May 25, 2024

Yes, America, even venerable West Point, and its equally venerable mission statement, have succumbed to the insidious cancer of “woke.” Moreover, the institution attempts to conceal its surrender, which I’ll make clear in a bit. So, on Monday, West Point announced an “updated” mission statement.

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First, here’s the original mission statement (emphasis, mine):

To educate, train and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army.

And here’s the “updated” version:

To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of professional excellence and service to the Army and Nation.

West Point Public Affairs issued a statement from West Point Superintendent Army Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland, which reads in part (emphasis, mine):

Duty, Honor, Country is foundational to the United States Military Academy’s culture and will always remain our motto. It defines who we are as an institution and as graduates of West Point. These three hallowed words are the hallmark of the cadet experience and bind the Long Gray Line together across our great history.

Our responsibility to produce leaders to fight and win our nation’s wars requires us to assess ourselves regularly. Thus, over the past year and a half, working with leaders from across West Point and external stakeholders, we reviewed our vision, mission, and strategy to serve this purpose. We believe our mission binds the Academy to the Army — the Army in which our cadets will serve. As a result of this assessment, we recommended the following mission statement to our senior Army leadership:

[…]

The Army Values include Duty and Honor, and Country is reflected in Loyalty, bearing truth faith, and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers. In the past century, West Point’s mission has changed nine times. Many graduates will recall the mission statement they learned as new cadets did not include the motto, as Duty, Honor, Country was first added to the mission statement in 1998.

Our absolute focus on developing leaders of character ready to lead our Army’s Soldiers on increasingly lethal battlefields remains unchanged.

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There are a couple of obvious things going on here. 

First, Gilland’s statement is replete with references to “Duty, Honor, Country” and his professed belief in the value of those words. As a believer in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I have to ask: “Then why remove them from the West Point Mission Statement?” (The question is rhetorical.)

Second, Gillibrand went out of his way to mention that the mission statement has been changed nine times in the past century and that “Duty, Honor, Country” were “only” added in 1998, as if to suggest: “Hey, no big deal! Those words haven’t been part of our mission statement for very long anyway, so what’s the problem?”

And third, “Army values.” What exactly are today’s “Army values,” Lt. General Gilland?

Are they the values of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley — both of whom have enthusiastically embraced Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? (DEI)

And there it is. West Point’s “attempt to conceal its surrender” that I referenced in the first paragraph. In today’s America, “Army values” is not synonymous with “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Incidentally, the words “Duty, Honor, Country” came from Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s last speech to the Corps of Cadets. MacArthur had been superintendent of West Point for three years after returning from service in World War I and serving as the Army chief of staff in the 1930s.

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According to Western Journal’s Randy DeSoto, a West Point graduate:

As a new cadet during basic training at the academy, you had to memorize a portion of the speech, which goes:  “Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points; to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”

Later in the speech, the general said: “Duty, Honor, Country. The code, which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong.”

Precisely. 

One of many things “that are wrong” in today’s America is its Armed Forces have capitulated to the forces of “woke,” which strongly suggests that allegiance to “Duty, Honor, and Country” is far more assuring to the American people than allegiance to “Army values.”

The Bottom Line

Rush Limbaugh correctly said: “The purpose of war is to kill people and break things.” By extension, that truth applies to America’s Armed Forces.

Frighteningly so, the leaders of our Armed Forces appear more concerned with pronoun self-selection and gender fluidity than with killing people and breaking things when or if that time comes.

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