Ward L. Churchill in court Monday in Denver. He took a stack of books to the stand to back his research on American Indians.
A former professor who has accused the University of Colorado of firing him because of a controversial essay he wrote about the Sept. 11 attacks took the stand Monday in his lawsuit against the university and offered a defense of those remarks.
Carrying a stack of books to the witness box, his long hair pulled back in a ponytail, the former professor, Ward L. Churchill, told a packed courtroom about the essay, in which he described office workers killed in the World Trade Center attacks as “little Eichmanns.”
Eichmann was a mass murder who participated in genocide. To call a financier or an office clerk an Eichmann is ridiculous, aside from being incredibly insensitive, stupid and cruel -- as well as inaccurate.
Mr. Churchill said that he was not in favor of terrorism in any organized form and that he understood his comments could be hurtful to the families of those who died on Sept. 11. But he testified that they were meant as a call for the United States to take more responsibility for how it treated others around the world.
A rather twisted way of making a point, however valid.
“If you make a practice of killing other people’s babies for personal gain,” Mr. Churchill said, “they will eventually give you a taste of the same thing.”
Mr. Churchill was dismissed by the university in July 2007 on grounds that he had plagiarized and falsified parts of his research on the persecution of American Indians. But he has always claimed he was punished because of the essay.
Mr. Churchill said the basis for his theory was enshrined in Indian oral tradition, but lawyers for the University of Colorado said neither that tradition nor scholarly texts made any such claim.
“I had information I could have cited, but I didn’t expect it to be necessary because I thought it was common knowledge that the Army had deliberately infected Indians with smallpox on the Upper Missouri River,” Mr. Churchill testified. “It required no fabrication. The stories were already there.”
Huh? Could have, didn't expect, I thought? Putz.