Michael Scheuer, an adjunct professor in the School of Foreign Service, has been subject to a spate of media attention this past week following a self-published column that appeared to endorse the assassinations of President Barack Obama and the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron.
Scheuer’s Dec. 23 column, posted on his own website, focused on the supposedly failed foreign policies of both the Obama and Cameron administrations, calling both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan defeats.
Scheuer, a former CIA officer, has primarily drawn ire for the column’s close, wherein he advises Obama and Cameron to pay heed to an excerpt from the 17th century English republican Algernon Sidney.
“There must therefore be a right of proceeding judicially or extra-judicially against all persons who transgress the laws; or else those laws, and the societies that should subsist by them, cannot stand; and the ends for which governments are constituted, together with the governments themselves, must be overthrown … For which reason, by an established law among the virtuous nations, every man might kill a tyrant; and no names are recorded in history with more honor, than of those who did it,” Sidney wrote in “Discourses Concerning Government.”
The Daily Beast’s David Frum directly described Scheuer’s comments as “advocacy of murder,” in a column entitled “Michael Scheuer’s Meltdown.” Frum is a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, whose administration’s war policy is a frequent Scheuer target.
According to his Georgetown profile, Scheuer has taught two graduate-level courses in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown since 2008: “Al-Qaeda” and “Al Qaeda & The Global Jihad.”Scheuer, who has only taught in the summer and fall, is currently not scheduled to teach this spring.
At the time of writing, the Georgetown University Office of Communications was unavailable for comment.
Update: In an email to The Hoya, university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr emphasized Georgetown’s commitment to the freedom of speech and expression.
“Being committed to the free and open exchange of ideas does not mean that we approve of or endorses each and every statement made by members of our faculty. The views of every faculty member are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the University,” Kerr wrote. “The answer to speech that one finds disagreeable or controversial is not censorship but more speech and more dialogue. As such, we welcome everyone’s right to disagree and to express their opinions openly.”