Reggie Rivers Column
The following column appeared in today's edition of the Denver Post.
Churchill Rant Has Some Truth
by Reggie Rivers
It's easy to attack University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill. He went too far in his essay "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens." He made overstatements, praised the Sept. 11 terrorists as noble heroes and labeled their victims as criminals who deserved what they got.
The essay is not a scholarly document. It's not subtle, reasonable or balanced. In fact, Churchill states in the addendum that it's more of a "stream-of-consciousness interpretive reaction to the Sept. 11 counterattack than a finished topic on the piece." I'd say that's a fair assessment.
I can only assume that in a true scholarly work, Churchill wouldn't describe former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as "a malignant toad" or "Jaba (sic) the Hutt." I assume that he wouldn't call President Bush the "Scoundrel-in-Chief," or refer to the FBI as "a carnival of clowns."
But while it's easy to attack Churchill's inflammatory words, it's harder to deny the core argument of his essay. It is a critique of U.S. policies around the globe, particularly the 12 years of sanctions in Iraq that former U.N. Assistant Secretary General Denis Halladay denounced as "a systematic program ... of deliberate genocide."
I have long been a vocal opponent of sanctions in Iraq, because everything I read on the subject revealed that it was regular citizens, not the leadership, who suffered under sanctions. Saddam Hussein easily circumvented the restrictions, made billions of dollars and built more palaces. It was regular Iraqis who died for lack of clean water, sewage-treatment facilities and basic medical supplies. full column