How UH Can Help Our Military

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - February 15, 2006
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Judging from recent pronouncements, the anti-UARC (University Affiliated Research Center) crowd in Manoa Valley is in total denial about the university’s relationship to the real world.

Do they think the University and the education it provides exist in a vacuum?

Do they have any concept at all as to who and what are the guarantors of their “academic freedom”, or any of their freedoms?

If their mindless anti-military rhetoric and their paranoia over “weapons systems” research is any indication, they simply do not have a clue.

In this time of war - a war thrust upon our nation by Islamic terrorists bent upon our destruction - it is no time for peacetime self-indulgence and naiveté of academia. As their young counterparts in military uniforms are risking - and too often giving - their lives to protect our nation and it’s values and institutions, including universities, from the horror of more 9/11s, the entire university community should be embracing the opportunity to collaborate with our Navy in joint research and development projects which would contribute to our military’s success.

Can any of those students and faculty, who thanks to the extraordinary patience of the university president - illegally camped in his offices for a week, possibly fathom how UARC research on more effective defensive electronic countermeasures could eventually save the lives of several of their ROTC classmates during their future military duties in harm’s way?

Is it possible for any of the faculty members who stood against the UARC in the faculty senate vote last year to imagine the professional satisfaction which might come from their role in joint Navy-UH development of a battlefield decontamination system for use in a biological weapons environment, but equally effective on a university campus in the fallout pattern of a terrorist’s dirty bomb?

Could it possibly occur to the activists circulating petitions and organizing demonstrations that a missile guidance system developed by the Navy-UH team might someday guide an interceptor missile launched from Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility into an incoming submarine-launched nuclear warhead programmed to hit Honolulu?

In the real world, these are all possible scenarios. But “No!” say the self-appointed spokespeople of all the faculty and all the student body. “We cant have anything to do with weapons systems on our campus!”

What are these people teaching and being taught at our state university? A weapon system - just like a gun, a rock or a sharp stick - is no more evil than the entity controlling it.

One might easily get the impression that UH students are being taught that in the battle of good vs. evil that it is the United States that is evil.

In a recent local article, an anti-UARC professor articulated some of the more irrational - to put it kindly - arguments against the UARC;

* “UARC is not consistent with the values and core commitments of the University” - “Above all Nations, Humanity” and “a Hawaiian place of learning.”

C’mon, Professor, we’re talking about a mature university here.

* “There are legitimate concerns about the health, safety, and welfare of our community” because “research can be classified..”

UARC research will enhance the health, safety, and welfare not just of our community, but of our nation and our democracy.

* “It will change the very heart and soul of our university, possibly forever.”

O’ye of little faith in the “heart and soul” of your university!

* “You can’t have ‘aloha’ with this type of research on our beautiful campus.”

Sorry, professor, like most of us my aloha is in my heart, and for me includes a desire to see all of us - including my Hawaiian brothers and sisters - live in a secure environment, safe from attacks by fanatical terrorists who really don’t give a rip about King Kamehameha or aloha.

Fortunately, the final decision on the UARC will not be based upon silly assumptions, but upon sound, responsible criteria brought to the table by the university board of regents, people who do live and operate in the real world.

Hopefully, they will proudly embrace this partnership that will bring income and prestige to our university, and contribute to the defense of our nation.

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