Thursday, May 26, 2005

Eliot Cohen, Confused Again

Without Reservation
A biweekly column by Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., Lt. Col. USAF (ret.)
posted 24 May 05
Eliot Cohen, Confused Again

In the May 13th Wall Street Journal op-ed, Eliot Cohen shares his dismay that Columbia University has joined a long list of colleges and universities that will no longer host the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) on their campuses....

Cohen appears to hold fast to a reactionary assumption that somehow ROTC offers academic military learning, or that the modern American military has somehow been improved by liberal educations.
If I were an ROTC or military leadership dilettante – as Cohen is – I might make the same faulty assumptions.
But as a product of four years of ROTC in the late 1970s and early 1980s at two different universities, I can vouch for the fact that little meaningful information is gained through the process, relating either to American military history or to the proper role of an American military officer in society and government.
Far more frightening is my observation, after over twenty years of service as an officer, that a lively academic curiosity and a serious understanding of American strategic and military history often serves as a handicap for the achievement of higher rank, at least at the flag officer level.
People like General Richard Myers, General Peter Pace, General John Abizaid and his predecessor General Tommy Franks come to mind. These current military leaders seem to have attended nothing more than the school of never asking questions, or perhaps the community college of refusing to engage in the rigorous checking of facts and data. These "military leaders" share a marked lack of intellectual curiosity of the past, present or future, beyond the dim-witted but comfortable world of the U.S. military-industrial complex....