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A great warrior sent this to me and I consider a great response to an all-too-common attitude in our society.-- Lt grose


Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 08:10:33 0500
US News & World Report, 4 Oct 99; Letters

How disturbed I was to see your article in the September 6 issue about ROTC scholarships as a means of providing funds for a college education. The education associated with ROTC is a contradiction to the academic freedom enjoyed at university campuses; military training on college campuses, in fact, makes a mockery of education. Far from taking a global view of learning, ROTC encourages narrow patriotism and a philosophy of any means (killing people and polluting environments) to the end. The institutionalized mistreatment of gays and lesbians in the military and sexual harassment of women are par for the course.

KATHERINE VAN WORMER
Professor of Social Work
University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa

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Dear Professor Van Wormer,

I just finished reading your letter to the editor in U.S. News & World Report magazine (4 Oct) and was compelled to address your shockingly prejudiced, obviously uninformed and frankly laughable viewpoint on ROTC and the military in general.

Your unenlightened perspective belies a reckless if not tragic ignorance that brings disrepute upon the institution that employs you. It is a shame you felt obliged to comment  on something you apparently know so little about. I wonder if in your extensive research in "Social Work" you ever encountered someone who's actually served in the armed forces? The answer goes without saying.

Allow me to be your first. It troubles me that you must be reminded that the academic freedom you enjoy and cherish so dearly was purchased with the precious lives and blood of many a noble soldier on wretched battlefields here and abroad over the past 223 years. Do you honestly believe freedom of any sort  comes without tremendous cost? Are you so willfully naive to think you'd enjoy the same license if you were a professor in China, Iran, North Korea, or the Sudan?

How many young men and women have you talked to lately who spent their Christmas holiday patrolling some godforsaken minefield like Bosnia, or their 5th wedding anniversary in a row at sea, or the birthday of their first daughter stopping a madman from achieving his goal of ethnic cleansing? Tell me. Do you really think we acknowledge a call to the profession of arms so we can "kill people and pollute environments?"

To believe such sophomoric rubbish demands some fairly sophisticated  cerebral blinders.

I have served in the U.S. Air Force for 11 years now, flying long hours over countless global hot spots, and I have not once encountered a fellow solider, sailor, or airman who subscribes to a "narrow patriotism and a philosophy of any means." Not one. Rather, they are ladies and gentlemen of highest caliber, selfless devotion to the cause of freedom, and tireless service to an often-thankless nation.

Your mischaracterization is so off base it borders on unforgivable.

It would seem to me that your Department of Social Work would have whole syllabi devoted to the role of the military in the field of social work.  I can think of no greater social service than an institution committed to risking the lives of its members to preserve and defend the very  citizenry from which it hails.

How many oppressed refugees, disaster victims, and starving children have been mercifully delivered from their plight by the military in just the last decade? Need we reflect on the fact that the whole of Western Europe owes its freedom from Nazi fascism to a valiant few in olive drab and khaki?

Perhaps you should invite a concentration camp survivor or a Kosovar Albanian to give a guest lecture extolling the magnificent "social services" they've benefited from at the hands of the military.

Finally, I find it humorous that academics like yourselves who indoctrinate our youth with the dogma of "positive tolerance" for
every aberrant lifestyle cannot find it within yourselves to tolerate an institution to which you owe your very peace, comfort, and well being. It is an amusing double standard.

My exhortation to you is to get out of the rarified air in your office, walk over to your ROTC detachment in Lang Hall and interact with the men and women in uniform and those aspiring to wear it. Perhaps then you will wake up from your slumber of conscious ignorance, join the ranks of the enlightened, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the freedoms you take for granted and those who sacrifice daily on your behalf to secure it.

In Service To You,
Capt Jonathan Clough
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 "No profession or occupation is more pleasing than the  military; a profession or exercise both noble in execution (for the  strongest, most generous and proudest of all virtues is true valor) and  noble in its cause. No utility either more just or universal than the  protection of the repose or defense of the greatness of one's country.  The company and daily conversation of so many noble, young and  active men cannot but be well-pleasing to you."

Michel de Montaigne (1533-92), French essayist. Essays,  bk. 3, ch. 13, "Of Experience" (1588; tr. by John Florio).


Email -- jdgrose115@polyglut.net
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