My former colleague Spencer Ackerman, now the national security editor for the Guardian, has a story about one of the most appalling papers I’ve ever heard of. A law professor at West Point named William Bradford has written a paper arguing that not only are Islamic holy sites a legitimate target for bombing by the U.S. military, but so are American legal scholars and journalists who are critics of the war on terror.
An assistant professor in the law department of the US military academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants.
In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.
Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.
“Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, [dissenting] scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism,” Bradford wrote.
And he’s not talking about scholars and journalists in Muslim countries, he’s talking about them right here in America. Those who disagree with his horrific views on the war on terror, he says, are guilty of treason:
Bradford does not clearly name his academic opponents, instead using the neologistic acronym CLOACA, for “critical law of armed conflict academy” to describe them. (In nature, “cloaca” is also the name of a body cavity into which intestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts empty in some animal species.)
The CLOACA, in turn, are part of a GMAC, or “government-media-academic complex”, which Bradford defines as an “aristocracy of senior government officials, elite media members, and university faculty, which squeezes non-members from public colloquy and shapes opinion on security, military and legal issues.”
This “clique of about forty” scholars, Bradford writes, have “converted the US legal academy into a cohort whose vituperative pronouncements on the illegality of the US resort to force and subsequent conduct in the war against Islamism” represent a “super-weapon that supports Islamist military operations” aimed at “American political will” to fight. They are supported by “compliant journalists” marked by “defeatism, instinctive antipathy to war, and empathy for American adversaries”, but Bradford considers the lawyers a greater threat.
The offending legal scholars “effectively tilt the battlefield against US forces [and] contribute to timorousness and lethargy in US military commanders”, he writes. They are among several “useful idiots” who “separate Islam from Islamists by attributing to the former principles in common with the West, including ‘justice and progress’ and ‘the dignity of all human beings’”.
The Pentagon seems to be taking the position that since he wrote this article before joining the faculty at West Point, that makes it okay:
A spokesman for the US military academy, army lieutenant colonel Christopher Kasker, told the Guardian: “Dr William Bradford was hired on 1 August 2015 at the US Military Academy. His article in the National Security Law Journal titled ‘Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column’ was written and accepted for publication prior to his employment at West Point. The views in the article are solely those of Dr Bradford and do not reflect those of the Department of Defense, the United States army, the United States Military Academy.”
No, they’re the views of a fucking fascist who should be fired immediately and with extreme prejudice.