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September 27, 2007

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» Columbia andROTC from MANSIZEDTARGET.COM
The University of Chicago Law Schools Geoff Stone says that Columbia was within its rights and fulfilling its core values in allowing Irans President to speak. I dont necessarily disagree, nor do I completely disagree with his sta... [Read More]

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Frederick Hamilton

Prof Stone,
Once again, you distort things I guess to advance your politics.

The Senated did not condemn the constitutionality of the ad.

It condemned the ad.

It was an odious ad that needed to be condemned. It smeared an honorable military commander currently under fire in Iraq.

I find it intriguing that you don't think universities should take positions on ethical issues, but you wanted your university to ban military recruiters based on a congressional law of don't ask don't tell regarding homosexuality. Can you really explain the difference? Especially now in light of the ruling that the law is constitutional and your universities ethical position was legally wrong and I would posit ethically wrong also, ergo, the soldiers didn't pass the law, congress did. Why penalize the military for doing what their civilian leadership legally required them to do? Your logic escapes me.

And could you also enlighten us on the official position of the University of Chicago on the Solomon Amendment?

The New York Times was free to print the ad (sort of, now most experts believe they violated election spending laws, they themselves agreed to that) and the Senate was quite right in condemning the content of the ad.

Again, they did not condemn the right to print the ad. A big difference.

Just why shouldn't the Senate and the House take a principled stand to protect the honor of a dedicated, honest, honorable commanding soldier on the front lines of an ongoing war they approved of? I don't get your point.

Roach

"Because a university must remain neutral on all matters of public policy that do not directly affect the university itself, it should not have a faculty vote, for example, on whether to condemn the war in Iraq, on whether Mr. Bush is a good President, or on whether Mr. Ahmadinejad violates human rights."

And this undoubtedly is why Geoff Stone vigorously opposed Columbia's expulsion of ROTC from campus in the late sixties because that decision was made to protest the Vietnam War and that had the universitiy taking an official position on a contentious issue of public policy.

ctw

"Having invited to campus a highly provocative speaker whose views many faculty, students, alumni, and donors find offensive ..."

This the part I can't comprehend. As I noted in the previous thread, knowing all this plus the almost certainty that the content of the speech would be essentially vacuous (not a slam just of Mr. A but of any player in the political arena speaking in a politically charged atmoshere), what was the motivation for the invitation? Inviting a controversial figure with unconventional ideas is one thing, inviting a figure who is controversial because his ideas are almost universally considered fantasies is something else.

There was presumably some reasonable hope that Khatami would have some interesting things to say. No such hope here.

- Charles

Erik E.

Where there is room for reasonable disagreement about certain subject matters, certainly a university has a duty to remain neutral. But where a person's views extend beyond the realm of the reasonable, into the realm of the verifiably false and dangerous, the university has no such duty of neutrality. Holocaust deniers and those who would have evolution stricken from scient texts share similarly unreasonable points of view. And while Bollinger couldn't resist personal attacks, those attacks weren't over mere policy disagreements over whether the U.S.'s role in Iraq is disastrous; they seemed to stem from Ahmadinejad's verifiably false and exceedingly virtriolic statements about, say, the Holocaust. No duty of neutrality was owed to those views.

Frank

One more thing about the Move On ad -- if you read past the pun in the first line -- is that it was well-reasoned, and well documented, in its "cooking the books" point. When Rudy Guiliani published his ad attacking Moveon (and somehow by extension Hillary), he had no reasoning at all except Petraeus = military credentials = all he says is good, Moveon = Hillary = bad. A pathetic and childish response, but no one calls him on it.

W&L 1L

Not allowing ROTC from coming on campus is more than a mere position on policy, but dictating the autonomy of the school. This is a protection not from the expression of 'mere' ideas, but the forced acceptance of an idea and practice. The school is not wading into a political issue that hardly concerns it, but making a policy decision on how the school is to be run and funded.

On the other hand, the Senate is wading into a party-political issue (if one could even call this an issue) that does not concern it. This was an act of Congress saying MoveOn.org "was really mean." Congress demeaned itself that it has not done since the Terry Schaivo case (well, maybe it's simply the lowest point since the Schaivo case). Does Congress have a bully pulpit? Ought it?

Erasmussimo

Those who attack the MoveOn ad confuse Mr. Petraeus' military role with his political role. I confess that the distinction can become woolly. For example, consider the case in which a scientist testifies before the Senate on, say, climate change. If that scientist offers scientific judgements that others find politically objectionable, it would be wrong for the objectors to personally attack the scientist.

However, an important distinction arises when the scientist (or soldier) crosses the line into political discourse. So long as the scientist (or soldier) were to adhere closely to objective truth, then I consider him above reproach. But if that scientist or soldier strays from the realm of hard truth into the realm of political judgement, then he has entered the political world and is justifiably attacked on political grounds.

Such is clearly the case with Mr. Petreaus. He published an op-ed piece just six weeks prior to the 2004 elections in which he offered political opinions about the war in Iraq. His testimony before the Senate included a great deal of material whose objectivity is rightly questioned. Thus, Mr. Petreaus was a political actor and as such deserves no more obeisance than we give any politician. People say all sorts of vicious things about politicians they don't agree with; Mr. Petraeus was treated no differently and deserved to be treated no differently.

Had the Senate resolution merely declared nice things about Mr. Petraeus, then I would have no objections to it. The Senate definitely crossed a moral line when they condemned the MoveOn ad. This would have been no different from the Senate passing a resolution during the 2004 campaign condemning the SwiftBoat attacks on Senator Kerry.

I heartily agree with the observation that Mr. Bollinger erred in attacking Mr. Ahmadinejad. He should have taken a strictly neutral stance but insured that those who disagree with the man had ample opportunity to challenge him.

I agree with Erik E's point that a university has no obligation to present patently false points of view. Yet Mr. Ahmadinejad was not invited solely to present his Holocaust denial. He was invited as part of an ongoing program presenting world leaders, and his point of view as the president of an important country is something that a university community should have the opportunity to hear. His Holocaust denial was a small portion of his talk, and in fact he backpedalled on that point, merely suggesting that further research is a worthy aspiration.

Frederick Hamilton

Eras,
General Petraeus was not testifying to Congress on anything political. He was testifying pursuant to Congressional legislation requiring his assessment and testimony about the Iraq War under his command. He was not and is not a politician and did not deserve to be slimed by MoveOn.org.

For Senators and Representatives to take MoveOn.org to task over the portrayl of General Petraeus as a traitor (betray) was over the top and the response of the Senate and House in their condemnations of the ads content was correct and appropriate.

Nobody put a gun to the head of Senators and Representatives to force them to condemn the ad (done on a bipartisan basis...see the votes in the House and Senate).

It is not OK for many in academia and in the Democrat party to loath the military (ROTC, recruiters, Stone, Chicago, Columbia, et al) and they do so at a great cost to themselves and America. America respects, in their collective gut and heart the men and women who wear the uniform. At all levels (General to private). That that respect and admiration isn't shared by Chicago, Stone, Columbia et al is obvious and painful to watch. So be it.

The response of the Senate and House was correct and the right thing to do.

Interestingly, a Chicago grad and former professor, Obama, when showing up in the Senate just before the vote and finding out what was to come, conveniently took a hike. So much for his character. I suspect his character and thoughts mirrors those such as Professor Stone who loath the military.

Erasmussimo

Mr. Petraeus presented testimony that went well beyond the pure facts. He cherry-picked his facts and offered professional opinions that are not commonly shared by other professionals. This was a political act on his part, not a strictly military act.

I'd like to reiterate Frank's point that the content of the MoveOn ad has not been questioned, only the title. Mr. Petraeus' testimony is directly contradicted by the assertions made in the MoveOn ad. It is therefore not reasonable to claim that Mr. Petraeus offered "just the facts". He offered a personal assessment of the situation that is strongly colored by political considerations.

Frederick Hamilton

Eras,
You have denigrated the testimony of General Petraeus and you are equally wrong. He said from the outset the report was his and his alone. The MoveOn.org ad claimed his report was drawn up by the White House.

He did not cherry pick the facts and that assertion is a lie and a cannard from you. Prove it. Tell us the cherry picked facts. You are being very good a mouthing the spin from those who don't mind smearing the reputation of General Petraeus.

I would also question your statement that he offered an assessment that was colored by political considerations. If so, could you please let all of us know what part of his assessment was colored by "political considerations". I listened to most of his House and Senate testimony and his assessment was very balanced and non-political.

You sir are equally a reprobate with your slime of General Petraeus.

If you want to slime him, prove your points of his "coloring" and "political" posturing with his report.

Despicable is too kind a word for your character assasignation of General Petraeus.

It is too bad you can't simply say you disagree with his assessment of the situation regarding the war in Iraq without impugning his character. His report was anything but a political act. It was the act of a professional soldier doing his duty to his country.

You make me very mad. Sorry but you had this coming. As did MoveOn.org. Count the votes. The House and Senate votes (except for Obama who didn't have the character or guts to vote one way or the other) speak for themselves.

lav

There are fundamental differences between a university the main function of which is to educate and thus to foster debate and the US Senate which is a political institution first and foremost. So the argument that it wasn’t appropriate for the Senate to pass a resolution on a certain point of view concerning a matter of high public interest ignores the role of politics in the workings of a political body. Senators take positions on socially contentious and non-contentious matters all the time, both individually and as a group, so what makes passing a symbolic resolution any different except that in this case they had enough votes to adopt it and score easy political points with a perhaps substantial part of the electorate? It may be cheap pandering to the patriotism of some but it is this kind of cheap pandering that often gets one elected. Quite unfortunate but really nothing new. I know, I know, just because a practice is common does not legitimize it, but in this case it is in the nature of the institution to take position on public issues or give it a populist spin (obviously, nobody is arguing that the Senate resolution is an unconstitutional viewpoint restraint). Very different from a university.

Providing a forum for debate of a broad spectrum of views being in the mission of a university, I think it ultimately comes down to a subjective judgment about how much a debate with a particular speaker would promote a better understanding of the world and of the ideas for and against his position in particular. I agree that inviting Ahmadinejad allowed to challenge him in a setting that he was not used to (it wasn’t completely choreographed by his yes-men) and to hear his views on other issues besides his patently indefensible stance on the Holocaust and Israel. Just the fact of his visit sparked such an intense debate about Iran, us and how we should deal with each other that the ultimate goal of the debate may well have been served before it even started. Maybe the laughter of the student audience at his remark about homosexuals in Iran will teach him something too, maybe not. But the fact that reasonable people can disagree about the utility of debating him shows that the idea was not wholly without merit.

Mr. Hamilton, as a side note, the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy does not “require” the military recruiters to discriminate, it “allows” them to do so. So your argument that they are just doing “what their civilian leadership legally required them to do” doesn’t really cut it. And that people despise the hypocritical policy of the military to allow gay men and women in uniform to die in Iraq but not to openly express their sexuality does not make them haters of the military. It makes them only haters of an unjust and bigoted policy. As another sidenote, although this point is tangential to the main substance of Prof. Stone’s first post on Ahmadinejad, it would be healthier for the debate here if you refrained from misrepresenting Prof. Stone’s view on FAIR. On one of his posting on the blog, he made it clear that he doesn’t see any First Amendment violation in the Solomon Amendment the despicable as a matter of policy it is. Check it out at
http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/2005/12/the_solomon_ame.html.

Frederick Hamilton

lav,
As a matter of fact, the don't ask don't tell policy has nothing at all to do with military recruiters other than I suppose in recruiting for the military the recruiters would tell the prospective recruit what the policy regarding homosexuality is in the military. It is a policy that once in the military the military will not ask a soldier their sexual preference and soldiers won't have to divulge their sexual preferences. If caught in same sex activity or if the soldier openly expresses their homosexual preferences then they will be discharged from the military. That policy was passed by Congress and signed into law very willingly and with the approval of President Clinton.

I was unable to use the url you provided to access Prof Stone's thoughts you ascribe to him. I have read and was quite sure he was a supporter of both the FAIR lawsuit and a supporter of illegally keeping the militrary recruiters off of the Univ of Chicago Law School Campus. If I am in error in this regard please point me to the right area to be corrected.

The don't ask don't tell policy does not allow anyone in the military to discriminate. And the law passed by Congress and signed by the President indeed does require the militray to follow it. They concretely are doing what their civilian leadership and the law tells them and requires them to do. If you don't like it, change the law. If you don't like the Solomon Amendment then stand by the courage of your convictions and stop taking the pieces of silver from the government. But if you don't have the courage of your convictions quit whining like a baby about it. Nobody is forcing the University of Chicago to accept federal funds other than the law of the land regarding "discriminating" against the military recruiters who if you want the federal pieces of silver you must accept the military recruiters.

This url will direct you to something well written and easy to understand about FAIR v Rumsfeld and the Solomon Amendment:
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/05pdf/04-1152.pdf

So if you could direct me to something I can access regarding Prof Stone and his position on FAIR v Rumsfeld and the Univ of Chicago Law School and military recruiters I would appreciate it

ctw

"I'd like to reiterate Frank's point that the content of the MoveOn ad has not been questioned, only the title."

Whatever the substance, the title (ie, language) obviously was going to provide ammunition for the opposiion and thus was, IMO, ill-considered from a tactical POV. I'm in their camp and I gagged when I first saw it.

Sometimes people make mistakes. Better to just admit them and "move on" than to try to repackage them as an issue in some higher principle like freedom of speech. Mr A's speech seems to be just about off the news headline list and this faux pas is already. In a week no one will care.

And aren't you being a bit selective in applying the general principle implicit in the quote above? Or do you only object to ad hominems in fora more widely read and therefore more important than the pages of the NYT, eg, blog comments?

-Charles

Erasmussimo

Dear dear, Mr. Hamilton, you have sunk to name-calling.

You write: "He said from the outset the report was his and his alone. The MoveOn.org ad claimed his report was drawn up by the White House."

This is incorrect. Mr. Petraeus declared that his TESTIMONY was his and his alone. The REPORT was in fact written by the White House. Here's the link to the LA Times story presenting that information:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pullback15aug15,0,4840766.story?page=2&coll=la-home-center

Next, here's a link to some more complete data:

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2007/09/a-clarifying-mo.html

Among the points made evident by this data:

1. Month-on-month civilian casualties in 2007 are higher than in 2006.

2. Civilian casualties in August 2007 were higher than in July 2007, which in turn were higher than in June 2007.

3. Civilian casualties in Baghdad are down.

4. Civilian casualties in the rest of Iraq are up.

5. Execution-style killings in Baghdad show no significant change.

6. al-Qaeda killings of civilians increased from 250 in June to 400 in July and to 650 in August.


Here's a piece from the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/05/AR2007090502466_pf.html

and some relevant quotes:

"The U.S. military's claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends."

"Others who have looked at the full range of U.S. government statistics on violence, however, accuse the military of cherry-picking positive indicators"

[It would seem, Mr. Hamilton, that there are a great many reprobates out there.]

"Intelligence analysts computing aggregate levels of violence against civilians for the NIE puzzled over how the military designated attacks as combat, sectarian or criminal, according to one senior intelligence official in Washington. "If a bullet went through the back of the head, it's sectarian," the official said. "If it went through the front, it's criminal.""

There's tons more stuff out there. How many megabytes of quotations would you like? ;-)

You ask, "If so, could you please let all of us know what part of his assessment was colored by "political considerations"."

His overly optimistic assessment of the situation in Iraq reflected a political agenda rather than an objective assessment. I believe this because his assessment is so much at variance with the GAO report, with the National Intelligence Estimate, and with independent sources of information.

You write, "You make me very mad." I remind you that anger makes reason impossible.

lav

Mr. Hamilton,

If you try the link above without the period in the end, it should work. Here it is again: http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/2005/12/the_solomon_ame.html


Because the Solomon Amendment is the law, the military is indeed required to follow it as you say. But in its substance, the law permits disrimination of gay service members.

Frederick Hamilton

Eras,
Your LA Times article was written on Aug 15, one month before the report delivered by General Petraeus and although the LA Times report says the White House would write the report, General Petraeus told both the House and Senate that the report was written by him and him alone. I believe the General. He didn't lie to the committees.

Your data from a liberal blog is not one I would believe over the General.

Your front and back of the head bullet deaths is a myth perpetuated by an unnamed state department person and totally shown to be false over and over.

All deaths reported by the military in Iraq are those except from natural causes. It is not hard to differentiate the pneumonia and heart attacks from blasts to the head front or back and bombs and knifes etc. Total balderdash.

His report was HIS report and he told the truth as he knew it. That pains those who wanted a different assessment. So be it.

Some can't stand that the surge may be achieving success. Especially those that wish for failure. So be it.

You stilled slimed the General.

You still seem to want to challange his truthfulness and character.

I stand by the honor, courage and decency of General Pretaeus. Those of your ilk can go the other way. So be it.

I stand by my view. If you want to say his view is wrong fine. If you want to say he lied to the committees in the House and Senate and the report was not his and you think he is lieing. So be it.

I think he is telling the truth and you my friend are the liar. Or reprobate. Or slimer. Or any other epithet you would like to take.

General Petraeus is to be respected and honored. Period. Just as General Wes Clark was when he reported from the front lines of Bosnia. If Petraeus enters politics as Clark has after his military career is over, feel free to slime him. Until then. Give the courageous, decorated soldier the respect and honor he is due.

My thoughts in a nutshell.

lav

Sorry, I accidentally pushed the post button too early. When a straight recruit openly expresses his or her sexual preferences, nothing happens to them or at least they do not get discharged. When a gay service member does the same, the consequence is a discharge. That’s discrimination to me (do you disagree?) and the Solomon Amendment allows this to happen. When a military recruiter ask an applicant whether they are gay (I have no first-hand information about this but I have heard this happening at interviews), in light of don’t ask don’t tell that’s discrimination to me.

Zoe

Because of the Speech and Debate Clause, which is in the structural Constitution, Congress, as an institution, has free speech rights. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making a law abridging freedom of speech. That includes Congress's institutional freedom of speech, not just the individual free speech rights of Congresspersons as private citizens. Not only is Congress unable to bar itself from speaking; there is nothing in the Constitution suggesting Congress lacks institutional speech rights. Therefore, Professor Stone is talking out of his ass.

Frederick Hamilton

lav,
If a "straight recruit" expresses his or her sexual preference to a military recruiter, if I were the recruiter I would say that is your business not mine and probably wouldn't recruit that person into the military anyway (if it were me) under the stupid exclusion I would put myself under as a recruiter (just my preference).

By law if a gay service member announces his or her sexual preference that sevice member is discharged per the law of the land approved by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. I guess if you want to call that legal discrimination go ahead. What the military and Congress call that is wanting a military where homosexual behavior is not condoned for the good of the military. Those are the laws of the country regarding our military.

The Solomon Amendment does nothing of the sort you say. It has nothing to do with homosexual behavior in the military or the don't ask don't tell rules of the military. The Solomon Amendment tells colleges and universities that if they want to accept federal monies (pieces of silver and gold) at their institutions they must allow and treat military recruiters like any other recruiter on their campus. There are institutions that don't want to accept the military recruiters (wrong by my standards) and are willing to stand by the courage of their convictions and don't accept any federal monies and there are those institutions like the Univ of Chicago Law School that don't have the courage of their convictions and take the pieces of silver and now must accept those awful military recruiters in their midst. How sad for Chicago. Such wimps. No guts no liberal glory for them. Fitting I think.

Erasmussimo

Mr. Hamilton, I am surprised that you continue to assert a well-known falsehood. You are simply wrong in declaring that Mr. Petraeus wrote the report bearing his name; even the White House declares that:

"White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Petraeus and Crocker will testify publicly and privately to the U.S. Congress just prior to the release of their report, which will actually be written by White House officials."

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN1633886620070817?pageNumber=2

You simply reject out of hand the data from Obsidian Wings because you don't like the politics of that blog. The original source of those numbers is the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. I suppose that you reject this organization as biased -- but I would like to ask you if you knew anything about this organization prior to learning of these numbers? And if you do reject these numbers, could you tell me precisely what your objection is to their methodology? I take it you also reject the Washington Post because they're liberals, too. And you also reject the GAO and the National Intelligence Estimate? Sounds to me like you're cherry-picking your data, too! ;-)

It's real easy to get self-righteous when you deny all the data that contradicts your position.

lav

FH, in my last post, I meant to say "the don't ask don't tell allows it to happen" (not the Solomon Amendment). Mea culpa. Just because it is the law of the land, it doesn't mean it is not discriminatory. And it doesn't promote any kind of good as the militaries of other nations which do not discriminate against gay service members demonstrate. There was a time when some believed that allowing women into the army corrodes the morale and the cohesion within an army unit. Our experience now shows that it was nothing but a myth based on prejudice. The rationalizations in favor of the current policy towards gays in the military are no better.

Frederick Hamilton

Eras,
Likewise, the Reuters report is dated August 17 and it could be that the White House was planning to write the report that General Petraeus was to give a month later.

I am confident General Petraeus would not have asserted at his House and Senate Hearings the he and he alone wrote the report he was giving.

I think we have to say the month earlier reports of Reuters and the LA Times were in error or not operative at the time of General Petraeus's report. I will try to sort this out over the next few days, but as per General Petraeus, he says he wrote it and I believe him.

Eras, I am not trying to get self-righteous, I am simply giving the General's report the presumption of truth that it deserves. It is OK to disagree with General Petraeus but not OK to claim he "colored" or "politized" his data. It is his data, compiled and reported by him and his military team. I accept his data because I trust him.

lav, women are still not allowed to engage in combat missions.

Erasmussimo

Mr. Hamilton, you are claiming that the White House declared on August 17th that the report would be written by the White House, and then somehow in the next few weeks the report wasn't actually written by the White House? That's pretty hard to believe. Besides, there's a much simpler resolution to our disagreement: Mr. Petraeus stated that it was his TESTIMONY that was his and his alone; the REPORT was written by the White House. The TESTIMONY is not the same thing as the REPORT. I pointed this out earlier but you dont' seem to be giving this explanation any credence.

" I am simply giving the General's report the presumption of truth that it deserves"

So why aren't you giving the GAO report the presumption of truth it deserves? Why aren't you giving the National Intelligence Estimate the presumption of truth it deserves? Why are you so selective in what you give the presumption of truth to?

arizona insurance company

I probably would not have invited someone like him to speak if I ran the University but his presence does not alter anyone's position relative to Iran or the Middle East.

lav

It’s true that women are not allowed to go into combat missions but not for reasons that their presence would undermine the camaraderie and the spirit of trust within the unit. Women’s integration into other aspects of military service has debunked the fallacy of those excuses long ago. So the exclusion of women from combat mission is simply irrelevant to and does not in any way support an argument in favor of discriminating against gays in the military.

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