It should not be a revelation to anyone that University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill would write an essay that claims the murder of 3000 people on 9-11 was the result of American policies towards Iraq. He is a Baathist sympathizer and has been for a long time.
Churchill was a member of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC). This is the international diplomatic branch of the American Indian Movement (AIM).
The IITC was founded in 1974 by AIM. By 1979, they established diplomatic relations with Saddam Hussein and his Baathist Party. This relationship proved to be profitable for them. The IITC received funds from the Baathists for their campaign to return ownership of the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Lakota tribe.
Unfortunately for the IITC - and AIM - one of their group, Vernon Bellecourt, began praising Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1982. This was a major faux pas as Iraq and Iran were at war at the time. Iraq became rather indignant about the whole episode and immediately ceased its funding of this Native American version of the Palestinian Right of Return crusade. Iraq no longer donated to AIM’s dream of returning the Black Hills to the Lakota.
Churchill was expelled from the IITC in 1986. He was accused of trying to sabotage the negotiations between Iraq and IITC for his own personal gain.
The whole affair is indicative of the type of squabble that usually occurs in organizations like AIM as members try to obtain power and wealth – two things organizations like AIM publicly decry yet secretly covet.
Churchill was also expelled by the national AIM in 1993. He then formed a splinter group - Colorado AIM. This group is not part of the national organization.
These credentials apparently impressed the Colorado University administration because they furnished him with a six-figure salary, made him a professor and a chair of an academic department. They did this despite a resume that contained little in the way of academic achievement. They did this even though other Native American organizations felt that Churchill was not qualified.
Churchill was named the Chairman of the Ethnic Studies Department despite the fact that his degree is an M.A. in Communications. The other Ethnic Studies Department professors are PhD’s. Why Churchill became Chairman can only be explained by the Colorado administration’s political correctness.
Not only is he not a PhD, he has been accused of academic fraud. Thomas Brown, a sociology professor at Lamar University, stated Churchill fabricated a story about the U.S. Army intentionally creating a smallpox epidemic among the Mandan tribe in 1837.
Then again, Churchill is not known for his veracity. His claims of being Indian are said to be a lie. He has also lied about his military service.
Given this track record, it is no epiphany that his now famous essay comparing the victims of the World Trade Center terrorism to Nazis is replete with propaganda. He wrote about the “pointless nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” He omitted that these bombings ended a war started by the Japanese who actually were the first to bomb civilians.
None of these questions of credentials or credibility seemed to have mattered much to the administrators of the University of Colorado. Churchill’s only qualification for being a professor was his activism. This says more about the University of Colorado administrators than it says about Ward Churchill.
Nor does Churchill’s hate speech seem to matter much to the University of Colorado. Colorado’s Chancellor Phil DiStefano stated, "While I may personally find his views offensive, I also must support his right (guaranteed by the First Amendment) as an American citizen to hold and express his views, no matter how repugnant."
Is there any doubt that had Churchill said something derogatory about gays or blacks Chancellor DiStefano would have fired him immediately? None at all – there exists among liberals a double standard of what is or is not hate speech. This double standard is applied to academicians, entertainers, journalists, and politicians.
For example, when certain entertainers said President Bush was a traitor, liberals became indignant when people called those entertainers traitors.
In 1995, President Clinton said about Republican legislative proposals, “what they want to do is make war on the kids in this country.” No one condemned this.
Journalist Juan Williams, now a Fox News analyst, also in 1995, said after the Oklahoma City tragedy, that the fanatical militias that conducted paramilitary training in remote forests were, “angry white men in their natural state.” There were no repercussions.
Is it any wonder that Churchill feels that he can spout his venom?
Professors like Churchill are not uncommon. Their venom has been reported here and elsewhere. Anti-American, anti-religious, anti-capitalist, anti-military invective is common in academia.
While it is important that professors exercise their freedom of speech, there are two prerequisites. First, free speech must apply equally.
Recently Marquette University suspended a program established by the College Republicans called “Adopt a Sniper.” This program obtains funds to buy equipment and other items for US military snipers. Marquette felt this was improper. One wonders what Marquette would do with Churchill.
Second, professors must recognize that liberty must be accompanied with responsibility. Free speech cannot exist in a vacuum. One cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater - to paraphrase a famous Supreme Court justice’s opinion.
The dispensers of diatribes and division must recognize that every American has freedom of speech. If they do not act responsibly these purveyors of hate will learn that every American will exercise their free speech and criticize those who are irresponsible.