Professor Kirstein to Present Paper at Renown International Military Conference: Inter University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society

Peace is better than War. War needs to be challenged as guarantor of peace.

The Inter University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, a leading organization of “defence intellectuals,” strategic planners, military scholars, academicians who teach withing the military educational complex (and of course elsewhere) and foreign experts on military matters has accepted a paper proposal for their biennial conference in October at the Palmer House in Chicago. I must admit this was somewhat unexpected given the elite, pro-military orientation of its members. I am not stereotyping but I usually don’t get invited to conferences with faculty from the United States Military Academy (West Point), Air University, National War College, Army War College, National Defense University, Naval Academy etc. and of course the Air Force Academy.

I will be posting more on this event. While not anticipating having my proposal accepted, I commend the programme organizers for accepting papers that may not comport with the ideological disposition of most of its members. The response of several of my colleagues when I informed them of this was: “Really? Are you serious? Congratulations! They must know who you are, right?”

I sent them this abstract of my paper in January, 2007 in an attachment to an e-mail. I was notified a few days ago of its acceptance.

“Academic Freedom as Casualty of War: Waging Counter-terrorism Against Legitimate Dissent.”

Peter N. Kirstein, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Department of History and Political Science
St Xavier University
3700 West 103rd Street
Chicago, Ill. 60655


The War on Terrorism, beginning after 11 September 2001, and the Iraq War are justified by American national-security elites as essential in preserving American democracy and freedom. “Radical Islam” is portrayed as “evil” and a mortal threat to the liberal democracies of the “civilized world.” Not since McCarthyism, however, has the United States witnessed such a comprehensive assault on dissent and critical thinking within the academy. Academic freedom, an essential component in the advancement of knowledge and the challenging of unbridled state power and militarism, has been eviscerated on many college and university campuses.

Professors have been forced into early retirement (Berthold), suspended (Kirstein), intimidated by members of Congress (De Genova), incarcerated (Al-Arian) and possibly fired (Churchill) for antiwar activities. Professors from abroad have been denied visas due to political beliefs or even ethnic association that may not satisfy the conformist demands of the Department of Homeland Security (Ari; Ramadan). Professors have been blacklisted and vilified as anti-American and sympathetic to terrorism by major conservative figures such as David Horowitz, Laura Ingraham and Daniel Pipes. In the name of counter-terrorism, both governmental and neo-conservative supporters are attacking many of our rights, such as academic freedom, they disingenuously claim are protected by military action.

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