I agree with Armando at Daily Kos that the SCOTUS Gets It Right on Military Recruiting (NYT story here, Supreme Court Upholds Law on College Military Recruiting
“As a general matter, the Solomon Amendment regulates conduct, not speech,” the chief justice said. “It affects what law schools must do — afford equal access to military recruiters — not what they may or may not say.”
Noting that the law schools remained free to disavow the military’s policy, to denounce it or even to help students organize protests, Chief Justice Roberts said that “the Solomon Amendment neither limits what law schools may say nor requires them to say anything.”
I can understand principled stand of those that oppose campus recruiting on points of law and general philosphy and I am not going to delve too much into the legal aspects of it, but strongly suggest how this is a win for progressives, the military, and our government. Students in law school are adults, brighter then average adults at that, they should hardly be portrayed as rubes that will easily come under the spell of some snake oil salesman. That some students may listen to what the recruiters say and consider service to country or even a military carreer can only be considered overall as something that will benefit the recruit and the military. Consider the alternative, some with high ideals will join corporate America ( not exactly a bastion of ethics ) and fight for corporate interests or use their legal skills to fight for dubious political entities. Its is a fallacy to think of the military soley as some kind of authoritarian construct. In many ways its a progressive model; discrimination on the basis of race and gender is forbidden, promotions are based on testing and merit rather then the good ol’boy network. There are health care and retirement benefits.
Like all institutions in our society, academia, religion, science, government, the military has its faults like “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell”. There is also a kind of conservative tradition in the military in which something very much akin to office/corporate politics come into play. The dark side, if you will, of any of our institutions including the military can only be changed through outside forces up to a point. To change the core negative aspects of any institutional culture requires that bright progressive minded individuals become part of that culture. Phil carter who is now in Iraq and writes at Intel-Dump wrote this piece for Slate in 2004, Law Schools That Protest Too Much
But as symbolic protests go, this one might do more harm than good. First, removing military recruiters and ROTC units from colleges will alienate a great number of veterans—including those, like me, who feel that gays should be allowed to serve their nation in uniform. On this issue, veterans’ voices have a disproportionate impact because of their personal credibility on issues of military readiness and personnel policy. As voters, community opinion leaders, and elected officials, veterans will likely play a key role in any future political debates on this issue. And so they are one constituency the gay rights community cannot afford to alienate if it ultimately wants to overturn “don’t ask, don’t tell” through the political process.
Second, and perhaps more important, kicking the military off elite college campuses will undermine the process of social change within the military. Today’s all-volunteer force contains a cross section of American society at large—nearly every race, class, religion, and region are represented in some way. When young men and women enter the service, they change in many ways. But they also remain the same in others, often carrying their core beliefs and values with them throughout their enlistment, and sharing those values with their brothers and sisters in arms. The U.S. military may be the last true melting pot in our country.
To the extent that society has become more tolerant of gay people and more inclined to honor their rights, so too has the pool of young men and women joining today’s military.
The military like corporations tend to have a kind of group think at the top. Thinking occurs within a well defined box and certain attitudes become entrenched. While those with even the most liberal education are not immune to group think, they seem to be more resistant to it then most. I think we’re all aware of how Bush-Rove in the Whitehouse and previously Tom Delay in Congress enforced a kind of ideological rigidity. While outside forces (public opinion) and the courts have tempered some of their excesses, if there were more moderate and progressive voices with those enclaves of power the case could be made that the excesses of power and hubris that have been the hallmarks of the ruling conservative party would not have occured. There were voices of descent within the military community about Iraq and how to manage the battle against radical Islamic terrorism, but not enough of them. What better place to start a kind of military Reformation then putting aside the roadblocks that keep America’s best and brightest law students from at least access to information about military careers.
There’s a lively discussion on this topic over at TalkLeft, Supreme Court Backs Military Recruiters on Campus
and at Washington Monthly’s Kevin Drum post, SOLOMON AMENDMENT -warning Kevin has a couple obnocsious trolls, either ignore them or beat them with facts, don’t let them bait you.
Remember that brillant statement by Hindrocket at Time magazine’s blog of the year, “Murtha says there is a civil war going on in Iraq. Only, there isn’t.” Expert on Iraq: ‘We’re In a Civil War’
BAGHDAD, March 5, 2006 — – As Pentagon generals offered optimistic assessments that the sectarian violence in Iraq had dissipated this weekend, other military experts told ABC News that Sunni and Shiite groups in Iraq already are engaged in a civil war, and that the Iraqi government and U.S. military had better accept that fact and adapt accordingly.
“We’re in a civil war now; it’s just that not everybody’s joined in,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a former military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina. “The failure to understand that the civil war is already taking place, just not necessarily at the maximum level, means that our counter measures are inadequate and therefore dangerous to our long-term interest.
“It’s our failure to understand reality that has caused us to be late throughout this experience of the last three years in Iraq,” added Nash, who is an ABC News consultant.
Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told ABC News, “If you talk to U.S. intelligence officers and military people privately, they’d say we’ve been involved in low level civil war with very slowly increasing intensity since the transfer of power in June 2004.”
Even if we mark all this up to semantics, Murtha and Nash a closer to the truth then the hacks at Poweline.
While I was looking around Intel-Dump for that Phil Carter post I noticed this, Shop and Awe by Kris Alexander, or how to defeat the terrorist recruiters of al Queda through shopping,
I told the proprietor that we didn’t make anything like this in America, and that I was impressed. He smiled, and hate gave way to him offering me a special price. I almost bought one, but even with the discount they were still a couple grand. I told him that I couldn’t buy one without asking my wife first. He laughed. Some truths are universal.
For a brief moment, I was an ambassador of American consumer culture. And who knows, maybe the money from the sale would have gone to the “right” Iranians. I could have helped fund some nascent democracy movement.
But, that’s the problem isn’t it? How do we put money into the hands of the right people spurring growth and development in countries whose main export commodity is suicide bombers? The answer to the terrorism problem is a multi-faceted one, but so far, we’ve mostly sought military solutions.
Our country has not pursued a strategy that capitalizes on all our assets. We have the most powerful military in the world and have not been hesitant to use it. We also have the world’s most powerful economy but haven’t leveraged it into the fight. We should be pursuing policies that capitalize on the success of several private sector companies and jump start the economy’s of strategically important regions helping to create a bigger middle class in the Middle East. But, myopic US and European trade policy is standing in the way of total economic commitment.
Last year, Bob Dukelow, a now-retired senior civilian pentagon intelligence analyst with on the ground experience in Afghanistan, began looking into new strategies to win the GWOT. He heard about an area on Overstock.com called “worldstock” where they sell goods from developing countries like Afghanistan. Bob concluded that Overstock, and companies like it, had a role to play in our counter-terrorism strategy.
“Venues like this create better opportunities for local craftsmen in remote areas to get their products to markets they normally would not reach,” Bob says. “We can pull these craftsmen and their families into the functional core of the world’s economy lessening the chance they will fall prey to the rhetoric of fundamentalist terrorist recruiters.”
For my handful of regular readers I think this is consistant with my ideas about smart globalization.
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update: besides some minor additions I had to take out some punctuation in the post title because it was making the page load incorrectly sometimes. The original wording is still in the excerpt at the post end. Mamet is well known for writing in a certain tempo and style and as much as I wanted to keep that quality in this case modern web technology wins over fidelity to the written source.
(AS IF REHEARSING IT TO HIMSELF)
…you want us to go to War…
BREAN ROUSES HIMSELF, SHRUGS, TAKES OUT A NOTEBOOK, AND BEGINS TO WRITE.
…that’s the general idea.
Why not, what’ve they ever done for us…? Also: they
sound… Ah, you see, this is why we have to mobilize
the B-2 Bomber…
…they sound what?
Shifty. Who knows anything about em…
Hold on, hold on, hold on:
Well, I’m gonna hold on, but you went to win this
election, you better change the subject. You wanna
change this subject, you better have a War. What do
you need? It’s gotta be quick, it’s gotta be dramatic,
you got to have an enemy. Okay? What do you need in
an enemy? Somebody you fear. Who do you fear?
Som’b’y you don’t know.
Well, I’m working on it….
from the screenplay WAG THE DOG by David Mamet