The Dems Get it Wrong on ROTC (w/video)
I expect something like this from the GOP crowd, but from all three top-tier Dems?
From last night's Democratic debate, as reported by The Hill:
Obama and Edwards both said that they supported withholding funding from higher education institutions that do not provide ROTC programs to students. Clinton initially said she would enforce laws to stop funding but later said of prominent schools that do not have ROTC programs that "there are ways they can work out fulfilling that obligation."
What they were talking about is the Solomon Amendment — a law passed in 1996 (and upheld unanimously by the Supreme Court) that allows the Secretary of Defense to strip a college or university of all Federal funding if the school bans/prohibits ROTC or any other military recruitment on campus.
The U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy flies right in the face of sexual orientation non-discrimination — a core principle and requirement of many universities, something they violate by allowing military recruiters and ROTC on campus. It also limits the autonomy of the university to decide what happens on campus; many schools' budgets simply cannot afford to lose Federal dollars.
With these pandering, right-wing-playbook responses, these contenders for President have certainly not endeared themselves to student and youth activists, a demographic whose turnout — or lack thereof — could be a deciding factor in November, nor the LGBT community, which has long been a core Democratic base (and one that has been left in the cold far too many times). This is also an example of the corporate media stifling the range of political debate: Congressman Kucinich (and Sen. Gravel) would have undoubtedly given a very, very different response from the mealy mouthed jingoism-lite we saw here.
It also sends a clear message to counter-recruitment organizers across the country that they have an uphill battle ahead of them, no matter the next occupant of the White House. The ability of a university — and by extension, its students — to kick ROTC off campus is a crucial battle to fight, as we all work toward liberated educational spaces. And remember kiddies: while university administration is prevented from kicking off ROTC/recruiters, there's nothing to stop you all from doing it yourselves!