It’s not big news any more — Colorado University Professor Ward Churchill makes yet another cleverly worded comment that outrages everyone but the moonbat Left with its crude and violent illogic. Reasonable people marvel that Churchill would draw such attention to himself when his very career at Colorado University is in peril.

Has it not occurred to anyone that this is part — a very large and important part — of his overall legal strategy to save his job?

While those opposed to Churchill rail loudly for his immediate severance from CU (And the Right is playing right into this strategy; some are so ignorant of the stakes that they don’t even wait for Churchill to actually utter scandalous statements, but instead imagine in print what he might say, for instance, about the London terrorist bombings Thursday), Churchill keeps his eye on the prize: Winning the legal fight over his employment. All else is secondary.

The looming court battle over Churchill’s tenure (and employment) with the University of Colorado will boil down to a single question: Is Churchill being terminated due to plagiarism, scholarly misconduct and race fraud, or is he being fired over free speech and academic freedom issues? If CU can prove it terminated his tenure/employment because of misconduct rather than for what he said, CU wins. That outcome seems less likely with each new speaking engagement.

In this light, it’s easy to understand why his latest remarks concerning the fragging of line officers in Iraq are slyly short of actual incitement (inevitably couched in rhetorical terms in what should be considered a rather daring prostitution of the Socratic method), as have been most of his other provocative comments. It’s increasingly clear that as long as Churchill can keep the argument (and outrage) centered on his words rather than his actions (without stepping into “incitement” territory), the outcome of the legal question of “Why is he losing his job?” will most certainly be “because he said outrageous and hurtful things.”

We pointed out that back in February, Churchill (and the Left) would work strenuously to recast the argument in First Amendment and academic freedom terms. We didn’t realize at the time, however, that Churchill would take such a proactive approach to that recasting, ensuring with each new “frag the officers” outrage that it would be more difficult for a judge to see the argument as anything but a freedom of speech issue.

And that means Churchill wins — he keeps his job or gets a huge settlement from CU, or both — and the CU system and the people of the state of Colorado lose.

CU’s reputation and that of academia in general will, of course, be damaged, but not irreparably so. But that will not change the fact that Ward Churchill will have won. Very clever.

”’Jim Paine can be reached via email at”’ ”’This essay was originally printed in:”’

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