TRUE FACT: In the aftermath of its worst cheating scandal in decades, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is terminating a program that gave a second chance to cadets who violated the school’s honor code. Expulsion is now back on the table after the first offense. (New York Times online, April 16th)
Among those who disagree with this decision, perhaps the most surprising is Vice Admiral Sean Buck, Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
“This action sends exactly the wrong message,” claims Buck, whose school jettisoned its honor code over a decade ago. “Deception, cheating, deceit, and duplicity win wars. Did Eisenhower provide the Nazis with the Allies’ plans to invade Normandy on D-Day? No, he did not. Did Truman call Hirohito and say, ‘Mr. Emperor, tell your countrymen to get out the charcoal and toss a few hot dogs on the grill, because tomorrow there will be some major-league barbecuing going on in Hiroshima’? HELL, NO!
“If the soldiers of tomorrow don’t learn to lie and dissemble while they’re in school, when ARE they supposed to learn these crucial skills — on the battlefield, with their throat exposed to the business end of an enemy’s bayonet, and it’s too late?
“I’m sick and tired of all the bulls**t I hear nowadays about how important it is to be honest and ‘transparent’. ‘Transparent’, my ass! You don’t defeat the Taliban by sending them a text message with the date and time of your next drone attack on a stronghold in Helmand province.
“West Point, I’m begging you. Please abandon this misguided endeavor. Do the right thing: consign your honor code to the dustbin of history, where it belongs. Cheating 101 should be a required course at your institution. Let’s get back to winning some wars.”