University of Colorado Professor on 9/11
There has been great excitement here in Colorado about an article written by University of Colorado (CU) Professor Ward Churchill, which describes the victims of 9/11 as "little Eichmanns" who "formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire."

I have been trying to find the original article, since the press only quotes a few words from it, usually just "little Eichmanns." It appears several places on the web, including this one and this one. It originally appeared in something called "POCKETS of RESISTANCE no. 11, A supplement of Dark Night field notes." I can't tell if this is published in hard copy or just on the web. Churchill apparently expanded this essay into book form. The book On the Justice of Roosting Chickens : Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality is available on Amazon. I haven't read it.

I would like to know whether the current public outrage is due to the fact that Churchill rants against the US government for bombing Iraq prior to 9/11, or that he criticized the people who died on 9/11, or that he used the word "Eichmann" to describe them. We had better be able to criticize our government, if the First Amendment and tenure mean anything. To me the most significant thing is that he criticized the victims of 9/11, but I think this is something that Americans at least need to think about. These people may not have been any worse than their neighbors on Wall Street, but they worked in prominent buildings that symbolized American financial might. It's not surprising that people could resent this might. Terrorists tried to destroy the World Trade Center earlier, in 1993, by planting a bomb in a van in the parking lot. Obviously there was something about the symbol of the World Trade Center that got Osama bin Laden's attention and that he didn't like.

I worry that the main thing that set off the current furor was Churchill's use of the word "Eichmann," which was unjustified in describing the WTC victims, but obviously effective in getting attention. I think that's unfortunate, because it indicates that it's impossible to discuss the Holocaust in a rational way. The WTC victims were not genocidal, but in more general terms, what about Rwanda, the killing fields of Cambodia, Darfur? Do we weep for those victims as bitterly as we do for the victims of the German Holocaust? Do we weep for Gypsies and other minorities who died in the Holocaust as bitterly as we weep for Jews? Did Indians undergo a Holocaust at the hands of white pioneers in America? Or, apropos of this web site, was there anything good about slavery? Is it possible to discuss these questions rationally?

Although Churchill appears to be a crackpot who did not write in dispassionate, academic style, the attacks on him are attacks on academic freedom. CU has been under heavy criticism for its football program, and now this. It no doubt feels under siege, but it needs to defend itself as a university, an institution of higher learning. Why it hired Churchill and gave him tenure as an Indian affairs specialist when he apparently lied about being part Indian is now water over the dam. It can dump him later, but it should not give in while he is under attack by a lynch mob.

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