Antiwar protesters: Permission not granted

Matthew May
Friday's online edition of the Lafayette, Indiana Journal and Courier features a story  about an anti-war demonstration that took place on the Memorial Mall at Purdue University during the last couple of days. The American Friends Service Committee, along with a Lafayette group called the "Five Years is Enough Coalition" placed 146 pairs of combat boots on the mall lawn, representing the 146 Hoosiers who have given the last measure of devotion during the battle of Iraq in the war against Islamic jihad.   

At one point during the demonstration, political science professor Harry Targ read from a book of short stories and poems written by veterans of the Iraq campaign opposed to the war. Targ, as some readers may recall, was among those singled out in David Horowitz's book "The Professors," which identified Horowitz's 101 professors he believed 
to be the most dangerous in the United States.  

This is personal.

Targ's presence brings an interesting personal intersection. Targ was once a professor of mine during undergraduate days at Purdue in West Lafayette, where I regarded his time-warped 60s mentality of "speaking truth to power" displayed in class each session with amusement, as one might regard an eccentric-looking relic in a museum.   

One pair of the boots on the Memorial Mall represents my cousin, Luke Frist of Brookston, Indiana, killed in Iraq in 2004 at the age of 20, about whom I wrote here
. As noted in that piece, had Luke made it through his service he would have walked in his own shoes along the mall, on the way to class -- maybe even Targ's class on American foreign policy -- and on the way to a degree from his beloved Purdue. 

Such demonstrations are ghoulish affairs because their organizers and supporters nearly always and without fail appropriate the names or images of American soldiers who have died in service without explicit permission from -- or tacit approval of -- the families of those soldiers. It is a tasteless display in furtherance of a hackneyed cliche.

It is never mentioned that each and every one of the soldiers whose memory is being claimed to be honored went into the service willingly. Many enlisted after 9/11. Of course there will be soldiers who survive and live to second-guess or regret their course of action. But that seems to be a decided minority.  

There are no words to adequately describe the pain those families feel when their loved ones return not with smiles but lying in flag-draped coffins. Every step taken every day is tinged with sadness, pain, perhaps even outrage of unimaginable magnitude. One cannot fathom what goes through their minds when confronted with such a display as was featured at the Memorial Mall at Purdue University this week. 

Meanwhile, Harry Targ retreats to his office after his reading, an office no doubt still festooned with the posters of Castro and Che one contemplated in 1992, planning yet another field trip with students to El Jefe's paradise, muttering about the empire that lets him spew forth not only without punishment, but with encouragement and a salary.

Luke Frist and his 145 Indiana comrades-in-arms helped defeat a murderous gang of thugs aiming straight at us who are finally being exterminated from the Earth. Their work and his sacrifice enabled people a world away to live in freedom and further protected anti-American, pro-Communist, pro-terrorists professors like Harry Targ, who as academics would be among the first to be "asked" by the enemy we face to submit or die.  

One can only hope at least some of the student body made that connection as they passed the tacky use of the memories of the honored dead constructed to make a political statement.
Friday's online edition of the Lafayette, Indiana Journal and Courier features a story  about an anti-war demonstration that took place on the Memorial Mall at Purdue University during the last couple of days. The American Friends Service Committee, along with a Lafayette group called the "Five Years is Enough Coalition" placed 146 pairs of combat boots on the mall lawn, representing the 146 Hoosiers who have given the last measure of devotion during the battle of Iraq in the war against Islamic jihad.   

At one point during the demonstration, political science professor Harry Targ read from a book of short stories and poems written by veterans of the Iraq campaign opposed to the war. Targ, as some readers may recall, was among those singled out in David Horowitz's book "The Professors," which identified Horowitz's 101 professors he believed 
to be the most dangerous in the United States.  

This is personal.

Targ's presence brings an interesting personal intersection. Targ was once a professor of mine during undergraduate days at Purdue in West Lafayette, where I regarded his time-warped 60s mentality of "speaking truth to power" displayed in class each session with amusement, as one might regard an eccentric-looking relic in a museum.   

One pair of the boots on the Memorial Mall represents my cousin, Luke Frist of Brookston, Indiana, killed in Iraq in 2004 at the age of 20, about whom I wrote here
. As noted in that piece, had Luke made it through his service he would have walked in his own shoes along the mall, on the way to class -- maybe even Targ's class on American foreign policy -- and on the way to a degree from his beloved Purdue. 

Such demonstrations are ghoulish affairs because their organizers and supporters nearly always and without fail appropriate the names or images of American soldiers who have died in service without explicit permission from -- or tacit approval of -- the families of those soldiers. It is a tasteless display in furtherance of a hackneyed cliche.

It is never mentioned that each and every one of the soldiers whose memory is being claimed to be honored went into the service willingly. Many enlisted after 9/11. Of course there will be soldiers who survive and live to second-guess or regret their course of action. But that seems to be a decided minority.  

There are no words to adequately describe the pain those families feel when their loved ones return not with smiles but lying in flag-draped coffins. Every step taken every day is tinged with sadness, pain, perhaps even outrage of unimaginable magnitude. One cannot fathom what goes through their minds when confronted with such a display as was featured at the Memorial Mall at Purdue University this week. 

Meanwhile, Harry Targ retreats to his office after his reading, an office no doubt still festooned with the posters of Castro and Che one contemplated in 1992, planning yet another field trip with students to El Jefe's paradise, muttering about the empire that lets him spew forth not only without punishment, but with encouragement and a salary.

Luke Frist and his 145 Indiana comrades-in-arms helped defeat a murderous gang of thugs aiming straight at us who are finally being exterminated from the Earth. Their work and his sacrifice enabled people a world away to live in freedom and further protected anti-American, pro-Communist, pro-terrorists professors like Harry Targ, who as academics would be among the first to be "asked" by the enemy we face to submit or die.  

One can only hope at least some of the student body made that connection as they passed the tacky use of the memories of the honored dead constructed to make a political statement.