"Racist!" shouted some Columbia University students at an Iraq War vet. Other students reportedly "hissed and booed." Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who spoke at Columbia three years earlier, received better treatment from the audience.
The subject of the students' scorn? Former Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Maschek. The 28-year-old Columbia freshman and Purple Heart recipient served in Iraq. During an attack, he was shot 11 times, suffered two broken legs and sustained injuries to his abdomen, arm and chest. He spent two years at Walter Reed, where one leg was amputated. He uses a wheelchair.
The reprehensible treatment of Maschek took place at a campus town hall meeting held to discuss rescinding Columbia's 42-year-old ban of an on-campus ROTC program. President Barack Obama's alma mater last took up the issue five years ago, and in deciding to continue the ban, the school cited the military's "discriminatory" policy of "don't ask, don't tell." It provided a convenient excuse to mask its pacifism or hatred of the military -- or both. When serving as dean of Harvard Law School, now-Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan also cited DADT in opposing on-site military recruiters. But recently, Congress voted to repeal DADT, starting a process that will end the policy in the next several months. Issue resolved, right? Wrong.
"Universities should not be involved in military activities," the New York Post quoted a sociology professor as saying. "Columbia should come out against spending $300 billion a year on unnecessary wars."
Maschek said at the town hall: "It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting. There are bad men out there plotting to kill you." Some in the audience laughed. Days later, the FBI arrested a Saudi student attending a Texas college. Authorities say he intended to use chemical explosives on a list of targets that included the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush. As Sgt. Maschek said, bad people want to kill Americans.
What possessed students to dishonor a man, a volunteer, who nearly lost his life to protect the right of these students to jeer? Consider the jaw-dropping nationwide near-unanimity of left-wing, strength-through-peace thinking by college humanities professors. Conservative or libertarian profs practically deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act.