I’ve been really busy, but Justin directed my attention to this picture:


Yeeeaaagh! The above man goes by the “colonial name” of “Ward Churchill” — and he’s recently the subject of a great deal of attention in the blogosphere, reflected in Glenn Reynolds’ large roundup of posts and thoughts.
Among other things, Churchill claims that the 9/11 victims — those who worked in various offices in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon — were not ordinary Americans at all, but “little Eichmanns.”

They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire–the ‘mighty engine of profit’ to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved–and they did so both willingly and knowingly. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.”

Eichmann was a monster — an architect of the Holocaust who was directly responsible for the murder of millions of people. By comparing ordinary American office workers to him, Churchill does more than attack the 9/11 victims; he trivializes the horror of the Holocaust — which, by the way, is consistent with his thesis that Holocausts are everywhere. If we’re all “little Eichmanns,” then hey, I guess Churchill must think Eichmann is as Amercan as apple pie. (After all, don’t Americans listen to Nazi music like “Eichmann Turner Overdrive,” and “Eichmann Tina Turner?”)
Churchill is a piece of work, no matter how you look at him. He has solid leftist credentials, is a tenured professor, but not too many leftists are racing to his defense. Some are saying he’s really “not the authentic face of the Left.”
I probably shouldn’t waste too much of my scarce time with such crackpots (and this one has a distinct aroma of being an agent provocateur), but even a cursory glimpse convinces me that Ward Churchill is a pathological liar. Example:

Rusty Calley ultimately was convicted; served about three days per victim for what was listed as murdering something on the order of 200 Oriental human beings (and that was a low count), before being pardoned by Richard Nixon.

BULLSHIT! Calley (convicted of responsibility for the My Lai massacre) was never pardoned. Not by Nixon, nor by any other president.
And that’s just for starters. Here’s Churchill on Wall Street:

Earlier we mentioned de facto slavery. We might as well talk about slavery de jure. Because that?s the next queue in the line, the proportion of the roughly 30 million people who never survived the Middle Passage. Signified perhaps by those who were perishing in the slave market enclosed by a wall in New York City. You think slavery is a southern phenomena. No. That?s where Wall Street got its name.

Wall Street’s origin as an enclosed slave market is offered as a sort of cosmic justification for 9/11. The problem is, that’s not where Wall Street got its name. At least, not according to the famed right wing Wikipedia:

The name of the street derives from the fact that during the 17th century, it formed the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement where the Dutch had constructed a crude wall of timber and earthwork in 1652. The wall was obstensibly meant as a defense against attack from Lenape Indians, New England colonists, and the British, but it was never tested in battle. The wall was dismantled by the British in 1699.

There’s also this gem about the “connection” between the Twin Towers and the Pentagon:

19 third-world individuals ostensibly armed with box cutters converted three airliners (set out to convert a fourth) into what was almost immediately referred to as 300,000 pound cruise missiles, in effect utilizing them as smart munitions, to take out — what is it they call it when it?s Norman Schwarzkopf talking on TV? — command and control infrastructure? They took out the command and control infrastructure symbolized and embodied in the Pentagon and Washington DC and the nerve center of the global trade apparatus whose stimulus impulses out into that funny ozone that we?re talking about, and wags that tail of the Pentagon. Understand that the Pentagon does nothing without instruction and dictation from the Twin Towers. And there are probably a few other places.

I’ll leave it to others to figure out precisely how two large commercial buildings consisting of thousands of rent-paying offices were able to instruct and dictate orders to the Pentagon! Why hasn’t that stunning fact been reported anywhere?
Might it be because people like Churchill are primarily preaching to way-out, far-left choirs and aren’t part of the “respectable” left? If that is true, then why is it that critics of Churchill are subjected to merciless ad hominem attacks by the “respectable” left? Glenn Reynolds is being savaged for criticizing this nut (even as he points out that the left benefits from being rid of such liabilities).
What amazed me the most was to learn that even Churchill’s central claim to “moral authority” — that he is an Indian — is hotly disputed:

We see self-hating white men like Ward Churchill, Jordan Dill, and others who are seemingly infatuated romantically and mystically with being Indian to the point that they are willing to fraudulently take on the identity of being Cherokee. Both of these individuals have white grandfathers and grandmothers, and consequently, white mothers and fathers. Our investigations have shown that these misinformation specialists have much more sinister motives.

More here and here, with a contrary view here.
The last web site is very pro-Churchill, but even they note the man’s rather inconsistent background with Soldier of Fortune magazine. Is Churchill the white man — and wannabe Indian — that his critics say he is? How do we even know he served in the military as he claims?
But let’s give Churchill the benefit of the doubt. Even assuming his claim of Indian status is technically accurate, if his parents and grandparents were themselves white and he grew up considering himself white, it strikes me as more than a little disingenuous for him to loudly claim to be an oppressed minority.
Doesn’t Cherokee-descended Glenn Reynolds have just as much right to claim Indian status as Churchill? Indeed, why shouldn’t Glenn sport the flowing hair, the rad sunglasses, the Che Guevara beret or the angry AK-47 pose? (And no! Don’t expect me to do another PhotoShop with the precious few minutes I have for blogging today!) Hell, my father (who spent part of his childhood on South Dakota’s Berthold Indian Reservation) once told me there was Indian blood somewhere in his background, but I never investigated because I don’t care. Such race-based nonsense doesn’t matter to me. I grew up white and I accept it as my reality.
There’s just something unseemly in strained claims of oppression.
Especially when they’re so unstrained, and unrestrained.
UPDATE: In a flap over his “little Eichmann” remarks, Ward Churchill has resigned as Chairman of the University of Colorado’s Ethnic Studies Department. Complaining of “grossly inaccurate media coverage” he now says he was misunderstood:

What I actually said has been lost, indeed turned into the opposite of itself.

What do you suppose he means? Have little Eichmanns have been turned into Big Eichmanns?
UPDATE (02/04/05): Glenn Reynolds has much more — here and here — on Ward Churchill, and it appears very likely that he is in fact making a false claim of Indian ancestry.

The sorry part of this is Ward Churchill has fraudulently represented himself as an Indian, and a member of the American Indian Movement, a situation that has lifted him into the position of a lecturer on Indian activism. He has used the American Indian Movement?s chapter in Denver to attack the leadership of the official American Indian Movement with his misinformation and propaganda campaigns.

The above is signed by (among others) Indian activist Dennis Banks, Chairman of the Board of the American Indian Movement, and a guy who’s been around. In fact, I well remember Banks from the 1970s, a period in which I was politically active on the left.
(For what it’s worth, I never once heard of “Ward Churchill” during that period.)