September 30, 2008

BARACK OBAMA AND RESTORING ROTC AT COLUMBIA: Is lifting the ROTC ban change we can believe in?

In a forum on public service on campus earlier this month, Mr. Obama (Columbia ’83) and John McCain (Annapolis ’58) were both asked about the ROTC ban. When Mr. McCain predictably called on Columbia to “re-examine” the ban, he was predictably booed by a crowd of several thousand students who were watching the debate on a giant TV screen on campus.

The question was later put to Mr. Obama. “I think we’ve made a mistake on that,” Mr. Obama replied. “I recognize that there are students here who have differences in terms of military policy, but the notion that young people here at Columbia aren’t offered a choice or an option in participating in military service is a mistake.” The same students who had so lustily booed Mr. McCain, reported the New York Times, were “largely silent” when Mr. Obama gave the same answer.

Well, good for him. I hope that the powers-that-be at Columbia will listen.