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Thursday, January 17, 2008


Military recruiting? Just say "no"

Would that the Democrats got the message. In one of the clearest demonstrations of where the leading Democrats stand on war and imperialism, the Democratic debate Tuesday night featured Tim Russert trying (and succeeding with) one of his "gotcha" questions with this:
There’s a federal statute on the books which says that, if a college or university does not provide space for military recruiters or provide a ROTC program for its students, it can lose its federal funding.

Will you vigorously enforce that statute?
And the answers:
Sen. Clinton: "Yes, I will."

Sen. Obama: "Yes."

Sen. Edwards: "Yes, I will."
The next morning, Democracy Now invited the excluded Rep. Dennis Kucinich to answer the same questions (and, in typical DN fashion, unneccessarily replayed the answers from the other three, cutting into Kucinich's time and DN's unique contribution). His answer: "Absolutely not."

Now perhaps the three people who are the "serious" candidates (serious in the sense of having a finite chance to win) for President wanted to avoid saying "no" like Kucinich, especially since they're vying for an office whose current occupant has made it a habit of flaunting his allegedly "above-the-law" status, and thought that saying it was ok for the President to ignore the law might come back to haunt them. Perhaps. But then, at the very least, they might have said something like, "You know, as President, I'll have a Constitutional mandate to obey all they laws, but when it comes to enforcement, there's always a question of priorities, and I would definitely instruct the Executive Branch to make enforcement of this law the lowest possible priority." Or they might have said, "Yes, I would have to enforce the law as required by the Constitution, but I would make it a top legislative priority to have this outrageous law repealed."

They could have, but they didn't. Oh sure, they all quickly switched the subject to how much they care for veterans, and want to make sure that people who sign up for the military "get the resources and the help that they deserve," and so on. But when it comes to ensuring a continued stream of fodder for future imperialist wars, they're all in complete agreement that that is a higher priority than providing funding for colleges and universities, which they're all willing to see cut off should the schools not do their part for imperialism.

Update: WIIIAI points out in the comments another subtext of this question and discussion - gay rights, with many of the schools having banned ROTC and military recruiters in the first place because of the military's discriminatory policies. A fact none of the candidates got around to mentioning.

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