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December 7, 2023

It was as if they had called The Stupids to Washington and invited them to perform for the TV cameras, delighting those idle kibitzers who love such spectacles.

On the one hand, here were three Ivy League presidents, none of whom seemed to have brought their neurons to the witness table. With all their smirking, sneering and condescending answers, viewers must have wondered if they had mistakenly tuned into The View: Which one was Joy Behar anyway? The core question: Do your respective codes of conduct prohibit the kinds of antisemitic rants we keep seeing on our TV screens? Their core answers seemed like oatmeal. Outraged, New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik repeatedly pressed the witnesses to define when antisemitic speech became indistinguishable from action. As Penn trustee Bill Ackman summarized their response: “It ‘depends on the context’ and ‘whether the speech turns into conduct,’ that is, actually killing Jews.” He then added, “This could be the most extraordinary testimony ever elicited in the Congress, certainly on the topic of genocide…”

Writing in the New York Post, Rikki Schlott aptly summarized the proceedings as demonstrating the “institutional stupidity” of the Ivies, made even worse because Harvard was already notorious for suppressing free speech, particularly from conservatives. “Today’s professors are no longer predominantly stodgy, bow-tie wearing classical liberals. They’re critical theorists with nose piercings and a distaste for Western values…Desperate transgressors need to dig deeper in search of an edgy cause — and they’ve found one in the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

My letter to Senator Ted Cruz demanding that Harvard be de-funded had barely begun when TV coverage suddenly shifted to Exhibit B of the Congressional follies. Today’s controversy: women’s athletics and resolving the ever-popular issue of What Is A Woman? Although Supreme Court justices have been baffled by the latter, today’s congressional hearing asked: Should transgender athletes only be permitted to compete on teams “consistent with their gender identity?”

As Newsmax later summarized the hearing: “Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines called progressive Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., a "misogynist" after the lawmaker condemned the activist's testimony as "transphobic" and asked that it be stricken from the record during a House hearing.” Ms Lee, a member of “the Squad,” apparently denies those pesky safety and privacy issues when biological men are introduced to women’s sports and locker rooms. Fortunately, the committee’s chair, Congresswoman Lisa McClain, brought the debate (if not the controversy) to a merciful conclusion: “Quite simply, men do not belong in women’s sports. That this needs to be said out loud is really kind of a sad reflection of where the other side is on this issue. There should be no debate about this."

No wonder we have a problem on our campuses when even athletics are so controversial! But wanting to complete my trifecta of argumentative hearings, I tuned in to see FBI Director Christopher Wray on the hot seat. For months, the back-and-forth between Wray and the House Judiciary Committee has been about the Bureau’s weaponization, specifically the lengths to which FBI agents went while investigating ‘traditional Catholics.” Was this investigative activity another example of government over-reach?

On Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wray was again a smooth performer, never losing his cool even when challenged sharply. “No sir, I was aghast when I learned of this problem and took immediate action to correct it. Well, no sir, no one’s been fired.” I was actually starting to nod off before Wray unexpectedly made headlines, saying that he sees “blinking red lights everywhere” since the Hamas terror attacks of October 7th. Although some threats varied more than others, “I’ve never seen a time where all the threats or so many of the threats are all elevated, all at exactly the same time.”

Because I now reside just over a hundred miles north of our wide-open southern border, Wray’s assessment got my undivided attention. What better time and place could a terrorist want for a cathartic attack designed to break American morale, already at its weakest point? Why not strike hard and see if the American polity shatters in a thousand pieces?

For most of 2001, I worked as military-technical advisor on an MSNBC documentary premised on a terrorist attack in the heart of Manhattan. Yet I was as shocked as anyone by sight of that deadly 767 closing in on the Twin Towers like a marauding shark: and on this December 7th I still wonder what our enemies have planned for us.



COL (Ret.) Kenneth Allard is a former West Point professor, Dean of the National War College and NBC News military analyst.


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