News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The War on Iraq on campus

Moline, Ill.--I am back in my home territory to help a family member through a medical episode. But the real point is the long drive from Aberdeen to the Quad-Cities, during which it rained the entire drive. However, as I went south and east, the temperature went from the 40s to the 60s, and I assumed Al Gore must be in the neighborhood.

I have a problem when I travel and don't have a tight schedule to keep. I stop along the way, and this time it was at campuses that I frequented over the years. At a coffee shop where some Iowa State students were assembled, they noticed a political sign on the back window of the car I am driving. It is for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, and is there to sort of identify it as kind of a staff car. My spouse went to work for Rep. Herseth Sandlin last month. A young woman seemed a bit perplexed that an old man seemed to support a young congresswoman so far in advance of the election. I said something to the effect that when they are bright and competent, one must support them all the time. And the young woman then asked, somewhat aggressively, what is her position on the war?

I noted that Rep. Herseth Sandlin had signed a compact with 14 Republicans and 14 Democrats to work for a bipartisan solution to solve our problem in Iraq. The young woman got a bit strident: "Is she for or against the war? Does she really want us out of a place we should not be at in the first place?" Before I could answer, the young woman said she hoped no more lives would sacrificed at the expense of being reasonable and bipartisan, and the group she was with got in their car and drove away.

I stopped in Iowa City. The bulletin boards on the campus hangouts were full of posters announcing war protest rallies and urging actions to stop it. There was much of the mood of the Vietnam protests of three decades ago. Clearly, the war has moved onto the campuses.

I asked a former colleague in Rock Island if he noted growing anti-war activities. He said that during Vietnam, the draft brought the war to the campuses as an issue that students were concerned about. This time, our national resources are concentrated on Iraq when there are so many other problems that need them. And it is difficult to find people of any political persuasion on campuses who have any tolerance for his war.

He talked of watching an interview of retired Gen. Wesley Clark who made the point that it is impossible to play a responsible role in world affairs when the rest of the world distrusts and dislikes you. Clark made the point that when your forces are involved in killing people in other countries, those people tend to hate you. Good soldiers do not allow the lives of their troops to be wasted for political thinking that has gone awry.

I noticed that some of the old rock stars of the Vietnam era are urging demonstrations against the war on Iraq.

Here we go again. The students are getting restless.

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