Trespassing at Your Own Public University?

When the basic AP article about the swearing in of the new Joint Chiefs of Staff has a lede that casually tosses off  May 2005 Doonesbury Storyline: "I can practically guarantee you'll be fighting terrorism from behind a desk!"recruitment shortfalls” in the same breath as Iraq and disasters, you can be assured it’s one of the military’s biggest concerns. Ace mil-blog Intel-Dump frequently highlights the number crunch being faced by the army, and Armchair Generalist analyzed the recent lowering of the educational bar.  I sympathize with the recruiters greatly–we need a military, regardless of whatever goose-chase this or that administration might lead them on. It’s not really their fault that teenagers who don’t need a ticket out of town may question the extent to which the military is really about defending American freedom. That is, it’s not their fault until they start physically harassing a student-veteran for quietly protesting and then get him arrested on his own campus:

More than 100 George Mason University students and faculty members gathered on campus yesterday for a teach-in, six days after an undergraduate was arrested in a confrontation with military recruiters there.

Tariq Khan, 27, said he was standing near the recruiters’ table in the multipurpose Johnson Center at lunchtime last Thursday, holding fliers and wearing signs, including one on his chest that read “Recruiters Lie, Don’t Be Deceived.” One of the recruiters, plus another man who said he was a Marine, began yelling at him, he said, adding that the Marine ripped off his sign. Khan said that after a campus police officer asked for identification, which he didn’t have with him, he was arrested, taken to the Fairfax County police department and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Khan, a Pakistani American who grew up in Sterling and served four years in the U.S. Air Force, said the recruiters, and later the campus police, made disparaging comments to him about Middle Easterners.

Daniel Walsch, a university spokesman, said that Khan “was considered to be distributing literature,” which requires a permit, and that he was asked to leave the building.(Link)

The ACLU of Virginia wryly notes that the arrest occurred “at a public university named after the person who may be most responsible for the Bill of Rights.” Whether or not recruiters lie, George Mason U. is being patently untrue to its namesake’s ideals if it fails to urge the Fairfax D.A. to drop charges against Mr. Khan. (Link.)

The ACLU is defending Khan, who has a court date of Nov 14. (Link). Last week he gave a speech at the rally:

First of all I want to say that what happened to me last Thursday is not an isolated incident. . At at least three different colleges in the last week alone – the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts, and here at George Mason University – students engaged in non-violent counter-recruitment were met with police repression. . .And here at GMU I was harassed and assaulted by police and right-wing vigilante wannabe’s simply for standing in the JC with an 8×11 sign taped to my chest that said “Recruiters lie. Don’t be deceived.” Then I was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. While the police and vigilantes were brutalizing me, other right-wing students were cheering them on and shouting “Kick his ass!” . .Officer Reynolds, the goon who arrested me told me that he had to handcuff me because of 9/11. He said, “I didn’t know who you were, and what with 9/11 and all, there’s no telling what you’d do.” So because he didn’t know me, he had to assume that I’m a terrorist. Another officer at the GMU police station shouted at me, “You people are the most violent people in the world! You’re passive aggressive!” What does that mean? Who are “you people”? 

Besides the fundamental issue of preventing a student from engaging in free speech on a public campus, which I thought was settled over 40 years ago, there is the issue Khan brought up, a crystalized example of why we need first amendment rights to debate public policy and government actions in the first place–do recruiters lie?

It’s a question all Americans need to think about–if they do lie, they’re lying in our collective name. During graduation season earlier this year, Doonesbury jokingly and somewhat mildly broached the subject of recruitment earlier this year, only to be followed by a news report indicating that truth is worse than fiction

But two recruiters from Colorado have been suspended as the Army investigates accusations that they encouraged a teenager to lie and cheat so he could join up. Reporter Rick Sallinger of Denver TV station KCNC reports that 17-year-old high school journalist and honor student David McSwane is just the kind of guy the military would like.  . . .For one thing, he told his recruiter, he was a dropout and didn’t have a high school diploma.

No problem, McSwane says the recruiter explained. He suggested that McSwane create a fake diploma from a nonexistent school.

In May the army had to order a one-day halt in recruitment to review procedures, with 480 allegations of improper conduct to investigate. (Link) Swane recently followed up his adventure with a feature in Denver Westword. Besides this kind of basic dishonesty, which is essentially targeted at the military the recruiters serve, there is the issue of misrepresenting terms and natures of service to young recruits. AWOL resisters — or deserters — in Canada have repeatedly brought up the terms they say they thought they were getting:

Among the things Johnson was promised were a house to live in, a dental plan, medical coverage, more than $40,000 for college–and best of all, the recruiting officer told him, he wouldn’t even have to fight; if he liked, they would be happy to file the paperwork necessary to find him a nice desk job somewhere, no problem. Looking back at where he was in life and what the Army was promising him, Johnson still feels there was no way he could have refused. He was willing to do whatever they wanted, short of having to go to Iraq, and apparently, that wasn’t a problem. (Link)  Cliff Cornell, from Arkansas, was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He joined the Army with the promise from a military recruiter that he would receive a $9,000 sign up bonus and job training. “Ninety per cent of what the recruiters tell you is a pack of lies,” said Cliff. Army recruitment techniques amount to entrapment, targeting young men from poor families, said Cornell. (Link.)

These are serious allegations, and scream to be examined thouroghly, if skeptically. It’s of particular concern to immigrant communities, which are now prime recruiting grounds. (See previous posts.)  A court martial started last week for a recruiter accused of facilitating illegal immigration to gain recruits. Perhaps veteran Tariq Khan instead deserves kudos for patriotically stirring up debate and discussion?

44 thoughts on “Trespassing at Your Own Public University?

  1. What is the rate of re-enlistment, specifically re-enlistment from those who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq (as opposed to recruitment)?

    480 allegations of misconduct? What is the denominator? How many recruitors are there in the country, how many kids do they talk to, what percentage of interactions does this represent and how does it compare to previous periods such as the first Gulf War or other hot/cold military periods? Do those who are in Canada have a personal interest in saying they were mislead? Shall we take what they say at face value, while automatically disbelieving any recruitor?

    What do you all think of the restrictions on recruitment at ‘elite’ campuses? What does this say about free speech?

    More later…..

  2. Intel Dump and Armchair Generalist are very good milblogs; there are lots of others and there was controversy regarding said posts you linked to. You can technorati it if you want to look at the criticisms. If you are interested.

  3. You say that the allegations should be looked thoroughly, yet skeptically. Yet what in this article you have written illustrates the skeptical part of it, saheli?

  4. George Mason is in my (old) neck of the woods. Virginia is an interesting mix of red and blue in the same state. Having said that, I guess it’s beside the point, because it’s hardly an isolated incident.

    It’s a real shame so many people are willing to accept what recruiters tell them as gospel instead of requiring some of kind of evidence. I wonder if we could somehow teach people to question what they’re told…?

  5. Some links to the re-enlistment thing.

    Oh, and Khan had every right to protest, of course – do you know if people are routinely thrown off campus if they are protesting and don’t have id, or is it just in this case?

  6. “KXB, did I miss something? Isn’t Lawrence Summers still the President of Harvard University? His opinion might have been criticized, but he was not prevented from voicing it.”

    No, but it is now costing Harvard $50 million for a bogus diversity outreach. Again, speech on the modern American campus is not “free.”

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon_06_03_05hm.html

  7. KXB, what brimful said. Not to mention the fact that there’s a big difference between academic criticism and being arrested. There is also a big difference between grading the leadership style of the university president and calling a student a trespasser for wearing a sign on his chest. Merely repeating your statement does not make it true, and your second link goes to an article without any statistics or breakdown of spending–hallmarks of any good program critique–but with the rhetorically juvenile use of quotes around the word diversity, and of the phrase diversity claptrap. It’s possible that Summer’s program will not do any good, but that’s a separate discussion entirely. Please be precise.

    M.Nam This isn’t a matter of left or right, but campus policy. The original Berkeley coalition that ignited the Free Speech movement included College Republicans and Cal Students for Goldwater. Also, all your links are to the same story.

    MD, you seem to be tracking the reenlistment thing yourself, but I will also look into it. 480 allegations of misconduct? What is the denominator? Well, answering that question sounds like the work of two or three feature articles in itself. Clearly it was enough to give even the army pause, literally.

    Shall we take what they say at face value, while automatically disbelieving any recruitor? Of course not. Which is why I wrote, These are seriously allegations, and scream to be examined thouroghly, if skeptically.

    Intel Dump and Armchair Generalist are very good milblogs

    Indeed. The post wasn’t an appropriate place to heap praise on them, but they are some of the best in my opinion. Intel-Dump is truly stellar, and I am only sad that Phil Carter’s deployment to Iraq has meant decreasing post frequency, despite his bringing on an all-star groupblog cast. I love Armchair Generalist’s writing, and consider him one of my first “blogfriends.”

    What do you all think of the restrictions on recruitment at ‘elite’ campuses? What does this say about free speech?

    The recruitment policies are based on the notion that many campuses–yes, elite ones, where I am taking elite to mean, accurately, smart and hardworking–have, applaudably, adopted policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, much as they would ban discrimination based on race. Recruiters are allowed on campus, given space and tables and PR, as a favor by the campus. (Note that this is procedurally different than students speaking up about ideas.) If Corporation XYZ had a policy banning the hiring of South Asian students, outright, would you blame the campus for excluding them? The military, as we all know, officially discriminates based on sexual orientation. However, it does so at the bidding of Congress, and many people–including myself, most days, thought I’m still on the fence–would argue that more good is done by integrating the military across class and educational lines than by punishing it for Congress’s foolishness. Nevertheless a strong argument rests on each side. Intel-Dump has had ongoing discussions about this, and Intel-Dump founder Phil Carter engaged in a debate on the matter at Legal Affairs.

    there are lots of others and there was controversy regarding said posts you linked to. You can technorati it if you want to look at the criticisms. MD, I’m not sure what posts you mean; I posted a lot of links so it would help if you would narrow down what it is you want me to technorati. I’m not surprised if any of these are controversial–that’s the sign of good debate.

    I don’t know if this is normal GMU practice, but even if it is–which I doubt–that doesn’t make it right. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the content of Khan’s message–and his race–played a role in how he was treated, as opposed to his methods violating some bizarre but consistently enforced policy.

    Scotto and Manish: Joking aside, it’s precisely because front-line soldiers have to to do what they’re told without questioning the evidence that they should be given every opportunity to question the evidence–and be given very clean, very honest evidence–before they commit, and that the rest of us should constantly look out for their welfare, examine the ends to which they will kill and be killed, and make sure the army in which they serve is built with the utmost integrity and honesty possible.

  8. What do you all think of the restrictions on recruitment at ‘elite’ campuses? What does this say about free speech?

    I think people are overlooking the fact that he was handing out flyers. I mean, the treatment he received is of course inexcusable, but if he was soliciting people with flyers, he has to follow the school’s rules about that. If he was just standing there, protesting with his 8.5×11 on his shirt, that’s a different issue. There’s a difference between free speech on public campuses and private campuses as well.

    Also, who doesn’t carry ID with them anymore? Was this intentional on his part?

    Anyway, I think military recruiting gets pretty dirty and I don’t like how they target certain disadvantaged groups. I don’t agree with Saheli’s point about immigrant groups being prime recruiting grounds… I don’t see the connection. There’s little sense of assimilation in recently immigrated groups, so it’s hard to see a value system that would drive them to serve and possibly die for a country they just moved to.

  9. saheli, The question I asked can be answered in the one article you linked to – it right there in the Seattle Times article. Maybe you just missed it?

    For instance, why did you highlight the 480 allegations of misconduct, but not the fact that there are 7500 recruitors in 1700 recruiting stations? This is different, than, say, if there were 1000 recruitors with 500 recruiting stations. The 480 is a very different number in that context. It’s one of my pet peeves about journalists and would be journalists (sorry, didn’t mean it that way, you are doing an awesome job here) – the way you pick and choose numbers for the main piece leaves an impression on the reader, who may or may not go to all the links. Re-enlistment, by the way, is up. And that is also in one of the Intel-Dump links.

    Also, what I meant by the technorati thing is that Intel-dump, while extremely excellent, is not definitive and there are other milblogs who respectfully disagree, but that’s not a fair point or criticism on my part, so sorry about that. I read a lot of milblogs so I kind of know where some of them disagree with each other. Sorry about the crypticness of the comment.

    I am really impressed with your posts and the ability you have to remain so level-headed. Really impressed.

  10. Saheli, excellent reporting here. It’s appalling what military recruiters do to get people to say yes. In our local mall in Cedar Rapids, the recruitment center is in the mall – a prime place for catching teenagers suffering from ennui and not a whole lot of possibilities. Granted, the town also has one of the largest employers in Iowa, but it’s also a key player in the defense industry. It is unfortunate that protesters like Tariq Khan are punished for exercising their right to express what’s wrong with the recruitment process. Though it may have been more tactful to do it in another space, it’s doubtful that the protest would have caught the attention of the very people who need it: students. Thanks again for the great read and links.

  11. Sort of tangentially related: Recently, a number of GMU Law School profs submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting military recruitment on campuses.

    Now, the SCHOOL didn’t submit the brief…just some of the professors, including the Dean (which I find a bit disingenuous – I’m looking at you here, Dean Polsby!)

  12. The gay/lesbian/bi student union at my (large, public) midwestern university every year would write letters of protest to the military recruiting on campus — we had some sort of rule that no campus org or company doing business with the college could discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and yet every year the military would come in and beg for (heterosexual only) recruits. It was sick.

    As for whether recruiters lie to college kids, I did have a friend with a degree in music theory from a good private school who up and suddenly decided he wanted to be an Army Ranger. But because he was well-educated, they made him drive the general’s golf cart. He was like, no, teach me to fight, I want to be on the ground. (I think he had some leftover G.I. Joe fantasies from childhood, personally) They were like, oh ho ho, no way are we gonna use a college graduate for cannon fodder. Here, go hang out in Korea and live on a safe little base for a while. After his 4 years were up, he left in disgust.

    My Brit Asian boyfriend used to want to join the military (his uncle was a big war hero back on the subcontinent) until he went through the British equivalent of ROTC — military training on weekends, bringing together high school kids from all over England to fight paintball in the forest and learn to shoot real guns. He almost got strung up in front of a live firing range by a bunch of racists, but he escaped and they grabbed a Polish kid instead. The sargeant had to scream for everyone to stop firing, otherwise the kid would have died. He crapped his pants from terror. Boyfriend said in the 3 fake wars he took part in, twice he was killed by his own side, leading him to think if he ever fought for Britain, he would quickly die at the hands of bigots rather than foreigners.

  13. oh, saheli, the would-be was because I thought you were still in school, oops, sorry :)

    And any violation is serious and should be investigated, but the scope of the problem is important. In any large organization, I don’t care what it is, there will be problems. How widespread, and whether it is on par with the past, or increasing matters, too. Can’t know that without the denominator!

    What I meant by skeptical is that except for one quote from an administrator, all the things you highlight show one side of the issue. I’m not a fan of he said/she said journalism (and I know this is just a blog post and a darn good one at that, and not a newspaper article) but I think that how you put quotes together creates an impression. What do the recruitors have to say for themselves?

    I dunno, years of reading about docs in the news has made me skeptical about what I read in newspaper articles. It just does. I’ve read too many things I know to be not quite right.

  14. In our local mall in Cedar Rapids, the recruitment center is in the mall – a prime place for catching teenagers suffering from ennui and not a whole lot of possibilities.

    what is so appalling about that? the military isn’t for all, but it might be for some. there is a recruitment center in a strip mall by purdue university, and most people there seemed to think it was a good thing.

  15. Joking aside, it’s precisely because front-line soldiers have to to do what they’re told without questioning the evidence that they should be given every opportunity to question the evidence–and be given very clean, very honest evidence–before they commit, and that the rest of us should constantly look out for their welfare, examine the ends to which they will kill and be killed, and make sure the army in which they serve is built with the utmost integrity and honesty possible.

    hear hear.

  16. I’ll grant you that Summers may not be directly related to what Khan experienced, but it is related to the outdated notion that a university remains a place where unpopular ideas can be aired with no fear of retribution, whether that retributions comes from the academy itself, or other organizations. Higher education has become a place where the accomplished Summers barely escapes a forced resignation, but undergoes a Maoist-inspired show trial (Unfree speech). Yet, Ward Churchill (a plagiarizer and ethnic imposter) is protected at all costs, including his six figure taxpayer supplied annual salary (again, un-free speech).

    To expand a bit on what MD wrote, it is not simply that 480 allegations of misconduct compared againt 7500 recruiters – it is 480 allegations compared to several hundred recruiting attempts by each of those 7500 recruiters. Many professions, whether it is doctors, customer service reps, mechanics keep track of dissatisfaction rates. Is the 480 (over what time period?) worse than other professions? How about lawyers?

    Khan says he served in the Air Force for four years. But in what capacity? How typical was his experience compared to others? If he was dishonoroubly discharged, future employers do not look too kindly on that, and Khan may blame the Air Force.

  17. there is a recruitment center in a strip mall by purdue university, and most people there seemed to think it was a good thing.

    whoa! really… how time does fly? where’d they put it up.
    oh the memories … when we were young and free and shaved our head.

  18. This is pretty outrageous:

    … best of all, the recruiting officer told him, he wouldnÂ’t even have to fight; if he liked, they would be happy to file the paperwork necessary to find him a nice desk job somewhere…

    … six months after that, his first commander and sergeant both stood up before his unit and told them to prepare to go to war…

    … he was made aware of a clause in the contract he signed back in November which said that any promises made by the military could be changed without notice…

    The Iraq war had already been underway for six months when he was promised a desk job.

    Is the 480 (over what time period?) worse than other professions?

    Don’t forget that these things are usually underreported by a factor of 10x-100x.

  19. Uh, so what a lot of you are saying is that you don’t want recruitors on campus, and that the military takes advantage of the less fortunate? Uh, don’t you think you could change things more by having people in the military from places like Harvard? Wouldn’t the military policy toward gays be more likely to change, then? And isn’t it more fair to also ask the elite to fight as well?

    Also, demographics will show (I’ll try and find the link) that actually, it’s people from the South, not necessarily poor, and rural whites who do a lot of the fighting. Razib has gone over this a million times, but whites are slightly over represented in casualty figures as opposed to the general population. The data does not bear out the hypothesis of the poor, brown person taken advantage of by the military.

    Again, any abuse, lies told by recruitors is repugnant. But allegations are not the same as fact.

  20. …a clause in the contract he signed back in November which said that any promises made by the military could be changed without notice…

    With assurances of this nature, no wonder they have trouble recruiting people. I suppose then that, in the worst case, they could also terminate your 401k and deprive you of veteran benefits once you are too weak and infirm to go fight it out in some foriegn desert. All because you signed the contract with the ‘we-can-take-back-our-word’ clause.

    For all the recruitment adverts stating how the army/navy/airforce will transform you into a man of integrity and iron-will, they are not doing such a great job with ethics themselves.

  21. whether you agree or not with military service or recruitment, the issue here was whether this person should be able to hold his view and share it with other people

    the debate on whether recruitment is fair, the merits or demerits of the war is seperate from that

    i think obviously this guy should be able to voice his opinion, but obviously some people are not going to like it. but its a free speech right

  22. Who says he doesn’t deserve to speak out? The incident is repugnant and I said that. I’m responding to the commenters – and anyway, lawyer types, do you have to have permits to protest on campuses as the administrator says? Or is this just bogus campus PC free speech stuff (which happens to right and left protestors, both. The protest cages and so forth).

  23. i’ve heard that military recruitment is high in latino and african american communities, and just from personal experience, the people i have come across in military situations have usually been latino, or rural white people, or african american. from what i know, recruitment of latinos is quite a big thing

  24. i’ve heard that military recruitment is high in latino and african american communities, and just from personal experience, the people i have come across in military situations have usually been latino, or rural white people, or african american. from what i know, recruitment of latinos is quite a big thing

    i’ve noticed more latinos in the military than any other minority, and not that many african americans. i’ve also noticed (around chicago, at least) that philipinos tend to have more people in the military than other (east) asians. i wonder if a certain region of india is known more for going into the u.s. (not india) military (punjabis?)

  25. whites are slightly over represented in casualty figures as opposed to the general population. The data does not bear out the hypothesis of the poor, brown person taken advantage of by the military.

    That is probably true as minorities are underrepresented in the combat arms, tending to choose non-combat jobs (yes they get killed too) that will give them skills in the civilan work force.

  26. Uh, so what a lot of you are saying is that you don’t want recruitors on campus, and that the military takes advantage of the less fortunate? Uh, don’t you think you could change things more by having people in the military from places like Harvard? Wouldn’t the military policy toward gays be more likely to change, then? And isn’t it more fair to also ask the elite to fight as well?

    Very simple answer to all these… A DRAFT !!!! Then lets see how long the ‘patriotism’ lasts.

  27. I don’t really know where to start, seems like there is a ton of misinformation and lack of understanding about the military. More problematic is the fact that many here have an underlying bias against the military (it’s big and bad, boo, they are not equal opportunity, we want them to GO AWAY!!!). I’ll pick this piece by piece.

    1) On the main topic of recruiters lying: A common joke in military circles (not just the disgruntled minority, but universally accepted) is “How do you know a recruiter is lying – They open their mouth to speak”. This joke has been used with lawyers, too. Now, for those who don’t know, whatever the recruiter says means NOTHING. Absolutely NOTHING. The only thing that matters is whatÂ’s on the contract YOU SIGN, voluntarily.

    I already hear groans about “well, he misled me; kid was from a poor family; just a 17 yr. old, etc.”

    When the military went all VOLUNTARY (after the draft was a disaster), they were put at the same playing field as everyone else; you have to compete to attract candidates. However, there is a difference – Majority of the people who join the military do so because they want to fight, or contribute to it, NOT for the money. There is a vocal minority that will claim they joined for the benefits. Some probably do, and for the most part, they are not in frontline positions. Approximately 10% of the military are infantry/front line troops; everyone else falls in support activities. That means for every one infantry Soldier/Marine, 9 are supporting them in rear echelon jobs (transportation, logistics, maintenance, etc). Plus you have other services that serve different, less bloody roles like the Navy, Airforce, or even Coast Guard.

    If you’re out to buy a car, you make sure YOU get the deal you want, not the other way around. If you’re taking a job with a corporation, it’s your responsibility to ensure YOU get what you signed up for (as a contractor for example). All enlisted folks sign a contract, which has EVERYTHING stated: what your commitment is, what MOS (your job), what bonuses, etc.

    In regards to our buddy who got manhandled, yea, he should have just been allowed to do his protest, in a non-invasive manner. IF he was interfering with someone else’s LEGAL job, then he pays the price. If he didn’t, he got railroaded. Other than that, I don’t know all the facts, especially when information comes from an anti-military angle, rather than “who is responsible” tone. IF ANY recruiter breaks the law, they should be severly punished. IF anyone doesn’t like the law, elect leaders that will do so, don’t take it out on an institution that has a very different job than civilian world, and one that is very necessary, too.

    2) Onto the next issue: Well then, why do they ‘mislead’ some. Because brass sets a quota for them, and they get evaluated as such. Think of a car dealership again. By the way, there are people from POOR places that make sure they get their deal, and there are middle class kids who walk in and don’t read their contracts, therefore they don’t get what they want. It’s all about a level of common sense. If ANYONE reading wishes to join the military, take a prior service (or active) guy with you first, and make sure you get squared away and for GODS SAKE, READ YOUR CONTRACT OR FIND SOMEONE WHO CAN.

    Another misnomer floating around is that majority of todayÂ’s military is filled with the poor and unfortunate. This is NOT true. Majority of the people in the military ARE middle class citizens. Numbers are skewed because comparatively the wealthy don’t contribute as much; therefore you see a higher percentage of poor. If wealthy folks join in the fight, then you see the curve shift.

    3) Kicking military off campus, or denying recruitment: This is fundamentally detrimental to our society. We are shunning a voluntary institution, that when push comes to shove is what saves peoples behinds. WE elect people who make decisions. Military can only do what OUR elected leaders ask them to do. Only way to liberalize the military or make it progressive is to ALLOW ROTC recruiting, which means more diverse ideas get to the military, not the other way around with people stonewalling them. By shunning the military, instead of their civilian leaders who make the decisions, we are hurting our very own citizens.

    4) It seems many don’t understand (or fundamentally squeamish about) what the military’s job is: To kill. Plain and simple, to kill those who OUR elected leaders (us as a republic) feel threatened by. That is their foremost responsibility, and to win their fight. EVERYTHING, including civil liberties takes a backseat. ThatÂ’s why they have the UCMJ, their OWN set of laws. Progressives rail about how OPENLY gay people are banned from the military. There is a reason behind this: Civil liberties are not their priorities, and ONLY if they see a benefit that gives them a military edge will they allow gays in. With all due fairness, gays are a very small minority, and their induction into an environment where trust is the foremost bond, can’t just be dumped in overnight, it’s a slow methodical process than involves change from the inside (which means more progressive minded folks IN, rather than OUT).

    Does anyone know how African Americans got their chance as equals? Segregated units performed brilliantly, PROVING their military VALUE. Military integrated before overall society did, not because it was moral, but because they saw ultimately a SIGNIFICANT population of able minded and physically capable men were not used effectively. Tuskegee Airmen, The Buffalo Soldiers, and many more are to thank. Troops job is to win. Also, it’s false to say military doesnÂ’t allow gays, they do. They just don’t want to hear about it. If you’re there to fight, then fight, but keep your sexuality to yourself. In a testosterone charged environment, men are conditioned to be aggressive, hard, brutish, and ultimately conditioned killers. Each man supports the other, and ONLY trust can hold them together. This may make many of you uncomfortable, but it is the truth and the basics of infantry and a fighter’s mindset has been written about for thousands of years and NONE of that has changed. From the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Persians, Indians, etc, theories of warfare and fighting have remained basically the same.

    *Anyone bringing up Greeks and Romans, who had culturally accepted homosexuality, there are different reasons, with the obvious one being a very different culture. You want it to change, then let people IN who can change it, not wall them off.

    It’s a cost benefit analysis. Does having open homosexuals give us an edge when we fight, or does it harm us? From a scientific point of view, a homosexual can do everything and anything a heterosexual can. But psychologically, will alpha males accept one who is contrary to what a male biologically is geared for, especially around ALPHA males? Take that into consideration. IF you have a doubt, then the military won’t buy into it. Their jobs literally are life and death decisions. If ANYONE wants this change, then the only way is allowing people with a progressive mindset a chance at the military.

    READ THIS REFERENCE: Nathaniel Fick was a Dartmouth grad and a Marine officer, who has just written a book about his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a very well written, well-thought guy, and not black or white in his assumptions or ideology. Probably one of the first accounts of a fighter, from these recent wars. Everything else has been more embeds OR old Generals with their memoirs. (If one can tell, I read a lot of military books, ONLY way to learn more is to read more, about everything) Much of what I have ranted here, he has answered very eloquently.

    Read this inteview, and his website. Give it a fair shot with an open mind, he’ll probably surpise many of you. Read his NY Times, Boston Globe, and other publication op-eds under “more writing”

    OH YEA, the DRAFT IS A VERY BAD BAD IDEA. For all it’s flaws, today’s military is vastly superior in doing its job than the past was.

  28. did I miss something? Isn’t Lawrence Summers still the President of Harvard University? His opinion might have been criticized, but he was not prevented from voicing it.

    Have a look at this documentary

    Progressives supress free speech in colleges more than the conservatives do.

  29. OH YEA, the DRAFT IS A VERY BAD BAD IDEA. For all it’s flaws, today’s military is vastly superior in doing its job than the past was.

    Ofcourse because that would mean more representative military, which would be more restrained (because everyone would fill part of a war) as opposed to outsourcing it to poor people and people who want a greencard, so that RICH suburban fat kids can become fatter and thump their chest. How easy it is to be patriotic when ones ass is not on the line.

  30. Ofcourse because that would mean more representative military, which would be more restrained (because everyone would fill part of a war) as opposed to outsourcing it to poor people and people who want a greencard, so that RICH suburban fat kids can become fatter and thump their chest. How easy it is to be patriotic when ones ass is not on the line.

    Wrong. You, have to look through the perspective of the military man. THEY don’t want people who don’t want to be there, for whatever reason they join it was still a volunteer effort. An unmotivated guy, who doesn’t want to fight, is a danger too. A draft would put men and women in a position where low morale and lack of trust could result in not only a weak military, but get more people killed.

    The MILITARY is not in the business of practicing restraint. It’s the civilian leadership’s job, and thats why our elected leaders are the one’s who call the shots (to fight or not). Your position is consistent with someone who wants to achieve political result at the expense of the military, which really isn’t necessary, quite foolish, and dangerous.

    Rich kids being forced to fight a war they don’t want (regardless of right/wrong) only spells trouble for everybody.

  31. THEY don’t want people who don’t want to be there, for whatever reason they join it was still a volunteer effort. An unmotivated guy, who doesn’t want to fight, is a danger too.

    U think a poor kid lured by fake promises will be motivated ?? C’mon, lets get real.

    The fact is that when someone else is doing the fighting, everyone goes “Yea.. great !! axis of evil … attack attack … ” when ones own ass is on the line .. they go “Make love not war” …..

  32. The fact is that when someone else is doing the fighting, everyone goes “Yea.. great !! axis of evil … attack attack … ”

    I don’t think you get my point, or ever will. The military doesn’t have a choice. And yes, a kid who joined up for money is more motivated than someone who was literally forced into it, kicking and screaming. And, you gloss over the fact that MOST don’t fall in that category of poor or people who want to EARN their citizenship, those are subsets.

    Just because you don’t like the political leadership, you can’t take a axe to an institution that serves at command.

    Using your logic, if one had a doberman guard dog that was very aggressive (the way a guard dog should be), and it bit some people, you decided to cut a leg off so it wouldn’t go around attacking anyone. This doesn’t solve the core problem: The one who controls and trains the dog (civilian leadership). You just make the guard dog ineffective at performing it’s job.

    But I digress, your solution at weaking the military is far better than solving our political problems via voting, debate, and holding leadership accountable. If they [troops] can’t fight because rich mommy and daddy don’t want their kids hurt, we won’t have wars RIGHT!!! (gays will be inducted in the military before the draft will EVER come back).

  33. Wha! GujjuDude your all-in-1 comment #32 took the cake, khamand, dhokla everything together with the cart. Totally rockalacious! Dude from where do you get the energy and stack memory to compose and make such a comprehensive comment?

    Believe me..I simply forgot what was it that I wanted to write. Will come back if I recollect it.

  34. regarding the “lack of academic freedom” on campuses for conservatives.

    in re: Larry Summers – he said something which is not controversial – it’s factually wrong. It has been addressed numerous times by scholars in many fields, and the consensus in the field contradiscts Summers’ basic argument. It was a sloppy, lazy, and incorrect statement that pretty much demonstrates a need for further education on the subject. Well deserving of derision and mockery.

    Funny to see conservatives going all cultural-relativist for a moment – what about academic standards? Why are they not good enough for Larry Summers?

    Why does any wacko who supports right wing agendas get defended by the ‘academic freedom’ crew, while most of them, by the way don’t seem to lose their jobs (any examples here)? Summers is crying all the way to the bank, even the diversity program funding doesn’t come from his pocket.

    while left wing wackos (and even non-wackos) get attacked, not defended by academic freedom types, and often fired.

  35. Dude from where do you get the energy and stack memory to compose and make such a comprehensive comment?

    Um, yea. That was a bit verbose.
    Disclaimer – I am employed by the military as a federal GS civilian working ammuntion and explosives. If I ain’t grounded at times, Ram Nam Satya Hai would be the chant of the day.

    Press Release OCT 14, 2005

    GujuDude officially apologizes for the length of his comment on Sepiamutiny.com, in post #32. He blames the system that educated him for it. Teachers in India sat with a 12 inch wooden ruler and measured the length of essay answers for marks (grades). As a result, today, he suffers from the Keyboard Commando Disease (KCD) .

  36. Hey gujjudude..do I get the hint that you’ve taken my comment offensively? Man, seriously I was like all in awe for that comment(complete with halo rings attached to it) – both for the content and the way you presented it. The khamand-dhokla reference was a sign of that in-awe-affection. Why this sarcasm? I don’t geddit? or am I totally misreading your last comment?

    Anyways, here’s what I originally intended to comment(sorry, I was out for sometime after my first comment) :

    17 by army of me:

    “Boyfriend said in the 3 fake wars he took part in, twice he was killed by his own side, leading him to think if he ever fought for Britain, he would quickly die at the hands of bigots rather than foreigners.”

    I know someone(X) in Bombay who did four years of NDA and has been posted many times in Kashmir. And another friend of mine(Y) frm Banglore, after completing his B.E. impressed with Indian Army’s Short Service Commission(SSC) programme applied for it. So, apparently these SSC guys become officers after just one year of training whereas the NDA guys slog it out for 4 years(they join after 10+2 aka HSC) and ultimately are (I dont know their ranking system) assigned under these SSC officers. Hence there was/is a growing discontent amongst NDA cadets against SSC types. Apparently, many times during small skirmishes, or chotu-motu yr everyday friendly-jihadi encounters, these NDA cadets themselves try to finish off their officers. And if you believe him there were one or two such cases even in Kargil. “mauqa dekh ke chauka maarna” –yes, that’s what they did.

    In short X strongly advised Y not to join through the SSC route saying that there are more chances of him being killed by his own men in some snowcapped mountains.

    And after the Tehelka episode and Siachen fake killings cases, I am ready to believe my friend’s word on this, rather than continue to believe in holier-than-thou Army. Ultimately Y opted out.

  37. Naw dude, don’t worry about it. It wasn’t a jab at your or anything. I was just cracking a joke at my own expense anyway. The original post was a bit long in hindsight, I could have shaved it down a bit here and a bit there to make it more concise.

    So no offense intended here either, peace.

  38. Saheli: You say “we need a military.” I would like more evidence to that effect. I am unconvinced that there are current threats that couldn’t be more effectively dealt with in other ways.