I am submitting this letter to [email protected] As I wish to distribute this letter widely, I have provided a brief introduction for those who are unfamiliar with Tattletales for an Open Society (TAOS):
Recently, in an open letter printed in The Nation, Professor Martin J. Sherwin of Tufts University openly and candidly admitted that on at least two occasions he made remarks critical of President Bush and his policies in front of students. However, unlike 117 statements made by his colleagues, his remarks were not reported and therefore not included in the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) report, a report which concluded that "College and university faculty have been the weak link in America's response to the attack." (It is worth noting, as Professor Sherwin does, that ACTA has been "mothered and fathered" by Dr. Lynne Cheney and Senator Joseph Lieberman.)
Professor Sherwin, who, during earlier civil rights crises, had missed out on being listed both by Senator McCarthy and Richard Nixon, says he does not wish to be passed over this time although ACTA's list hardly has the "cachet" of Nixon's. He is miffed at his exclusion, and rightfully so.
Now, while I was far too young to be noticed by either Messrs. McCarthy or Nixon, I am indeed of age now. I wish to stand up and be counted and hence this submission:
I, the electronically undersigned, do attest and aver that on September 11, 2001, only hours after the terrorist attacks, I was contacted by a foreign national via international phone lines. During the ensuing conversation, I repeatedly said to this individual that not only the terrorists were to blame for the "success" of the attacks. The leaders of the US security forces, notably the heads of the FBI, CIA, and Department of Transportation (who I named by name) had to shoulder responsibility for their "gross, unbelievable incompetence and should resign" (verbatim quote). I have repeated this remark, or remarks similar to this, numerous times in the ensuing months to anyone or everyone within ear and email-shot, both in and out of these United States.
Also, at numerous times before and since September 11, 2001, I have criticized the legitimacy of the current President's regime, his intelligence, his competence, and his integrity. Anonymous witnesses will so state that my contempt for George W. Bush has led me on many occasions to express the perhaps quixotic ambition to become "the Lucianne Goldberg of the Bush Administration"(verbatim quote). I have also repeatedly declared the "War on Terrorism" a "moral and strategic disaster" (verbatim quote), a position I have adhered to, regardless of whether the "War" was being "won" or "lost", regardless of whether anyone agreed.
In addition, I have voiced my horror at the enthusiasm and speed with which American civil liberties are being revoked by the current administration, and at the apparent complacency or consent of the public while the administration is so doing.
While it is true that I have said on numerous occasions that I believe in a strong defense and that "no one in their right mind can mourn the passing of the Taliban or al Qaeda" (verbatim quote), I have also said that this does not translate into support for the policies of the present administration. While I have proposed nothing as illegal as the Supreme Court decision Bush v. Gore, it is true that I have suggested that the only effective way to stop terrorism is to conduct a battle for "hearts and minds" by focusing attention on humanitarian aid, drying up al Qaeda finances, and funding infrastructure development.
To provide evidence of the general veracity of the above statements, I can supply you with copies of dated emails (with names of all correspondents removed, of course). However, I must admit that, until now, I have not expressed in print the wish to become Bush's Lucianne Goldberg. For this, you will simply have to trust me.
While I am not a full time academic - indeed, I have not had a chance to influence students' opinion against the war, as my only official university appointment lasted but 3 months and ended in April 2001* - I nevertheless would like to petition for inclusion in the American Council of Trustees and Alumni's list. I echo Professor Sherwin's honorable goal to be able to demonstrate my love of country to my family, my colleagues, and my friends in such an unimportant report as ACTA's. I would like to be able to say that, at a time when it mattered, I was named as part of the outspoken opposition to the Bush administration's suppression of civil liberties. Part of the outspoken loyal opposition, that is: loyal to core American values like freedom of speech and common sense, loyal to my country in the face of ignorant, irrational, attacks upon it.
New York, NY
email [email protected]
* Heinz Kohut Visiting Professor, Spring, 2001
Committee on Social Thought
University of Chicago