University of North Carolina law professor Eric Muller [send him mail] appears to have a lot of time on his hands to pursue his avocation of amateur Commissar of Political Correctness. Not only did he have VDARE.com's Peter Brimelow thrown off the air last summer (follow the resulting row here) but he's nursed an obsession with our lovely columnist Michelle Malkin that's hilariously creepy.
Ironically, Muller's crusade against profiling nearly claimed a distinguished victim last year: Muller himself, in an instantly-forgotten terrorist (not least by him) incident on the UNC campus.
First, the matter of Malkin: On September 28, 2006, Muller tried to score points off (or possibly in his own mind, with) Michelle by posting a picture of her on his IsThatLegal? blog in a bikini.
"Yup, and for the record (sorry to disappoint the gentlemen), I haven't worn a bikini since I had my two kids."
This was only part of a campaign that has caused Malkin to file a complaint with Muller's employer. Earlier, on April 4, 2006, Muller announced that he had monitored Michelle's blog postings over a 36-hour period, cross-referenced them against his reconstruction of her travel itinerary, and then (perhaps typing as fast as he could before the Halliburton black helicopters came to take him to Abu Ghraib), announced that she couldn't have written them all herself.
You see, the smoking gun (according to Muller) was that she posted an item at 8:25 AM, then flew to Minneapolis for three hours, then posted another at 12:31 PM! How could she do that?
Uh, by using a wireless networking card in her laptop?
The commenters on Muller's own blog were unkind to the professor, to the say the least.
It's not surprising that Muller has given up debating in favor of smearing, slandering and if possible silencing his opponents. He seems otherwise underequipped for intellectual combat. I first heard about Muller from his 27,000 word denunciation of Michelle Malkin's 2004 book In Defense Of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" in World War II and the War on Terror.
I had written a long review of Malkin's book for VDARE.com, arguing that the Roosevelt Administration's interning West Coast Japanese-American citizens was, in hindsight, a mistake, justifying President Reagan's granting $20,000 compensation checks in 1988. Yet, I said, it was also an understandable mistake under the extreme stress and uncertainty of confronting a Japanese fleet that had conquered close to an eighth of the world's surface by early 1942. (Here, by the way, is the wise Thomas Sowell's similar review.)
Muller, though, knew better. It was all completely unjustified and the fault of white American racism. After all, he wrote, the U.S. government
"took no action affecting American citizens of German or Italian ancestry. (In other words, if your name was, say Joe Kaminaka or Lou Matsumoto, you were evicted and confined; if your name was, say, Joe DiMaggio or Lou Gehrig, well, uh, you know.)"
For somebody who purported to be an expert on the internment controversy, Muller didn't seem to have much experience discussing it with anybody who didn't already wholly agree with him.
For example, Muller's Joe DiMaggio quip above was a classic case of leading with your chin. DiMaggio's own father, a San Francisco crab fisherman, was grounded for the war's duration to prevent him—the dad of the most popular athlete in America—from rendezvousing in the fog beyond the Golden Gate Bridge with Mussolini's invasion fleet … or something. This was much nuttier than fears of Japanese-American collaboration with Tojo's fleet.
Further, Muller repeatedly made assertions that were prima facie absurd to anyone with an understanding of the dire naval situation in early 1942. At that time, Secretary of War Henry Stimson argued (incorrectly, as it turned out, but sincerely) that Japanese hit-and-run raids on the West Coast were "not only possible, but probable in the first months of the war, and it was quite impossible to be sure that the raiders would not receive important help from individuals of Japanese origin."
Muller, bizarrely, claimed that America then "faced identical (indeed, more serious) threats along its East Coast."
In reality, neither Germany nor Italy had much of a surface navy left by 1942. The Germans had already lost the Graf Spee and Bismarck, and they never even finished an aircraft carrier, the decisive asset in 1940s naval warfare. Moreover, the unconquered Royal Navy stood between Germany and the beach at Coney Island. The remnants of the German surface fleet were largely bottled up in the Baltic Sea by the by the vastly larger Royal Navy, with its base at Scotland's Scapa Flow.
As Harvard historian Niall Ferguson notes in his fine new book The War of the World:
"At the outbreak of war [in 1939], the British had seven aircraft carriers, the Germans none; fifteen battleships to the German's five; forty-nine cruisers to the Germans' six; 192 destroyers to the Germans' twenty-one."
Similarly, the British guns inside the Rock of Gibraltar kept within the Mediterranean what little was left of the Italian fleet after its defeat by the British at Taranto in 1940 and Cape Matapan in 1941. How exactly the survivors were going to sail around Cape Horn to link up with the DiMaggio crab boat was left unexplained. Perhaps the U.S. was worried that Mussolini would build a new Italian navy of glass-bottomed boats so they could steer clear of the old Italian navy.
In contrast, when the internment decision was made in early 1942, the Japanese Navy then boasted ten aircraft carriers (six full-sized) and eleven battleships. But the U.S. could normally put only three flattops to sea in the Pacific—and most of our battleships were still at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. The Japanese carriers had revolutionized global warfare, raiding Hawaii, Australia, and Ceylon, a span of 65 degrees of longitude, between December 1941 and April 1942.
Moreover, the Japanese regime had inculcated a fanatical racist militarism among the Japanese (as exemplified by the refusal of almost all of the 22,000 Imperial troops on Iwo Jima to surrender), including several thousand American citizens whose Japan-born parents had sent them back to the Old Country for education and indoctrination.
In contrast, Il Duce's subjects showed negligible enthusiasm for the war. Indeed, when Patton's army landed in Sicily in 1943, Italian soldiers put down their guns, ran down on the beach, and helped the Americans unload.
In Germany, war lust was running higher than in Italy, but the loyalty of German-Americans had been fully tested in World War I, when expressions of pride in German culture in the U.S. had been crushed during the anti-German Kulturkampf.
Now the rest of the story: The political purpose of Michelle's book was to argue against Bush Administration Transportation Secretary Underperformin' Norman Mineta's adamant opposition to ethnic profiling at airports due to his internment as an infant during WWII.
Mineta's policy of harassing obvious non-terrorists has wasted enormous amounts of the limited time of passengers and personnel. For example, Joe Foss, an 86-year-old former Marine general and South Dakota governor on his way to give a speech at West Point, was given the third degree by airport security for 45 minutes because he had set off the metal detector with … his Congressional Medal of Honor.
To Muller, though, Michelle's advocacy of the ethnic profiling of Middle Eastern Muslims was just racist hysteria. He was particularly outraged that Michelle had put on her book's cover pictures of both Richard Kotoshirodo, the American citizen who had spied on Pearl Harbor for Japan, and the organizer of the 9/11 slaughter, Mohammed Atta.
In 2005, though, we learned that political correctness allowed arch-terrorist Atta to board his first flight on 9/11. David Hench of the Portland Press Herald interviewed U.S. Air ticket agent Michael Tuohey in 2005 and recounted that fateful encounter.
"Then [Tuohey's] eyes locked on Atta.
"'It just sent chills through you. You see his picture in the paper (now). You see more life in that picture than there is in flesh and blood,' Tuohey said.
"Then Tuohey went through an internal debate that still haunts him.
"'I said to myself, "If this guy doesn't look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does." Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it's not nice to say things like this,' he said." [More]
That's exactly the reaction Mineta had been demanding of airport workers. And, as I pointed out on the evening of 9/11/01, Mineta's boss, George W. Bush, had been calling since the 2000 campaign for laxer airport security in the hopes of winning the Muslim vote. Amusingly, Muller and Bush are on the same side of the profiling issue.
Now the denouement: an even more striking irony was to come.
A shaken Muller blogged on March 4th, 2006:
"I am nearly speechless about the jeep attack on the UNC campus yesterday.
"The spot the assailant chose was the very center of the campus … In the noon hour it's just mobbed with students, faculty, and staff. Not infrequently I'm over there in the noon hour myself; there's a Jamba Juice in the dining hall where I like to get smoothies."
Only in Muller's dreams.
According to Wikipedia, the North Carolina terrorist is:
"… an Iranian-born American citizen who confessed to intentionally hitting people with a car on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to 'avenge the deaths of Muslims worldwide' and to 'punish' the United States government. While no one was killed in the attack, nine people were injured (none seriously)… In one letter, Taheri-azar wrote, 'I was aiming to follow in the footsteps of one of my role models, Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11/01 hijackers, who obtained a doctorate degree.'"
"So this question of what to call Mohammed Taheri-azar is not an easy one. Yes, what he did was, on my view, 'terrorism.' But I do not wish to join those clamoring for the deployment of the word. I want to use the word deliberately, carefully, without shearing from it its very worrying connotations. That is what I see this community doing as it debates what to call this frightening young man, and I applaud the community for it."
One of Muller's commenters sardonically observed:
"Geez, next thing maybe you and your comrades will stop using the word 'racist' for every policy you disagree with. I won't hold my breath, though."
Yeah. Here at VDARE.com, we're not holding our breath, either.
For Muller or for the myriad of Mullers who currently paralyze American public debate.