West Point professor, William C. Bradford published a 200 page paper in the National Security Law Journal which’s main points The Guardian summed up,
William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.
Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.
The West Point faculty member urges the US to wage “total war” on “Islamism”, using “conventional and nuclear force and [psychological operations]”, in order to “leave them prepared to coexist with the West or be utterly eradicated”. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”. (h/t: JD)
It is surprising that this paper was able to make it past the editor and was included in the journal in the first place. It makes an elaborate case for the killing of professors and others who are deemed enemies of the state for criticizing the “War On Terror.” It employs the methodology of Robert Spencer in describing critics of the military and US policy as “useful idiots” and sympathizers of the catch-all bogeyman known as “Islamists.”
Most of the news reports have focused on Bradford’s fascistic call to eliminate professors and attack academic institutions. The retraction by the journal focuses completely on this aspect of his paper, which granted is the central thesis,
This past spring the Journal made a mistake in publishing a highly controversial article, Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column, 3 Nat’l Sec. L.J. 278 (2015), by William C. Bradford, who is currently an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy. As the incoming Editorial Board, we want to address concerns regarding Mr. Bradford’s contention that some scholars in legal academia could be considered as constituting a fifth column in the war against terror; his interpretation is that those scholars could be targeted as unlawful combatants. The substance of Mr. Bradford’s article cannot fairly be considered apart from the egregious breach of professional decorum that it exhibits. 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.
Moving forward, the current Editorial Board is committed to generating legitimate scholarly debate, representing all points of view, in the area of national security law. However, we have learned from this experience, and we recognize the responsibility that attends our publication decisions. The process of selecting articles is one our Editorial Board takes very seriously, and we are re-examining our selection process to ensure that we publish high quality scholarly articles.
A welcomed and necessary retraction by the Journal to save face after this embarrassing incident, though it doesn’t tell us why they published or made this “mistake” in the first place.
It is telling that the retraction doesn’t mention another factor why Bradford’s article can be considered as exhibiting an “egregious breach of professional decorum”: the fact that it considers threatening “total war” and use of nuclear strikes on “Islamists” and Muslim holy sites as a reasonable strategy! Shouldn’t that be included in the whole reason why this paper was so awful?