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ROTC Is Anything But Right for MIT

ROTC Is Anything But Right for MIT

Thus far, the discussion concerning the retention of MIT's ROTC program has included issues of discrimination, of greater citizen access to service, of scholarships, and of MIT's ability to affect DoD policy, among others. Nothing in the discussion, strangely enough, has addressed ROTC and DoD themselves, leaving the debate tightly framed and in my view, fruitless. I wish to expand the debate.

The U.S. military, which ROTC represents, is the world's foremost terrorist organization and has caused more pain and suffering in this world than any other single organization. Militarism and its objectification and disregard for life and diplomacy is in clear conflict with anything MIT supposedly stands for and thus should not be considered to remain a part of this institution.

The history of the U.S. military is one of ill-founded politics and an unrelentless pursuit of stability' and control towards maintaining and increasing U.S. profits and markets. It has strangled the dreams of hundreds of millions of poor and marginalized through its use of force in maintaining or installing dictatorships, stamping out peasant movements, and driving down numerous national liberation and revolutionary movements, wasting U.S. citizens' lives in the process. An incomplete list of places haunted by U.S. military intervention includes: Haiti, Panama, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Zaire, El Salvador, and Angola.

Just the presence of U.S. military bases abroad can be wounding as many create environmental havoc with spills, pollution, and the dumping of waste. In the words of an anonymous DoD official, the legal agreement for basing is that "when we depart, we don't have to clean up." Some bases are infamous for creating local prostitution industries. The base outside Olongapo, Phillipines, nurtured the industry from a couple of bars to a prostitute population of tens of thousands.

In reviewing the arguments for and against ROTC, please keep in mind the larger picture of what ROTC and our DoD funds represent and the what that says to the world about MIT and its community. Taking this view, I feel a more useful debate can be had, one which clearly points out the fallacy of maintaining ties with an organization of terror at an institution supposedly working towards advancing society and promoting its freedom.

Aaron Golub G