Bring ROTC back to Harvard and Yale

Starting with protests over the war in Vietnam and continuing through protests over the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, many of the nation’s most exclusive colleges and universities barred ROTC from their campuses. (You may recall that some conservatives held that against Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan during her confirmation hearings; as the dean of Harvard’s law school, she had argued in favor of the policy.)
It’s time for Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and those other elite universities to bring back ROTC. Some college presidents — and military officials — have argued that too few students at those top universities would be interested in military careers to make opening an ROTC office cost-effective. From The NYT:

Eileen M. Lainez, a Defense Department spokeswoman, said Monday that it would be “premature to speculate” on plans for new R.O.T.C. units.

Diane H. Mazur, a law professor at the University of Florida and a former Air Force officer, said she doubted whether the military would reinstate the R.O.T.C. at Ivy League colleges because it is expensive to operate there, particularly for the relatively few number of students the services are likely to recruit.

“I think the military is much more persuaded by output, is much more persuaded by economic efficiency,” Ms. Mazur said.

Drew Faust, the president of Harvard, said over the weekend that she was looking forward to “pursuing discussions with military officials and others to achieve Harvard’s full and formal recognition of R.O.T.C..” . .
The Student Affairs Committee of the Columbia University Senate, a policy-making body of students, faculty members, administrators, alumni and others, said Monday that it had formed a Task Force on Military Engagement to consider whether the university should formally participate in the R.O.T.C.

Before making any decision, the committee said, it would conduct an opinion survey and hold hearings on the issue. The committee’s chairman, Tao Tan, said the process would be driven by students, rather than faculty members.

Several Columbia students said this week that while they would not object to the return of the R.O.T.C., they did not expect their classmates to show much interest in military careers.

“Most people come here to have a specific career,” said Alex Gaspard, 18, who hopes to go to law school. “Investment bankers or lawyers.”

Regardless, it is in the nation’s best interest to include among its military officers as many of the best-educated leaders as it can find. And some of those can be harvested from colleges such as Harvard and Yale.
There has been much concern, over recent decades, that the all-volunteer Armed Forces is increasingly different from the civilian nation that it serves — more religious, more conservative. (I’m not so sure that’s true, given the Pentagon’s survey on “Don’t Ask,” which showed that most troops were quite comfortable with having gays and lesbians serve openly.) One of the ways to ameliorate that trend is to be sure that the officer corps is recruited broadly, including recruitment from the elite universities.
— by Cynthia Tucker

360 comments Add your comment

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
10:15 am

Fred@10:13
We called them the “chairforce”, back in the day.

budman

December 22nd, 2010
10:20 am

Fred your right, the Australians make everyone serve a 2 years commitment, it may be in combat or maybe planting trees along the highways.

Lance

December 22nd, 2010
10:23 am

Dang — as much as I hate to say it — I agree with CT. Unlike you nit-wit liberals us conservatives can admit when we agree with the other side even if it is a socialist like Cynthia.

Jack

December 22nd, 2010
10:23 am

This piece is a feint: a manipulation. One should always watch one’s back when a liberal says something sensible.

dawgs

December 22nd, 2010
10:24 am

CT: How about ultra left, snobbish instead of “EXCLUSIVE & ELITE” ??? Then these “officers” could parrot what they were told by their socialist professors..

Dan

December 22nd, 2010
10:24 am

Actually a good point was made a while back, we already have elite military universities at Annapolis, West Point and Colorado Springs. I Submit the best from those Universities would not only keep up with but likely outshine students from the aforementioned “elite” Universities

Fred

December 22nd, 2010
10:25 am

budman: The Israelis do as well. In Germany all the men used to have to serve 2 years when I was there back in the 80’s.I don’t know if they still do and if they include the women as well now.

Fred

December 22nd, 2010
10:26 am

It depends on if they still cheated or not Dan……..

Pablo

December 22nd, 2010
10:27 am

Stands for decibels:

Nobody told me, I was there to see it. You suppose wrong…

The General Feeling

December 22nd, 2010
10:27 am

People, not all jobs in the military are on the front-lines fighting wars. So yes, every teenager would benefit from at least two years of military experience from completing a vigorous physical boot camp to learning tolerance, teamwork, and adaptability.

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
10:28 am

Fred@10:25
I read somewhere Germany was dumping that policy. Forgot where.

Tilli

December 22nd, 2010
10:29 am

To the folks who said people don’t go to top universities to join ROTC, on the whole you are correct, but that is true with ALL colleges. ROTC makes up a very small % of actual students.

A counter point is one of my high school classmates went to Dartmouth (one of those uppity schools) and was in the Air Force ROTC. He served with distinction after his college days and is a proud veteran.

TheAtleeAppeal

December 22nd, 2010
10:30 am

Fred @10:25

Israel doesn’t really have much a choice in that regard. They are completely surrounded by people who want to “wipe them off of the map” and are very limited in the number of able servicemen/women.

I’m not a fan of the idea of forcing everyone to serve for X number of years in this country. Our population is big enough that we have been able to survive off of an all volunteer armed forces since the Vietnam draft.

killerj

December 22nd, 2010
10:31 am

What an uneducated nation,you deserve what you get.

stands for decibels

December 22nd, 2010
10:31 am

Nobody told me, I was there to see it.

really? you have been to every class, heard everything that every Ivy Leaguer ever hears?

Was this before or after you broke that date with Lois Lane?

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
10:32 am

The General Feeling@10:27
“People, not all jobs in the military are on the front-lines fighting wars.”
These days, the front line can come to you. Quickly. Everyone is a infantryman.

markie mark

December 22nd, 2010
10:42 am

Joel – I agree with that last remark. Women are still not offically combat troops last I heard. That ended with this war…check out all the women with m-16’s next time you see news footage. Anybody anywhere in-country these days is subject to attack….

markie mark

December 22nd, 2010
10:43 am

and in an age of forced redeployments and extensions, your cushy mechanics job at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah this week may be Bagrahm AFB next week…..

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
10:46 am

…and in an age of terrorism, your moms and dads and grannys may be
hopping over an airline seat to whack a bomber. To some extent we are all American soldiers….

abc

December 22nd, 2010
10:47 am

This seems to me to be conjecture by people who don’t really know squat about the military, due to never having been in it themselves. 25% or less of Congress has been in the military. I submit that if you haven’t been in the military yourself, you don’t really know a thing about it, and should be disqualified from making any decisions about it.

Having a string of Commanders in Chief that have little or no military experience is another problem.

Reinstatement of the draft would be a wonderful thing. If some of these politicians’ kids were having to go to war too, I seriously doubt they’d jump into such stupidity as we’ve been involved with the past 9 years. That’s twice as long as it took to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, folks. Putting our troops in needless peril is not support of the troops.

markie mark

December 22nd, 2010
10:48 am

and I would be perfectly happy to bring back a version of the CCC or other labor organizations of the 30’s. Build parks, roads, trails, and any other infrastructure we need. For draftees that would only be disruptive in the military, they can contribute this way….I also advocate at least 20 hours a week of this for anyone on unemployment. That way they can pay back our investment in them via a weekly check, and still have time to go on interviews.

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
10:49 am

markie mark@10:42
Yep, served with a few good ones (women, that is), we didn’t allow them to do a lot of things alone. Army policy and PC be da#$%d. They were our buddies and didn’t want them injured. It’s a natural male instinct, sorry.

Joel Edge

December 22nd, 2010
10:51 am

granny godzilla@10:46
“your moms and dads and grannys may be hopping over an airline seat to whack a bomber.”

Can’t be, the system works.

GT/MIT

December 22nd, 2010
10:55 am

@Uppity Shmuppity (or something)

“Some people might forget that someone who goes through ROTC does not pay for tuition, correct? Wouldn’t that attract some people to (not necessarily “at”) Harvard, Yale, etc.? Those institutions have nothing on Annapolis, West Point, or Colorado Springs, although they might think they do.”

It would be correct that the ROTC program pays tuition. One must also consider the students military obligation after graduation as some degree or repayment. In my case it was 5 years, albeit that was a number of years ago.

As to the comparisons of curricula among Ivy League schools and the Military Academies, any answer would be conjecture on my part, but I can say with certainty that the Military Academies are indeed just that.

Kamchak

December 22nd, 2010
10:55 am

I see that our anal obsessed seminarian has arrived to show his ass.

james

December 22nd, 2010
10:56 am

CT- would you mind doing a piece on this “net neutrality” that was adopted yesterday- don’t understand the effects.

markie mark

December 22nd, 2010
10:58 am

ABC, you have some valid points, but remember, from the founding of this country our leaders insisted in civilian leadership of the military. It may be an outmoded concept in the 21st century, but that is our tradition. In the 18th century, glory, riches and honor could be won on the battlefield, and the thought was civilians would reign in the Custers and Pattons of the world. Today, the paradigm may have shifted.

That being said, the comparison of todays wars with WWII is not, in my mind, correct. Then, we devoted the majority of our gdp into destroying regimes that would and could take over the world. The Taliban or al quaeda my hurt us, but they cant overrun the US (at least currently). There were no nukes in WW II, no imaginary boundaries that we could not cross (Pakastani border, Loatian border, etc). We pursued the enemy and destroyed them en masse. Today, we basically have a worldwide guerilla war. The concept of “win” is vastly different. We have to power to destroy a country and its government. Do we have the power and the will to be an occupying forces for 30 – 40 years? I dont think that national will is there unless we threatened to a greater degree than we are now. Dont forget, we were officially an Allied Occupying Power in Germany until only 5 or 6 years ago. Germany only payed Britain for the reparations demanded by the British Government from WW I last year. We live in totally different times and attitudes….

Scout

December 22nd, 2010
10:58 am

Cynthia:

A couple of thoughts …………..

1) The officer corps has been doing just fine without participation by “elite” universities. I’ll take a captain from Slippery Rock over Harvard any day of the week.

2) According to the latest CDC statistics 53% of people who have Aids are MSM (men having sex with men). Now figure in the number of gays in the U.S. (some sources say only 2%) and you see who is causing the biggest problem.

3) Why? The anal lining is much thinner than the vaginal lining and is therefore much more liable to rupture and allow the spread of the infection. I GUESS DARWIN WOULD SAY “EVOLUTION” FAILED US THERE.

4) I sure hope the president put a condom on that pen when he signed the repeal of “Don’t Assk, Don’t Tail”. It would be the right symbolic act for legislation that is going to cost the American taxpayer a lot more money in medical expenses for the military.

Scout

December 22nd, 2010
11:00 am

Granny at 10:46

You are a “soldierette”.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 22nd, 2010
11:00 am

Good morning all. While I admire the plea by our hostess, encapsulated in the title, I think a more honest evaluation requires that we recognize deception where it exists. DADT was a mere fig leaf, to allow the leftist-slanting formerly-premiere universities to discriminate against normal people.

I hold nothing but contempt for the Ivy Leagues schools. My younger son, the genius (freshly-returned from his seven month deployment in the Arabian Sea) applied to several top schools, acknowledging his intention to participate in ROTC. Only three rejected his (pre-essay) 1530 SATs – Harvard, MIT, and Penn, the three Ivy schools where he applied.

Of course, that revelation of discrimination works both ways. With my new-found knowledge that the schools routinely reject well-qualified conservatives, I now feel free to seek out conservative job applicants by excluding those who attended one of those leftist schools.

And for the record, I forecast that Harvard and Yale combined will commission not more than 10 ROTC officers in the next 10 years.

Last Man Standing

December 22nd, 2010
11:01 am

Beretverde:

“It’ll be a cold day in hell when I see Harvard-Columbia-Brown students serving this country!”

There are, of course, exceptions to such a blanket statement. Jack Kennedy served in combat in WWII as did his older brother. Both were graduates of Harvard, if memory serves. I’m sure there are many others who served their country that attended the aforementioned institutions.

I am somewhat numbed by CT’s article. I actually agree with her – and that has NEVER happened before. I think I must consult a doctor!

They BOTH SUCK

December 22nd, 2010
11:03 am

@Ragnor

You do know that some of the most ‘conservative’ bankers come fro these “leftist” schools right?

Did you vote for Bush?

Intown

December 22nd, 2010
11:03 am

I agree. The military has changed a great deal since Vietnam — for the better. It’s time for them to return to Ivy League schools if they wish to do so.

TheAtleeAppeal

December 22nd, 2010
11:06 am

They Both Suck

- IF you were implying Bush is a Conservative –
Bush was anything but a Conservative. “Compassionate Conservate” is just another term for moderate Democrat.

They BOTH SUCK

December 22nd, 2010
11:11 am

@The Atlee

Petrueas has a degree from Princeton…..

I could go on debunking you but it will not make any difference to argue with a fool.

Many people who have been or are in the military have undergrad or graduate degrees from Ivy League schools. Granted it is not the majority but that goes for the entire population as well.

They BOTH SUCK

December 22nd, 2010
11:12 am

Donald Dumsfeld (Rumsfeld) who the right just fawned over during the Bush yrs went to Princeton

They BOTH SUCK

December 22nd, 2010
11:14 am

Dick Cheney who the right seemed to love attended Yale, but has stated that he ‘flunked out’

TheAtleeAppeal

December 22nd, 2010
11:14 am

They Both Suck,

What are you debunking me on? I have said nothing in regards to what Ivy League schools produce in regards to their alumni. I just simply stated George Bush is not a Conservative. The man never saw a spending bill he didn’t like.

Fang1944

December 22nd, 2010
11:14 am

We [Politifact.com] contacted the Harvard Law School Office of Public Information, which provided a breakdown on the number of graduates, by class, who went into the military:

2000 — 0
2001 — 3
2002 — 2
2003 — 2
2004 — 3
2005 — 5
2006 — 3
2007 — 3
2008 — 2
2009 — 2

It doesn’t look as though the students at Harvard are likely to put on a uniform when they can go into a law firm and make a million a year.

Collegeprof

December 22nd, 2010
11:14 am

“It’ll be a cold day in hell when I see Harvard-Columbia-Brown students serving this country!”

Look around you–many of us (the “rich elitists” from Ivy) DO serve–we volunteer, we work for the Peace Corps, we do pro-bono medical and law work in underserved areas, we teach in university systems, we work for non-profits, we serve constituents in Congress, we serve as judges, we work for local, state, and federal government, just to name a few. Don’t forget that these sorts of positions, for the most part, pay far less than corporate jobs!!!

Just because we are educated at private universities does not mean that we are not aware of the needs of society and our country. I would argue that those of us who went to Ivy schools are MORE aware than those who go to public universities. I teach at a public university and I can tell you that my students are far less aware of the importance of service than my Ivy classmates and I were. I never heard anything disparaging about our military, meaning the men and women who serve. Policy? yes. People? no. And before someone jumps in to berate me for being another one of those elitists who is anti military, I am a faculty advisor for a student veterans group on my campus and am very dedicated to making university life for those who served our country a satisfying and useful experience. While I disagree with many of the policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, I fully support those who serve our country. Not all of us in Ivy are liberals–in fact I would say that most are Independent, meaning that we look at the issues one at a time and make our decisions rather than just deciding along party lines.

One cannot put blame on the students and graduates of the Ivy universities because of the decisions that were made by the presidents of those schools decades ago.

And yes, Jimmy62, an education at Ivy is far superior to Georgia Tech–we are taught to think; GAtech trains people to do things.

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
11:15 am

Markie Mark

If civilian leadership is outmoded in the 21st century what is the alternative?

A military that can act on its own?

Is that not an invitation to a junta?

Dave

December 22nd, 2010
11:15 am

It certainly took them long enough to repeal the law passed by Bill Clinton… I didn’t know he hated gays…. ijs.

abc

December 22nd, 2010
11:16 am

It’s beyond obvious that our current war malaise bears no resemblence to WW II. However, the length of time spent at war for WW I, WW II and Korea indicate, to me, the length of time that Americans will tolerate a state of war, and the length of time that the country can afford to maintain a state of war. What results have been achieved, what original goals gained? Not so much, especially when measured against the human and financial costs.

Political leaders with little or no military experience are best advised to leave military matters to the military. Curtis Lemay’s influence in that regard is self-evident — an extreme view, but it worked for a long time. Truman and Eisenhower allowed the military to set that posture. Even at that, Eisenhower warned of the control of the country by an establishment of military industrial complex, and political interest in participating and profiting from it. Politicians screwing up military leadership is what made VietNam what it was, and what we’re conducting in the Mid East these days is very comparable to what we did in Nam: in the end, a very high price to pay for little or no gain, all because of political leadership that didn’t really know what the military and war were all about. The Mid East fiasco is the very portrait of a military industrial complex run completely amuck.

Dave

December 22nd, 2010
11:17 am

So does this mean Elana Kagen can now join up?

williebkind

December 22nd, 2010
11:17 am

Now these Harvard and Yale grads, are they not the ones that bankrupt our country? Its ok they got 100million dollar bonuses. I mean they are Harvard and Yale graduates.

Dave

December 22nd, 2010
11:18 am

I think the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” should be called “Show And Tell”….

williebkind

December 22nd, 2010
11:18 am

I would not serve into the “new” military.

The Carnivore

December 22nd, 2010
11:18 am

I went to Duke and graduated from its Army ROTC program. At the time, the program was strong. In the years since, it has shrunk, and bottomed out around the same time of the Duke lacrosse scandal. Notably, this was when the “Group of 88″ professors shamed the university and themselves by jumping to conclusions and forgetting who their customers were.

I would hope that ROTC programs at top schools are able to be reignited to their former glory. This might prove difficult at some places, where “openness of thought” only applies to those who happen to agree.

Dave

December 22nd, 2010
11:20 am

If openly gay/lesbian service members are allowed to shower/bunk with service members of the same sex, I think that male service members should be now allowed to shower/bunk with female service members… ijs…

granny godzilla

December 22nd, 2010
11:20 am