Well, well, well, I read a NYTimes article complimentary about the military and college; the return of the ROTC program to some Ivy League colleges. What does this mean? Is it a good thing to have the military return to college campuses? In both instances, I think yes, having former military commanders offer classes at leading universities will benefit the students and the country in general.
The column noted that General Stanley A. McChrystal is teaching at Yale. The former “Runaway General,” and the former overall commander in Afghanistan, who was fired by Obama, is teaching a leadership seminar at Yale.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of The Joint Chiefs, is offering courses on diplomacy and military affairs at Princeton.
Admiral Eric T. Olson, former head of Special Operations who was involved in the planning of the Osama Bin Laden raid, is teaching irregular warfare classes at Columbia. Besides this, he is also open to the idea of listening to students offer “outside the box” ideas. What a great concept.
With these three intelligent and militarily knowledgeable men offering classes, who wouldn’t want to attend!! C’mon, imagine attending a class taught by the guy who helped plan the OBL raid?! I took a Vietnam Seminar in college and would have loved to pick the brains and hash out ideas with General Westmoreland. Instead, I was taught by a Vietnam protester and politically liberal professor ignorant of the conservative position. Which class do you think would have been more fun to attend?!
The knowledge learned in these classes has to be better than the water-downed information and liberal tweaked bias from a war protester professor! Also, think of the information one can learn from these men rather than the reporting from the news media, and I am saying the conservative media is included. Not every aspect of a military mission gets released to the media, so these students are getting first hand information from the guys that were “present at the creation” of secret, high level military operations. According to the article, McChrystal has warned students not to talk about some sensitive conversations he teaches in class. Need I say more?!
Why? Before I answer that, let’s all just admit many former Presidents, State Department Officials, Supreme Court Justices, Senators and Congressmen have been undergraduate or post-graduate students at Yale, Princeton and Columbia. Washington is littered with men and women who have attended these institutions.
Want a few names? Besides FDR, Kennedy and Gore from Harvard, there are the Bush’s, Cheney, Judges Roberts, and Thomas and Alito, Senators Leiberman and Kerry and Clintons from Yale, Schultz, Bradley, and Rumsfeld from Princeton. There are many others, but like or dislike this or any list, Ivy League colleges send there graduates to Washington; or should I say, they eventually end up there.
So why is ROTC good for Ivy League students? Since several graduates eventually land in D.C., a background in classes about the combination and intertwining of military and civilian affairs in military operations and the political consequences is beneficial to future leaders. If one of these students end up in Washington in whichever occupation, this person will have garnered knowledge from past events from the leaders involved and could apply the lessons learned to current problems. Let me ask, would one like have a President making decisions based on what the current crop of Joint Chiefs are advising, who may have military bias, or would one like to have a commander in chief who studied under former military leaders ?
Are some of the failed or unpopular wars since 1968, when ROTC was abolished from these campuses, attributed to the civilian leadership lack of any historical and military perspective that these classes could have offered? With military operations transforming from an all out frontal assault to a smaller crises where special operations, diplomacy and political overtones take precedent, future leader will need all three, and the ROTC provides this.