ILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (AP) -- A
university instructor who came under scrutiny for arguing that
the U.S. government orchestrated the September 11 attacks likens
President Bush to Adolf Hitler in an essay his students are
being required to buy for his course.
The essay by Kevin Barrett, "Interpreting the
Unspeakable: The Myth of 9/11," is part of a $20 book of essays
by 15 authors, according to an unedited copy first obtained by
WKOW-TV in Madison and later by The Associated Press.
The book's title is "9/11 and American
Empire: Muslims, Jews, and Christians Speak Out." It is on the
syllabus for Barrett's course at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, "Islam: Religion and Culture," but only three
of the essays are required reading, not including Barrett's
Barrett, a part-time instructor who holds a
doctorate in African languages and literature and folklore from
UW-Madison, is active in a group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
The group's members say U.S. officials, not al-Qaida terrorists,
were behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
"Like Bush and the neocons, Hitler and the
Nazis inaugurated their new era by destroying an architectural
monument and blaming its destruction on their designated
enemies," he wrote.
Barrett said Tuesday he was comparing the
attacks to the burning of the German parliament building, the
Reichstag, in 1933, a key event in the establishment of the Nazi
"That's not comparing them as people, that's
comparing the Reichstag fire to the demolition of the World
Trade Center, and that's an accurate comparison that I would
stand by," he said.
He added: "Hitler had a good 20 to 30 IQ
points on Bush, so comparing Bush to Hitler would in many ways
be an insult to Hitler."
Moira Megargee, publicity director for the
Northampton, Massachusetts, publisher Interlink, said the book
is due out at the end of November and the editing isn't
"It is not final and for all we know that
essay may not be in the book or may be edited," she said.
The university's decision to allow Barrett to
teach the course touched off a controversy over the summer once
his views became widely known.
Sixty-one state legislators denounced the
move. One county board cut its funding for the UW-Extension by
$8,247 -- the amount Barrett will earn for teaching the course
-- in a symbolic protest, even though the course is unrelated to
that branch of the UW System.
Democratic Governor Jim Doyle and his
Republican challenger, Mark Green, have both said they believe
Barrett should be fired.
One essay Barrett is requiring students to
read is entitled: "A Clash Between Justice and Greed," and
argues that conflicts between Islam and the western world were
made up after the "collapse of the Soviet Union to justify U.S.
'defense' spending, and to provide a pretext of controlling the
The author of another essay, "Interpreting
Terrorism: Muslim Problem or Covert Operations Nightmare?,"
contends some western intelligence agencies are commiting acts
of terrorism to make them look like the work of radical Islamics.
The university's chief academic officer,
Provost Patrick Farrell, decided to retain Barrett for the
course after reviewing his plans and qualifications. He said
Barrett could present his ideas during one week of the course as
long as students were allowed to challenge them.
He later warned Barrett to stop seeking
publicity for his personal political views.
Farrell said he has not seen the essay, but
faculty can assign readings that may not be popular to everyone.
"I think part of the role of any challenging
course here is going to encourage students to think of things
from a variety of perspectives," he said.