|BLAME AMERICA FIRST:
College Campuses Respond to The War on Terror
Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT hates America. He hated America for waging the Vietnam War. He gave aid and comfort to our Communist North Vietnamese enemy by constantly accusing American politicians and generals of committing war crimes against the Vietnamese people. This linguistics professor wrote many books, articles and letters based on distorted or nonexistent evidence asserting the evil acts America did in Vietnam. Chomsky openly rejoiced when Saigon surrendered to the North Vietnamese Army in 1975. He completely ignored the sufferings of the Vietnamese boat people fleeing a cruel regime. Chomsky also condemned American foreign policy in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
Chomsky’s reaction to the atrocities of September 11, 2001 is in character. The same man who argued both the Kennedy and Reagan Administrations committed “international terrorism” 1 while waging the Cold War still blames America first when anything goes wrong. The 3,000 dead at the World Trade Center and Pentagon do not enter into his fanatical calculations. America can never be in the right according to his thinking. Chomsky condemned President George W. Bush’s War On Terror: “What the U.S. calls counter-terrorism is terrorism by another name. Operation Infinite Justice--the Bush Administration’s code name for proposed military action against terrorists--is ‘cowboy law.’ ” 2
Like Noam Chomsky, many American college faculty want to react to the War on Terror as a replay of the Vietnam War. Unfortunately for these Blame America Firsters, circumstances are different. This war threatens all 284 million Americans, not just soldiers in Southeast Asia 8,000 miles away. This war angers and unifies Americans; the Vietnam War depressed and divided them. Students overwhelmingly and enthusiastically support the War on Terror. During Vietnam, by contrast, students were divided. This war is not ambiguous; it is clear-cut. The War on Terror transforms even the liberal voters of New York City into gung ho war hawks.
So while many college professors agree more or less with Chomsky about the War on Terror, most of them are too cowardly and dishonest to express their real thoughts. Some come out of the closet and openly admit their hatred for America and President Bush. Only a few college faculty agree with 92% of their fellow Americans’ belief that the War on Terror is a just and absolutely necessary war. We explore in detail how American college professors react to the War on Terror. We also contrast how their students and ordinary Americans react to the challenge presented by September 11.
II) THE HATE-AMERICA PROFESSORS AND STUDENTS
Some college and university professors hate America so much they openly justify the September 11 terrorist attacks. These Blame America-Firsters do not even bother to conceal or compromise their hatred of their own country as do the moral equivocation and moral equivalence professors discussed below. These Hate America professors do not hide behind pedantic academic discourse. They openly celebrate America’s September 11 suffering and humiliation.
History Professor Richard Berthold of the University of New Mexico told his freshman class the afternoon of September 11, 2001 he enjoyed the Pentagon suffering a terrorist attack: “Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon gets my vote.” 3 He repeated the remark to a second class the same day. Berthold was terrified by the reaction to his foolish remark. The University of New Mexico administration and undergraduate students condemned his remark. Death threats were made against Berthold. He hurriedly apologized for “his insensitive remarks” and promised “to think before I speak in the future.” 4 Ironically, Berthold was renowned for resisting Politically Correct minority pressure groups on campus. Berthold’s desperate apologies indicate he is a frivolous character not to be taken seriously.
Five hundred miles from Professor Berthold, Journalism Professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas-Austin pronounced his verdict on September 11:
“My anger on this day is directed not only at individuals who engineered the September 11 tragedy but at those who have held power in the United States and have engineered attacks on civilians every bit as tragic. [The terrorist attack] was no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism… that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime.” 5
The moral equivalence professors at least hedge their loathing of the U.S. They do not accuse the American government of intentionally inflicting large-scale terror on innocent people. The moral equivalence brigades usually accuse the American government of being clumsy, confused, bigoted, and stupid, not intentionally evil. They call on Americans to sympathetically understand, not root for, our Radical Muslim enemies. Professor Jensen does not qualify his wholesale condemnation of our country’s government. He only concerns himself with condemning America’s rulers, not understanding them. Jensen then returns to teaching future reporters how to cover news events fairly and objectively.
Jensen seems objective about September 11 next to Professor Haunani-Kay Trask, Professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii. Trask, a descendant of Hawaii’s earliest Polynesian chiefs, fervently advocates Hawaii secede from the corrupt, militarist, imperialist United States. She wants Hawaii to become an independent republic again. Trask has represented the Hawaiian secessionists at the United Nations. She also is a radical feminist who sees masculine domination as the cause of war. 6 Trask sees September 11 as the revenge of the persecuted meek against the persecuting mighty:
“Chickens have come home to roost… What it means is that those who have suffered under the imperialism and militarism of the United States have come back to haunt in the 21st century that same government. The Third World has responded to the First World, and it is bitter and it is hateful. It’s crazy, that war out there… The United States is angry because somebody came back and blew up their World Trade Center. I would be angry, too. But what made them do that? It is the history of terrorism that the United States unleashes against native people all over the world… Everywhere, the United States has overthrown leftist government. Everywhere, the United States has overthrown native governments. Why should we support the United States, whose hands are soaked with blood?… The U.S. should stop policing the world…[and] stay home and take care of its own people.” 7
Professor Trask conveniently ignores evil empires run by people of color, such as the People’s Republic of China, and The Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Since the United States is the only empire blocking her pet project of Hawaiian independence, it bears sole blame for the suffering in the world. Trask actually sees September 11 as a beneficial event for oppressed humanity.
Like Professor Trask, Rutgers University’s Barbara Foley is a Professor of Literature. She is also a convinced Marxist and radical feminist. While a Radcliffe undergraduate and University of Chicago graduate student, Foley was a militant member of Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS. SDS led the anti-Vietnam War movement on American campuses and openly rooted for Communist North Vietnam’s victory over democratic South Vietnam. As an assistant professor at Northwestern University, Foley became famous for leading a mob preventing Nicaraguan Contra leader Adolfo Calero from giving a speech in 1986. Foley shouted down Calero “because he was a fascist, and fascists like him, whose words result in butchery, should have no right to speak!” Foley lost tenure at Northwestern for denying Calero free speech. 8 Rutgers University, however, overlooked this aberrant behavior, and granted her tenure in 1990. She soon became the most militant leftist at a very liberal university.
Foley’s Marxist anti-American outlook led her to cheer the events of September 11: “[We] should be aware that, whatever its proximate cause, its ultimate cause is the fascism of U.S. foreign policy over the past many decades.” 9
Observers shocked by that fanatical assertion failed to realize Foley has believed America is a fascist state for over thirty years. Foley openly jeers at the historic Western belief that universities exist to search for objective truth. In a 2000 interview she contended:
“Universities are not neutral sites for disinterested inquiry. They exist to provide the rulers with obedient workers possessing various important skills. Institutions of higher education operate as both skills factories and ideology factories for the capitalist class.” 10
Professor Foley further believes her chosen subject of literature exists not to teach us truth or beauty, but to enable revolutionary action by the proletariat. To her Marxist-radical feminist outlook, the al-Qaeda terrorists compel necessary change by ending innocent human lives.
But all Hate America First professors pale next to Professor Edward W. Said of Columbia University. Said is the foremost academic exponent of multiculturalism: that Western culture is no better, and may be even worse, than the cultures of Asia and Africa. Said is also the most famous professor supporting the Palestine Liberation Organization. He resigned from the PLO temporarily because he thought Yasser Arafat betrayed Palestine’s cause by signing the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords. Said appeared in a July 2000 news photo (he was then 65) joining his fellow Palestinians in throwing rocks from Lebanon at Israeli troops. The point of the rock throwing was to protest Israel’s occupation of the Jordan River’s West Bank. Said is certainly the oldest and the richest of these Palestinian rock throwers. 11 His endowed Columbia professorship pays him at least $150,000 a year. The New York Times, The Nation, and many liberal think tanks pay him lucratively to write and lecture on Palestinian terrorism. He justifies it because in his view, the United States and the West oppress and humiliate Arabs, Asians, and Africans.
September 11 compelled Said to tone down his usual ardent anti-Americanism. Said piously claims he found the World Trade Center attack “ a shocking and terrifying event… it was an implacable desire to do harm to innocent people.” 12 But when asked how America should respond, Said reverts to his old self, replying:
“The just response to this terrible event should be to go immediately to the world community, the United Nations. The rule of international law should be marshaled, but it’s probably too late because the United States has never done that; it’s always gone it alone. To say we’re going to end countries or eradicate terrorism, and that it’s a long war over many years, with many different instruments, suggests a much more drawn out-conflict for which, I think, most Americans aren’t prepared.” 13
Said, a native Palestinian émigré who is only familiar with America’s liberal Northeast Corridor, underestimates America’s willingness to wage the War on Terror. He also grossly overestimates American affection and respect for the United Nations. Instead of waging a war to defeat America’s terrorist enemies, Said desires, like a good American liberal, to attack “ the root causes of terrorism.” When asked by an interviewer what those root causes are, Said responds with the standard PLO party line on America’s bullying role in the Middle East:
“They come out of a long dialectic of U.S. involvement in the affairs of the Islamic world, the oil-producing world, the Arab world, the Middle East—those areas that are considered essential to U.S. interests and security. And in this relentlessly unfolding series of interactions, the U.S. has played a distinctive role, which most Americans have been either shielded from or simply unaware of… the official United States, the United States of armies and interventions. The United States that in 1953 overthrew the nationalist government of Mossadegh in Iran and brought back the Shah. The United States that has been involved first in the Gulf War and then in the tremendously damaging sanctions against Iraqi civilians. The United States that is the supporter of Israel against the Palestinians."
If you live in the area, you see these things as part of a continuing drive for dominance, and with it a kind of obduracy, a stubborn opposition to the wishes and desires and aspirations of the people there. Most Arabs and Muslims feel that the United States hasn’t really been paying much attention to their desires. They think it has been pursuing its policies for its own sake and not according to many of the principles that it claims are its own—democracy, self-determination, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, international law. It is very hard to justify, for example, the thirty-four year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It’s very hard to justify 140 Israeli settlements and roughly 400,000 settlers. These actions were taken with the support and financing of the United States.” 14
Said’s long tirade about American involvement in the Middle East repeats the usual Arab lies and distortions. He claims the United States always acts unilaterally without allies in the region. To the contrary, America’s pursuit of its interests is usually hamstrung by its unwillingness to offend either Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Said claims the U.S. imposed the Shah’s return upon unwilling Iranians back in 1953. The opposite was the case. Prime Minister Mossadegh made himself unpopular with his own people in 1953, thus facilitating the Shah’s return. Said also ignores how American officials oppose Israeli settlements on the West Bank but are disregarded by Israeli officials. Worst of all, Said implies Americans, not his fellow Arabs, are to blame for Arab failure to construct workable governments and societies.
Said then goes on to make outrageous statements. He draws a dubious distinction between the unjustified terrorism of al-Qaeda against Americans and the justified terrorism of PLO suicide bombers against Israelis:
“Take the word ‘terrorism.’ It has become synonymous now with anti-Americanism, which, in turn, has become synonymous with being critical of the United States, which, in turn, has become synonymous with being unpatriotic. That’s an unacceptable series of equations. The definition of terrorism has to be more precise, so that we are able to discriminate between, for example, what it is that the Palestinians are doing to fight the Israeli military occupation and terrorism of the sort that resulted in the World Trade Center bombing.” 15
After arguing belt-bombing Palestinian suicide bombers are justified and al-Qaeda jetliner suicide bombers are not, Said says George W. Bush’s pursuit of Osama bin Laden resembles Captain Ahab’s doomed pursuit of the whale Moby Dick. Said asserts a crusade against state-supported terrorism will bring the world crashing down around us. We must proceed “according to international norms” under United Nations guidance to punish bin Laden as an ordinary criminal, not a terrorist mastermind. Said is consistent in his hatred for Western civilization; Israel is the only Middle East state he wants punished. Said hates the United States for propping up the Jewish state that “stole” his fellow Palestinians’ land.
Luckily for us all, few students chose to emulate Said’s anti-American stance. Only 146 out of 4,000 total campuses16 held rallies protesting the U.S. military response to September 11. Only a few traditionally leftist campuses offered sixties-style Hate America festivals. Hampshire College of Amherst, Massachusetts, renowned as a radical hotbed, took a vote among its faculty and students on whether to participate in the “War on Terrorism.” The Hampshire community voted 693-121 with 11 abstentions to condemn the war.
Hampshire’s neighbor next door neighbor, Amherst College, conducted a small (100 people) but noisy October 22 demonstration against the War on Terror. Protesters from nearby campuses were invited. Several Hampshire faculty and students burned two American flags and stomped on a third. 17 The participants condemned America as a repressive force:
“The United States of America is built upon a history of violence and repression. This began with the genocide of Native Americans who inhabited this land before the arrival of European colonizers and it continued as Black people were brought here as slaves to provide the labor necessary for the country’s development… The construction and maintenance of America depends on the marginalization and exploitation of those excluded.” 18 The Presidents of Hampshire and Amherst expressed only weak reservations about the flag burning, then went back to worrying about raising funds. 19
Other leftist campuses experienced small class walkout protests. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in October:
“Students at several colleges walked out on classes and held protests Monday in response to U.S. military actions in Afghanistan. The rallies-at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, the University of California at Berkeley, and Wesleyan University-attracted hundreds of students although many students did not attend or held counter-protests backing the government’s response to last month’s terrorist attacks.” 20
As the above passage indicates, these anti-war rallies were small compared to the Vietnam War demonstrations of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Most students understood that this war directly affected America and students supporting the war also protested the protesters. Strong patriotic sentiment among students persuaded many anti-American professors to lie low and await more favorable developments for their Blame America First outlook.
III) THE MORAL EQUIVOCATION AND MORAL EQUIVALENCE PROFESSORS
Many American college professors, unlike Chomsky, lack the courage of their anti-American convictions. They recognize Chomsky’s stance of Blaming America First was being condemned even by the news media, not just the amazingly warlike students. During the Vietnam War, the news media stayed firmly in the anti-American Left’s corner from 1967 on. So most professors decided the “moral equivocation” and “moral equivalence" postures were the best positions to occupy during the War on Terror. These postures pronounce respectively 1) the world was a gray jumble where no clear-cut solution to evil was ever possible; or 2) America was as indirectly guilty of terrorism as its enemies.
These moral equivocation and moral equivalence stances allow professors to be flexible and jockey for the most advantageous position regardless of how the War on Terror turns out. The moral equivocation and moral equivalence approaches to terrorism also allow professors to genuflect to multiculturalism. Multiculturalism, the dominant ideology of our time, proclaims all cultures are equally valid. Multiculturalism argues Shakespeare is no better than comic books and Bach is no better than rap music. Just because our Western culture forbids cannibalism and terrorism does not make it any better than Third World cultures approving of those barbaric practices. Multiculturalism demands we all embrace moral equivocation and moral equivalence. In practice multiculturalism amounts to moral relativism. The beauty of multiculturalism for its followers is that none of them are ever held responsible for their actions. 21
A few professors taking the multiculturalism moral equivocation position were former high-ranking Clinton Administration foreign policy officials. Not willing to accept individual responsibility for the September 11 events, these Clinton officials chose instead to blame their own country for provoking the wrath of suicide bombers.
Strobe Talbott, Director of Yale’s Center for the Study of Globalization, served as Bill Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State, the Number Two position at the State Department. Talbott has been a close friend and foreign policy adviser to Clinton since the two were Rhodes Scholars and Vietnam antiwar activists together in 1968. Like Clinton, Talbott never took terrorism seriously and ignored al-Qaeda’s escalating attacks during the 1992-2000 period. Two Clinton foreign policy officials who ranked below Talbott, former Defense official Jamie Gorelick and former National Security Council staffer Nancy Soderbergh, both publicly admit some culpability for the 3000 September 11 dead. But Strobe Talbott pretends he is only academically involved in the events of September 11. At a Yale teach in, Talbott bent over backwards to sympathetically understand al-Qaeda’s mass murderers: “It is from the desperate, angry, and bereaved that these suicide pilots came.”22
Twenty miles away from the Yale campus, Talbott’s former subordinate at the Clinton State Department, Douglas Bennet, serves as President of Wesleyan University. Bennet also bears some responsibility for September 11. A notorious foreign policy “dove,” he served as an Assistant Secretary of State in both the Carter and Clinton Administrations. Bennet was also Administrator of the Agency for International Development during the latter part of the Clinton Administration. All three of his posts affected American foreign policy toward countries sponsoring terrorism. Between those State Department stints, Bennet served for ten years as President of National Public Radio, an organization always eager to attack America and make excuses for Third World terrorists. Bennet has made a lucrative career out of making excuses for the Third World’s brutality and economic mistakes. He argued that Americans must follow this constant policy toward the Third World: 1) send much foreign aid; 2) be patient; 3) don’t be judgmental; and 4) most of all, avoid the use of force.
Bennet’s response to September 11 matches Strobe Talbott’s moral equivocation toward al-Qaeda. Instead of demanding punishment for the murder of over 3000 people, Bennet, like his former boss Talbott, offers therapeutic thoughts to the Wesleyan University community:
“… Disparities and injustices are there; all the more intolerable because they are embedded in some of the most fundamental aspects of our society and the world we live in. Addressing these disparities and injustices will not be possible if the world community continues to block its own progress and destroy its people in conflicts generated by prejudice and hatred. In this time of crisis, we have an unusual opportunity to see past stereotypes, identify and diminish our own prejudices, and experience a complex world through the sensitivities of others.” 23
Bennet never thought to understand the sensitivities of the 3000 September 11 victims and their grieving families and friends. All he wanted to do was equivocate, like a National Public Radio announcer, about this “complex world” we live in. What Bennet sees as “stereotypes” and “prejudices” are perfectly justified emotions of anger at the al-Qaeda terrorists. When criticized for his moral equivocation remarks, Bennet whined his words were misquoted and taken out of context. Bennet is indignant that people actually take his words seriously.
Bad as Talbott and Bennet behave, they are flag-waving patriots next to the moral equivalence professors. Talbott’s Yale colleague, historian Paul Kennedy, has become rich predicting America’s decline. He has penned two best-selling books while holding a lucrative Yale professorship. Kennedy charges $10,000 for his many lecture appearances here and overseas. America made this working class Englishman famous and a multimillionaire.
Yet Kennedy expresses no gratitude to his adopted country after September 11. Instead, he implied Americans were no better than the al-Qaeda terrorists at the same Yale teach-in where Strobe Talbott morally equivocated: “How do we appear to them [the al-Qaeda terrorists], and what would it be like were our places in the world reversed?” “Suppose that there existed today a powerful, unified Arab-Muslim state that stretched from Algeria to Turkey and Arabia. In those conditions, would not Americans steadily grow to loathe that colossus?” 24 If we see ourselves as al-Qaeda sees us, Kennedy implies, we will understand we are not justified in waging an anti-terrorist war.
Kevin Lourie of Brown University echoed Kennedy’s views about the American colossus. Lourie, a medical anthropologist who actually does fine work researching HIV prevention for young mothers, believes the U.S. is paying a debt for its past crimes of dominance and exploitation. Punishing the al-Qaeda terrorists cannot bring peace:
"[T]his war can end only to the extent that we relinquish our role as world leader, overhaul our lifestyle and achieve political neutrality… Perhaps our best options now are to search for the origins of this new war, draw strength from understanding our own weaknesses, and make changes within ourselves and within our relationships to others. Many wonder if we are paying an accumulated debt for centuries of dominance and intervention far from home, retribution for our culture of consumption and exploitation… We must re-examine our place in the world, and begin to imagine a world without superpowers.” 25 Lourie’s thoughts echo George McGovern’s 1972 Presidential campaign slogan, “Come Home, America” and Secretary General Kofi Annan’s desire to make the United Nations ruler of the world.
Lourie’s Brown colleague, Professor of English William Keach draws an even starker moral equivalence argument: “What happened on September 11 was terrorism, but what happened during the Gulf War was also terrorism.” 26 Keach specializes in studying the English Romantic poets Coleridge, Byron, and Shelley. Like his favorite poets, Keach holds utterly irresponsible political views. He does not think clearly about foreign policy as one can tell from his absurd analogy between the Gulf War, conducted according to the accepted Laws of War, and the September 11 terrorist attacks violating every Geneva Convention treaty governing armed conflict. 27
While Paul Kennedy, Kevin Lourie, and William Keach ask American students to understand why their country is loathsome, anthropologist Hugh Gusterson of MIT tells students self-loathing must precede all else: “Imagine the real suffering and grief of people in other countries. The best way to begin a war on terrorism might be to look in the mirror.” 28 Gusterson, who writes sympathetic monographs about anti-nuclear activists, became indignant when his comment was attacked. He accuses an essay criticizing his comment of being “a little too reminiscent of McCarthyism.” 29
Gusterson’s neighbor in Cambridge, Professor Cornel West of Harvard’s Afro-American Studies Department, vents an even more confused sentiment on September 11. West proclaims, “America has been ‘niggerized’ by the terrorist attacks.” 30 West did not explain what this comment means to Harvard undergraduates. He allows them to spin their own interpretation of his words.
Historian Eric Foner of Columbia University made comments on September 11 less racially offensive but more politically offensive than Cornel West’s. Like Hugh Gusterson of MIT, Foner enjoys accusing opponents of McCarthyism. Unlike Gusterson, Foner is much more serious about hating anti-Communists. Both Foner’s father and uncles were Communist Party members who slavishly served Stalin. Eric Foner did not just oppose the Vietnam War in the past. He also constantly justifies his relatives’ anti-American conduct. Foner even defends the crimes of the Rosenbergs and Angela Davis. 31 Although some of his Civil War histories are quality books 32, Foner abandons fairness when the subject concerns his own times. So it is no surprise to read Foner’s denunciation of President Bush’s speech to Congress on the War on Terror: “I’m not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House.” 33 Foner then returns to attacking American capitalism while occupying a six-figure professorship at Columbia University and summering yearly at Martha’s Vineyard.34
Fifty miles south of Columbia at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, professors uttered similar comments about “Bush’s War.” Frederick Hitz, Inspector General for the first Bush Administration’s CIA, takes a moral equivocation line: “We need to think about what could have produced the frustrations that caused these crimes. To have that kind of hatred is a phenomenon we will have to try to understand.” 35 Richard Falk, a frequent liberal critic of the Reagan-Bush CIA during the 1980’s and 1990’s, echoes his Republican colleague Hitz: “Democracies, because they have a sense of self-pride and moral consciousness, can often act without restraint and be destructive of the values they are trying to promote. The thinking is to find the perpetrators and engage in a military response and feel that that solves something. But there needs to be an understanding of why this kind of suicidal violence could be undertaken against our country.” 36 Both Republican Hitz and Democrat Falk seem amazed America has enemies willing to practice terrorism. They emphasize “understanding” our al-Qaeda enemies, not punishing them.
Hitz’s and Falk’s academic superior, Woodrow Wilson School Dean Michael Rothschild, did not even bother with understanding al-Qaeda. Rothschild did not think America was entitled to defend itself. Instead, he requests Princeton students understand America’s past moral crimes: “There is a terrible and understandable desire to find and punish whoever was responsible for this. But as we think about it, it’s very important for Americans to think about our own history, what we did in World War II to Japanese citizens by interning them.” 37 Rothschild fails to observe of the World War II Japanese internees that while many regrettably lost valuable property and years of freedom, none of them lost their lives.
Rothschild’s guilt over the interning of Japanese-Americans sixty years ago is outdone by Duke Literature Professor Fredric Jameson’s spiteful rage. Jameson is a Marxist and gay liberationist darling of the multiculturalists. He holds one of the highest paid professorships in academe while claiming to abhor money. Jameson delights in denouncing Western civilization as cold-blooded capitalism exploiting the weak. He writes there is no absolute truth in life or literature, just our immediate prejudices and preferences. Jameson’s immediate prejudices and preferences leads him to vilify Americans waving flags while waging war on terrorism:
“Obviously there are immediate comments one can make, in particular on the nauseating media reception, whose cheap pathos seemed unconsciously dictated by a White House intent on smothering the situation in sentiment in order to demonstrate the undemonstrable: namely that ‘Americans are united as never before since Pearl Harbor.’ I suppose this means that they are united by the fear of saying anything that contradicts this completely spurious media consensus.”38
Translated into plain English, Jameson’s prose asserts America’s post-September 11, 2001 patriotism is a dangerous fraud abetted by a sympathetic news media. He, for one, will not wave the Stars and Stripes and love his country. But he will refrain from rooting for the al-Qaeda terrorists. Jameson thinks we should loathe America for being capitalist, racist, homophobic, and imperialist while continuing to pay his annual $180,000 salary at Duke. 39
Jameson’s moral eqivalence tirade is surpassed by Stanford University History Professor Ahmad Dallal’s fiery rhetoric. Unlike Jameson, Dallal loves his country. Unfortunately, Dallal’s native land is the Lebanon dominated by the Muslim terrorist groups HAMAS, Hezbollah, and Amal. Dallal, a Muslim, blames September 11 partly on “the disastrous effects of an American foreign policy that has supported many twisted dictatorships in the Muslim world and helped thwart democratic reforms.” 40
Dallal, unlike Jameson, is at least willing to condemn al-Qaeda’s September 11 terrorism. But he is equally eager to condemn America for feeding the terrorists’ rage by favoring Israel and bombing Iraq and Afghanistan:
“While the September 11 acts were criminal, the grievances that fed and inspired them were real, and no counter-terrorism policy can succeed without addressing them. The list of grievances is long, but it invariably boils down to the obscene indifference to the loss of human lives that do not appear on American television screens; indifference to the loss of Palestinian lives from among a brutalized population reduced to dismal existence by an ever more atrocious occupation; indifference to the loss of lives of a half million Iraqi children as a result of a cruel sanctions regime that has failed to achieve its declared objective of dislodging the brutal tyrant securely seated on his throne; and indifference to the impending loss of lives in what threatens, in the words of Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, to be 'the world’s worst humanitarian disaster,' a disaster now unfolding over the ravaged hills of Afghanistan.”41
Stanford parents pay over $30,000 a year for their children to endure Professor Dallal’s blaming America for the Middle East’s disasters. Will Dallal ever realize his fellow Muslim Arabs are to blame for their own region’s failures?
IV) PATRIOTIC PROFESSORS
While many college professors on American campuses blame their own country for September 11, a few faculty members stood up and openly supported the United States' War on Terror. A few of these patriotic professors are even former supporters of former President Bill Clinton.
Sean Wilentz and Robert P. George are two Princeton professors who usually oppose the other’s politics. Wilentz supports abortion rights and gay rights. Robert George does not. Wilentz bitterly opposed Bill Clinton’s House impeachment and Senate trial. He rounded up 400 historians to condemn the proceedings in a New York Times ad. 42 George strongly supported the impeachment and trial in an op-ed. 43 Wilentz furiously denounced the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush vs. Gore 2000. 44 George supported the result of the decision while disagreeing with much of the Court majority’s reasoning. After September 11, however, both men agreed the War on Terror must be fought. Both Wilentz and George repudiated the foolish statements made by their Princeton colleagues about the al-Qaeda terrorists.
Wilentz said about September 11: “This is the kind of event that unites Americans across generations. All our divisions are put aside. I think we all have a common horror at what occurred.” 45 Nine months earlier Wilentz denounced George W. Bush as a fraudulently elected President. But now he joins his fellow editors at The New Republic in fully supporting the Bush Administration’s War on Terror.
George announced his support for the War on Terror in a February New York Times and Washington Post ad, “ What We’re Fighting For." The ad carefully explains why the War on Terror is necessary and then proclaims:
“with one voice we say solemnly that it is crucial for our nation and its allies to win this war. We fight to defend ourselves, but we also fight to defend those universal principles of human rights and human dignity that are the best hope for humankind.” 46This ad is signed mostly by neoconservative academics and intellectuals like James Q. Wilson of UCLA, Harvey Mansfield Jr. and Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard but also included a few liberals and leftists: former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of Syracuse, Michael Walzer of the Institute of Advanced Study, Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago, Glenn Loury of Boston University, and even Clinton allies Robert Putnam and Theda Skocpol of Harvard and William Galston of the University of Maryland.
Two groups representing the few conservative professors, the National Association of Scholars, (NAS), and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, (ACTA), also announced their public support for The War on Terror. Like the “Why We’re Fighting” ad signers, the NAS and ACTA proclaim the obvious: the War on Terror is a necessary and just war of self-defense against barbaric organized terrorism. The NAS and ACTA statements mildly criticize anti-American professors for refusing to defend their own country and culture from terrorist attack. While still defending First Amendment freedoms, the NAS and ACTA ask colleges to give the pro-American position a hearing.. 47
Donald Kagan of Yale is active in both NAS and ACTA. Kagan, a great ancient historian and former Dean of Arts and Sciences at Yale, denounced the Yale teach-in discussed above in Section II. Kagan wondered aloud why no spokesmen who supported military action were included in the Blame America First teach-in. Kagan’s scholarly and teaching accomplishments were superior to his colleagues Strobe Talbott and Paul Kennedy, yet he was allowed only to attend, not speak at, the Yale teach-in. 48
Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, a diplomatic historian at San Diego State, echoes Kagan’s plea that professors respect their own country:
“As teachers, we urge youth to learn from the country’s errors, but offer few lessons from what it has done right. How are they supposed to build the future with only the blunt instrument of disillusionment? …The tragedy in New York and at the Pentagon rekindled respect for our country. Academics who ignore this risk becoming as irrelevant as yesterday’s Sovietologists… America is more than the sum of its problems. Some of the nation’s intellectuals may have been lacking this perspective on September 11, but it’s a precious piece of wisdom we can take away from ground zero.” 49
A few brave professors agree with Hoffman that America is more than the sum of its problems. Gary Hull of Duke, Stephen G. Simpson of Penn State, and Charles Fairbanks of Johns Hopkins were harassed by their own university administrations for advocating vigorous military action against the al-Qaeda terrorists. Hull wrote an op-ed on his personal web page explaining how military force was necessary to destroy the al-Qaeda threat. Hull’s superiors at Duke shut down his website. After the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and other defenders of free speech protested, Duke reinstated the website while explicitly disavowing Hull’s article on terrorism: “The posting of these opinions does not reflect the endorsement of the Department of Sociology and Markets & Management Studies Program at Duke University.” 50 Duke University has never before required such a disclaimer for any of its professors’ opinions.
Stephen Simpson was harassed by Penn State bureaucrats for urging a military response to al-Qaeda. The Penn State Vice Provost informed Simpson his pro-war website was “insensitive and perhaps even intimidating.” Penn State’s politically correct regulations mandate “intimidating” expression is grounds for dismissal. After outside protest by FIRE and others, Penn State’s President Graham Spanier capitulated by repudiating his Vice Provost’s action against Simpson. 51
Charles Fairbanks of Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) experienced more persecution than Hull and Simpson. He was actually fired by his Dean for advocating aggressive military action against states sponsoring terrorism and saying he would bet “a Koran” that his analysis was correct. Fairbanks, a former high-ranking official in the Reagan State Department, was re-instated by the Dean after FIRE and other groups protested this violation of free speech. 52
These patriotic professors who stand up for their country’s right to defend itself deserve our lasting respect and gratitude. There is little or no incentive for an American college professor to cherish his country in public. But the disapproval and harassment they undergo on the campuses indicates the Blame America First spirit is alive and well on campuses, though less overt than during the Vietnam War.
PATRIOTIC STUDENTS CONFRONT BLAME AMERICA FIRST PROFESSORS
Blame America First professors were shocked and embarrassed by student reaction to September 11. Instead of shouting “Hell no, we won’t go!” or blaming America for its own troubles, college students rallied to President Bush’s declaration of the War on Terror almost as strongly as the general population.
Although some traditionally leftist campuses such as Hampshire College, Amherst College, and the University of California at Berkeley responded with Blame America First student demonstrations, most undergraduates overwhelmingly favor military action against al-Qaeda. 71% of college students did more than express an opinion on the war; they actively volunteered to help in some way after the September 11 attack by donating blood, money, or time to relief efforts. 53
For the first time in four decades, it became fashionable for college students to rally round the flag. Stars and Stripes were displayed on dorm windows, cars, lapel pins, and knapsacks. Authorities at Saint Louis University and the College of the Holy Cross trying to prevent the display of flags found themselves under heavy verbal attack. In both cases, the university bureaucrats swiftly relented. 54
Along with volunteering and displaying American flags, the students offer their support for the War on Terror. An ABC News poll conducted October 8-9 reported that 79% of American College students supported American-led air strikes against Afghanistan, as compared to 92% of the general population. A CNN poll conducted October 19-20 found 68% of college students favor the use of ground troops in the War on Terror, compared to 80% of the general population. A Harvard Institute of Politics poll conducted October 17-25 found 71% of male undergraduates will serve if military conscription is reinstated, while 26% will seek other options. 55 College professors are stunned and amazed by the students’ patriotism. Most professors either keep quiet or morally equivocate when facing the students’ stubborn support of America after September 11.
“A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM:”56 RESPONSIBLE STUDENTS, IRRESPONSIBLE PROFESSORS
For all their adult lives American college professors championed the youth culture. Now old hippie professors behold youth honoring traditional authority and self-sacrifice. Firefighters, paramedics, Special Forces soldiers, fighter pilots, even that old warmonger, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, are in; bearded professors, longhaired campus radicals, and flag-burners are out. Opponents of the Vietnam War find themselves derided as old hat, even treasonous, by the kids. What happened?
Despite three decades of indoctrination in Blaming America First and multiculturalism, current American college students are responding like their grandparents, not their parents, to the September 11 attacks. “Let’s roll” replaces “Tune in, turn on, and drop out” as the admired slogan. American college students ignore and reject the America-hating view of their liberal professors. Instead, they practice old-fashioned patriotism, defined by George Santayana, a great philosopher and professor, as “piety for the sources of one’s being.” Today’s college students want to love their country even more than their professors want to hate it.