RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
Scores of students at the Ohio State University in Columbus are demanding widespread reforms and changes at the school after conducting a large sit-in at the President’s office.
According to Al-Jazeera, the sit-in protestors where quickly threatened with arrest by police and set off a fierce conversation on social media about whether the #ReclaimOSU movement had any merit.
— RFC.OSU (@RFC_OSU) April 7, 2016
The protestors seem to be from a slew of left leaning student groups that are demanding a mix of things from the school including:
-Demands by an organization called Real Food OSU “to create a just, transparent and democratic food system”. (Bottomline: they want 20% of campus food to be locally sourced and humanely grown by 2020.)
-Demands by United Students Against Sweatshops to “halt the Comprehensive Energy Management Plan which would further privatize our university.”
-Demands by the Committee for Justice in Palestine to “divest from companies that are complicit in Israeli apartheid.” (Some believe that Israel is conducting an apartheid like system. Others believe that calling Israel an apartheid state to be anti-Semitic.)
— Jumpman (@Younglionking7) April 6, 2016
“We do not know what companies OSU invests in and we do not know how our tuition money is allocated,” an excerpt from a list of demands of the protestors reads. “Requests to see this information have been denied. How is it that OSU refuses to tell us where our money is going?”
Not everyone agrees with the protestors.
A parody Twitter account has sprung up making fun of the group and their demands, indicating that they are overreacting to the circumstances on campus:
— Reclaim OSU (@ReclaimOSU614) April 7, 2016
After police reportedly refused to allow in food or legal representation to the protestors holed up in the President’s office on campus, students finally left after being threatened with academic sanctions.
Arrest is one thing;NO STUDENT has the money/time to be expelled. They silenced us by putting our whole lives at risk. We just want justice.
— angry brown girl ✨ (@diasporadesi) April 7, 2016
It is unclear whether the protests will continue today.
This is a developing story. Stay with RISE NEWS as we learn more information.
Cover Photo Credit: United Students Against Sweatshops/ Facebook (Screengrab)
What Do You Think?
About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
You Might also like
By John Massey
Francis Fukuyama infamously penned his 1989 essay “The End of History?”, and expanded it into a full book in 1992 “The End of History and the Last Man”.
Very broadly speaking, Fukuyama argued a Hegelian interpretation of history, in which the ending political order would be some variation of liberal democracy.
Western liberalism had just triumphed over the Soviet defense system in Eastern Europe, without firing a shot (though with the blessing of Mikhail Gorbachev).
On Christmas Day of 1991, the last bastion of Soviet political ideology receded into the “dustbin of history”.
The political and ideological victory was complete, and even a demonstration of military victory was completed on February 28th of 1991, with the tidy defeat of the Soviet style Iraqi Military.
While I don’t intend to add my voice to the two decades of dog piling on Mr. Fukuyama, as I at the very least respect the man and lack the requisite qualification to competently critique his early work, the last triumph is an example of both unjustified and dangerous Western triumphalism.
The relative ease of the Gulf War, and the false equivocation between Soviet Forces and Iraqi forces, has made western policy makers arrogant, and can lead to chasing “easy wars” that are anything but easy.
Operation Desert Storm was a flawless execution of the doctrine of AirLand Battle (ALB).
Put over simply, ALB relies on utilization of air forces on a tactical level, special forces in the deep battle space, and a counter blitz composed of armored and mechanized units, in order to both forestall reserve units, and deplete the momentum of the breeching force.
This would negate the overwhelming superiority of Warsaw Pact forces, and resulted in the Pentagon estimating for the first time that NATO might be able to win a land war in Europe against the Warsaw Pact.
The defeat of the Iraqi Military then, was heralded by many as a proof of concept, and that Warsaw Pact forces had been overestimated.
After all, Iraqi battalions equipped with BMPs, T-55s, and T-72s melted in the face of Abrams, Challengers, AMX-30s, TOWs, Hellfires, Mavericks, Paveways, and the rest of the menagerie designed to defend Europe against a Soviet fueled onslaught.
This was all accomplished with great speed, and few casualties.
Western military superiority should not be taken for granted however.
First, it should be noted that Coalition Forces were: more numerous, better trained, and had a much better developed doctrine in the way of ALB.
These are all qualities that would not have been shared by Warsaw Pact forces. What the Iraqis did share with the Warsaw Pact was equipment, to an extent.
Saddam intentionally kept the Iraqi Air Force weak, for fear of an Air Force sponsored coup. As a result, pilots of Iraqi’s most valuable air superiority fighters, their MiG-29s, proved ineffective against Coalition aircraft.
This is epitomized in one instance in “an early engagement in which a MiG-29 pilot shot down his wingman and then flew his own aircraft into the ground some 30 seconds later”.
Furthermore, despite having the 6th largest air force in the world at the time, less than half of Iraq’s aircraft were third or fourth generation aircraft, leaving the Iraqi Air Force both incompetent and technologically outpaced in comparison to Coalition forces.
The situation on the ground was much the same for the Iraqi Army. Top of the line Soviet armor, then and to this day, out range their NATO peers due to the utilization of Anti Tank Missiles fired from the gun barrel, like the 9M119 Svir.
The Soviet Union was also one of the first pioneers of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA), and used it extensively.
An often copy and pasted, but thus far elusive, article purportedly in “Jane’s International Defense Review” by Richard M. Ogorkiewicz and entitled “Impenetrable Russian Tank Armour Stands Up to Examinination”, claims that tests conducted on Soviet T-72s outfitted with Kontakt 5 ERA were able to defeat anti-tank munitions available to NATO in the 1980s when Kontakt 5 would be top of the line ERA.
I cannot find the original article, if it exists, and the results may be dubious even if it does. In any case, top of the line Soviet armor would have been highly impressive in combat against NATO units in both firepower and protection.
The Iraqi Army however, did not have top of the line Soviet armor. Much like the Iraqi Air Force, the Iraqi Army’s armor was a mishmash of old and new, and with terrible training. An infamous report of an engagement between a single American M1A1 and three Iraqi “Asad Babil” T-72s recounts the Iraqi tanks ambushing the Abrams.
The first two fired high explosive rounds, ill suited for fighting armor, and the final engaging with a sabot round.
All three were destroyed, including the last tank being killed through a sand dune. Iraqi’s tank force, in addition to being unaware of what types of rounds to use against modern main battle tanks, was partially composed of somewhere in the range of 3,000 T-54s and its derivatives, as well as 1,500 T-62s.
The Iraqis also had around 1,000 T-72Ms imported from Poland. T-72Ms were a variant of the Soviet main battle tank designed for export, and to be inferior to their Soviet counterparts.
Dubbed by Viktor Suvorov as “monkey models” in his 1982 book “Inside the Soviet Army”, the Soviet Union exported these simpler tanks to its allies, and would be mass produced for usage by the Soviet Union itself should a large scale war break out and last for more than a few weeks.
As a result of these simplifications, monkey models: do not have stabilized guns, cannot fire anti-tank missiles, lack composite armor, lack NBC protection systems, have inferior radio and optical equipment, and exclusively manual turret traversal, among other simplifications.
There is also some merit to the claim that domestically produced “Saddam” and “Asad Babil” T-72s were further downgrades of the T-72M, though this claim is contested.
As a result of all of these factors, we can conclude that the Iraqi Military was ill equipped and ill trained to engage Coalition forces who consistently outgunned and outclassed them.
But this is not representative of the quality of competent usage of technologically relevant Soviet equipment.
Why then does the myth of Western invincibility exist?
In particular the American M1A2 Abrams is susceptible to this myth. The hulking tank, weighing 70 tons, can only be airlifted one at a time by a handful of aircraft in the US arsenal, which makes rapid reaction near impossible.
This is all worth it though, because its impervious to incompetent Iraqi tank crews and insurgents with RPG-7s, thanks to depleted uranium armor, right?
The only variant of the M1 Abrams used by the Saudi Army is the M1A2, seen here cooked off by a Houthi ATGM:
The ATGM in question is likely a variant of the 9M133 Konkurs, based on the infrared bulb on the back of the warhead. Granted, it appears that this Saudi Abrams was not utilizing any kind of appliqué armor, but an $8 million vehicle was destroyed by a Soviet era ATGM all the same.
Perhaps then, Western policy makers should not give in to the attractive vision of an easy war? Perhaps planners should not presume full spectrum dominance when charting out plans for the defense of the Baltic states, Taiwan, or Seoul?
Perhaps being humble in our capabilities, and meticulously planning alongside friends, the hopefully infrequent and necessary wars we fight is a better use of our blood and treasure than chasing “easy wars”?
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Bryan Dourrough/Flickr (CC by 2.0)Post Views: 99
What Do You Think?
Following Donald Trump’s inauguration as President the world is anticipating a new, and potentially radically different era for the US.
The inauguration also prompts questions about this new style of politics.
Trump’s surge to leading the most powerful nation in the world was fuelled by a rhetoric we associate with a new term: ‘post-truth’.
The Oxford Dictionary named post-truth its word of the year in 2016, and defined it as “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
Brexit, and Trump’s success were new lows for many of us, particularly in higher education, precisely because facts came a distant second to populist appeals.
But, as a number of people have identified, post-truth didn’t begin with Trump.
One reference point for the two campaigns 2016 will be remembered for has been the propagandism of the 1930s, and two wickedly cynical pieces of advice: repeat lies often enough until they are accepted as true, or remember if you are going to lie, tell a big lie.
But almost a century earlier, in the 1850s, there was a far dirtier US election campaign where an anti-immigration party, the “know nothings”, actively thrived on pretending to be ignorant of their own party’s activities.
Further back still, before US independence, the satirist John Arbuthnot wrote: “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it, so that when Men come to be undeceived, it is too late… like a physician who has found out an infallible medicine after the patient is dead.” The title of his 1712 essay? The Art of Political Lying.
And way, way before Arbuthnot, in 350 BC, Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens describes the demagogue Cleon in a way Trump critics might recognise: “The cause of the corruption of the democracy by his wild undertakings.”
A closer look at Cleon invites several parallels with how critics see Trump. Cleon inherited his wealth from his father in the form of a tannery – a leather factory: certainly the Athenian equivalent of blue-collar.
He rose to power in 430 BC, during a desperate time for Athens – it was at war with Sparta and was devastated by plague. Plutarch describes him as someone who “catered to the pleasure of the Athenians” with a combination of “mad vanity”, “versatile buffoonery” and “disgusting boldness.”
Cleon had a distinctive and shocking communication style, one Athenians had never seen before.
While speaking, he would hitch his cloak up and slap his thighs, running and yelling at the crowds.
Aristotle says he was “the first to use unseemly shouting and coarse abuse”. Aside from this radically new communication style, Cleon’s populism was based on attacking two enemies.
First, though wealthy himself, he was an anti-establishment figure, pursuing a “relentless persecution of the upper classes”.
Second, he was a flag-waving xenophobe, antagonistic towards Athens’ rival and (partly thanks to Cleon) bitter enemy Sparta, as well as to the city of Mytilene, who wanted independence from Athens.
The Athenian general and historian Thucydides even records a speech where Cleon expresses admiration for Mytilene’s “unassailable” walls.
Parallels don’t end there. A later Athenian writer, Lucian, suggests Cleon profited from exploiting his office as some warn Trump is set to do and that he was “venal to excess” (as Trump detractors suggest).
He was boastful, once bragging that he could win a war against some Spartans by himself. He was thin-skinned and censorious, as well as a litigious bully.
Cleon tried, unsuccessfully, to have the satirist Aristophanes prosecuted for writing The Babylonians, which he considered a treasonable play – in the process turning Aristophanes into a life-long enemy.
He accused Athenian generals of incompetence and, in establishment-bashing mode tried, unsuccessfully, to prosecute one of them, Laches.
Cleon was held responsible for the eventual exile of another, Thucydides, who as well as being a general is sometimes described as the founder of history.
Indeed Thucydides’ contribution was to found a tradition of historians as being concerned with facts and the truth.
Throughout this period Cleon was the biggest obstacle to normal relations with Sparta and within a year of his death a peace treaty was agreed.
History was certainly not kind to Cleon, and perhaps Trump will not be showered in praise either.
In Cleon’s case this was no surprise perhaps given that he exiled the most eminent Athenian historian and tried to silence the most eminent Athenian satirist.
Nowadays Cleon is most well-known through Aristophanes’ play, The Knights (far ruder than Saturday Night Live).
This has an unusually small cast because it is essentially a relentless assault on the character Paphlagon, who is obviously based on Cleon: “the leather-seller” with a “gaping arse”, “a perfect glutton for beans” who loudly “farts and snores”, an “arrant rogue” and “mud-stirrer” with a “pig’s education” and the “stink of leather” – “this villain, this villain, this villain! I cannot say the word too often, for he is a villain a thousand times a day”.
Cleon may well have had a front-row seat for The Knights, where he would have seen Aristophanes playing Paphlagon/Cleon, presumably because no-one else dared to.
Characters in these plays were masked, but no prop-maker dared make a mask resembling Cleon.
We might imagine Cleon later reviewing The Knights as: “A totally one-sided, biased show – overrated! The theatre must always be a safe and special place. Apologize!”
What matters is that Aristophanes’ contemporaries awarded The Knights first prize at the Lenaia festival (something like Athens’ Cannes Festival).
Cleon’s brand of post-truth politics flourished because when life is extremely hard, facts are not as novel or distracting as sensationalism.
Some Athenians were won over by the novel spectacle of yelling, coarse abuse and thigh-slapping – and distracted by diversionary ranting against Sparta.
Critics of Brexit and Trump might say voters were won over by bus-sized gimmicks or tweet-sized slogans – where both camps painted “enemy” over an anonymous other.
2016 was a bad year in which millions were desperate for change, but perhaps what we saw was an age old spectacle. Populism and appeals to emotion always work on some people. When times are bad enough they work on enough people.
One consolation for Trump’s opponents and Remainers is that the Athenians kept Cleon partly in check using existing governance mechanisms – the courts.
They can also take comfort that contemporary culture remembers Cleon through the eyes of his bitter enemy Aristophanes. Cleon’s era was horrific yet it also became a golden age for satire and saw the birth of the discipline of history.
The worst fears for the Trump presidency are bleak, but civilisation survived Cleon. Shortly after his death we saw another kind of Athenian golden age – with Socrates, Plato and Aristotle laying down the basis for Western philosophy and civilisation.
They taught the importance of scepticism and scrutiny, and of virtue. They placed the ultimate premium on the search for knowledge and truth.
In the Rhetoric Aristotle gave us all the tools we need to see through a Cleon. Indeed, he wanted rhetoric to be widely understood so politicians’ arguments were evaluated on their merits rather than the wrapper (or bus) they arrived in.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Kevin Morrell is a Professor of Strategy at Warwick Business School, UK. He researches rhetoric in politics.
Cover Photo Credit: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 89
What Do You Think?
By Staff Report
Ben Carson, the former famed neurosurgeon apparently can’t see into the heads of his strongest supporters.
Moments after confirming his endorsement of Donald Trump, Carson supporters rushed to social media where many bashed him for the perceived betrayal.
“I’m absolutely heartbroken that you have chosen this path! It destroys everything I believed about you,” Vicky Snider wrote on Carson’s Facebook page.
“I could not be more disappointed in you Dr. Carson. You are not the person I thought you were,” Lori Nea Trybus wrote on Facebook. “I feel misled and betrayed by you. I thought you had an unwavering moral compass, but your support of Donald Trump proves that you do not.”
“No no no no no!!!!!! Please Dr. Carson no!!! He has made a mockery of all you fought so hard for!!!! I am beyond shocked and disappointed that you would stoop to endorse that wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing……
I am SO disheartened by this!! You didn’t have to endorse anybody, let alone hiM!!,” Debi Sweet wrote on Facebook.“Can’t believe you chose to support the one candidate who mocks God and is definitely not a Christian,” Kevin White wrote on the social media site. “Very disappointed in you and have lost much respect.”
“Well I have just lost all respect I had for you Dr. Carson,” Brenda Koppenhaver wrote on Facebook. “My husband and I were going to vote for you and you had to end your campaign, which we understand, but to we cannot back a schoolyard bully like Donald Trump.”“Honestly I feel used. I feel like you sold out,” David Humphrey wrote on Facebook. “You speak of Party as if it has relevance in the kingdom. I am hurt and feel like you have used the flag of Christ to sell out for political gain. I will never support Donald Trump.”Not all of Carson’s fans were against his decision though.“Thank you Ben for the support of Mr. Trump,” Steve Moore said. “I agree with everything you said. We won’t agree with everything everyone says, we all have differing opinions on various things, but with 2 men such as you and Mr. Trump, you have the wisdom to know what is going on in the real-world of Washington. Thank you for your support!”
Carson for his part said that the country is at a crossroads and in the middle of a moral crisis.
“We must be careful not to continue our current path, which is littered with uncertainty at best and ruination at worst,” Carson wrote in a Facebook post. “It is with that in mind that I endorse Donald Trump for President.”
Tell us what you think about Carson’s endorsement of Trump in the comments below!
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!Post Views: 42
What Do You Think?