No Honours For War Criminals
Hello from an airport in Northern Kentucky. I’m heading home today, via a stopover at the city of Robocop, Detroit. It’s been a very whistlestop trip, but it was great to see all of Morgan’s lovely friends, family and menagerie of affectionate pets. I also enjoyed eating enough appalling but moreish fast food to kill a family of four.
We all headed up to Bloomington, Indiana for the weekend, for Morgan’s graduation. There is much to say about the American university system*, but for space reasons let me simply say this: the cap and gown cost $80. To HIRE.
The keynote speaker was the Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who talked about how great soldiers are, that war is peace, and that public service is the greatest thing an American can strive for (ie join the army and get shot in Afghanistan, please). He also gave a bafflingly weak narrative of recent history: in a nutshell, he won the Cold War*, but evil people who hate freedom are still around. It was the kind of black-and-white geopolitical narrative I’d have expected from a ten year old (or Francis Fukuyama). But then Mr Gates has been in the CIA since 1965 and graduated in Hating The Commies studies, so his viewpoint is perhaps understandable. Still, it was reassuring to see protesters outside:
I particularly liked “I won’t walk with a warlord” and “Drones = terrorism”. It’s nice that protest still exists – American universities, for all their failings, seem to have a resilient tradition of radical student activism – certainly more than we have in Apathyland, UK. They’re a tiny minority, but they make themselves heard, and good luck to them.
Or, as in the words of an anonymous Brown student who emailed the entire student and academic body: OCCUPY EVERYTHING.
*which, of course, we’re heading towards, because we like to copy shit things
* He probably meant America won; but it was poorly worded.