Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Spirit of Aggieland

The Moose argues for ROTC on campus.

One of the pleasures of the Moose's sojourn to Texas this past summer was his visit to the campus of Texas A&M. The Moose has deep respect for the Spirit of Aggieland. It's just not the 12th Man Tradition which requires students to stand throughout football games in case one is needed to come on the field and play. What the Moose particularly appreciates about A&M is that it is a profoundly patriotic institution.

For years, A&M was an all-military school. In fact, it was just behind West Point and Annapolis in producing military officers. The Moose's Uncle Sonny was an Aggie who graduated as an officer and went off to Europe to fight the Nazis. General Patton said,

"Give me an army of West Point graduates, I'll win a battle. Give me a handful of Texas Aggies and I'll win a war!"

Although it is no longer an all military school, A&M is one of three colleges with a full time corps of cadets. And in memory of the Aggies that have fallen in wars, all those who enter the Student Union - the Memorial Student Center (MSC) - are asked to remove their hats.

Yesterday, the Moose got to thinking about his visit to A&M as the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case concerning whether the federal government could refuse funds to schools that bar military recruiters - the Solomon Amendment. Some law schools had challenged the law because they viewed it discriminatory as a result of the military's policies on gays.

One does not have to concur with this policy to understand the value of college graduates entering the military. There is already a big gap between civilian and military life - and keeping recruiters off campus only widens that division. Steven Nider insightfully wrote in Blueprint,

"A sad irony is that now is exactly the wrong time to ban military recruiters from, of all places, law schools. The prisoner abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay happened to a significant degree because the military either lacked clear rules and guidelines for treating detainees or adopted badly flawed ones. The military needs sharp legal minds to administer the military justice system, defend enemy combatants, provide high-quality legal services to military personnel, and advise commanders about international conventions and treaties."

Progressives should particularly want these "sharp legal minds" in the military to help protect standards and values. And liberals should also embrace the notion of service to country - that is why the Moose favors mandatory universal service with military and civilian options. In the words of JFK, "ask not.." Since the Democratic National Chairman feels a compulsion to insinuate himself in policy debates, maybe he should become an advocate for ROTC in schools.

The Moose is not asking that one support the military's policies on gays - oppose it if you believe it is unjust. But to carve out a "no recruitment" sanctuary on college campuses is an elitist rejection of the obligation of service to country.

As a matter of fact, the Moose also objects to the efforts of lefties to keep information on high school students from military recruiters. Even if you oppose the Iraq war, who do you think could have saved those who were slaughtered in Rwanda or those who are currently suffering in Darfur - the U.S. Armed Forces, of course. America needs a strong military - we live in a dangerous world - and it must recruit unless you prefer a draft.

And, by the way, if you are in Central Texas - pay a visit to Aggieland - and remember to remove your hat when you go into the MSC.
-- Posted at 8:17 AM | Link to this post | Email this post