The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Responding to "Revisiting Vietnam"

Monique Dols, in today's Spectator, decides it is high time another leftist attacked the vast military-industrial complex. Casting the students of the late 1960s as heroes, and the soldiers of the US military as the brainless drones, she bemoans the current movement to return ROTC to campus. Now, I can follow her to a certain extent. The parallels between Vietnam and Iraq are easily understandable. But beyond that she begins to frustrate and lose me.

Whenever someone in the military complains about discrimination (a fair argument on this campus), s/he is in fact involved in a "series of defamatory fabrications that serve to misrepresent and discredit the antiwar movement on campus." No chance that both sides have bad eggs? no? no? hmm.

At some points she is just being unfair, as in this statement: "On one side are the Columbia Military Society and the Columbia College Conservative Club, supporters of the war in Iraq who want to bring the Reserve Officer Training Corps back onto campus," which links support of ROTC with support of the war. I for one do not support the war, and I think the recent Hamas victory in the Palestinian region is to some degree derived from anger at American actions.

She flat-out lies occasionally, as in saying that ROTC advocates (led in large part by Sean Wilkes of this site) are "discouraged by the lack of widespread support for the return of the program." According to a recent student referendum, a majority of students have no problem with ROTC returning to campus. Chew on that.

In the end, she mouths more of the traditional leftist dogma (which of course has its merits, but is not the focus of this post), and implicitly suggests, in her statement, "It is our generation’s responsibility to work diligently to protect the gains of that era, keep ROTC off campus, and expose the ugly underbelly of US aggression in the world." In her us v. them mentality, the military has become a foe that must be slain. And here we come to the crux of the differences between a liberal like me and a leftist like her. I've studied international politics and history and actually understand the realities of the situation. We need a military. We wouldnt be the country we are today without a military. Our military and economic power have gone hand in hand.

While all that may be changing (I recently wrote a seminar paper on why economic power is surpassing military power in importance), we still need a strong military. Her attacks, broad blows at the entire establishment, would be much more effective if they weren't broadly dogmatic and unrealistic.
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11 Comments:

  • At 9:41 PM, Blogger Ben A. Johnson said…

    While I've never really bought into your "ROTC at liberal colleges will help liberalize the military" argument, I don't necessarily think that ROTCs should be banned from campuses. There are some UMass professors who have campaigned to remove the ROTC from the campus because they are against the war. However, I know that many students join ROTC because it helps them to pay for their education at UMass, and this is true at many ROTC programs across the country. By removing ROTC one potentially removes a source of funding for education for a segment of the population who is least able to afford a college education. I suppose that additionally by only having ROTC programs at public institutions, one is further segregating what types of people will be reserve officers, specifically, the poor. So, what you end up with is an army of America's disenfranchised rather than a representative sample of the American population.

    I'm probably rambling, and I refuse to re-read what I wrote, but the point I wanted to make was that ROTC programs are rather complex problems in that they offer advantages to people who may not otherwise have them while at the same time might further increase inequalities as those people who can afford higher education are able to avoid serving in the military all together (even by preventing the military from existing on their campus).

    And of course, I've completely neglected to mention the military's discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy that does contradict many higher ed. instutitions anti-discrimination policies, which might further lead to some wishing to prevent military recruitment and presence on their campus.

     
  • At 10:18 PM, Blogger Sean said…

    I also want to note that, while I certainly support ROTCs return, I wouldn't exactly call myself in-league with the Columbia College Conservatives. I oppose DADT just like most everyone else on this campus. So do most of the advocates for ROTC. We are not interested in bringing the "military industrial complex" to Columbia. We want to bring well educated, responsible, and experienced leaders to the military.
    And in response to Mr. Johnson there is one thing he is forgetting, and that its the little matter of Civic Responsibility. This is YOUR military. This is Monique Dols military. This is the Military of the American People. It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that it is maintained. We are lucky enough to live in a society that can do well with a volunteer force. You aren't required to serve in the military in order to be a citizen. But it is your responsibility to ensure that it is maintained. Columbia, which likes to refer to itself as an International institution, seems to lack this sense of civic duty.
    You think that one Columbia educated officer can't make a difference? Why not ask a few of our recent military graduates what they've spent the past few years doing in Iraq...

     
  • At 10:24 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    Just to point out again, what i've said before, the "don't ask, don't tell" was passed by Congress. The military, even if it changed its mind, would have to extensively lobby Republican congressmen to get anything to change.

     
  • At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Brian, some comments:

    "Whenever someone in the military complains about discrimination (a fair argument on this campus), s/he is in fact involved in a "series of defamatory fabrications that serve to misrepresent and discredit the antiwar movement on campus." No chance that both sides have bad eggs?"

    Dols is responding to a specific accusation made against her, among others, of harassment and making a racist slur at the Club Fair. There was an argument, but the racist slur didn't occur. Whether in the broader picture both sides have bad eggs is pretty much irrelevant.

    "According to a recent student referendum, a majority of students have no problem with ROTC returning to campus."

    Recent? The only one I know of was done in 2003, and the question was worded so that a "no" answer meant "yes, bring back ROTC." What Dols is referring to is the University Senate's vote not to return ROTC, which occurred after a petition campaign that got more than a thousand signatures against it.

    "Our military and economic power have gone hand in hand."

    That would be Dols' point as well; she's a socialist. The American military's primary purpose, historically, has been not self-defense but aggression, usually economically motivated.

    David

     
  • At 8:38 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    David- you raise good points about interpretation, but I have to differ with you on some of them. What I got from her article was that she was referring to the broader interactions of military personnel and her compatriots, not just the single Sanchez incident.

    Yes, I was referring to the 2003 referendum, which, given how long ROTC has been gone, I do consider recent. And I disagree with the assertion that people were confused about the vote. I was an editor at Spec at the time, and we extensively interviewed people to find out if they knew what they were voting for, and what we found was that people on campus, a majority, did not seem to have a problem with ROTC. While this obviously is not clear interest, that is more than people like Dols are willing to accept. It doesn't accord with their view of Columbia that a majority might separate the war from the ROTC cadets on campus.

    Finally, I was a bit unfair in my conclusion about Dols, being a socialist, of course she would have a different view than me. I was rather obliquely criticizing her socialist worldview, which I find to be startling naive and unrealistic at times. Socialists at Columbia are great at identifying areas of imperfection, but their solutions and approaches are often guaranteed to fail. When was the last time a socialist at Columbia, or anywhere in the US, got anything done?

     
  • At 10:29 AM, Blogger Chicago Ray said…

    That obnoxious Monique Dols you speak of here has to be the most pathetic representative of an Ivy League institution I have ever seen in my 41 years on this planet.

    Her disastrous appearance on Hannity & Colmes and her vigilante crowd at the Gilchrest appearance last week unfortunately left a stain on your wonderful university. It's a terrible shame many alumnists' are disturbed at her activities there and are considering discontinuing future donations as a result of her abhorrent behavior.

    What a shame to see a $100,000 education wasted on such a vile little anti-american bitch.

    Good luck to you all that have to share the same campus with such an individual.

     
  • At 9:02 PM, Blogger Gregor said…

    It's amazing to me that "freedom of speech" to Monique Dols means ... the right to PREVENT others from speaking. To suggest that she wasn't allowed to talk on either of the two Fox News shows is simply a lie. She was allowed to give her opinion, which she then chose to lie, and then she continued to interupt not only the other guest, but the hosts!

    Monique dols is an extremely arrogant and obnoxious b&%#H and has no interest in free speech unless it is her own.

    She also hates this country and has repeatedly voiced her support for Hizbollah and Hamas and it's a shame the University allows this one hateful childish person to bring it down.

     
  • At 9:07 PM, Blogger Gregor said…

    It's amazing to me that "freedom of speech" to Monique Dols means ... the right to PREVENT others from speaking. To suggest that she wasn't allowed to talk on either of the two Fox News shows is simply a lie. She was allowed to give her opinion, which she then chose to lie, and then she continued to interupt not only the other guest, but the hosts!

    Monique dols is an extremely arrogant and obnoxious b&%#H and has no interest in free speech unless it is her own.

    She also hates this country and has repeatedly voiced her support for Hizbollah and Hamas and it's a shame the University allows this one hateful childish person to bring it down.

     
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