So what is the problem with JROTC? There isn't one. The problem is with the anti military bigotry of the school board majority and the "peace" activists who lobbied against the program on the grounds that San Francisco's schools should not be sullied by an association with the US armed forces.Jacoby's one of my favorite columnists. He's got an uncanny ability to bore right down into the essential perversity of the country's anti-American left. Check out a few of my earlier posts citing Jacoby: "Death of a President: A New Low in Bush Hatred, "Iraq and Terrorism: Fighting a War We Must Win," and "What is a Chicken Hawk."
"We don't want the military ruining our civilian institutions," said Sandra Schwartz of the American Friends Service Committee, a far-left pacifist organization that routinely condemns American foreign policy and opposes JROTC nationwide. "In a healthy democracy . . . you contain the military." Board member Dan Kelly, who voted with the majority, called JROTC "basically a branding program or a recruiting program for the military." In fact, it is nothing of the kind: The great majority of cadets do not end up serving in the military.
But then, facts tend not to matter to smug ideologues like Schwartz and Kelly, who are free to parade their contempt for the military because they live in a nation that affords such freedom even to idiots and ingrates. It never seems to occur to them that the liberties and security they take for granted would vanish in a heartbeat if it weren't for the young men and women who do choose to wear the uniform, willingly risking life and limb in service to their country.
According to The Chronicle, scores of JROTC students were on hand when the school board met last week; many of them burst into tears after the vote. Sad to say, they should probably have seen this coming. For in its trendy anti military animus, the school board was hardly breaking new ground.
In 1995, San Francisco's board of supervisors wiped the city's famous Army Street from the map, renaming it Cesar Chavez Street. Last year, city supervisors refused to allow the retired USS Iowa, a historic World War II battleship, to be docked in the Port of San Francisco. Like the school board vote, the spurning of the Iowa was intended as a slap at the US military and the foreign policy it supports. Supervisor Chris Daly explained his vote against accepting the battleship by announcing: "I am not proud of the history of the United States of America since the 1940s."
In 2005, San Francisco voters handily approved Measure I, a nonbinding ballot question dubbed "College Not Combat," which called for the exclusion of military recruiters from public high schools and colleges. The prevailing political attitude was summed up in a Weekly Standard headline: "San Francisco to Army: Drop Dead."
Not everyone feels that way. To his credit, Mayor Gavin Newsom excoriated the school board last week for "disrespecting the sacrifice of men and women in uniform" and warned that killing JROTC would only accelerate the flight of city residents from the public schools. "You think this is going to help keep families in San Francisco?" he asked. "No. It's going to hurt."
Going to? For 1,600 kids now faced with the death of a program that infused their lives with purpose, camaraderie, and self-respect, the hurt has already begun.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
San Francisco Liberals Hate the American Military
Jeff Jacoby's Sunday essay takes a look at the recent vote by the San Francisco School Board banning the Junior Reserve Officer's Training Program from the city's schools. The board's decision was not based on a lack of interest among students. Nor were the costs associated with the JROTC at issue. It wasn't questions of student safety either, or bad management, or even an absence of diversity (since disabled and gay students participate):
Posted by Donald Douglas at 1:18 PM