Letters

Academic freedom in regard to alternate 9/11 theories

The Aug. 18 article about me, "Teacher's radical 9/11 views raise red flags," said, "According to Kevin Barrett, the US government planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks...." I do not think this, and have never said this. I think some (presumably very few) top US officials orchestrated the attacks. The distinction is crucial. To accuse a whole government of such a crime would be ridiculous.

The article also states that "the university has been deluged with e-mails against Barrett" without mentioning that they have also been deluged with e-mails in my favor. If the 90- percent-positive e-mail I receive is any indication, the hostile e-mails are mostly from obscene or illiterate grunts, while the positive ones are reasoned arguments from evidence.

The article cites Rep. Stephen Nass (R) of Wisconsin: "This isn't academic freedom. This person can't substantiate his views." Mr. Nass's statement is not just false and defamatory, but absurd, because he refuses to examine my substantiation. I have repeatedly challenged Nass to debate me on this issue, and he has repeatedly refused. I've cited dozens of books, hundreds of articles, dozens of photos, and hours of video and audio recordings. (Much of this is available at the Scholars for 9/11 Truth website, www.st911.org.). I served as lead editor for the book, "9/11 and the American Empire: Christians, Jews and Muslims Speak Out," which includes my own referenced article.

This article seems designed to make my views sound immature and extremely unusual. But a recent Scripps-Howard poll showed that 36 percent of the American people believe that it is either "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that top US officials orchestrated or aided the 9/11 attacks in order to create a pretext for war in the Middle East. And a Zogby poll (May 2006) showed that those who know that three high-rise World Trade Center buildings, and not just two, collapsed that day – are far more likely to disbelieve the government's story than those who do not.
Kevin Barrett
Madison, Wis.

In response to the article on Kevin Barrett, it is interesting that someone can get paid as a college professor for spouting his own personal viewpoint that our government was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and not Islamic terrorists. (Islamic terrorists don't mind taking credit for it.) But academic freedom doesn't extend to permitting the opposing view of creationism to be taught alongside evolutionary theory. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Patricia Shoptaw
Evansville, Ind.

Regarding the Aug. 18 article on Kevin Barrett: Whenever someone in the academic community raises issues or questions about 9/11, they are immediately pushed into the realm of conspiracy theorists, and then slated for dismissal. It is extremely disappointing when state officials call for the dismissal of educators because of their respective opinions.

Perhaps the state governments should dictate what we learn at universities, or have a state code of education. But that ideology has already been tried before – it's called communism.
William Helbig
Canadensis, Pa.

In response to the article on Kevin Barrett: That the US government was involved in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks as asserted by some intellectuals and even politicians is ridiculous, outrageous, and deserving of universal condemnation.
Mark Pasternak
Charleston, Ore.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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