he is given a "get-out-of-jail-free" card on this one, there wouldn't be much point in talking about academic standards and honesty at Columbia U. The next undergrad caught with a bought essay, or the next associate prof hired on made-up credentials will then have a glowing precedent.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 2/15/2005

One more thing regarding Briley's column: the argument that "yeah, it's bad, but others are doing it, too!" is really no argument at all. But I've come to expect little else from his tiresome and didactic moral posturing.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 2/15/2005

Holocaust-deniers "make me think." That does not mean there's any substance to Holocaust denial. I don't find that most of the posters here are "denigrating" Churchill because they simply "don't agree with" him, but rather that he's built up an entire career out of blatant academic fraud that is surprisingly easy to document and expose. He should not be fired, because that would set a bad precedent, but the people who hired him at CU should do some public penance.

I agree that "the academy exists to make us think, even about subjects that make us very uncomfortable." Sadly, the ideological conformity found among faculty today absolutely "confine[s] and limit[s] the range of discourse." Ask Dr. Summers at Harvard. The fact that Summers -- under fire for suggesting that some research indicates that men and women might have different cognitive strengths and weaknesses -- has fewer vocal defenders than Churchill, points to where the real restrictions on the discourse lie. The (quite unremarkable) notion that men and women are different certainly made some people "uncomfortable." Their response was not to "think" about it, but to demand that Summers resign. The need to think about "uncomfortable" subjects, if it is to mean anything at all, means that nobody should be exempt.

N. Friedman - 2/15/2005


I mistook you for someone who has actually opened a book. My apology

Stephen Francis Kislock III - 2/15/2005

Mr. Friedman:
You use the term "Lunatic(s)", lets substitute it with "Kamikaze", the Lack of Equal Weapons/Means to Defend one Country and one is left with, Lunatics/Kamikazes?

The Hate in the Mid-East, is centered on the US/Israel Cabal!

How can any Liberal, think that Israel is anything but a TERROR, let Loose in the Mid-East?

A Rule/Ruler (Caliphate), accepted by the People, is a Government/Rule Accepted! Your, Ideal World, is one that I, can only Question? What is Your Ideal?

Today in America I am Lost, I do Not Believe in God, especially those who walk to the front pew! The American Taliban, are Using God, to Destroy America!

Have you Read, the Tripoli Treaty of Friendship, May 27, 1797 and Article 11?

Spain, lets see, the Graet Disporia (?), The Ejection of Jews from Spain as were the Muslims?

Resettlement, a wonder term, for get the Hell out of Here!

As the native American's should of have said, to
Columbus, go to Hell!

You Mr. Friedman, are of your Mind, and much better educated on this subject than I, But???

I have changed and I will Defend my Position!

I asked asked about the ATTACK on the USS Liberty?

Does God give Israel the Right To Nuclear Weapons and No One Else?

Stephen F. Kislock III

N. Friedman - 2/14/2005


It is always interesting to meet someone who can say, "I know what was in the mind of the terrorists." Well, knowing why lunatics fly into buildings is anyone's guess. However, if you wish to investigate the history of the matter, rather than believe root causes that, frankly, are primarily causes of Westerners, not Islamists, and have little to do with what occurred on 9/11, that is your privilege.

I suggest to you that Israel has next to nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11. I also suggest to you that being a liberal and being a friend of Israel are not contradictory. Rather being a liberal and opposing Israel amount to a betrayel of liberalism.

Consider the following with respect to the Islamists: Your assumption appears to be that 9/11 is a response to something. My view is that the evidence shows no such thing.

Instead, the Islamists, by their own words, wish to restore the Caliphate. Frankly, the presence of the US in the Middle East makes the establishment of the Caliphate next to impossible because the Caliphate cannot, as a practical matter, be restored until the various countries of the region are eliminated - something that cannot occur so long as the US maintains a separate Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, Tunisia, etc.

But note, if you really care about America, you could not possibly desire the restoration of the Caliphate, which is the seat of an empire. The reason is that the Caliphate, as understood in Islamic law, is positively enjoined to make an offensive Jihad in order to spread the rule of Shari'a (i.e. Islamic law) to the dar al-harb (i.e. land of war, meaning all regions not governed by Shari'a). Surely, you realize that the prevention of the restoration of the Caliphate, in this dangerous world, is a moral imperative. And surely you realize that Israel, which is present in the region, also makes the recreation of the Caliphate less likely to occur.

Israel, in the scheme of the Islamists, is the equivalent of Spain - which they term al-Andulus - or Armenia, also a lost land. Note, that after Armenia was lost, the Ottoman Empire turned hostile to the Jews of the Middle East and the Empire started to deport Jews under the banner of not allowing what is now Israel to become another Armenia. Returning to contemporary history, Israel plays no greater role than the Spain in Islamist rhetoric except to the extent that it is used for publicity purposes.

I trust you would argue that Israel pushed the Palestinian Arabs from their homes. My response to you is that people in the Muslim world have been moved and removed and transfered and ethnically cleansed all over the place. Consider the millions of people booted out of Turkey and Greece - a swap of people by their religion -. Consider the million people killed and the 14 million refugees created when Pakistan came into being. Consider the hundred thousand people killed in Lebanon in the 1970's. Consider the 2 million people killed by Islamists in Sudan during the 1980's through the 1990's. And consider the 856,000 Jews booted out of their homes by the Arab countries in the 1940's into the early 1950's. Which is to say, the Palestinians, with the assistance of the Jordanians and other countries, who ethnically cleansed 100,000 Jews from their homes in the 1940's in places like Hebron and Jerusalem.

I do not take the view that the Israelis are blameless people. Instead, I note the point that what is unique about Palestinian Arabs is their unwillingness to be resettled - as if their claim was better than the 2 million displaced Sudetens who lost their homes with the founding of modern Czechoslavakia and Poland. And such people lost their homes summarily, at gun point and were merely marched to the border of the new countries and told never to return - a position which both Czechoslavakia and Poland maintain to this day.

Linnea Goodwin Burwood - 2/14/2005

I met Ward Churchill 17 years ago and have heard him speak on both COINTELPRO and the divisions in AIM. Although I do not agree with all of his conclusions and analysis, he made me think more deeply about both subjects. I have read some of his work and it also makes me think even when I disagree. I believe that the academy exists to make us think, even about subjects that make us very uncomfortable. When we start denigrating people that we don't agree with doesn't that confine and limit the range of discourse? I would not like works that I published a decade ago to be scutinized as if I had not enlarged my analytical framework over the decade. I am somewhat amazed at how at ease many of the respondents are with condemnation for the man without making direct comment on his work.

Jonathan Dresner - 2/14/2005

Ms. Anderson,

You are misreading my use of authority in argument, and also are incorrect if you believe that it is always a fallacy (reductio ad absurdum I think that's called). I do not afford the same respect to every person with a Ph.D. (and, for what it's worth, Churchill doesn't have one) or a professorial position. Dr. Salmanson, however, is an authority on US history who has read and used some of the relevant works. You (whose qualifications remain unrevealed to me) may be right, he may be wrong, but in the absence of other evidence (which you have not offered) I have to weigh his testimony more heavily than yours.

You'd be surprised how quickly I can change my mind if the evidence suggests it, and how little I am intimidated by rhetorical flailings. (and yes, I do use a lot of italics, why do you ask?)

Stephen Francis Kislock III - 2/13/2005

Mr. Friedman:
As to Books that I should Read about Israel, is one the Wanton Attack on the USS LIBERTY?
As to my Education, High School. Do I read, Yes!
In my small County in western PA, I have with Letters to the Editor, Defended the state of Israel, for Years, and have recieved Hate Mail, a lot of Hang up Calls (before caller ID), etc..
The Attack on 9-11 was my wake up Call, Boy did I hate Muslims and then I Really Started to Read!
I do not Forgive the terrorist, BUT!!!!!
Learning of the ROOT CAUSE, for the Attack, I will never defend israel or for that matter my government!
I am an Unabashed LIBERAL!
I belong to the ACLU, and many other groups that think America is on the wrong Path!
It is my DUTY As an American, to See that the government in D.C., does not have Blinders On!
How many times has the IAEA, Inspected the Nuclear Arsenal of Israel????????????
After the us supreme court 5 to 4 appointed g.w.bush, I took my american flag down and put the stars at the bottom, when the first missle struck Iraq, I flew an Empty Staff!!!!!!!!!!!
Stephen F. Kislock III

Charles Lee Geshekter - 2/13/2005

Rachel's sensible idea is appropriate and long overdue.

Ward Churchill's defenders will probably simper and sniffle, then proclaim that below-average and medicore students need to be taught by like-minded and similarly sub-par credentialled professors like Ward, ever the role model and exemplar of political correctness run amok.

N. Friedman - 2/13/2005

Stephen Francis Kislock III,

If you were to open up a few books, you might recall that the story of historic Palestine is rather complicated.

First, a bit of the history of the word "Palestinian." Prior to the creation of Israel, people did not refer to the non-Jewish portion of the region's inhabitants as "Palestinian." That word was generally used to identify the Jewish part of the population.

Second, Arabs, unless you had not noticed, come from Arabia. The rest of the lands alleged Arab were conquered and the inhabitants were massacred, forced to convert, starved to death or made into serf-like being the Arabs called Dhimmis.

Third, in the early part of the 19th Century, the total population of what is now Israel was 100,000. Of that population, a fairly large percentage was Jewish. Then, as the Empire of the Ghazi (i.e. holy warriors or, as more commonly identified, the Ottomans), was contracting, Muslim refugees from the Balkans and Greece were settled in, among other places, what is now Israel. Which is to say, a rather large number of the Muslim inhabitants of what is now Israel are settlers who arrived at about the same time that large settlement of European Jews began.

Fourth, the population of the region also includes Muslim settlers from Egypt during Egypt's conquest of the region.

Fifth, over the centuries, the Muslim Arabs and the Ghazi settled and moved out the population of the region so that rather few, some Jew and some Christian, remained.

Sixth, during the long period of Muslim rule, the rights of Jews was severely restricted, particularly in the part of the empire that is now Israel. Which is to say, Jews, who frequently arrived to reclaim the ancestral home, would be massacred by the kind Muslim inhabitants. Those allowed to stay were charged a special tax to pray in Jerusalem.

Seventh, the Arab world, perhaps in spite or perhaps on the theory that Jews had violated the Dhimma contract of submission, forced the Jewish population of the Arab world out beginning at the time that Israel was created. These refugees, who now reside largely in Israel, comprise the majority of the Jewish population of Israel. I note that 100,000 Jews were forced out of the area now claimed by the "Palestinians" to become their state.

In short, I cannot imagine your hostility to Israel as anything other than ignorance or prejudice.

Rachel Anderson - 2/13/2005

Kind of you to aknowledge my skill with quotes, Jonathan, but what's this about "knowledge of the field" ? It wouldn't be the old argument-from-authority fallacy, would it? If I were to swallow your logic, I would have to accept homeo-quacks as physicians, Eric Von Daniken as an archeologist, Ernst Zundel as an expert on the Holocaust...and Ward Churchill as an historian of Native Americans. And if I have any doubts, your eminent Professor Salmanson can boom-in with his authoritative "I don't know how many times I'm going to have to say this" line, which should surely settle the debate.

Arnold Shcherban - 2/13/2005

Mr. Kislock,

The initials K.K. (instead of S.F.) would suit you much better.
But don't jump to the conclusions 'bout me, just because of that semi-humorous characterization of you.
Read further...
Despite I smell anti-semitism in your passionate
remarks, you're objectively right (whether you're Right or not) about pointing at outrageous double standards exercised by the US and other countries' imperialist elite that unfortunately calls the shots in those countries.

Stephen Francis Kislock III - 2/12/2005

The New Nazi's!
The Actions of Israel, against the Weak The Palestinian, Is the Classic "Might Makes Right"!
Should we think of the Jews batteling the Nazi's in the Warsaw Ghetto, as Hero's Fighting for their Lives?
Did the Eureopean Jew, use any Explosive Device against the Nazi's?
How many Bombs, did the Jewish Underground, use against the British to get their Independence??
The Right to Exist, does not Stop with Israel..........
The West has been Bombing the Arabs, for 90 Years, Pay Back is Coming!!!!!!!!!!
Professor Churchill, Had the Courage to state, the FACT.
Terms, are Relevant, one to the Author and then to the Read, But Both Have RIGHTS..........

Grant W Jones - 2/12/2005

History News Network: A. Lincoln, Birthday, hello....

mark safranski - 2/12/2005

"But how effieceint would the mass murder machine have been without all of those secretaries and support staff to keep it running?"

Judging by the Khmer Rouge and Rwanda's Hutu militia, a sophisticated bureaucracy is not a requirement for genocide.

In fact, the kill rate per unit of time in Rwanda was far higher than that achieved by the SS. The militias slaughtered in a month ( 800,000 ) with machetes and cudgels, numbers of people that Auschwitz required most of its operational existence to kill using industrial methods and railroad transport.

Rachel Anderson - 2/12/2005

Let's not forget too the value of keeping a crank or two on faculty payrolls to provide examples of fraudulent scholarship along with a few hearty laughs. Just so that undergrads don't confuse them with real academics, the crank mascots should be required to wear caps with bells, red rubber noses and big floppy shoes.

Charles Lee Geshekter - 2/12/2005

The using of explicit, harsh, and derogatory terms to characterize those who hold illogical claims and resort to racial double standards in academia will continue as long as illogical claims and racial double standards persist.

Why is that so hard to grasp?

William . H. Leckie, Jr. - 2/12/2005

Nah. German TV produced one. Like Briley, they were horrified at, well, what Marines are trained to do. Recall: Defeat and occupation in the West pretty much crushed any sense of 1.)national pride, which has been sublimated into what's termed an "Elbonengesellschaft," and 2.) right on down to the administration of law sanctions physical if not verbal aggression. At least that's the conventional wisdom. Obviously things are not all that simple, but let's just say there's one very heavy legacy here that just can't be missed. There are a variety of tensions, maddening polarities of pre- and postwar behavior. I'd love to be in Dresden for the commemoration of the bombing: There are some pretty profound issues being worked out here. What I've alluded to in the old West, on the other hand, wasn't present in the East, where within the DDR there were niches ("free of consumption," one SDP intellectual told me)in which there was still considerable creativity and a high educational level, and the persistence of older rural ways. The NDP is getting smarter, which is causing real concern after only getting I think 6 seats in Saxony--I was surprised three weeks ago to see a booth on our pedestrianized market square; their hair had grown out, you saw no tattoos, and the literature was well-produced. Anyway, despite the odd tensions--odd maybe to us--and a very edited public sense of the past, militarism, war, killing, even a hint of social violence, touch a very sensitive nerve.

Michael William Giese - 2/12/2005

When will the uninformed name calling here stop? Apparently HNN has stopped being a place for history-based reasoning and discussion and degenerated into boosterism for rah-rah right-wing patriotism.

Randll Reese Besch - 2/12/2005

Think of Chivington,bible in one hand and pistol in the other, bringing god to the red heathens by force or by death.
By the way,how many innocent poeple has Mr. Churchill killed lately?
It shows when too much emotion clouds ones ability with his sloppy remark about the "...little Eichmans..." comments. But how effieceint would the mass murder machine have been without all of those secretaries and support staff to keep it running?

N. Friedman - 2/12/2005


I do not defend Mattis. I reiterate that his reputation is, if what has been said is correct, contrary to what he said. I also understand that he was disciplined.

In the case of Churchill, calling people working in the WTC "little Eichmans" is ranting, not analysis. If he had a real analysis, he would, I propose, have chosen different language. The choice of words like "little Eichman" ends all conversation because there is no way to argue with it. One believes or does not believe.

Even more generally, those who cannot make the most eliminatory distinctions, between ordinary workers in the US and Nazi mass butcherers generally have descended to the level of blind hatred. To quote Howard Jacobson,

"This is not a species of scholasticism, verbal fastidiousness for its own sake. If we do not properly describe what a thing is like and not like, we do not know what it is. It is in the nature of hatred not to know what a thing is like and not to care. Which is why we say that hatred is blind. Indeed, one of the signs that hatred is being brewed, in an individual or a community, is the deliberate wedding of like to unlike. Brutes yoke unlikes together in haste, enjoying that surge in emotional violence that blurring all distinctions brings.

"Here is why intellectuals, philosophers, artists, poets, are so important to our wellbeing. By exploring the ways things are different, however much they may sometimes look the same, by showing us how and why a thing became the thing it is and not another thing, they help still the undifferentiated violence of the furious and embittered. Little by little, they bring the calm of distinctness and individuality back into our lives."

Howard Jacobson, "Think what you like about Israel, but to equate Zionism with Nazism is simply incendiary," The Independent, April 20, 2002.

Charles Lee Geshekter - 2/12/2005

Thank you again Rachel for explaining the obvious to the blinded true believers.

As for being a legitimately recognized and often-cited scholar, Ward Churchill is a complete fraud, a hoax, a charlatan, and a meretricious whiner. And those are his better qualities.

Peruse the key scholarship by recognized authorities on American Indian history - James Axtell, Peter Wood, Thomas Hatley, Fergus Bordewich, Helen Tanner - and notice how the utterances and jottings of Churchill appear nowhere.

The reasons are not hard to divine - Rachel has pinpointed them already.

Charles Lee Geshekter - 2/12/2005

Yo' Lisa:

Ward Churchill simply parlayed a tawdry package of lies about his own background to advance through the ranks of academia.

Churchill must NOT be fired - he should remain in the public eye to remind non-professors like Mr. Briley that the use of racist and ethnic double standards when hiring faculty members thoroughly undermines the intergity and corrupts the legitimacy of the university system.

Charles Lee Geshekter - 2/12/2005

Thanks to Vernon for quietly and sensibly reminding us of the most obvious, most deplorable thing about Churchill.

Ward Churchill has parlayed a tawdry package of lies about his own pedigree and geneology with the gullible, guilt-ridden angst of the modern professoriate thereby enabling him to vault through the ranks of academia with zero credentials and a fistful of disreputable, albeit humorous, published musings.

Churchill must NOT be fired - he must be sustained in the public eye as a reminder of how the use of racist and ethnic double standards in faculty hiring so thoroughly debases and corrupts the university system.

Lisa Kazmier - 2/12/2005

Maybe you should study compare and contrast or parallelism (and its lack). it seems Mattis and the pundits are doing the pandering.

Lisa Kazmier - 2/12/2005

It IS a double standard. That's the author's point. But the right has its apologists and that seems to make Mattis' comment okay? They both can be viewed as poisonous comments. Churchill's out-of-context jibe is most unfortunate here because what Mattis says (handled with kid gloves) underscores Churchill's point about why America is viewed as an oppressor. Mattis' comments sound exactly like that of an imperialist oppressor -- and he speaks for the entire US military. He sounds like he represents the KKK instead.

Gene Fein - 2/12/2005

Crystallized perfectly. Well said.

Richard Henry Morgan - 2/12/2005

What about it was so horrifying to your German friends? BTW, the documentary I saw was about female Marine bootcamp, and the final phase they call The Crucible. Some shouting, but too much. Perhaps not representative.

Vernon Clayson - 2/12/2005

The preceding comments on "Native American perspective" do not take into consideration that Ward Churchill is not a Native American under the various definitions of that term when applied to the aboriginal peoples of America, i.e., the descendants of those peoples. He can be called a "native", but only because he was born in this country and he can be called an "America for the same reason, but he is not a Native American in the sense of the aboriginal. Apparently he has gotten a lot of mileage out of that implied relationship, both as a academician and as an author. Sadly, he could have espoused his interest in the plight, and advances, of Native Americans without the pretense. Long hair, sunglasses and an honorary tribal card do not an Inidan make.

William . H. Leckie, Jr. - 2/12/2005

A year or so ago, and it warn't warm and fuzzy. Last thing that I heard like that came from a former DI who thought "stress cards" heralded the End of Civilization as he knew it, and that was a half-dozen years ago. They're probably phsyically a little gentler and definitely by all reports I've gotten ideologically more demanding pumping in Rush and teaching "moral superiority" to civilian life.

Richard Henry Morgan - 2/12/2005

Apropos of nothing in particular, just when was the USMC bootcamp documentary made? I've seen recent ones, and I've been amazed at the degree to which the Marines have incorporated into bootcamp the warm and fuzzy touchy-feely ethos of an Upper West Side encounter session.

Richard Henry Morgan - 2/12/2005

Apparently, his resume has grown more florid with time, also. I've seen posted on the web a report of a researcher's conclusion of the POW Network (a debunking site) that Churchill's Army MOS was heavy equipment operator. I've also seen a copy of his resume from the 80's on the web, where he claims he was a public information specialist, and a report of his resume from the 90's, where he claims he was Airborne/Recondo, with combat decorations. He's either the Baron Munchausen of Boulder, or the victim of a vast conspiracy. The latter would greatly disappoint me, of course, inasmuch as I'm a charter member of the vast right wing conspiracy, and this is the first I've heard of it. I hope this isn't a sign I'm being read out of the movement.

John Reed Tarver - 2/12/2005

Before he writes again it would serve him well were he to review the rules of logic, particularly the logical fallacies. He should begin with a study of the false analogy (the laws of correct demonstration), argumentum ad populum (pandering to popular passion), ignoratio elenchi (the fallacy of irrelevant conclusions), and the various forms of non sequitur.

William . H. Leckie, Jr. - 2/12/2005

The "free speech" aspects of all this are not the most important. Seems to me the real "crime" Churchill's committed (among others alleged) is to cheapen a genuinely thorny moral question--and one, by the way, I simply cannot resolve. It does not require making Nazi-equivalence rhetoric to ask about how we assess ethical and moral obligations within large and most often impersonal structures (this is a question that in fact sort of hums beneath the surface of debate about the integrity of the historical profession, for example, is in the open on the slavery reparations question, is really what's going on when the right rejects the jurisdiction of the ICC). At an extreme end of the spectrum of debate, of course, there remains the Very Model of This Very Modern or Postmodern Issue that's become, alas, too easy a cliche, as Churchill's egotistical silliness makes obvious. With Dresden now its symbol, it's a-building here in the country where I write this. It's a very serious one. Churchill made a vaudeville act out of it.

On the other hand, I think we make too much of the identity-politics aspects of all this. I mean, people in glass houses....Ralph Luker might also be able to enlighten us from that beacon of culture, Georgia, about the parallels between the "Native American point of view" and the "Christian" one as simply two of many that don't in this post-Fopcauldian era require empirically verifiable tests. I'm still chortling over all the blue-eyed Cherokees I met in the States with the rise of native American chic at about the same time redneck chic took off. "One drop" is apt. But we ought to keep in mind that those exquisite rules of racial taxonomy not only were exclusionary from above, they have also permeated the society lately and draw imaginary boundaries against an "outside," too. My favorites have always been the Seminoles, whose most famous war leader was more Scotsman than anything else, and who were classic Caribbean Maroons taking in runaway slaves, Muskogean refugees, and landless poor whites. Why should we deprive them, or even Churchill, of their redemptive narratives?

Why not, indeed?

Albert J Pinkoski - 2/12/2005

People who engage in fraudulent scholarship should seek employment as novelists, movie-makers, and actors, for that is where their true skills lie, and perhaps also LIE. So much for speaking TRUTH to "power."

The First Amendment rights of all faculty and students, hence, of all political persuasions and orientations, must be respected and vigorously enforced. And so, there is a perennial "open season" with regard to the theories and writings of scholars and pseudo-scholars.

Under no circumstances should Ward Churchill be dismissed for his outrageous comments ("little Eichmanns" and the like). Recall "a million Mogadishus," the infamous metaphor uttered by one Nicholas DeGenova. If these are their true opinions, then let them express them. By the same token, those who resort to such extremes in language have no right to insist that they be immune from intense and unrelenting scrutiny and criticism. Say your piece, you darling intellectuals, ideologues and classroom demagogues, then be prepared to defend it. Realize once and for all that "academic freedom" in its most comprehensive sense applies, not just to the tenured professoriate, but to all teachers and to all students.

At present, Ward Churchill has NOT backed down from what he said. Neither have his critics backed down from what they are saying. This is vigorous and robust free speech, proof that "sunshine is the best disinfectant," and this is the best definition of free speech that I have ever heard.

mark safranski - 2/11/2005

Well, if such a charge is substantiated, that would qualify as professional misconduct in my book. My expectation is that Churchill was probably a petty tyrant of some kind and that allegations like the one you brought up are likely to accumulate now.

However that is only a hypothesis and no administrative action should be taken against Churchill unless it is based on actual behavior relevant to his job performance.

Richard Henry Morgan - 2/11/2005

If you read the Rocky Mountain News, Mr. Safranski, one of his former students, a Mandan-Hidatsa who won a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard claims that Churchill dropped her from an A to a C- when he became aware of the fact that she had written a profile questioning his claim to Native American ancestry.

Of course, that's just an unsubstantiated charge. Churchill, when not spouting idiocies, may have written scholarly material of worth. Idiocies don't deserve firing. On the other hand, it is now reported by the RMN that Churchill twice at Colorado on formal paperwork (once on a federal affirmative action form) claimed Native American ancestry. As I've said, I'm all for him scamming Colorado, since I think it's a disgrace to hire anybody (or not hire anybody) on the basis of ethnicity. Prof. Luker sees the possible irony that Churchill might keep his job by the one-drop rule of the New South. I see the irony in him losing his job because of the zero-drop rule.

mark safranski - 2/11/2005

Professor Churchill should definitely not be fired for his comments but he deserves to be excoriated for being a hatefully inclined crackpot. Nothing more, nothing less.

Of course, given his intemperate views, I'm curious if Churchill has been as respectful of the first amendment rights of untenured faculty and students who have disagreed with him in the past.

mark safranski - 2/11/2005

Gracias :o)

Bob Harper - 2/11/2005


Jonathan Dresner - 2/11/2005

While you facility with quotation marks is impressive, sneering is not argumentation. You are simply trying to classify anyone who fails to follow your lead as "cooky" and "off-the-wall" without any actual knowledge of the field, the scholars or the work, reserving the sobriquet "competent" for people who do not challenge your prefabricated position with inconvenient realities.

Rachel Anderson - 2/11/2005

Again, "worthwhile" to whom and "widely cited" by whom? All I see is self-supporting circle of IndyMedia conspiracy "theorists," the Aztlan MECHA racists and off-the-wall "scholars." And what "evidence" is there to examine? Churchill's "work" on COINTELPRO stands alone, ignored by all but his cooky admirers. I don't have to examine his "work" myself, as competent scholars are starting to already. Watch and be amused.

Michael Barnes Thomin - 2/11/2005

Apply the same standards to all scholars- if Churchills' scholarship is indeed purposely fraudulent, then like Michael Bellesiles he should suffer the consequences. However, that is an entirely different issue altogether. Ward has the constitutional right to speak his opinion, or perspective, or whatever you want label it, no matter what it is, no matter how controversial it maybe, period. You either believe in the freedom to express yourself, or you do not. Now, ask yourself, what side of the line do you stand upon?

Jonathan Dresner - 2/11/2005

Ms. Anderson,

You seem to be speaking out of ignorance: Churchill's work on geography, economics and race is indeed worthwhile and widely cited, and the COINTELPRO work is firmly based in primary sources. Prof. Salmanson is a substantive scholar himself, who does not deserve your dismissals, particularly since you do not seem to have examined any of the evidence yourself ("if his critics are correct...") while he has.

Rachel Anderson - 2/11/2005

Who knows how many times you'll "have" to repeat yourself, David? Alas repetition doesn't make things so, David...only more boring. "Widely respected" among the loonie fringe Churchill may be; "close scrutiny" by his fans is a joke, of course; and most batty conspiracy theories, like his COINTELPRO, do appear "complex" to the gullible, but that has more to do with the authors' cognitive confusions than the subject matter.

William . H. Leckie, Jr. - 2/11/2005

The whole thing's a hoot.

Oh--the way the Germans fence, the pugil stick has borne me in good stead on the piste, and crowding onto the U-Bahn I still mutter, "With a clip of eight..."

...Semper fi, bro'.

David Lion Salmanson - 2/11/2005

I don't know how many times I'm going to have to say this but much of Chruchill's scholarship is quite good and holds up to close scrutiny. Both his work on COINTELPRO and on the nuclear west is widely respected. His material on the nuclear west is actually complex and captures nicely the dilemma of communities that are desperately poor but no that the nuclear industry carries with it both tremendous benefits and tremendous costs. None of this has much to do with 9/11, and my understanding is he was invited to speak to Hamilton about COINTELPRO.

Jon Robins - 2/11/2005

The entire notion of a "Native American perspective" is flawed. In a legitimate effort to fight a historic trend of marginalization, certain scholars have instead created a new monolith that ignores ethnic differences and the diverse historical naratives of the thousands of groups that represent "native America."

It's consensus history- you can have a "Native" perspective and contribute to the discourse, as long as you agree that the white man stole your land, and must face some sort of contemporary moral or material consequence for it.

Bill Heuisler - 2/11/2005

Mr. Leckie,
There has to be a light side, but people like Briley don't get it. The pugil stick wasn't designed to tickle, drill instructors weren't sensitive and the rifle range wasn't designed for breaking clay pigeons.

The Cherokees have withdrawn honorary tribal membership for Churchill, but I'll bet there's not a Marine in the world who didn't grin and nod at Mattis' remark.
That cloud sounds heavenly, doesn't it? I'm getting old.
Semper Fi, Bill.
Bill Heuisler

Rachel Anderson - 2/11/2005

No, Ward Churchill shouldn't be fired just for a few comments or opinions, no matter how repugnant they may be. But Mr. Briley, evidently one of the hipster prep-school headmasters, is wasting a jeremiad on "freedom of speech and intellectual inquiry" on a man who appears to be little more than a two-bit crank with a streak of luck which has just run out.

If critics are correct (and they are actually coming up with evidence, not just silly postures and irrelevant comparisons), Ward Churchill is neither a legitimate Native, nor a combat veteran, nor a scholar, as he has been portraying himself to make a fairly decent living in academia and the lecture circuit. Now that the egomaniac prof has turned the limelight onto himself, some of his peers are looking into his "scholarship" and are charging outright academic fraud, which may be what lands him out on the street.

I sympathise with Mr. Briley's desperate attempt to find a leftist hero and martyr, but Ward Churchill? Really, now.

And bringing up Lt. General Mattis as a comparison? What's that about? Is Briley equating the calling of 9/11 victims "little Eichmans" with the mocking of the theoretical manhood of the Taliban? Perhaps Mr. Briley doesn't know about the Taliban, confusing them with a down-trodden ethnic minority or a gentle rain forest tribe deserving our tolerance, respect and protection. (The Taliban were bad people, Mr. Briley, very bad people; even worse than Lt. Colonel Mattis described them. I know it may be all relative to you, but they did more than slap-around a few unveiled women.)

Still, Mr. Briley's article is worth a few good hoots, what with his stale "root causes" line or his cheesy attempt to turn his run-of-the-mill "trash-America-first" gibberish into a principled defense of American servicemen or American values.

Thanks for the giggles, headmaster, but that rather nauseating act is getting old.

William . H. Leckie, Jr. - 2/11/2005

Once again--in one week!--Bill Heuisler and I agree on something! A portent (see below)?

I'm still rendered speechless when enountered by Germans who were horrified by a documentary shown here about USMC bootcamp. They viewed me as some deformed creature when I explained, patiently, that I'd survived it and had no wish to hurt anyone, and that back in the old days I admired CMC David M. Shoup for proudly defying right-wingers, stating his boys weren't trained to hate, just to kill. I suspect my hero'd have been appalled by Mattis and had a nice heart-to-heart with him.

Ward Churchill, on the other hand, may be a bit over the top and all to say the least, but then, just as Mattis might've been a dose of harsh reality for some, what's good for the goose, as they say..."[L]ittle Eichmanns," no, but he ought to be engaged; what, precisely, if any, are responsibilities inside vast impersonal systems? It's not a small question, and can indeed have cruel outcomes.

If we denounce Churchill, then how can we defend something like the bombing of Dresden? If our legal leadership endorses torture, can we then hold others accountable (except by escalating the use of force with inadequate intelligence)for their treatment of Americans captured in foreign conflicts?

How do we reconcile our own moral claims when, if the instant analyses of the behavior of reservists at Abu Ghraib portrayed "hill billies" aping reality TV and other detritus of pop culture in the States--female mud wrestling? Outrageous as his remarks might be, they do have in them a serious core of moral questioning. Churchill's real crime was granstanding and trivializing it, which in my view makes him a little tyrant, too.

Just as Mattis didn't do the Marines any credit, Churchill has, in my view, deligimated serious discourse with his egotism. And frankly, invocation of a "Native American" viewpoint holds about as much water as the appeals of "Christians" who feel victimized in the US as well. Yup. Just another group's alternative point of view?

I mean, look at the absurdities the system's spawned: Generals who spout off like comic book characters, professors who burlesque genuine philosophical issues, suburban moms in the 21st century hysterical over evolution, grunts who make videos of themselves stacking naked Iraqis, and a President who thinks he does God's will who really never did anything without the help of his daddy's friends. Meanwhile, otherwise sensible progressives and institutional and government bureaucrats allow identity politics--that "Native American point of view"--to thwart good archaeology, precisely the way our reactionary regime's men distort and chill good science. Churchill and Mattis are all part of the same great buzz, to me.

Things are ominous when Heuisler and Leckie start to agree! Maybe the "Left Behind" guys are right after all! The end is near! The other day, on the Westenhellweg in central Dortmund, I saw an elderly woman in a long dark robe carrying a sign that, in translation, read: "Repent, The End is Near." Right out of an old cartoon. Maybe we should? Hey, Bill H! After the Rapture, let's find a cloud with a cracked Schlitz sign on it and split a brew or two!

N. Friedman - 2/10/2005


Well said.

Bill Heuisler - 2/10/2005

The two men aren't even close. Truth is the difference.

The purpose of the Marine Corps is to kill enemies of the US; the purpose of a tenured Professor at a state college is to teach the truth to students. The General spoke the truth and relishes his work while the professor lied to his college and to his students in order to fulfil his version of a political agenda. From the first day at Parris Island Marines are trained to kill. Would you have it otherwise, Mr. Briley? Rough men like the General allow you to sleep safely.

When you write,"Friends and neighbors who have been called into active service are not as simple-mined as Lt. General Mattis. They do not take pleasure in killing another human being. If the goal of the Marine Corps is to make killing “fun,” then there is all the more reason to resist the Iraqi conflict and the efforts of some in the military to make our children over into “killers.”"

All the more reason, Mr. Briley? Sounds like you have an agenda also. Another thing, you obviously have no idea what Marines do and why they exist. You should get down on your knees every night and thank God for men like the General who protect men like you and Churchill with your petty little agendas.
Bill Heuisler

mark safranski - 2/10/2005

I'm sorry, the comments were not even close to being on the same moral level.

Professor Ward Chrchill compared the people who died in 9/11 with Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Holocaust as some kind of moral equivalent ( Morality from another planet perhaps).

Lt. General Mattis - with some incoherence -admitted that he enjoyed killing the Taliban and thought they more or less deserved it for their misognystic tyranny. At worst, he's an aggrssively bloodthirsty guy which if a bad quality in most instances is actually a positive career attribute in a Marine infantry commander.

Civilians might find it shocking - particularly those who empathize with radical Islamism - but war is the core of the man's job description.

Overall, weighing the two individuals, I'd rather have a General Mattis commanding my son than Ward Churchill teaching him.

John R. Maass - 2/10/2005

The Native American perpsective and all of the baggage that goes along with this concept is debated in a book entitled NATIVES AND ACADEMICS, just an FYI.

John H. Lederer - 2/10/2005

It is just another equally valid culture.

Richard Henry Morgan - 2/10/2005

Mr. Briley writes that Churchill's scholarship is "written from a Native American perspective". Just what does that mean? How should we unpack that? What are the tell-tale signs? Can one write the same things that Churchill does without that writing being from a Native American perspective? Is the assertion dependent on accepting the fraudulent claims of Churchill tobe a Native American?

As I understand it, Mattis' comments were repudiated by his superior, and he was formally counseled.

N. Friedman - 2/10/2005

Mr. Churchill will deserve a serious defense if and when he has something of importance to say. For now, it can only be said that the Constitution protects political rant. Such , however, does not mean that colleges all need to hear his voice - as if he had something to say -.

And note - I am not calling for him to lose his job. I can only wonder about those who take what he said seriously or believe that he deserves an invitation to speak.

As for the Lt. General Mattis, his comments are for the military to sort out. As I understand the matter, his known views are not quite as offensive as what is quoted in the above article. By contrast, does anyone doubt that what Churchill said is at all unusual for him?