One of the featured speakers at the 2012 Democratic National Convention was Massachusetts Senator (and now Secretary of State) John Kerry. When he was the 2004 Democratic candidate for President, Kerry told an audience:
“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
This inherently progressive attitude toward the military belies the fact that in terms of valuable practical experience, that time in the armed forces is actually an extremely valuable education. That concept is explored by Josheph Asch in Dartblog, who takes a look at the alumni magazine artivles “War Stories”.
Wartime service disabused me of three notions that I picked up in college:
- First, formal education is important, but in many situations is of far less value than common sense and interpersonal skills.
- Second, there is evil in the world.
- And three, diplomacy doesn’t always work, particularly when dealing with evil.”
Kyle Teamey ’98
There’s a little hard-earned wisdom for you on a Saturday morning. And its presence in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine is further proof that the publication is a serious literary and journalistic enterprise — one that just happens to be an alumni bi-monthly.
The current issue focuses on the wartime experiences of 48 Dartmouth veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The articles and interviews are praiseworthy both for highlighting the intelligence and perceptiveness of the College’s current generation of wartime veterans, and for the polished manner in which they are presented.
One a larger scale, critics of on-campus ROTC should read the issue with care; afterwards, they might want to reconsider their position — if it is anything more than a knee-jerk flashback to the 1960’s. In each interview and memoir, Dartmouth’s soldiers show themselves to be fine products of a liberal arts education.
Addendum: Of the 34 veterans who were interviewed in the Call of Duty section of the veterans story — where biographical information was included — nine played rugby at the College. This percentage is far greater than an order of magnitude over the team’s representation in the student body.