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
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
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"
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
In Service To You,
Capt Jonathan Clough
"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).