Central View: Where have all the standards gone?
What we have seen seeping out of Harvey Weinstein’s Hollywood sewer, and lurking in the corrupt Washington swamp, raise the question: Have we lost our sense of right vs. wrong — even within some parts of our Armed Forces?
For example, In May, 2016, West Point commissioned a 2d Lieutenant who is an avowed communist. How could West Point commission a cadet whose political philosophy preaches the violent overthrow of our government? Newly appointed officers must swear this oath: “…to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” Enlisted men and women take almost the same oath.
The West Point Code says, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” To take the commissioning oath, a communist cadet would have to lie.
During the Korean War, while POWs, a shockingly high number of GIs cooperated with the enemy. Since then, all armed service members are required to comply with Executive Order 10613, The Code of Conduct for Members of the Armed Forces of the United States. On January 12, 2016, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate surrendered two Riverine Command Boats under his command to the Iranian Navy without a fight.
While in Iranian captivity for only a few hours, he and several crew members managed to violate the following tenets of the Code of Conduct: “I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist. If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause…” Two junior officers and two petty officers were reprimanded. Two senior officers were fired. But the stain on the honor of the U.S. Navy remains.
Now, there is a report of another cheating scandal at the U.S. Air Force Academy and allegations of misconduct by the Academy’s lacrosse team. Historically, West Point, Annapolis, and the Air Force Academy have served to set high standards for our entire military establishment. Are we seeing evidence of a failing state? We report. You decide.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and was a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: The Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017).
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