Opinion

More ROTC? The war on war continues

There are some disappointing contradictions in the arguments made against inviting ROTC back to campus, two of which I would like to briefly unearth. First is the argument that under "don’t ask, don’t tell," ROTC was barred from campus because of our University’s dedication to non-discrimination. OK, so we’ve rightfully established we will not discriminate on the spectrum of sexuality, but apparently we will discriminate on the spectrum of citizenship ideologies? What about students whose constitution of self and identity, of worldview, of action and interaction with society, politics, and academia, is expressed through their service in the armed forces? Isn’t the effective banning of ROTC discriminatory against them?

The second issue is freedom of expression, a fundamental principle of the University and its president.

For many cadets ROTC is an expression of patriotism, of dedication, and of respect, not necessarily for a political entity but for that poignant, ambiguous, world-changing, and frustrating ideological body that is the American ethos. Of course we Columbians have a tendency to chafe and scoff at such concepts, but in exercising our right to scoff let us not delimit the rights of others to express those beliefs.

I am a real pacifist, by which I mean I believe in peaceful conflict resolution and diplomacy as effectual and realistic, albeit it near impossible, endeavors. But ultimately I find something fundamentally flawed with the current debate that has nothing to do with the content of either side but rather with the debate itself. These are noble and necessary conversations on difficult and pressing issues that need to be confronted (i.e. mistreatment of women, of transgendered citizens, and of low-income citizens). But the ROTC debate is an ineffective and insufficient arena for realizing and sustaining such imperative discussion. The ROTC question has exploded into a wholly larger debate, an infinitely expansive, poignant, and polymorphous debate on militarism and war. But the ROTC debate platform cannot adequately hold the weight of such grave discussions. Let us then find a more suitable venue.

Caroline Blosser is a Spectrum opinion blogger. She likes to be cheeky. She is also a ninja.

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nicely posted on

written

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Stan posted on

Problem with being a pacifist is that when someone says they want to KILLyou, better believe them. If your a pacifist you can talk all you want it won't stop their radical believe in killing you.

Aside from that fact:

ROTC doesn't mean violence either it means honor respect and ability to having training people with an education to "PROTECT" and defend our values from the radical people that are saying they want to kill you. I see this ridiculous to even consider the objective to not support ROTC.

If so, might as well object to police, fire fighters, and any other public service meant to train people on how to react. You can talk to the fire, mugger, or radical islamist and make them change their mind 100% of the time.

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And posted on

neither do people who choose to leave anonymous comments about a writer's profile picture instead of engaging that writer's thoughts intellectually.

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well posted on

"For many cadets ROTC is an expression of patriotism, of dedication, and of respect, not necessarily for a political entity but for that poignant, ambiguous, world-changing, and frustrating ideological body that is the American ethos." Maybe for them it is, but these are empty words fed by an institution to its members. This issue isn't problematic on the individual level but on the institutional level.

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RobbieRobot posted on

"Maybe for them it is, but these are empty words..."

Why do people who have never served always think they know so much about the military and have some sort of credibility to speak on the subject? I mean, I've never worked in a restaurant, so why would I try to tell anyone about being a waiting tables?

If a college student wants to serve, then let him or her serve. It has nothing to do with anyone who doesn't. It is their choice. Learn to separate your anti-militarism from being anti-military. The former is a high-minded and admirable, if not realistic, concept and the latter is mostly made up of young Americans who can neither afford the former nor the tuition at Columbia University.

RR

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Anonymous posted on

U look like laura dern. most people agree that laura dern looks like a knee.
knees don't really have valid political opinions just fyi

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RobbieRobot posted on

"being a waiting tables," should just say "waiting tables." See... no college, can't write good.

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Adverb posted on

WELL

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oh wow posted on

i know caroline and her nose does NOT look like that . . . mahahaha pretty funny, but not realistic

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Furthermore... posted on

"This issue isn’t problematic on the individual level but on the institutional level."

So of course you should ensure that on the individual level people are prevented from participating, instead of offering ideas to help fix the institution.

Nitwit.

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jerry posted on

Students, and All,

I'm a 72 year old man that read about how a Vet was jeered & booed at your school.. Although I've never served, I've known many that have, and some that never came back.. I also worked at a University during the Vet Nam war, and remember all the student uprisings during that time.. My eyes aren't as good as they once were, but I see some things a little more clearly now.. So, if I may add my opinion to this cause...let me say this about Pro or Con ROTC on any Campus in the USA.

If you don't like the leaders of our military because they don't think like you, then maybe it's because they all come from the same area's of the Nation.. I would ask you to think about what influences a General that was born in one of our Southern states, and lived there his, or her whole life, as opposed to one from a Northern, Eastern, or Western states. Most of our Military leaders come from the south.. I'd like to even that out.

The more ROTC programs we have across America, the more the mores of the Nation will be represented in the Military.. The bigger influence the student body has on each of these young Men & Women as they are molded to represent our Country, the better we'll all be served. Next time you think about booing a Vet, go visit Arlington, or Gettysburg.. It's there that you'll find many very young people that gave their all.. Freedom is very costly.. I always wonder, what would they have been in their life.. I wish you all well.

J. A. Murphy

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I agree posted on

imagine what our military, our nation, our foreign policy, and world history would look like if our generals were ivy league educated thinkers. I'd like to see what that might look like. yes to ROTC.

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Anonymous posted on

Let me first begin in saying that I am not a current student at Columbia, nor am I an officer in the United States Army. I do, however, attend a military high school and aspire to one day be an officer in the US Army. Hopefully I will acquire my commission through Columbia's cross town ROTC program. I have been and still am surrounded by career military men, both enlisted and officer.
I would first like to dispel some myths about the military that some in this community still hold. The military is not filled with jarheads. The military is not a haven for criminals and delinquents. Military officers are educated. Contrary to popular belief, in order to be promoted past major, an officer must almost always have at least a master's degree. There is a reason why General Petraeus has a P.h.D from Princeton (although he should have picked a certain school in Morningside Heights...). At my boarding school, our military system goes hand in hand with one of the best secondary educations in the country. In essence, military officers must be very intelligent in order to get anywhere in there career. As one instructor and former Infantry officer at my school puts it, "an Infantry officer must be able to jump out of an airplane into combat, survive and lead his men in combat, and be able to discuss art at an embassy dinner".
But this is not the point. This debate is not about doves against hawks, war against peace, intellectual against brute. The debate is clear: should Columbia adopt ROTC? My answer is yes.
Discrimination- Yes, the military did discriminate against homosexuals. However, when President Obama took office, the Joint Chiefs of Staff backed repealing the ban. Republican Congressmen didn't. No, the military does not discriminate against lower-class enlistees. In fact, the military has been an effective tool for improving the lives of the poor. Health-care, housing, dining, travel, stability- these are all things offered to every member of the military. Less than 10% will ever take on a combat role, and they ALWAYS do so voluntarily and cognizant of the risks. Women, although they cannot join the combat arms, can make careers out of military service.
As I have researched about Columbia admissions, I have always noticed the focus on diversity. Diversity of race, socio-economic status, and ideas. It is clear that they accept those who believe in pacifism and have anti-military sentiments. But I ask, where are the students who believe that military force, regrettably, is necessary in keeping a balance of power in the world? Where are the students who believe that military service is a civic duty, to be performed only by society's most capable? I dare Columbia to strive for true diversity in her student body.
Finally, Columbia students have much to complain about in the military. The system can be better. But where does Columbia fit in? Do her students stand on the sidelines and criticize, or do they actually try to make the difference? Change will come from the inside out, from Columbia grads who wear the uniform of the armed services. And that is what we all want

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Anonymous posted on

Let me first begin in saying that I am not a current student at Columbia, nor am I an officer in the United States Army. I do, however, attend a military high school and aspire to one day be an officer in the US Army. Hopefully I will acquire my commission through Columbia's cross town ROTC program. I have been and still am surrounded by career military men, both enlisted and officer.
I would first like to dispel some myths about the military that some in this community still hold. The military is not filled with jarheads. The military is not a haven for criminals and delinquents. Military officers are educated. Contrary to popular belief, in order to be promoted past major, an officer must almost always have at least a master's degree. There is a reason why General Petraeus has a P.h.D from Princeton (although he should have picked a certain school in Morningside Heights...). At my boarding school, our military system goes hand in hand with one of the best secondary educations in the country. In essence, military officers must be very intelligent in order to get anywhere in there career. As one instructor and former Infantry officer at my school puts it, "an Infantry officer must be able to jump out of an airplane into combat, survive and lead his men, and be able to discuss art at an embassy dinner".
But this is not the point. This debate is not about doves against hawks, war against peace, intellectual against brute. The debate is clear: should Columbia adopt ROTC? My answer is yes.
Discrimination- Yes, the military did discriminate against homosexuals. However, when President Obama took office, the Joint Chiefs of Staff backed repealing the ban. Republican Congressmen didn't. No, the military does not discriminate against lower-class enlistees. In fact, the military has been an effective tool for improving the lives of the poor. Health-care, housing, dining, travel, stability- these are all things offered to every member of the military. Less than 10% will ever take on a combat role, and they ALWAYS do so voluntarily and cognizant of the risks. West Point provides students with the best liberal arts education in the county, all for free. Women, although they cannot join the combat arms, can make careers out of military service.
As I have researched about Columbia admissions, I have always noticed the focus on diversity. Diversity of race, socio-economic status, and ideas. It is clear that they accept those who believe in pacifism and have anti-military sentiments. But I ask, where are the students who believe that military force, regrettably, is necessary in keeping a balance of power in the world? Where are the students who believe that military service is a civic duty, to be performed only by society's most capable? I dare Columbia to strive for true diversity in her student body.
Finally, Columbia students have much to complain about in the military. The system can be better. But where does Columbia fit in? Do her students stand on the sidelines and criticize, or do they actually try to make the difference? Change will come from the inside out, from Columbia grads who wear the uniform of the armed services.
I am white. I am from Kansas. I am a Democrat. I want to be an Infantry officer. I want to be a Ranger. I want to survive the hardships of the Infantry to make me a better person. I want to take the oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I know Columbia's history; I know students have sometimes hostile opinions. But I ardently believe that Columbia needs me equally as much as much as she needs pacifists and doves.

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