Loyalty oath

A matter of ultimate allegiance
Two years ago one of my students wrote a master’s thesis defending just war, then joined the U.S. Air Force to train as a fighter pilot. I suppose you could look at this as pedagogical success: I’m a teacher who helped one of my students turn the corner from theory to practice. But as a pacifist, I took it pretty hard.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but it’s a pretty good salve for injured pedagogical pride. So I hadn’t given Aaron much thought until I was asked to come down to the college president’s office to meet with an officer of the Department of Defense. She showed me her badge and a pile of papers, all of which asserted that she was authorized to interview me about the character of my former student. Apparently, before you can get behind the controls of a multimillion-dollar fighter plane, the U.S. runs a high-level security check.


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