Insurgents at CUNY

The original intent of tenure for college professors was to protect free speech. It has inadvertently given tenured professors license to misbehave, as the professors at City University of New York are in agitating for the firing of guest lecturer General David Petraeus. The ridiculously named Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY writes:

As graduate students and educators of CUNY, we express our outrage at the violent and unprovoked actions by the NYPD against CUNY students peacefully protesting the appointment of war criminal David Petraeus as a lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College. We deplore the use of violence and brutal tactics against CUNY students and faculty who were protesting outside the college. It is unacceptable for the university to allow the police to violently arrest students.

We emphatically support the efforts of these CUNY students to resist the attempts by the U.S. government and the CUNY administration to turn the university into an infamous “war college” with the appointment of Petraeus.

By contrast, domestic terrorist/Weather Underground alum Bill Ayers’s employment at University of Illinois at Chicago and Columbia University’s Kathy Boudin, convicted murderer, barely registered a peep in academia. As far as these Marxists are concerned, violence from the ideologically like-minded is okay.

The irony of this tragic episode in so-called “higher” education is that Petraeus is their general. Out of the ’70s protest movement—the formative years for many of these addle-brained educrats—emerged a post-Vietnam generation of military leaders that recognized the importance of public relations strategy and winning “hearts and minds.” Petraeus’ Iraq War strategy, laid out in the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, authored by Petraeus, is the culmination of this thought process:

In almost every case, counterinsurgents face a populace containing an active minority supporting the government and an equally small militant faction opposing it. Success requires the government to be accepted as legitimate by most of that uncommitted middle, which also includes passive supporters of both sides. Because of the ease of sowing disorder, it is usually not enough for counterinsurgents to get 51 percent of popular support; a solid majority is often essential. However, a passive populace may be all that is necessary for a well-supported insurgency to seize political power.

Legitimacy is the main objective.

The primary objective of any COIN operation is to foster development of effective governance by a legitimate government.

Unity of effort must be present at every echelon of a COIN operation. Otherwise, well-intentioned but uncoordinated actions can cancel each other or provide vulnerabilities for insurgents to exploit. Ideally, a single counterinsurgent leader has authority over all government agencies involved in COIN operations.

Counterinsurgents must understand the environment.

Successful conduct of COIN operations depends on thoroughly understanding the society and culture within which they are being conducted. Soldiers and Marines must understand the following about the population in the area of operations:

  • Organization of key groups in society
  • Relationships and tensions among groups
  • Ideologies and narratives that resonate with groups
  • Values of groups (including tribes), interests, and motivations
  • Means by which groups (including tribes) communicate
  • The society’s leadership system

Petraeus’ bipartisan popularity—remember John McCain considered picking him to be his vice president in 2008—before he cheated on his wife was an unintended but foreseeable consequence of the general’s efforts to be liked by the enemy. Yet the hard Left still hates him, despite his being the face of a kindler, gentler freedom fighting force.

After retiring from the Army, Petraeus may have thought his days of counterinsurgency were over. But at CUNY he faces an enemy the likes of which Iraq and Afghanistan could not have prepared him for.



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