Social & Domestic Issues

A Tale of Two Churchills: Professor ‘Debates’ Prime Minister

Professor Ward Churchill should not be confused with Sir Winston Churchill for any reason, despite their accidental sharing of a surname. Both men, nevertheless, possess a certain star quality, the former personifying a fleeting, spectacular, so-called “shooting star”; the latter, a virtually permanent heavenly fixture, like the fiery orb that anchors our very solar system.

The University of Colorado’s Churchill in recent days has blazed across the American sky as the result of his incendiary words comparing the stockbrokers, lawyers and government employees who died in al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, plane-bombings of New York and Washington with Nazi Germany’s most heinous homicidal “technocrat,” Adolf Eichmann. While the outrage of the Right and Middle against the Left’s Prof. Churchill has been overwhelmingly well targeted and even deliciously deserved, most of his critics “ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Now we possess, thanks to the enterprise of the Boulder (Colorado) Weekly, a self-styled “alternative” (i.e., radical left-wing) giveaway newspaper, a compendium of other quotable quotations from the voluble alleged Indian brave, Prof. Churchill. In its February 10, 2005, edition, the publication delivered a question-and-answer transcript of reporter Pamela White’s unctuously respectful, freewheeling powwow with the accommodating professor at his non-teepee home in Boulder.

Having carefully and accurately extracted the following comments by Prof. Churchill, I have captioned each with a proper subject, then added an appropriate quotation from the books and speeches of his nominal British counterpart, Sir Winston Churchill–whose bold World War II leadership as prime minister of the United Kingdom produced Britain’s Finest Hour as it stood alone to save itself and salvage a fallen, failed Europe from the evil, endless night of real, not imaginary, Eichmanns:

ON JUDGING ONE’S ENEMIES:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “Well, it occurred to me at the time [of the terrorist attack] that somebody was finally kicking U.S. a** for the way the U.S. had been comporting itself. Rather than, ‘Why do they hate us?’ my initial response was, ‘How could they not?’ And as to who was doing it, the problem is how many contenders there are out there.”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

ON THE PRICE OF LEADERSHIP:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “It’s worth the price of somebody else’s children to compel their government to do what [former President] George Bush had issued as the marching order to the planet in 1991, which is: ‘The world has to understand that what we say goes.’ What we say goes–that’s freedom. Do what you’re told. And if you don’t, basically the way this works out is we’ll starve your children to death.”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometime we have to do what’s required. The price of greatness is responsibility.”

ON USING BIRDS AS SYMBOLS:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “All of those chickens came home to roost [on 9/11], because there had never really been a response in kind in all that entire grisly history. It was sort of manifested in the symbol of those twin towers at the foot of something called Wall Street. And Wall Street takes its name from the enclosure of the slave compound for the transatlantic slave trade. So now there’s a bunch of those ghosts, too. All the symbolism is confluent [at Ground Zero]†¦”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”

ON EVIL FANATICISM:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “I said specifically [in the essay, ‘Some People Push Back,’ written 9/11/01] the comparison to Eichmann devolved upon the technicians of empire†¦ [not] a child or a janitor pushing a broom†¦ I’m not a judge. I want the whole g*dd***ed process to stop, you know? That extends to these collateral damages†¦ I certainly don’t embrace that. I didn’t judge Eichmann. I didn’t impose the death penalty. You can adduce that if Eichmann is worthy of death, because of what he had done in arranging train schedules and such, then these other Eichmanns are worthy of death†¦ I even mourn the Eichmanns in a certain sense. I mourn the fact that they were dehumanized without even knowing it, active participants in their own dehumanization to the point where they lost their souls and their humanity altogether, that the calculus of profit outweighed the value of the lives of children who live in misery and died young as a result, and they considered it the way it ought to be. That is a sorrowful situation. And I’m trying to penetrate that veil and rearrange the consciousness so that there can be a different outcome.”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

ON BEING A MARTYR:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “And you might note that all of these death threats [I’ve received], and the forced cancellations of gigs and stuff, has been under threat of violence. And that’s terrorism. That’s precisely the framing of it. Now it’s at a lower level than 9/11, obviously, and I’m not complaining about it. I anticipated it, because I believe that anybody –anybody–who feels that their loved ones have been slaughtered in something approximating a military fashion, and that this is considered absolutely inconsequential, that they are demeaned and degraded and devalued to the point of being called something like ‘collateral damage’ on top of the death, are going to have a compulsion to respond in this fashion.”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.”

ON DEALING WITH ENEMIES:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “If you want to come to grips with terrorism you have first to understand it†¦ Try feeling. See what it feels like. Maybe then you can understand it.”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”

ON LISTENING TO ONE’S CRITICS:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “There are some 3,200 unopened e-mails in my queue right now. I opened some 900, but became overburdened†¦ As for the effectiveness of the tactic, if you’re going to swamp me with ‘f*** you’ e-mails, they’re not going to get read because I simply can’t read them†¦ But interspersed in there there’s about 130 that I’m aware of [that are death threats]. Most of them aren’t credible death threats. They’re people blowing their intellect out their a**, as usual.”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”

ON COMMUNICATING WITH DOGS AND SIMIANS:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “I was on MTV News? I can’t keep track of it. All I know is that I was on MSNBC with [Joe] Scarborough and with [Bill] O’Reilly[sic]. Paula Zahn did me a wonderful service. Pissed off people who flatly disagreed with me with her attack-dog routine. She’d ask a question. She’d refuse to allow me to answer it. She wasn’t doing an interview; she was doing theater†¦ It was so transparent that 80-year-old middle Americans were saying, ‘She’s a b***h. Let him talk, man.’ ”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”

ON THE REALITY OF WAR:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “The most obvious thing that I adduce is that you’re going to have [to] change the way you value [other people]. You’re going to have to stop denigrating, demeaning and devaluing them to the point of toilet paper. That would go further toward alleviating the potential for terrorist acts in the United States than any–any–number of tiger cages, torture techniques, investments in the security apparatus, training Delta Force clones and all the rest of that.”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”

ON REASONING WITH THE PEOPLE:

  • Prof. Ward Churchill: “I go for the gut. That’s my speaking strategy. I go for the gut to provoke a response. And interestingly, if it hadn’t been for the right-wingers making this a big issue, I would have failed spectacularly. But I can’t deal with miserable, starving children in some nice detached, objective way. To me that’s the essence of the Nazi zeitgeist — being able to do that to other people. I cannot do it. I will not do it, and f*** them if they think they’re going to force me to do it.”
  • Sir Winston Churchill: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning.”
* * *

Finally, as the moderator of this great “debate,” I would ask the audience members, as they prepared to leave the auditorium and go home to their children, to answer in their heart the following question:

“If you were looking for someone to share your trench to combat Osama bin Laden’s version of World War III, would it be Ward Churchill or Winston Churchill?”


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