University of Colorado professor Ward L. Churchill is arguing that the 9/11 victims were legitimate targets for our enemies to strike at, and he calls the hijackers "combat teams" rather than terrorists. Sure, Churchill is a repulsive fool, but even aside from that I think his comments are pointless. It doesn't really matter to me what you call our enemies; why quibble over vocabulary?
The real crux of the issue is that by changing the vocabulary, Churchill and others of his ilk are attempting to advance a more subtle arguement: if the people killed on 9/11 were "legitimate targets" rather than innocent victims, then we're not justified in avenging their deaths. But is that true? If our military forces are attacked by honorable enemies, it's still a declaration of war and we're still entitled to fight back.
So what's the point Churchill is trying to make? Even if his position is accurate, we're still justified in crushing our enemies; if their attack on 9/11 was justified as retaliation for our earlier attacks, then our subsequent attacks must likewise be justified. His essay is pointless as an argument for unilaterally stopping the conflict; all it can hope to achieve is to make Americans and terrorists into moral equivalents, thereby scoring some sort of abstract philisophical point.
I, however, am not particularly interested in the philosophy behind the War on Terror. I don't really care "why they hate us" -- or even that they hate us -- I just want them to stop killing my countrymen. The root causes are irrelevant to me, because I'm not after "justice"; we'll never reach agreement on that, so let's leave it to God. I just want to win.
Clayton Cramer agrees that the essay was pointless and trite. Sometimes I think the American left has no purpose other than to make the rest of us feel as bad about ourselves as they do about theirselves.