by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
August 1, 2012
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a
Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent researcher and blogger with a
focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.
In his brilliant article “The
Perversion of Scholarship”, Chris Hedges exposes factors
which have destroyed most major American universities.
“Fraternities, sororities and football,
along with other outsized athletic programs, have decimated most major
Scholarship, inquiry, self-criticism, moral
autonomy and a search for artistic and esoteric forms of expression - in
short, the world of ethics, creativity and ideas - are shouted down by
the drunken chants of fans in huge stadiums, the pathetic demands of
rich alumni for national championships, and the elitism, racism and
rigid definition of gender roles of Greek organizations.
These hypermasculine systems perpetuate a
culture of conformity and intolerance. They have inverted the
traditional values of scholarship to turn four years of college into a
mindless quest for collective euphoria and athletic dominance.”
Left unmentioned is the militarization of the
American educational system.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers are coming to a campus near
according to a blaring headline:
“Served in IDF? US universities want you!".
News, July 4, 12)
According to the report, among the recruiters
were representatives from,
Tuck at Dartmouth,
...have gone to Israel to interview and offer
scholarships to soldiers who have served in the Israeli Defense Forces
(IDF) soldiers - on your dime.
There are specific,
“scholarships designated for Israelis and
among them are those that include military service as criteria for
receiving the scholarship”.
[This and similar factors seem to
have escaped Mitt Romney when he made
his racist remarks in Israel].
Disturbing as this news is, the idea of
militarizing education is nothing new.
The New Yorker staff writer, George Packer
opined in his July 2007 piece “Guns
and Brains” that after the sixties,
“intellect and patriotism went separate
ways, to the detriment of both.”
At the 1968 Democratic National Convention in
Chicago , antiwar demonstrators clashed with the police, and the images of
police beating students shocked television audiences. Violence peaked at an
antiwar protest at Ohio 's Kent State University in May 1970 when National
Guard troops gunned down four student protesters.
9/11 provided the perfect opportunity for the intellectuals and the military
to reconcile - according to Packer who writes:
“September 11th made military service more
attractive to the kind of college students who used to find it
He cites General Petraeus’ degree in humanities
and the engineers and social scientists in Iraq as evidence of this mindset.
But if the “brains” and the “guns” are no longer at odds with each other,
why are representatives from American universities recruiting soldiers who
have served in the IDF - especially at a time when there are slashes in
education budget across the country and the high/unaffordable cost of
Perhaps George Packer’s concluding remark that,
“[s]ome intellectuals find the war and the
Administration so objectionable that they regard associating with the
military as a kind of crime” is a clue to the answer.
Since its founding in 2003, across the country,
Campus Antiwar network (C.AN.) has chased military recruiters off. Perhaps
it is these
counter-recruitment protests that have
necessitated the recruitment of former IDF soldiers.
While May 2012 figures estimate homeless US veterans to be at 60,000 (Daily
Stripes), American universities are offering scholarships to
former IDF soldiers to enroll in MBA (Masters of Business Administration)
Given that GOP Presidential contender, Mitt
Romney, has assured us that Israel has a “culture of economic vitality”,
why do American tax payers have to foot scholarship funds so that Israeli
soldiers can mange business?
Whatever the reason, undoubtedly,
Daniel Pipes and his “Campus
Watch” will welcome these soldiers into their fold.