Thursday, September 15, 2005
Not even ha
So, I went to a debate between the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition and Berkeley College Republicans today. It was unfortunate. It wasn't so ridiculously bad that I could make fun of it, yet it was still a pointless debate, so it wasn't illuminating at all. I'll try some highlights, but there isn't very much for a 90-minute blabberfest.
The debate was put on by the Informal Debate Society. Snehal and Sasha were dressed informally. Andrew and James had suits and ties. I guess the Republicans just weren't "In" on it.
(pause for laughter)
Suprisingly, they filled up 145 Dwinelle.
Now, the topic was "should military recruiters be allowed on campus?" The arguments were:
BCR: Military good!
BSTW: Military bad!
Neither side: Here's an answer to "should military recruiters be allowed on campus?"
Well, that's not completely true, but the arguments about the actual topic were so pathetic (and rare) they're barely worth mentioning.
The BSTW took the interesting approach of saying "The military's recruitment policy with regard to gays is a violation of UC policy." I call this approach interesting because BSTW doesn't normally give a whole lot of deference to UC policy.
Anyway, the thing is, according to BSTW, that military recruiters should be treated just like all other companies and should have to meet the standards set by UC that all other companies must meet.
More interestingly, though, is that BSTW also argued that the military should not be treated like other companies. ("When was the last time Pepsi bombed a country?") In particular, they took great pains to point out the military's huge recruitment budget, and concluded that they should not have the same rights as other companies. It didn't really fit that well with their previous argument.
But for the most part, the argument went "the military is bad, see (list of injustices), therefore, we have to fight recruiters."
I think the biggest overstatement came from Sasha:
"The Patriot Act completely strips you of your rights."
Riiiiiiight. Name... uh... one.
Oh, wait, Sasha also said "The military shouldn't be allowed anywhere, it's disgusting." As to who is going to prevent the military from being anywhere, and how? I dunno. Me, and by asking politely, I guess.
Snehal, on the other hand, said the appropriate approach to war is not the military approach, but rather that of the French resistance during World War II.
Anyway, since the military is an agent of violence and destruction, unlike, say, resistors, or animals, or the environment, it should be attacked to the greatest extent possible.
Oh, right, and people who sign up for the military have no choice. They come from poor families and they have no choice but to sign up. Therefore, the BCR arguments of choice (upcoming) do not apply. Notably absent from this analysis is a recognition of what the case would be if the military did not recruit. These poor folks will go from "only one choice" to "only zero choices," so they won't even have no choice.
Anyway, I'd like to talk about the BCR arguments, but... uh... well... there really weren't any. Well, there were a few, I guess, so I'll list them.
The military protects us, and our freedoms. Therefore, it has a right to be on campus. I don't quite follow the logic.
There was some other stuff, but it really wasn't particularly interesting.
Anyway, the BCR statement of the day:
"The greatest weapon of mass destruction: Saddam Hussein."
Notably absent from the discussion was my favorite argument. If people continually refuse to enter the military because they disagree with its policies, it essentially guarantees that the military will never change, because it will be made up entirely of people who agree with the way it is run. But that argument doesn't really fit with either side, so it didn't come up.
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