Annals of bonkers scholarship: “Trahison des Professeurs”

I’ve seen a hundred wacky and extreme papers out of legal academia, and wrote about more than one in Schools for Misrule, but this one, published by the National Security Law Journal at George Mason (whose editor-in-chief has already repudiated it) stands out. You can read the whole story at The Guardian, including links to some of the controversies that have followed author William Bradford, but it might make more sense to hand the gavel over to distinguished legal scholar and Prof. Jeremy Rabkin in his four-page rebuttal:

When an article proposes to arrest law professors and bomb law schools and nearby TV studios, it’s not engaging in “controversy,” but slipping into an alternate universe. It’s not “discomforting.” It is bonkers. The journal could not reasonably have expected readers to “respond” – unless to ask, “Are you out of your minds?”

Monday update: Bradford resigns.


  • Personally, I read the article (ok, I’m admitting here I didn’t read the whole darn thing because no sane person would do that, though I feel I’ve gotten the gist and I’ve read various commentaries on it in full) as a brilliant satire of the security state we’ve become and our broad anti-terrorism laws along with our permanent state of emergency justifying extreme actions and the suspension of civil liberties. Of course, it doesn’t appear that Bradford meant it that way, which makes this all the more depressing. On the other hand, the portions that basically appear to call for the total destruction of Islam worldwide are profoundly disturbing when they comes from someone who’s job is to teach our future military officers.

    As a sidenote, it would seem odd that West Point, of all institutions, would hire someone accused of misrepresenting his military service record.

    • The whole article was an excuse to develop the CLOACA acronym, which “Professor” Bradford must have amused himself mightily with.

  • It looks like just criticism online now, but I wonder how Conservatives take this. Most of the article sounds pretty typical. If Chris Christie can get cheers for saying “we need to search you more, and you need to trust us”, this fits right it.

  • Look man, 2Ls just need something to take up space on the resume. A few bonkers articles are bound to slip through.

  • I suspect that it is not an accident that the author chose the acronym CLOACA (Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy) for the group of legal scholars of whom he is critical. “cloaca” is Latin for “sewer”.

  • @ Bill P.
    And it’s also a chicken’s posterior orifice.

  • Maybe this guy is the Andy Kaufman of the legal professors? It might explain a lot.

  • Since when does West Point graduate Army officers in Navy Whites? Credibility lies in the details.

    • Good point.

      However, feasibly it could be accurate. The caption for the picture does read: “Underclassmen attend a commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point.” It did not state that they were Army underclassmen. There could be Navy underclassmen who made the trip from Annapolis.

      But, I doubt it. It is more likely that the picture is not from West Point. It is definite that the students are not West Point cadets.

    • What branch is the officer in front from? It does not look Army or Marine. Is it a Navy dress uniform? (I did not see many Naval officers in dress uniform during my Army days).

    • West Point does not graduate Army officers in Navy white.

      However, West Point does have a summer uniform with white shirts and grey pants. If you blow up the image, you can see the grey pants on some cadets. Annapolis does not have grey pants for summer uniforms.

      Navy covers have a black band above the gold braiding and for underclassman, the “anchor” sits in an oval of black as part of that band. Army covers have no such band. In addition, Army covers have a gold shield and eagle which is also seen when the image is blown up.

      USNA uniforms can be seen here:

      USMA uniforms can be seen here: (see “grey over white.)

      The officer appears to be in the Army class A uniform with the blue shoulder cord designating he is from infantry. The uniform can be seen at the most reliable site in the world, Wikipedia, See upper right, middle image.

      The men and women in the image are from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

  • Yes. I do see the grey pants.

    I thought that looked like the Army uniform. However, I looked at my old dress blues (now the class A uniform?) and there is one difference between them and the officer in the picture. On the right sleeve, mine only has two stripes. The officer’s uniform looks like it has one stripe and something above it. It is for that reason I did not think it was an Army uniform.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    • I am not sure what you are referring to on the right sleeve, but I am going to assume that you are talking about the cuff area.

      The angle of the shot is deceiving to an extent. The officer’s stripes that appear to be one are actually two gold stripes separated by a stripe of blue. The angle of the shot makes it look like it is one large stripe.

      Uniforms for enlisted men and women have one gold stripe on their sleeves.

      I am also going to assume the “something above it” are the little hash marks. They are “overseas service bars.” In the shortest description, they are awarded for every 6 continuous months of service spent out of the continental US and in a designated combat zone.

      (You are welcome for the clarification. I am sure that cadets would hate the thought of being identified as midshipmen and vice versa.)