General Petraeus is Coming to CUNY: Just “like the invasion of Iraq.”

by Corey Robin on April 29, 2013

In case you were wondering about this

David H. Petraeus, who resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency last November after having an extramarital affair with his biographer, will serve as a visiting professor at the City University of New York next academic year, the university announced on Tuesday.


Mr. Petraeus, who will be the next visiting professor of public policy at the university’s Macaulay Honors College, had been approached by many universities, but settled on CUNY because he admires its diversity of students, locations and offerings, his lawyer, Robert Barnett, said in an interview.


Buzzfeed reports this (h/t Michael Busch):

 

There is a quiet and conventional path from shame to redemption for American political figures brought down by personal sins, and David Petraeus has, just six months after resigning as director of the CIA, followed it with his signature focus on strategy and on his own image.



“The rollout is devised like the invasion of Iraq,” said one person who spoke recently to Petraeus.



But people around Petraeus say he’s been thinking hard about how to manage his comeback, his image, and his new role outside the national security apparatus in which he’s been a key player for a decade, and in which he’s spent his entire adult life. Petraeus has always been famous both for his intelligence and for his ability to manage the press, and he has signaled that he has thought hard about his predicament.

{ 158 comments }

1

Vance Maverick 04.29.13 at 5:00 am

Petraeus has always been famous both for his intelligence and for his ability to manage the press, and he has signaled that he has thought hard about his predicament.

I read the second half of this as “And he has managed me well enough that I’m here swearing to his intelligence.”

2

David 04.29.13 at 5:03 am

I’m a mere failed academic so I’ll limit myself to the tried and true observation that shit floats. Not as egregious as Stanford hiring admitted war criminal and psychopath Condi Rice, but still.

3

maidhc 04.29.13 at 7:46 am

Condi Rice was at Stanford before she joined the Bush administration. She had worked her way up to Provost. She went back as a lowly political science professor, although she rapidly became Fellow of this and Director of that. She has been involved with the Hoover Institution since the 1990s.

4

prasad 04.29.13 at 8:11 am

He seems to have been an early skeptic of the war, of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld claims of easy success and being greeted as liberators. Also this.

5

Niall McAuley 04.29.13 at 9:45 am

“The rollout is devised like the invasion of Iraq,” said one person who spoke recently to Petraeus.

So there will be an enormously destructive and broadly successful initial phase, followed by outrageous hubris and mismanagement, and ultimately a humiliating failure followed by a decade of infighting.

Looking forward to it!

6

Barker 04.29.13 at 10:32 am

“The rollout is devised like the invasion of Iraq,” said one person who spoke recently to Petraeus.

Well, I guess it’s good that he’s not setting his sights too high.

7

pedant 04.29.13 at 11:25 am

I have been involved in faculty hiring decisions at a half-dozen American universities, several of them more prestigious than CUNY.

I have argued on several occasions that a candidate’s record of having had sexual affairs with students and subordinates that he was “mentoring” is immediate grounds for disqualifying the candidate from consideration.

And I have won the argument. My colleagues have agreed that it is simply madness to bring in a colleague whose behaviour cannot be trusted. If this person goes off the rails again and abuses their position, there is no way to say “we had no idea”. You knew the risk. You acted with willful disregard for the welfare of your students.

I find CUNY’s action here absolutely outrageous. Petraeus has violated one of the central rules of the modern university: don’t f••k your students, or anyone else you are advising or mentoring. It’s that simple.

We don’t let child-molesters take jobs at nursery-schools. And we should not let people with Petraeus’ track-record take jobs at colleges or universities. Shame on CUNY.

8

Rich Puchalsky 04.29.13 at 11:53 am

If only the number of people he had killed and the number of people he had consensual sex with were swapped — then he’d be a truly amazing hire.

9

C. Gallagher 04.29.13 at 11:59 am

We don’t let child-molesters take jobs at nursery-schools. And we should not let people with Petraeus’ track-record take jobs at colleges or universities. Shame on CUNY.

I’m no fan of Petraeus, and much as I agree that “professors who have affairs with students” should seek another occupation, but wouldn’t having a sexual affair with your married 40-year old biographer be “something adults do, whether we approve of it or not,” i.e., “adultery”? Does Petraeus have a “track-record” of screwing students?

As a proud Brooklyn College graduate, I’m more curious as to why CUNY?

10

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 12:12 pm

“If only the number of people he had killed and the number of people he had consensual sex with were swapped — then he’d be a truly amazing hire.”

Ha!

11

ajay 04.29.13 at 12:13 pm

Petraeus has violated one of the central rules of the modern university: don’t f••k your students, or anyone else you are advising or mentoring.

Wait, I thought he had an affair with his biographer? He wasn’t advising or mentoring her. She wasn’t a subordinate. Was there another affair as well?

If only the number of people he had killed and the number of people he had consensual sex with were swapped — then he’d be a truly amazing hire.

As far as I can tell, he’s killed fewer people than Laura Bush. But I know what you mean.

12

Glen Tomkins 04.29.13 at 12:18 pm

Reminds me of my favorite scene in Richard III, where he cloisters with holy anchorites to avoid the popular outcry that he accept the throne.

Who knew that the place you go these days to find cloistering with holy anchorites is CUNY?

13

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 12:29 pm

“Wait, I thought he had an affair with his biographer? “

I seem to recall he was advising her on doing her thesis? Could be wrong though.

14

pedant 04.29.13 at 12:31 pm

ajay @10–

Broadwell referred to Petraeus on many occasions as her “mentor”. Google will find them for you.

15

Cycledoc 04.29.13 at 12:46 pm

There is something peculiar about a guy who needs his hen lawyer to announce he is taking a job.

16

Barry 04.29.13 at 1:26 pm

“Condi Rice was at Stanford before she joined the Bush administration. She had worked her way up to Provost. She went back as a lowly political science professor, although she rapidly became Fellow of this and Director of that. She has been involved with the Hoover Institution since the 1990s.”

According to the website of the Stanford B-School, she’s now a professor there. This was not something they had to do (presumably, as a professor, they had to take her back in the poli. sci. dept).

17

Barry 04.29.13 at 1:31 pm

pedant: “I have argued on several occasions that a candidate’s record of having had sexual affairs with students and subordinates that he was “mentoring” is immediate grounds for disqualifying the candidate from consideration.

And I have won the argument. My colleagues have agreed that it is simply madness to bring in a colleague whose behaviour cannot be trusted. If this person goes off the rails again and abuses their position, there is no way to say “we had no idea”. You knew the risk. You acted with willful disregard for the welfare of your students.

I find CUNY’s action here absolutely outrageous. Petraeus has violated one of the central rules of the modern university: don’t f••k your students, or anyone else you are advising or mentoring. It’s that simple. “

ajay: “Wait, I thought he had an affair with his biographer? He wasn’t advising or mentoring her. She wasn’t a subordinate. Was there another affair as well?”

Probably; if he did it once, he probably did it again.

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 12:29 pm
” I seem to recall he was advising her on doing her thesis? Could be wrong though.”

I’m trying to find out; from my casual recollection she was both his biographer and doing a Ph.D. dissertation (subject: him) with he being on her committee. Which could be described as ‘academic incest’ without being excessive.

18

Warren Terra 04.29.13 at 1:57 pm

@pedant #7, #10
You get at interesting issues about their relationship and the power dynamic within it, that might be worrisome for his interactions with students and subordinates. But you take your line of argument too far: she may have been somewhat dependent on him for access and even advice as she wrote his biography and wrote a thesis about him – but, crucially, he did not formally owe her a duty of responsibility. She didn’t report to him as a lower-level employee of any organization to which he belonged, not was she a student of any such organization. This distinction does leave on the table questions about his taking advantage of a woman in something of a supplicant role (though she was in her 30s with a successful military career behind her when they met), and he might therefore merit scrutiny for any interactions with female students and subordinates, or even might be excluded for the risk. But the distinction does matter, in that he hadn’t committed quite the abuses you call him out for.

(there is a disclaimer leaning back more towards supporting your line of argument: when they met, and for that matter throughout their relationship, she was in the army reserve, and though she was not so far as I know on active duty he must be assumed to have considerable power to affect her career in the reserve – to the extent she cared about her career in the reserve).

19

LFC 04.29.13 at 2:30 pm

I think I agree with ajay and Warren Terra on the affair issue. Broadwell and Petraeus were both adults when they had the affair; both happened to be married to other people; she was writing (or had recently finished writing, I forget which) his biography.

This was not a case, as I read it, of someone having an affair with a student or an advisee (notwithstanding that Broadwell referred to him as a mentor). So the parallel that pedant draws is, to me, unwarranted. Petraeus had an extramarital affair; he did not take advantage of a student or a subordinate. There’s a big difference. Having had an extramarital affair is not grounds for excluding someone from a faculty position, at least at a non-Christian-fundamentalist university. If it were, who knows how many faculty members would never have been hired? Personally, I don’t give a **** whether he had an extramarital affair; my opinion of him rests on other grounds entirely.

20

krippendorf 04.29.13 at 2:30 pm

I thought Yale was the favored destination for disgraced American generals.

21

Manta 04.29.13 at 2:41 pm

I agree with others that Petraeus did not take advantage of Broadwell.

However, there is a quite large set of people he and Broadwell did take advantage of: the people who read his bibliography without knowing their relationship.

22

Anderson 04.29.13 at 2:47 pm

A course taught by Petraeus doesn’t seem particularly absurd, the way taking a class under Tommy Franks would. In a country where John Yoo is still teaching law students, this seems low on the outrage meter.

23

Barry 04.29.13 at 2:54 pm

Anderson, good point. And, of course, Brooks teaches a course on humility, Friedman just shows up and gets $50K or whatever for an hour of blathering.

24

Warren Terra 04.29.13 at 2:55 pm

@ Manta, #19

there is a quite large set of people he and Broadwell did take advantage of: the people who read his bibliography without knowing their relationship.

I’m not so sure about this. Every biography – even of the long dead – involves a relationship between the author and the subject. This relationship happens to have been illicit and sexual, but I’m sure we could find any number of hagiographies of the long dead written by an author at least as smitten with their subject as was Broadwell. A biography that didn’t involve some judgment about and some emotional connection with the subject – be it positive or negative, sympathy or antipathy – probably would not be worth reading, and might not be possible to write.

25

Harold 04.29.13 at 3:01 pm

Broadwell was his advisee and military subordinate at the time they were in Afghanistan together. However, Petraeus has only admitted to having an affair with her after he retired from the military and was a civilian (though it seems he broke civilian protocols in sharing his personal computer account with his paramour). It is unclear why the universities are so compliant in providing these kinds of jobs to these kinds of people.

26

Manta 04.29.13 at 3:02 pm

Warren: the point is not that Broadwell was sympathetic to her subject (nothing wrong with that), but that she did not discover it to the public her relationship with him.
Journalists and academics are supposed to reveal their conflict of interests, and not doing so is (if I am not mistaken) a major ethical breach.

27

Warren Terra 04.29.13 at 3:27 pm

@ Manta #26
Journalists are supposed to reveal their conflicts in interest, at least under the American system of assiduously, affectedly nonpartisan, nonjudgmental journalism. Academics are supposed to reveal financial conflicts of interest; I’m not sure about personal conflicts of interest (and it’s not uncommon to see authors clearly going out of their way to cite work by people they’re fond of). Broadwell was neither a journalist nor an academic, in the context of her role as a biographer. Though her thesis committee has every right to be outraged …

More generally, I’m far from certain that peccadilloes of this sort are so rare as one might hope – and I’m fairly certain that (outside of the kiss-and-tell subgenre) it isn’t the norm to disclose personal relationships. I know of a successful popular-history book, written in rather a florid style, about which I am reliably informed by a witness to the research involved that the entertaining part of reading the book is to attempt to figure out with which three of the people profiled the author had romantic relationships. I have assorted problems with that book, but the personal affections and biases of the author rank very low among them.

Or take another example: Trotsky’s biography of Stalin. A fantastic read, given energy throughout by the venom Trotsky dripped onto its pages. The book is entirely about their relationship, but the specific treatment of Trotsky is not a main feature. Should it come with a big disclaimer on the cover, saying that Trotsky loathed Stalin, and that Stalin had Trotsky’s lifeblood splattered across its pages? Or can we trust the reader to know discern Trotsky’s perspective from the word he wrote, and to know that all authors are human?

28

Anderson 04.29.13 at 3:30 pm

I’ve read enough biographies that were only metaphorical blow-jobs, that I’m not particularly upset by a biographer who was administering the real thing.

29

SN 04.29.13 at 3:38 pm

Broadwell was was not his subordinate nor she was not an undergraduate. Are we blaming the administration of CUNY because we imagine that he’s going to prey on innocence continually and can’t be allowed around the children? This was a fully consensual relationship between adults. Like Kissinger, he has the official academic qualifications but the only reason he’s being hired is his former power and the worship of power. Rather than ‘don’t have sex with anyone you work with,’ why don’t we have ‘central rules’ in the modern university like ‘participation at the top levels in two sickeningly unjust wars and being hailed and lauded for it by those who fantasize about the power of the US military is no qualification for teaching.’

Now if he is adjuncting one course for $3,000, teaching undergraduates about the long line of injustices in US foreign policy, gets no office, and is currently working on a manuscript describing the horror of those two wars, I take back some portion of my complaint. Perhaps there’d be a bit of redemption in that.

30

Harold 04.29.13 at 4:03 pm

I understood that in Afghanistan Petraeus was indeed Broadwell’s superior in rank. However, there is no evidence that they were anything but cronies at the time (an he had an entourage of press cronies).

I was not under the impression that sexual relations between grad students and their advisors is looked on as ethical (at least by other students). It’s not a matter of someone being underage or an undergrad. And I thought I had read that Petraeus was Broadwell’s academic advisor at one time — but perhaps I am confused. Her biography started out as a graduate thesis, no?

31

Manta 04.29.13 at 4:23 pm

Warren, I did not read the biography you cite.
However, do you think that if Trotsky wrote Stalin’s biography under a false name and you did not know it was him, you would not have been deceived?
Do you think that knowing that Stalin exiled Trotsky would not be a very relevant information, and that if the author tried to hide that he would not be committing quite an unethical act?
The reason why such disclaimer is not written is because people DO know about the relationship between Trotsky and Stalin.

32

ajay 04.29.13 at 5:26 pm

I understood that in Afghanistan Petraeus was indeed Broadwell’s superior in rank.

Yes (Broadwell had a reserve commission) but she wasn’t in his chain of command, and that’s the important thing from an impropriety point of view, in every context.

33

Anderson 04.29.13 at 5:36 pm

But remember, Ajay, you’re a *consistent militarist*, so it’s understandable that you would diminish TEH AWFULZZZ!!! of everything Petraeus ever did since he first banged his baby rattle on the ground.

34

Ronan(rf) 04.29.13 at 5:47 pm

Any reasonable person would look at David H. Petraeus in much the same way as they would Muqtada al-Sadr* just with greater insitutional contraints (which isn’t to say that either are historys greatest monsters, but if you’re rewarding the men and women of violence in this way you’re develeoping a worrying political culture)

*this comparison isn’t perect obviously, but I couldn’t think of any one else bar Al-Zarqawi, which would have been a little much

35

Ronan(rf) 04.29.13 at 5:50 pm

Al-Zarqawi was more a Jordanian Macarthur?

36

Ronan(rf) 04.29.13 at 6:14 pm

“but if you’re rewarding the men and women of violence”

Just realised I stole this phrase from Cosma Shalizi’s review of Felix Gilman’s book..so my apologies on that

37

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 6:26 pm

From my perspective, the problem here has nothing to do with P’s relations with B.
The problem is the lack of autonomy of the educational system in the US, which is simply as extension of the government’s domestic and foreign policy. For that reason we see P being rewarded for his service to power in exactly the same way as ex-president of Mexico, Zedillo, was rewarded for his service to US companies with a post at Yale (as well as illegal immunity in a civil suit against him by surviving victims of the 1997 massacre of indigenous folks in Chiapas) and another ex-president of Mexico was given a post at Harvard as a reward for carrying out the gringos’ war on drugs to the tune of 150,000 deaths here in Mexico.

38

Manta 04.29.13 at 6:39 pm

marthe, I would say that P&B peddling lies to the public is one of the many problematic aspect of the esteemed general.
However, since he is becoming an academic, the fact that he lies a lot is much more problematic. I would say that it is *the* major sin for an academic (much worse than having sex with subordinates): a professor who has sex with his students can still be a good researcher; an academic who argues in bad faith is putting himself outside academy.

39

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 7:06 pm

As usual, you folks have all the cars off on the sidings and nothing going down the main track.

40

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 7:17 pm

The Nobel laureate JM Coetzee wrote a novel, Disgrace, about a professor who loses his job in South Africa as a result of his sexual relationship with one of his students. It was made into a film with Malkovitch in probably his best role.

So it’s been done, and done better. Let it go and focus on the real problem: when an educational system is an extension of government instead of being autonomous, there is no acdemic freedom–moreover there is totalitarianism.

I am outraged that you folks get all hot and bothered over a roll in the hay, yet are deliberately oblivious to the fascist system under which you are living.

41

Corey Robin 04.29.13 at 7:26 pm

What Marthe said. And said. And said.

42

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 7:37 pm

I am glad to see someone here gets it!

But I do sadly believe, in regard to the other folks posting here, that Asleep at the Wheel disappeared as a rock band–only to become the national anthem.

43

roger nowosielski 04.29.13 at 7:40 pm

Shame, though, that it’s CUNY doing it. I was in attendance there from 1974 to 1975 when it still had a decent reputation.

44

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 7:57 pm

“I am outraged that you folks get all hot and bothered over a roll in the hay, yet are deliberately oblivious to the fascist system under which you are living.”

Well to be fair the majority of the people here have posted that they couldn’t care less about the sexual relations of two consenting adults. No reason to let facts get in the way of a perfectly good rant though.

45

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 7:58 pm

Sometimes, Roger, we look back and see things with the lenses of nostalgia.

I was teaching at Northern Illinois U in 1970 when the national guard killed 4 students at Kent State. When my department of 125 professors was debating to strike or not to strike, the chair said that I was the only faculty member who took academic freedom seriously.

Students decided to strike. The faculty senate decided to strike. My students respectfully asked me if we could have classes as usual. Why? They said it was because they didn’t want to strike against someone on their side. So, I was the only prof on campus holding classes during the strike.

My point is, you might have had one credible professor and therefore thought cuny had its shit together–and I very much doubt that it did.

46

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 8:04 pm

MPA: This whole thread until now has been about a roll in the hay between two consenting adults.

Do not engage me in future, as I find rancor of the ilk you post when trolling here to be reprehensible.

47

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 8:05 pm

“Do not engage me in future, as I find rancor of the ilk you post when trolling here to be reprehensible.”
Ha!

48

Anderson 04.29.13 at 8:10 pm

47: better quality rancor, please!

Preferably the kind that uses “fascist” in the manner that caused Orwell to do a facepalm.

49

kris 04.29.13 at 8:17 pm

Petraeus is a torturer and war criminal [ http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2013/03/guardian-david-petraeus-iraq-torture/62820/ or http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/06/pentagon-iraqi-torture-centres-link%5D . It is a disgrace that he is going to be a professor, although not suprising given the John Yoo standard. I guess his extra-marital affairs with subordinates are much more egregious though.

50

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 8:18 pm

Now that the trolls and fascists have weighed in,
and the prurient interest seems to have abated,
in the situation of choices between putting up or shutting up,
it seems the ball is in your court, folks.

51

Manta 04.29.13 at 8:35 pm

If I recall correctly, John Yoo had tenure before becoming (in)famous.
So, invoking John Yoo standards is not entirely appropriate.

And the (lack of) quality of journalism and the way P with the help of his hagiographer/lover manipulated the journalists does not seem simple matter of “a roll in the hay”: but opinions may differ.

52

roger nowosielski 04.29.13 at 8:42 pm

@ 44, MPAV,

Why do you think, though, CUNY’s standards as regards faculty should be less demanding than for a CIA chief?

53

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 8:49 pm

Roger basically I think people’s sexual lives are their own business. That said I join the chorus here in saying that General Patraeus is a poor hiring choice indeed. Probably no worse than John “torture memo” Yoo though.

54

roger nowosielski 04.29.13 at 8:52 pm

Besides, I very much doubt that Marthe’s main point had to do with Petraeus’ sexual escapades, the Malkovitch ‘s movie was only an aside. The point is the collusion between institutions of higher learning and the state.

55

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 8:54 pm

“Preferably the kind that uses “fascist” in the manner that caused Orwell to do a facepalm.”

I will try and do better in the future. I am after all a horrible troll who has been biding my time posting here for a mere 4 years waiting for an opportunity to be called a gringo and a racist by some random person on the Internet…

56

Manta 04.29.13 at 8:56 pm

roger: I don’t know about Victoria, but I would expect that CUNY’s standard will be quite different from a head of CIA: for instance, I would not expect CUNY to require its professors to declare their loyalty to the government of USA (at least, I hope they don’t).

In a different direction: it is normal that, insofar as they are comparable (i.e.: not much), the standards for the head of CIA are quite stricter than for a faculty member at some university, since e.g. Petraeus as the the head of CIA can do quite a bit more damage than as a professor at CUNY.

57

roger nowosielski 04.29.13 at 8:57 pm

He may be a great choice for West Point, and I wouldn’t give a flying . . . in that case, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

I wonder what reception he’d get at UC Berkeley.

58

roger nowosielski 04.29.13 at 8:59 pm

I get your point. Manta, but I was being facetious.

59

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 8:59 pm

Manta: It is obvious that opinions DO differ, so don’t play coy.

In the US crimes against humanity are just fine, and medals are given for the participants, but a roll in the hay with someone other than one’s spouse and OFF WITH HIS HEAD.

I even read at the time some folks thought that loss of another body part would be more appropriate.

It’s hypocrisy, folks. The same puritanism that demanded that women be burned at the stake so they wouldn’t try to have any power, and that indigenous people be exterminated because they were “unrepentent sinners” with all that land and all those resources–who knew how to plant and harvest corn and potatoes, too. All to justify the struggle for power.

This guy is being rewarded for his years for sucking up to power, toadying to Big Guns and imposing genocide a la mode. Same old story. In fact THE story upon which the fascist nation was founded.

PS: I am disinclined to hear from patriots. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. (Samuel Johnson, then revived by Bob Dylan)

60

Anderson 04.29.13 at 8:59 pm

the collusion between institutions of higher learning and the state

Hold on to your seat, but I fear that the state(s) may even *operate* some IHL’s! Such as CUNY! Which turns out to be an acronym, not an amusing misspelling of an 18th-century vulgarism.

I would very much like the allegations re: Petraeus and the Iraqi torturers to be investigated, but hell, we can’t get an investigation into American torturers.

61

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 9:00 pm

“roger: I don’t know about Victoria, but I would expect that CUNY’s standard will be quite different from a head of CIA: for instance, I would not expect CUNY to require its professors to declare their loyalty to the government of USA (at least, I hope they don’t).

In a different direction: it is normal that, insofar as they are comparable (i.e.: not much), the standards for the head of CIA are quite stricter than for a faculty member at some university, since e.g. Petraeus as the the head of CIA can do quite a bit more damage than as a professor at CUNY.”
Well Manta said it better than I could have so I am just going to sign on to this.

62

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 9:04 pm

You have all the cars on the sidings again, folks.

No train moving forward.

Just folks feeling sorry for having wasted their time(and ours) trolling in internet, and folks who don’t even know that if you teach in a public institution, you must sign a loyalty oath to the US government.

Sigh.

63

Manta 04.29.13 at 9:09 pm

marthe, it seems to me P. is a man of many qualities: everybody can find different reasons why he’s a horrible person and a very bad hire at CUNY.

64

roger nowosielski 04.29.13 at 9:10 pm

@60, Anderson

“. . . but I fear that the state(s) may even *operate* some IHL’s! . . .”

Well, that’s saying something, isn’t it? Personally, I’m rather relieved. The fewer illusions, the better.

65

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 9:13 pm

Anderson: Fascist states are not known to investigate their own crimes.

Franco kicked the bucket in 1975, and it is still illegal in Spain to investigate the crimes that occurred between 1936 and 1975. We can only assume that fascism is still in power there, and the depressing pics from Spain on the news every day support that assumption.

Opening the door to those investigations cost Baltazar Garzon his judgeship.

The US and Spain are not Argentina, where except in the office of the mayor of Buenos Aires, democratic governance is trying and sentencing the folks who committed crimes against humanity.

In fact, they are not even Guatemala–which has apparently now annulled or suspended–legal opinions differ–the trial of former dictator Rios Montt and his right hand goon for genocide from 1982-83. At least they opened a trial, heard 100 or so witnesses before the long arm of denial and fascists uber alles squeezed the Constitutional Court’s testicles.

66

Ronan(rf) 04.29.13 at 9:14 pm

To tie this in (somewhat) with the other thread, this was a really interesting article* by Laleh Khalili on the history behind counterinsurgency in Iraq (also has a new book out on the topic)

http://www.merip.org/mer/mer255/new-old-classics-counterinsurgency

*might not be all new to people who know a lot about the topic

67

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 9:17 pm

Manta: P is not the point here.

Neither is CUNY, nor its hiring standards, in the specific.

You simply do not get it.

So I have no choice but to assume it is because you do not WANT to get it.

68

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 9:36 pm

kris: Being a torturer and a war criminal is a GUARANTEE of an academic post.

Calderon has been at Harvard since January. Folks from the UN, AI, you name it are constantly in Mexico decrying the endemic policy of torture (tehuacanazo, anyone?).

In the gringos’ war on drugs that Calderon kicked off here as a quid pro quo for getting to be president for 6 years when he lost the election, 150,000 people were killed and/or “disappeared” (transitive verb here)–the majority were young. And poor. He was head of the armed forces and declared war on the narco (absurd caper, as Mexico is a narco state)–those deaths are, therefore, war crimes.

Which is why there have been two demands in The Hague that he be investigated for crimes against humanity filed since Nov. of 2011.

69

LFC 04.29.13 at 10:28 pm

marthe raymond @37
The problem is the lack of autonomy of the educational system in the US, which is simply an extension of the government’s domestic and foreign policy.
An overstatement (at the least).

marthe raymond @65
… Fascist states are not known to investigate their own crimes.
Franco kicked the bucket in 1975, and it is still illegal in Spain to investigate the crimes that occurred between 1936 and 1975. We can only assume that fascism is still in power there [sic] …
The US and Spain are not Argentina, where except in the office of the mayor of Buenos Aires, democratic governance is trying and sentencing the folks who committed crimes against humanity.

The US govt certainly has committed crimes, and it’s true Cheney et al have not been prosecuted, but the US is not a ‘fascist state’ under any meaningful definition of that term and there was no equivalent in the 20th-cent US, afaik, to the Argentine ‘dirty war’. (There was Jim Crow, internment of Japanese Americans, McCarthyism, etc, but the govt did not round up and shoot thousands of people for their political views.)
note: I am sure this will draw a reply, and I am not inclined to compete w m.raymond for the last word. But I didn’t think this use of ‘fascist’ shd pass completely unremarked, as it seems to have done previously.

70

MPAVictoria 04.29.13 at 10:51 pm

“I am sure this will draw a reply, and I am not inclined to compete w m.raymond for the last word. But I didn’t think this use of ‘fascist’ shd pass completely unremarked, as it seems to have done previously.”

Come now LCF we are already tossing around the terms “racist” and “gringo” so why not fascist as well?

71

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 11:05 pm

LFC: I think I will let Mussolini have the last word on fascism, as he said: Under fascism there should only be space to slip a piece of paper between the corporate sector and the government.

72

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 11:06 pm

A very apt description of the US.

73

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 11:08 pm

As for dirty wars, the US killed between 12 and 17 millions of indigenous folks because of their ethnicity.

74

marthe raymond 04.29.13 at 11:16 pm

Not to mention the millions killed in Southeast Asia and other venues.

Not only do you folks write so poorly that you have to quote me in your posts, you are also illiterate in regard to US history.

No space for a sheet of paper between the educational system and the government may bear some of the blame for your condition.

75

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 12:00 am

Why this sudden pretense at outrage because of possible (mis?)characterization of the US as a fascist state?

Even if the term doesn’t yet apply. the recent show of police force in Boston surely matches anything the stormtroopers could possibly muster.

76

Substance McGravitas 04.30.13 at 12:11 am

The Star Wars stormtroopers? Or were you thinking of some other kind?

77

Harold 04.30.13 at 12:26 am

“Information management” à la Noam Chomsky-type “manufacturing consent”, is General Petraeus’s particular forte– our own particular brand of Fascism (if you will).

78

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 12:30 am

When Hannah Arendt wrote of the “banality of evil” in reference to Eichmann, it’s just as well she couldn’t see the future populated by folks posting here who are comfortably cosy with the trivialization of evil.

79

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 12:47 am

“When Hannah Arendt wrote of the “banality of evil” in reference to Eichmann, it’s just as well she couldn’t see the future populated by folks posting here who are comfortably cosy with the trivialization of evil.”

Oh come on! This is just getting ridiculous! Oh so sorry to cite you without your permission but come on!

80

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 1:08 am

I have rested my case.

Virtual ankle-biting is not contained within the set of acceptable responses.

Since, in the famous phrase of Hugo Chávez, “eagles don’t hunt flies”, you are now ignored.

81

Anderson 04.30.13 at 1:23 am

“the recent show of police force in Boston surely matches anything the stormtroopers could possibly muster.”

That is a disgusting comment, implying that Nazi Germany was no big deal. It seems the people eager to cry “fascist” are pretty sympathetic to the Nazis, who, we now learn, were no better or worse than the Boston police.

82

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 1:46 am

Anderson: in my limited experience of your posts on this site, that is without a doubt your goofiest comment.

Equating folks with critical consciences to nazi sympathizers is not only infantile and silly, but also an insult to those of us who possess a modicum of intelligence as well as an historical memory.

The caper you just pulled qualifies for what is called here in futbol an auto-gol.

It also made me recall, sadly, that only humans foul their own nests.

Next time, wipe before posting.

83

Anderson 04.30.13 at 1:53 am

“Marthe Raymond”? What is that in the original Trollish?

I again quote: “Even if the term doesn’t yet apply. the recent show of police force in Boston surely matches anything the stormtroopers could possibly muster.”

Marthe wrote, of course, not one word to excuse or justify that statement. Just jibberish. If you equate the house-to-house searches in Boston with “anything the stormtroopers could possibly muster,” then you have precisely the reverse of a “critical conscience.” Or even of a “critical consciousness.”

84

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 2:18 am

Marthe,

Anderson’s protestations are but feeble attempts by a self-styled, American brand of liberal trying to divert attention away from their own inadequacies in both thinking and action by crying “foul.”

The amazing thing is, they’re silly enough to keep on believing no one is up to their limited bag of tricks, even though we’ve heard them thousand times before.

I’d pay him no mind.

85

Nabakov 04.30.13 at 2:38 am

Just want to go on record here as saying I’m much more outraged about everything bad in the world than Marthe is.

86

Anderson 04.30.13 at 2:47 am

Marthe and Roger, y’all are a hoot. Do you do wedding receptions?

Going back to rereading “A Dance with Dragons” now … I think I’m at the part with the dwarfs jousting on pig-back and dog-back ….

87

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 2:50 am

“Just want to go on record here as saying I’m much more outraged about everything bad in the world than Marthe is.”

Are you sure that is possible? I mean her faculty chair at the University of Northern Illinois said that she was THE ONLY ONE who took academic freedom seriously. How can you compete with that?

88

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 3:02 am

Unfortunately, Nabakov, Anderson and MPAVictoria here, are more determined to take it to the personal level.

Next thing, I’ll be hearing from either one of them “to take a room.”

89

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 3:07 am

Yes, Roger, his comments are very limited and trivial. He doesn’t even realize that you wrote the storm trooper comment, not I.

However, when I began reading the account of the Siege of Watertown, I had visions of Kristallnacht. Then I remembered that during that night in Germany the storm troopers only destroyed property–they did not drag families out of their home in the wee hours on the pretext of national security.

No, that came later. With the Final Solution.

90

Nabakov 04.30.13 at 3:07 am

Now I’m outraged by that comment Roger. Much more outraged than you could ever be.

91

Anderson 04.30.13 at 3:22 am

” Then I remembered that during that night in Germany the storm troopers only destroyed property”

Wikipedia: “At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.[2] Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers.[3] Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.”

Just like in Boston!

92

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 3:25 am

“Now I’m outraged by that comment Roger. Much more outraged than you could ever be.”

-Golf clap

93

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 3:51 am

Anderson: you fell into one of the oldest pedagogical traps–because you didn’t know what Kristallnacht was, you had to look it up.

Congratulations!

Stick with me, kid, and you’ll learn to educate yourself.

You sure as hell won’t playing dungeons and dragons…..

94

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 3:56 am

The world’s richest man provides an internet service here in Mexico that is actually two cans and a string.

Tonight either one of the cans is loose or the string keeps breaking, so I am going to say goodnight to you complacent campers.

95

Corey Robin 04.30.13 at 4:00 am

Okay everyone, this has completely descended into…whatever you want to call this. Let’s just all stop now. If it continues, I’ll shut down the thread entirely and there will be no further comments.

96

Substance McGravitas 04.30.13 at 4:00 am

Don’t go! It’s early and there are so many more K words to explain! What language is that anyway, Viennese?

97

Substance McGravitas 04.30.13 at 4:01 am

Apologies, deletion’s fine by me.

98

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 4:57 am

Just for the record, the “stormtrooper” reference was to sheer show and use of force, as per the original use of the term during World War I , not to its eventual extension, such as Nazi tactics, e.g. So yes, rather than asking for clarification, there’s been a lot of protestation going on.

99

Anderson 04.30.13 at 5:04 am

Except that WW1 storm troopers weren’t fascist. Again, your comment:

“Why this sudden pretense at outrage because of possible (mis?)characterization of the US as a fascist state?

“Even if the term doesn’t yet apply. the recent show of police force in Boston surely matches anything the stormtroopers could possibly muster.” Makes no sense if you meant infiltration troops, not SA. Tho perhaps “making sense” is too high a bar to set.

Glad to see some stirring of your critical conscience.

100

Mao Cheng Ji 04.30.13 at 7:32 am

Wow, you have two cans and a string! Myself, I work twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and all I got is a handful of freezing-cold gravel.

101

Manta 04.30.13 at 9:36 am

I think this thread should be scripted and added to the Life of Brian.

CONSPIRATOR 1: I hate the Pilate because he is corrupt.
CONSPIRATOR 2: No, that’s the wrong reason to hate Pilate! We should hate him because he crucifies people. How can you be so insensitive!
CONSPIRATOR 3: Crucifying bandits is not bad: otherwise, how do you keep the peace? But we should hate him because he is in bed with Herod! You monster!
(Throws stone at Conspirator 2)
CONSPIRATOR 1: Herod is only the Roman’s puppet!
(Throws stone at Conspirator 3)
CONSPIRATOR 2: The Romans are just like the Philistines! They blind people and make them grind grain!
(Everybody throws stones, until they are all dead. Later, Roman soldiers arrive and check the body)
SOLDIER 1: What happened here?
SOLDIER 2: It’s the Monday meeting of the Judean People’s Front
(CONSPIRATOR 1 wakes up): Fuck off! We’re the People’s Front of Judea! (dies).

102

ajay 04.30.13 at 11:04 am

As usual, you folks have all the cars off on the sidings and nothing going down the main track.

What this thread really needed was another discussion of the Trolley Problem. (Or, as unrepentant militarists like me call it, the ARMOURED TRAIN PROBLEM!)

103

bexley 04.30.13 at 12:37 pm

Anderson: you fell into one of the oldest pedagogical traps

Never get into a battle of wits with a Sicilian?

104

Anderson 04.30.13 at 12:38 pm

103: I was thinking more “with an unarmed opponent.” Especially when FASCISM is on the line!

105

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 1:04 pm

I just want to say I love you all. The last eight or so comments are among the funniest I have ever read at Crooked Timber. So thanks for that.

106

Mark 04.30.13 at 1:37 pm

While it will be interesting to watch the path and speed of Petraeus’ rehabilitation to see if he is considered fit for political office in ’16 or ’20, more interesting would be to take a look at examples of independent education systems implicit in raymond’s critique. A ‘por ejemplo’ or two might help.

107

bexley 04.30.13 at 1:40 pm

(Or, as unrepentant militarists like me call it, the ARMOURED TRAIN PROBLEM!)

I didn’t think you militarists thought it was a problem at all.

108

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 2:06 pm

My conscience, Anderson. hasn’t been stirred or revived by a sudden realization that I may have resorted to a false moral equivalence. I haven’t. Besides, I cannot reverse the events of the past, and neither can you. But I am concerned about the present and the direction we’re going, and do intend to exercise my voice to the extent possible, in spite of all your efforts to make light of it.

And btw, how does “critical” function here as a qualifier of conscience? Does it enhance the sense of the sentence?

109

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 2:20 pm

For the mao mao who waxed his gringo disparagement of the abuses here in the third world: Carlos Slim is the world’s richest man because one of Mexico’s presidents gave him the state-owned telephone company, and he has parlayed that windfall into being richer than Bill Gates.

He maintains that top of the heap slot by charging among the highest prices on the planet for his two cans and a string services of telephonics and internet.

And mao mao apparently thought it was free….

110

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 2:27 pm

Roger: blame me for the modifier “critical”–intended to function in opposition to the uncritical consciences we have seen in action here.

Who have become, btw, the minority in the US. According to two surveys conducted a day or so after the Boston blowout, one by even Fox news, more folks in the US fear the government than they fear terrorism.

For me, it’s hard to tell the difference: fascism always employs state terrorism to control its subjects.

111

LFC 04.30.13 at 2:29 pm

To m. raymond:
I am aware of what the US did to indigenous peoples. That’s why, in my comment @69, I added the qualification “20th century”: “20th-cent US”.

I knew I shouldn’t have said anything to begin with.

112

LFC 04.30.13 at 2:35 pm

I’m also aware of the Vietnam war, 20th-cent US involvement in Latin America, etc. So let’s just take all that as read, as the British say, and this will be it for me on this thread, I think.

113

ajay 04.30.13 at 2:40 pm

I didn’t think you militarists thought it was a problem at all

True. The only real Armoured Train Problem is “I do not have an armoured train”, and this problem, like ALL OTHERS IN LIFE, can be solved by an armoured train.

114

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 2:44 pm

Mark: happy to provide algunos ejemplos–can’t go into historical details posting on my phone, though. Autonomy of public universities developed as a necessary protection against an authoritarian state. Autonomy was been violated when the president sent the equivalent of the national guard into the UNAM in 1968 in the runup to the massacre of students in Tlatelelco just before the Olympics here.

Autonomy is always under debate here for possible violations of same–and is taken very seriously by folks who know that the government does not have their interests at heart.

115

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 2:54 pm

In case it was not obvious, I was referring to the autonomy of public universites here in Mexico.

It’s been on the front burner in two universities during the past few months–right now in the UNAM (autonomous national university) as a group of dissident students and profs have taken over the central administrative offices in Mexico City. The last time the guard went into to take back that building was in I think 1999–which cost the rector his job and is still being discussed as violatory of academic autonomy.

Once it dawns on you folks that your government is authoritarian, MAYBE you will begin to understand what I am talking about.

Or maybe you will just keep shopping.

116

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 2:58 pm

Frankly, Scarletts, I don’t give a damn what you folks do.

After all, not only is the US government not on your side, but I am not, either.

117

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 3:05 pm

In any case, Marthe, let’s appreciate what some folks here, like the OP here, are trying to do: and they’re employed by the very institutions they criticize.

Not unlike some of the drive-by, anonymous posters here who have nothing to lose.

118

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 3:36 pm

Roger:

I hate to sound niggly on this, but what I would appreciate on this site is better writing. When the original pieces are not clear in their theses, and do not develop their supporting points with agility and precision, the door is wide open for folks to post any silly bit they feel like posting and it is difficult to have anything but interchanges of marginal quality.

Good intentions, as paving stones, are fine.

119

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 3:40 pm

LFC: Never heard of COINTELPRO, have ya now? That was a dirty war waged against black and indigenous political groups and leaders.

120

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 3:41 pm

“I hate to sound niggly on this, but what I would appreciate on this site is better writing.”

What I would appreciate is a better quality of troll…

121

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 3:52 pm

LFC:

Mid-60s through late 70s: ergo, 20th century.

Next time claim that the US waged no dirty wars between April 15, 1955 and May 30, 1955.

Of course, you will probably be wrong there, too. But what the heck, since historical reality seems to mean nothing to you….

122

Anderson 04.30.13 at 3:57 pm

120: these two are pretty entertaining, once one learns to quit taking them seriously. I admit being slow to catch on, but what else is new.

123

Niall McAuley 04.30.13 at 4:04 pm

what I would appreciate on this site is better writing.

I would appreciate a gold Zeppelin crewed by Morlocks and a pony.

124

ajay 04.30.13 at 4:37 pm

Your Morlock is a surly, cannibalistic type and also highly sensitive to direct sunlight. Not the best crewman for something that is extremely shiny, relatively cramped and designed to spend its time in the sky. But then again, at least they have a work ethic and some sort of mechanical aptitude! The layabout Eloi would be equally useless for different reasons. And the pony, frankly, would be dead weight.
I don’t think you’ve thought this through at all.

125

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 4:40 pm

You are probably too big to ride a pony and the PETA folks would be on you in a heartbeat.

But your point is well taken: wishing for good writing from folks who are just here to have a bit of fun, see their names on the page, and support the status quo and the US government is like wishing for the moon.

On that note….

126

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 5:01 pm

“these two are pretty entertaining, once one learns to quit taking them seriously. I admit being slow to catch on, but what else is new.”

Good point. Have you notice how with marthe’s posts about two thirds are attacks on other people and the other third is nothing but not so subtle boasts about how awesome she is? It is really quite extraordinary.

127

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 5:18 pm

@118

Marthe,

The door will always be wide open for folks to post any silly bit they feel like posting, no matter how rigorous the presentation: such is the nature of public forums and the related phenomenon of trolling.

What I did find, however, from my own experience, that precision writing and tight argumentation set the tone for the ensuing discussion, so much so that it makes it rather difficult even for the unsympathetic or plainly malicious readers to discuss the subject willy-nilly or out of context. In any case, my take on the lead article — it was a public service announcement to stimulate discussion. As to OP’s own position on the subject, read between the lines.

@122,

I’m glad you said it, Anderson, not I.

128

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 5:41 pm

Well, Roger, I would like to agree with you, BUT:

1. Since the original pieces designed to stimulate discussion are OPINIONS, I should not have to read between the lines–nor should anyone else. It is the responsibilty of the writer to state his/her opinion and to supply information to support it.

2. And it is the responsibility of those who agree or disagree to do likewise. If this thread is not a compendium of off-track bits and malicious trolling, I would hate to see one that is.

3. I am afraid that posting on this site is not a good use of my time.

129

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 6:25 pm

I’m willing to bet, though, that had the OP venture to express strong disapproval of CUNY’s decision to engage Petraeus as a lecturer, he might find himself having to look for another job.

A similar question arose in connection with next to no faculty support for the recent OWS movement across these US of A. Even university grounds (from University of Albuquerque to UC Davis), in past times serving as a sanctuary and off limits to local police, were the sites of state violence against the protesters while the faculty kept silent. You spoke of your experience at Northwestern (I believe), but it wasn’t so for most universities, public or private , in the sixties; and certainly not in the Brooklyn College when I was in attendance then. But today, from what I hear, the faculty is fearful of loosing their job and then finding none other to replace it.

A sad comment on the independence of our higher learning institutions and subservience, in these times of manufactured austerity, on corporate donors. I’m certain CUNY got a good chunk of corporate money for sponsoring Petraeus (regardless of the fact that he was Obama’s choice).

130

Bruce Wilder 04.30.13 at 6:56 pm

marthe raymond: I am afraid that posting on this site is not a good use of my time.

I’m sorry to say that in recent days, I’ve prayed you might come to this conclusion, because I know reading your comments, and the responses of others to them, has not been a good use of my time, recently. And, you don’t seem to be enjoying yourself.

Not at CT, but in other forums, I’ve gone off the rails, and I think, for personal sanity if for no other reason, it is best, at these moments, for purely selfish reasons, to take a deep breath and walk away, at least for a time.

Commenting, and reading blogs and comments, is a pastime, and a fairly useless one, frankly, except as the source of personal satisfaction in maintaining some kind intellectual engagement. Whether others think you’ve lost perspective, or can understand you, is less important than whether the experience of frustration has moved from motivation for productive expression to a source of unpleasant dissatisfaction.

131

Elizabeth Prickett-Morgan 04.30.13 at 7:05 pm

The layabout Eloi would be equally useless for different reasons. And the pony, frankly, would be dead weight.

You seem to have discounted their utility as rations for the remainder of the crew.

132

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 7:14 pm

“You seem to have discounted their utility as rations for the remainder of the crew.”

Not to mention that I believe Eloi have a certain aesthetic appeal.

133

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 7:38 pm

@130

I plead guilty here for having invited Marthe to join this forum, especially on the thread relating to Mr. Chavez. In light of her extensive first-hand knowledge of events in Latin America, I thought she’d be a welcome addition to a discussion on this and a host of other topics. It’s too bad her rather blunt, no-nonsense writing style doesn’t sit well with some of the commenters here. One would hope, given the educational level of the average CT contributor, that this would not be the case.

Perhaps I was wrong.

134

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 7:44 pm

“It’s too bad her rather blunt, no-nonsense writing style doesn’t sit well with some of the commenters here.”

Oh come off it roger. It was not her writing style that didn’t sit well. It was her accusations of racism, her refusal to engage honestly with criticism (see her post at 93) and, finally, her rudeness to both front pagers and other commenters.

135

Manta 04.30.13 at 7:59 pm

roger@129, how on earth is the poster on the very top of the OP NOT expressing strong disapproval for the hiring of P?

136

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 8:03 pm

Roger:

Actually, I was at NIU, which is a large state university–and even larger now–not Northwestern, which is private. People did lose their jobs at NIU–sometimes because they didn’t “play ball” with their chairs, sometimes because there was malfeasance on the part of administrators (in the school of education when I was there) and folks were told there was no money to renew their contracts. It was my job and the job of the other folks on the executive board of the AFT local to litigate, when necessary, and to call in the t.v. and other media folks from Chicago when there was malfeasance at the bottom of dismissals, and so forth. We were pretty successful, but as about half the board left for other universities at the same time, the administration pretty much dismantled the union the next year.

Since unions are fast becoming dinosaurs under the fascist system of savage capitalism in the US, professors now have even less protection than they had 40 to 45 years ago. Which just goes to prove my point that the educational system is simply an extension of government. It always has been, since plans of study must be approved by the government or diplomas and degrees are not considered to have validity. But now, with a government openly fascist since the Patriot Acts were put in place, and the government ruling by state terror and economic threats–and without habias corpus of course there is no rule of law, government can impose its policies with absolute impunity in both public and private educational venues.

Fear is the card they have used to trump the peoples’ rights. And that is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany, when Jewish and gentile academics had to leave or left en masse rather than live under and participate in a fascist system.

The option of leaving is there. I left twenty years ago for different reasons, but I would never consider returning to live the way you folks live. It’s very extreme, and because the frog was boiled gradually, he didn’t notice when he died. When polls on Fox News, which is far right neoconservative rah rah go gringos, indicate that more folks in the US fear their government than fear terrorism, those who do not wake up fast are doomed to sleep what’s left of their lives away without civil liberties.

Bruce: I have yet to go off the rails in internet. I speak the truth to power–and to the deliberately powerless, as well. And I do it rationally, with appropriate use of the language–in this case, English–providing information and supportive facts. If folks persist in denying the existence of the elephant in the room, I leave–just as I would not consider living in the US. I have, however, watched folks go considerably beyond off the rails and into actively psychotic meltdowns on other sites–and some have even blamed their meltdowns on me, for “provoking them and making them do and say things they would normally never say”. Whew, talk about refusal to accept responsibiity for one’s behavior–took the rag off the bush for me. Especially the crazed virtual death threats against me for not being a “good Indian”.

I remember the US policy coined by General Philip Sheridan: “The only good Indian is a dead one. We must exterminate all of them, even the babies, as nits make lice.”

Things have not changed much. The same policy of forcing consensus is active here on Crooked Timber. It’s a pernicious dynamic, and yes, you can have it.

137

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 8:06 pm

@135

I believe he does, Manta (in between the lines). Doesn’t mean everybody sees it so.

138

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 8:08 pm

But to add to the above, I know so from Corey’s other writings.

139

Substance McGravitas 04.30.13 at 8:11 pm

Which just goes to prove my point that the educational system is simply an extension of government. It always has been, since plans of study must be approved by the government or diplomas and degrees are not considered to have validity.

Not actually true in the US, far more true elsewhere.

140

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 8:25 pm

Speaking of academic freedom, witness “the Invisible Committee” and their joint authorship of “The Coming Insurrection,” and Tiqqun.

And that’s in France where academic freedom and the role of the intellectual have no equal.

141

marthe raymond 04.30.13 at 8:28 pm

Wrong, Substance: This is my last post on CT, so I will briefly remind you that public education is part of the US government’s mandate, and that private educational entities most conform to government norms or they are not given certification by the certification bodies.

What I said is true in the US and in the educational systems of every other country where I have taught, been a department head or dean, or have provided educational consulting services. I cannot speak for countries beyond those of my experience, yet as a good gringo you feel more than qualified to do so.

Have at it.

142

Anderson 04.30.13 at 8:33 pm

“public education is part of the US government’s mandate”

Quotation suffices.

143

Substance McGravitas 04.30.13 at 8:35 pm

Wrong, Substance

No, you’re wrong.

private educational entities most conform to government norms

No…

or they are not given certification by the certification bodies

And no.

144

Substance McGravitas 04.30.13 at 8:38 pm

Quotation suffices.

Well, I can’t claim to have laid out an argument, but it hardly seems worth it.

145

Anderson 04.30.13 at 8:46 pm

144: Argument is for debatable propositions ….

146

MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 8:47 pm

This whole thread has been just surreal…

147

roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 10:45 pm

It’s easy to argue against someone, Gravitas, who is no longer posting here, and rather chickenshit, if you ask me. Care to contradict Marthe to her face?

It’s not my fight, but I’ll say one thing: what’s so darn controversial about saying that public education is part of the US government’s mandate? It certainly is the US government’s prerogative, the entire program of public education. And if it’s a prerogative, then why not a mandate? It’d seem to me that to argue to the contrary is suspect.

And as regards “private educational entities,” what makes you think they’re exempt? Just because they’re funded by conservative think-tanks and corporate donors? How would that fact argue against their relative independence from the overarching government’s (state’s) interests? Only if one interprets the government’s (state’s) interests to be at odds with corporate interests one could possibly make such a claim, as most liberals are apt to, but I’m digressing, I suppose.

In any case, perhaps only Catholic-run schools might be exempt from some aspects of federal oversight, but that’s another ball of wax.

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Ronan(rf) 04.30.13 at 10:52 pm

Well I for one enjoyed marthe’s input fwiw, even if I didn’t generally agree with her points..and it was an especial pleasure to see Rudyard (ajay) Kipling and John(Anderson) Rambo have their feathers so thoroughly ruffled. We’ll be worse off here without her, imho

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Substance McGravitas 04.30.13 at 11:15 pm

It’s easy to argue against someone, Gravitas, who is no longer posting here, and rather chickenshit, if you ask me. Care to contradict Marthe to her face?

Sure! I’ll accept a flight to Mexico. You buying?

It’s not my fight, but I’ll say one thing: what’s so darn controversial about saying that public education is part of the US government’s mandate? It certainly is the US government’s prerogative, the entire program of public education. And if it’s a prerogative, then why not a mandate? It’d seem to me that to argue to the contrary is suspect.

You don’t know enough about what you’re talking about to ask the right questions.

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roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 11:31 pm

Wow, I don’t know enough about what you’re talking about? That’s a good one!

Well, then express yourself clearly enough so that I wouldn’t have to be divining your meanings. Language is a public thing in case you didn’t know.

And no, I wasn’t offering you any airfare to Mexico, unless you’re suffering from a delusion, only her e-mail address if she would consent.

It’s still chickenshit in my book to be talking about someone behind their back, no matter how hard you may try to weasel your way out of it.

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MPAVictoria 04.30.13 at 11:52 pm

“It’s still chickenshit in my book to be talking about someone behind their back, no matter how hard you may try to weasel your way out of it.”

Yes, how dare anyone respond to a comment left in the discussion area of a much trafficked blog! It is outrageous!

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Salient 04.30.13 at 11:57 pm

This whole thread has been just surreal…

Still not sure it’s quite as surreal as the OP, though. Is there really anything in this comments thread that can compete with this? “The rollout is devised like the invasion of Iraq,” said one person who spoke recently to Petraeus.

I honestly can’t even figure out for absolute sure if the poster is a fake thing Corey made or actually a real thing or what, because the linked-to article shattered Poe’s law so catastrophically that all properly calibrated sensors of facetiousness spontaneously disassembled themselves, to make the pain stop. Had to double check and make sure Buzzfeed is a real thing and not an Onion thing. And this, this:

In a statement, Mr. Petraeus said he looked forward to leading a seminar “that examines the developments that could position the United States — and our North American partners — to lead the world out of the current global economic slowdown.”

It pains. So. Much. The fact that CUNY is paying Petraeus to deliver a semester-long flurry of op-eds aside … and neverminding how weird it is to describe either Canada + Mexico or multinational corporatioglomerates as “North American partners” … they’re hiring the country’s allegedly-foremost military general and CIA spook to opine about economic slowdown? Really?

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roger nowosielski 04.30.13 at 11:59 pm

Victoria, I would make the same gesture if it were you who had decided to make a graceful or not so graceful exit.

It’s a matter of common courtesy and good manners not to be dumping on someone who had made it plain they’re not going to reply. Besides, I don’t believe I’ve expressed any outrage, just called it as it see it.

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roger nowosielski 05.01.13 at 12:13 am

Is it a case of the famous Washington two-step, Salient?

One step forward and two back?

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Substance McGravitas 05.01.13 at 12:21 am

It’s still chickenshit in my book to be talking about someone behind their back, no matter how hard you may try to weasel your way out of it.

That’s okay with me! I’m talking behind her back right now and I’m not weaseling out of it! I really am that awful!

But look: the US system is a giant decentralized mess, and while you can make some pretty good generalizations about some of it, it really is fragmented and just can’t be described as the product of a fascist central authority unless you’re a loon. There is a federal list of accepted accrediting authorities now, for instance, but that’s a recent innovation, partially spurred on by the fact that most other countries in the world had a hard time understanding whether or not a degree was legitimate without a national authority saying so. People from the Department of Education would, for instance, fly to Germany to defend some distance education outfit in court to demonstrate that it was legitimate even if it was accredited by the Distance Education Training Council instead of one of the Big Six. Now if you were some kind of maniac you might say “AHA! POWER-GRAB BY THE FASCIST AUTHORITIES!” but what the Department of Education has the power to meddle with is very little and the various accrediting agencies are, um, pretty lenient as far as I can tell.

If you want to put together the case that a central authority is in control of the curriculum of all post-secondary institutions the best place to start to take a run at it is here: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation.html

You have to, though, actually read the documents and understand what accreditors do (and do not do) and imagine how the activities of these various bodies might apply to the Maharishi University of Management and the University of Phoenix and Bowdoin College and Bob Jones University and Oklahoma State University and MIT, where Noam Chomsky can’t possibly still be employed UNLESS HE TOO IS A FASCIST. Wheels within wheels! So:

Which just goes to prove my point that the educational system is simply an extension of government. It always has been, since plans of study must be approved by the government or diplomas and degrees are not considered to have validity. But now, with a government openly fascist since the Patriot Acts were put in place, and the government ruling by state terror and economic threats–and without habias corpus of course there is no rule of law, government can impose its policies with absolute impunity in both public and private educational venues.

That statement is simply bananas.

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Anderson 05.01.13 at 12:35 am

Roger, you’re still the one trivializing the Nazis to make inane points about fascism, a concept you and your comrade Marthe seem not to understand or even genuinely care about. (Concur w Substance; anyone who thinks the Patriot Act inaugurated fascism in America is indeed bananas, and I will add, actually “objectively” pro-reactionary because such silliness crowds out sane criticism of that Act.)

Re Salient @ 152, I have no clue what expertise Petraeus could hope to bring to macroeconomics. The man is bright and could surely teach something, but ….

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MPAVictoria 05.01.13 at 12:36 am

“Besides, I don’t believe I’ve expressed any outrage, just called it as it see it.”

Well you did call someone “chicken shit” but hey maybe you do that to everyone. Anyway Substance doesn’t need me to defend her/him. Far from it actually.

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Corey Robin 05.01.13 at 12:36 am

In the interests of everyone, I’m closing this comments thread.

Comments on this entry are closed.