Back in the day, an Italian Communist by the name of Antonio Gramsci posited that a successful revolution could be effected without a violent civil war by first infiltrating and then ultimately co-opting the basic institutions that underpin successful societies. Once under control, these institutions can be used to modify societies to fit whatever socio-economic model the infiltrators want, without ever putting major armed forces in the field as in the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. The phrase ultimately coined for this strategy was: The long march through the institutions.
In these United States, there has been a steady march of leftist infiltration and hostile takeover of the institutions that underpin the American ideal. Education, Churches, Scouting, and other institutions that are supposed to teach and promote American values have been attacked and infected with a festering rot. Among the institutions so infected, is the American Military.
When I raised my right hand in July 1976, swearing to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, the United States Army, along with its sister services, was in a bad way as a result of the Vietnam debacle. By the time I was commissioned in 1980, the Army was still recovering from the institutional beating it had taken as a result of the inept and at times outright craven leadership of military and civilian bosses during and immediately post-Vietnam. Jimmah Cahtah comes to mind as the epitome of the political leadership of the time.
Then, President Ronald Wilson Reagan, aka Ronaldus Magnus, swaggered into town and kicked open the door to the DC saloon where sycophantic shysters sat swilling their state-subsidized scotch. Our cowboy hero booted their fat fundaments out of the bar, into the street, and out of town. Thus began the long road back to a professional and lethal military that once again could project power in support of American interests.
Despite very public successes, which I’ve written about previously, it seems that notwithstanding the advancements under Reagan, 7 subsequent administrations (Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama) were able to continue their infection of the military. They have not only done this at the Flag Officer and Senior Executive Service (SES) levels, but also at the junior and mid-grade officer levels, thus ensuring multi-generational continuity of their corrosive philosophy.
Just as our civilian-controlled Military is one of the most important underpinnings of the U.S. ideal, the Service Academies are the institutional underpinnings of each of the services. The academies are the heart, soul, and center of service values and their inculcation into young men and women (and even some allied students) so that they may be commissioned with the proper training and character set expected of serving military officers who lead our most precious asset, the sons and daughters of American citizens.
My own alma mater is the premiere institution among the academies. Although most of its end product is commissioned into the United States Army, some graduates still get commissioned into the Navy, Marine Corps, and even the Air Force. Hence the name, The United States Military Academy at West Point.
Underpinnings have underpinnings of their own. One of the Army’s underpinnings is West Point. One of West Point’s most significant underpinnings is the Cadet Honor Code, which simply states: A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do. The penalty for violating the Honor code at one time was expulsion. In 1976, due to widespread cheating on an Electrical Engineering exam the previous academic year, enforcement of the code underwent reforms that allowed for the possibility of rehabilitation for some classes of violators.
Coincidentally, the Army at that time was still in the throes of a post-Vietnam flagellation by the left. Of course, the leftists cannot abide any institution that teaches young men how to be men…how to be self-reliant. There was no way they were going to leave the Service Academies free from their attacks. Their assault began with a legislated change in Academy Mission Statements (provide combat leaders) so that women could then be admitted.
This was shortly followed by a series of other “reforms.” The direction of all of this effort was a steady degradation of many of the attributes that differentiate a Service Academy from a mere college or university. Back to the Honor Code.
Although quite dismayed with the political events since November, I was pretty pumped up about Army-West Point Football this year, 9-2 and best of all, beating the Zoomies at the Air Force Academy and the Squids at Navy and thus winning the highly coveted Commander in Chief’s Trophy. That was shortly followed by (after some China virus drama) an invite to play West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl.
Then I read that, once again, there has been widespread and coordinated cheating at West Point; 73 Cadets of which, over 20 are on the football team. The Superintendent, LTG Darryl A. Williams, due to pointed requests for information from hundreds of graduates, penned a letter explaining his actions regarding this incident. We’ll get into that and what it really means in part two of this set. For now, I’d like to focus on a Facebook post from one of my writing mentors, Dr. Charles Lipson who is frequently published on Real Clear Politics.
Dr. Lipson posts (emphasis mine):
WEST POINT HAS LET SPORTS TRIUMPH OVER INTEGRITY
The traditional policy at West Point is that cadets caught cheating cannot represent the institution in sports or other outside events. Not this year. Last May, 73 students were caught cheating on a calculus exam. 55 of them were athletes, 24 on the football team. Despite the policy and their clear violation of the honor code, West Point Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, has allowed them to play. His collapse of standards paid off in football victories, though Army still lost its Bowl appearance. Still, it is worth asking (1) why the honesty policy was suspended, (2) why so many athletes were admitted to West Point who can’t pass calculus, and (3) why the public is paying for all this.
Three very cogent questions…with the third being one of the deftest finesses I’ve ever seen by the left. Walk with me a bit:
1. Why was the honesty policy suspended? Simple. It was a casualty long determined by decisions made back in 1976 to water down and ultimately eliminate moral standards at the Academy, much like is happening in Scouting and the Churches.
2. Why admit candidates who cannot pass Calculus? Partially to improve the football program, but mainly to finally divorce West Point from its engineering roots and complete its transformation into a vehicle for leftist objectives (social justice?) until finally (here’s the deft finesse part)…
3. Why would/should the public pay (such a huge price) for all of this? Exactly so. That’s the question the leftists want to force. If West Point (along with USNA & USAFA) become nothing more than “studies” degree generating institutions, then the public will rightly gripe about paying 2 or 3 times as much per commissioned officer generated, than say ROTC or OCS.
How long after such a transformation plays out, will public outcry demand the Academies be closed and those funds put to better use? “Better” being, “social justice.” The left then gets a twofer. It irreparably damages critical underpinnings of our Military, which in turn is also damaged. Best of all for the left, tax dollars will be diverted to more vote-buying, feel-good programs. In Part II, we’ll discuss LTG Williams’s self-serving letter and what kind of thought process it appears to indicate in our senior military leadership. Stay tuned.