Professor Caleb Rossiter's absurd diatribe ("AU and Iraq") is the clearest justification for why the academy so desperately needs public intellectuals like Dr. Daniel Pipes and his Campus Watch project. Mr. Rossiter's opinions typify all that is wrong with higher education: from the preponderance of dogmatic far-left paradigms to the absence of serious and thoughtful campus discussions.
Employing the usual and deeply paranoid conspiracy theory attacks, Professor Rossiter accuses American University of "collaboration" as a "civil servant of empire" given its contract with the new Iraqi Ministry of Education. Fortunately, most people outside of academia with common sense recognize that the label of collaboration applies to those who assisted the pro-Nazi regime of Vichy France not educators helping to rebuild a society shattered by years of Saddam's totalitarian rule. Unfortunately, students are bombarded with this sort of claptrap and political indoctrination everyday. On the issue of "Bush's empire," no serious scholar of the Romans, the Ottomans, the Persians, or the Greeks would argue that America has embarked on a quest to conquer every square inch of the globe. Again, it is with great misfortune that few schools retain the prescience of a Donald Kagan (Yale) or a Victor Davis Hanson (Stanford); instead many of us are subjected to the Oliver Stone version of history and current events.
As for Rossiter's accusation that the "war of aggression" on Iraq was premised on "fraudulent grounds," I would like to remind the good professor that UN Weapons Chiefs Richard Butler and Rolf Ekeus were raising alarms concerning Saddam Hussein's illegal weapons long before the Bush administration came to power. Furthermore, Britain's MI6 and Germany's BND arrived at the same conclusions of U.S. intelligence: Saddam had stockpiles of undisclosed chemical and biological weapons. However, rehashing all of these facts is absolutely futile when it comes to persuading the high-minded professorial class. Chic slogans remain the order of the day; it is much easier and preferable to blame Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the "neo-conservative/Zionist cabal."
So it is with the small operation of Campus Watch and the refreshing lectures of Daniel Pipes that many of us refuse to listen to the verbal garbage masquerading as sound scholarship. We brush aside the intellectual decay that plagues academia and the ridiculous accusations of "Cyber McCarthyism" while recognizing that thousands of students are taking a stand alongside dozens of professors (from Stanford to Emory to Cornell) who are no longer fearful of intolerant colleagues. Ironically, the mass hysteria and carping of the Middle East Studies establishment, has helped to transform Campus Watch into a larger movement.
It is because of Campus Watch and Daniel Pipes that students are allowed to see the world, particularly the Middle East, as it is and not as a narrow clique wishes it would be. Therefore, when a hack with a Ph.D. dismisses the aggressive and ideological dimensions of militant Islam as the enemy in the war on terror or apologizes for the Pan-Arab tyrants of Damascus, the student on the receiving end of the indoctrination campaign is comforted with the knowledge that the war of ideas across America's universities, between what is right and what is fashionable, is far from over. Intellectuals like Daniel Pipes are on the frontlines waging this fight and they will prevail.
Zachary Constantino is a junior with the School of Public Affairs. He is also the president of the Committee On The Present Danger.