Professor Harry Targ is the director for the Peace Studies program at Purdue University, a state college in the Indiana system. Professor Targ is a member of the National Executive Committee of the “Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS).” This is a faction of the Communist Party USA that was expelled in 1991 for opposing the hard-liner coup against the Soviet Union’s last dictator Mikhail Gorbachev. Targ’s views on the questions of war and peace are standard Communist doctrine: “We need to clarify the connections between U.S. capitalism, global conquest, and visions of empire…we need to discover where multinational corporations and international financiers stand, whether the oil and/or military industries are driving the doctrine of preemption, and which, if any, sectors of the ruling class regard unilateralism, globalism, and militarism as a threat to global trade, production, investment and speculation.”
The Peace Studies program at Purdue is designed to indoctrinate unsuspecting undergraduates in the views that have made Targ a Communist. Examples include, “Persuasion in Social Movements,” America in Vietnam,” and “Classical and Contemporary Marxism.” The latter is a course in applied Marxist doctrines, which includes two propaganda films that reflect the range of the course. One “illustrates the trajectory from Marx’s Manifesto to anti-globalization movements,” while the second lionizes the terrorists in Chiapas Mexico, showing how their activities “intertwine” so-called “post-colonial” theories of liberation with “liberation theology,” which is a religious coating for Marxist agendas.
“Persuasion in Social Movements” is a practical training course for radical activists. As described in the course catalogue, it “focuses on six essential functions persuasion serves for social movements: transforming perceptions of reality; altering self-perceptions of protesters; legitimizing the social movement.” Targ himself instructs the required lecture course for Peace Studies, called “Introduction to the Study of Peace,” in which he draws on the views he has developed in tracts like International Relations in a World of Imperialism and Class Struggle, and Cuba and the United States: A New World Order? Targ is also the co-editor of Marxism Today: Essays on Capitalism, Socialism, and Strategies for Social Change.
The “Committee on Peace Studies,” which Targ coordinates and which administers the Purdue program is composed of faculty from the departments of English, History, Philosophy, Women's Studies, and Child Development and Family Studies, whose courses are incorporated into its curriculum (examples: “Gender, Colonialism and Development,” “Black Women Rising”). In keeping with the activist nature of the Peace Studies program, the Committee brings radical speakers to campus and organizes public propaganda sessions whose recent focus has inevitably been devoted to condemning the Bush Administration, the War in Iraq, and the greater War on Terror. Targ and the Peace Studies program come squarely down on the side of the terrorists, perceiving the United States as a Great Satan and the terrorists as liberationist force. In Targ’s own words, after 9/11 there were two superpowers in the world: “One superpower was United States imperialism; the other, the power of the people.”
Peace Studies at Purdue, as should be evident, is not really about peace; it is about war against the capitalist ruling class and its principal global base, the United States. In Targ’s words, “First, we need to clarify the connections between U.S. capitalism, global conquest, and visions of empire. Second, we need to discern whether the imperial superpower is homogeneous or riddled with factional disagreements that can be used for our purposes.” In his life outside the university, Targ has been organizing the revolutionary side of the war between the “superpowers” for decades. He is the co-founder, for example, of the local Lafayette Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, an organization created by Cuban intelligence to lend to support to the Communist guerrilla movement in El Salvador during the 1980s.
In the current war on terror, Targ is squarely on the side of the enemies of American “imperialism.” A 2003 video series put on by the Peace Studies program and orchestrated by Targ featured the video, The Crash of Civil Liberties Since 9/11 by radical Lynne Stewart, an admirer of Lenin and Castro, whose has been indicted by the Justice Department for aiding and abetting the terrorist responsible for the first bombing of the World trade Center in 1993. Stewart is the attorney for the blind sheik, Abdul Omar Rachman, the spiritual leader of the Islamic Group, which addition to bombing the World Trade Center, killing six and injuring a thousand people, had planned to blow up up the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and kill 250,000. A leftwing colleague of Stewart’s, Ron Kuby described her relation to the terrorist sheik this way: “When the lawyer is as loving and committed as Stewart, … and the client as charismatic as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the identification becomes passionate.” (George Packer, “Terrorist Lawyer,” New York Times, September 23, 2002)
The Peace Studies program at Purdue also includes a trip to the terror-sponsoring state of Cuba. In a course titled, “Experiencing Cuba,” co-taught by Targ himself, students are given the opportunity to tour one of the last surviving Communist gulags. For 18 days in May of 2004, Targ chaperoned students to Cuba, where they were “educated” at a Cuban university and visited factories and farms to learn about socialist production. An agreement was signed with the Castro dictatorship for a student and faculty exchange between Havana University and Purdue. Of this, Targ commented, “We have a real chance to change all levels of education.” A side-purpose of the trip was to protest the embargo the U.S. has placed on Cuba in the hopes of ending the Castro dictatorship’s extensive violations of human rights. Targ had nothing to say about Castro’s political prisons, but called the U.S. policy “Draconian.”
In January of 2003, prior to the start of the War in Iraq, the Purdue Peace Studies Committee sponsored an event titled “The United States and the World Since 9/11.” The event was a screening of a video, September 11: Ask Who Did It, But for Heaven's Sake Don't Ask Why. The video which featured well-known Australian journalist and anti-American leftist Robert Fisk, who also happens to be Osama bin Laden’s favorite western reporters having granted him three interviews and the privilege of spending the night in his camp. Of Fisk, Bin Laden said: “[He] is one of your compatriots and co-religionists and I consider him to be neutral.”
After the 9/11 attacks, Fisk wrote in the leftist Nation magazine: "But this is not really the war of democracy versus terror that the world will be asked to believe in the coming days. It is also about US missiles smashing into Palestinian homes and US helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese ambulance in 1996 and American shells crashing into a village called Qana and about a Lebanese militia--paid and uniformed by America's Israeli ally--hacking and raping and murdering their way through refugee camps."
Fisk has accused Israel of “bestializing” the Palestinian people, described Israel as racist, and has many times likened the Jewish State to Apartheid South Africa. His talk centered on the alleged failure of American journalists to support the Palestinians in the conflict in the Middle East. Condemning America and Israel, while rationalizing the calculated murders of women and children by Palestinian suicide bombers, Fisk argues that “violence stems from injustice, because people feel they have been treated unfairly, whether that means military occupation, starvation under U.N. sanctions, whether it means that they have a dictatorship imposed on them, propped up by the West. This is why people turn to violence, because they have no other avenue left.” This is an odd statement for a “Peace Studies” lecturer, who forgets that Gandhi liberated a nation of three hundred million people through a strategy of non-violence -- a strategy that Palestinians have never attempted.
Targ turned the anti-American visit by Fisk into a homework assignment for the 140 students of his introduction to Peace Studies and U.S. Foreign Policy classes. He explained, “The students have been asked over the semester to write short papers, and usually from text readings, And I thought it would be interesting to ask them to go write a description and their own critical evaluation of his presentation. ... I think it will be great. You couldn't have a more timely speaker.” Like other Peace Studies professors, Targ doesn’t appear to brook dissent from his students. On the popular website Ratemyprofessors.com, where “the students do the grading,” one student wrote, “His midterm and final are very easy, as long as you take notes in lecture, which are boring. Don't be a conservative in your papers, for it cost me 13 points!”
In 2004, the Committee on Peace Studies put on a video series called, “On War and Foreign Policy,” The series included Outfoxed, the anti-Fox News channel film; Uncovered, “A documentary exploring the claims made by the Bush Administration justifying war in Iraq;” The War Behind Closed Doors, “A Frontline (PBS) examination of the historic foreign policy vision of neo-conservative advisors to several presidents, particularly relating to war on Iraq;” Hijacking Catastrophe, “A documentary addressing 9/11, fear, and the selling of American Empire;” and Why War Against Iraq is Wrong; two anti-Vietnam war films were also on the bill, and Minds, and The Fog of War.
Targ and the Committee on Peace Studies also organized a visit by members of radical September Eleventh Families For Peaceful Tomorrows. This group has taken part in anti-American and anti-Bush demonstrations, including the “No More Victims Tour,” and the "Not In Our Name" rally against the War on Terror. Peaceful Tomorrows principal goal is to use the sympathy for victims of 9/11 to attack all U.S. military responses to 9/11. The Peace Studies program provides academic credit to students for attending these anti-American lectures and video presentations.
The director of Peace Studies at Purdue has said, “we live in a culture that promotes fear.” Actually, it is Targ and the Peace Studies program at Purdue who promote fear – fear of the American government and of America itself.