NEWS FLASH: Professor Ward Churchill Resigns as Head of
Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado as Result of
Political Backlash Against the"Some People Push
Churchill is a longtime native rights activist, a
leader of the Colorado chapter of the American Indian
Movement, Coordinator of American Indian Studies for the
University of Colorado/Boulder, and author of many books,
including From a Native Son.
Churchill Quits Chairmanship
CU Professor Will Continue Tenured Teaching Position
by Matthew Beaudin
Published on Tuesday, February 1, 2005 by the Daily
Camera / Boulder, Colorado
Ward Churchill resigned Monday from his post as chairman
of the University of Colorado's Department of Ethnic
Studies, but he plans to keep his job as a tenured
"Given the furor which has arisen over the past week
concerning my 2001 essay, 'Some People Push Back,'(below,
ed.JB) I feel it inappropriate that I continue in my
position as chair of the Department of Ethnic
Studies," Churchill wrote in a Monday letter to Todd
Gleeson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The essay, published just after the Sept. 11, 2001,
terrorist attacks, said Americans couldn't keep
supporting global atrocities without expecting
repercussions. It stirred controversy last week when
students at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., protested
Churchill's invitation to speak at the school.
Churchill again defended his essay Monday in a statement
released on the Department of Ethnic Studies' Web site.
"I am not a 'defender' of the Sept. 11 attacks, but
simply pointing out that if U.S. foreign policy results
in massive death and destruction abroad, we cannot feign
innocence when some of that destruction is
returned," he wrote. "The gross distortions of
what I actually said can only beviewed as an attempt to
distract the public from the real issues at hand and to
further stifle freedom of speech and academic debate in
Churchill's resignation was not enough to appease critics
who are calling for him to leave CU altogether.
The Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Thursday
to address Churchill's comments and his future at the
university, Regent Tom Lucero said. He said they will
speak publicly about Churchill before going into an
executive session with interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano.
None of the regents would say whether they thought
Churchill should be fired. CU officials previously have
defended his right to free speech but distanced the
university from his views.
U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Arvada, went further.
"This is way beyond the bounds of moral clarity, of
right and wrong, of good and evil," he said Monday.
U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, said he was
more concerned about Churchill apologizing than leaving
the chairmanship. "I think this is certainly a step
in the right direction," Udall said. "I still
hope that professor Churchill would apologize."
Others continued to defend a man they called a good
professor who's been misunderstood. "People think he
advocates terrorism, but he's just explaining why people
we call terrorists do what they do," said CU junior
Shawn Baland, who met with other Churchill supporters on
campus Monday night.
Roger Bowen, general secretary of the American
Association of University Professors, defends
controversial faculty members nationwide. The group
fields about 1,200 calls per year, many from professors
facing pressure from inside their institutions. "Any
time you silence speech, I think it affects the freedom
of a university," he said. Bowen debunked the notion
that taxpayers have leverage over Churchill's speech.
"Because he is employed by a state institution, then
the state has to follow the First Amendment," Bowen
But Isaiah Lechowit, president of CU's College
Republicans, said it's not matter of personal free
speech. "When he speaks, he's not speaking as Ward
Churchill," Lechowit said. "He's speaking as
professor Ward Churchill."
The College Republicans plan to protest at 10 a.m. today
at the fountain outside the University Memorial Center.
Protesters will sign petitions to CU President Elizabeth
Hoffman demanding Churchill's firing before distributing
fliers to Churchill's 12:30 p.m. class. "I think our
actions helped lead to his resignation, and I hope our
actions help lead to his termination," Lechowit
Churchill is still slated to participate in Thursday's
panel at Hamilton College, titled "Limits of
Vige Barrie, director of public relations at Hamilton
College, said she expects protesters at the panel but
added: "It's an issue of free speech, and that would
be censorship to cancel it at this point."
Copyright 2005, The Daily Camera
People Push Back"
On the Justice of Roosting Chickens
When queried by reporters concerning his views on the
assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963,
Malcolm X famously and quite charitably, all
things considered replied that it was merely a
case of "chickens coming home to roost."
On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more
chickens along with some half-million dead Iraqi
children came home to roost in a very big way at
the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center. Well,
actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the
Pentagon as well.
The Iraqi youngsters, all of them under 12, died as a
predictable in fact, widely predicted
result of the 1991 US "surgical" bombing of
their country's water purification and sewage facilities,
as well as other "infrastructural" targets upon
which Iraq's civilian population depends for its very
If the nature of the bombing were not already bad
enough and it should be noted that this sort of
"aerial warfare" constitutes a Class I Crime
Against humanity, entailing myriad gross violations of
international law, as well as every conceivable standard
of "civilized" behavior the death toll
has been steadily ratcheted up by US-imposed sanctions
for a full decade now. Enforced all the while by a
massive military presence and periodic bombing raids, the
embargo has greatly impaired the victims' ability to
import the nutrients, medicines and other materials
necessary to saving the lives of even their toddlers.
All told, Iraq has a population of about 18 million. The
500,000 kids lost to date thus represent something on the
order of 25 percent of their age group. Indisputably, the
rest have suffered are still suffering a
combination of physical debilitation and psychological
trauma severe enough to prevent their ever fully
recovering. In effect, an entire generation has been
The reason for this holocaust was/is rather simple,
and stated quite straightforwardly by President George
Bush, the 41st "freedom-loving" father of the
freedom-lover currently filling the Oval Office, George
the 43rd: "The world must learn that what we say,
goes," intoned George the Elder to the enthusiastic
applause of freedom-loving Americans everywhere. How Old
George conveyed his message was certainly no mystery to
the US public. One need only recall the 24-hour-per-day
dissemination of bombardment videos on every available TV
channel, and the exceedingly high ratings of these
telecasts, to gain a sense of how much they knew.
In trying to affix a meaning to such things, we would do
well to remember the wave of elation that swept America
at reports of what was happening along the so-called
Highway of Death: perhaps 100,000 "towel-heads"
and "camel jockeys" or was it "sand
niggers" that week? in full retreat, routed
and effectively defenseless, many of them conscripted
civilian laborers, slaughtered in a single day by jets
firing the most hyper-lethal types of ordnance. It was a
performance worthy of the nazis during the early months
of their drive into Russia. And it should be borne in
mind that Good Germans gleefully cheered that butchery,
too. Indeed, support for Hitler suffered no serious
erosion among Germany's "innocent civilians"
until the defeat at Stalingrad in 1943.
There may be a real utility to reflecting further,
this time upon the fact that it was pious Americans who
led the way in assigning the onus of collective guilt to
the German people as a whole, not for things they as
individuals had done, but for what they had allowed
nay, empowered their leaders and their
soldiers to do in their name.
If the principle was valid then, it remains so now,
as applicable to Good Americans as it was the Good
Germans. And the price exacted from the Germans for the
faultiness of their moral fiber was truly ghastly.
Returning now to the children, and to the effects of the
post-Gulf War embargo continued bull force by Bush
the Elder's successors in the Clinton administration as a
gesture of its "resolve" to finalize what
George himself had dubbed the "New World Order"
of American military/economic domination it should
be noted that not one but two high United Nations
officials attempting to coordinate delivery of
humanitarian aid to Iraq resigned in succession as
protests against US policy.
One of them, former U.N. Assistant Secretary
General Denis Halladay, repeatedly denounced what was
happening as "a systematic program . . . of
deliberate genocide." His statements appeared in the
New York Times and other papers during the fall of 1998,
so it can hardly be contended that the American public
was "unaware" of them. Shortly thereafter,
Secretary of State Madeline Albright openly confirmed
Halladay's assessment. Asked during the widely-viewed TV
program Meet the Press to respond to his
"allegations," she calmly announced that she'd
decided it was "worth the price" to see that
U.S. objectives were achieved.
The Politics of a Perpetrator
As a whole, the American public
greeted these revelations with yawns.. There were, after
all, far more pressing things than the unrelenting
misery/death of a few hundred thousand Iraqi tikes to be
concerned with. Getting "Jeremy" and
"Ellington" to their weekly soccer game, for
instance, or seeing to it that little "Tiffany"
and "Ashley" had just the right roll-neck
sweaters to go with their new cords. And, to be sure,
there was the yuppie holy war against ashtrays for
"our kids," no less as an all-absorbing
point of political focus.
In fairness, it must be admitted that there was an
infinitesimally small segment of the body politic who
expressed opposition to what was/is being done to the
children of Iraq. It must also be conceded, however, that
those involved by-and-large contented themselves with
signing petitions and conducting candle-lit prayer
vigils, bearing "moral witness" as vast legions
of brown-skinned five-year-olds sat shivering in the
dark, wide-eyed in horror, whimpering as they expired in
the most agonizing ways imaginable.
Be it said as well, and this is really the crux of
it, that the "resistance" expended the bulk of
its time and energy harnessed to the systemically-useful
task of trying to ensure, as "a principle of moral
virtue" that nobody went further than waving signs
as a means of "challenging" the patently
exterminatory pursuit of Pax Americana. So pure of
principle were these "dissidents," in fact,
that they began literally to supplant the police in
protecting corporations profiting by the carnage against
suffering such retaliatory "violence" as having
their windows broken by persons less
"enlightened" or perhaps more outraged
than the self-anointed "peacekeepers."
Property before people, it seems or at least
the equation of property to people is a value by
no means restricted to America's boardrooms. And the
sanctimony with which such putrid sentiments are
enunciated turns out to be nauseatingly similar, whether
mouthed by the CEO of Standard Oil or any of the swarm of
comfort zone "pacifists" queuing up to condemn
the black block after it ever so slightly disturbed the
functioning of business-as-usual in Seattle.
Small wonder, all-in-all, that people elsewhere in
the world the Mideast, for instance began
to wonder where, exactly, aside from the streets of the
US itself, one was to find the peace America's
purportedly oppositional peacekeepers claimed they were
The answer, surely, was plain enough to anyone
unblinded by the kind of delusions engendered by sheer
vanity and self-absorption. So, too, were the
implications in terms of anything changing, out there, in
America's free-fire zones.
Tellingly, it was at precisely this point
with the genocide in Iraq officially admitted and a
public response demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt
that there were virtually no Americans, including most of
those professing otherwise, doing anything tangible to
stop it that the combat teams which eventually
commandeered the aircraft used on September 11 began to
infiltrate the United States.
Meet the "Terrorists"
Of the men who came, there are a
few things demanding to be said in the face of the
unending torrent of disinformational drivel unleashed by
George Junior and the corporate "news" media
immediately following their successful operation on
They did not, for starters, "initiate" a
war with the US, much less commit "the first acts of
war of the new millennium."
A good case could be made that the war in which
they were combatants has been waged more-or-less
continuously by the "Christian West" now
proudly emblematized by the United States against
the "Islamic East" since the time of the First
Crusade, about 1,000 years ago. More recently, one could
argue that the war began when Lyndon Johnson first lent
significant support to Israel's
dispossession/displacement of Palestinians during the
1960s, or when George the Elder ordered "Desert
Shield" in 1990, or at any of several points in
between. Any way you slice it, however, if what the
combat teams did to the WTC and the Pentagon can be
understood as acts of war and they can then
the same is true of every US "overflight' of Iraqi
territory since day one. The first acts of war during the
current millennium thus occurred on its very first day,
and were carried out by U.S. aviators acting under orders
from their then-commander-in-chief, Bill Clinton. The
most that can honestly be said of those involved on
September 11 is that they finally responded in kind to
some of what this country has dispensed to their people
as a matter of course.
That they waited so long to do so is,
notwithstanding the 1993 action at the WTC, more than
anything a testament to their patience and restraint.
They did not license themselves to "target
There is simply no argument to be made that the
Pentagon personnel killed on September 11 fill that bill.
The building and those inside comprised military targets,
pure and simple. As to those in the World Trade Center .
Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True
enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent?
Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the
very heart of America's global financial empire
the "mighty engine of profit" to which the
military dimension of U.S. policy has always been
enslaved and they did so both willingly and
knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" a
derivative, after all, of the word "ignore"
counts as less than an excuse among this
relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of
them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others
of what they were involved in and in many cases
excelling at it was because of their absolute
refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too
busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into
their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock
transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out
of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved
and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more
effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some
penalty befitting their participation upon the little
Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin
towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.
The men who flew the missions against the WTC and
Pentagon were not "cowards." That distinction
properly belongs to the "firm-jawed lads" who
delighted in flying stealth aircraft through the
undefended airspace of Baghdad, dropping payload after
payload of bombs on anyone unfortunate enough to be below
including tens of thousands of genuinely innocent
civilians while themselves incurring all the risk
one might expect during a visit to the local video
arcade. Still more, the word describes all those
"fighting men and women" who sat at computer
consoles aboard ships in the Persian Gulf, enjoying
air-conditioned comfort while launching cruise missiles
into neighborhoods filled with random human beings.
Whatever else can be said of them, the men who struck on
September 11 manifested the courage of their convictions,
willingly expending their own lives in attaining their
Nor were they "fanatics" devoted to
One might rightly describe their actions as
"desperate." Feelings of desperation, however,
are a perfectly reasonable one is tempted to say
"normal" emotional response among
persons confronted by the mass murder of their children,
particularly when it appears that nobody else really
gives a damn (ask a Jewish survivor about this one, or,
even more poignantly, for all the attention paid them, a
That desperate circumstances generate desperate
responses is no mysterious or irrational principle, of
the sort motivating fanatics. Less is it one peculiar to
Islam. Indeed, even the FBI's investigative reports on
the combat teams' activities during the months leading up
to September 11 make it clear that the members were not
fundamentalist Muslims. Rather, it's pretty obvious at
this point that they were secular activists
soldiers, really who, while undoubtedly enjoying
cordial relations with the clerics of their countries,
were motivated far more by the grisly realities of the
U.S. war against them than by a set of religious beliefs.
And still less were they/their acts
Insanity is a condition readily associable with the
very American idea that one or one's country
holds what amounts to a "divine right"
to commit genocide, and thus to forever do so with
impunity. The term might also be reasonably applied to
anyone suffering genocide without attempting in some
material way to bring the process to a halt. Sanity
itself, in this frame of reference, might be defined by a
willingness to try and destroy the perpetrators and/or
the sources of their ability to commit their crimes.
(Shall we now discuss the US "strategic bombing
campaign" against Germany during World War II, and
the mental health of those involved in it?)
Which takes us to official characterizations of the
combat teams as an embodiment of "evil."
Evil for those inclined to embrace the
banality of such a concept was perfectly
incarnated in that malignant toad known as Madeline
Albright, squatting in her studio chair like Jaba the
Hutt, blandly spewing the news that she'd imposed a
collective death sentence upon the unoffending youth of
Iraq. Evil was to be heard in that great American hero
"Stormin' Norman" Schwartzkopf's utterly
dehumanizing dismissal of their systematic torture and
annihilation as mere "collateral damage." Evil,
moreover, is a term appropriate to describing the
mentality of a public that finds such perspectives and
the policies attending them acceptable, or even
Had it not been for these evils, the counterattacks
of September 11 would never have occurred. And unless
"the world is rid of such evil," to lift a line
from George Junior, September 11 may well end up looking
like a lark.
There is no reason, after all, to believe that the
teams deployed in the assaults on the WTC and the
Pentagon were the only such, that the others are composed
of "Arabic-looking individuals"
America's indiscriminately lethal arrogance and psychotic
sense of self-entitlement have long since given the great
majority of the world's peoples ample cause to be at war
with it or that they are in any way dependent upon
the seizure of civilian airliners to complete their
To the contrary, there is every reason to expect
that there are many other teams in place, tasked to
employ altogether different tactics in executing
operational plans at least as well-crafted as those
evident on September 11, and very well equipped for their
jobs. This is to say that, since the assaults on the WTC
and Pentagon were act of war not "terrorist
incidents" they must be understood as
components in a much broader strategy designed to achieve
specific results. From this, it can only be adduced that
there are plenty of other components ready to go, and
that they will be used, should this become necessary in
the eyes of the strategists. It also seems a safe bet
that each component is calibrated to inflict damage at a
level incrementally higher than the one before (during
the 1960s, the Johnson administration employed a similar
policy against Vietnam, referred to as
Since implementation of the overall plan began with
the WTC/Pentagon assaults, it takes no rocket scientist
to decipher what is likely to happen next, should the
U.S. attempt a response of the inexcusable variety to
which it has long entitled itself.
About Those Boys (and Girls) in
There's another matter begging
for comment at this point. The idea that the FBI's
"counterterrorism task forces" can do a thing
to prevent what will happen is yet another dimension of
America's delusional pathology.. The fact is that, for
all its publicly-financed "image-building"
exercises, the Bureau has never shown the least aptitude
for anything of the sort.
Oh, yeah, FBI counterintelligence personnel have
proven quite adept at framing anarchists, communists and
Black Panthers, sometimes murdering them in their beds or
the electric chair. The Bureau's SWAT units have
displayed their ability to combat child abuse in Waco by
burning babies alive, and its vaunted Crime Lab has been
shown to pad its "crime-fighting' statistics by
fabricating evidence against many an alleged car thief.
But actual "heavy-duty bad guys" of the sort at
issue now? This isn't a Bruce Willis/Chuck Norris/Sly
Stallone movie, after all.. And J. Edgar Hoover doesn't
get to approve either the script or the casting.
The number of spies, saboteurs and bona fide
terrorists apprehended, or even detected by the FBI in
the course of its long and slimy history could be counted
on one's fingers and toes. On occasion, its agents have
even turned out to be the spies, and, in many instances,
the terrorists as well.
To be fair once again, if the Bureau functions as
at best a carnival of clowns where its "domestic
security responsibilities" are concerned, this is
because regardless of official hype it has
none. It is now, as it's always been, the national
political police force, an instrument created and
perfected to ensure that all Americans, not just the
consenting mass, are "free" to do exactly as
The FBI and "cooperating agencies" can be
thus relied upon to set about "protecting
freedom" by destroying whatever rights and liberties
were left to U.S. citizens before September 11 (in fact,
they've already received authorization to begin).
Sheeplike, the great majority of Americans can also be
counted upon to bleat their approval, at least in the
short run, believing as they always do that the nasty
implications of what they're doing will pertain only to
Oh Yeah, and "The Company," Too
A possibly even sicker joke is the notion, suddenly
in vogue, that the CIA will be able to pinpoint
"terrorist threats," "rooting out their
infrastructure" where it exists and/or
"terminating" it before it can materialize, if
only it's allowed to beef up its "human intelligence
gathering capacity" in an unrestrained manner
(including full-bore operations inside the US, of
Since America has a collective attention-span of
about 15 minutes, a little refresher seems in order:
"The Company" had something like a
quarter-million people serving as "intelligence
assets" by feeding it information in Vietnam in
1968, and it couldn't even predict the Tet Offensive. God
knows how many spies it was fielding against the USSR at
the height of Ronald Reagan's version of the Cold War,
and it was still caught flatfooted by the collapse of the
Soviet Union. As to destroying "terrorist
infrastructures," one would do well to remember
Operation Phoenix, another product of its open season in
Vietnam. In that one, the CIA enlisted elite US units
like the Navy Seals and Army Special Forces, as well as
those of friendly countries the south Vietnamese
Rangers, for example, and Australian SAS to run
around "neutralizing" folks targeted by The
Company's legion of snitches as "guerrillas"
(as those now known as "terrorists" were then
Upwards of 40,000 people mostly bystanders,
as it turns out were murdered by Phoenix hit teams
before the guerrillas, stronger than ever, ran the US and
its collaborators out of their country altogether. And
these are the guys who are gonna save the day, if
unleashed to do their thing in North America?
The net impact of all this
"counterterrorism" activity upon the combat
teams' ability to do what they came to do, of course,
will be nil.
Instead, it's likely to make it easier for them to
operate (it's worked that way in places like Northern
Ireland). And, since denying Americans the luxury of
reaping the benefits of genocide in comfort was
self-evidently a key objective of the WTC/Pentagon
assaults, it can be stated unequivocally that a more
overt display of the police state mentality already
pervading this country simply confirms the magnitude of
On Matters of Proportion and
As things stand, including the
1993 detonation at the WTC, "Arab terrorists"
have responded to the massive and sustained American
terror bombing of Iraq with a total of four assaults by
explosives inside the US. That's about 1% of the 50,000
bombs the Pentagon announced were rained on Baghdad alone
during the Gulf War (add in Oklahoma City and you'll get
something nearer an actual 1%).
They've managed in the process to kill about 5,000
Americans, or roughly 1% of the dead Iraqi children (the
percentage is far smaller if you factor in the killing of
adult Iraqi civilians, not to mention troops butchered
as/after they'd surrendered and/or after the
"war-ending" ceasefire had been announced).
In terms undoubtedly more meaningful to the
property/profit-minded American mainstream, they've
knocked down a half-dozen buildings albeit some
very well-chosen ones as opposed to the
"strategic devastation" visited upon the whole
of Iraq, and punched a $100 billion hole in the earnings
outlook of major corporate shareholders, as opposed to
the U.S. obliteration of Iraq's entire economy.
With that, they've given Americans a tiny dose of
their own medicine.. This might be seen as merely a
matter of "vengeance" or
"retribution," and, unquestionably, America has
earned it, even if it were to add up only to something so
The problem is that vengeance is usually framed in
terms of "getting even," a concept which is
plainly inapplicable in this instance. As the above data
indicate, it would require another 49,996 detonations
killing 495,000 more Americans, for the
"terrorists" to "break even" for the
bombing of Baghdad/extermination of Iraqi children alone.
And that's to achieve "real number" parity. To
attain an actual proportional parity of damage the
US is about 15 times as large as Iraq in terms of
population, even more in terms of territory they
would, at a minimum, have to blow up about 300,000 more
buildings and kill something on the order of 7.5 million
Were this the intent of those who've entered the US
to wage war against it, it would remain no less true that
America and Americans were only receiving the bill for
what they'd already done. Payback, as they say, can be a
real motherfucker (ask the Germans). There is, however,
no reason to believe that retributive parity is
necessarily an item on the agenda of those who planned
the WTC/Pentagon operation. If it were, given the virtual
certainty that they possessed the capacity to have
inflicted far more damage than they did, there would be a
lot more American bodies lying about right now.
Hence, it can be concluded that ravings carried by
the "news" media since September 11 have
contained at least one grain of truth: The peoples of the
Mideast "aren't like" Americans, not least
because they don't "value life' in the same way. By
this, it should be understood that Middle-Easterners,
unlike Americans, have no history of exterminating others
purely for profit, or on the basis of racial animus.
Thus, we can appreciate the fact that they value life
all lives, not just their own far more
highly than do their U.S. counterparts.
The Makings of a Humanitarian
In sum one can discern a certain
optimism it might even be call humanitarianism
imbedded in the thinking of those who presided
over the very limited actions conducted on September 11.
Their logic seems to have devolved upon the notion
that the American people have condoned what has been/is
being done in their name indeed, are to a
significant extent actively complicit in it mainly
because they have no idea what it feels like to be on the
Now they do.
That was the "medicinal" aspect of the
To all appearances, the idea is now to give the
tonic a little time to take effect, jolting Americans
into the realization that the sort of pain they're now
experiencing first-hand is no different from or
the least bit more excruciating than that which
they've been so cavalier in causing others, and thus to
More bluntly, the hope was and maybe still
is that Americans, stripped of their presumed
immunity from incurring any real consequences for their
behavior, would comprehend and act upon a formulation as
uncomplicated as "stop killing our kids, if you want
your own to be safe."
Either way, it's a kind of "reality
therapy" approach, designed to afford the American
people a chance to finally "do the right thing"
on their own, without further coaxing.
Were the opportunity acted upon in some reasonably
good faith fashion a sufficiently large number of
Americans rising up and doing whatever is necessary to
force an immediate lifting of the sanctions on Iraq, for
instance, or maybe hanging a few of America's abundant
supply of major war criminals (Henry Kissinger comes
quickly to mind, as do Madeline Albright, Colin Powell,
Bill Clinton and George the Elder) there is every
reason to expect that military operations against the US
on its domestic front would be immediately suspended.
Whether they would remain so would of course be
contingent upon follow-up. By that, it may be assumed
that American acceptance of onsite inspections by
international observers to verify destruction of its
weapons of mass destruction (as well as dismantlement of
all facilities in which more might be manufactured),
Nuremberg-style trials in which a few thousand US
military/corporate personnel could be properly
adjudicated and punished for their Crimes Against
humanity, and payment of reparations to the array of
nations/peoples whose assets the US has plundered over
the years, would suffice.
Since they've shown no sign of being unreasonable
or vindictive, it may even be anticipated that, after a
suitable period of adjustment and reeducation (mainly to
allow them to acquire the skills necessary to living
within their means), those restored to control over their
own destinies by the gallant sacrifices of the combat
teams the WTC and Pentagon will eventually (re)admit
Americans to the global circle of civilized societies.
Stranger things have happened.
In the Alternative
Unfortunately, noble as they may
have been, such humanitarian aspirations were always
doomed to remain unfulfilled. For it to have been
otherwise, a far higher quality of character and
intellect would have to prevail among average Americans
than is actually the case. Perhaps the strategists
underestimated the impact a couple of generations-worth
of media indoctrination can produce in terms of
demolishing the capacity of human beings to form coherent
thoughts. Maybe they forgot to factor in the mind-numbing
effects of the indoctrination passed off as education in
the US. Then, again, it's entirely possible they were
aware that a decisive majority of American adults have
been reduced by this point to a level much closer to the
kind of immediate self-gratification entailed in
Pavlovian stimulus/response patterns than anything
accessible by appeals to higher logic, and still felt
morally obliged to offer the dolts an option to quit
while they were ahead.
What the hell? It was worth a try.
But it's becoming increasingly apparent that the
dosage of medicine administered was entirely insufficient
to accomplish its purpose.
Although there are undoubtedly exceptions,
Americans for the most part still don't get it.
Already, they've desecrated the temporary tomb of
those killed in the WTC, staging a veritable pep rally
atop the mangled remains of those they profess to honor,
treating the whole affair as if it were some bizarre
breed of contact sport. And, of course, there are the
inevitable pom-poms shaped like American flags, the
school colors worn as little red-white-and-blue ribbons
affixed to labels, sportscasters in the form of
"counterterrorism experts" drooling mindless
color commentary during the pregame warm-up.
Refusing the realization that the world has
suddenly shifted its axis, and that they are therefore no
longer "in charge," they have by-and-large
reverted instantly to type, working themselves into their
usual bloodlust on the now obsolete premise that the
bloodletting will "naturally" occur elsewhere
and to someone else.
"Patriotism," a wise man once observed,
"is the last refuge of scoundrels."
And the braided, he might of added.
Braided Scoundrel-in-Chief, George Junior, lacking
even the sense to be careful what he wished for, has
teamed up with a gaggle of fundamentalist Christian
clerics like Billy Graham to proclaim a "New
Crusade" called "Infinite Justice" aimed
at "ridding the world of evil."
One could easily make light of such rhetoric,
remarking upon how unseemly it is for a son to threaten
his father in such fashion or a president to so
publicly contemplate the murder/suicide of himself and
his cabinet but the matter is deadly serious.
They are preparing once again to sally forth for
the purpose of roasting brown-skinned children by the
scores of thousands. Already, the B-1 bombers and the
aircraft carriers and the missile frigates are en route,
the airborne divisions are gearing up to go.
To where? Afghanistan?
Iraq, again (or still)?
How about Grenada (that was fun)?
Any of them or all. It doesn't matter.
The desire to pummel the helpless runs rabid as
Only, this time it's different.
The time the helpless aren't, or at least are not
so helpless as they were.
This time, somewhere, perhaps in an Afghani
mountain cave, possibly in a Brooklyn basement, maybe
another local altogether but somewhere, all the
same there's a grim-visaged (wo)man wearing a
Clint Eastwood smile.
"Go ahead, punks," s/he's saying,
"Make my day."
And when they do, when they launch these airstrikes
abroad or may a little later; it will be at a time
conforming to the "terrorists"' own schedule,
and at a place of their choosing the next more
intensive dose of medicine administered here "at
Of what will it consist this time? Anthrax? Mustard
gas? Sarin? A tactical nuclear device?
That, too, is their choice to make.
Looking back, it will seem to future generations
inexplicable why Americans were unable on their own, and
in time to save themselves, to accept a rule of nature so
basic that it could be mouthed by an actor, Lawrence
Fishburn, in a movie, The Cotton Club.
"You've got to learn, " the line went,
"that when you push people around, some people push
As they should.
As they must.
And as they undoubtedly will.
There is justice in such symmetry.
The preceding was a "first
take" reading, more a stream-of-consciousness
interpretive reaction to the September 11 counterattack
than a finished piece on the topic. Hence, I'll readily
admit that I've been far less than thorough, and quite
likely wrong about a number of things.
For instance, it may not have been (only) the
ghosts of Iraqi children who made their appearance that
day. It could as easily have been some or all of their
butchered Palestinian cousins.
Or maybe it was some or all of the at least 3.2
million Indochinese who perished as a result of America's
sustained and genocidal assault on Southeast Asia
(1959-1975), not to mention the millions more who've died
because of the sanctions imposed thereafter.
Perhaps there were a few of the Korean civilians
massacred by US troops at places like No Gun Ri during
the early 50s, or the hundreds of thousands of
Japanese civilians ruthlessly incinerated in the ghastly
fire raids of World War II (only at Dresden did America
bomb Germany in a similar manner).
And, of course, it could have been those vaporized
in the militarily pointless nuclear bombings of Hiroshima
There are others, as well, a vast and silent queue
of faceless victims, stretching from the million-odd
Filipinos slaughtered during America's "Indian
War" in their islands at the beginning of the
twentieth century, through the real Indians, America's
own, massacred wholesale at places like Horseshoe Bend
and the Bad Axe, Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, the
Washita, Bear River, and the Marias.
Was it those who expired along the Cherokee Trial
of Tears of the Long Walk of the Navajo?
Those murdered by smallpox at Fort Clark in 1836?
Starved to death in the concentration camp at
Bosque Redondo during the 1860s?
Maybe those native people claimed for scalp bounty
in all 48 of the continental US states? Or the Raritans
whose severed heads were kicked for sport along the
streets of what was then called New Amsterdam, at the
very site where the WTC once stood?
One hears, too, the whispers of those lost on the
Middle Passage, and of those whose very flesh was sold in
the slave market outside the human kennel from whence
Wall Street takes its name. And of coolie laborers,
imported by the gross-dozen to lay the tracks of empire
across scorching desert sands, none of them allotted
"a Chinaman's chance" of surviving.
The list is too long, too awful to go on.
No matter what its eventual fate, America will have
gotten off very, very cheap.
The full measure of its guilt can never be fully
balanced or atoned for.
Ward Churchill (Keetoowah Band
Cherokee) is one of the most outspoken of Native American
activists. In his lectures and numerous published works,
he explores the themes of genocide in the Americas,
historical and legal (re)interpretation of conquest and
colonization, literary and cinematic criticism, and
indigenist alternatives to the status quo. Churchill is a
Professor of Ethnic Studies and Coordinator of American
Indian Studies. He is also a past national spokesperson
for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. His books
include Agents of Repression, Fantasies of the Master
Race, From a Native Son and A Little Matter of Genocide:
Holocaust and Denial in the Americas.
Ward Churchill Responds to Criticism
"Some People Push Back"
In the last few days there has been
widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage
concerning my analysis of the September 11, 2001 attacks
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, coverage that
has resulted in defamation of my character and threats
against my life. What I actually said has been lost,
indeed turned into the opposite of itself, and I hope the
following facts will be reported at least to the same
extent that the fabrications have been.
* The piece circulating on the internet was developed
into a book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens.
Most of the book is a detailed chronology of U.S.
military interventions since 1776 and U.S. violations of
international law since World War II. My point is that we
cannot allow the U.S. government, acting in our name, to
engage in massive violations of international law and
fundamental human rights and not expect to reap the
* I am not a "defender"of the September 11
attacks, but simply pointing out that if U.S. foreign
policy results in massive death and destruction abroad,
we cannot feign innocence when some of that destruction
is returned. I have never said that people
"should" engage in armed attacks on the United
States, but that such attacks are a natural and
unavoidable consequence of unlawful U.S. policy. As
Martin Luther King, quoting Robert F. Kennedy, said,
"Those who make peaceful change impossible make
violent change inevitable."
* This is not to say that I advocate violence; as a U.S.
soldier in Vietnam I witnessed and participated in more
violence than I ever wish to see. What I am saying is
that if we want an end to violence, especially that
perpetrated against civilians, we must take the
responsibility for halting the slaughter perpetrated by
the United States around the world. My feelings are
reflected in Dr. King's April 1967 Riverside speech,
where, when asked about the wave of urban rebellions in
U.S. cities, he said, "I could never again raise my
voice against the violence of the oppressed . . . without
having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of
violence in the world today my own
* In 1996 Madeleine Albright, then Ambassador to the UN
and soon to be U.S. Secretary of State, did not dispute
that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of
economic sanctions, but stated on national television
that "we" had decided it was "worth the
cost." I mourn the victims of the September 11
attacks, just as I mourn the deaths of those Iraqi
children, the more than 3 million people killed in the
war in Indochina, those who died in the U.S. invasions of
Grenada, Panama and elsewhere in Central America, the
victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and the
indigenous peoples still subjected to genocidal policies.
If we respond with callous disregard to the deaths of
others, we can only expect equal callousness to American
* Finally, I have never characterized all the September
11 victims as "Nazis." What I said was that the
"technocrats of empire" working in the World
Trade Center were the equivalent of "little
Eichmanns." Adolf Eichmann was not charged with
direct killing but with ensuring the smooth running of
the infrastructure that enabled the Nazi genocide.
Similarly, German industrialists were legitimately
targeted by the Allies.
* It is not disputed that the Pentagon was a military
target, or that a CIA office was situated in the World
Trade Center. Following the logic by which U.S. Defense
Department spokespersons have consistently sought to
justify target selection in places like Baghdad, this
placement of an element of the American "command and
control infrastructure" in an ostensibly civilian
facility converted the Trade Center itself into a
"legitimate" target. Again following U.S.
military doctrine, as announced in briefing after
briefing, those who did not work for the CIA but were
nonetheless killed in the attack amounted to no more than
"collateral damage." If the U.S. public is
prepared to accept these "standards" when the
are routinely applied to other people, they should be not
be surprised when the same standards are applied to them.
* It should be emphasized that I applied the "little
Eichmanns" characterization only to those described
as "technicians." Thus, it was obviously not
directed to the children, janitors, food service workers,
firemen and random passers-by killed in the 9-1-1 attack.
According to Pentagon logic, were simply part of the
collateral damage. Ugly? Yes. Hurtful? Yes. And that's my
point. It's no less ugly, painful or dehumanizing a
description when applied to Iraqis, Palestinians, or
anyone else. If we ourselves do not want to be treated in
this fashion, we must refuse to allow others to be
similarly devalued and dehumanized in our name.
* The bottom line of my argument is that the best and
perhaps only way to prevent 9-1-1-style attacks on the
U.S. is for American citizens to compel their government
to comply with the rule of law. The lesson of Nuremberg
is that this is not only our right, but our obligation.
To the extent we shirk this responsibility, we, like the
"Good Germans" of the 1930s and '40s, are
complicit in its actions and have no legitimate basis for
complaint when we suffer the consequences. This, of
course, includes me, personally, as well as my family, no
less than anyone else.
* These points are clearly stated and documented in my
book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, which
recently won Honorary Mention for the Gustavus Myer Human
Rights Award. for best writing on human rights. Some
people will, of course, disagree with my analysis, but it
presents questions that must be addressed in academic and
public debate if we are to find a real solution to the
violence that pervades today's world. The gross
distortions of what I actually said can only be viewed as
an attempt to distract the public from the real issues at
hand and to further stifle freedom of speech and academic
debate in this country.
January 31, 2005
Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party
the American Indian Movement
Churchill and Jim Vander Wall
Volume 7,South End
Press Classics Series
Manning Marable, Series Editor
study gives a chilling account of the government
attack against AIM and the Black Panthers,
placed in the context of the traditional use of
the FBI for domestic political repression. It is
a powerful indictment, with far-reaching
wondering why Bill Clinton could pardon
billionaire white-collar fugitive Marc Rich but
not Native American leader Leonard Peltier,
important clues can be found in this classic
study of the FBI's Counterintelligence Program
against the Black Panter Party and the Amerian
a key AIM member and one of its most
knowledgeable supporters, Agents of
Repression, features one of the best
histories of the FBI siege of Wounded Knee. The
1973 attack resulted in Peltier's imprisonment.
The book also provides a well-written synthesis
of the FBI efforts against the Black Panthers.
edition, Volume 7 of the South End Press Classics
Series, includes a new introduction examining the
cases of Leonard Peltier and Anna Mae Aquash and
the infiltration of AIM by the FBI. While the FBI
seems a less flagrantly violent organization now
than in the 1970s, twenty-first century readers
will learn why America's political police force
remains a threat to those committed to
fundamental social change.