Thursday, September 22, 2005

# Posted 1:54 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

"SEPT. 11 WAS NOT AN UNPROVOKED, GRATUITOUS ACT": My younger brother once made the very astute observation that both liberals and conservatives tend to motivate themselves by pointing out the most absurd and outrageous things said by their opponents, rather than confronting those opponents' strongest arguments.

In that spirit, OxBlog tries to say what it is for and not just what it is against. But sometimes, when experts with sterling credentials start to say things that are offensive and dangerous, they have to be exposed. Today's case in point is Dr. Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, associate director of Harvard's Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) .

Last week, Dr. Mohamedou published an op-ed in the Boston Globe entitled "Time to Talk to Al Qaeda?" (Hat tip: Power Line) Here is a typical passage from the column:
Sept. 11 was not an unprovoked, gratuitous act. It was a military operation researched and planned since at least 1996 and conducted by a trained commando in the context of a war that had twice been declared officially and publicly.
There you have it folks. An expert on the payroll of the world's greatest university telling us that hijacking airplanes and flying them into skyscrapers really isn't all that bad as long as you tell everyone in advance what you're going to do. But don't forget, this rule only applies to "trained commando". If you're an amateur terrorist, forget about it!

By the way, may I point out the sad irony of the fact that Dr. Mohamedou is the associate director of a center for humanitarian policy. We should be grateful that he isn't director of a center for disease control, otherwise he'd be telling us that there's nothing wrong with malaria.

By the way, you may be interested to know that in addition to Harvard, the two major sponsor of Dr. Mohamedou's program are the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. As everyone knows, both the Swiss and the UN have an impressive record of confronting evil in the world rather than retreating into relativism.

On a personal note, what's all the more disturbing about Dr. Mohamedou and is program is that its offices are in the very same building where I had my office when I spent the year at the Olin Institute at Harvard. In fact, a good friend of mine worked for the HPCR. I assumed it was just another program.

Anyhow, I'm still clinging to the hope that this whole op-ed is a hoax. Perhaps someone from ANSWER signed Dr. Mohamedou's name to the article and sent it in to the Globe. But if it's for real, then perhaps one has to wonder just how many other apologists for murder are posing as scholars on America's campuses.

UPDATE: According to Google, Dr. Mohamedou's op-ed has actually gotten a fair amount of attention from the right-wing of the blogosphere, including WizBang, Free Republic, Jihad Watch, LGF, and Best of the Web. On the left, Common Dreams and Info Clearing House have both reposted Dr. Mohamedou's column, with no apparent reservation about its contents.
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