David Petraeus Target of Protests at CUNY

    September 13, 2013
    Brian Powell
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The last time we heard from David Petraeus, he was resigning as director of the CIA due to his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. Since then, we haven’t heard much commotion from the scapegoat of US military actions in the Middle East. On September 11 (Funny how these things just happen, isn’t it?), however, a ruckus was raised outside the City University of New York (CUNY). What was the cause of said ruckus, you ask? Petraeus is currently serving as a visiting professor at CUNY, something which the Ad-Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY finds quite upsetting.

Petraeus is currently teaching a once-per-week course at CUNY entitled “Are We On the Threshold of the North American Decade?”, a class which is focused on America’s public policy and how it affects our leadership role in the international economy. Why he is qualified to teach a course concerning American foreign relations and its impact on the economy is anyone’s guess. However, that is not the reasons students and professors are so upset. S. Sandor John, an assistant professor of Latin American History at CUNY, states that “A great many CUNY students’ families come from countries directly targeted by the death squads, military coups, drones, spying and mass bombing organized by the likes of Petraeus … and the U.S. military as a whole.” John is responsible for creating the Ad-Hoc group which heckled Petraeus as he left class Monday.

This protest is not the result of impressionable college students being brainwashed by a popular professor, though. Eric Moreno, a linguistics major at CUNY, believes that “this will be a recurring thing.” Not only will the students continue to protest Petraeus’s teaching position, but Moreno also stated that “There are other students that are willing to go the extra step and wait for him after class and just make his time here in New York a living hell basically.”

It’s a safe assumption to say that Petraeus is not the most popular person in America at the moment. He was the general in charge of the troop surge originally ordered by Bush in 2007 in Iraq, and he was also the main proponent and then executioner of the more recent troop surge in Afghanistan. And just one week ago, Petraeus also voiced support for President Obama’s plan for a limited military strike against Syria, stating that such action is necessary to ensure that Syria ceases their use of chemical weapons and to also show North Korea and Iran that the US will use force if necessary.

Even if one believes Petraeus is the anti-Christ for his past actions, one has to wonder why the student reaction to his presence on campus is so nasty and vehement. Isn’t college supposed to be a bastion of critical thinking and discourse? Shouldn’t these students be taking this opportunity to ask Petraeus to defend his previous actions and to try to understand the minds behind our military in Washington? The reaction of the students at CUNY shows how far away from the ideals of the university our students have gone and reflect poorly upon our future generation of leaders.

What do you think? Are the student protests an appropriate response to Petraeus’s appearance on campus? Answer in the Comments Section below.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • Hmm

    There are three things I am seeing more and more of in society. The mainstream press is not covering it and will not cover it:

    1) Many people are simply tired of war and they see our efforts as pointless.
    2) Many people are doubting what was told to us about 9/11.
    3) Many people are very disillusioned and very angry.

    I don’t have a scientific research poll to prove these things, but I do a lot of work in my community and these are the things people are telling me. At the core of it though — it is all about 9/11. It is like people are just now beginning to wake up from a 12 year funk they have been in and things are just not adding up for them. Yes, you have the diehard people that believe everything the governments tells them, but their numbers are dwindling rapidly. The young people don’t believe any of it. They have access to the internet and find out information from all over the world. They go outside of the NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC monopoly.

    I can totally understand the students reaction towards Patraeus.

  • Maybe

    Maybe the students simply see the hypocrisy in American policy regarding Syria. We want to bomb them for using chemical weapons and killing civilians/children. Yet, we are doing the same exact thing, but are using drones. It is all hypocrisy.

    Students see this all the time. For example, on July 22, leaked CIA documents exposed the following:

    “Of 746 people listed as killed in the drone strikes outlined in the document, at least 147 of the dead are clearly stated to be civilian victims, 94 of those are said to be children.”

    The confidential 12-page summary paper, titled Details of Attacks by Nato Forces/Predators in FATA was prepared by government officials in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

  • @HMM

    I agree. The root of everything is 9/11. Once you start studying it, you realize none of the official explanation makes any sense. Anyone with a triple digit IQ can easily see that. People just don’t research enough and actually know very few details.

    Many of the debunkers are simply afraid and that is why they constantly try to mock so called “conspiracy theorists” even though many conspiracy theorists are some of the smartest men and women in the world. I once was asked to participate in a focus group with debunkers that utilized factual documents and video of the three crash sites. At first, everyone was gung oh, but after a short while, the debunkers became distraught because they could not answer basic questions and dispute what was right before their eyes. They ended up storming out of the focus group.

    It wasn’t that the debunkers were stupid or jerks. It was they were afraid. If you come to the realization that your government or part of your government is behind 9/11, then you realize that everything now comes into question. You start realizing that the Patriot Acts and NSA spying program really isn’t meant for foreign terrorists. It is meant for us. After all, who is really affected the most by those programs — the people and not the terrorists.

    I remember one comment from a gentleman regarding the PA crash site. We discussed why there were not any bodies found and the utter lack of debris. We looked at video examples of 10 other similar plane crashes from around the world. None of them looked like PA. We reviewed the following quotes from PA rescue personnel:

    “This crash was different. There was no wreckage, no bodies, and no noise.”
    – Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller [1]

    “I was looking for anything that said tail, wing, plane, metal. There was nothing.”
    – Photographer Scott Spangler [2]

    “I was amazed because it did not, in any way, shape, or form, look like a plane crash.”
    – Patrick Madigan, commander of the Somerset barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police [3]

    Jon Meyer, the first reporter on the scene, said he was “able to get right up to the edge of the crater” where Flight 93 supposedly hit the ground. However, he described: “All I saw was a crater filled with small, charred plane parts. Nothing that would even tell you that it was the plane. … There were no suitcases, no recognizable plane parts, no body parts.” [9]

    After showing all this, the man turns to me and says — “I didn’t know any of this. I just watched the daily news. I just watched the news and believed what they told me. Why would anyone lie? If this is a lie, then all of it is a lie.” As he was speaking, I could see a mix of sadness, fear, and anger.

    With time, sadness and fear dissipates. But anger can last for a long time.