Tuesday, June 7, 2005

The Truth About Ward Churchill

The Rocky Mountain News has been hard at work ferreting out the truth about Ward Churchill, the radical University of Colorado professor who became the object of national scrutiny when a piece came to light which he'd written on 9/11. In the essay he claimed that those who died that day were "little Eichmanns" and, by implication, deserved their fate.

The RMN investigation has uncovered much unsavory information about Mr. Churchill which, among other shortcomings, reveals him to be an academic fraud and ethnic poseur:

University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill fabricated historical facts, published the work of others as his own and repeatedly made false claims about two federal Indian laws, a Rocky Mountain News investigation has found.

The two-month News investigation, carried out at the same time Churchill and his work are being carefully examined by the university, also unearthed fresh genealogical information that casts new doubts on the professor's long-held assertion that he is of American Indian ancestry.

The findings come as Churchill is, essentially, on trial - in the court of public opinion and in the halls of academia. Prickly debates swirl around him on the standards of academic integrity, the limits of free speech and the responsibilities of scholarly writers.

A faculty committee is working behind closed doors, conducting a detailed and time-consuming examination of four allegations - fabrication, plagiarism, mischaracterization of federal Indian laws and misrepresentation of his ancestry.

The stakes are high. For Churchill, it's a process that ultimately could cost him his job. For Colorado's flagship university, it's a process that could bear heavily on its integrity and reputation.

Read the details of the evidence against him at the link.

Liberal Heroes

Steve Hayward at No Left Turns makes a salient point about the Mark Felt revelations:

I shouldn't be amazed that with all the media chest-thumping about their heroism in the Watergate story, made possible by the brave Mark Felt, that no one has mentioned the irony that Charles Colson went to prison on the charge of leaking a single FBI file. Felt was leaking confidential information, and raw files, not once, but repeatedly over a period of months. No wonder Felt wanted to keep his secret all these years; indeed, one wonders whether he would have done so now if he still had his full mental faculties available to him (or if there were no statute of limitations.)

Whether someone's act is heroic or not depends as much upon why one acts as upon what one does. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason, even if the act requires much courage, is not morally commendable and is certainly not heroic. A man who saves another man's life only because the man who is saved owes his rescuer a large sum of money is not a hero. Saving the man's life is the right thing to do, but the man who does it can claim no virtue in his act. If Mark Felt did indeed help to bring down the Nixon administration only because he was angry at having been passed over for the directorship of the FBI then whatever he is, he's not a hero.

For the Libs, though, whether you're a hero or not seems often to depend only upon whom you're trying to hurt.

Transgressing Orthodoxy

Here's an article guaranteed to drive the politically correct into a frenzy. It raises the question of whether intelligence might be genetically based not just in individuals but in entire ethnic groups. If it is, the article suggests, might the history of the Jews allowed intelligence to be selected for to a greater extent than in the rest of us?

If social security is the third rail of politics this question is the third rail of academic careers. It takes enormous audacity to ask this question in the current socio-academic climate. Recall how Harvard's president Larry Summers was practically burned at the stake a few months ago for suggesting that the sexes differ in their intellectual aptitudes. Recall, too, how Charles Murray back in the late eighties was excoriated for pointing out that some racial groups fare more poorly on IQ tests than others and are probably cognitively less well-endowed.

Any hint that there may be a genetic component to intelligence that is a function of race or ethnicity is almost certain to bring down the wrath of a thousand furies upon the head of a hapless scholar. This is unfortunate because in a free society no intellectual question should be considered taboo, even if it may have unpleasant or unwanted consequences. Free people should not fear truth, nor should there be questions that one dare not ask, nor ideas one dare not discuss. Free men and women should not allow themselves to be shackled by the sociological orthodoxies of a dogmatic, closed-minded elite.

We'll watch with interest the trajectory of this story.

Flushing Them Out and Wearing Them Down

Here's an update on ongoing operations in Iraq. The bad guys continue to suffer grievous losses of men and resources. They also continue to see their leadership attrited:

The joint U.S.-Iraqi force operating in Latifiyah to the south of Baghdad was backed by American air power and said it had rounded up at least 108 Iraqis, mainly Sunnis, suspected of involvement in the brutal insurgent campaign to topple the Shiite-led government.

To the west of the capital, the 2nd Marine division said its forces had discovered 50 weapons and ammunitions caches over the past four days in restive Anbar province. The military said the find included a recently used "insurgent lair" in a massive underground bunker complex that included air-conditioned living quarters and high tech military equipment, including night vision goggles.

That bunker was found cut from a rock quarry in Karmah, 50 miles west of Baghdad. The Marines said the facility was 170 yards wide and 275 yards long.

In its rooms were "four fully furnished living spaces, a kitchen with fresh food, two shower facilities and a working air conditioner. Other rooms within the complex were filled with weapons and ammunition," the announcement said.

The weapons included "numerous types of machine guns, ordnance, including mortars, rockets and artillery rounds, black uniforms, ski masks, compasses, log books, night vision goggles, and fully charged cell phones."

In Latifiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, Iraqi and American forces launched a raid as part of Operation Lightning, a week-old assault aimed at rooting out insurgents conducting raids on the capital and sapping militant strength nationwide.

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr has said at least 700 suspected insurgents have been rounded up in the sweep, which has also killed at least 28 militants. U.S. Lt. Col. Michael Infanti said at least 221 people had been detained since last Wednesday by forces carrying out a sweep of Baghdad's southern districts. It was unclear if that number was in addition to the 700 given by Jabr.

An Iraqi believed to be a terror leader in the north was captured by U.S. and Iraqi forces in Mosul, 225 miles north of Baghdad. He was identified as Mullah Mahdi and was caught along with his brother, three other Iraqis and a non-Iraqi Arab, Iraqi army Maj. Gen. Khalil Ahmed al-Obeidi said.

Mahdi was affiliated with the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, one of Iraq's most feared terror groups, and had links to the Syrian intelligence service, al-Obeidi said without elaborating. Iraqi and U.S. officials have accused Syria of facilitating the insurgency by allowing foreign fighters to cross its borders, but Damascus denies the allegation.

Mahdi was wanted in connection with car bombs, assassinations "beheadings of Iraqi policemen and soldiers and for launching attacks against multinational forces," in Mosul, al-Obeidi said.

In addition, 19 suspected insurgents - including a Jordanian and a Syrian - were arrested in raids in Baghdad's western Abu Ghraib district, Iraqi Lt. Col. Abu Fahad Alkhasali said.

Time is running out for the insurgency which has in fact taken on the flavor of a foreign invasion as more and more of the terrorists apprehended and killed turn out to be non-Iraqis.