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Harvard beating these other schools to the punch stemmed from the pressure of alumni, Massachusetts junior Senator Scott Brown, and even President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to welcome back the military now that the military welcomes open homosexuals. Perhaps the most direct catalyst came when Yale President Richard C. Levin contacted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about resurrecting ROTC on the New Haven campus. Who wants to come in second to an ancient rival?
The Ivy League institution’s longstanding policy of accepting military grants and contracts for faculty as it shunned students who received military scholarships highlighted the university’s peculiar take on what constituted dirty money. While Harvard treated ROTC cadets accepting scholarship money from the military as pariahs, it welcomed millions from the bin Laden family fortune to fund the study of Islam. “It’s clear the Saudi bin Laden money is being put to good use here,” University spokesman Alex S. Huppé explained in 1998. The Boston Globe editorialized Sunday against the Monitor Group, a Cambridge outfit that raked in millions for its Harvard professor founders by advising Muammar Qaddafi’s murderous Libyan regime and providing it with additional Harvard scholars as consultants.
Never has John Harvard’s good name been whored out to so many bad people. So ROTC’s return to Harvard is more public relations victory for America’s oldest university than it is conquest of enemy territory for the American military.
The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines prospered without Harvard’s support. Harvard, too, fared well without a campus military presence. But in making outcasts of aspiring servicemen, Harvard made itself an outcast in much of the nation that surrounds. Reversing forty years of self-righteous stupidity will do much to repair a damaged reputation.
Daniel J. Flynn is the author of A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). He has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Sky News, PBS, CSPAN, and other broadcast networks. He writes a Monday column for Human Events and blogs at www.flynnfiles.com.
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