Tuesday, March 07, 2006

MU Student Angry with Graf's anti-ROTC piece

from Marquette Trib 2/2/06
By Jacob Spielbauer
Freshman, Health Sciences

In light of the attack on Reserve Officers' Training Corps presented in the Jan. 25 Tribune Viewpoints section by Robert Graf, I feel compelled to make a case for a group I believe to be comprised of some of Marquette's finest individuals. My roommate for the first half of this year is a marine option in the Marquette Navy ROTC. The character I saw displayed in this young man is the reason I have chosen to respond to Graf's challenge of the military presence on campus. There are many reasons I could give for this, but as for the reader's sake, I will limit myself to these few:

1. Granted, the Vatican and Washington obviously disagree whether the war in Iraq is justified or not. I am not here to discuss the war itself any further than simple mention, and will not argue any opinion about the war itself. The problem presented in using the Vatican's disdain for the war as a reason to contest the military as a whole, though, is evident. The American military existed before the Iraq war, and will exist after the Iraq war. Its identity, thus, cannot be attributed solely to this singular conflict. Iraq and American military are not synonymous ideas.

2. It is uncanny that no matter what the military does, it cannot escape the stereotype of being a killing machine. People such as Graf choose not to mention that the American military is the largest supplier of humanitarian aid to the Pacific in the entire world. When the tsunami struck southern Asia, the American Navy was the first to respond to those in need. The Navy immediately used all means necessary to help, including using the equipment on board their ships to create fresh drinking water and using helicopters to evacuate stranded victims.

3. My "final straw" (and this is by far the biggest straw) with Graf's article is that he is using a Catholic moral outlook to judge what does and doesn't belong on campus. My question, then, is where the judging stops. If his logic assumes that because the Catholic Church doesn't agree with it, it doesn't belong on campus, then who really does belong here? Because traditional Catholicism holds homosexuality as a sin, should people who lead alternative lifestyles not be allowed to live on campus? Should those who engage in premarital sex also be refused? This idea is ridiculous and undermines the diversity Marquette celebrates.

The young men and women I have encountered from the ROTC program are some of the most devout Catholics and most honorable people I have met. They should be respected for the fact that they choose to dedicatee much of their life to protecting the freedom that we enjoy in this country. Graf does a fine job of labeling them as simply tools of a militaristic government, and seems slow to admit that it is only because people such as the members of ROTC have given their lives in sacrifice that he enjoys the freedom to say the things he does. I find it pathetic that in our day and age it is so fashionable to criticize the people who are responsible for preserving our right to speak. You can disagree with the war, but please, be decent enough to respect those who are fighting.


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