OrgName: United States Naval Academy
Address: 290 Buchanan Road
I get tonnes of visitors from the military and several from the academies. Thank you. I also visit your websites and maybe we can learn from each other. The visitor accessed the recently published e-mail between Cadet Kurpiel, Air Force Academy, and myself on November 2, 2002 which I am linking again. This followed THE e-mail I sent him as a response on October 31, 2002. I hope the visitor was a midshipperson at Annapolis and is studying my case. It is a disgrace when a professor is illegally suspended in explicit violation of AAUP guidelines for daring to defy conventional or even polite speech in denouncing war.
Universities are not businesses and PR firms. They are not mere corporate entities that yield to the slightest external pressure. They must stand on principle even when that conflicts with external pressures to defy it. No, they, and in particular their presidents, must be steadfast. They must stand on principle and defend academic freedom and not cynically invoke the term, which was done with a cruel and viciously distorted irony in my case, as they sully and demean the very concept.
Universities must defend academic freedom; they must not pander to aggressive nationalism and e-mail mobs that seek to drive and censor left-wing, sensitive and committed pacifists into exile. NO! NEVER. WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED AND WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY POWERFUL ELITES. It is too important for us to remain free and critics of the American imperium.
University administrators who were involved in my case did not rise to the level of excellence that their positions demanded. They never apologised and admitted error in their conduct of this event and in their treatment of me. I conceded and admitted my shortcomings in letters, e-mail and website mea culpas. I admitted I lost my temper. I admitted I was too personal. Justice and honour would have been served if those with the authority exhibited a similar humility and admitted inappropriate and egregious violation of minimal standards of fairness and commitment to open inquiry at a university.
I would NOT and will NOT retract one word of that e-mail that dealt with my critique of war and the “aggressive baby-killing tactics of collateral damage. ” The e-mail was not intended as a monograph, as a careful exposition of my views but as denunciation of war and its tactics. I never, even under national pressure, disavowed and won’t those sentences and paragraphs, of the e-mail of October 31, 2002, that critiqued American foreign policy!
My case is an example, there are others, of the attenuation of civil liberties and academic freedom in time of war. I thank God, or a Supreme Being, or any deity that is immanent, that it happened. It has galvanised my career and given my life mission and purpose.