April 14, 2005

What they said at the protest.

The Capital Times reports on the protest I wrote about and photographed here. The protest was centered on ousting military recruiters from campus. The article quotes UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley saying there's "no way" these students will succeed and that students who want to talk to the recruiters deserve access to them. I see the noise I complained about in my post got a police response:
"Apparently we've got complaints from around campus that we're being too loud," said junior Ben Ratliffe, after a police officer had a word with organizers. "I would say we've got complaints of our own."

An ad lib response to criticism that flips the words for rhetorical effect. I wonder if Ratliffe noticed the similarity to the famous Bush World Trade Center quote.

Here's Ratliffe's message:
Ratliffe said the protest was aimed at getting military recruiters and the ROTC program "out of our schools." He said the war on terror is a "euphemism for military expansion."

The money being used for the war in Iraq should be used here at home to promote jobs and health care, he said.

And then there were the "more strident" members of the crowd:
Sophomore [name deleted] said she supports the resistance in Iraq and said it will continue as long as the U.S. military is there.

Why did I delete the name? I can't bear to slur one of my University's students with her own vile remark.

UPDATE: Here's the Badger Herald story on the protest, which notes that "more than 100 students" participated in the walk-out. To calculate the percentage of students who participated, here is the number of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: 41,588.

And check out the comments to this post. There's an excellent debate about why I deleted the student's name and a surprising lack of hostility toward the student despite the utter stupidity of her remark. I guess people have seen enough Che T-shirts on clueless young people not to be too bothered by the foolish romanticization of rebellion.

31 comments:

Louis said...

She slurred herself. Why enable her idiocy by protecting her identity?

EddieP said...

I wonder what she thinks will happen if we pull out before the Iraqi's ask us to? Will the insurgents then start singing Kumbaya?

Not Happy said...

I lived in Madison for several years. It was a very beautiful city at times, but when the people there displayed the sort of ugliness and stupidity like the girl you mentioned did, I would really hate the place. Probably the charitable way to look at it is that these college kids are simply ignorant and don't realize what they're saying.

There was once a coffee shop on State Street called Cafe Assisi. It was a left wing collective, a co-op that is. They once posted fliers around town that featured the slogan "Have a cup of Joe" along with a picture of Joseph Stalin. It probably didn't occur to them that advertising their cafe by using the picture of a mass murderer, one who ranks up there with Hitler as one of the worst men in history, was in really bad taste. They probably found it whimsical. With a generation of kids whose intellectual standards appear to come from MTV, I guess one should expect this.

EddieP said...

Here's a link to Iraq President Talibani's thoughts, maybe your student might gain some perspective from this:

http://www.labourfriendsofiraq.org.uk/archives/000404.html

Regards

Meade said...

I don't think Ann is enabling her idiocy. I think she's being kind, knowing well that the idiocy of college students can be transitory. Besides, her name is in the Capital Times article linked to.

Not Happy said...

I don't think that Ann was either enabling her idiocy or being kind to her. I think that her deleting the name and saying that she didn't want to slander the student was just a rhetorical gimmick.

And the answer is...?

Ann Althouse said...

Interesting debate! Carry on.

Steve S said...

The one talking about money forgot about one important thing: kicking out the recruiters would mean a massive loss of funding for the University as per the Solomon Amendment. Tuition would skyrocket if these idiots accomplished what they wanted.

Anyway, I was there, and have blogged it at my blog, if you're interested.

Meade said...

It may, indeed, have been a rhetorical device - measured, marked, merciful.

The Indigent Blogger said...

Maybe the U.S. and its military is the real insurgency but we're just better equipped, better funded, and better organized? I wonder if any of those protesters have stopped to consider the "root causes" of occupation? I think their protests would be better directed at the reactionary forces in Iraq, to stop the cycle of violence and join the revolution.

Dean said...

I liked lmeade's comment about the idiocy of college students being transitory. I would hate to be held accountable for everything I said while in college.

Ya gotta love a country, though, that's allows people to say things like this.

dadahead said...

I wonder what she thinks will happen if we pull out before the Iraqi's ask us to?

Um ... I think the "Iraqi's" have already asked the U.S. to leave--judging by opinion polls of the Iraqi people.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tyrannosaurus rex said...

I get a little bit fed up with this stuff myself, but it's really not worth getting aggravated about. These protests aren't about debating the issue or getting to the "truth" or the "right answer." In my opinion, they're all about a deep sense of anomie, justified or not. When these kids are grown up and have real responsibilities, they won't be disturbing people with their shouts and bullhorns, or whatever. They'll have jobs, and they'll have too many other things to care about besides protesting or demonstrating or playing frisbee on the lawn for that matter. Thier current activities as student dissidents is just something to do right now that gives them a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves. Its pretty harmless fun, for real. And what would this country be without its fringe? Its often the margin that steers where debate is headed, or at least that keeps the center honest. Without radicals (left or right), there would be no debate. Like em' or hate em', they're a necessary part of how we do things in this country.

Ann Althouse said...

First, I deleted Joe's comment only because it had the email address of the student who made the vile remark. One rule here has to be, don't give out other people's email addresses. I know you have reason to think this is an exception, but I disagree. Here's what Joe wrote -- an excellent comment otherwise --minus the email address:
"[Deleted] is the e-mail address of the student who says she supports the Iraqi resistance. Her name is [deleted].

"Have at her. I certainly will.

"As a college student, let me say that this is the main problem that allows reactionary idiocy to flourish on campus; people don't shout it down enough.

"People should be viciously attacked for their opinions - smart, stupid, agreeable, disagreeable, on my side, on their side, it doesn't really matter.

"The best way to learn is to find everything you cherish under constant siege. And students who don't want that, shouldn't go to college.

"How does the Theo Van Gogh quote go? 'Free speech is an arena where we should be able to hurt each other.'

"Maybe this [delted] girl would learn about the world a good deal quicker if she were called on it and taken down a peg when she said vile things."

Thanks for the comment, Joe. I know you're a student and feel more comfortable being hard on students than I do. I respect your comments and encourage you as a commenter.

WildMonk said...

The Indigent Blogger's comment was great: truly the Iraqi "resistance" are the reactionaries - not the revolutionaries.

submandave said...

Thinking about the Che shirts, the "cuppa Joe", and bone-head parrot girl just reminded me of something a South Korean military officer once told me when I was exasperated by some silly student protest. He said the ROK government was well aware of the level of DPRK intelligence activity in the student protest movement, but that many of their best informants were former student ajitators who grew up, saw the world for what it really was and felt bad about what they had done. I only hope that our repentant Communist-enabling utopian-minded soft-hearted boobs become equally productive members of society when they grow up.

tee bee said...

"I would say we've got complaints of our own."

Almost fell out of my chair reading that one. Ah, Youth! Ah, Self-Importance! Ah, the travesty that such fine sentiment wouldn't have been noted on the citation had the cops written her up.

Is the unnamed student perhaps filling a seat in an Althouse seminar? That would make me pause at naming her. Otherwise, as rabid comments go, hers was pretty tepid, and Althouse readers don't seem to be of the polarized or vigilante type (with the possible exception of Joe).

Scipio said...

I long for the day when the military gets all the money it needs and public education has to have a bake sale to buy books for schoolchildren.

And we're getting there. :D And kids like these protestors are leading the charge.

Not Happy said...

Hmm... so you've deleted the student's name twice now, and have a policy of not giving out e-mail addresses. I guess this means you also have a policy of not giving out the names of people who say things that might make them targets of violence or harrassment? But you provide a link to the Capital Times story that gives her name, and you draw attention to her remarks. So if this is your policy, you're being inconsistent even though the name dosn't actually appear on one of your Web pages.

Also, isn't it interesting that on the same day that she makes her remarks, the Iraqi insurgency sets off two car bombs that kill 15 Iraqis, including several children? Perhaps she'd like to ponder that.

Ann Althouse said...

Underground Man: I know the name is easily found in the article I linked. I just felt bad about including the name of the individual on the blog of a UW professor. I think her comment was representative of the sort of thing some young people say and didn't want to focus on her specifically.

Steve S said...

The girls comment didn't surprise me at all. I've heard so much of the rhetoric here that I tune it out to some degree, which really is too bad, because Joe is right. Conservatives on this campus (and I'm an active College Republican) tend to have a stronger outlook because they've been yelled at by so many leftists. We're testing our ideas every day. The left isn't.

chardrian said...

Maybe I am too fairminded, but I don't know if I would be so quick as to categorize the student's remark as vile. Silly, maybe, vile?... hard to say from a two sentence quote. Very possible that our little Badger simply believes that the U.S. military should not be in Iraq, and that she supports our getting out of there. Not neccessarily, that she thinks the insurgents are her personal heroes.

SMASH said...

Meanwhile, the New York Times notes that another mass grave has been discovered in Iraq:

If the estimated body counts prove correct, the new graves would be among the largest in the grim tally of mass killings that have gradually come to light since the fall of Mr. Hussein's government two years ago. At least 290 grave sites containing the remains of some 300,000 people have been found since the American invasion two years ago, Iraqi officials say.

One wonders what the "Iraqi resistance" is fighting to defend, and why some young Americans find them so admirable.

Meade said...

Michael Costello has an excellent opinion piece in today's Australian which, along with the article linked to by eddiep, above, and the article linked to by smash, would give any college student of any political persuasion plenty of food for thought.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/printpage/0,5942,12856956,00.html

David M said...

Our unnamed protester apparently found time to sign a letter expressing outrage that freedom of speech was "blatantly attacked" on another campus across the country at CCNY in New York. According to the letter, four people were arrested for "exercising their constitutionally protected right to assemble and to protest."

Let's look a little closer. According to The Columbia Spectator, the arrestees were attempting "to create a disruption designed to drive recruiters out of the building, a technique that worked at two CCNY events last semester." Hardly sounds like an exercise of peaceful assembly.

According to the CCNY administration, it was the students who turned violent. CCNY's president stated in an e-mail that the students "grabbed and hit" the security officers. (The protestors say it was security that got rough. )

Eventually, the students were arrested and arraigned for, among other charges, assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, and disturbing the peace.

Now I don't know exactly what happened at CCNY, and I suspect our Wisconsin protestor doesn't either. Two questions come to mind:

1. Why is she so "outraged," "dismayed," and willing to make demands of a college administration thousands of miles away from her when there are clearly two sides to the story?

2. Does she really think that her cause du jour, freedom of speech, would be well served in Iraq if the forces of democracy are overcome by the insurgency she professes to support?

Just askin'.

David M said...

In the prior post the link to the letter is bad. Here is a better link.

Don Miguel said...

"Maybe I am too fairminded, but I don't know if I would be so quick as to categorize the student's remark as vile. Silly, maybe, vile?... hard to say from a two sentence quote."

Well, since my son is in Iraq being shot at by the so-called resistance, I would have to categorize it as vile, to say the least.

Like it or not, this country is at war. And this student, however ignorant she is (which she is), is in effect advocating the killing of Americans (and Iraqis, for that matter) by the enemy.

And what the hell does she think they're "resisting" against? I bet democracy wouldn't be on her list.

Old Patriot said...

I spent 26 years in the Air Force, including the obligatory year in Vietnam 1970-71, and another 14 years or so in Europe, watching the Soviets right across the border, 70 miles from where I lived. That gives me a bit of a different slant on this situation. I've also been a full-time student (AND working full time for the military). I don't think the STUDENTS thought this up without some help somewhere.

Military service isn't an easy career to follow. The 24-hour days get to you now and then, as does the lousy pay, the sometimes horrible working conditions, and the occasional live ammo headed in your direction. At the same time, it's some of the most important work done by ANYONE in this nation. The only reason airheads on campus can say stupid things about the military is because the military has consistently beaten in the heads of those that would have imposed a gag rule upon college students - and others.

As for "spending money on social issues instead of the military", look at Poland in 1939. That's what happens to societies that aren't committed to defending themselves. Poland never had a chance to build a strong military, and paid dearly for it. The United States creates and maintains the most powerful military in the world to ensure that what happened to Poland (and many, many others) doesn't happen here. THAT, unfortunately, isn't a lesson our colleges seem willing to teach young people these days. Let us pray the military continues to remain strong enough to ensure it's not a lesson learned the hard way.

MikeTheLibrarian said...

My plan for the last day of English class at my university is to wear a Ronald Reagan T-Shirt to class. From the way my Che T-Shirt wearing classmates are always talking about tolerance, I shouldn't have a problem, right?

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