Blaming America

After the terrorist attacks and consequent military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, Peace Studies programs are thriving on over 250 colleges and universities across America. Advocates of these programs say they prepare students to think critically on the meaning and justification of conflict and peace.

Many Peace Studies programs, such as Antioch College’s admit that Peace Studies’ mission is to develop activists for their cause. Antioch’s description of the Peace Studies concentration states that they seek to “prepare students for positive social change related to peace and security.” Hal Culbertson, associate director of Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, said, “Our class is really a mixture-there are some activists and there are some scholars.” However, Peace Studies certainly doesn’t provide a diverse mixture of viewpoints.

Despite claims to be an instructive, critical approach to peace, these departments are actually just breeding grounds for the next generation of anarchists, socialists and anti-American subversives. Peace Studies courses are focused on the general principle that every conflict and social injustice is America’s fault-or in cases prior to 1776, “the West.” Pedantic professors lecture on the evils of American foreign policy and with no qualms about attacking Republican administrations, but stay clear of Democrats’ foreign policy decisions during World War II, Vietnam and the bombing of aspirin factories.

Peace Studies courses present the U.S. as the provocateur and aggressor. If it weren’t for our military’s ego and thirst for blood, the world would be a peaceful utopia. And Johnny “America is dumb” Depp would be president.

Cynthia Keppley Mahmood, a Peace Studies professor at Notre Dame, said that suicide bombers’ goals are not that different from those joining the U.S. military. In a July 2002 article called “Why We Need to Talk to Extremists,” Mahmood wrote that the U.S. would be better off if we had a dialogue with Osama bin Laden rather than violence and “patriotic machismo.” Through pacifism, Peace Studies departments expect the eradication of social injustices, violations of human rights, poverty and racism. Peace Studies programs consistently and falsely juxtapose peace and justice. However, justice is often achieved only through conflict, and sometimes war, with those who have denied the rights of others. By its very definition, justice is action-“the administration of what is just.” Pacifism ignores injustice.

The American tradition is built on our nation’s willingness and bravery to fight for justice: From America’s beginning as unjustly taxed colonies, to a civil war to abolish slavery, to World War II against fascism and violence against Jews, to liberating the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. Consistent with the Left’s playbook, Peace Studies programs endorse action and war only when the enemies are fellow Americans – particularly in the rich vs. the poor, men vs. women, corporations vs. the environment and whites vs. blacks.

In a recent column (“No Quagmire Here”), Ann Coulter, author of Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, pointed out one American President’s comments in the face of “war.” He promised the “chance to test our weapons, to try our energy and ideas and imagination for the many battles yet to come.” Coulter writes, “President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty turned out to be a bigger quagmire than Vietnam. Would that the Democrats would give the war in Iraq as much time to succeed as they are willing to give the ‘War on Poverty,’ now entering its 40th year.”

Georgetown University’s Peace and Justice program requires an introductory course on social justice as defined by poverty, hunger and homelessness. Earlham College offers students “Urban Political Economy,” which gives “attention to the rise of suburbanization in the United States and the problems of urban poverty, race and class segregation associated with it.” One has to wonder if “rural poverty” isn’t a concern since most of that population is white.

Also at Earlham, a 300-level Peace Studies course called “Sexual Violence in Societal Context” examines “expressions of sexual violence in the U.S. with skill-building activities for advocates.” Apparently the acts of sexual violence in other nations, such as genital mutilation and the “rape rooms” of Saddam Hussein’s fallen regime, are frivolous.

The Peace Studies programs of America’s colleges and universities serve only as a vehicle for the Left’s anti-American and socialist message. It is morally wrong for taxpayers to be forced to fund these programs, which promote a false view of American history and America’s continuing pursuit of justice.