‘Duty, Honor, Country’: Political Correctness At West Point Leaves Our Military Distracted From Its True Mission

‘Duty, Honor, Country’: Political Correctness At West Point Leaves Our Military Distracted From Its True Mission

If you’re a veteran like me, you will find it increasingly more difficult to watch the news. Lately, as current events pertain to the military, however, it’s becoming almost unbearable to witness the crumbling of the beloved nation we once donned the uniform to preserve and protect.

If you follow The Daily Wire, you know I recently wrote an article addressing my concerns that a sense of “wokeness” is seeping into America’s armed forces. It is a seemingly conscious effort to chip away at American nationalism. This relentless shift to the Left is distracting our military from focusing on its true mission, which is to protect our homeland through lethal projection of power and the willingness to use this power if necessary.

With this said, imagine my dismay, along with many other veterans, when I read that the United States Military Academy at West Point is dropping the patriotic edict “Duty, Honor, Country” from its mission statement in favor of the more politically correct “Preserving Army Values.” At first, I thought it was “fake news” as I simply refused to believe that such an about face on American patriotism was taking place at one of the nation’s oldest and most revered military academies. To my dismay, as The Daily Wire has since confirmed, the initial report I read was, in fact, correct. 

I am not the only veteran in my family. My father served in the Korean War, First Marines, wounded in combat, whose hero was General Douglas MacArthur. Although not popular among the rank and file, my father always admired that MacArthur, an army chauvinist to the core, nevertheless chose his First Marine Division as the spearpoint for his brilliant Inchon landing behind communist lines in 1950 that saved South Korea from tyranny. And so, many of MacArthur’s dicta rang true with him.

One of the General’s mantras was the hallowed West Point rallying cry of “Duty, Honor, Country.” Indeed, though my father was a hard man who’d seen war up close, who suffered personal loss during his life, the only time I ever saw him weep was when we watched the movie “MacArthur” and actor Gregory Peck recites to a group of actually assembled West Point cadets, the eponymous character’s final speech to his beloved academy in 1962, two years before his death. Audio recordings of the General’s actual speech can also be found on YouTube. It wasn’t the acting so much as the words, spoken verbatim, that so deeply affected my combat veteran father.

In his moving elocution, the old warrior again and again reverts to the three sublime words as the bedrock standards upon which they should base their future conduct as America’s first line of defense: “Duty, Honor, Country.” 

Says MacArthur,

…great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night – Duty, Honor, Country. 

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come-the great captains who hold the nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words – Duty, Honor, Country.

To a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, this sacred credo is the summation of who, why, and what we serve. They are calls to commitment, morality, and belief in the national interest above the self. Indeed, no better words can sum up the ethos of the American fighting man and woman. 

And now these words which stood as a beacon in an institution that for over two centuries has produced some of the world’s most gifted captains have been scrubbed from the walls of the academy like so much politically incorrect graffiti.

During MacArthur’s soliloquy — a framed copy of which my father kept prominently displayed in our family room — the importance the great strategist and former West Point superintendent placed on those three words “Duty, Honor, Country” made an indelible mark on my psyche. So much so that offering my life up for military service was an easy decision. To this day, those three words still inspire me with a deep sense of American nationalism whenever I revisit them: “Duty, Honor, Country.” 

Now, I find that this new, progressive group of Army bureaucrats — I won’t call them generals because that is a title worthy of respect and admiration — who are “facilitating” West Point, not leading, are actually uprooting every fiber of the patriotic base that made West Point the wellspring from which the desire to preserve our American Constitution flows. Words have meaning; they inspire feelings, thoughts, and conduct. As such, to sterilize the powerful message found in those three words “Duty, Honor, Country” with a sanitized, anodyne PowerPoint slogan such as “Respect Army Values” is a blight against every patriot who died for this country, from Nathan Hale to the Unknown Soldier.

Words can inspire, and an inspired enemy is difficult to control and is capable of extraordinary bravery. The Left understands quite well that language can be a powerful tool of indoctrination. It is not by chance that our children no longer start off their school days by first reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Again, rousing words lead to extraordinary deeds, and evil people, who are trying to usurp a good and free nation, know this. Taking away the loyalty oath of “Duty, Honor, Country” has a desired, debilitating effect. I doubt very much, that the men who fought their way to the summit of Mount Suribachi to plant the flag atop Iwo Jima had the words “Army Values” running through their minds as the fierce battle raged around them. But they knew their purpose, they knew why they were fighting, and they knew for whom they were willing to continue engaging in a life-and-death struggle for freedom. It was their duty to honor their fallen comrades in order to save the country they loved so dearly. Again, I don’t see where saying “Army Values” would have motivated anyone to risk their lives for a nation that from grade school to even our military academies they are being taught to disdain.

No doubt, many a G.I. over many battlefields has garnered intestinal fortitude by whispering to themselves those same three words “Duty, Honor, Country” before lining up for the charge into the hell of enemy fire. The concept that “Army Values” could inspire such valor at a time when an American soldier needs it most in order to ensure a continuation of our free way of life under the Constitution is ludicrous and laughable on its face, and frankly insulting and offensive. “Army Values” indeed.

With every waking moment of his or her day, a West Point cadet is reminded that he or she is an integral part of The Corps whose core values were, “Duty, Honor, Country.” A cadet can take solace in the knowledge that the shiver of motivation he or she feels running down their spine is a natural outgrowth of such inspiring words. That is, until today!

If you had read one of my other articles about the reactions us boomer vets and myself were having to President Biden threatening to call out the National Guard on the Texas border agents, you will remember that we regularly debate this nation’s policies as we sit in the waiting rooms of the VA hospitals. The same scenario will happen the next time I show up at my VA, and I’m almost certain I can gauge what will be the reaction to the extreme alteration to West Point’s point mission statement.

In 1917, the Espionage Act was passed after the United States entered World War I. It was followed by the Sedition Act of 1918. Both of these pieces of legislation were designed to incriminate individuals who attempted to impede the war effort. Those who did so were punished since they were believed to be performing acts of anti-patriotism.

I can tell you with no uncertainty, that during the next discussion I have with a fellow vet, we will be deliberating who we feel is responsible for removing West Point’s more than a century-old motto. My conclusion would be that the individual bureaucrat in uniform, or even the entire committee if the decision were made in this manner, should be stripped of his/her rank(s) and brought before a court martial to face charges of sedition in accordance with the Espionage and Sedition Acts.

After all, unlike “Duty, Honor, Country,” these words are still on the books.

* * *

Brian Schaeffer served as a Naval aviator until his honorable discharge in 1985 with the rank of Lieutenant. Lt. Schaeffer has been in both the shipping business and involved in real estate ever since re-entering civilian life. Prior to heading off to Aviation Reserve Officers Corps, he graduated with honors from Indiana University, Bloomington.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Originally Posted on: https://www.dailywire.com/news/duty-honor-country-political-correctness-at-west-point-leaves-our-military-distracted-from-its-true-mission
[By: Brian Schaeffer

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