Greg Mankiw makes a number of thoughtful points about the relationship between ROTC programs and elite colleges, referencing this post at Open University. I believe that there should be more support for ROTC at Ivy League colleges, and I made a point this year of attending the Army commissioning ceremony.
At the Rockefeller Center, we have also made a point of commemorating Veterans' Day. Last year, we invited Nate Fick '99, a veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq, who delivered a remarkable lecture. This year, we will host Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer, authors of AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service--and How It Hurts Our Country on November 10. (The book is referenced in the Open University post.) There are some elements of citizenship that need to be shared more equitably, regardless of personal characteristics.
Greg ends his post with a poke at some of his colleagues' protests against ROTC:
Some faculty see the Harvard ROTC ban as a protest against the federal government's treatment of gay military personnel. But to me the form of the protest seems particularly sanctimonious, as the faculty are asking for a sacrifice from others (in particular, from potential ROTC students and from other students who would benefit from a more diverse student body), while giving up relatively little themselves. I propose that any professor who wants to protest federal policy can do so personally by refusing to apply for or accept any grants from the federal government.
Well put. I support neither the treatment of homosexuals by the military nor the obstacles to ROTC on campuses. I'll also suggest another dimension along which burdens could be more equitably shared. If conscription should be required in order to protect the United States, then the entire population below the age of service in the Vietnam era should be mobilized, excepting only those who have already been discharged from the military. This does not mean combat for everyone--it means service. There is no reason why the burden of fighting the war against Islamic radicals should fall so disproportionately on young adults.