Author and journalist, Dahr Jamail, spoke at the School of Communications at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Monday evening. The lecture hall was packed to overflowing, with several students attending, along with members of the general public.
Jamail is on a national book tour, promoting his new book, The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. From what I have read in it so far, it is an interesting and provocative work. During the Vietnam War, there weren't nearly as many critical books coming out while the war was still in its expansion phase, as there have been recently about what are now Obama's expanding wars.
He received a standing ovation. In the question & answer session after his talk, I related that I left college to serve in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, then went back to college afterward. I've been teaching at UAA since before September 11th, 2001. Before the war, about 15% of my students were military, 10% recently released Veterans. After the wars ramped up in 2003, the number of students who are in the military went down drastically. It has come back up, though, and I am concerned about campus support for our Veterans.
Many seem to be OK and are great students. Some are indifferent. But some have been through severe stresses that make their pursuit of a degree difficult at best.
I asked if, on his talks on campuses around the USA, he knew of college-based support networks for our Veterans. He knew of none, save at a couple of large schools. He doubted that there will be much effort to fix this, as some systems - notably the University of California one - are undergoing immense budget cuts.