Thursday, February 10, 2005

Is Churchill Any Different Than Most Academics?

The right-wing attacks on Ward Churchill are simply another example of their attempt to repeal the 20th Century. Here, with their overwrought complaints about Churchill's essay titled "'Some People Push Back' On the Justice of Roosting Chickens" they want to repeal the legal gains in academic freedom and the exercise of the First Amendment.

As a member of the ACLU I support defending the rights of even Nazis to have free speech. Any other position is a slippery slope to only supporting one's own views or the views that one believes are "legitimate", which is the formula for a Big Brother world where "free speech" means only the speech the elites in power approve.

"Chickens coming home to roost" is just another metaphor for the Biblical teaching "you reap what you sow" or the teaching of karma and cause and effect. Why are the Confederate Conservatives and so-called Christians objecting to Churchill's application of reaping what you sow? What is so horrible about pointing out the karmic causes for the resulting events (often called "blowback")? I fail to see any such inherent defect in Churchill's view.

The issue should be whether or not Churchill's claim of cause and effect is "rational" or "reasoned" and supported by any facts. For example, Jerry Falwell's claim that the blowback of 9/11 was due to the USA supporting gay rights was a claim that is inherently absurd and based on his delusional system of "God's law" and not on the natural law of karma. Ward Churchill proposed that the causal ground for 9/11 included the USA's holocaust against innocent women and children in other countries such as the 1991 bombing of Iraq. Any clear headed reading of Churchill's essay shows the focus is on the USA's killing of innocent children having no effect on the media or the general population, and thus was silently condoned by the American people at large. That political and behavioral connection to the blowback of 9/11 is infinitely more credible and reasonable than claiming that God was punishing the USA for its "immorality" in supporting homosexuals.

I found Churchill's analogy comparing the complacency of the Germans of the 1930s and 40s to the current complacency of the Americans of the 1990s and 2000s to be very appropriate. Of the over 70 paragraphs in his essay, I found only the one paragraph containing the "little Eichman's" comment to be objectionable. Why? Because it adopts the same justification for the bombing of 9/11 that the USA used in the bombing of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, Berlin, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc... by claiming that civilians are legitimate targets simply because they don't oppose the war effort of their country or are ineffective in stopping the war. I think that Churchill was right to point out the hypocrisy of the USA, but then he fell into the conceptual trap of making his own argument hypocritical by not clearly saying, if Hiroshima was justified then on the same basis 9/11 was justified. Instead, Churchill made it sound justified "to visit some penalty" on the civilians in the WTC, and that claim, by Churchill's own definition of chickens coming home to roost, only perpetuates the circle of violence.

But that "wrong" by Churchill is the same wrong condoned and supported every single day by every academic in the USA who justifies Hiroshima and the other endless examples of the bombing of civilian populations by the USA. Are the USA's justifications for its bombings ever acceptible to the victims on the ground? In Hiroshima? In Nagasaki? In Bagdad? If Churchill should be fired for acknowledging that there is "a justification" for 9/11, whether or not that justification is acceptable to the victims, then every professor who justifies Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the long list of bombing attacks by the USA on civilian targets should also be fired.