Triggered! As a retired Navy captain and USNA grad, I can’t let this article pass without commenting on the state of West Point.
Disclaimer: although I have been shouting “Beat Army” since I was 17, I have always had much respect for West Point graduates. During my era – at the very least – the Corps was awesome and produced outstanding Army officers who served the nation well – frequently above and beyond the call of duty. Some from that era are still serving admirably, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Class of ’86) and Secretary of Defense Mike Esper (Class of ’86).
That said, I am among the retired military officers who are aghast at the declining standards at the service academies, as implemented through destructive personnel policies during the horrible Obama regime. I am focused on West Point today because of this recent article, as excerpted below:
West Point cadets attended mandatory events — framed by the military academy as educational curriculum — on “inclusion,” “diversity,” and “gender norms,” Breitbart News has learned. The programming included discussion groups led by upper-class cadets, labeled “facilitators,” making references to “toxic masculinity,” leading one cadet to comment, “I’m being taught how not to be a man.”
Cadets were obligated to view Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In, two documentary films produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, first lady of California and wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA).
Miss Representation features commentary from assorted left-wing and partisan Democrat figures, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Katie Couric, Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda, Rachel Maddow, Rosie O’Donnell, and Gloria Steinem.
Debuted by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Miss Representation frames American society as broadly pathologized by anti-woman sexism.
The Mask You Live In derides “hypermasculinity,” and masculinity more broadly, as stultifying boys’ and men’s emotional development. Its features commentary critiques what its speakers characterize as arbitrarily socialized “gender roles” associated with manhood.
Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, described the curriculum as conducive to improving combat readiness.
Are you kidding me? This is sheer insanity! Wars are won by men and have been since time immemorial, and the PC crowd seeks to emasculate and demonize men at West Point, of all places? I would expect such nonsense in the Ivy League, but not at West Point. This is one example of the continuation of the intersectionality and cultural Marxism foisted on the US military by the Obama regime, which destroyed morale and military and combat readiness. The propagation of this crap will result in future deaths on the battlefield; that is inevitable. This article gives me the opportunity to connect a few dots on stories about West Point that I have collected and despaired about in recent years. They will highlight what I believe to be the depths to which the institution has sunk as a result of purposeful policies to foist destructive politically correct behavior on warfighters.
The first of these are some excerpts from a 2017 post by a West Point graduate from the Class of ’64, who – like many graduates – have become greatly concerned with the direction their beloved alma mater has taken in recent years. His commentary introduces the problem and highlights how it happened:
It was very clear to me that West Point was changing. Political correctness was forced on our entire military by our political leaders. As I’ve often said, the focus of the military has to be combat readiness—not political correctness.
So, while I saw things changing, I was seeing from afar. So I was truly shocked when the story of a very recent graduate from the Academy, 2LT Spencer Rapone showed himself to be an anti-American, undisciplined, slob—to be nice.
As I’ve mentioned before, this raises the question of how this guy—who had prior service in our army—survived the army as an enlisted man and how he could have been selected for an appointment to the Academy. A much bigger question was how he could have survived peer evaluations, much less the tactical and academic department’s evaluations. That could never have happened when I was a cadet.
How could someone who hates America and our military, who claims to be a proud communist, who loves Che Guevera, who hates and openly bad-mouths our nation’s leaders, who was insubordinate to faculty—how could his peers have permitted him to stay. When I was a cadet we evaluated all of our peers in our cadet company and all the cadets in the company junior to us—twice a year. Further, bad attitudes were dealt with by the cadet and tactical officer chain of command.
Given that our previous president was very anti-military and very politically-correct, he, as do most presidents, had the military promotion boards seek for promotion to general and admiral ranks, officers who would fully implement his political vision. Thus, a great many of our current generals may well have compromised their commitment to Duty, Honor, Country—in order to get promoted. Perhaps this is a part of the answer.
The next item was a shocking open letter written by a retired Army officer who served two tours with the West Point faculty. His poignant letter was based on his own personal experiences, as well as discussions with fellow faculty members during his tours of duty. LTC Robert Heffington, USA (ret’d) wrote his open letter to address the “Rapone situation” (which I will subsequently cover in this article) from his point of view. Here are some excerpts from his letter:
First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else. The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history.
The cadet honor code has become a laughingstock. Cadets know they will not be separated for violating it, and thus they do so on a daily basis. Moreover, since they refuse to enforce standards on each other and police their own ranks, cadets will rarely find a cadet at an honor hearing despite overwhelming evidence that a violation has occurred. This in tum has caused the staff and faculty to give up even reporting honor incidents.
Our beloved Military Academy has lost its way. It is a shadow of what it once was. It used to be a place where standards and discipline mattered, and where concepts like duty, honor, and country were real and they meant something. Those ideas have been replaced by extreme permissiveness, rampant dishonesty, and an inexplicable pursuit of mediocrity. Instead of scrambling to restore West Point to what it once was, the Academy’s senior leaders give cadets more and more privileges in a seeming effort to tum the institution into a third-rate civilian liberal arts college. Unfortunately, they have largely succeeded. The few remaining members of the staff and faculty who are still trying to hold the line are routinely berated, ignored, and ultimately silenced for their unwillingness to “go along with the program.”
Those were blistering comments based on direct experience on observation! No standards and an honor code that is a laughingstock? At West Point? This is unthinkable – but it’s what happens when a leftist like Obama cashiers warriors and promotes the politically-correct in their stead. We will be suffering from the damage wrought on the US military for years if not decades.
As a specific example of that damage, here is the case of 2018 graduate Spenser Rapone who was drummed out the Army after he disclosed that he was a Communist.
The images Spenser Rapone posted on Twitter from his West Point graduation were intentionally shocking: In one, the cadet opens his dress uniform to expose a T-shirt with a blood-red image of socialist icon Che Guevara. In another, he raises his fist and flips his cap to reveal the message: “Communism will win.”
An unrepentant Rapone summed up the fallout in yet another tweet [on 18 June 2018] that showed him extending a middle finger at a sign at the entrance to Fort Drum, accompanied by the words, “One final salute.”
“I consider myself a revolutionary socialist,” the 26-year-old Rapone told The Associated Press. “I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement.”
Rapone said his journey to communism grew out of his experiences as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan before he was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy. And those views only hardened during his studies of history as one of the academy’s “Long Gray Line.”
How is it possible that Rapone was admitted in the first place? What was the screening process? Are Communists and subversives now able to pass admittance criteria without even a hiccup? How many avowed Communists who graduated from West Point are now serving in the US Army? What is the Army doing to ferret out these subversives?
Then there was this rape allegation against Army’s star quarterback Ahmad Ali Bradshaw as summarized in this 2017 article. As noted in the article, Bradshaw had a history of subpar performance and disciplinary actions. Was his conduct overlooked because he was the Army quarterback? Was any other cadet passed through with a record like this? What are the standards, and when do they apply?
Bradshaw was also the subject of 15 negative cadet observation reports out of a total 20, according to a list reviewed by The Daily Beast. Four reports were positive and one neutral. The negative reports were written by Bradshaw’s fellow cadets and three U.S. Army majors.
West Point declined to detail the reports, but such reports generally concern “breach of regulations, improper appearance and bearing, demonstration of a surly or lackadaisical attitude, or apparent lack of professionalism definitely warrant the counseling of a cadet,” according to a West Point manual.
At least one cadet involved in a drug-related conspiracy was exposed, tried and sentenced in 2017, as reported here.
Christopher Monge, a member of the West Point Class of 2017, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months of confinement in a military prison for conspiring to bring drugs onto the grounds of the military academy.
West Point officials still have not made final decisions on prosecuting the four others charged in November. The four — Jared Rogers, Jaelen Gadson, Jalen Swett and Joshua Bobo, who was Monge’s roommate at one point — testified for the prosecution during the sentencing phase of Monge’s court martial.
Swett said Monge introduced him to oxycodone and showed him how to ingest it through his nose. He also claimed Monge had admitting selling drugs to more than 100 cadets.
Ewing later noted that conflicted with Monge’s own, unsworn testimony that he sold to 15 or 20 cadets. One of Monge’s lawyers, Gary Meyers, explained he sold multiple times to the 15 or 20 cadets.
The lowering of standards has had other consequences at West Point, too, as excerpted from this article:
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, will hold a one-day stand-down to address alcohol use among cadets, part of an effort to curb problem drinking, sexual assault and harassment on the campus.
Leaders of the three Defense Department service academies told members of a House Appropriations defense subcommittee on Wednesday that the schools are working to get at a root cause of sexual assaults — alcohol.
At West Point, where alcohol was thought to have been involved in 52 percent of incidents reported by women and 59 percent reported by men, the school is planning a community day Feb. 25, during which classes and sports will be canceled and alcohol use will be addressed.
According to the Jan. 25 report, based on a survey of students at the three schools, incidents of unwanted sexual contact — the term used by the DoD in a questionnaire for students to describe assaults ranging from unsolicited kissing and groping to assault and rape — increased from 507 in the 2015-2016 school year to 747 in the 2017-2018 academic year, an increase of nearly 50 percent. This included 273 incidents at West Point.
A ”stand-down” and a seminar is somehow going to fix the problem? Even worse, the kind of “training” foisted on cadets as reported in the Breitbart article above indicates that nothing is really being done to restore high standards at the US Military Academy. Where is the top to bottom review of standards, from admission and accession requirements to enforcement of personal conduct requirements and the honor code? This is a travesty! Let the Ivy League sink in the politically-correct swamp, not West Point.
I admit to not being in tune with their alumni association, but surely some pressure is being exerted by retired general officers to restore standards and return the institution to an exclusive focus on military readiness and training while excising the politically-correct nonsense. At least I pray that this is the case! What would Generals MacArthur and Eisenhower do?