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Cadets leaders of character

Letter to the Editor | Friday, October 7, 2005

While skimming through the Oct. 5 edition of The Observer, I stopped to read Michael Schorsch’s thoughts about Reserve Officer Training Corps at Notre Dame. Although on the surface he appears to have a good argument, his insight is very shortsighted.

Yes, it is true that ROTC cadets are trained to kill when necessary. However, he fails to mention that first and foremost, ROTC cadets are taught how to be leaders of character for the nation. The values of respect, dignity, selfless service and integrity, among others, are instilled in each and every cadet and midshipmen.

Speaking of values, what better place for a person who must deal with war and violence to come from than The University of Our Lady? Here at Notre Dame cadets will be taught how to fight wars in civilized manners with a strong faith as their backbone. Notre Dame will not turn out cold-blooded killers.

The Bible clearly mentions the presence of both good and evil in our world. Saddam Hussein is evil. Hitler was evil. The Just War Doctrine of the Catholic Church states “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.” Liberating countries by means of force is not a graver evil than mass-murdering your own people.

Besides these other things, what disturbed me most about Schorsch’s viewpoint was when he insisted that all ROTC cadets turn and “walk in the way of the cross, which teaches us to take suffering upon ourselves instead of heaping sufferings upon others.” To say that the United States brings suffering is a disgrace. The United States has liberated Europe twice, and now Iraq, among countless other nations throughout our history. ROTC cadets already are deciding to take the suffering and burden of war upon themselves rather than “heaping” it upon ordinary U.S. citizens.

Apparently, all that the U.S. military does is bring suffering. After all, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, who was brought in to maintain order and peace? It couldn’t have been the Army National Guard; they were probably too busy training to kill.

Stephen IacovofreshmanStanford HallOct. 6