“I had a wonderful political science class,” Obama told YouTube’s Steve Grove on January 27, 2011. “It sparked my general interest in politics. And he still teaches there and was just a wonderful, wonderful professor.” That professor was Roger Boesche. Obama took two classes from Boesche—one on Nietzsche, the other on American history—and they apparently left quite an impression.
But Obama’s “wonderful professor” had some rather odious views about the United States military, which contemporaneous accounts in the student newspaper of Occidental confirm.
In a February 1980 article, Boesche took to the pages of The Occidental to explain why it was that America’s foreign policy in the Middle East, and in the Cold War, had failed, Boesche listed his recommendations. They included:
- “Oppose the war fever and militarism that is capturing the country”;
- “Oppose the American political, military, and business elite that continues to generate militarism and stands to benefit from it”;
- “Oppose the present method of recruitment into the armed forces, since it ensures that, in case of war, those who are poor, black, or Hispanic will be the ones who fight for a country from which they have derived little benefit”;
- “Oh, yes, yes—oppose the current registration [Selective Service] and draft, because stopping the draft is the most immediate way to calm our war hysteria.” (Roger Boesche, “The Draft: New Cold War Mentality Critique,” The Occidental, February 10, 1980, p. 4)
President Obama certainly learned a lot from Roger Boesche. One might even suspect that Obama’s views on the military were deeply shaped by Boesche. As we know, Boesche was merely one of Obama’s early mentors who believed America to be both racist and militarist.