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How Obama's Alma Mater Treated an Iraq War Vet

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

"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.

American Enterprise Magazine looked at the political registrations of liberal arts professors who teach at a number of American colleges, big and small, elite and non-elite, public and private, and in all geographical areas of the country. A professor belonging to a party of the "right" was defined as one who is a registered member of the Republican Party or Libertarian Party. Party of the "left" meant a registered member of the Democratic, Green or Working Families Party. The results?

Harvard: Fifteen economics professors belong to a party of the left, with only one belonging to a party of the right. For political science, it was 20 left, one right. Sociology, 15 left, one right.

UCLA: In history, 53 professors were left, three right. Journalism, 12 left, one right. Political science, 16 left, one right. Women's studies, 31 left, two right.

Penn State University: The political science department had 17 left, three right. Economics, eight left, four right. Sociology, 34 left, three right.

University of Texas at Austin: 12 history professors were left, two right. Political science, 15 left, four right. Women's studies, 27 left, one right.

Luntz Research Companies polled a cross-section of 151 social science and liberal arts Ivy League professors. Sixty-four percent called themselves "liberal" or "somewhat liberal." Zero percent called themselves "conservative," with 6 percent calling themselves "somewhat conservative." In the 2000 election, 84 percent said they voted for Al Gore, 9 percent for George W. Bush, and 6 percent for Ralph Nader.

Forty percent of the Ivy League profs supported reparations for blacks vs. 11 percent of the "general public." Only 26 percent supported school vouchers, versus 62 percent of the general public.

The Horowitz Freedom Center looked at the commencement speakers of 32 elite colleges and universities over a 10-year period for 1994 to 2003. Of those who were political figures or who spoke about politics or public policy, the study found: "The ratio of commencement speakers on the left and right was 223-15, a ratio of over 15-1. ... Twenty-two of the 32 schools surveyed did not have a single Republican or conservative speaker in the entire 10 years surveyed. The same schools invited 169 liberals and Democrats to address their graduating classes in the same 10-year period."

Obama shows no reluctance to weigh in on all sorts of things, whether it's proposing an NCAA football playoff or blasting the Cambridge police for acting "stupidly" in questioning a black professor or denouncing Arizona's immigration law as unconstitutional. As an alumnus of Columbia, let alone as commander in chief, Obama might care to comment on his school's post-DADT continued hostility to the military.

As for Sgt. Maschek, these students owe him an apology. Don't expect their teachers to recommend it.

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