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Harvard's 40-Years of Anti-Army ROTC Rhetoric Unveiled; No Myth

November 01, 2010 | Lieutenant Colonel Andre Dean

Diane, (Dr. Diane Mazur, an open blog/letter)

Just a little stunning to read that you, a professor of law at the University of Florida, could go through 60 years of complex political/academic/administrative American and Harvard history covering the pre-departure, departure and post-departure of the Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC programs from Harvard University, with volumes written from Harvard campus itself covering and reporting this 60 year intellectual-elitist, anti-military saga, and conclude in self-adoration of your own witty acumen that "the military refused to meet Harvard's standards on academic coursework...and the military decided to leave."   http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/25/opinion/25Mazur.html

And that was your highly-valued and now widely-read opinion via the New York Times on the reason for the departure of the Army ROTC program from Harvard. 

Wow.

I am astounded, especially since no one else across our vast and equally brilliant American academia seems to be able to reach your masterfully assiduous level of mollifying Harvard’s arrogance to a mere absolution of this dangerous aberration evidenced and enacted in 1969 and still defiantly aristocratic and condescending in their self-rectitude to this day. 

You did absolve Harvard faculty and students from any culpability in the ROTC departures from their campus in 1969, didn’t you? 

I think you worded it;

“Harvard banned [Army ROTC]?  Not true...ROTC 'bans' are a convenient fiction, one that lets the military off the hook...I have found no universities that ban ROTC...The military decided to leave.”

So, thanks to your research Diane, we now know that America should not be upset with Harvard for the absence of an ROTC program on their unrivaled campus of illustrious illuminati.  After all, the Army, Navy and Air Force all “decided to leave” one sunny day in 1969 when they concluded that the American people did not need officers from that little Boston campus.  And all this, you conclude rather impetuously, because the Armed Forces couldn’t come up with a military science class with enough academic rigor and erudition to meet Harvard’s unassailable academic heights?

And we should just bite our tongues while Harvard University quietly takes in excess of $400 million each year from the American taxpayer in federal government research grant money in defiance of federal law, or in fact by legally treading the razor thin tightrope of allowing marginal recruiting, but no ROTC course recognition or course accreditation? 

Oh yes, there is that pesky little law called the “Harvard Act” by Congressman Christopher Cox of California (who holds both an MBA and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Harvard), or more correctly called the Solomon Amendment. 

Wasn’t it passed into law in 1994 by Congress?  Then wasn’t it unanimously codified by a rare 9-0 ruling of the Supreme Court (after the multi-law-school, anti-military consortium led by Boston College Law School’s Professor Kent Greenfield thought they had the right “angle” to challenge it and have the whole law thrown out) upholding the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment which Congress passed uniquely to target Harvard and her 4-5 Ivy League co-conspirators from the ’69 anti-American Imperialism and Anti-Viet Nam War paranoia that persists to this day?

You argue that the illustrious Harvard faculty and distinguished Harvard student body had nothing to do with the American Military War Machine packing up to leave, by simply not even mentioning their role or culpability.  The absence of inclusion makes a strong silent statement of clemency doesn't it?

The Armed Forces left because they could not meet Harvard’s academic standards you assert.   

Once again; Wow.

Is it true that Army ROTC meets MIT, Princeton and Duke's academic standards…but ROTC is just not capable of delivering a Harvard-standard product in their teaching and preparing an Army officer to command armies and nations like say, a General David Petraeus whose son Stephen just graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 2009?

Did you know that Stephen Petraeus was commissioned an Army officer through ROTC academic credits from neighboring, but of an implied satirically inferior academic stratum than the Harvard Corporation across the street, since MIT accepts the full-up Army ROTC program?  And where does MIT rank on the national horse racing handicap for America's best universities? 

Averaging somewhere between #3 and #7 over the past decade.  Really?

And MIT has commissioned more than 12,000 officers into the Armed Forces since 1865 and over 150 admirals and generals.  And they have no issues with ROTC academic standards while Harvard, for 40 years does? 

 

Yes.  It is true that MIT, Princeton and Duke Universities all have on-campus, faculty-endorsed, promoted and highly respected Army ROTC departments.

It is not true that Harvard owns anything close to the majority of the academic genius of the American people; contrary to some acutely myopic visionaries who all graduated under the intellectually jilted tutelage of the President and Fellows of Harvard College (“The Corporation”).

And doesn’t General Petraeus have a PhD from an Ivy League school somewhere near Harvard….oh what is the name of that intellectually degenerate campus that would dare to stoop to declare the honors of “Doctor of Philosophy” in International Studies on an American Army Officer?  I can’t quite place it now, but I do recall that they have a fully supported, staffed, accredited and academically rigorous Army ROTC program.  Princeton, wasn't it?

This complex but documented information is easily accessible on the internet covering from the early days of Harvard’s emerging anti-militarism and anti-Americanism starting in February 8, 1950 when Harvard’s faculty of Arts and Sciences protested the Navy’s ROTC “loyalty oath” which required naval midshipmen (students in the ROTC program) to inform their commanding officer of any known subversive behavior.  And Harvard has always had its share of intellectual "treason" and hence somehow felt threatened during time of war when America's patriotism soared and tends to be much less "tolerant" than it is in times of lengthy peace.

The story crescendoed when on 8 April ’69 300- 450 students marched on Harvard President Nathan Pusey’s house on Quincy Street and fought with two local police officers when breaking open his locked yard gate, stormed onto his yard and grounds and pounded on the door, terrifying his family.  Dr. Pusey wisely did not open the door, so the mob posted their demands to “Abolish ROTC immediately” on his front door and threaten “militant action” if their demands were not met.

 

(This is an internet AP photo of  Harvard's riots in April 1969)

The next day the radical/militant Harvard branch of the Students for a Democratic Society (the notorious and violent SDS) who had marched on President Pusey’s house at midnight, now formed up on campus around noon at Memorial Church and initiated their threatened “militant action” (nice irony here don’t you find: threatened militant action to remove the dreaded military presence of Army ROTC from campus?) by marching over to University Hall where they immediately ejected all administrators and staff “under duress” and even forcibly picked up and carried one unintimidated dean outside.

 

 

The “students” chained the doors closed and raised the red and black flag of the SDS and began to intensely debate their next step to get ROTC off their campus and draw national attention to their uprising.

The Boston Globe estimates that there were about 500 students forcibly occupying University Hall when the police were brought in to remove them on April 10th

100 were arrested, 35 were tried for criminal trespass, three were tried for assault and battery, 23 students were expelled and… on April 18th the University “behaving expediently in the face of pressure” agreed with the faculty vote enacting the following:     1. Withdraw all ROTC facilities (no buildings, classrooms, gyms or support).     2. Remove ROTC academic course credit.     3. Deny all ROTC  instructors (Armed Forces officers) “Harvard faculty status” no matter their advanced academic degrees. 

Then, to celebrate the SDS victory and lock up their ROTC ejection, on May 5, 1969 at the height of the Anti-Viet Nam war violence, a few SDS zealots and local riff-raff brigands joined their tiny but vocal forces and broke into and burned the Marine Corps classroom on the first floor of Shannon Hall, the Harvard on-campus ROTC headquarters at 3:00 a.m. in the cover of darkness.  A week earlier,  the Harvard Professor of Military Science received an SDS letter threatening to "burn them out" if all ROTC departments would not leave peaceably.  He gave this letter to the campus police, and it is part of the published record.  

By this time in May, the Harvard faculty and administration, in a frenzy of coerced fear, had now voted to reduce all ROTC programs to “extra-curricular status only”, remove all access to campus buildings, deny all course credits and not recognize any military instructor as faculty.  What more could they do now than to wring their trembling aristocratic hands and cower in the face of 450 radical students and SDS hooligans?  It was feeling like the French Revolution on campus.  Some administrative self-preservation was urgent to save some lilly-white necks (their own) from Madame la Guillotine.

Now how did you say it with such editorially factual precision in your OpEd "ROTC Myth" commentary Madam Professor Mazur…to the New York Times and to the Nation?  “The military decided to leave?”

Yep. You were right. 

The Army ROTC and our sister Armed Forces services left Harvard and Harvard's strong, bold, courageous leadership in the face of a handful of extremists who threatened a president’s home and his campus with “militant action”.  Once effectively stripped of an ROTC departmental building or even a classroom, we left.

That is one clever assessment you made from your comfy law office at the University of Florida.  No one picked them up and carried them off of campus like that Dean was railroaded by the SDS mob, and they certainly did not set up tents on the lawn of Harvard Square and drive on with classes under the Oak Trees.

“The military decided to leave?”  For the third time...“wow”.

So how would you feel about that expulsion decision if you were in the Harvard Administration and made this kind of “academic decision” back in 1969 and have shrouded your pathetic universities' 1969 cowardice in the cloak of any viable context since then to avoid the light of careful examination?  How would you feel if you were, how do they say it these days... “the greatest collection of genius anywhere in the world”?

Feels like a lot of public “egg” on your face, and a little too much humble pie for the superlatively erudite and most scholarly campus of the known world, doesn’t it?

Well, yes it was and is and thus it has proven very, very awkward for Harvard to work past this inglorious moment of their past.  But then now that 40 years have passed, they have proven many times over that they do know how to dance when words and ideas are their tools and they are not immobilized or coerced by enraged SDS students who threaten physical violence, God forbid.  So why the current pretense of crouching behind Don't Ask Don't Tell or any other virtuous propaganda they can muster?

Harvard University President, Derek Bok (President of Harvard from 1971-1991 and 2006-2007) who took over the administration from President Nathan Pusey (Presidnet of Harvard from 1953-1971 and led Harvard through these dark ages of student violence and militancy on his campus), on June 13, 1973 spoke at the annual Associated Harvard Alumni meeting and said that many alumni had protested Harvard's abolishing of its ROTC to him, and they sensed that Harvard had not acted for academic reasons in its decision-making during those bleak years but "had behaved expediently in the face of pressure."

He went on to say in that 1973 speech that many of these alumni "saw in our decision a willingness to sacrifice the freedodm of a minority of students [Army ROTC cadets to study military science] in order to accomodate the moral indignation of the majority."

Bok said that he was "inclined to agree" with this summation and further enlightened this alumni audience (only three years after the expulsion of all ROTC programs) by  saying;

 

"I do not believe our record and our conscience can be fully clear until we manifest our willingness to entertain a ROTC program on terms compatible with our usual institutional standards."

 

It never happened, and Harvard is in no rush today to get there.

So, today Harvard hides under the cloak of their puritan cry of protest against the military’s “Immorality of discrimination” epitomized by their champion of all noble Don Quixote crusades; President Bill Clinton’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy, the congressional law of the land regulating the Armed Forces’ policy toward openly, wantonly expressed homosexuality.

And once this “terrible law” is removed irrevocably, Harvard will welcome back its once wayward children…and all the ROTC programs will be given buildings, classrooms, faculty, operational budgets, academic credit and a place of honor and respect by the illustrious faculty.  Right?  The return of the then-forgiven prodigal son…with feasting and forgiveness for the American military’s many years of bad behavior which clearly justified Harvard’s harsh “conditions” imposed on April 19, 1969.

Who believes this balderdash?

No one that I know. Nor have I yet even heard anyone seriously speak of it. 

IF it is even spoken of, it is spoken of as a “possibility”, a flirtation and a wisp of the ephemeral.

If there was ever an intent to get ROTC back, all ROTC programs would have been swooned back onto the Harvard campus in 1975, when Viet Nam was no more and no one even knew what a gay or trans-gender dude was, let alone how to discriminate against him.  Did Harvard welcome back its “evil military officer-development courses”? 

NO, and No, and No.  And Viet Nam’s sobriquet of “American Imperialism” ended 35 YEARS ago!

No, Harvard and its Dr. Mazur-publicized “ROTC Myth” is no myth at all.  Some are driven by edicts, some by armed mobs or assassins, and some are driven by no access to a classroom or office.

As you so tritely stated, Dr. Mazur, within the audaciously minuscule and legally constricted definitions of fact; “the military decided to leave”.  Yep.  That is what you do when you no longer have a building or status or academic credentials or course credit on a college campus.  Hello?

You and who else besides the New York Times and the Washington Post would call those “Harvard Conditions” something as brazenly oversimplified as “deciding to leave”.

Ouch. That realization now, has to hurt; ca fait mal n’est-ce pas?

So today we have a sitting President of the United States and his Secretary of Defense who both have asked Harvard to “reconsider” their anti-ROTC posture of many decades.

  

In 2008 President Obama, speaking at his other anti-military alma mater, Columbia University in New York, called to Harvard and all her anti-military tag-alongs chiding boldly;

“The notion that young people...in any university, aren’t offered the choice, the option of participating in military service, I think is a mistake.”

Did he say "MISTAKE"? 

Now that has to hurt a little, especially coming from a Harvard Law Review president and editor, arguably the most prestigious and powerful student position available to any student in the Harvard Law School and for the entire campus.

And President Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, speaking at Duke University September 29, 2010 added;

“Many commentators have lamented the absence of ROTC from the Ivy League and other selective universities...University faculty and administrators banned ROTC from many elite campuses during the Vietnam War and continued to bar the military based on the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law…"

"I am encouraged that several…universities, with the urging of some of their most prominent alumni, including the [sitting] President of the United States – are at least reconsidering their position on military recruiting and officer training – a situation that has been neither good for the academy or the country.”

 

Now for a few of my summary thoughts on the “ROTC Myth and Harvard”:

This whole 40 year expulsion from campus of the military triggered by a small, raucous Harvard minority of SDS-induced students mixed with local street trash, then endorsed by a tremulous faculty and a quivering administration has never been about the US Army or Armed Forces.

From my point of view and my background from Texas A&M University (my undergraduate alma mater) and The University of Texas (my masters degree) is all about an elitist posture of Harvardian intellectual arrogance toward the United States of America and America’s inevitable, constitutional democratization of the free world.

There are loud, radical student movements at Harvard & friends who do not like the United States of America and are caught up in a pretended anarchy toward all America represents in the modern world.  They appear to justify their anti-American position by citing all the bad they perceive America does in the world.  So they postulate in their self-deluded intellectualism, that America is the great spurn to the world and that our pollutions, population, freedom and Constitution will destroy the world without their radical intervention and seizure of full political control. 

They despise and ridicule Freedoms like; the right to bear arms (2nd amendment), freedom to write and speak if is it not in harmony with their thinking if your name is Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity (1st amendment), freedom to assemble  like the tea party movement sweeping across America and mocked by the intelligencia (1st amendment), freedom to worship God (God is a man-made phenomenon to these existentialists, agnostics and self actualizationists and they mock and readily scorn the "witless zombies of Christianity" or any other organized religion), freedom to get an Armed Forces Officership preparatory class on their inviolable campus which is "diverse and open to all thinking...except military thinking"...oh, unless it is their own Harvardian-militancy for issues they strongly espouse...from time to time.  Yeah, right.

Many of the intelligencia in academia are on a crusade to undermine the Nation in any way they can.  And if they can successfully prevent a few GENERAL David Petraeus-types from getting a scholarly education at some of America’s finest universities (including Harvard which by academic standards only, is a top-tier university), then THAT will be their proverbial “one starfish thrown back in the vast ocean” (one less bright general to win a war they desperately would prefer that America should lose), so they can sleep a little more blissfully at night having made their significant contribution to “the cause”.

Those are my thoughts and my remonstrance to Diane Mazur, J.D. and Professor of Law at U. of Florida.

I am anxious to hear your rebuttal and invite you to read this open letter on my blog at armystrongstories.com/blogger/andre-dean and join the conversation as America applies the magnificent and incomparable 1st amendment to the American Constitution, and we share our thoughts and ideas via freedom to think and speak. 

The guarantee of this amendment being passed on to my children, is a substantial portion of my motivation to wear the uniform of an infantry officer in the United States Army.  I want to hear both sides and I am determined to guarantee by force of arms, that both sides of a discussion get to see and hear the full light of day; SDS thugs or no thugs.

I will conclude with a few comments from the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts and a graduate of Boston College Law School, a close academic associate of The Harvard Law School.

Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, lambasted Harvard for its anti-military stance last month saying that Harvard’s decision to keep in place its ROTC ban until Pentagon restrictions on overt homosexuality while in military service are lifted, argued that Harvard has its “priorities upside down” by favoring illegal-immigrant students and recruiting illegals to Harvard, in preference to military-affiliated, ROTC students.

“I am extremely disappointed to learn of Harvard University’s decision to continue to ban ROTC from its campus,” the Massachusetts Senator said shaking his head with disappointment about Harvard’s ongoing anti-militarism of 40 years and running.

I agree with Scott. 

Harvard, your academic priorities are inverted. 

It is time to step up and correct what your alumni-now-sitting-President of the United States so recently and correctly called YOUR “MISTAKE” and absolve President Derek Bok's institutional conscience he soulfully lamented had been lost to both he and Harvard University back on an ugly, timorous day in April 1969.

 And that is no MYTH.


 


11 Comments

  • Lance Mogard
    10/29/2010 7:37 AM
    Sir:

    Very well said and I sincerely hope this post gets wide dissemination in order to correct Dr. Mazur's blatant manipulation of fact. It says something that Harvard University has been silent on the issue--even in the face of highly public statements by high level USG officials stating that Harvard's actions toward ROTC amounted to a ban.

    Interestingly, Harvard has never publically denied the ban or disputed its portrayal as such. They have mearly tried to shift the terms of debate to place the onus upon another issue (i.e. "don't ask, don't tell"). Thankfully, most of us can see through their farcical attempt at rhetorical juijitsu.

    Lance Mogard
    2LT, AR
    Ft. Knox, KY
    • Andre Dean
      10/29/2010 5:00 PM
      Thanks Lance, and I particularly loved your concluding sentence. Beautiful , and "steel on target" lieutenant.

      You need to start blogging on ArmyStrongStoires.com. I'll be one of your avid readers if this small sample is any indication of your ability to capture truth with mere words!
  • Brett Gloss
    10/29/2010 8:10 PM
    Sir, this is a well research blog. I feel the reason Harvard and other institutions defy and even after the repeal of DADT will continue to defy the law is because of government inaction. Harvard would have changed their policy years ago if the government would have backed up it's threats by withholding federal funds. Why does the government continue to break it's own rules by providing funding to schools that are not in compliance with the laws? Allowing recruiters to physically enter a campus a couple times a year is a far cry from being in compliance with the law. It's time the government enforced the law and withhold funding.
  • Jonathan Bratten
    11/15/2010 4:13 PM
    Sir,
    That was an exceptional unmasking of one of higher education's most criminal acts. My wife attends a law school in New England, that is of the same bent as Harvard regarding anything military. They post signs of active military in uniform protesting DADT and also have their position on military recruiters/ROTC clearly displayed outside their admissions office. Suffice to say, they are not fans. However, underneath this display of "intellectual freedom" they also have a notice that reads: "Due to this institution's acceptance of federal funding, we are mandated by law to allow military recruiters and ROTC on to our campus." Apparently this law is in too fine of print for Harvard's administration to read. Perhaps if it was written on a notice of funds withheld they would take notice.

    CDT Bratten
  • Alex
    11/15/2010 9:49 PM
    Hello Colonel,

    My name is Alex Luchsinger. I'm a former Marine, currently attending Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. I'm actually working on this topic as my masters thesis, and thought you may be a great person to interview and/or source information through. If you could help in any way I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Alex Luchsinger
  • Columbia ROTC advocate
    11/15/2010 11:54 PM
    Alex,

    I recommend Advocates for ROTC webmaster Michael Segal's response to Diane Mazure's article at http://www.securenation.org/re-legitimizing-rotc/

    Several other responses to Mazur can be found here:
    http://advocatesforrotc.org/recent/index.html

    Columbia ROTC advocacy page: http://advocatesforrotc.org/columbia/index.html
  • Michael Segal
    11/16/2010 9:12 AM
    One crucial point that I stress in my "Re-legitimizing ROTC" article at http://www.securenation.org/re-legitimizing-rotc/ is that Harvard's Arts and Sciences faculty on 4 February 1969 voted knowingly to remove the legal basis for an ROTC program at Harvard. Much of the violence in LTC Dean's article occurred between that vote and the 19 April 1969 decision of Harvard's governing Corporation to accept the faculty decision, a move that Harvard's next president Derek Bok later described as made under extreme pressure and great haste.

    The administration had been looking into possibilities such as that adopted at Princeton that allowed ROTC to stay, but the violence undermined the centrist impulses of the administration and produced a radical result. Reading through the chronology at http://www.advocatesforrotc.org/harvard/1950.html gives a sense of how the events played out.

    It wasn't until 1976 that Harvard opened up the path for students to take ROTC classes at MIT. Even this was controversial - note the 1976 Harvard Crimson dissenting editorial opinion signed among others by Steven A. Ballmer '77 and Grover G. Norquist '78 : http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1976/6/17/anti-paternalism-pbtbhe-facultys-decision-to-permit/

    If we succeed with the ROTC+ vision outlined in my "Re-legitimizing ROTC" article, this would involve universities extending their high academic standards to cover military-related areas by upgrading their often spotty faculty expertise in such areas. It would be most fitting if this would include a Steven A. Ballmer chair in military history.
  • Genevieve Chase
    12/17/2010 12:44 AM
    Of Note:

    Harvard not only accepts and encourages use of the GI Bill but it also has a full-time person dedicated to helping veterans (that would include Reserve and National Guard troops) apply for and use funds from the Yellow Ribbon Program. Read: We can attend Harvard for free.

    I have found through my visits to Harvard's campus and my extension courses online, that professors and students alike are not only welcoming but accommodating to me and other military folks. In fact, my most recent course was taught by a former chairman of the Strategy Department at the United States Naval War College.

    I think that on both sides of this debate... there is far too much misunderstanding and quite a bit too much EGO.

    As we all know, anyone with a degree from any accredited university, Ivy League or not, can apply to OCS.

    On the other side of it:

    It IS IMPOSSIBLE to use my $4,500 a year Tuition Assistance from the USAR, at Harvard. I fell into the bias that this was "elitism at Harvard" at work but my own research and correspondence with Ileen F. Rogers, Director, Army Continuing Education at the Human Resources Command, informed me that the Army is in no better position to accuse Harvard of playing dirty. All TA eligible members from all of the other branches of service are able to use their TA to attend Harvard... EXCEPT the Army.

    Her response to me?

    "The reason Harvard is not in GoArmyEd so that all Soldiers could receive
    tuition assistance is because your school of choice has decided not to meet
    certain standards for participation."

    I ask you, what does that sound like? It gets better:

    "As for every other servicemember being able to attend Harvard, each of the Services has an automated TA management system that requires an institution to meet minimum standards for their respective TA program."

    Apparently, the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard have figured something out to make their "automated TA management systems" compatible that the Army cannot.

    "As you are active in Post 9-11 activities, you are undoubtedly aware of your
    VA educational benefits. Perhaps, using those benefits to attend Harvard
    would be a more expedient means of obtaining financial assistance."

    Basically, if I want to use the $4,500 of TA I had available during every year of my eight years of enlistment... and the $4,500 of TA I will earn for the next SIX years of my enlistment, I should go to a different school... Or perhaps join a different branch of service.

    Why the Army would do anything to stop a soldier from using their TA to go to any accredited school that soldier chooses, (much less one of arguably the best schools IN THE WORLD) is FAR BEYOND the pay grade (and apparently education level) of this SSG. I love my Army, but sometimes... it doesn't make any more sense to me than vector calculus.

    In my humble opinion, holding someone back from an education at Harvard is far more of an outrage. If you want to make lasting and substantive change happen, you do it from within the institution. Not standing on the outside, yelling about it. Send us to Harvard and we'll get your precious ROTC back on campus, for good.

    As it is, I pay for my classes out of my own pocket and hope to use my hard-earned Post 9/11 GI Bill to go to the Kennedy School of Government someday. My hard-earned Tuition Assistance? Apparently it's a benefit and not something I earned.

    Respectfully,
    SSG Chase
  • Genevieve Chase
    12/18/2010 4:02 PM
    Well, Sir. Looks like we can get ROTC back on Harvard campus after all...

    :)

    I've already started calling them out on Twitter.

    Today, is a historic day in more ways than one!
  • Genevieve Chase
    12/21/2010 11:30 AM
    Sir,

    Looks like you get yours first! :)

    It's a great day for young Americans.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/12/21/harvard.yale.dadt/

    Now... I'm not giving up on fixing Army TA!
  • Charles Fortner
    3/17/2011 11:17 AM
    There is still too much rhetoric from all sides about the military in our country. To me it's a little closer to home. My mom and dad were both marines. I was taken to vote in every election, some when I was still an infant. I grew up in a military town saluting every uniform I saw-and having it returned. My dad lied about his age and joined the marines on December 14, 1941. He came back four years later and dumped his seabag into San Francisco bay because he didn't want to bring home anything that reminded him of his time in the Pacific-all of it on the front lines.

    It has always been distasteful to me to remember that people who were against the war in Vietnam probably did as much to prolong it than to end it.
    On the other hand it still infuriates me to have our military sent to war by politicians.

    It is the human drama of every life that has always engaged me. I was the only person who listened to one of my fellow students unburden his soul about what his life had been in war. His opposite was another student who wore an ear on a gold chain around his neck and told to all and sundry what a killing machine he had been. Both I and my friend confronted him on that and forced him to remove it-he left the university not long thereafter.

    One can only hope for a time when things are neither done or said to inflate the egos of either academics or politicians when decent men and women take up arms to defend this nation but time and again it appears the same absurdities are repeated.

    My family has fought for this country in almost every war since the French and Indian War. I am incurably proud to be an American. I am not proud of the misuse of American military families by politics or academia. Nuff said.

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