Solomons Wisdom Eludes Harvard

The Universitys response helps conservatives, not gays

I know its only my first weekand I swear Im not lazybut the gravity of the Solomon Amendment controversy, which came to a head when the Law School was reluctantly (and perhaps temporarily) forced to accept military recruiters back onto its campus, has spurred me to call for a substitute author. The supporters of Harvards protest against the militarys Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy are angry. And my attempts to explain from a moderate perspective that the Law Schools supposedly principled ban on campus military recruiting not only undermines its credibility but works against gay rights have not been enough to penetrate their steam of fury.

Only the rantings of a man more partisan and more sinister than I about why he loves Harvards anti-recruitment policy could possibly have any effect. Harvardians need to see how the outside world views us and understand why the House of Representatives passed a resolution to support Solomon 327-84. Thus, from the fever swamps surrounding Karl Roves dark laboratory I offer the esteemed Ned Neocon to fill in today as a guest writer:

John, I cant tell you how pleased I am to hear that the self-righteous admitted socialists at the Kremlin on the Charles plan to continue their tireless crusade against the Solomon Amendment, which simply allows the government to withhold money to schools that bar military recruiters on campus. The Supreme Court will almost certainly uphold the constitutionality of the measurefor Gods sake the government can withhold federal dollars to just about anyone who does something it does not like. (For example, not fund football and womens basket-weaving equally at colleges, or try to establish a legal drinking age less than 21). Its all but assured that an organization that actively works against recruiting for our nations defense will be rebuked.

So when I heard that University President Lawrence H. Summers was filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court challenging the Amendments constitutionality, I prepared a list a of talking points to work this issue for all the political hay I can harvest:

1. Harvards stance pits it directly in opposition to our troops: Many in the University may claim to support the troops, and they all certainly accept the protection of the brave men and women in the military. Yet how can one really support the troops if he or she claims that the whole process by which one enters the armed services is so shameful that it should be banned from the University?

Tacitly, every member of the military is tagged as a bigot who does not accept Harvards principled stand, whether or not they actually oppose homosexuals serving openly. Potential recruits are forced to choose whether national defense or the freedom for gays to tell their squad mates about their sexual inclinations is more important. The University clearly supports the latter notion.

2. The non-discrimination policy is just an excuse to diss the military: Harvard has been antagonistic towards the armed services since long before anyone ever talked about gays in the military. Bowing to pressure following the 1969 takeover of University Hall by Vietnam War protesters, the school ended official recognition of campus ROTC activities, an affront not only to our nations defense, but to the many students whod voluntarily signed up to serve our country. Apparently these protesters wanted even more young people to be subject to the draft, because that was the likely result.

If gays are allowed to serve openly tomorrow, I have little doubt Harvard will come up with another excuse to keep recruiters out.

3. It makes the University appear ignorant: those at the Law School should know better than most of us that an important principle of a stable democracy is civilian control of the military. The militarys leadership did not decide to limit the expression of gays. It was the President. Harvard looks foolish for attacking the wrong target.

4. The policy keeps Ivy Leaguers out of the military: Certainly some students who might consider a military career are dissuaded by the Universitys apparent lack of support for this choice.

I didnt get into Harvard, nor did anyone I know. We dont need those so-called progressives polluting the orthodoxy of the military and introducing new-fangled ideas. If enough such students joined up, there might actually be some pressure on the higher-ups to change course on the gay issue. Id prefer to keep the opposition fighting for the loony left on the fringes rather than fighting for our country and changing hearts and minds.

5. Harvard helps keep out the gays: By taking such a strident stand against the military, the University is certain to alienate many Americans who have sympathy for gay rights but abhorrence for those who take a throw the baby out with the bath water approach to the defenders of our freedom. Coupled with Harvards desire to keep its relatively liberal student body from considering joining the military and changing its culture, the only result can be that open-serving for homosexuals is pushed further and further into the unforeseeable future.

Twenty-four countries have successfully liberalized their military policies toward gays, despite the seeming opposition from service members. Prior to lifting its gay ban in 1999, more than 90 percent of the British military opposed homosexuals serving openly. Before Canada lifted its ban more than 60 percent of its troops said they would refuse to share facilities with gay men. Neither country has had a problem with the policy shift. Military disapproval isnt enough; we need to continue to cast all leftist ideas as impractical and extremist. The Universitys response to the Solomon Amendment perfectly fits this mold.

So, John, you tell the rest of those Harvard folks to continue fighting the good fight. Tick off America with your principled stance, and keep the gays out. Otherwise they might come, and stay.

John Hastrup 06 is a government concentrator in Dunster House. His column appears on alternate Tuesdays.