Nicholas De Genova is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, New York, NY. He is perhaps the best April Fool's Joke of the 2003 season...except that it's not a joke. From April 1, 2003's NY Post Opinion section, Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes quotes De Genova:
"U.S. flags are the emblem of the invading war machine in Iraq today. They are the emblem of the occupying power. The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military."

Those words were spoken last week by Nicholas De Genova, a professor of anthropology and Latin American studies at Columbia University. De Genova went on, in words that will long shame his university, to call on U.S. soldiers to "frag" (i.e., murder) their officers and to wish "for a million Mogadishus," referring to the 1993 ambush in Somalia that left 18 U.S. soldiers dead and 84 wounded.

He wants 18 million dead Americans? 1

Of course, it's even worse for the other side. According to Mark Bowden, author of a Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper series on the Somalia conflict, the U.S. military estimates there were 1000 Somali casualties, including 500 immediate dead, in the Blackhawk Down incident alone2. Given the state of medical care in Somalia, one can only speculate as to how many of the injured later died. Islamofascist propaganda has claimed some 10,000 deaths as a result of U.S. involvment at Mogadishu. I suppose De Genova considers bin Laden to be a more reliable source than the U.S. military, so by analogy, De Genova's rhetorical call for a million Mogadishus is a call for the death of 10 billion Iraqis.

April Fools, Nicholas! According to the CIA World Factbook, there are only about 24 million Iraqis for you to offer up in sacrifice.3 I guess someone must have put an extra helping of genocide in your muesli the morning of the teach-in.

Only it's not funny. Saddam's personal hero is Josef Stalin, who got awfully close to killing an Iraq-worth of innocents, as the professor is no doubt aware.

The Columbia Spectator has decent coverage of the whole affair, including expressions of the inane sentiment that the right to free speech is the only right that is completely and unconditionally absolute, by implication more absolute even than the right to life. There are also some other gems:

Jean Cohen, Professor of Political Science, who first had the idea for the event {at which only the anti-U.S. version of the anti-war viewpoint was presented! --e-hadj} said, "It was an utterly irresponsible thing to do. And it's not innocent. ... This was a planned undermining of this teach-in."
"I don't think what he's said is some kind of formalistic liberal freedom of speech," she said. "This kind of thing is reprehensible. {I}f he were paid by the political right to do this, it could not have been more effective."4

I couldn't agree more. Trent Lott and Tom Dachle have finally been de-throned.

1. The authors are: Daniel Pipes, director and Jonathan Calt Harris, managing editor of Campus Watch (



4. Columbia's President helpfully condemns the real atrocity at, and De Genova "contextualizes" (I kid you not) himself at