College Protests of Absence of War Led by Professors

Come gather round people wherever you roam.  And admit that the bullshit around you has grown.

Students used to get out of tests and assignments by explaining to sympathetic professors that they had been busy protesting the war on Vietnam.  The times they are a changin.

Today college professors lead teach-ins to protest the absence of an all-out U.S. war on Syria.  Back then, the public and the government trailed behind the activists.  Now the public has grown enlightened, and in a significant but limited way won over the government, blocking the missile strikes, but it’s not just the U.S. President who looks mad enough to spit over the casus belli interruptus.  Professors are pissed.

The University of Virginia’s law school has another law school next door belonging to the U.S. Army.  The University has built a research “park” next door to the Army’s “Ground Intelligence Center.”  State funds are drying up, and the Pentagon’s tap has been left all the way open.  This Central Virginian military industrial academic complex is where Washington finally had to turn to find anyone willing to pretend the famous aluminum tubes in Iraq might be for scary, scary nukes. In defense of that record, this week is Iraq War Beautification Week at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, always a gung-ho proponent of militarism.

Much of this is expected and typical of U.S. academia these days.  But the promotions of attacks on Syria have become slicker and more insidious.  Here’s an announcement of an event held on Thursday:

Teach-In on Syria & Fundraiser for Refugees
Thursday, Sept 26, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
University of Virginia: Nau 101
Moderator: Joshua M. White, History
Panelists: Ahmed H. al-Rahim, Religious Studies, “Islamist Ideologies in Syria”
Hanadi al-Samman, MESALC, “The Syrian Revolution and the Plight of Refugees Today”
Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl, Politics, “Civil War in Syria”
Elizabeth Thompson, History, “Religion and War since 1913”
David Waldner, Politics, “Syria, Before: Dictatorship and the Growth of Public Opposition to the Regime”
And a film presentation on the refugee experience
Co-sponsored by the Arab Student Organization

This announcement doesn’t advertise a pro-war event aimed at promoting the deaths of large numbers of people.  Peace groups sent around this announcement.  I sent it around.  I attended.  And here’s what happened:

Thompson spoke well about World War I and sat silently as her colleagues promoted a new war as barbaric as what she described from a hundred years earlier.

Waldner described the early, non-violent Arab Spring in Syria, breaking into tears, and then sat silently as his colleagues pushed for greater violence, using his stories of early nonviolence to justify it.  (Somehow the opposite never happens: we never have to justify nonviolent activism on the grounds that its participants once killed a lot of people.)

The other panelists demanded more weapons for Syrian rebels, more U.S. military involvement, more war, and the violent overthrow of the government.

Students sat there silently.  Professors in the audience who say they oppose war sat there silently and told each other afterwards that their complaints about what just happened should remain confidential.  It wouldn’t be polite to speak up.

I spoke up at the event.  I questioned the panelists’ fantasies about the glory of violence, their willingness to see many more people die in order to overthrow a government that would not thereby be replaced with something better.

Schulhofer-Wohl said that U.S. weapons would overwhelm the government of Syria and its Russian backers.  I pointed out that the Russians have more weapons too, but this professor clearly thinks this is another Cold War and that this time Russia will give in easily and cheaply, there will be no blowback, and the pawns in the game will all benefit.

Or, rather, the evil of one side of the war justifies the other side, and the consequences be damned.

Students sat there silently.

We can laugh at academia marginalizing itself.  We can celebrate the greater wisdom of the masses.  But these professors, speaking in a building where a former CIA “historian” now works, are having their way.  The CIA is arming the war in Syria and escalating it, against the will of the U.S. public.  Students are being subtly indoctrinated with acceptance of war and with contempt for democracy at one stroke.

UVA founder Thomas Jefferson would be outraged, unless someone told the old slavery profiteer how much money wars make for a certain little group of special people.  Then he’d understand perfectly.  When UVA’s Dean of Arts and Sciences was promoting war on Libya, she held up Jefferson’s own war on Libya as a model.

This is our heritage, boys and girls.  And its days are numbered.  People are not going to stand for it much longer.  Academia is going to have to accept it that soon they’ll be drenched to the bone.

Some of those silent sitting students have brains in their heads.  Their professors forget that sometimes.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.
  • My friend and I were thinking of staging a “sarcastic” pro-war protest, with signs like: “MORE UNEMPLOYMENT & FOOD STAMP CUTS FOR WAR!!!” & “LET’S START WWIII”, etc… Sadly, these people really DID do that, and WEREN’T being sarcastic??? wtf?

  • colinjames71

    WTF indeed Big Dan, WTF indeef. Seriously. W. T. F.

  • SupernaturalCat

    Thankfully, here’s at least one far better example of anti-authoritarianism that is desperately needed here in the Land of The Brainwashed…

    Audio Of NSA Recruiters Being Called Out By University Of Wisconsin Students May Give You Hope For The Future

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5Hd7vZpNVw

  • Honest Harry’s Used Cars

    Crimson flames tied through your ears? Lol, David Swanson.

    Where have all the flowers gone, right? Long time passing!

    Sing me a song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtGCEybJGw8

  • Honest Harry’s Used Cars

    Crimson flames tied through your ears? Lol, David Swanson.

    Where have all the flowers gone, right? Long time passing!

    Sing me a song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtGCEybJGw8

  • jadan

    We tend to think that insanity afflicts individuals. The “lone gunman” is a madman. What this article is talking about is collective insanity. If we’re all nuts, it’s OK. Our world is about to be contaminated by the failure of a crazy-as-hell technology in Japan, and what is obsessing our lunatic leaders? War in Syria.

  • Tonto

    What’s with the title to this article, David?

    “College Protests of Absence of War Led by Professors”

    A typo is one thing. But this title is so far from coherent, one has to wonder, is David Swanson intentionally messing with the language trying to make a statement about the pointlessness of discussion if no one understands what anyone else is saying.

    Kooo, kooo, kachooo! David. Your song lyrics are misplaced. You’re distancing people, not bringing them in closer. You sound like the guy who shot John Lennon, quoting some words that can only be heard on a Beatles album when it is played backwards. Etiwh-is-gninthgil?

    And here, on this site, Carl Herman holds you up as someone clairvoyant soothsayer who has stood at the top of the mountain, someone, who like MLK, has a dream.

    Do you know what a flamer is, David?

    • You mean John Lennon shot by the CIA and PATSY Mark David Chapman, right?

  • Carolee

    Someone could wait outside such a lecture and hand out papers to those leaving that say….
    WoW,folks, FOLLOW THE MONEY and ignore the line of B,S,you just heard !!!
    NO to death and destruction of innocent people.

  • wildthang

    The process of replacing academic freedom with fear to speak out as Ward Churchill got witch hunted out a job for his freedom of speech. One oft that state univeristies regents once said they were in the process of rebalancing the institution and I would take that to mean taking freedom out of academic and liberal out of arts.

    We are now creating a warfare police state that glorifies war and, in Syria, civil war while our civil war was not glorious and set us on the warpath to Empire over the bodies of massacred Native American women and children and the concept of total war while Sherman stated a policy of final solution to the Indian problem that shocked even Prussian generals.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/148451/surprise_–_the_very_dark_side_of_u.s._history

  • wildthang

    The process of replacing academic freedom with fear to speak out as Ward Churchill got witch hunted out a job for his freedom of speech. One oft that state univeristies regents once said they were in the process of rebalancing the institution and I would take that to mean taking freedom out of academic and liberal out of arts.

    We are now creating a warfare police state that glorifies war and, in Syria, civil war while our civil war was not glorious and set us on the warpath to Empire over the bodies of massacred Native American women and children and the concept of total war while Sherman stated a policy of final solution to the Indian problem that shocked even Prussian generals.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/148451/surprise_–_the_very_dark_side_of_u.s._history

  • scout

    You hit the problem straight on: pro-killing and anti-democracy…and the students sat there. Gotta be in the water or the food or the wi-fi, cause not much thinking goin’ on.