Education & Academia

Some Things Never Change

We found out about Yale’s decision to recruit and enroll the deputy foreign secretary of the Taliban a little over two months ago. Since then, we’ve seen all sorts of gymnastics performed by Yale’s administration and selected alumni to defend the decision as not only rational during this time of ongoing hostilities with the Taliban, but, more outrageously, good for America’s long term interests in the region.

To quote one 1956 Yale graduate, “I am proud of Yale for accepting the applicant from Afghanistan and look forward to the day when he will return to his country with his perspective affected by his exposure to one of the great universities in the world. It can only benefit all of us for him to have this experience.” Affected by his exposure? Sure, now Ramatullah’s got keener insights on how to fool naïve Americans and how to do us more grievous harm, given the opportunity he’s had to study us up close. Don’t forget, Ramatullah’s never renounced the Taliban’s anti-western views.

So, what else did this alum have to say to me? “I find your views repugnant and anti-American.” Interesting … saying that Yale should support the U.S. military on campus by hosting ROTC in lieu of idealistically trying to enlighten one of our nation’s avowed enemies makes me repugnant and anti-American? Note to self: fighting on behalf of our republic is un-American, and giving comfort to the enemy and potentially supporting its demise in a time of war should be encouraged…

But then, consider the source. I discovered an interesting memo last week, which dates back to Kingman Brewster’s days as President of Yale (I have stacks of these things, which I copied while scouring Yale’s archives during research for my senior essay. It’s taken me since the spring of 1997 to find this one!) The same alumnus who excoriated me for criticizing Yale’s allegiance to the nation helped defend Yale’s efforts to oust ROTC from campus in 1969, and as a member of the school’s development board no less! The memo recounts his efforts to ameliorate one large donor’s exasperation with Yale’s treatment of ROTC during Vietnam.

Go figure — once an apologist for the anti-military, anti-American crowd, always one I suppose, even into dotage. Some things never change.


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