"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's
a hell of a hoot. … It's fun to shoot some people."
This quote from Marine Lieutenant General James
Mattis provoked varying degrees of shock, dismay, disgust,
and anger. His commanding officer felt compelled to give him
counsel about the art of making public statements. Upon further
reflection however, it became clear that Mattis actually made
sense, albeit in a very twisted way.
What else would a decorated leatherneck say?
The purpose of the Marines, the purpose of every branch of the
United States military,
is to kill people. The military isn’t college, vocational school,
or a reformatory for wayward youth in need of discipline. The Marines,
the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force all exist to kill people
when called upon to do so by our government.
As awful as they were, General Mattis’ words
caused less of a stir than the words of one Ward Churchill. Until
was Chairman of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University
of Colorado. He no longer holds that position because his words
made some people very, very angry.
In an essay entitled, “Some
People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” Churchill
attempted to make Americans understand why people around the world
hate them and their government so much. Simply put, it is because
the United States is responsible for so many deaths around the
In his essay Churchill called victims of the
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon “little Eichmans,” a
reference to Adolf Eichman, architect of the Nazi machinery of
later clarified his
comments, saying that only the movers and shakers among the dead
were Nazi like. The professor’s words were insensitive, and more
provocative than they needed to be. Of course, in a nation that
exhorts us to love it or leave it, Churchill would have been the
villain of the week no matter how he phrased an opinion critical
of our government.
Churchill’s goose was cooked when the right wing propaganda and
phony outrage machine got wind of his remarks. Bill O’Reilly of
Fox News was particularly upset. He exhorted his viewer minions
and rail against Hamilton College, where Churchill was scheduled
to speak. Hamilton cancelled the event after some of the angry
white men summoned by O’Reilly and his ilk threatened violence.
Bill O’Reilly is an odd person to express outrage
over what he calls hate
speech. Here’s what he said on his show of March 31, 2004:
Churchill learned the hard way that using
provocative words may get attention, but if those words criticize
they are regarded in a worse light than the war crimes that kill
thousands of human beings around the world. O’Reilly very nearly
got his wish for a final solution in Fallujah. American troops
killed an estimated 6,000 people before destroying that city
and making it uninhabitable.
While unfortunate hyperbole brought about
violent language and very nearly violent deeds at one college,
students at a Christian
university engaged in a sickening homage to bloodlust. The College
Republicans at Jesuit-run Marquette University raised money for
an organization called “Adopt
a Sniper.” The aforementioned charity raises money to “Help
real snipers get the real gear they need to help keep us safe.” In
order to help get real gear for real snipers students sold bracelets
bearing these lovely words: “1Shot,
1 Kill, No Remorse I Decide.” Fine words at a school run
by the Society of Jesus.
Politicians of all stripes are outdoing themselves to get Churchill
fired from his job and run out of town on a rail. Like the College
Republicans at Marquette these same people argue in favor of
violence as long as the U.S. military is the only group doing
the killing. No remorse. I decide.
The corporate media who propagandize Americans with photos of
Iraqis voting in a rigged election will whip us into a frenzy
about a college professor whose name few of us knew. They refused
to tell us about torture in Guantanamo and the phony case for
occupying Iraq. Israel is on the verge of attacking Iran with
the permission of the United States, and we hear nothing about
the horror that act will bring to the world and to the American
people. Murderers are in charge at the Justice Department and
the State Department but college professors who are too eager
to be provocative must get the heave ho.
Churchill should change professions. He should write memos explaining
how to get away with torture and he should tell lies about the
threat of mushroom clouds. He could run United States foreign
policy and no matter how many people he killed, he would always