Debra J. Saunders

The rationale for the board's heavy-handed vote? I kid you not: Board members who denied parents and students the right to opt for JROTC argued that the program did not impart "critical thinking." As if the board supports critical thinking.

Also, opponents argued that SFJROTC was a recruiting tool for a military with a Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy that discriminates against homosexuals. It matters not that the Ess Eff program does not discriminate against gays and lesbians. What does matter is that the San Francisco school board has told the rest of the country that this city is too good for the U.S. military that defends us all.

"I understand that we're in turbulent times with the Iraq War. My instructors have their own feelings about that, and I do, too," Robert Powell, a JROTC instructor at Lincoln High School, told me. "You should go to Washington and fight the guys who are wearing the Brooks Brothers suits."

Sorry, that just is not done here. The San Francisco model is to pummel dissent while the city happily accepts federal tax dollars and then ungraciously disses U.S. troops as robots and thugs.

Today readers from across the city will e-mail me and tell me that, while they oppose the war in Iraq, they are appalled at and embarrassed by the board's heavy-handed vote.

But that doesn't matter. When you elect the likes of Mark Sanchez and Eric Mar, the two board members bolstering this ill-conceived policy as they mount a run for the Board of Supervisors, you are giving the rest of America the middle finger.

Debra J. Saunders

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