Today’s Globe carries a piece by reporter Bryan Bender about the thaw in relations between the nation’s elite colleges and the Reserve Officer Training Corps, which was thrown out of most colleges during the Vietnam War’s spate of anti-draft foment.
(The Lion notes that while the entire Vietnam controversy was painted as anti-war, it was driven by college anti-draft sentiment, evidenced by the collapse of the large anti-war public movement following the end of the draft. Hence, anti-draft foment. Which is not to impugn those who were truly anti-war, merely those who were merely anti-drafters in sheepish clothing.)
Much is made in the Bender article of the significance of the recent loosening of the anti-gay elements of military policy as the reason for the warming in relations between college administrations, faculty, and students, and the ROTC apparatus.
But more telling is this bit:
Many professors, students, and administrators say the more welcoming climate is a result of growing support for the military since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
That is not a good reason to welcome the military back to campus. It’s dead wrong. It ignores the last nine years of history.
The military, albeit following the orders of a corrupt civilian bureaucracy, has wasted lives and money for nine years pursuing unattainable goals.
Almost a trillion dollars has drained into two useless wars that have claimed thousands of American lives, helped cripple the economy at home, destroyed two countries, one of which had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks, the other guilty of no more than hosting a terrorist organization but not supporting or engaging in the attacks.
Hundreds of thousands of innocent people are dead due to United States military policy. Millions have been made homeless, indeed, stateless. Tens of thousands have been wrongly imprisoned. Hundreds, if not thousands, have been tortured, and many of them murdered under torture by United States troops and intelligence operatives.
The actions of the military and the civilian government have brought disgrace and shame upon the United States, and nothing legitimate has been gained. The government of Iraq is a shambles, and is no more a democracy than a collection of squabbling religious and political factions clawing for a piece of the pie. In Afghanistan the Taliban, who were never the enemy, who are essentially a group of religious thugs out of the fifteenth century, continue to prove the impotence of the American military, which insists on empowering the Taliban by supporting a blatantly corrupt government in Kabul and by killing civilians at will, often, it would seem, for sport.
So while there may be reasonable reasons for bringing ROTC back to the elite college campus, supporting the military for its actions since September 11 should not be among them.