A West Point law professor has resigned after saying fellow legal scholars — who criticize the war on terrorism– should be arrested, interrogated and even attacked as “unlawful enemy combatants.”
After only one month at the prestigious Academy, William C. Bradford resigned from his post following outcry over a paper he wrote entitled “Treason of the Professors,” which was published in the National Security Law Journal in July.
First reported by The Guardian, Bradford resigned from his position as assistant law professor on Sunday. However, he still stands by his article saying it was “taken out of context” by people who had not read it.
The Guardian pointed out that Bradford’s paper went as far as to advocate attacking “Islamic holy sites” as part of a “total war” on Islamist radicalism. But what is drawing the most criticism is Bradford’s call for legal scholars to be imprisoned, attacked or even killed if they’re “sympathetic to Islamist aims.”
Bradford claims in his article that a “clique of about forty” legal scholars – which include professors at top schools like Harvard, Princeton and NYU — comprise a “super-weapon that supports Islamist military operations” aimed at “American political will” to fight. Bradford’s article described these supposedly “treasonous” scholars as “a Western Fifth Column” of Islamist terrorism and even suggested that the law schools where they work or the journalists they speak to could also be targeted.
The editor-in-chief of NSLJ apologized for publishing the paper, calling it a mistake: “The substance of Mr. Bradford’s article cannot fairly be considered apart from the egregious breach of professional decorum that it exhibits….we 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.”
Even before The Guardian brought attention to Bradford’s article, academics had complained about it. Jeremy Rabkin, a law professor at George Mason slammed the piece as “outright libel” and an unfounded “conspiracy.”
Rabkin wrote: “The only defense for such accusations is that they are too preposterous for anyone to take seriously….. At one point, the article says there are at least forty such scholars working for this cause….That is moving from claims about treason to claims about conspiracy, a criminal charge….the article does not supply evidence to support its conspiracy claim.”
A University of Texas professor whom Bradford’s article appears to list among the “treasonous” scholars, said “It’s very hard to take this seriously except insofar as he may actually be teaching nonsense like this to cadets at West Point.”
Bradford told The Washington Post: “My article indicates that only true propagandists inciting attacks could be subjected to the sanctions I mention….I don’t believe any faculty from these schools are committing treason.”
Bradford, who was a strategic intelligence officer in the Army Reserve, disputes a claim in an ‘Inside Higher Ed’ article that he “exaggerated his military experience or resume.”
In an explanation about why he resigned from West Point, Bradford said: “I did not want the cadets or West Point to be exposed to any increased risk as a result of the backlash over my article, and I did not wish the institution to be burdened by this or by any other distractions.”