On October 8, Air Force Academy cadet Robert Kurpiel sent an e-mail to several college professors seeking support for the academy’s annual assembly, which provides a forum for the exchange of political views. His polite request sought advice on publicity for the event and such. One who responded was Professor Peter Kirstein of St. Xavier University in Chicago. Here is his October 31 reply in full and verbatim:
You are a disgrace to this country and I am furious you would even think I would support you and your aggressive baby killing tactics of collateral damage. Help you recruit. Who, top guns to reign [sic] death and destruction upon nonwhite peoples throughout the world? Are you serious sir? Resign your commission and serve your country with honour.
No war, no air force cowards who bomb countries with AAA, without possibility of retaliation. You are worse than the snipers. You are imperialists who are turning the whole damn world against us. September 11 can be blamed in part for what you and your cohorts have done to Palestinians, the VC, the Serbs, a retreating army at Basra.
You are unworthy of my support.
After the national media covered this story, and Dr Kirstein was temporarily removed from his position for his remarks, he gave the following (non)apology:
I have expressed to Cadet Kurpiel my regrets over what I communicated to him in my e-mail. I did not mean to impugn his character. I am sure he is of the highest character. I should have written him in a more thoughtful and contemplative manner. As one who believes in non-violence and the avoidance of conflict, I could have been more circumspect and creative in my communication with him..”
I don’t think I need to add much commentary here, except I can say from some of my experience at Texas A&M that Dr Kirstein is no exception and this this is the ugly underbelly of today’s academia out in the open.