Why Are Former Generals Teaching Ivy League Classes With Secret Content?

The New York Times has an interesting piece today about generals and military officers being welcomed back into the elite classrooms of the Ivy League, even teaching "off-the-record" seminars about sensitive war information.

Mores truly have changed in academia, the piece argues; Gen. Stanley McCrystal teaches a seminar at Yale, and only nine people protested his arrival as a fixture on campus.

Far from reacting with disdain or indifference, the Yale community has largely embraced him — just as the other Ivy League schools have started to open their doors to his peers.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will teach a class on diplomacy and military affairs at Princeton this fall. Adm. Eric T. Olson, the former head of the military’s Special Operations Command, is offering a course on military strategy at Columbia starting in September.

Harvard regularly invites four-stars for speeches and lectures, among them David H. Petraeus, the retired general who is director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was on campus last month.

Here's the part that's a little bit stranger, particularly regarding McChrystal. His classes are off-the-record and he spends a good deal of time on the Rolling Stone article that brought him down:

In General McChrystal’s recent seminar, open to both undergraduates and graduates, two hours was spent discussing how leadership was important to solving problems like apartheid. Like all his sessions, it was off the record — students are not supposed to talk about it outside class — because General McChrystal wanders into anecdotes about sensitive operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...
The theme in his case studies in leadership is that personal relationships matter — a view he set forth in another recent class about the 2010 Rolling Stone article, required reading, which quoted him and his staff as making dismissive comments about White House officials. Within days, President Obama fired him. 

Read the full story here.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at May 7, 2012, 6:50am

Stay Ahead of the Rest
Sign Up for AlterNet's Daily Newsletter
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Rights & Liberties
Personal Health