What Glenda Gilmore Really Said

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Ms. Gilmore is Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History at Yale University.

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The following is the text of my remarks to the Yale Peace Coalition meeting on April 9, 2003. I invite you to compare it to the story written by two Yale freshmen and published in David Horowitz's on-line magazine. The "critical questioning" to which they refer occurred when Jamie Kircheck asked if I didn't think that Daniel Pipes and Andrew Sullivan were simply trying to get my opinions to a larger audience. I said that I had thought about that, but that Pipes's call for "adult supervision" and "outsiders" to "establish standards for media statements by faculty" made me think otherwise. That was the only question Mr. Kircheck asked.

April 9, 2003

In case you are wondering what we are doing here tonight, while film of jubilant Iraqis greeting U.S. troops in Baghdad runs on CNN, I offer this:

Around lunchtime today, I got this email from an old high school friend who acts as an armed escort for CNN news teams:

From the streets of Baghdad
Liberation and Freedom, nuff said.
Semper Fi,

I'm here tonight to tell Mac--and you--that 'nuff hasn't been said, that amid the fall of Baghdad, it is our duty as citizens to continue to question how we got there, what we will do there, and what lesson our policy makers will draw from our invasion of Iraq in the weeks and months to come.

I was in Memphis last weekend when I read the obituary of Edwin Starr. Starr is best
Remembered for his 1970 #1 hit, War. I'll quote a stanza here:

[Editor's Note: The stanza has been removed. We have been informed that permission is required to reprint it.]

I almost wept as I wondered what the reaction would be today to such a song. Number 1 hit? I doubt it. Starr, who served three years in the military, would be condemned on Fox News (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) as a traitor.

I know, because I have been branded a traitor. I wrote an op ed in the Yale Daily News and received death threats and rape wishes, was called a slut in the YDN comments section by a Princeton PhD (whom I don't know and who offered no evidence to back up that assertion), won blogger Andrew Sullivan's Susan Sontag award for fuzzy moral thinking, and was named by Daniel Pipes as one of five "professors who hate America."

It's tough to be an anti-war patriot in the vicious climate that Bush has encouraged and that Rumsfeld embodies. Tonight, I want to talk about the relationship between anti-war activism and patriotism, about who has the right to speak for our country, and about the organized plot funded by right-wing foundations to shut down dissent.

First, let me recap the position I took on October 11 in an opinion piece that the YDN solicited from me. I argued then that a preemptive strike on Iraq, which I defined as invading Iraq without immediate provocation, would be the most craven abdication of democratic principles in our country's history. It would transform our country into an aggressor nation if the U.S. followed the Bush Administration's foreign policy as articulated in his National Security Strategy: "Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build up in hopes of surpassing or equaling, the power of the United States." I argued that Bush was trying to do an end run around the UN, and that he seemed to want to undermine weapons inspections so that he could invade Iraq. Instead of standing up against tyranny, we were bringing it to our own doorstep, I predicted.

I pointed out that I, too, believed that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, and that we were the good guys, but that good guys don't invade other countries unless they have exhausted every other option. We had not. If our goal was to disarm Iraq, we had a workable plan that was proceeding to do so.

Did I argue as an expert on the Middle East? No. I argued first as an American citizen who thought the entire scheme fantastical and devoid of common sense and, second, as a professor of U.S. history who teaches about the quest to perfect democracy in the 20th century. You don't have to be an expert to say what you believe. It is every citizen's right to speak out.

Okay, perhaps, as my momma suggested, I was a bit rough on Bush when I said he wanted to become the "Emperor of the World," and "This unclothed emperor is, as they say in Texas, all hat and no brains," a riff on "all hat and no cattle" that brought me scorn from bellicose Texans.

But let me quote the much ridiculed and much beloved Imperialist Teddy Roosevelt on the subject of criticizing the President:

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is
exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
(Theodore Roosevelt, 1918, "Lincoln and Free Speech" )

What I did not know when I wrote that op ed is that I would walk straight into a preplanned campaign aimed at antiwar university professors in an attempt to cut them off from their students, to endanger their jobs, and to shut them up.

By the next morning, a YDN columnist had sent my piece to Andrew Sullivan, a hawkish blogger (I didn't even know what a blog was), and probably also to Daniel Pipes.

My inbox filled up with nasty, nasty little messages, and the comments section of the YDN (I didn't even know what a comments section was) filled up with the same.

The kind of criticism I received fell mainly into four categories, all four tropes intended to discredit me in different ways by composing for me fantastical past lives that had nothing to do with my real life. More importantly, 90 percent of these messages--and there were hundreds--had absolutely nothing to do with my argument to protect U.S. and Iraqi lives by letting the UN do its work.

First, there were the people who accused me of being a left-over 1960s liberal professor, reliving my anti-war days and imposing them on my students. In this scenario, I had acted treasonously as a young woman in opposing the war in Vietnam, corrupted the minds of Ivy leaguers for 30 years, and now I was baaack….I was disloyal then and had simply been waiting to commit other acts of disloyalty. The truth is that I was married to a Marine Corps Captain and spent the Vietnam War at Parris Island, where many of the Marines themselves had turned against the war by 1970.

Second, there were the misogynists, those who thought they could scare me by impugning my sexual reputation. Hence, the slut comments, along with those who wished I would be raped by Saddam's hired rape squads, and finally to a pathetic guy who said he bet I was fat, dubbed me elephant woman, and guessed that I hadn't had a date until I was 26. Sassy girl gets slapped down.

Then there were those who called me a communist, or the child of communists. This was baffling, since Saddam isn't a communist and my parents were virulent anti-communists. I grew up reading John Birch society publications.

Finally, there was the Ivory Tower/Ivy League nitwit criticism. In this fable, I knew nothing of the real world and was an effete snob to boot, trying to impose my eastern intellectual ideas on real Americans. Since I went to grad school after a career in business, and came to Yale with a degree from a public university, and with all of the effete snobbishness that one can pick up at a North Carolina barbeque joint, this was particularly funny.

Andrew Sullivan put a direct link from his blog to the YDN comments section, and it was clear that the vast majority of comments came from nuts with time on their hands who were outside of Yale. Why would they bother? They bothered because there was an organized campaign to shut up anyone from the academy who spoke out against the war.

Within a month, Daniel Pipes had reached millions of people around the world, starting with the New York Post and the Jerusalem Post and moving on to syndication, by profiling my op ed, with four others, in an article entitled "Professors who Hate America."

Here is Pipes:

Visit an American University,. . . and you'll often enter a topsy-turvey world in which professors consider the United States (not Iraq) the problem. . . .Yet, the relentless opposition to their own government raises some questions:
Why do American academics so often despise their own country while finding excuses for repressive and dangerous regimes?
Why have university specialists proven so inept at understanding the great contemporary issues of war and peace, starting with Vietnam, then the Cold War, the Persian Gulf War, and now the war on terror?
Why do professors of linguistics, chemistry, American history, genetics, and business present themselves in public as authorities on the Middle East?
What is the long-term effect of an extremist, intolerant, and anti-American environment on university students?

And here are Pipes's recommendations to solve the problem he imagines above. I'll continue quoting him, with emphasis added to the original.

The time has come for adult supervision of the faculty and administrators on many American campuses. Especially as we are at war, the goal must be for universities to resume their civic responsibilities. This can be achieved if outsiders (alumni, state legislators, non-university specialists, parents of students and others) take steps to create a politically balanced atmosphere, critique failed scholarship, establish standards for media statements by the faculty, and broaden the range of campus discourse.

In Pipes's imagination, professors give up their civil rights when they take the job.

Another professor mentioned in the article, Eric Foner, and I answered Pipes in the LA Times. We began to hear from people who had long been Pipes watchers. We discovered that his organization, the Middle East Forum, runs Campus Watch, an group designed to listen to and report to the right wing media what professors are saying on campus. I bet we have some members in this audience.

Dave Johnson of the Commonweal Institute, in a story on History News Network revealed how these organizations work. Pipes is funded by the Bradley Foundation, which funds the Heritage Foundation, as well as the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The latter organization, set up to monitor speech on campus, was founded by Lynn Cheney, wife of the vice president. She is now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, funded by the Bradley Foundation. Moreover, these organizations meet weekly and generate "talking points" for the media. The talking point that they generated in early October last year was apparently "professors who hate America." The National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy found that these organizations had formulated an assault on academia, "to attack the patriotism of liberals and to convince trustees of colleges and universities to remove them, replacing them with ideological conservatives." Surprise, surprise, they maintain a "Collegiate Network" with links to 70 college newspapers. The campaign I ran into was a preplanned, carefully orchestrated attempt to ask, "Why do they hate America?" and to imply that anti-war professors are like terrorists, who also hate America." Johnson informs us that if you google the phrase, "they hate America," you will get over a million hits. He summed up what happened this way, "Foner and Gilmore encountered a well-funded campaign to pursue an ideological agenda."

Why does this matter to you? Because you should know that there is a campaign out there to shut me up and to shut you up. There is a concerted attempt to question the patriotism of anyone who criticizes Bush and, now that we have invaded Iraq, anyone who criticizes what we do there. That campaign will not die; indeed, its planners have perfected it on rubes like me. Next, it will be directed against anyone who speaks out against our country's policies.

On Sunday, Richard Perle said, "There's got to be a change in Syria as well." James Woolsey, a friend of the administration, predicted last week that "the U.S. [will] have to spend years and maybe decades waging World War IV….in Iran, against the Hezbollah, in Syria. . . ."

If this is the case, what of our country will be left? If our children -- if you -- must temper your disgust at war and take up the responsibility of invading other countries to "solve" their problems, we won't have lives worth protecting anymore. They can't do these things if we speak; they must silence us.

This censorship campaign drives the cost of deposing Saddam Hussein even higher, because it signals the extinction of our civil liberties. And I believe that is exactly what the cabal who attacked me wants. They want to extinguish civil liberties so that they can move, unfettered by criticism, to world domination. Why? Because they believe that they alone know what is right.

What can you do? You can refuse to allow anyone to question your patriotism. As Paul Krugman wrote this week in the New York Times: "After all, democracy --including the right to criticize--was what we were fighting for" in World War II. Yet, today, he warns, "self-styled patriots are trying to impose constraints on political speech never contemplated during World War II, accusing anyone who criticizes the president of undermining the war effort." You can be strong, be loud, be patriotic, and be anti-war.

Do I still believe what I said on October 11? Yes. I regret risking and losing U.S. and Iraqi lives, and I believe -- if our aim was to disarm Iraq -- that the UN was accomplishing that. If our aim was to silence dissent in this country, position the U.S. as an imperial power, and breed terrorism in the Middle East, then Bush may have accomplished his goals. Yesterday, a wounded and bleeding Iraqi civilian told the New York Times:

"Is this Bush's promised 'liberation?' no, this is a red liberation, a liberation written in blood. Bush said he would disarm Saddam, and look how he's doing it now--killing us, one by one. Please ask him, how do you liberate people by killing them?"

And in case you think I exaggerate the enormity of the conspiracy against free speech, guess who President Bush nominated this week to the U.S. Institute of Peace, a federal think tank established by Congress to promote "the prevention, management and resolution of international conflicts?" George Bush nominated Daniel Pipes.

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Michael Anastasio, Yale '04 - 8/4/2003

I would like to point out that that I, not James Kirchik, asked Professor Gilmore if Daniel Pipes and Andrew Sullivan were simply trying to disseminate her opinions to a wider audience (and no, Kirchik and I hadn't "conspired" beforehand to "silence" her). I would also add that her speech at the teach-in misleadingly associates Pipes and Sullivan with those who posted messages on the YDN comments page, as if they were all part of the same "conspiracy." But I don't blame Gilmore; it is natural to want a monopoly on free speech, to be immune from criticism. Anyway, she's a "sassy girl," as she puts it. She can take the heat.

Alice A. M. - 5/5/2003

Professor Gilmore's disparaging sarcasm re the Bush administration set an unfortunate tone for many of those who responded to her. Yet she just doesn't get it. She now continues the same dismissive, tone-deaf polemical posturing --- making here the claim that her critics were "nuts with time on their hands who were outside of Yale" (a hint here of distaste for those outside of ivy league academia?)
My own review of the hundreds of criticisms of Gilmore still on the Yale website, however, shows that many of Gilmore's critics made quite focused and trenchant comments. They are often far more informed than Gilmore and clearly put more time and thought than she did into expressing themselves. Some are Yale students and alumni who take Gilmore apart in an often scornful but also very effective manner.
It must be difficult for a professor to be challenged so publicly by her students, and even more difficult to undergo an effective dissection by members of the great unwashed -- especially since so many of them use the opportunity to parody her.
The laughter of one's opponents is the unkindest cut of all. Yet, "What Gilmore Really Said," as well as "HOW Gilmore Said it," invited this very response. Gilmore has reaped what she so carelessly sowed.

D. Shelton - 5/5/2003

Professor Glenda Gilmore presents herself as a busy advocate of free speech and correct thinking while at the same time dismissing her critics as "nuts with time on their hands."

As to why so many "nuts" would take the time to complain about her, she says it's because "there was an organized campaign to shut up anyone from the academy who spoke out against the war."

But hang on. Many, many academics spoke out against the war, yet did NOT attract the scorn and disdain Gilmore did. So why did the vast right-wing "conspiracy" ignore them and not Gilmore?

Perhaps it's because many other academics expressed their views with professionalism and class. In short, Gilmore's mother was right to point to her own daughter's failure to assume the proper tone and a more measured, sober approach.

Gilmore's editorial was hasty, careless, and shrill. I suspect a sympathetic mother might also point out that the enemies her daughter sees behind every criticism might not be as numerous as Gilmore believes. Paraphrasing another newspaper legend, a mom might tell her daughter: "We have seen the enemy, and it is you."

Margaret A. - 5/4/2003

Gilmore trys to portray the most extreme comments on the Yale Daily News website (all now deleted in accord with YDN's anti-obscenity policies) as representative of the entire corpus of what was said about her by her critics. She says the YDN website:

"filled up with nasty, nasty little messages.... 90 percent of these messages -- and there were hundreds -- had absolutely nothing to do with my argument."

90 percent?! "absolutely nothing to do with her argument???! This is false and absurd. One need only go to her article and click on the comments at the end of the file to see she has gone far beyond exaggeration in an attempt to defend herself.

In fact, the great majority of the comments diretly addressed what Gilmore said. And later, when the YDNews itself also ran editorial comments taking her to task, Gilmore lashed out at all her critics, including the student newspaper, which she allegedly threatened to sue.

J. Ellison - 5/4/2003

gilmore glosses over that she wrote a hasty and highly provocative ad hominem attack. she omits that she followed up on that attack with some nasty and ill-considered public remarks of her own about her critics.

the public buzz-saw Gilmore stepped into was therefore one of her own making, as anyone who reads her original opinion piece will understand. we are not talking "tom paine" here. gilmore is much closer to chicken little.

H. A. Harly - 5/2/2003

GGilmore tells her Yale (and now her History News Network) audiences that "there is a campaign out there to shut me up and to shut you up...." She points to a "censorship campaign" led by "the cabal who attacked me" ... and "They want to extinguish civil liberties so that they can move, unfettered by criticism, to world domination."

Somebody call Oliver Stone!

A few days after GGilmore made these remarks at Yale, she again appeared in the pages of the Yale Daily News and continued her efforts to re-interpret her opinion piece and whitewash over her mistakes. In the April 14, 2003 "Letters to the Editor" section, she is listed among the several faculty members who signed a "collective statement of abhorrence" http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=22579

Among other things, the signers complain that "permitted symbols of protest [against the war in Iraq] have been ripped down, and threatening and offensive notes have been posted to doors." It claimed these actions (admittedly serious) have produced "a climate of fear amongst [sic] students who oppose the war" and urged the Yale Administration to enforce policies meant to "protect free speech and free thought."

Gilmore's signature to this letter is remarkable. For only a few months before, she herself had complained bitterly about people who used other "permitted symbols of protest" (i.e., emails and letters to the YDNews complaining about her editorial). Moreover, she went on to post some of her own gratuitously nasty "offensive notes" directed at her critics (one of whom posted her hate mail to him on his website for all to see).

Only a few weeks after that, presumably as part of her efforts to "protect free speech," Gilmore threatened to sue the Yale Daily News for running its readers' negative comments about her anti-Bush editorial (see YDN, 12/2/2002 "Yale professors doubling as thought-police" by Davi Bernstein).

Apparently, "free speech" for Gilmore is to be protected by crushing the "free speech" of those who disagree with her.

R. L. Dumont - 5/2/2003

Correction. Wrong web address given above for the YDN editorial criticising Gilmore for threatening to sue the newspaper. See instead http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?aid=21014

Rebecca Lefevre Dumont - 5/2/2003

Gilmore's "recap" of her opinion piece not only obscures the poor quality of what "Gilmore Really Said" but also is meant to distract us from "Others Really Said", i.e., the high number of competent critics who sent in responses to her editorial.

In attempting this subterfuge, Gilmore uses an old ploy: tar ALL your critics with the sins of some handpicked outrageous and erroneous examples. That is, make all your opponents appear to be, by association, "misogynists," fools, or right wing nuts. Yes, I'm sure that some wackos wrote some vile things. But that's par for the course when people are responding to a writer who, in a public forum, made some pretty vile comments of her own and who took an almost rabid ad hominem tone (Bush wants to be "Emperor of the World," and is a "tyrant").

In reaction, Gilmore assumes the hurt posture of the naive victim. Sorry, this doesn't work at all: You can't be a responsible Yale Professor one moment and then play the helpless "rube" (her word) another. As a result, Gilmore comes across like someone who, having burned the flag on a construction site, is surprised that some hard hats have yelled at her.

Key point: Gilmore chose to omit that the Yale Daily News has a policy of removing unfair and obscene comment from its website. So the offenseive comments G. cites as so typical were quickly erased and seen by relatively few (back in October, I followed the controversy almost hour-by-hour and never saw any of the obscene comments cited by Gilmore -- they must have been deleted very quickly).

Nevertheless, Gilmore puts these now deleted inappropriate responses to good use. Even though they only briefly saw the light of day, they are used to discredit the HUNDREDS of other comments, many of which were intelligent, well argued, and some quite incisive. These remain on the site and may still be seen by all. I'd urge people to read these comments which may be found at the end of her oped on the YDN site, as well as on a related comments section which can also be found at the end of a well argued Yale Daily News editorial critizing Prof. Gilmore for threatening to sue the Yale Daily News if it did not remove ALL the comments about her (See "Yale Professors Doubling as Thought-Police, Dec. 2, 2002, Yale Daily News, http://www.yaledailynews.com/forum_popup.asp?aid=21014

This raises an even bigger issue of credibility. Gilmore presents herself on the History News Network site as a free speech champion, but only a few months ago tried to intimidate by legal threats and shut up her students' own newspaper. Yalies refused to buckle under. Good for them.

Donna Westburn, Ph.D., History - 5/1/2003

Glenda Gilmore has an inalienable right to pen foolish and embarrassing op-eds and to be as careless as she wants to be in what she says, and how she says it.

But she does her reputation (and Yale History Department's reputation) great harm in attempting on the History News Network website to distort key points made in her original opinion piece.

In her re-telling of "what Gilmore really said," Gilmore claims to have said things that she in fact did not say. This is part of a attempt to downplay her careless, hasty, sophomoric, ad hominem remarks equating Bush with various power-hungry tyrants in history. Go to the link she provides to her original op-ed and you'll see she devoted paragraph after paragraph to a poorly thought-out rant against Bush without making any criticism whatsoever of Saddam Hussein's regime.

That, of course, is her right. But now, having felt the scorn of many others, she clearly realizes this frontal assault was a crucial strategic mistake: it revealed she was arguing from a blindly partisan viewpoint -- not the somewhat more professional one she now attempts to construct here.

Yet, instead of simply admitting a lapse in judgment, Glimore's account of "what Gilmore really said" attempts to whitewash and white out. E.g., referring to her October oped, she says: "I pointed out that I, too, believed that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy,..." This statement is simply false. Its falsehood can be easily confirmed by anyone who takes a look at the original source where they will find Gilmore making no such statement at all (see her own link above to her op-ed in the Yale Daily News, Oct. 11, 2002).

So.... why is she telling what Mark Twain would politely call "stretchers"? Either she is attempting to mislead her friends and the members of the historical profession who often refer to this site as a credible forum; or, in a desperate desire to believe that her op-ed was actually a measured, balanced, brave work of civic commentary, she has fallen victim to figments of her own imagination. Neither possibility reflects well on her.

When it comes to looking for historians who will stand up for, and practice, close adherence to facts and the sources (even when the sources are their own words), we should be somewhat skeptical of Gilmore.

Bill Staunton - 4/29/2003

Prof. Gilmore is so anti-war that she admits that she gets weepy whenever she thinks about a 1970's anti-war rock and roll hit. I applaud her sensitivity, but it casts a dark shadow of concern across her judgment as a historian. After all, she is from the South, teaches about the South, and holds a chair named after a famous historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Most Southerners grew up with reminders all around them about the role of just wars (e.g., statues of soldiers killed). From her comments, however, she seems to believe all wars are wrong and unjust ("War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing"). But surely, she would agree that Mr. Lincoln's war to free slaves was not only just but necessary, and that decades of debate and legislative action before the Civil War had not remedied the problem of slavery in the US. The Civil War, in Lincoln's own wars, was waged in good part to insure that the nation have a "new birth of freedom" and that govt of the people, by the people and for the people would not perish..." So I find it disturbing that a historian who yearns so badly to be taken seriously in the public policy arena can be so simplistic in her views. This simplicity, in fact, was the basis for much of the public reaction to her poorly written editorial comparing Bush to tyrants and emperors. We expect more from chaired Yale professors. If Prof. Gilmore feels unjustly singled out, it's because people rightly expect great things from her. And were disappointed.

Roderick Smith - 4/19/2003

Is Ms. Gilmore aware that if you type just about any words into Google you get a zillion hits? You have to type the exact phrase in, and surround it by quotation marks, for the search to be meaningful.

they hate america = 1.190 million hits, with the first being about why the Muslim fundamentalists hate America.

"they hate america" (note the quotation marks) = 2,560.

Please please please check your facts before throwing something as simple as this into your speech, Ms. Gilmore!!!!!! Otherwise it hurts your case!!!!

Bill Maher - 4/18/2003

You should read A Problem From Hell. Extremely important book. Even the Nation gave it a fairly good review. Did look again at your reply to Gilmore. Maybe both of us see what we want to see. In any case, have a good holiday.

Jon Koppenhoefer - 4/17/2003

As John Dean once said, "There's a cancer on the Presidency."

Anytime you get a knuckle-dragging mouthbreather to bark at you in the semblance of speech, you're doing just fine.

I would say to Ms. Gilmore: take heart that plenty of your countrymen believe as you do. We're just not so belligerent as your assailants have been about it. Despite what the warmongers are shouting (to convince themselves they are right) somebody far more important once said that the meek will inherit the earth, and blessed are the peacemakers.

Mischa - 4/17/2003

Since I haven't read any of the three titles that you mention, I am not quite sure how to take your point.

You imply that I was consigning rightists to low educational levels and institutions. My reply to Gilmore actually made the opposite point, i.e. that elite universities are filled with rightists.

Finally, I wasn't warning anyone- as you put it- that "the right is coming." Clearly they've long since arrived. Nor was I categorizing you as Rightist. You may be, but I have no idea what your politics are.

Yale 04 - 4/16/2003

I understand that Prof. Gilmore is a scholar on twentieth century, but could someone please explain how outside supervision of her academic work is a violation of civil rights?

Yalie 05 - 4/16/2003

It is surprising that, while Gilmore concedes she may have been harsh on the president (she doesn't seem to have been worse than many other critiquers of the white house), she clings to her views that invading Iraq would be the "most craven abdication of democratic principles in our country's history." Unfortunately, American history has provided many abdication of democratic principles, many that have been much worse than anything this current administration is doing. These include, but are not limited to, slavery, japanese internment camps, and the suspension of habeas corpus for Americans during the Civil War. Prof. Gilmore's assertions, then, seem to be aimed at an agenda other than that of critically analyzing the event and placing it in its historical context. Gilmore states that she is not an expert on the war, but is an expert on American history: it seems she isn't an expert in either, or, rather, chooses to ignore history in order to make a political point.

Charley - 4/16/2003

My only hope is that the Saddam Supporters will be treated a badly as those who supported the Vietnam War have been. And for just as long.

Don't bother anyone to try to correct a terrible situation. Let the butcher operate until old age takes him. Would he have any place remaining to build those palaces for the next 20 years?

Bill Maher - 4/16/2003

The Right is coming, the Right is coming. . . I suppose that means me. Must be traced to recent books: A Problem From Hell, Koba The Dread and Henry Ford and the Jews. No? Perhaps I should not spend any time at http://www.thefire.org. Must be a fascist organization since it certainly appears that the Left has a rough time comprehening the First Amendment. Or maybe I should stop reading Nat Hentoff. Probably a secret agent of the Right. Us community college folks get fooled so easily.

Homer Simpson - 4/16/2003

Shucks, they're picking on poor Glenda. And she's really a hero.

By God, she teaches at Yale, and they won't let her say or write anything.

Uh, well, if you look up above, you'll see that she's written a whole lot. Is she in jail yet?

Those Bushies sure know how to run a Gulag, don't they?

Let me know when they strap the poor girl to a crucifix.

Mischa - 4/16/2003

Well said, and I think you raise an important point. The success the Right has had in misrepresenting universities as thoroughly leftist institutions clearly taps into a reservoir of class anger and resentment that might be re-directed the actually powerful.

Mike O'Malley - 4/16/2003

This isn't simply crticism. It's a well funded, determined ideological campaign to control the unversities. Fine--ideological wars are part of life, and universities have lways been contested ground. The disturbing thing about this particular campaign is that it uses such demagogic tactics--accussing dissenters of treason, encourging hate mail attacks. It is masquerading as patriotism. True patriotism would seem to mean tolerating a range of viewpoints.

There will no doubt be many replies here accussing academia of being all leftists, all radical, all "america hating." It's been a very useful stereotype for the right, and they use it again and again, with a tenacity born of focus groups and strategic planning. It's maitained by, as Gilmore points out, quoting out of context, inventing new contexts for quotes, and hyping isolated extreme comments as examples of some imaginary norm. Beware, and be skeptical

Mischa - 4/16/2003

...a critic of the war not be cowed and silenced. I'm sorry that Gilmore received hundreds of these right-wing attacks.
These kind of ad hominem assaults, threats of violence and sexualized violence, are attacks with neither honor nor integrity. But I am not surpised that she received them, and I don't doubt for a moment that Sullivan and Pipes knew that they were precipitating such abject harassment.

Try not to be harassed, and I'm encouraged to see that Gilmore hasn't been silenced, just as I was encouraged and a bit surprised to see that Kerry didn't let "the likes to Tom Delay" question his patriotism.

The only way the Right can prevail here is if decent-minded people let them.

Mischa - 4/16/2003

...a critic of the war not be cowed and silenced. I'm sorry that Gilmore received hundreds of these right-wing attacks.
These kind of ad hominem assaults, threats of violence and sexualized violence, are attacks with neither honor nor integrity. But I am not surpised that she received them, and I don't doubt for a moment that Sullivan and Pipes knew that they were precipitating such abject harassment.

Try not to be harassed, and I'm encouraged to see that Gilmore hasn't been silenced, just as I was encouraged and a bit surprised to see that Kerry didn't let "the likes to Tom Delay" question his patriotism.

The only way the Right can prevail here is if decent-minded people let them.

Smitty - 4/15/2003

People responded to her anti-war editorial by saying that they hoped she got *raped.* Granted I work on 20th century history, but if Jacksonian democracy involves advocating sexual assault as punishment for dissent, I must have missed something in my college survey course.

James Thornton - 4/15/2003

I fully supported the decision to remove Saddam from power and I carefully considered the argument from doing so. I disagreed with every point the anti-war camp forwarded, but I thought the vigorous debate was essential to reinforce my own conviction that the US was taking the correct course of action. History will prove that the correct decision was made.

I regret the pain that Ms. Gilmore suffered. However, I recall many of the anti-war people being as vicious as the war supporters. Both sides got "personal". The Anti-war group also had a organized campaign led by anti-America socialist and communist groups. Unfortunately, all of the anti-war people who attended these rallies or spoke at them became guilty by association. In the future I recommend the Left to carefully scrutinize who is organizing marches and rallies, and to be respectful of their opposition.

Finally, once the bullets start to fly and Americans are in harm's way the decent thing for those who are against the war, but support the troops, is to keep their opposition silent. A loud vocal opposition to ongoing war does nothing but provide aid and comfort to the enemy and distracts the troops. Once the war is over debate should start again if nothing more than to reaffirm that the war is just. If the war is found to be unjust then remedial action can be taken against the Government in the next election cycle.

Bill Maher - 4/15/2003

Ms. Gilmore apparently sees the all powerful fascist conspiracy closing in on her. Others, however, see the threat coming from what a professor at the University of Alaska called "left fundamentalism." One can certainly find plenty of this at http://www.erinoconnor.org and http://www.thefire.org. In any case, the computer has allowed the masses to enter the once generally private intellectual debate. Some of these folks are, to put it mildly, uncouth. That the likes of Ms. Gilmore find Jacksonian democracy unsettling is hardly surprising. The whining, however, is not becoming. If she cannot stand the heat, get out of the debate.