Steven Plaut, a Zionist on the faculty of the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Haifa, in the outlaw state of Israel, thinks I’m a cockroach — or more accurately, one of “Cockburn’s Cockroaches,” a reference to Alexander Cockburn, coeditor with Jeffrey St. Clair of Counterpunch.
As I wrote St. Clair, after he forwarded a copy of Plaut’s derisive screed (The Lunatic Left: Ward Churchill and Counterpunch.com) — wherein the good instructor of business lambasted several writers — and posted on the ChronWatch web site earlier today, I am honored to be a “Cockburn Cockroach.” I wear it as a badge of honor as I scurry about on my tiny brown legs, sort of like a character in a Kafka novel, my antennae clacking away at the computer keyboard, defending “pro-terror professors,” most notably Ward Churchill and Shahid Alam.
Since I am a mere 40 miles from Mexico, here in southern New Mexico, where the first language is often Spanish — much the chagrin of right-wingers — I prefer to be called a Cockburn cucaracha.
Viva La Cucaracha!
Reading Plaut’s denunciation, I had to laugh, or at least chuckle, because, as usual, it is a whole lot of something about absolutely nothing.
Plaut offers the same bland and oft-repeated fare served up by the likes of David Horowitz, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Bennett, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and a nearly inexhaustible roster of right-wing paranoiacs who believe a small number of mostly marginalized, in the larger media sense, “treasonous lunatics and Hate-America neurotics” are nothing less than a portentous threat to America. It irks these busy-bodies to no end that a few lefty profs and instructors have taken refuge on the campuses of America, about the only place left for them to work in peace, or so it seemed until Lynne Cheney and Bill Bennett, drawing on the inquisitional example of Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz, decided to run them off as a dire threat to the current generation of students.
Of course, these far right field paranoiacs — or possibly crazy, as in delusional — as demonstrated by Plaut’s perfectly timed malediction, are not strictly interested in a few Marxist or even Ethnic Studies professors. No, they shall not rest until all of the “semi-civilized” beasts are exorcised from America, or at least written off as “Hate-America neurotics” whose “politics reflect little more than an infantile anger at Mommy and Daddy” (as if Mommy and Daddy were serial murderers, responsible for the methodical slaughter of 500,000 Iraqi children).
Since a lot of us harboring “infantile anger” at invasions predicated on lies and deception, fought with nuclear weapons such as depleted uranium — a weapon that will ultimately kill millions of Iraqis for thousands of years to come, to say nothing of Americans and Israelis such as the self-righteous Plaut, since we all share a biosphere — are not professors on the public dime, now is the time to attack web sites such as Counterpunch … and for good reason, since CounterPunch is one of the more popular and well-read sites, drawing tens of thousands of readers every single day.
Plaut dutifully stacks up the charges: anti-Semitism, slavish kow-towing to terrorists, and a generalized and absurd all-encompassing hatred for America. In other words, the gall to criticize Israel for torturing and murdering Palestinians with impunity (a crime we can specifically place at Plaut’s academic doorstep, since he is an employee of the Israeli state), the effrontery to point out the obvious, as Churchill did — a murderous foreign policy, exacted over decades, will ultimately come back to haunt its perpetrators, or at least their uninformed fellow citizens (Cheney has bunker for such events) — and the insolence not to march along with Bush and the Strausscons, pom-poms in hand, cheering ever onward generational war in such places as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and eventually the big kahuna, Saudi Arabia.
For Plaut, the first item on the list is to convince us Alexander Cockburn is a despicable anti-Semite. It fails miserably if you have read Cockburn. But then, as we know, these right-wingers only read paragraphs pointed out them, as in the case of Ward Churchill, thus deciding to misunderstand the larger context.
One of Cockburn’s more objectionable deeds, as Plaut tells us, is to have published an article by Shahid Alam, another professor on Bill “phone sex” O’Reilly’s sensationalistic (and profitable for advertisers) hit list. In the course of his tirade, if I understand correctly — since I am not in the habit of watching Mr. Bill, the Torquemada, or Grand Inquisitor of Fox News — Bill fulminated against both Alam and Counterpunch.
Shahid Alam’s crime?
The professor of economics at Northeastern University characterized the September 11, 2001, attack on America as a response to foreign occupation.
Obviously, this is a no-brainer — more than a few angry Saudis don’t like the idea of infidels and their massive array of military equipment parked near their holy sites, and the former CIA operative Osama bin Laden has said as much — but Bill is simply unable to get over it, convinced such a comment is nothing short of treason.
Or a spike in ratings.
It doesn’t help that Mr. Alam also writes about “overzealous patriotism that often dominates political discourse in the United States,” for instance Bill O’Reilly and the list of far right-wing luminaries mentioned above who dominate the corporate media, to name but a few.
Alam, as well, often takes to task the dearly held right-winger ideal of American exceptionalism, i.e., America is the “Greatest Nation on Earth,” an idea that rankles many of the 6 billion or so people on the planet who don’t happen to be American — a growing number of whom, according to polls, feel that America and Israel are the most dangerous threat to world peace.
But then, I guess, there are a few billion or so “Hate-America neurotics” out there.
At any rate, I am not only proud to be a Cockburn Cockroach — in good company with Shahid Alam, Carolyn Baker, Joshua Frank, Nate Collins, and Mickey Z — but I also know these folks are absolutely correct in their well-reasoned claims America has more than a few problems in need of address immediately, lest the ChronWatch crazies and their delusional allies, spiraling all the way up to the White House and the Pentagon, destroy this nation with their mindless blood-lust for generational war against Muslim hobgoblins and thus unleash further their pathologically overwhelming desire to find enemies and persecute them relentlessly.
In the meantime, Mr. Plaut, you can call me Cucaracha.
KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org