Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert “Buzz” Patterson Rips Me in “War Crimes”

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Robert Patterson wrote a book with the stupid and frankly un-American title: War Crimes: The  Left’s Campaign to Destroy the Military and Lose the War on Terror. I thought war crimes were committed by military personnel or their civilian superiors not antiwar protestors. Maybe the author does not understand or even is cognizant of international humanitarian law and international war crimes literature. The title is just dumb and quite similar to the Age of McCarthyism in the 1950s. The title suggests that progressives are anti-American, antimilitary and seek the destruction of the U.S.  The author apparently believes that only gungho, prowar, super patriotic American nationalists who want to bomb first and think later are worthy of being allowed to live in this country. I imagine Buzz is quite content with the military’s policy of “don’t ask, don’ t tell,” that all gays and lesbians are to be kicked out for just being who they are. So much for their great heroism in defending American democracy. You just can’t go around crowing about how wonderful our military is and ignore this senseless discrimination against our American brothers and sisters who happen to be different from the majority.

On pp. 68-70 my incident with the Air Force Academy is mentioned and this guy starts calling me all these nasty names and hurling insults my way. Remember Buzz, you should be both an officer and a gentleman (woman). Avoid the trash-talking insults even if you claim the right to persecute Americans who disagree with its imperialistic, racist, violent, destructive hyperpower expansionism. The ever left-baiting Buzz charges that I called an Air Force Academy cadet a “babykiller.” Even though he quotes the email accurately, he then proceeds to utterly distort it as if he were a FOX News cable guy: I explicitly stated that I condemned “your baby-killing tactics of collateral damage.” I did NOT personalise the accusation of killing babies to an individual but to tactics. We kill so many innocents that we dismiss as collateral damage and military folks get so riled up when someone calls them on it. They are used to their parades, endless national holidays and solemn renditions of their anthems but speaking truth to power, they wreak mayhem and get away with it.

Baby-killing massacre at My Lai, South Vietnam

Buzz says I am “unworthy of [my] paycheck.” Hey I work hard; I teach six courses a year with about 180 students. I am very active in professional organisations and have a tonne of publications. You bet colonel I am worthy of my paycheck. Thanks!! You expect me to work for free? Also have you seen me teach? Are you in a position to evaluate me better than my students and peers? Give me a break colonel!

Buzz says I have “elitist enmity” and that my ignorance “of all things military is stunning.” I never made it above private in the Army Reserves so maybe your elitism should be directed at yourself not me. I do have enmity for the military-industrial complex and elite privilege that leads to 47 million or so without health insurance, an unemployment rate of 9.5% for starters and the lack of true democracy in this country. Yet Buzz I write for and advocate for those less privileged than yourself. I teach American history in a manner that emphasises the history of women, minorities, socialists, workers and union activists. So my enmity is not elitist, sir; it is against the elites that take us to war, take us to mass murder, take us to Abu Ghraib, take us to Falluja. I am against elite privileged rule. You got it all wrong Colonel Patterson. Just all wrong.

Yes I am not a professional soldier thank god. I am not a military historian. I am not a specialist on warfare with its barbaric rules of engagement, hah!!, tactics and strategy. Yes I plead ignorance. Yet I am a veteran Buzz in the same country’s military as you. I wore the same uniform with USA on it. Yet I won’t argue against your point except to say I know quite a bit about war. What it does. Why it’s fought. Why it is evil. Why it is so destructive and monstrous in deterring civilisation’s advance. I have taught about war for many years at three institutions of higher learning and would be willing to debate you publicly on war if you wish.

Buzz, why do so many officers have these nicknames? Oh well Lieutenant Colonel Robert Patterson even insults my university St Xavier University for not being as “elitist” as the Air Force Academy where Cadet Robert Kurpiel, my email partner hailed from. Hey, Buzz it is you who are the elitist. Also it is unprofessional to engage in ad hominem attacks against an institution, sir, that you have never visited and have no knowledge of.

Why is Buzz so mad at me? Well his crusade against me derives from my academic freedom case in which I was sanctioned for an email exchange with the Air Force cadet in 2002; so much for the protection much less advocacy of free speech in this country by our wonderful military. Buzz leaves out the fact that I was suspended and reprimanded for expressing my views to a total stranger not on my campus in response to an impersonal form letter e-mail solicitation not unlike spam. Buzz is rather selective in his coverage of the case. Hmmm. I wonder if he approves of censoring and silencing professors for passionately denouncing American foreign policy. If so I don’t want to live in your America but one based on toleration and respect for diversity of views! Yet Buzz does cite an article I wrote for History News Network HNN on “How I Define Patriotism” on page 252 in the 60th footnote. I am glad he consulted it and stand by every word of that article.

Colonel, it is kinda cool to be included in the same book with Michael Moore on the cover!! I am in very good company.

Finally Buzz: “Remember your humanity and forget the rest.” Einstein-Russell Peace Manifesto 1955

ps: Colonel why the (sic) after “honour.” I spelled it correctly in the October 2002 e-mail or do you only accept American-English in your campaign of patriotic correctness. Peace!!

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