Ward Churchill is a jackass
Look, the uproar over Ward Churchill is preposterous; Churchill is a nobody, and he is not representative of "the Left".
He is, however, a total ass. On Common Dreams Michael Faughnan, whose brother was killed in the World Trade Center attack, writes "An Open Letter to Ward Churchill" subtitled "My Brother, the 'Eichmann'":
At 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, you claim that my beautiful brother Chris, a "technocrat" in your words, received his "befitting penalty." While Chris rarely used a cell phone in his work (much less self-importantly brayed into one), he did make one call that fateful day. At about 8:30 that morning, Chris bantered back and forth with his 4-year-old daughter to get her to say that she loved him — she was the last of his family to talk with him.
Mr. Churchill, what I want you to see is the human face behind the rhetoric. Human beings are not symbols, and your essay's dehumanization of the victims of 9/11 reduces them to mere symbols — drones in a capitalist machine. In this way, you are guilty of what you claim to condemn, that is the dehumanization of individuals. It is the inability to see the human face of "the other" that allows the horrible violence in this world to continue.
Recently, our family has been discussing what would be a befitting, honorable tribute to his life. Ironically, your essay arrived with its own recognition of Chris's memory — as a faceless technocrat who deserved to die.
Now, this may just cause right-wingers' heads to explode, but Mr. Faughnan, while condemning Churchill, also condemns Churchill's enemies:
Behind the painful rhetoric you use, I sense a nobler goal, the desire to tell the American people that we must be aware of ourselves in the world, take responsibility and work to understand and change the wrongs that have been committed. If this is your greater message, my brother Chris would have agreed with you whole-heartedly. And if this is your message, please state it clearly, and abandon the dehumanizing rhetoric and the pathetic metaphors. If you cannot make your point this way, it is you who is "braying," playing the role of provocateur and not speaking from any coherent moral conviction.
Regrettably, you, like many of those who are zealously attacking you — political leaders, talk-show hosts, those who profess their views around the office water cooler — disgracefully use the victims of 9/11 to advance your own cause. In the view of this family, your grossly inappropriate characterization of Chris and the other 9/11 victims has been surpassed in vulgarity only by the misinformed advocates of aggression who used those beautiful innocents who perished on 9/11 as propaganda for immediate and misguided violence and destruction.