As Maine College Democrats President Alex Cornell du Houx '06, a vocal opponent of the War in Iraq, prepares for his upcoming active duty with the U.S. Marines in Iraq, members of the Bowdoin community are responding to the news of his deployment with shock, gratitude, and in some cases, criticism.
"I applaud Mr. Houx [sic] for his service, just as I applaud any other soldier who is brave enough to take up arms in defense of this country," Dan Schuberth '06, secretary of the College Republican National Committee, said in a statement aired on a Bowdoin Cable Network news broadcast this week.
"I find it troubling, however," Schuberth continued, "that one of the most vocal opponents of our president, our country and our mission in Iraq has chosen to fight for a cause he claims is wrong. Mr. Houx's [sic] rhetoric against the war on terror places him in agreement with the most radical fringes of the Democratic Party, and I am left to question his logic and motivation."
When contacted by the Orient, Schuberth said, "I stand by my comments."
President Mills responded to Schuberth's comment in an interview with the Orient, saying, "I have enormous admiration for Alex. I would never question the motivation of any person in the military."
"All we should be doing is supporting and applauding their efforts," Mills said in regards to Marines who are serving.
Cornell du Houx also responded to Schuberth's allegations. "I find it sad and disappointing that certain members of the College Republicans would question my or anyone's motivations for going to Iraq when we are risking our lives for them and all Americans."
"I am dedicated to my country through community service, political service and military service and I challenge them to do the same," he said.
Various internet blogs outside of the Bowdoin community had postings about Schuberth's statement at the Orient's time of press.
The campus response to Schuberth's remarks has been visible and in some cases, livid.
"As a soldier who's going to be on the front lines of Mr. Bush's war, Alex has the right to question the priorities of this president and his incompetence throughout his management of Iraq," Bowdoin College Democrats Co-President Frank Chi '07 said.
"It's not right when the president is not serving our troops as well as our troops are serving us. As long as these irresponsible mistakes are made, every American has the right to question how this president is managing this war," he said.
Other students agree that Schuberth's public remark raises concern.
"Absolute uniformity of opinion is bad for any institution," Joshua Cippel '08 said. "We certainly would not want an all-Republican or an all-Democratic armed service protecting Americans at home and abroad."
"If anything, America needs more people who, like Alex, can look beyond their own interests and opinions and take part in a cause that is larger than themselves," he said.
Chi emphasized that Cornell du Houx's decision to join the Marines preceded his fervent interest in politics.
"Alex became interested in the Marines in high school, long before his political perspectives became a major part of his life," Chi said.
"I can only imagine the internal conflict Alex is facing because he will be fighting in a war he neither supported nor felt justified," Bowdoin Student Government President DeRay Mckesson '07 said. "I have faith that he'll do the job that he signed up for and he'll do it well."
When asked for comment about Cornell du Houx's deployment in Iraq, Bowdoin Republicans President Alex Linhart '06 said, "Another article eh? Maybe run an entire section about him."
Linhart continued, "I thank Alex for his service to his country and wish him well in Iraq."
He said he could not comment for the College Republicans on Schuberth's statement.
Evan S. Kohn contributed to this report.