Many have heard the ongoing debate on military recruiters in schools and the counter-recruitment efforts of the political left. Some schools are going so far as to sue the federal government on the grounds that their free speech is adversely affected by being compelled to allow military recruiters on campus in exchange for federal money. Get that? Schools (government actors) say their free speech is prevented because of conditions in accepting federal money don’t allow them to deny free speech to military recruiters (government actors). War is peace and all that. You know the drill.
Enter the American Civil Liberties Union. An organization solely devoted to protecting the Bill of Rights advocates the removal of military recruiters from schools and campuses. Much like the ACLU’s war on abstinence education, this isn’t an issue having to do with rights. You are free to listen to a recruiter, to ignore a recruiter, and to have protests about recruiters in schools. But the presence of a recruiter in no way, shape, or form impedes anyone’s rights.
The ACLU and others are not fighting military recruiting because it is a Bill of Rights issue. Nothing in that document implies that one has an absolute right to never be presented with ideas you disagree with, or, in this case, to prevent someone else from being presented with ideas with which you disagree. They are fighting military recruiters because they insist that only their policies and ideas be presented. They fight Christmas because Christianity is unacceptable in the public sphere. They fight abstinence education because that idea is unacceptable to them. Likewise, they fight military recruiters because people signing up to serve is unacceptable to them. This is not the advocacy and welcoming of free speech, this is the enforcement through judicial fiat of social conformity.
You can’t be all you can be if you’re dead, reads one sign. This is the side that the ACLU is on, the side that is against the troops. The side that says America is not worth dying for. The side that says people are stupid to serve. The side that says an 18-year-old is too young and ignorant to join the military, but that a 14-year-old is old enough to make intelligent choices about getting an abortion. The side that is trying to disarm us in the hope that in military weakness is strength. The side that insists on due-process rights for unlawful combatants not entitled to them by law, but routinely undermines due-process rights of soldiers awaiting trial for their alleged abuse of prisoners.
Our pre-9/11 response was weakness. Did that help? Osama bin Laden was quite clear and is quite clear; he thinks he can win because we are weak. Our Asian allies worry that we can’t win a war against China. The ACLU is on the fronts making sure we can’t.