On April 16th, Frank Lindh, the father of John Walker Lindh, spoke via teleconference to an English 1B class at San Jose State University in California. John Walker Lindh (aka: The American Taliban and Johnny Jihad) was charged with and pleaded guilty to
(1) engaging in a conspiracy, while outside the United States, to kill nationals of the United States outside of the United States, namely, United States nationals engaged in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2332(b); (2) providing, attempting to provide, and conspiring to provide material support and resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations, namely, al-Qaeda and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (“HUM”), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2339B and 2; and (3) engaging in prohibited transactions with the Taliban, in violation of Title 31, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 545.201 and 545.204, Executive Order # 13129, Title 50, United States Code, Sections 1702 and 1705, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.
Here is a video of the class presentation by Frank Lindh.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
[hat tip: The Jawa Report]
When I took English 1B, I remember a writing exercise that involved analyzing propaganda. We selected a political advertisement and were required to describe what ideas the ad intended to convey and how the ad used images and language to spin the topic for a specific purpose. Did SJSU Lecturer Richard Flynn have the same intention with this exercise, or is this just a hideous example of political indoctrination in Lower Division classes?
Frank Lindh claims that his son is presumed to have been involved with the events of 9/11. Rubbish. The charges in the affadavit above are quite specific. Walker Lindh was convicted of being an enemy combatant and providing material support to a terrorist organization for his actions in Afganistan (The Case of the Taliban American, and The Taliban Next Door).
Here is the SJSU English Department’s description of English 1B:
Assignments shall emphasize those skills and activities in writing and thinking that produce 1) the persuasive argument, and 2) the critical essay, each of which demands analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.
It would be nice to see some of the analysis, interpretation and evaluation that will comprise Flynn’s students’ critiques. If Flynn’s class assignment was to analyze Frank Lindh’s propaganda and revisionist history involving his son (The Real Story of John Walker Lindh), then kudos to Richard Flynn. But, after listening to some of the student comments in the video, it does not appear that critical thinking was a part of the exercise. Lindh’s revisionism includes describing his son as “scholarly” even though he was a student in an alternative high school (i.e., couldn’t cut it in traditional high school) and eventually dropped out. Lindh describes his son’s life as a “spiritual quest” even though that quest landed him in the middle of a prison uprising in Afganistan. The Crusades could be described as similar “spiritual quests,” except they involved White Christians fighting Islamists not White Islamic converts fighting against their own country.
The course description also says that English 1B addresses:
Diversity: Assignments (both reading and writing) shall address issues of race, class, and gender when appropriate, and the perspectives of women and diverse cultural groups shall be incorporated into course instruction and materials in an inclusive and comprehensive manner whenever possible.
Lindh’s English 1B teleconference may be one of the rare instances in American academia in which a privileged White male is the topic of sympathetic discussion. Oh, but I forget: (1) John Walker Lindh converted to Islam, (2) that now qualifies him as a member of a “diverse cultural group,” and thereby (3) he has achieved victim status and, in the minds of some, justification for his misguided acts.
UPDATE: Additional Information
This has been added as a point of contrast to John Walker Lindh and actions that JWL freely chose to take.