West Point Law Professor Resigns In Wake Of Controversy Over Article On Combatting “Pernicious Pacifism”

635767224944016792-f40d384b-0872-441b-bcf9-4e11d11f8955-bestSizeAvailableThere is a truly bizarre story this week involving a former Indiana University law professor who resigned from West Point Military Academy’s law department as a disturbing article was published where he denounces other scholars who exhibit “pernicious pacifism” as aiding and abetting terrorists. The case raises free speech and academic freedom issues in handling controversial writings of academics. However, it also raises the poor standards for selecting faculty at West Point, a concern that I have had in the past with regard to its legal studies as well as those at other military educational programs. Not only does Bradford have extremist and disturbing views but he has been previously accused of exaggerating his credentials.

Bradford published the article below in the National Security Law Journal where he rails against the historic threat of Islamic domination and the role of law professors as a type of fifth column, comparing them to the treacherous nobles who passed along intelligence to the Muslim armies seeking to destroy Charlemagne and the Christian Frankish army. Indeed, he starts his long work with a chilling quote from Orriana Fallaci that “[B]ehind every event of Good or Evil there is a piece of writing. A book, an article, a manifesto, a poem, a song.” It is clear that Bradford views writings as a form of subversion by those opposing the means or basis for the war on terror.

250px-U.S._Military_Academy_COABradford uses the acronym CLOACA to refer to “counter-law-of-armed-conflict academy.” It is based on the more common acronym Law of Armed Conflict. Cloaca is the word for “the body cavity into which the intestinal, urinary, and genital canals empty” in animals. It is a gratuitous insult achieved through a largely unexplained acronym. However, Bradford apparently has a list of those in the fifth column — noting that “The exact number is hard to fix, but perhaps two hundred U.S. professors who regularly publish or teach in LOAC, and another thirty from allied nations—Israel, EU, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Japan—constitute LOACA.” He makes clear that they are the enemy and should be treated as such by the military: “Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, CLOACA 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.” This is who the military at West Point selected out of thousands of legal scholars to treat future military leaders on the law and constitutional protections?

There is obviously a deep, deep bitterness expressed toward the legal academy reflected in these pages. Bradford has had a less than stellar career after he reportedly was forced to resign after claims in 2005 that he exaggerated his military service. In his recent work, he states worked as an associate law professor at National Defense University before West Point. However, the National Defense University says Bradford was a contractor and “never an NDU employee nor an NDU professor.” That latter distinction can be somewhat precious as adjuncts and instructors routinely refer to themselves as faculty members at law schools. However, the question remains why would the National Defense University (like West Point) be drawn to Bradford when they are in markets saturated with top legal experts?

The “stolen valor” charge in 2005 leading to his resignation from Indiana was a bit more serious. Local reporters found that Bradford claimed to have served in the Army infantry from 1990 to 2001 and said that he received a Silver Star for his service. Indeed, the Indianapolis Star reported that he would often wear the medal around campus at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. However, the newspaper found that he served in the Army Reserve from 1995 to 2001 and was not in the infantry and was never on active duty. He was discharged as a second lieutenant and his record did not indicate any medals. That would seem a difficult issue to get over during an interview at West Point Military Academy or the National Defense University.

Silver_Star_medalAt the time of the Indiana controversy, the Star reported that Bradford blamed two left-leaning professors for targeting him due to his military service. He was defended at the time by Professor Henry C. Karlson, who said that Bradford was awarded the Silver Star and a major in the Special Forces. Bradford reportedly said that he served in both the infantry and military intelligence and fought in Desert Storm and Bosnia. The article reported that “[Bradford] wore a Silver Star lapel pin around campus. He had a major’s gold-leaf insignia plate on his vehicle.”

Bradford’s view of the work of other academics as “treasonous” hardly makes him an attractive figure to defend. However, free speech advocates are often finding themselves in defense of the least redeeming characters. This may be such a case. Bradford in this piece presents a disturbing and in my view fundamentally wrong view of this country, its constitution, and its values. However, he is an academic who is entitled to express views that are controversial. His work is well-researched even if his analysis is terribly, if not grotesquely, flawed. Why should he be forced to resign for expressing his views so long as he is not teaching such extremist concepts at West Point. While I would never have hired Bradford, he presents the same type of problem that we saw recently with Professor Grundy at Boston University with her racist ravings. She did not even make those statements in an academic forum but we allowed her to keep her job. Bradford published a long and heavily cited piece on why he views legal academics as constituting threats to the nation’s security and can be legitimate targets. I find it completely chilling and sad but there are a wide array of opinions that have been viewed in that fashion through history.

I do not miss the irony of course. Bradford is the voice of intolerance. He appears to want to see professors targeted for expressing their views. Yet, many of those same traitors that he identifies are the most likely to defend him now.

On the merits, Bradford’s article, “Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy” is a screed against other legal experts who disagree with Bradford and the war on terror. They are denounced as an Islamist Fifth Column and little more than traitors. Indeed, while filled with citations and a wide array of influences, the article comes across as paranoid and fascistic. He rails against the insidious work of the GMAC or “government-media-academic complex.” He denounced these professors as “useful idiots” who use such concepts of “the dignity of all human beings” to undermine our resolve and ultimately “tilt the battlefield against US forces [and] contribute to timorousness and lethargy in US military commanders”.

The National Security Law Journal is student run publication at George Mason University and the editor-in-chief now calls the publication of the article’s publication a “mistake” and an “egregious breach of professional decorum”. Editor-in-chief, Rick Myers added “We cannot ‘unpublish’ it, of course, but we can and do acknowledge that the article was not presentable for publication when we published it, and that we therefore repudiate it with sincere apologies to our readers.”

Lieutenant colonel Christopher Kasker is quoted in telling 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.” Once again, I feel uncomfortable with the article being the focus of the questions for West Point. The question should be why West Point would select this particular scholar. I have seen such controversial choices in the past by military institutions, including West Point, in legal academics. It is the commitment (or lack thereof) to academic excellence at West Point that is thrown into question by such appointments.

Here is the article: Bradford article

76 thoughts on “West Point Law Professor Resigns In Wake Of Controversy Over Article On Combatting “Pernicious Pacifism””

  1. “I liked the McCarthy connection

    Of course you do!
    The most wonderful part about McCarthy is that there were, in fact, many Communists working for the State Dept at the time, and many in Hollywood.
    The Rosenbergs and Alger hiss were traitorous spies.

    Ha ha ha.

    No matter. The Big Lie won out.
    In the end, McCarthy was the villain, and the spies were the victims!

    “…radical screenwriters, such as John Howard Lawson, never tried to write an entire pro-Communist film, lest it be censored by the more conservative studio management, but sought to include about five minutes of the Party line in every script. Lawson urged his fellow Party writers to stick the five minute segment in an expensive set with high-priced stars, so that it would be too costly to cut. Thus, if someone like Gary Cooper were given lines that the studio executives found unacceptable, the scene would have to be re-shot at great expense. “

    Weee!
    SJWing is fun fun fun.

  2. “We should’ve executed Professor Sami Al-Arian instead of deport him” Sound familiar Pogo?

  3. “And their filthy institutions must crumble in rubble into dust!”

    ” We should bomb Mecca into glass!” Sound familiar Pogo?

  4. “When we drone your law school or your home, we make no apologies for any collateral damage.” So says the ultimate patriot, because “We must destroy the Fifth Column”.

  5. I liked the McCarthy connection dutchjim made. Puts me in mind of “Are you now or have you ever been a law professor, or are you related to any law professors? What law schools are you affiliated with?” Must weed out the traitorous and subversive law professors and their institutions.

  6. “The world would be a far better place if most people were pernicious pacifists.

    I agree.
    How much better the world would have been had England and the US refused to fight in World War 2, or had the Spaniards permitted the Muslims to enslave them, or had Sparta let Persia destroy them.

    How better the world had the Frankish and Burgundian forces put their hands up at Tours, and surrendered to the 50,000 soldiers of Abdul Rahman al Ghafiqi, letting Islam rule Europe.
    Better still, that Americans had never engaged the British at Lexington and Concord in 1775.
    What genius!

  7. The world would be a far better place if most people were pernicious pacifists. Instead, we have insane warmongers and their enablers everywhere.

  8. Pooh Blues: You appear to be deranged. The only purpose of the DoD is to prevent war. You can’t prevent war by rushing to war. We _lost_ the Vietnam war, and only nuclear genocide would have changed that outcome. By our “pacifist, liberal” doctrine of collective self-defense, Vietnam is becoming one of our allies. This triumph is achieved without war, destruction, or mass death.

    Regressives of all colors are embarrassed by the fact that the US DoD does represent (with exceptions) stability and security.

  9. “I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist party, and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy in the State Department.”

    Senator Joseph McCarthy

  10. Oop’s typo: “not do we” in my previous post should have read “not only do we”.

    1. This is a blog Kuni, not the Wall Street Journal. No need to correct a scribner’s error in one of you comments. We all know what you meant to say.

  11. The fact that was even hired by any Governmental department, let alone West Point, proves that not do we owe the Nazi’s an apology for the Nuremberg trials, we owe a sincere apology, and large cash reparations, to the families of the Nazi’s we hung for war crimes.

  12. JT
    And they published him before they hired him.
    You know how ‘publishing’ doesn’t just happen…

  13. Dan:

    He seems pretty clear to me, there is a liberal, pacifist cabal in this country. They have been fuching us over for the last 70 years or more. It’s why we are where we are today.

    Couple of atomic bombs in China and North Korea in 1952 what is solve a lot of problems. We never would’ve had Vietnam, the fuking Commies would’ve been scared shipless of us.

    If you want peace, prepare for war. It was good 2000 years ago and is good today.

  14. Too bad a nut job had to be the messenger.

    But he is still right that the media, government and college professors screw with our country.

  15. Two points:

    1) This guy would never pass a national security investigation.

    B) No serious law journal would publish such a farrago. I am assuming the relevant journal is not a serious one.

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