Government Responsible For Military's Policies
In my humble opinion, the views of Aaron Golub G on the U.S. military as stated in his letter ("ROTC Is Anything But Right for MIT," April 2) and his argument that one should expand the debate on MIT's ROTC program are incorrect for the following reason: The U.S. military is not an autonomous organization. It is merely a tool of the policymakers of the nation (which might be the president, the Congress, the bureaucracy, the ruling hegemony, or whatever). As such, it is not responsible for its actions past and present.
Rhetoric of honor and tradition notwithstanding, the U.S. military has throughout its history remained subservient to the ruling faction, carrying out the policies and mandates generated by the faction, with varying degrees of success and efficiency. When a sword is used to slay another human being, the sword is not to blame, but rather the hand and mind that wield the sword. Similarly, when the U.S. military is used to carry out ethically objectionable actions, the organization itself is not responsible, but rather the power and will that wields it.
The question at hand is ROTC's policy on homosexuality, which follows the current policy on the same issue, which ultimately reflects the mandates of the ruling hegemony. The question can be distilled to two components: First, the ethical consideration of discrimination on individual characteristics that has no bearing on the individual's combat effectiveness, and second, whether boycotting the physical embodiment of the policy in question (in this case, MIT ROTC) is the most effective method of altering the ruling faction's position on this issue. Complicating the discussion by introducing personal moral judgments that are irrelevant to the discussion is counterproductive, and should therefore be avoided.
Note that I am keeping my personal views on the ethical considerations of discrimination, violence, socioeconomic domination, modern imperialism, individual career choice, and other such personal moral judgments free from the above discussion. In my opinion, discrimination based on one's sexual orientation seems to me to have no bearing on one's combat effectiveness in a military organization, and should therefore be abandoned. Whether or not boycotting ROTC as a collective body through MIT (as I understand, individuals always had the choice not to join ROTC) is the best way to rectify the current situation (that of discrimination against homosexuality in military) is still open to debate, and I wish to withheld my opinion on that topic.
Hsienchang Chiu '96