Ohio State Profs Go “Truther” · 17 August 2007

By Patrick Poole
Filed under: Ohio


Two of The Ohio State University’s most prominent scholars demonstrated how low higher education has sunk by appearing at a panel on “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter” co-sponsored by a local group that promotes the view that the World Trade Center towers were not brought down by two terrorist-controlled planes on 9/11, but through a nefarious US government-controlled conspiracy.


One of the Ohio State scholars, John Mueller, the Woody Hayes Chair for National Security Studies, might be familiar to readers from a FrontPage article last year, “Ohio State Prof: What Terrorist Threat?”, and for his book published last November, Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them, where he argues that al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations pose no danger to America because the odds of being killed in a terrorist attack are greater than being struck by a meteoroid.


The other Ohio State scholar on this panel, John Quigley, is currently the Presidents’ Club Professor of Law at the Moritz College of Law. A Harvard-educated scholar on the Soviet Union and comparative law, he has now adopted the Palestinian cause as a focus of his studies and identifies Western intervention as the cause of the present troubles in the Middle East. In a 2006 Florida Law Review article, he finds that Osama bin Laden is really an anti-colonial fellow traveler:


“Bin Laden framed his anti-United States arguments in the language of Islam, but he was voicing the same anti-colonialist sentiments that had been directed against France and Britain in the early 20th Century.”


And in a 2005 Hastings International and Comparative Law Review article, Quigley argues that negotiation and diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians is outmoded, and that a solution should be imposed on the Israelis in accordance with his interpretation of international law:


“The displaced Palestinians should not have to lobby for their right of return vis-à-vis Israel or vis-à-vis the Palestinian leadership. The right is guaranteed by human rights norms. Just as a state that tortures is obliged to desist without being cajoled and without negotiation, so a state that refuses to repatriate is obliged to desist, namely, by repatriating.”


The panel held at Ohio State was co-sponsored by Columbus 9/11 Truth, an organization that also recently sponsored the all-day Truth Film Festival, which screened several 9/11-related documentaries, culminating in previews of 9/11 Press for Truth and Improbable Collapse: The Demolition of Our Republic, films described by a local paper with the following premises:


These pictures have been cannily selected to lay the groundwork for the more controversial claims in the festival’s last two entries: 9/11 Press for Truth, which suggests a government cover-up after the World Trade Center disaster, and Improbable Collapse: The Demolition of Our Republic, which tries to scientifically prove that the buildings could not have been brought down by two jet planes alone.

The other primary co-sponsor for the Ohio State panel was the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which provided the two additional panel participants: Ahmad Al-Akhras, the CAIR national vice chairman, who moderated the event; and Abukar Arman, CAIR-OH board member who joined Mueller and Quigley on the discussion panel. Both men have been the subjects of recent FrontPage profiles: Al-Akhras for his vocal support of convicted and deported terrorists (“Hometown Jihad: Getting By with a Little Help From His (Terrorist) Friends”); and Arman, for his published support of terrorist organizations (“Hometown Jihad: The Somali Terror Apologist Next Door”), which resulted in his removal from a Central Ohio Homeland Security oversight board (“Terrorist Sympathizer Tossed from Homeland Security Panel”).


A subsequent CAIR press release stated that 90 people attended the event.


When examining the writings of both Mueller and Quigley, it is easy to see why they would find common cause with fringe groups like Columbus 9/11 Truth and CAIR-OH. That both men hold prominent endowed positions at Ohio State (my alma mater) gives proof that academic freedom is alive and well on our college campuses. And so is academic extremism.

Patrick Poole is an author and public policy researcher. He also maintains a blog, "Existential Space," where he writes on a number of cultural, political and religious issues.