Ain’t Gonna Study

May 12, 2009 at 8:35 pm (By Miles Lascaux)

War No More.

A gulf between the military and the university is not healthy for American democracy. The constitutional order requires a civil-military relationship that protects military professionalism and autonomy, while also honoring the principle and practice of civilian control. Public awareness of national-security matters allows for a more effective partnership between the military and society. A public ignorant of the proper role of the military can lead to three major problems: uncritical support for military actions, or what Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of international relations and history at Boston University, calls the “new American militarism”; endorsement of an opposite, antimilitary ideology that perceives the armed forces as evil or as the “other”; or a simple lack of knowledge regarding the military and strategic-security matters. National security is the cardinal duty of the state, and debate about the appropriate means of achieving security is a matter of vital importance to us all.

-Miles Lascaux


  1. chickenlittle said,

    You note a cultural gulf. I would add to that the actual physical gap between the two cultures. The San Francisco Bay area, home to several fine universities, all but kicked the Navy out some years back (even though they left of their own accord). This was not always the case. There are few American university towns which also have a significant military presence. I’m thinking here of San Diego. In such cities, the two cultures co-exist in a better way.

  2. amba12 said,

    David Petraeus is such a good example of the two cultures coexisting in one mortal frame.

  3. chickenlittle said,

    Indeed, and I can’t help but think that there are others in the making right now, given the size and caliber of the recent deployment. They will appear eventually, although we seem to need them now.

  4. Maxwell said,

    This is one area where I wish Obama would take more direct action. Ending DADT would remove the main vocalized objection to ROTC on campus. I don’t know why he’s hesitating on this, but it annoys me.

  5. PatHMV said,

    Maxwell, while I agree with you that the President should exercise some leadership to end DADT (which was passed by, and therefore must be repealed by, Congress), that’s not going to actually change the relationship between the most liberal colleges and ROTC. The homosexuality issue was merely the easiest peg to hang their hatred of the military on; the hatred is entirely independent of the military’s stance on homosexuals. As you note, DADT is the main “vocalized” objection. They have many others, and one or two of those others will take the place of DADT when it is (inevitably) repealed.

  6. Maxwell said,


    Oh, I’m sure plenty of schools would continue their boycott. But I’m also sure that plenty would not, and that’s the point. When you’ve based a protest on a very specific policy, and that policy is changed, there can be large costs to continuing the protest.

  7. PatHMV said,

    I agree that it will make it a bit harder for them, but I think you underestimate their abilities. Most of the crowd running those institutions of higher education are, after all, professional sophists. ;-)

  8. mileslascaux said,

    And, what do you know, one of the leaders in Harvard’s pioneering successful effort to toss ROTC off campus over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is on Obama’s short list for Souter’s Supreme Court seat. (Elena Kagan)

  9. PatHMV said,

    On that very off-topic subject, I think that Kagan is the most likely nominee. She was just confirmed by a 61-31 vote as Solicitor General, getting out of the judiciary committee on a 13-3 vote. While there are solid arguments to be made that voting to confirm a temporary appointment to an executive branch office is very different from voting to confirm a life appointment to the S.Ct., the political reality is that folks who voted for Kagan a couple of months ago will be hard-pressed to vote against her this time around. Specter was one of the 31 votes against. The recentness of her confirmation, and the fact that no personal scandals emerged, make her, I think, the easiest, safest candidate for Obama to pick. On the flip side, I understand that she is really very, very liberal, and thus will provide some good fodder for those senators who believe it is appropriate to consider the nominee’s ideology in deciding whether to concur in the appointment.

  10. karen said,

    Althouse agrees to a (very, very) Liberal SCOTUS.
    It’ll balance out, but it is not balanced w/in.

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