Columbia University’s ban on the ROTC is well known and well publicized. I thus find President Bollinger’s extolling of the bravery of American troops at best self-serving.
A number of Columbia graduates and current students are among the brave members of our military who are serving or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They like other Americans with sons, daughters, fathers, husbands, and wives, serving in combat rightly see your government as the enemy. Can you tell them and us why Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq by arming Shia militia targeting and killing U.S. troops?
Currently cadets must travel to host institutions in the Bronx weekly to take part in ROTC classes and labs. Yet, despite this extensive time commitment, Columbia does little to support its cadets or assist them with the inevitable scheduling conflicts and administrative issues. Furthermore, Columbia neither grants credit for ROTC courses nor recognizes them as an official part of the students curriculum. It is our aim to change this, and thereby return to Columbia its proud status as a source of great military leadership.
More background here. Given President Bollinger’s esteem for the bravery of the troops, perhaps he can use some of his new visibility to press for the immediate return of the ROTC.
I also emphasized President Bollinger’s use of the word “rightly.” This is the ultimate admission against interest. If Iran is rightly regarded as the enemy, why is Columbia giving the enemy the stage and the audience, the prestige and the credibility?
UPDATE: PJM’s Ardeshir Arian reports the following from inside Iran regarding Ahmadinejad’s speech today:
1) VOA Television nightly services on HotBird and TeleStar 12 satellites were disrupted in Tehran for about 20 minutes, as soon as he was to be introduced at Columbia university’s podium. Iranian citizens did not hear the criticism of Ahmadinejad by Columbia President Bollinger. The way the Islamic Republic does this is to scramble the signals of these satellites locally, using stationary and mobile microwave dishes.