Although the war in Iraq has not been a great focus of EphBlog (examples to the contrary here and here), it is my favorite example of a topic in which the public conversation at Williams is ludicrously one-sided. As a partial corrective, EphBlog is pleased to provide this update from Joel Iams ’01, a Marine First Lieutenant fighting the good fight in Fallujah.


Joel was responding to a note I sent him in November, along with a copy of our post about Myles Crosby Fox ’40. For those who have trouble making out the text, Joel finished by lauding “The willing sacrifice in the knowledge that there truly is something worth fighting and dying for.”

Now, if I were just a right-wing agitator, I would segue into a discussion of the Williams faculty. How many of our professors, post-modern products of the academy that they are, believe that there “truly is something worth fighting and dying for,” either in Iraq and Afghanistan (or in Kosovo and Darfur)?

But such hackery is not today’s topic. After all, reading Professors like Sam Crane and Marc Lynch there can be no doubt that they are men like Iams, filled with a love of life and devotion to those around them. Indeed, since blogging is a window on one’s soul, it is clear that Lynch and Crane live, by word and deed, the sort of scholarly and family life that we might all aspire to.

Instead, my argument today is with Williams, or rather the men and women who decide the Ephs that Williams chooses to honor, the winners each year of Bicententenial Medals. For the most part this Committe chooses wisely, although there are perhaps a preponderance of scribblers. To the extent that the Committee (and, by extension, Williams) thinks that there are things “worth fighting and dying for,” they should start honoring the Ephs doing the fighting.

I would like to see one Eph veteran of the current war honored each year. Who would disagree?

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