West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror

US military academy official William Bradford argues that attacks on scholars’ home offices and media outlets – along with Islamic holy sites – are legitimate

The Guardian, By Spencer Ackerman, August 29

New York – An assistant professor in the law department of the US Military Academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants.

In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.

“Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, [dissenting] scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism,” Bradford wrote.

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  • West Point law professor who called for attacks on ‘Islamic holy sites’ resigns

    The Guardian, By Spencer Ackerman, August 31

    New York – A law professor who published an inflammatory article urging attacks on law professors and “Islamic holy sites” and who has been dogged by accusations of misrepresenting his academic and military credentials has resigned from the US Military Academy at West Point, the Guardian has confirmed.

    Although West Point hired William C Bradford on 1 August, a spokesman said the prestigious undergraduate institution where the US army educates its future officers parted ways with the controversial academic on Sunday, the day after the Guardian published an article highlighting Bradford’s proposals to treat US scholars as “enemy combatants”.

    “Dr William Bradford resigned on Sunday,” army lieutenant colonel Christopher Kasker, a West Point spokesman, told the Guardian on Monday. Bradford had taught five lessons for cadets in a common-core law course, from 17 to 27 August.

    The West Point resignation marks the most recent academic departure for the controversial Bradford, following a decade’s worth of apparent exaggeration of his service record and academic career.

    It remains unclear how thoroughly West Point vetted Bradford before hiring him.

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