Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories–Discovering IDA, 1967

Chapter 8: Discovering IDA, 1967 (iii)
After completing the research paper, I wrote a folk song condemning both Columbia’s complicity with the Pentagon and U.S scientists who immorally served the U.S. war machine. The folk song, patterned somewhat after Dylan’s “Masters of War,” was titled “Bloody Minds” and contained the following lyrics:

Come, you bloody minds
Look what I done find
I done did research
IDA exists
Laugh between your walls
Sit behind your desks
Watch your missiles fall
IDA exists.

The value-free school
Your mask we see right through
The weapons of the Pentagon
Their brains procured by you.

Godly Grayson Kirk
On the board he knits
Smokes upon his pipe
While his bombers bite
Problems he assigns:
“How to make men die?”
Professors they plan
Death for Viet Nam.

In ’56 to serve Defense
Five schools they did combine
Three years later
Columbia
It joined the bloody minds.

City slums they rot
People live in lots
Atoms to destroy
They’re your little toys
Oh, they pay you well
To create a hell
Did you see the news?
Twelve women they slew.

A division
Its name Jason
In summer they study
They meet, they talk
They plan, they plot
Counterinsurgency.

Lovers they must part
Lamps they now are dark
Knowledge turned to swords
Kirk sits on the board
Schools changed into guns
For the Pentagon
Students now they learn:
How to make kids burn.

You stand in class
You spout your facts
A noble scientist
But then at night
You join the fight
You do secret research.

Murder poor peasants
With the tools you sent
Orphan thin children
Help the bastards win
Kill them with your mind
Paralyze their spines
Someday you will die
And in slime you’ll lie.

Prior to March 1967, IDA had rarely been mentioned in the U.S. Establishment mass media or in the left, underground or campus press. A few Establishment magazine articles on IDA had appeared between 1956 and 1967 and IDA had been mentioned in a few books for academic specialists published by university presses. But the New York Times had barely acknowledged its existence. The Rand Institute, not the Institute for Defense Analyses, was the military-oriented think-tank that had received most of the Establishment mass media publicity prior to March 1967. After March 1967, IDA began to receive more mention in theColumbia Daily Spectator and in left newspapers and magazines like New Left Notes, the Worker, the Guardian andViet Report. But the U.S. Establishment’s mass media still refused to mention IDA. After my name appeared in some leftist publications in reference to the Columbia-IDA revelation, the FBI opened a file on me and started to investigate me using information provided by the Columbia University Registrar’s Office, according to my de-classified FBI files.

Columbia’s IDA affiliation came to also symbolize the degree to which Columbia University’s research budget was dependent on receiving Pentagon basic and unsolicited research contracts. Like most elite U.S. universities, Columbia was dependent on corporate research funds and Pentagon research funds for financing much of its institutional research activity.

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