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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Column by Alexander Cockburn

From Alexander Cockburn

OK to call for Arundhati Roy to be blown up, but not Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Alexander Cockburn
February 1, 2005
When it comes to left and right, meaning the respective voices of sanity and dementia, we're meant to keep two sets of books.

Start with sanity, in the form of Ward Churchill, a tenured professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and, until a few minutes ago of this writing, chairman of the department of ethnic studies. Churchill is known nationally as an eloquent radical writer on Native American issues.
Back in 2001, after 9/11, Churchill wrote an essay called "Some Push Back," making the simple point, in his words, that "if U.S. foreign policy results in widespread death and destruction abroad, we cannot feign innocence when some of that destruction is returned."

That piece was developed into a book, "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens," most of which is a detailed chronology of U.S. military interventions since 1776 and U.S. violations of international law since World War II. Of his posture toward 9/11, Churchill says, "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 Ö without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government Ö '

"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 deaths."

The bottom line of Churchill's argument is that the best and perhaps only way to prevent 9-11-style attacks on the United States 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."

What's wrong with any of this? The late Susan Sontag said much the same sort of thing in the New Yorker shortly after 9/11, and though there was some huffing at the time, her sentiments seem to be commonsensical, as in these words: Full column


At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the fact he has fraudulently stated that he is enrolled in the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee? He is not UKB nor Cherokee and cannot prove he is even indian. The UKB Chief denounced him in a statement that said he has no connection whatsoever with the tribe.


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