The Chronicle reports on the settlement the Naval Academy has been forced to make with the English professor it retaliated against after he criticized its "affirmative action" program. To call this an "embarrassment" is putting it mildly. The decision to go for a "diverse" student body rather than the best qualified is bad enough; to retaliate against a professor for speaking out is worse yet. After all of this, though, will the Naval Academy change anything?
I recently discovered MyFuture.com, a website for high school students to help them decide what to do as they begin adulthood. It has three branches: career, college, and military, and it has clear information and step-by-step guides for each. I appreciate its inclusion of military and career as viable options next to college - which makes sense given that MyFuture.com was developed by the Department of Defense. Most of the time, the only option recommended to high school students is college. The easy-to-use website is something I'd recommend to all my high school friends and their parents. I'm glad to know about this good resource.
As an instructor of online history courses, I have many students overseas (Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Saudi Arabia). The Internet connects them to me (and to the rest of us). The stories I could relate are fascinating and make teaching online courses all the more rewarding. Moreover, as an instructor I know that I'm helping those who are "American, Interrupted" Even more important, soldiers of all ranks have blogged their way into history, thus writing what we used to say of newspapers: "the first pages" of history. Read the following from the above "American, Interrupted" blog:
"I look up at the now familiar Arabian night sky and gaze at the stars, my close friends over this past year. Those same stars will ever hang in the sky and endure – like our love. Under those same points of light we’ll lay not too long from now, and those stars will smile just for us, because they know how long we’ve wished upon them to be together again. I love you, I’m so thankful for you, and I can’t wait to spend forever with you. Sometimes I wondered if we were not unintentionally promoting anarchy because of this war on terror. I mean, we were encouraging and supporting rebellious elements of the population in their struggle against Saddam Hussein – thinking their struggle was one to free themselves of his rule. Sometimes I wondered if the struggle was to free themselves of all rules so they could establish a Shia theocracy. That would explain why Americans were in the crosshairs of Shia rebels. Many of them comprised the poorest and worst educated parts of Iraq, but it was these very people who we were making the masters of Iraq in the period of a year. This belief in empowering the weak and oppressed is noble, but it has to be done carefully. Sometimes it seemed the transfer of power bordered on a form of Bolshevism."
[To read the whole story (crossposted) click here ] PS: Imagine if college campuses allowed this kind of free speech. We wouldn't need NAS, FIRE, or the few intrepid ACLU chapters interested in academic freedom. More free speech in the military than in higher ed? Read the rest of the story to decide (and check out the Milblogging directory).
Next month the California Association of Scholars, along with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, will sponsor a free lecture by Victor Davis Hanson on “War in the postmodern world: a review of new laws of conflict and why they are often surreal when seen in a classical context.” Here is the description of the event:
Using ancient Greece and military history as commentary, Professor Hanson will analyze the legal dilemmas faced by democracies when defending themselves against terrorist entities.
Victor Davis Hanson is a Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor Emeritus of Classics at the California State University at Fresno, noted historian of ancient Greece and preeminent military historian. He is author of more than 170 articles, 16 books, and recipient of many awards, including the National Humanities Medal.
Victor Davis Hanson is also the recipient of NAS’s Peter Shaw Award and was the keynote speaker at our 2009 national conference. We hope our local members and readers will seize this opportunity to hear from an excellent scholar of Western civilization and to meet like-minded Californians.
The lecture will take place on Monday, October 12, 2009, at 7:30pm at the UCLA faculty center. Please call (310) 569-0853 if you have any questions.