Widgets Magazine


Op-Ed: SSNW’s arguments are illogical, poorly constructed

On Monday, Georgetown ROTC cadet Dominick Healey wrote a letter to the editor challenging Stanford Says No to War’s opposition to ROTC at Stanford. Yesterday, Eric Craig Sapp, a member of Stanford Says No to War (SSNW), responded to Healey with a letter to the editor and seemed offended that Healey assumed that SSNW opposes ROTC because it “doesn’t like war.” In doing so, Sapp misses the point.

Healey criticizes SSNW because it uses weak pragmatic arguments, while ignoring what Healey assumes is a moral opposition to ROTC based in SSNW’s own views on war. Healey then asks SSNW to treat the topic with more intellectual honesty. Healey is an ROTC cadet; I, on the other hand, participated in many anti-war protests immediately following the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Nonetheless, I join Healey in asking SSNW and other opponents of ROTC to be more truthful. I will contend that Sapp’s unrealistic scenarios, lack of clear argumentation and opinions disguised as fact are sufficient to disregard SSNW’s positions as “absurd.” Furthermore, I will argue that, from a more honest and pragmatic anti-war perspective, one can support ROTC on campus.

The absurdity begins with Sapp’s claim that ROTC militarizes campus, making Stanford a military installation and a potential military target. Since Stanford does not host large-scale military weaponry, let’s narrowly define militarization as the mobilization of troops for war. Since military personnel make up about .7% of the adult population in California, ROTC would need nearly 100 cadets to make Stanford as militarized as the rest of the state. If concern about attack is the issue, it is unclear why even 100 ROTC members would present a realistic military target when there are dozens of large military bases and installations all along the West Coast – not to mention plenty of weapons reserves, fuel sources and interstate highways for the enemy to attack.

Next, Sapp engages in an argument about the role of the academy, suggesting that it is “conducive to the free pursuit of knowledge and ideas when it is to the greatest extent possible, a neutral space.” Sapp is right that by bringing ROTC back to campus the University would be providing material support to militarism. That said, Stanford provides material support to the propagation of many ideologies, some of which have justified violence, by hosting groups that represent several of the world’s major religions and organizations that take sides on numerous controversial political issues like abortion. It is entirely unclear what makes Stanford a neutral space on these issues, but qualifies it as “taking sides in an active armed conflict” by allowing ROTC a more visible presence.

Sapp comes closer to discussing his true concerns about the terrible consequences of war when he states that the military’s “primary purpose is to efficiently apply coercion, threats, destruction and death.” It’s too bad this statement is completely disingenuous. The mission of the Department of Defense is “to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.” Since SSNW is concerned about militarization, the question it should be asking is if and how the US military can deter war and protect the security of our country – two aims that I assume we all agree are important.

Like SSNW members, I would prefer a world in which combat specialists, weapons, bombs and violence didn’t exist. Sadly, in the real world, real national leaders perpetrate violence and threaten basic human rights. World War II demonstrated that there are some governments that will not negotiate, do not adhere to treaties and do not share SSNW’s enlightenment values. In these cases, there must be some means of self-defense available. In less extreme cases, the mere existence of a physical defense may deter acts of war.

Given these realities, as pragmatic, moral members of society and serious objectors to war, we must ask, “What type of military leader is most likely to prefer deterrence and conduct defense with minimal destruction and maximal humanity?” For my part, I want military leaders who have explored the social sciences and humanities. I want military leaders who know and can learn foreign languages so they can communicate with the other side before making fatal mistakes. I want military leaders who have been trained to think through complex problems and have been tested on finding solutions so that combat can be avoided at all costs. I want military leaders whose viewpoints have been challenged and who respect the logic, validity and passion with which those viewpoints are held. Most importantly, I want military leaders who have friends from every country in the world and every state in this nation. I want military leaders who understand that, without regard to race or religion, all peoples on this earth are human, of equal worth and entitled to equal rights.

To the extent that college uniquely hones these skills, provides these opportunities and develops these values, integrated, international college campuses like Stanford may be ideal places for the training of military officers.

Yet, on the point of officer training, Sapp veers from his values again. He says officer training should happen after graduation at Officer Candidate Schools because these schools would be more effective by military standards. SSNW loses all credibility by defending a position using military standards because it has already suggested military standards are undesirable. If SSNW wants to weigh in on training, it should try coming up with its own standards.

In the future, I hope opponents of ROTC like SSNW will make clearer, more logical arguments about why ROTC is a threat to their own values of peace, justice and human rights. While these arguments might be more complicated, they would also be more compelling because they have to do with real concerns, not empty hyperbole. As a group ostensibly dedicated to peace and justice, SSNW’s current opposition to ROTC does little to clarify why this is a fight worth fighting.

Rachel Wright
Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology

  • pol_incorrect

    This was a great response. Just to point out the fact that it says a lot about the sad state of affairs at Stanford, intellectually speaking, that you had to explain these issues. They should be a no-brainer.

  • Brian Good

    Ms. Wright’s facile dismissal of Mr. Healey’s concerns about possible attacks against Stanford ROTC has not been thought through. Our military is creating enemies for us all over the world, most of whom are able to fight back only in asymmetrical warfare. From an enemy’s standpoint, an effective strike at elite recruits at a soft target like Stanford would likely represent an opportunity with a high reward/risk ratio. Fears of collateral damage are not at all unreasonable. To the degree that Stanford is perceived as endorsing the actions of the US military by integrating a ROTC program, enemies might feel that ALL Stanford students are complicit in the military’s crimes and that they are justified in doing broad, rather than narrowly focused, attacks. Mr. Healey’s perception of a threat is not at all unreasonable.

    Then, while admitting that a Stanford ROTC would be “providing material support to militarism” Ms. Wright seeks to paint it as merely “a more visible presence” and compares it to hosting political and religious organizations. There’s a difference. These organizations are not recruiting and training their members for a career that aids and supports an ongoing campaign of terrorism.

    Ms. Wright’s definition of the purpose of the military is the same as that in the first line of the DoD facebook page. It’s propaganda. Mr. Sapp’s definition comes from empirical observation of the DoD’s actions. . Dr. Robert Bowman, Lt. Col USAF (ret.), tells us that if the purpose of the military were restricted to the defense of our own borders, its budget could be cut by 80%. Whatever its stated purpose, the actual purpose would seem to lie far beyond legitimate defense.

    Like Ms. Wright, I would prefer a world where we had liberal, well-educated, and intellectually sophisticated people in our military, and where military training was an honorable undertaking and could be welcomed on campus. Were the military restricted to defense, we could have that world–but in the present environment normalizing the presence of the dishonorable institution the US military has become we can not have that world.

  • pol_incorrect

    Amongst all stupid excuses provided by the antiwar zealots surely the most idiotic is the one about how having an ROTC program increases the likelihood of an attack against Stanford. Following that rationale, should Stanford be performing any stem cell research given that there are religious lunatics that have attacked antiabortion clinics in the past? What about any Christian groups whatsoever or a Christian church on campus given that radical Islamists have been known to attack Christian targets? Seriously, you are just showing the pathetic low intellectual activity that I have been denouncing ever since the first Op-Ed in favor of ROTC was presented. But I leave the best of all for the end. It’s very ironic that the only recorded violent attacks against
    Stanford through its history were well, attacks by antiwar activists
    during the sixties. So if your fear is that bringing back ROTC on campus will provoke an OWS style attack to Stanford, well just say so. Don’t invent attacks that only happen in your rotten fantasy land.

  • Todd

    Readers who want to understand SSNW’s arguments against ROTC more thoroughly should visit stanford.edu/group/antiwar/rotc.html.

  • Brian Good

    I didn’t say anything about an OWS-style attack. I was suggesting that the possibility of acts of “asymmetrical warfare” (e.g., the 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks) is a reasonable concern. It’s amusing that those who so carelessly impugn the rationality of others should be in a huge hurry to leap to unjustified conclusions about the nature of potential attacks–Ms. Wright exclusively assuming conventional military attacks and you exclusively assuming torch-bearing mobs.

  • pol_incorrect

    Brian, the problem with the idiotic arguments put forward by SSNTW and yourself against the return of ROTC to Stanford is that they are childish and nonsensical. As soon as you descend to the real world of adults, they don’t make any sense. They can be duly ridiculed. It would be better if you were upfront and admit that you suffer from a case of visceral/childish/irrational hate to all things military as a result of continuous liberal brainwashing. You watched too many touchy feely movies as a kid plus you are still in Peter Pan mode. At least that would be honest. One day you will grow up and will have to face the reality of what the world is truly like (vs the Kumbaya fantasy you have in your mind). You remind me of the moronic attitude of Obama towards the military before taking the White House. After becoming commander in chief of the US military, he suddenly had a very different perspective of things. Hopefully you won’t have to reach the highest political office in the land to become reasonable.

  • Rachel Wright

    Please don’t put words in my mouth, Brian. To clarify, I think we currently have liberal, well-educated, and intellectually sophisticated people in our military and that military training is an honorable undertaking that should be welcomed on campus.

    I support a smaller, more defense oriented military, with a strong corp of officers and special ops and a draft to enlist people when we go to war. I think that would do a lot to avoid protracted unjust wars like the one in Iraq. But, if I were a part of an organization like SSNW I’d be a lot more focused on those issues than ROTC on campus.

    It appears as you oppose ROTC because you think “any support of the military, on any level, is support of every military action including the bad ones” but I’ve still not seen a philosophical, pragmatic or cogent argument to that effect.

  • pol_incorrect

    What is this, Brian Good vs Brian Good? Are there two of you or this is some kind of psychopath?

  • Brian Good

    Thanks for demonstrating your inability to put forth a rational argument defending your position, Ms. Wright’s position or any position germane to the question of whether hosting ROTC might expose Stanford to an increased threat of terrorist attacks. Instead you must resort to logically fallacious ad hominem attacks based on nothing more than your own fortune-telling about my character.

    I’m sorry that my original post referred to Mr. Healey where I meant to refer to Mr. Sapp.

  • Brian Good

    Where did I put words in your mouth? I agreed with you, you agreed with me, we agreed with each other about the desirability of “liberal, well-educated, and intellectually sophisticated people in our military”. You put words in my mouth–even enclosing them in quotation marks. I’m sorry you have not seen a “philosophical, pragmatic or cogent argument” of your straw man statement, but it has nothing to do with what I said.

  • pol_incorrect

    There are people who believe in unicorns. Your fears of a terrorist attack to Stanford because of its hosting of an ROTC program are as real as said unicorns. Or that suddenly Anakin Skywalker will, in his rage, obliterate the whole campus should the ROTC program return. That’s the whole point. You have not put forward any rational arguments but just complete nonsense. What you have is a visceral/childish/irrational hate to all things military. You are so blind with that hate that you are unable to even understand how idiotic your arguments sound. PS: in case you are still in disbelief and you think that you are some kind of enlightened sage fighting against an ignorant mob which is unable to grasp the wisdom of your arguments, please consider that there has not been a single terrorist attack against any university for hosting ROTC programs (there have been lunatics who think along your lines protesting but not Oklahoma City grade terrorist attacks against ROTC hosting universities). Your idiocy will counter that the fact that there hasn’t been any is not indication that there won’t be any. To which I say, sure, just as the fact that we haven’t seen any unicorn yet, it doesn’t mean that unicorns are not real :D.

  • Brian Good

    I put forth a rational argument. I suggested a danger of a terrorist attack on the soft Stanford target motivated by a desire for revenge for actions of the US military overseas. I cited the precedent of the Mumbai hotel attacks of 2008.

    You resort to arguments about unicorns, asserting (with no evidence whatsoever) that your

    anonymous internet opinion on the issue is authoritative.

  • Brian Good

    It was a mistake or your browser screwed up.

  • Jeff Sommers

    Brian, before you assert the role of asymmetric warfare, be more familiar with its concept. It is not a function of “militarized” venues that provide material support (which are questionable standards themselves; anything in America in the eyes of our modern enemies meet this standard). From Mumbai to Madrid to London to the World Trade Center, the sites for attack have not been chosen for the presence of military forces but for the ability to incite fear and attack symbols. The presence of ROTC has made Stanford a target no more than it already was. I’m not convinced either that every “terrorist attack” on soft targets is motivated as a response to US military action; can you clarify this or provide some support? I would also caution against calling Mr. Sapp’s observation’s “empirical” as they have not been paired with his research methods to produce his conclusions, statements such as Mr. Sapp’s applied to a million-plus personnel institution need some support. Overall, in considering the role of ROTC and its integration with Stanford, we should not look to the conclusory and self-selected quotes chosen by SSNW’s website, but rather to history and the role of warrior-statesmen, comparing their traits to the standards of Stanford’s ROTC program. “The nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools.” This quote from Thucydides assumes that wars are inevitable, but the worse assumption is that war is inevitable because of the existence of the US military and if the military were to guard the border only and stop overseas activity, war would stop.

  • pol_incorrect

    You may repeat your nonsense as many times as you like, it will not become more rational. I know that liberals have mastered the art of self-deception and self-delusion but alas, for people who live in the real world what you call rational arguments are just idiotic non-sequiturs. The Mumbai attacks were not performed against any institution of higher learning that hosted ROTC programs nor were they perpetrated in America. So here is where your nonsense finishes. Having a Mumbai style attack against an American institution of higher learning for its hosting of an ROTC program only happens in your deluded minds. Now, even if having an ROTC program suddenly made Stanford a potential target for a terrorist group (although as I said it is more likely that your violent OWS friends would be the actual perpetrators of an attack against Stanford for said reason), that onto itself is not a valid reason for not hosting an ROTC program.

  • Brian Good

    What better place for a terrorist to incite fear and attack symbols than at an elite institution of higher learning that demonstrates its complicity in atrocities first by trotting the torturer and perjurer Dr. Condoleezza Rice out onto the football field as if she were a respectable celebrity and then by hosting vocational training for the criminal enterprise, the Department of Defense?

    Your attempts to deny that resentment is stirred up by ham-handed US military presence at 700 bases around the world and policies of atrocity and that this resentment increases the risk of terrorist attack are silly, Facts are not empirical enough for you, and you demand proof of the absurd proposition that ALL terrorism is motivated by US military action.

    I never claimed that restricting the mission of the Department of Defense to defense would end wars. We already live in a country where our laws are made by cowards and our wars fought by fools. Complicity in the foolishness is not going to change that. If Mr. Healey had, instead of bragging about what studly leadership material he was becoming, demonstrated some awareness of the shameful nature of our current military and some ambition to change it, your notion of the desirability of scholar-soldiers might have some pertinence to the current discussion. Since Mr. Healey instead chose to indulge in brainless boo-yah jingoism, he’s defeating his own point.

  • Brian Good

    The Mumbai attacks were against an institution of luxury and privilege and wealth–exactly what Stanford is. I didn’t comment on whether fear of a terrorist attack was a valid reason for avoiding ROTC. I simply pointed out the irrational nature of Ms. Wright’s attack, and your attack, on Mr. Sapp’s powers of reason. Fear that ROTC’s presence might increase risk of a terrorist attack is perfectly reasonable. No doubt Stanford’s insurers could put a dollar value on the increased risk.

  • pol_incorrect

    I understood your non-sequitur since the first time you attempted to pull it off. It was a non-sequitor then, it is a non-sequitur now. Terrorist groups have been known to attack in the West (I am not talking about a third world country like India) public transportation systems, police officers, shopping malls, universities and the list goes on, and on. I can give you specific examples of each. Following your non-sequitur logic, before we get onto a discussion of whether an ROTC program is a magnet to a terrorist attack, we should shutdown the Marguerite, shutdown the Stanford Department of Public Safety (also known as the Stanford Police), the Stanford Shopping Center and Stanford itself. Your and Sapp’s logic is complete nonsense. As I said, it’s like believing that unicorns are real. Every time you try to “explain” it, you sound more idiotic. And that’s not even getting into the follow up argument as to whether even assuming that an ROTC program is a magnet for terrorist attacks, we should cave to any kind of terrorist threat whatsoever. That my friend, ie caving to terrorist threats, would be the ultimate anti American and coward thing to do. We are still fighting though your idiocy when it comes to the “rationality” of saying that bringing an ROTC program to Stanford will increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack.

  • Brian Good

    Please don’t try to tell me what my logic is. You’re not even capable of following your own.
    I never said we should cave in to terrorist attacks. I said your attacks, and Ms. Wright’s attacks, on the rationality of Mr. Sapp’s reasonable concerns about terrorism were irrational.

  • pol_incorrect

    You don’t have any logic my friend as it has been patently demonstrated.
    Our attacks on the rationality of your and Sapp’s concerns are well justified because they have the same foundation as the belief that unicorns are real.

    You’d have more credibility if you argued for the shutdown of the Marguerite, the Stanford Police, the Stanford Shopping Center and Stanford itself. As I said, at least there is plenty of precedent in the West of terrorists attacking such things but there is NONE that would support that bringing ROTC on campus would make it a magnet for terrorist attacks. As I said, the only people who have ever violently attacked Stanford in the context of a discussion about the role of the US military on campus were your 60s crazies friends.

  • pol_incorrect

    Example of universities targeted by Western terrorist groups: McGill University in Canada (FLQ, 1960s), University of Navarre in Spain (ETA, 2008). Example of terrorist group that has targeted police officers, in addition to the aforementioned, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (aka IRA). Example of terrorist groups targeting public transportation systems: Paris (GIA, 1995), AlQaeda affiliated groups in Madrid (2004) and London (2005). Example of shopping mall targeted by a terrorist group, so called Hipercor bombing (ETA, 1987). So all these cases support, assuming that one buys into the coward argument of preemptive terrorism appeasement, the shutting of the Marguerite, the Stanford Police, the Stanford Shopping Center and Stanford itself. What is a complete non-sequitur is to say, even if we were willing to buy into the coward preemptive appeasement argument, that the Mumbai bombing predicts a terrorist attack against Stanford if the latter were to bring back the ROTC. That my friend is what is equivalent to believing in the existence of unicorns and therefore irrational.

  • Brian Good

    So you’re changing the subject from your claim that the concern was irrational that the likelihood of terrorist attacks at Stanford was increased if ROTC returns. You now grant that such concerns are reasonable. But instead of admitting that you were wrong, as a mature and honest person would do, you engage in a hyperbolic straw man argument. Nobody was arguing that Marguerite should be shut down. You live in a fantasy world–a boring fantasy world. You would do well to read before you think, and think before you write. You owe an apology to Mr. Sapp, but you don’t have the guts–not even under a pseudonym.

  • “Mr. Healey”

    I didn’t want to comment on any article pertaining to my own as not to degrade myself by engaging the mudslinging blog crowd, but alas I must.

    Concerning: “If Mr. Healey had, instead of bragging about what studly leadership material he was becoming, demonstrated some awareness of the shameful nature of our current military and some ambition to change it, your notion of the desirability of scholar-soldiers might have some pertinence to the current discussion. Since Mr. Healey instead chose to indulge in brainless boo-yah jingoism, he’s defeating his own point.”

    I engaged in no such “brainless boo-yah jingoism”. These are the qualities necessary to conduct a profession of such high-stress and high-risk as the military. A rhetorically powerful approach to detailing a general truth does not reduce the truthfulness of that truth. I simply identified those qualities exhibited by military officers as a result of their training and lifestyle.

    What should be of greater concern to you is that you exhibit the same deluded facade of objectivity as you accuse your opponents of adopting. You reveal a heavy projection of your own worldview and opinions by misrepresenting MY worldview and opinions. This being said, the internet is impersonal and you don’t know me personally, so I forgive you.

    I made no conclusion whatsoever that the qualities of Army officers were in any way attributable to a fear of foreigners, a love of war, or a masculinity complex. Every military officer displays “an ambition to change [the military]” because we always seek to improve it. Every exercise we do is subject to an “After Action Report” wherein we examine the exercise and give suggestions for its improvement. There is a reason the US Military is the best in the world.

    Next is your disapproval of me not muddying myself by engaging with the nature of American politics and America’s war. Army officers and ROTC cadets are required to be apolitical so as to avoid incentivizing military support for ANY political agenda. UCMJ Article 88: “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” The military’s role is not to make the highest level strategic decisions, it is to advise whatever current civilian authority exists on possible courses of action. The military is fully subordinate to civilian authority.

    Your argument of ‘Mr. Healey is not a scholar-soldier because he didn’t conclude what I concluded’ is plain silly. On queue, the false facade of objective truth permeates your thought process. Just because you’ve subjectively rationalized a shameful image of the military does not mean that the military is objectively a shameful institution. Inversely, just because I’ve subjectively rationalized an honorable image of the military does not necessarily mean that the military is objectively an honorable institution. I specifically addressed this issue in my article (refer to second to last paragraph thereof). Either way, to conclude the objective incorrectness of your opponent by way of your subjective rationalization is a fallacy. I will not defend myself against the specifics of a fallacy. Yes the military results in a detriment of good at times, but at others it results in a surplus, if you were to devise the equation that defined the variables, values, and endstate of this balance, you’d be the first. In any case the point being: this is work for of a lifetime of study, not a 20-minute blog post.

    My original article was ~1500 words and was heavily reduced. It identified many logical fallacies committed by SSNW on their website presentation, namely slippery slopes and arguments by authority, but needed to be reduced in length due to the nature of the medium. Had I wanted to write a 20-page thesis on the topic, the refutation would have been far more extensive and unarguable. Additionally, since my purpose was to advocate positive change on Stanford’s campus and show solidarity with Stanford’s cadets, my article obviously made heavy use of rhetoric. I would assume by your own colorful use of adjectives that you understand the nature of a persuasive Op-Ed, and thus are engaging in whatever means necessary to tear down one that challenges your own opinions. Recognize that the medium dictated the nature of the product as much as the competence of its producer.

    In a grander sense, you must understand (per my Op-Ed’s introduction) that I wish to become a professional academic and do not oppose the existence of that cultural group of individuals in any way. The actions of America’s enemies against your fellow Americans is not something for which we should apologize. We (educated left-leaning young people) have a tendency to ask ourselves, “what did we do to cause this(?)”, whenever violence is committed against Americans worldwide. Neville Chamberlain likely had the same thought running through his head on September 30, 1938, when he perceived that it was the injustices of Versailles that were responsible for the Fuhrer’s ambitious requests. It was easier for Chamberlain to make this mistake of perception than it was for the Czechoslovakians to do so. Metaphorically similar, it is easier for the safe and warm college student to excuse America’s enemies abroad than it is for the cadet who has to promise his mother that they won’t send him back in a box. Personal involvement can do strange things to one’s idea of responsibility and it would do you well to follow my article’s advice and empathize equally with your soldiers as you do with their enemies.

    Please Mr. Good, we are not un-thinking romantic jingoists who desire war, nor are we victims of propaganda tricked into serving a lie. The military has an enormous population of “liberal, well-educated, and intellectually sophisticated” individuals. I agree with and respect Ms. Wright completely and request that you keep the discussion focused on the larger philosophical issues like she did rather than the personal and practical issues you’ve chosen to degrade yourself to, and that you lack the experiential base to comment on. To Ms. Wright: you hit the nail on the head with your article and I admire your ability to understand my logical criticism of SSNW without becoming too bogged down in a battle of ideologies. It is this type of mutual understanding between individuals of differing ideologies that is our nation’s greatest chance for peace and prosperity.

  • pol_incorrect

    Not only you believe in unicorns, now you have problems reading English :D.

    I have not granted that there would be an increase of terrorist threats if ROTC returns. What I am saying is that not only that concern is unwarranted, but that if the TRUE motivation behind the opposition to the ROTC return to campus was a terrorist threat, there are many things that should be shutdown first (including Stanford itself) before you get into a discussion about whether the return of ROTC would increase a terrorist threat because these things (public transportation, police, shopping malls, and universities) have been attacked in the past with no ROTC or similar programs on them while there has not been a single terrorist attack against an institution of higher learning in America by a terrorist organization because of such institution hosting an ROTC program. Then I have argued is that to add insult to injury, it is a non-sequitur to suggest that the return of the ROTC would increase the possibility of a terrorist threat based on the Mumbai attacks. How is that your small brain concluded that I endorsed your belief in unicorns is beyond me. You should be honest with yourselves. You have an irrational/childish/visceral hate to all things military. And that’s about it. That’s your reason for opposing the return of ROTC to campus. The threat of a potential terrorist attack is not only a red herring but it’s also a logical fallacy.

  • Brian Gppd

    So it’s not brainless boo-yah jingoism to assert that the qualities necessary to conduct a profession of such high-stress and high-risk as the military are present in those who conduct the profession? Given the performance, the qualities seem to be absent. According to the movie “The Invisible War”, 20% of female veterans have been sexually assaulted while serving in the US Army.

    Are facts not objective enough for you? Is that the “honorable institution” you want to bring to Stanford? If the US military is the best in the world, how come its $500 billion a year establishment could not protect its own headquarters from some little guys with boxcutters–even though we’d known about their Project Bojinka plan for almost six years? How come they can’t win a war against a people as poor as Afghanistan? And why must they resort to a terror campaign of bombing civilians in Pakistan? You seem to have made no effort to find out what’s going on.

    You claim that the military is subservient to civilian authority, but it was revealed that Obama had to approve the Afghanistan surge because the military might revolt if he didn’t. The Generals are calling the shots, not the Commander in Chief.

    You claim that SSNW indulges in fallacious argument from authority. It’s fallacious only if it’s incorrect. Arguing from precedent is a perfectly valid procedure in legal proceedings. The reasons the faculty in the past voted to exclude ROTC are certainly relevant to the current discussion.

    “What did we do to cause this?” is a valid question, and among the valid answers is: We demoted the architect of the Clinton administration’s plan to go after al Qaeda militarily and we kept him away from the cabinet, we ignored warnings from 13 foreign countries and 4 FBI offices and the CIA, we interfered with federal investigations that might have uncovered the 9/11 plot before it happened, and we failed to follow normal NORAD procedures in defending against the 9/11 attacks. Again, you don’t know what’s going on.

    Who died and made you the expert on my experiential base? I can tell you something about your experiential base. You never saw combat and you never will, either you’re ignorant of the atrocities committed by the institution you’re defending (or worse yet, you know about them and they don’t matter to you) and from stateside safety you’re trying to wrap yourself in a flag bloodied by others’ sacrifices. You disgust me.

  • Brian Good

    And it’s not brainless jingoism for you to assert that military people “make the right decision” when recent history shows so many examples when they make the wrong decision, and to claim that y’all do not love war when so often the war decision is made?

  • Brian Good

    You’re just tossing word salad, dude. The issue of the potential that ROTC might increase risk of terrorist attack can not be dismissed simply on the basis that knuckling under to terrorist threats is cowardly. If ROTC has the potential to put students at risk, they should be informed so they can consider transferring to an institution that does not ally itself with a criminal and terrorist enterprise.

  • pol_incorrect

    You finally came clean. Your definition of the military as a “a criminal and terrorist enterprise” explains it all. But you could have spared us a debate about the existence of unicorns by being explicit about it since the very beginning instead of trying to convince us that a non sequitur is a smart argument. This is what happens when one tries to argue from emotion instead of reason, that it all ends up being a discussion about the existence of unicorns. You believe that the US military is a criminal and terrorist enterprise. You are free to do so and to openly proclaim such belief. But please, next time be upfront instead of wasting other people’s time with nonsensical arguments.

  • Brian Good

    Not “the military”. OUR military. When I was a kid I wanted to be a jet pilot defending democracy and spreading freedom over the world. The Vietnam war spoiled that for me.
    I celebrate the soldiers of Sweden, who have successfully defended their country against submarine and aerial incursions and who serve honorably in UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

    I made no nonsensical arguments, and you do not refute any of them but only apply silly labels.

  • Brian Good

    You just make $h!t up.

  • bleah

    “You disgust me” … am I wrong to expect more from a debate like this at Stanford?

  • Brian Good

    A thinking person should not be disgusted by an ignorant flag-waving jerk who can’t tell the difference between slavish obedience and leadership and who projects his own logical deficits on others?

  • Brian Good

    Oh it’s a no-brainer to those who, like you, think you already know everything and who abandon the field when your empty assertions have been refuted.

  • The truth hurts

    This coming from someone who slanders Ms Rice as a torturer and a perjurer? That’s rich.

  • Brian Good

    That’s no slander, that’s a fact. She’s a torturer. She sat on the Principals Committee that approved torture policies months before there was even the pretense of the legal fig leaf that was incompetently reverse-engineered by Mr. John Yoo. She told the CIA: “It’s your baby! Go do it!”

    She’s a perjurer. She lied under oath to the faces of the 9/11 widows when she told the 9/11 Commission that the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” memo (she got it a month before 9/11) was a historical review with no new threat information, and not a warning. It warned of preparations for hijackings and planned attacks inside the USA. See the Youtube video “Condi Lied Under Oath to the 9/11 Widows”

    When Condi came to Stanford, former Secretary of State George Schultz said she would be happy to debate her detractors because she was right and they were wrong. She’s afraid to debate anybody.

  • Brian Good

    Oh, I forgot to add: the 9/11 Widows called her “KIndaLiesaLot Rice”

  • Jim

    Brian, it might do you some good to take some advice from Teddy Roosevelt. Until you strap on some body armor, take on leading 30 soldiers in the 120 degree heat, and at least attempt to make a place like Iraq a better place, you’ll just be a mudslinging blowhard.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


    So “JIm”, it seems that you believe that one has to burn women, kids, houses and villages, see blood and guts and veins in your teeth, before one can criticize torturers and murderers.

    TR is talking about critics of those who fall short of perfection. Anti-perfection is not a matter of falling short. It’s a matter of going in entirely the wrong direction