Skip to comments.Obama: Student Radical (Bill Ayers article from Columbia U surfaces)
Posted on 07/06/2009 10:08:31 AM PDT by lewisglad
During the campaign, I wrote a piece called "Why Won't Obama Talk About Columbia? The years he won't discuss may explain the Ayers tie he keeps lying about." So now, nearly six months into the Obama presidency, the mainstream media has finally done a bit of the candidate background reporting it declined to do during the campaign other than in Wasilla and whaddya know? The New York Times unearthed a 1983 article called, "Breaking the War Mentality," that Columbia student Barack Obama wrote for a campus newspaper. The article shows that Obama dreaded American "militarism" and its "military-industrial interests," while effusing enthusiasm for the dangerously delusional nuclear-freeze movement.
Moreover, while indicating a preference for the political wisdom of reggae singer Peter Tosh over Ronald Reagan or Scoop Jackson, Obama bewailed the "narrow focus" of anti-militarism activists, worrying that they were targeting the "symptoms" rather than the real "disease," namely, America's underlying economic and political injustice:
Generally, the narrow focus of the [Nuclear] Freeze movement as well as academic discussions of first versus second strike capabilities, suit the military-industrial interests, as they continue adding to their billion dollar erector sets. When Peter Tosh sings that "everybody's asking for peace, but nobody's asking for justice," one is forced to wonder whether disarmament or arms control issues, severed from economic and political issues, might be another instance of focusing on the symptoms of a problem instead of the disease itself.
Obama nevertheless did see some advantage in homing in on a small target:
Mark Bigelow [a graduate student who helped run "Arms Race Alternatives" (ARA), another of the campus organizations lauded in Obama's article] ... points to fruitful work being done by other organizations involved with disarmament. "The Freeze is one part of a whole disarmament movement. The lowest common denominator, so to speak. For instance, April 10-16 is Jobs for Peac [sic] week, with a bunch of things going on around the city. Also, the New York City Council may pass a resolution in April calling for greater social as opposed to military spending. Things like this may dispell the idea that disarmament is a white issue, because how the government spends its revenue affects everyone."
Obama, the budding community-organizer, also took time to praise "Students Against Militarism, an obscure campus group more ambitious in scope than ARA:
Also operating out of Earl Hall Center, Students Against Militarism was formed in response to the passage of [military draft] registration laws in 1980. An entirely student-run organizatoin, SAM casts a wider net than ARA, though for the purposes of effectiveness, they have tried to lock in on one issue at a time.
"At the heart of our organization is an anti-war focus", says junior Robert Kahn, one of SAM's fifteen or so active members. "From there, a lot of issues shoot forth nukes, racism, the draft, and South Africa. "We have been better organized when taking one issue at a time, but we are always cognizant of other things going on, and collaborate frequently with other campus organizations like CISPES and REEL-POLITIK." [Quotation break in original.]
Student Obama summed up with near incoherent Lefty gobbledygook:
Indeed, the most pervasive malady of the collegiate system specifically, and the American experience generally, is that elaborate patterns of knowledge and theory have been disembodied from individual choices and government policy. What the members of ARA and SAM try to do is infuse what they have learned about the current situation, bring the words of that formidable roster on the face of Butler Library, names like Thoreau, Jefferson, and Whitman, to bear on the twisted logic of which we are today a part. By adding their energy and effort in order to enhance the possibility of a decent world, they may help deprive us of a spectacular experience that of war. But then, there are some things we shouldn't have to live through in order to want to avoid the experience.
Nice as it is of the media to scratch the surface journalists should have been mining over a year ago, the current disastrous straits for the country are that as Jen Rubin contends at contentions the Obama who is off to Russia to cut unratifiable deals with the recrudescent Soviets hasn't really changed in the ensuing quarter-century.
And this radical POS bastard is over there in Russia “negiotiating”. America, wake the F*** UP!
This is what an Ivy League education produces? It's incomprehensible.
pdf file here, of course the NY Slimes sits on it until 6 months after the elections http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/images/nytint/docs/obama-s-1983-college-magazine-article/original.pdf
“where is this on cnn?”
It is at the bottom of the “never air” pile.
God help us all.
It was out there 6 months ago - nobody ran with it...
“where is this on cnn?”
Why expect relevant information on CNN?
Funny... Peter Tosh’s singing never “forces” me to wonder anything.
Thank you for this I will use it well!!
“is that elaborate patterns of knowledge and theory have been disembodied from individual choices and government policy.”
Oh, quite the opposite. If Obama considered the ramblings of the Left to be “elaborate patterns of knowledge and theory”, then this country has been using them extensively. Generally to its detriment.
For those who are interested, here is the asinine, juvenile article I transcribed from the crappy PDF it was available in. Good luck getting through it (after my comments on it...)
Carter and the Democrat Congress in the Seventies were bad from both the perspectives of keeping us safe AND maintaining the military, but there were still enough real Americans in that body to do no worse than to let the military atrophy through neglect. As for keeping us safe, Carter set the stage by stabbing the Shah in the back and projecting profound weakness to the Soviets. As fossilized as their leadership was, they could still spot weakness and indecision with their beady pig-like eyes.
Barack Obama is going to do more damage in both arenas. I am convinced he is bent on destroying our economy for a variety of reasons, and one of the main ones is to make us incapable of supporting a military. Basically, he wants to put our military back in the condition it was in in from 1920-1937. He also is going to tear the military down from within through his policies which are sure to demoralize the members of the military which is bound to result in worse discipline.
When I read this article written by Barack Obama in college, I was struck, not only by the insipid, syrupy, idealistic viewpoint that can only be inspired by a combination of youth and sheer ignorance, but by the overt socialistic and Marxist tones. Basically, a snotty nosed college kid who has taken some courses and been lectured to by Ivory Tower types, and now thinks he understands the world and everything in it.
Like many liberals, his understanding of the military, the people who serve in it, the conflicts they fight in and the situations they face in warfare are shaped and encompassed by Hollywood.
And he has not changed one iota since he wrote it. This thing he wrote as an overstuffed adolescent accurately reflects his views today.
This person is now the President of the United States. How this man got into that office, I am at a loss to comprehend. I never, ever thought we would elect a person like that.
One more thing-ever notice how the Marxists, Communists and Socialists have this fetish about acronyms to describe organizations? This pathetic article of his is full of them.
BREAKING THE WAR MENTALITY
By Barack Obama
March 10, 1983
Most students at Columbia do not have firsthand knowledge of war. Military violence has been a vicarious experience, channeled into our minds to television, film, and print.
The more sensitive among us struggle to extrapolate experiences of war from our everyday experience, discussing the latest mortality statistics from Guatemala, sensitizing ourselves to our parents war time memories, or incorporating into our framework of reality as depicted by a Mailer or a Coppola. But the taste of war-the sounds and chill, the dead bodies-are remote and far removed. We know that wars have occurred, will occur, are occurring, but bringing such experience down into our hearts, and taking continual, tangible steps to prevent war, becomes a difficult task. Two groups on campus, Arms Race Alternatives (ARA) and Students Against Militarism (SAM) work within these mental limits to foster awareness and practical action necessary to counter the growing threat of war. Through the emphasis of the two groups differ, they share an aversion to current government policy. These groups, visualizing the possibilities of destruction and grasping the tendencies of distorted national priorities, are throwing their weight into shifting America off the dead-end track.
Most people my age remember well the air raid drills in school, under the desk with our heads tucked between our legs. Older people, they remember the Cuban missile crisis. I think those kinds of things left an indelible mark on our souls, so we are more apt to be concerned says Don Kent, assistant director of programs and student activities at Earl Hall center. Along with the community Volunteer Service Center, ARA has been Dons primary concern, coordinating various working groups of faculty, students, and staff members, while simultaneously seeking the ever elusive funding for programs.
When I first came here two years ago, Earl Hall had been a holding tank for five years. Paul Martin (director of Earl Hall) and I discussed our interests, and decided that ARA would be one of the programs we pushed. Initially, most of the work was done by non-student volunteers and staff. Hot issues, particularly El Salvador, were occupying students at the time. Consequently, we cosponsored a lot of activities with community organizations like SANE (Students Against Nuclear Energy).
With the flowering of the nuclear freeze movement, and particularly the June 12 rally in Central Park, however, student participation has expanded. One wonders whether this upsurge stems from young peoples penchant for the latest happenings or from growing awareness of the consequences of nuclear holocaust. ARA Maintains a mailing list of 500 persons and Don Kent estimates that approximately half of the active members are students. Although he feels the continuity is provided by the faculty and staff members, student attendance at ARA sponsored events-in particular in November 11 convocation on the nuclear threat-reveals a deep reservoir of concern. I think students on this campus like to think of themselves as sophisticated, and dont appreciate small vision. So they tend to come out more for the events; they do not want to just fold leaflets.
Mark Bigelow, a graduate intern from Union theological seminary who works with Don to keep ARA running smoothly, agrees. It seems the students here are fairly aware of the nuclear problem, and it makes for an underlying frustration. We try to talk to that frustration. Consequently, the thrust of ARA is towards generating dialogue which will give people a rational handle on this controversial subject. This includes bringing speakers like Daniel Ellsberg to campus, publishing fact sheets compiled by interested faculty, and investigating the possible development of an interdisciplinary program in the Columbia curriculum dealing with peace, disarmament, and world order.
Tied in with such a thrust is the absence of what Don calls a party line. By taking an almost apolitical approach to the problem, ARA hopes to get the university to take nuclear arms issues seriously. People dont like having their intelligence insulted, says Don, so we try to disseminate information and allow the individual to make his or her own decision.
Generally, the narrow focus of the freeze movement as well as academic discussions of first versus second strike capabilities, suit the military industrial interests, as they continue adding to their billion dollar erector sets. When Peter Tosh sings that everybodys asking for peace, but nobodys asking for justice, one is forced to wonder whether disarmament or arms control issues, severed from economic and political issues, might be another instance of focusing on the symptoms of a problem instead of the disease itself. Mark Bigelow does not think so. We do focus primarily on catastrophic weapons. Look, we say, heres the worst part lets work on that. Youre not going to get rid of the military in the near future, so lets at least work on this.
Mark Bigelow does feel that the links are there, and points to fruitful work being done by other organizations involved with disarmament. The freeze is one part of a whole disarmament movement. The lowest common denominator, so to speak. For instance, April 10-16 is Jobs for Peace week, With a bunch of things going on around the city. Also, the New York City Council may pass a resolution April calling for greater social as opposed to military spending. Things like this may dispel the idea that disarmament is a white issue, because how the government spends its revenue affects everyone.
The very real advantages of concentrating on a single issue is leading the national freeze movement to challenge individual missile systems, while continuing the broader campaign. This year, Mark Bigelow sees the checking of Pershing II and Cruise missile deployment as crucial. Because of their small size and mobility, their deployment will make possible arms control verification far more difficult, and will cut down warning time for the Soviets to less than 10 minutes. That can only be a destabilizing factor. Additionally, he sees the initiation by the US of the Test Ban Treaty as a powerful first step towards a nuclear free world.
ARA encourages members to join buses to Washington and participate in a March 7-8 rally intended to push through the Freeze resolution which is making its second trip through the house. ARA will also ask United Campuses to Prevent Nuclear War (UCAM), an information lobbying network-based and universities, nationwide, to serve as its advisory board in the near future. Because of its autonomy from Columbia (which does not fund political organizations) UCAM could conceivably become a more active arm of disarmament campaigns on campus, though the ARA will continue to function solely as a vehicle for information and discussion.
Also operating out of Earl Hall Center, Students Against Militarism was formed in response to the passage of registration laws in 1980. An entirely student run organization, SAM casts a wider net than ARA, although for the purposes of effectiveness, they have tried to lock in on one issue at a time.
At the heart of our organization is an anti-war focus, says junior Robert Kahn, one of SAMs fifteen or so active members. From there, a lot of issues shoot forth-nukes, racism, the draft, and South Africa. Weve been better organized when taking one issue at a time, but we are always cognizant of other things going on and collaborate frequently with other campus organizations like CISPES and REELPOLITIK.
At this time, the current major issue is the Solomon Bill, the latest legislation from Congress to obtain compliance to registration, the law requires that all male students applying for federal financial aid submit proof of registration, or else the government coffers will close. Yale, Wesleyan, and Swarthmore have refused to comply, and plan to offer non-registrants other forms of financial aid. SAM hopes to press Columbia into following suit, though so far President Sovern and company seem prepared to acquiesce to the bill.
Robert believes students tacitly support non-registrants, though the majority did not comply. Several students have come up to our tables and said that had they known of the ineffectiveness of prosecution, they would not have registered. A measure of such underlying support is the 400 signatures on a petition protesting the Solomon Bill, which SAM collected the first four hours it appeared. Robert also points out that prior to registration, there were four separate bills circulating in the House proposing a return to the draft, but none ever got out of committees, and there have not been renewed efforts. An estimated half million non-registrants can definitely be a powerful signal.
Prodding students into participating beyond name signing and attending events is tricky, but SAM members seem undaunted. A lot of the problem comes not from peoples ignorance of the facts, but because the news and statistics are lifeless. Thats why we search for campus issues like the Solomon Bill that have a direct impact on the student body, and effectively link the campus to broader issues. By organizing and educating the Columbia community, such activities lay the foundation for future mobilization against the relentless, often silent spread of militarism in the country. The time is right to tie together social and military issues, Robert continues, and the more strident the Administration becomes, the more aware people are of their real interests.
The belief that moribund institutions, rather than individuals are at the root of the problem, keep SAMs energies alive. A prerequisite for members of an organization like ours is the faith that people are fundamentally good, but you need to show them. and when you look at the work people are doing across the country, it makes you optimistic.
Perhaps the essential goodness of humanity is an arguable proposition, but by observing the SAM meeting last Thursday night, with its solid turnout and enthusiasm, one might be persuaded that manifestations of our better instincts can at least match the bad ones. Regarding Columbias possible compliance, one comment in particular hit upon an important point with the Solomon Bill, The thing that we need to do is expose how Columbia is talking out of two sides of its mouth.
Indeed, the most pervasive malady of the collegiate system specifically, and the American experience generally, is that elaborate patterns of knowledge and theory have been disembodied from individual choices and government policy. What the members of ARA and SAM try to do is infuse what they have learned about the current situation, bring the words of that formidable roster on the face of Butler Library, names like Thoreau, Jefferson, and Whitman, to bear on the twisted logic of which we are today a part. By adding their energy and effort in order to enhance the possibility of a decent world, they may help deprive us of a spectacular experience-that of war. But then, there are some things we shouldnt have to live through in order to want to avoid the experience.
If you're really that surprised, go surprise yourself more - read Michelle's undergraduate thesis from Yale(?). It is equivalent to Hitler's Mein Kampf (which I tried to read out of curiosity as a younger man) in unreadability!!
This would be the same Reagan who managed to bring down the Wall through the strength of his resolve (for Obama, 'resolve' would be synonymous with 'intransigence.' Today, the one who runs the risk of bringing about a dangerous rift with Western Europe is Obama, if he accedes to Russia's demands not to place anti-missile weaponry in Europe.
At least we now know that Obama's naivete is not recently acquired.
Wow... That was a really dated term even in ‘83. He really is a lame old hippie. These liberals NEVER get off dead center. I tals to 17 year old liberals where I work, and it’s like turning the clock back to 1970
Here is the link to Michelle O’s Thesis:
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