Thomas Sowell

The Berkeley city council has made national news by telling Marine Corps recruiters that they are unwelcome in that bastion of the academic left.

It is a shame that Berkeley is not on some island in the South Pacific, because then they could be given their independence and left to defend themselves.

As it is, members of our armed forces who put their lives on the line to defend America are also defending people like too many in Berkeley for whom the very word America, and the American flag, bring only sneers.

Unfortunately, Berkeley is not unique. A professor at Harvard who put an American flag on his car after 9-11 provoked looks of astonishment from his colleagues. They wondered what was wrong with him.

All across the country, there are professors who push for keeping military recruiters off campus and for banning ROTC. Apparently if they don't like the military, then other people -- such as students -- should not be allowed to make up their own minds whether they want to join or not.

Liberals in general, and academics in particular, like to boast of their open-mindedness and acceptance of non-conformity. But they mean not conforming to the norms of society at large.

They have little or no tolerance to those who do not conform to the norms of academic political correctness. Nowhere else in America is free speech so restricted as on academic campuses with speech codes.

In Berkeley, as elsewhere, the left has learned to cloak their anti-military intolerance with the magic words, "We support the troops." The liberal media use the same line when they undermine the military.

In this, as in other things, the flagship of the media is the New York Times. Unsubstantiated charges against American troops in Iraq are front page news but incredible acts of heroism in battle are seldom reported there, if at all.

Although things go wrong in every war, things that went wrong in Iraq -- whether large or small -- have been front page news in the New York Times. But when the military surge was followed by things going right, the Iraq war was suddenly no longer front page news.

Back during the Vietnam war, the media criticized the American military for their emphasis on enemy casualties or "body count." Today the media have been fixated on American body count.

What has been accomplished by the troops who lost their lives in battle has been of no interest to those who claim to be "supporting the troops."

That thousands of Iraqis who fled the country during the height of the violence and turmoil are now returning is no big deal to the media.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate



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