Was War Hero Heckled At Columbia U. ROTC Town Hall? Not Exactly

Veteran Anthony Maschek (above, with fiancée Angela O'Neill) was heckled by fellow Columbia students over ROTC. This story's from the New York Post, so I kind of figured an important piece of the story was missing. (For one thing, there are

AnthonyMaschek.jpg

This story's from the New York Post, so I kind of figured an important piece of the story was missing. (For one thing, there are several videos of the ROTC Town Hall on YouTube, but nothing like the incident that's described. In fact, I found this video of another vet who spoke at the same town hall in favor of ROTC, and nothing unusual happened when he spoke.)

But then I found this audio file of Maschek's comments, and what I heard wasn't anywhere near what I would call "heckling." There's incredulous laughter after he warns the other students there are "bad men out there plotting to kill you," and you can hear someone say "racist" at one point. But the moderator quickly rebuked them and warned them against any more outbreaks.

The students laughed because like many of us, they've grown so skeptical of the justifications for these wars, and the "bad men" remark was treated as just another excuse. Someone did call Maschek a racist, presumably because to them, it sounded like he was lumping all Muslims together as terrorists. (It didn't sound that way to me.)

So no, I don't think anything unusual happened here. Just college kids being smartasses.

The wingnut blogs, of course, are turning this into an full-blown assault on God and the flag, and encouraging readers to apologize to him. I'm not going to apologize -- not because I don't care, but because it sounds like the normal give and take of a college class, and a soldier who took 11 bullets can probably handle it just fine. If he's smart enough to get into Columbia, Sgt. Maschek can also handle a couple of smart alecks.

Of course, the New York Post would rather exaggerate and inflame because it's more useful to portray all anti-war progressives as hating soldiers.

Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.

"Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.

Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.

"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting," said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."

Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.

Maschek, who is studying economics, miraculously survived the insurgent attack in Kirkuk. In the hail of gunfire, he broke both legs and suffered wounds to his abdomen, arm and chest.

He enrolled last August at the Ivy League school, where an increasingly ugly battle is unfolding over the 42-year military ban there.

More than half of the students who spoke at the meeting -- the second of three hearings on the subject -- expressed opposition to ROTC's return. Many of the 200 students in the audience held anti-military placards with slogans such as, "1 in 3 female soldiers experiences sexual assault in the military."

The university has created a task force polling 10,000 students on the issue, but would not release the vote tally of the 1,300 who have already responded.

In 2005, when the university last voted to reject ROTC's return, it cited the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

That policy was overturned in December, but resistance remains.

And right on cue, here's Fox's Megyn Kelly and and wingnut talk show host Mike Gallagher piling on.

up

About Susie Madrak

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.