Monday, December 01, 2008

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Well, it didn't take long for us to get over the euphoria of our Marvelous Vacation. I'm glad we had such a wonderful time, because the lunacy of the outside world didn't stop while we were gently bobbing along the surface of the sea in complete and utter isolation from bad news.

I call your attention to this article in yesterday's issue of Parade Magazine: The Fight for ROTC. The article reports that six major U.S. universities (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Tufts, Stanford, and the University of Chicago) still maintain their Vietnam-era bans on ROTC programs.

For those of you who live outside the United States, "ROTC" stands for "Reserve Officers Training Corps." It is a program under which college students, along with their major field of study, receive training to become officers in the U.S. armed forces on graduation. Anyone may attend the first two years of ROTC classes; the last two years are only for those selected to receive the full training and be commissioned as officers. As long-time readers of this blog know, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant through Air Force ROTC in 1973 and spent 23 years as an officer on active duty, retiring in 1996 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

In my opinion, ROTC is a tremendously important program which should be expanded, rather than shut out of college campuses. Unlike many (indeed, most) other nations, the United States maintains an all-volunteer force of citizen soldiers drawn from every part of society. The officers of this all-volunteer force do not come from a wealthy, landed aristocracy, but from the same corners of the nation as the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen they lead. Maintaining the proud American tradition of the citizen army, subordinate to civilian leadership in the person of the President, is why we don't have a government run by military junta. Would you like to live in Burma (okay, Myanmar)?

Protests against ROTC by shortsighted university administrators and well-meaning but idiotic groups like Code Pink are worse than stupid. They have the ability to conduct their demonstrations and carry out their policies because their freedoms and their safety are protected by the very people they despise.

If history tells us anything, it is that there are always some threats which cannot be negotiated away, and some enemies with whom one cannot reason. Adolf Hitler was not dissuaded by treaties of friendship and solemn agreements negotiated in what seemed to be good faith. Napoleon's quest to dominate Europe was stopped only by force. And if a more recent example is needed, one needs only look to India, where in three days of heartless violence terrorists murdered nearly 200 innocent people in cold blood and injured more than 300 others, savagely murdering their victims in restaurants, hotels, and even in a hospital. These foul murderers were not interested in negotiations, or in peaceful discussion of perceived grievances - they were interested only in killing as many people as possible to advance a twisted political-religious agenda. Their reign of horror was not ended by negotiation, or the offer of concessions, or the well-meaning but naive intercession of new age we-are-all-brothers was ended by the courage and determination of the soldiers of the Indian army.

And so, I would ask the administrators at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Tufts, Stanford, and the University of Chicago, and the happy fools of Code Pink and similar organizations: if the day comes when you are hiding under your bed while heavily armed, suicidal murderers fueled by religious righteousness are seeking you out to kill you just because you are an American, who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters? Pipe-smoking PhD's with degrees in Peace Studies? People whose only understanding of and contact with military service is their empty-headed focus on demonstrations and protests?

Or will you call the men and women who saw the danger and stepped up to protect you, whether you wanted it or not? John Galsworthy once said that idealism increases with one's distance from the problem. When the problem arrives here, who ya gonna call?

Think hard about your answer. Your life may depend upon it.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


P.S. - there's hope. The Parade Magazine article conducted an informal poll to see whether or not respondents approved of ROTC programs on college campuses. When I checked this morning, the response was running 85% to 15% in favor of those programs.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

Protesting the ROTC? That's insane!

Amanda said...

Interesting program. I never knew that it existed until now.

I think here in Australia, people join the armed forces and then they get "sponsored" through college, then they go on active duty. Something like that anyway, I only have one friend who did it.

Mike said...

When I was in college 2 years of ROTC was mandatory. That changed after my first year because of the Vietnam protests. But during my first year, our parade formations would fill up the football field.

fiona said...

I'm gonna call,let me see...YOU!

Anonymous said...

See Columbia Students for NROTC: