Good News for Our Culture: ROTC Back at Harvard

I was thrilled to see Harvard step up and assume the right kind of cultural leadership by bringing ROTC back to campus so quickly after DADT repeal. To be clear, I’m happy not so much because I believe the military needs Harvard but because Harvard — and by extension, our broader culture — needs more exposure to our military. One cannot read the Washington Post’s moving profile of Lt. Gen. John Kelly without understanding a vast and growing gulf exists between the 1 percent who serve and the 99 percent who do not — and that gulf is nowhere greater than at the “elite” levels of our society, where our future congressmen, captains of industry, screenwriters, and professors attend school, form their world view, and make lifelong personal connections.  

While I don’t know Drew Gilpin Faust and can’t offer an educated opinion about her tenure as Harvard’s president, this quick action speaks well of her. In some ways, as a historian who has studied the effects of war on culture, she is uniquely positioned to appreciate the importance of the military in our national life. Her book The Republic of Suffering, which I read shortly after my return from Iraq, triggered profound emotion and resonated with the contemporary military experience. It’s one of my favorite books.

Bravo, President Faust. And now we begin the hard work of repairing decades of damage as the military re-intigrates with the world’s most influential educational institution.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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