For the fourth time in a week, a public speech by Ward Churchill was cancelled for "security reasons"–this time at his own University of Colorado. Each school he was scheduled to appear at reported an avalanche of calls and e-mails in protest. (Denver Post, Feb. 7; Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 5)
Churchill made his first public comments since the imbroglio hit the headlines Feb. 4, when he told CNN’s Paula Zahn that the controversial essay was a "gut response" to the 9-11 attacks, and "not completely reasoned and thought through." But he also said "I don’t believe I owe an apology."
Churchill’s comments also exhibited some naivete about the 9-11 attackers (if no longer outright enthusiasm). Drawing an analogy to the Pentagon’s notion of "collatoral damage," he said: "I don’t know if the people of 9-11 specifically wanted to kill everybody that was killed. It was just worth it to them in order to do whatever it was they decided it was necessary to do that bystanders be killed. And that essentially is the same mentality, the same rubric." (AP, Feb. 3)
Does Churchill–or anyone else–really think that the goal of the 9-11 attackers was anything other than to kill as many people as possible? And do the legions who are protesting his appearances realize that they are only making him more of a media celebrity through their very efforts, and thereby indirectly amplifying his message?
See our last post on the Churchill affair.