ROTC Welcomed Back At Yale
September 13, 2012
With Vietnam and 'Don't Ask' in the past, new era begins
Yale University will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 21 to welcome a Reserve Officer Training Corps program back to campus, and "welcome" is the right word.
Yale and three other Ivy League schools dropped the military training program in the tumult of the Vietnam War four decades ago, and kept it away in protest over the military's discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy against homosexuals. With that issue resolved and gays able to serve openly in the military, Yale, Harvard and Columbia have invited ROTC back to their campuses.
Yale will have Air Force and Navy units, and the Navy unit has reconnected with the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton. The historical tie there goes back to 1775, when a Yale student, David Bushnell, invented the first submarine ever used in combat.
Though the Ivy League schools make up a tiny fraction of the ROTC program, their participation is a good thing. There's no reason young men and women from the country's most prestigious schools shouldn't be encouraged to take part in the nation's defense. That less than 1 percent of the population has borne the burden of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should be a national embarrassment.
Also, Yale and Harvard produce a disproportionate number of national leaders. If more of them have military experience, they might be less likely to throw the country into ill-advised wars, as the "chicken hawks" who surrounded President George W. Bush did.
So welcome back. Now shine those shoes and give me 20.