Harvard Warms to ROTC
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  • An

    DADT was passed by a democratic president with a democratic controlled house and senate. Of course, Republicans voted for it too in higher percentages. But I feel DADT was used as a scapegoat by the Ivy Leagues, Stanford, et al as a cover for just being anti-military.

  • Anthony

    “Just as DADT represented an outdated prejudice directed toward gay American citizens, the absence of ROTC now stands as a relic of an outdated bias against the American armed forces…” Fair enough, most importantly rapproachment has occurred.

  • Hold up, now — I’m a Harvard grad, and I direct commissioned after getting my Ph.D. (elsewhere) to become an active duty military officer, and Dr. Mead is wrong.

    For one thing, Harvard did _not_ “drive ROTC off campus in a fit of juvenile and ill-considered rage” — that’s just wrong. Harvard asked the military to show that ROTC classes met some kind of academic standard, which seems reasonable. The military chose not to and ROTC left. As has been well-documented since, the military has more or less chosen not to recruit from Northeast elite college and this decision will make little difference in that.

    In general I am not unfriendly to ROTC but don’t really think a lot of it either. Any Harvard grad who wants to direct commission probably can. ROTC will I suppose give you a transient advantage over your fellow officers in drill and ceremony and other things officers don’t do, and it comes at a commitment cost that weakens your ability, in my opinion, to do your job independently and well. I don’t particularly think ROTC at Harvard does much for the country — or for Harvard — one way or another.

    There’s another separate problem of the fact that in many of our elite circles we don’t really see people who have been in uniform, and in the military we are really disconnected from a lot of American intellectual and urban culture, and that rift needs to be lessened. But it is far from clear that this approach is the way to achieve that and I don’t see Dr. Mead making that case: indeed, I don’t think that case exists.

  • Sorry, for those unacquainted with the military: Dr. Mead’s claim that “students hoping to serve their country after graduation have had to make the arduous trek to MIT for their training” is rubbish, and not merely because I’ve _walked_ that distance many many many times. Harvard students wishing to serve their country after graduating can (as I did) go to a recruiter, find some brass to talk to, and do it. Period. Easy-peasy. Harvard students _wishing to participate in ROTC_, a program with good and bad aspects and not widely prevalent in the area anyway, have to do it via MIT, and if the military sources Northeast ROTC programs with anywhere near the density and interest they have in past, then the same type of arrangement will _still_ be the case only with different students schlepping in different directions in a service-dependent manner.

    I don’t deny the symbolic value, but that’s all it is.

  • WigWag

    Distance from Harvard Square to Kendall Square is 1.7 miles. There are about 5 Starbucks, 2 McDonalds and 1 Legal Sea Foods on the route where the tired recruit can find sustenance. If it’s too far to walk, maybe the military is not the right choice of profession.

  • JKB

    Well, DOD could have solve this little problem long ago. Simply by refusing to let DOD personnel attend the Kennedy School of Government programs and establishing a relationship with another university for such training. The Harvard types could still be welcome at the new venue but no cash going into Harvard’s coffers. Not to mention, making it a the Kennedy School a backwater with little actual impact on government staff.

  • Kris

    I was going to rib the oh-so accomplished Kieselguhr Kid for failing to recognize our host’s typical and obvious humor (“arduous trek”), but then I read the next comment.

  • vanderleun

    Well, how enlightened of Harvard. Now if the $60K per year Bard College could just pull it’s finger out….

  • Chase

    “Vain and empty posturing by narcissistic intellectuals is not the most attractive feature of American campus life today.”

    Are neo populist libertarians exempt for this critique? And if so, why?

  • Kris, we can talk about my accomplishments or lack thereof sometime. But in this context if I tell you I’m a Harvard grad and an active military officer, it is to establish the point that in this context I do, and oddly Dr. Mead does not, know whereof I speak: for example the story of ROTC getting “kicked off” of campus.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: And I referred in an unrespectful tone to your accomplishments in the classic context of city-slicker mocking.

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