On October 27, I presented a paper, “The ‘War on Terror’ as Threat to America: Academic Freedom and Suppressing Dissent” at the biennial international conference of I.U.S. At these conferences one does not actually present a paper but a chair summarisesÂ and comments on the papers. Paul R. Viotti, University of Denver, was a colonel in the Air Force and a graduate of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. I was impressed with his collegiality and fairness in assessing my work. My paper was primarily focusing on the relationship between war and academic freedom and used several examples to advance its thesis that the latter is attenuated by the former. The paper was twenty-eight pages in length and only two pages were devoted to a summary of my suspension and reprimand stemming from the October 31, 2002 e-mail.
Colonel Viotti chose to actually read that portionÂ of the paper that I reproduce below:
I was suspended and reprimanded for an antiwar e-mail that replied to an e-mail solicitation from Robert Kurpiel, an
In an article in The Weekly Standard, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defence Jed Babbin described me as â€œa hate-the-military type,â€ and as â€œbarely literateâ€ He questioned if I were â€œfit to teach at any collegeâ€ and implied that my tenure should be revoked. The military press covered the story extensively, which varied from balanced reportage to advocacy journalism. Â Mr Kimball wrote an article for The American Legion Magazine with a McCarthyism-sounding title, â€œAcademia v.
Former university president Richard Yanikoski informed me on
 Peter N. Kirstein to Robert Kurpiel,
 Jed Babbin, â€œWhen Professors Attack They make fools of themselves,â€ The Weekly Standard,
 â€œThe professor and the cadet,â€ Navy Times,
 Roger Kimball, â€œAcademia vs.
 The Wall Street Journal, November 12, November 19, 2002; â€œThe Historian Who Denounced the Military for “Baby-Killing” Tactics,â€ History News Network, November 8, 2002;Â http://hnn.us/articles/1095.html; Kirstein, â€œAcademic Freedom.â€
 Alan Charles Kors to Richard Yanikoski,
During the question and answer period with the audience, I was subjected to intense examination. One individual berated me for such vitriolic condemnation of the cadet and supported my suspension. I indicated that controversial and infuriating speech must be protected and that sanctions for speech of an academician should rarely if ever be imposed. He stated I had a responsibility to respond more politely. I indicated I did apologize but I also averred that American Association of University Professors guideline proscribe suspensions unless there is an immediate threat or harm to the individual. None were announced as a cause for the suspension on Veterans Day, November 11, 2002.
A member of the audience asserted that if I am claiming the right to speech and academic freedom, then why should I be critical of cadets to assertÂ their right to disseminate in a coordinated manner my e-mail to family and friends? I said they had the right. I never claimed they did not. Yet the academy issued two apologies for their actions. Also my point is one may criticise speech but one should not be sanctioned for it particularly if it is based on ideological disagreements on war and American foreign policy.
I believe one memberÂ of the audience ws Peter D. Feaver of Duke University. He asked me what about the persecution of the Duke Lacrosse Team by a public that was looking for transgressions of a multi-cultural or ethnic nature? Did I have an opinion on the political correctness attendant to their inappropriate prosecution? I stated I did not know the details of that case but that it appeared to be qualitatively different than a professor who is subject to national vilification for views of a political nature. I also stated that I did not believe the lacrosse players were particularly heroic or deserving of my sympathy. They hired a poor African-American student from another campus–not from their own elite university–Â to strip or perform some type of exotic dancing and served alcohol to minors. I stated I believe there should have been some punishment for that but did NOT condone the inappropriate legal actions taken against some of the players.
A final note: One of the other panelists was John R. Ballard, a colonel (ret)Â in the army who teaches at the National War College in Washington, D.C. His paper was “The Role of Information in the War on Terrorism in Iraq.”Â He said, along with Colonel Viotti,Â at the very end of the session, when I called for the dismantling of the American empire and the demilitarisation of America, that in this country people can express such views openly and directly. My paper was an attempt to prove the converse but I accept their statements in terms of this conference and my being included among the presenters.