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.
Of course the people who firs
Of course the people who first made this an issue (like O’reilly) want to make Churchill a celebrity. Ward Churchill is now the face of the radical left for most people because he’s gotten so much attention. Now it is easy to discredit the people who oppose American foreign policy because they all look like fanatics who think that Americans are Nazis. It’s like the two minutes of hate in 1984. Instead of talking about the issues raised in the article, like the effects of the sanctions regime and the implications arising from the stated justification for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children caused by the sanctions, O’reilly can use Churchill to provoke people and use their anger against the left and dissent in general. Open discussion is impossible when opposing viewpoints appear to be as nefarious as Churchill’s. It’s just like when right wing talk show hosts go on and on about whatever outrageous statements Michael Moore is making or the political opinions of the often laughably uninformed (and always liberal) Hollywood actor. Rational, thoughtful people who oppose the policy are shut out of the discussion and instead idiots like Churchill and Moore who say things that any decent person would find objectionable are given the spotlight, and of course they gladly take the opportunity to humiliate and discredit the rest of us.
On a slightly different note, what exactly was O’reilly’s problem with the Churchill essay? Did he object to the "rubric" (as defined by the moral justifications given by the policy makers for the firebombing of civilian targets in W.W.II, the Iraq sanctions, etc.) or to the idea that the "rubric" (if taken seriously) applies not only to Arabs, leftists, and people in poor countries, but also Americans?