Get out of my face, Private!

By By Andy Thompson

By Andy Thompson

“Me and Superman got in a fight; I hit him in the head with some Kryptonite. I hit him so hard I busted his brain and now I’m dating Lois Lane,” an ROTC unit sang, running west past the Union.

The group of 15 or so commanded the attention of surrounding students, decked out in PT uniforms and each carrying an M-14 rifle.

The feelings conjured by the demonstration ranged more toward intimidation than patriotism. One couldn’t help but think of the utter failures of the Bush administration in the Middle East-a situation deemed “grave and deteriorating” by the Iraq Study Group.

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps’ training jaunt was obnoxious, especially down the middle of campus, reminding the student body of the complete mess its generation will inherit from the oligarchy that got Bush elected and pushed him to war.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the military. My Lockheed-Martin stock has doubled since the invasion of Iraq. I bought in a little late on Raytheon-January ’04-but I’m still looking at an 80 percent return on it. And how would Halliburton make a profit without its no-bid contracts awarded by the Pentagon?

Yet the military-whether it likes it or not-partially represents a situation in the Middle East that should make every American gag.

The ROTC-and the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard-continues to deserve the support that the country has extended. Yet, contrary to what the Commander in Chief said, this is not a case of “you’re either with us or against us.” It is a time to be critical.

Maybe if there were more discerning eyes upon the administration in 2003 (not to say that there weren’t peace rallies held worldwide in the days leading up to the invasion), the predicament may never have happened.

Doubtful, though, since Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld seemed pretty intent on attacking Iraq. There was no turning back after the Supreme Court appointed the neo-cons in 2000.

We can dislike what our military represents in today’s context and still have respect for its obligation. The nation has grown since our soldiers were spit on. (And to think some of those guys didn’t even have the choice of not enlisting for Vietnam.)

You can oppose the presidential administration and the war it has insisted on fighting, and still respect the people who do the fighting.

And yes, the troops deserve the utmost gratitude for protecting America’s freedoms. I just wish there were more of them protecting my freedoms here, where I live-making sure that no nuclear bombs slip past port security. Instead, they are in a desert, halfway around the world, protecting the value of my Lockheed-Martin, Halliburton and Raytheon shares.

So, thanks for doing your part, ROTC, but stay in the foothills. I don’t want to be force-fed the neo-con’s military-industrial complex. I’m here to learn at a place where, hopefully, the minds to help unravel this mess will be developed. In the meantime, I don’t need to be reminded of the quagmire that entangles America.