October 12, 2017

"First and foremost, standards at West Point are nonexistent. They exist on paper, but nowhere else."

"The senior administration at West Point inexplicably refuses to enforce West Point’s publicly touted high standards on cadets, and, having picked up on this, cadets refuse to enforce standards on each other. The Superintendent refuses to enforce admissions standards or the cadet Honor Code, the Dean refuses to enforce academic standards, and the Commandant refuses to enforce standards of conduct and discipline. The end result is a sort of malaise that pervades the entire institution. Nothing matters anymore. Cadets know this, and it has given rise to a level of cadet arrogance and entitlement the likes of which West Point has never seen in its history...."

From "Exclusive: Former West Point professor’s letter exposes corruption, cheating and failing standards [Full letter]" (American Military News).

151 comments:

Amadeus 48 said...

I read this slack-jawed. This is not West Point...it can't be!
Then I thought: OBAMA. And it all makes sense.

Fernandinande said...

Wild guess based on nothing - "diversity".

TreeJoe said...

Holy shit if this is accurate. And if this is happening at West Point, you can imagine the broader state of our armed services - as seen in what's happening with the 7th fleet.

Ann Althouse said...

Just made a new tag: West Point.

Applied it retrospectively. A lot of work!

Big Mike said...

As I recollect, Sandra Day O'Connor cast the deciding vote in favor of retaining affirmative action because the military convinced her that it was necessary for diversity. Now we discover that along with affirmative action we need to jettison standards. Is there a point where we decide as a nation that we are paying too high a price for the great god diversity?

Larry J said...

Obama wanted to fundamentally change America. The destruction of West Point as an institution is as good a place as any to start. Ultimately, that will gut the Army. Now, the real question is whether this is also happening at the other service academies.

If the allegations in this letter are true, SecDef Mattis needs to clean house at West Point. The careers of those who run the institution need to come to an abrupt end.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, never think we don't appreciate your hard work.

Nonapod said...

This is terribly sad.

Corruption is a parasitic organism, it thrives when its host does nothing and remains complicit. If it's not removed, it's a Parasitoid (a parasite that kills its host). I hope the corruption can be removed and the host saved.

Big Mike said...

I agree with Amadeus and with Larry J. Barack Obama broke a lot of things that Donald Trump needs to fix. He won't manage to fix everything, and he won't always manage to fix things back the way they were before Obama broke them, but he deserves our fullest support for trying and our applause whenever he succeeds.

rcocean said...

Just wow. Loved the line about turning West Point into a 3rd rate liberal arts college.

The real question is: "Who's to blame" - Obviously the West Point Superintendent, but he's probably getting pressured by someone else to graduate x number of cadets, no matter what. And there are "unofficial" female/minority quotas too that must be met.

I was shocked when a not-to-be-named Left-wing Blogging-head was given a teaching gig at West Point. Now I know why.

Assrat said...

Sad to hear this. Hope the damage can be undone.

BillyTalley said...

Long March through the Institutions, achievement level: unlocked.

sykes.1 said...

The blog "In from the Cold" (now apparently on leave) documented the very many cases of misconduct (including cheating on competency exams), incompetence and carelessness handling nuclear weapons (including one unauthorized transport across country in a B52) in both our missile and bomber forces. CMDR Salamander also has posted on reduced or eliminated training in ship handling for naval officers (four ships out of service in last year) and the ongoing imposition of PC fetishes on servicemen to the detriment of their work. And, of course, for many decades promotion to flag rank has depended on political connections rather than the quality of one's professional duties.

The rot might go back to the Korean War; it was surely evident in the latter stages of the Vietnamese War. And one has to wonder how much dishonesty and incompetence in the officer corps has contributed to our numerous failures in the MENA, Afghanistan and sub-saharan Africa. We have been "fighting" in Somalia since the winter of 92/93, 25 years. Just how much butt-covering and lying has happened in those theaters.

This stuff matters, especially considering the neocon drum beat for military action against Iran and Korea and in the Ukraine. An incompetent, untrustworthy military is a real threat to American liberties. Just ask any South American. It can also get tens of thousands of American servicemen killed.

But it is only part of the wider scourge of corruption and incompetence throughout our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. After Ruby Ridge and Waco, and now possibly Las Vegas, does anyone believe anything said by the FBI or any other agency.

The Weinstein scandal seems to be the norm for the entire Ruling Class.

Earnest Prole said...

The military is one of the last institutions Americans still have faith in. But in the past three years there's been the Air Force nuclear cheating scandal, Navy warships plowing into merchant vessels in the open ocean, and now this news about the Army. All indicate the rot is deep. We are screwed.

rcocean said...

The Armed Forces - as a percentage of the total population - are probably smaller then they've ever been since 1940. You would think that would result in higher standards and more selective recruitment.

I guess not.

West Point used to be an incredibly elite school. When Eisenhower graduated in 1915, the entire senior class was only 157 men.

Hari said...

The president should fire the Superintendent of West Point.

Gordon said...

Once upon a time 30 years ago I was an Air Force NCO. The next shop over had an E-4 Senior Airman, who had been an Air Force Academy cadet. He had been asked an uncomfortable question and had hesitated for a few seconds before answering. That is defined as "quibbling" in the academy's honor code. Because he had not outright lied, he was not dismissed. Instead he was spending two years as an enlisted guy. If he got throught that all right, he would be allowed to return to the academy to complete his education and be commissioned as an officer.

We had some discussions about honor. It was important, to him.

Ah, well, so much more important to make sure transgender felons get their surgery, hey?

rhhardin said...

Honor codes are patriarchical. Guys' rules.

mccullough said...

Petraues went to West Point. The standards were low then, too. Honor and integrity are individual attributes learned at an early age.

Amadeus 48 said...

I think the Navy has a lot of the same issues. That two of our fastest, most maneuverable ships were hit by freighters this year says worlds about seamanship, readiness, and accountability. When I was in the Navy in the seventies no skipper would allow his ship to be put in danger of a collision because it was a career-ender, and there were lots of men aboard to post as look-outs. The Navy just sacked the skipper and the EO of the McCain, but you wonder how they got up the chain of command in the first place.
But I am sure they got high marks for fostering diversity in their efficiency reports.

Yech.

Robert Cook said...

"The military is one of the last institutions Americans still have faith in."

Really? You really think this?

Darrell said...

The Left took over West Point.
Shut it down.

William said...

Patreaus went to West Point.

Says it all.

M Jordan said...

I’m gonna be honest: all these retired generals who show up on TV give me the feeling the West Points and Anapolises haven’t been producing top minds for some time. And these generals surrounding Trump aren’t that inpressive either.

YoungHegelian said...

@RC,

"The military is one of the last institutions Americans still have faith in."

Really? You really think this?


Yep, and the support numbers for the military are amazingly high.

As always, YMMV.

Earnest Prole said...

Really? You really think this?

Why yes, yes I do.

Gallup has famously polled this question since the mid-seventies. Their surveys are how we know Americans truly hate Congress and the press. Brush up on the numbers and then get back to me.

Michael in ArchDen said...

Robert Cook asked
You really think this?
The data supports that thought.
http://news.gallup.com/poll/1597/confidence-institutions.aspx

The don't have much faith in Congress or labor unions, but they do have confidence in our service men and women.

mockturtle said...

If true, this could explain a lot regarding the decline in military leadership.

Fritz said...

Wait 'til they take a look at the Naval Academy.

mockturtle said...

Like law enforcement organizations, military institutions are on our payroll and therefore we the people are responsible for their behavior. I hope heads will roll due to public outrage. The hell with Weinstein and the Hollywood scandals, this is serious!

Gahrie said...

Yep, and the support numbers for the military are amazingly high.

that is generally support for the members of the military. If the question referred to "the leadership of the military" I suspect that the results would be different.

Bay Area Guy said...

Hold the leadership responsible, start enforcing standards, start kicking folks out.

Jupiter said...

Big Mike said...
"Is there a point where we decide as a nation that we are paying too high a price for the great god diversity?"

Well, no. The whole point of "diversity" is to destroy the nation. "We as a nation" are never going to decide that diversity has to go. That train has left the station. We as a tribe, maybe.

Mike Sylwester said...

I served in the US Air Force for 14 years and ended in the rank of major. When I was a captain, I served for a while in a detachment with another captain who had graduated from the USAF Academy. I myself had been commissioned through Officer Training School, and I was very surprised at this Academy graduate's bad attitude toward the USAF. He wanted to get out of the USAF, and soon he did get out.

So, I know from my own experience that the military academies teach some people who do have or will have bad attitudes.

In any large group of 19-year-olds, it's likely that a few will socialist or even communist teachings. That is not the institution's fault. Rather, it is a common consequence of youth.

When I myself was about 19 years old, I became a fervent pacifist. I turned in my draft card and applied for conscientious-objector status. I told my parents they should refuse to pay taxes, which funded military activities.

In the following years, I changed my mind, and eventually I joined the USAF when I was 26 years old.

Jupiter said...

Of course, as Cookie keeps pointing out, the only reason we have the military we do is that Woodrow Wilson decided to teach other nations how to run their affairs, and subsequent presidents have followed his lead. We don't send ships, planes, tanks and men all over the globe to "protect our freedom". We do it for other reasons, that are harder to articulate, let alone defend.

Jupiter said...

Certainly, Lieutenant Rapone finds them indefensible.

TerriW said...

I'm gonna guess Starship Troopers isn't on the reading list there.

Khesanh 0802 said...

It boils down to leadership. Much as I would like to I can't lay the blame only on Obama. I think the rot probably started with the Clinton administration. The Clintons were never big fans of the military and this affected the promotion cycle. Bush was a military fan, but I wonder if he paid a lot of attention to the general health of the military vs. the short range goals in the ME. Obama, we know, based military promotion on important things like anti-carbon orthodoxy, treatment of gays and transgenders, and other politically correct attitudes. Think about the effect the Bergdahl case would have on the military - apparent public approval of a deserter. The military seems to go through cycles of organizational problems. Certainly it took a good amount of time to recover from the rot resulting from VN. (As McMaster writes the rot then started right at the top with the JCS.) Obviously, if this letter is indicative, West Point and most likely the other service academies need a good house cleaning. They are certainly more apt to get it with Trump as president than they would have with Clinton. Another reason to be grateful!

Earnest Prole said...

If the question referred to "the leadership of the military" I suspect that the results would be different.

The polling is on "the military as an institution." It's not a question about individual members of the military.

Robert Cook said...

"Is there a point where we decide as a nation that we are paying too high a price for the great god diversity?"

More important, is there a point where we decide as a nation that we are paying too high a price for our military and for our empire?

Kelley Scott said...

As a grad (1988), this news is chilling - I hope it's not true, but I feel in my heart it is. To those who point to the generals that the rot has been going on for a long time, to make it to the star level requires as much politics as a Senate campaign. Look at those who left the service as junior officers and became solid members of their communities as true examples of our principles. The backlash from the alumni has been so severe that the Supe sent a letter to all alumni that an investigation is underway, and that there will be full transparency once it is complete. I hope we get a faithful accounting, but I'm not holding my breath, although I am withholding my donations

mockturtle said...

More important, is there a point where we decide as a nation that we are paying too high a price for our military and for our empire?

Hope not.

Robert Cook said...

"We don't send ships, planes, tanks and men all over the globe to 'protect our freedom.' We do it for other reasons, that are harder to articulate, let alone defend."

They're not hard to articulate, but they're certainly hard to defend. We do it to aggrandize our global power and wealth, and our access to or control of resources, as is true of every empire. Every empire eventually overextended themselves and collapsed from corruption and the inability to maintain that which they had wrought.

holdfast said...

HBO is running some special where they are embedded with the US Naval Academy football team. They interview players who sound like sub-literate clods. I wonder how good they will be at handling a destroyer at night in a few years? Or do they just plan to make all the dummies into Marine 2nd Lieutenants?

Earnest Prole said...

It's fun treat this news as a domestic cultural-political punch line -- West Point is screwed, thanks Obama! -- but it goes far deeper than a single president, and the implications are truly life-and-death. All it takes is a single mistake or act of sabotage in the right place to set the world on fire.

mockturtle said...

The backlash from the alumni has been so severe that the Supe sent a letter to all alumni that an investigation is underway, and that there will be full transparency once it is complete. I hope we get a faithful accounting, but I'm not holding my breath, although I am withholding my donations

Hope this is true, Kelley. I will contact my Congressional representatives and urge them to help expedite the investigation.

Hagar said...

After WWII and Korea a lot of guys left the military that it would have been well if they had stayed in, and a lot of guys stayed in that it would have been well if hey had left, and Viet Nam resulted.
I think some guys then worked long and hard to rebuild the military officer corps and did a good job of it.
Now it sounds as if we may be in for another cycle.

mockturtle said...

Cookie asserts: Every empire eventually overextended themselves and collapsed from corruption and the inability to maintain that which they had wrought.

The British Empire could have been maintained but the social pressure to grant independence became stronger than the will to do so.

robother said...

People who play it straight are no longer in charge of many public institutions. Survival at every level in such institutions demands that you either become one of the cynical players yourself, or, if crippled by conscience, that you keep your head down and your mouth closed.

I guess a high trust culture and meritocracy are just another evil white male thing.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Amadeus 48 said...
I read this slack-jawed. This is not West Point...it can't be!
Then I thought: OBAMA. And it all makes sense."

Remember a few years back when some female Army commander was making male soldiers march in high heels? To teach them - well, what exactly? What was the point of that stupid exercise except to humiliate the young men under her charge?

That was when I first realized how far and deep the PC rot had spread.

The left ruins everything it touches - the NFL, the Boy Scouts, Hollywood - and the military, which is far more important.

Colonel Mustard said...

Most people equate military leadership with uniformed members in positions of authority. The fact is the nature of the military is determined by the SECDEF and Secretaries of the individual services... all are politically appointed.

Senior uniformed members, regardless of personal views, are ever mindful of the agendas of their civilian bosses.

That said, it is a wonder to me that Mattis is not draining the military leadership swamp. Then again, he too rose in the same system.

Richard said...

"HBO is running some special where they are embedded with the US Naval Academy football team. They interview players who sound like sub-literate clods. I wonder how good they will be at handling a destroyer at night in a few years? Or do they just plan to make all the dummies into Marine 2nd Lieutenants?"

Get your priorities straight. The important thing is that they are ranked #25 in the nation.

Scott McGlasson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

If this guy was a real communist, we would not have heard of him until he surfaced later in his career in a much more serious way.
This is more "Antifa" or "Rebel Without a Cause" stuff. I suspect he was sent to the Academy by a forceful father with "connections," and being rather a weakling, he reacted in this way rather than just leaving home annd striking out on his own.
The problem is not this guy, but that he passed the entrance exams and was tolerated at the Academy all this time.

MaxedOutMama said...

And in summation, when voters and average people look at The Powers That Be, and conclude that they are corrupt and self-dealing, they are correct.

There have been so many examples. The VA. The IRS misdoings. HRC's failure to comply with Records and security regs. Fast and Furious. Benghazi. One can go on and on and on, but the point is that what's written on paper does not apply to those in power. We all know it. It is very hard not to think about the Weimar Republic.

And of course, this sort of thing explains why the "Deplorable" meme did not work against Trump. We may not find him the most admirable character around, but is he really that deplorable compared to all the Deplorables we know about in public life? Somewhat less than many, I would say. And the point is that he is not embedded in their network of corruption and self-dealing to the same extent, so he is a safer bet.

I think that the Salt Lake City Detective Thug thing only shocked people so much because it was done at a lower level. We all know that national institutions are already deplorable - and that when their deplorable dealings are exposed, it is seldom that those involved actually lose their jobs.

We trust in nothing, and we are right to do so. We look at our national leadership with disdain, and we have grounds for that attitude.

MaxedOutMama said...

Amadeus - no, one can't blame this just on Obama. I agree that his administration did not shine on the ethics front, but this is a cultural decay that could not exist without a wider basis.

Scott McGlasson said...

Really? You really think this?

Really? You really don't think this? Just how strong is the tensile strength of the bubble you live in?

holdfast said...

@Richard - Football can be good for developing camaraderie and teamwork, and boosting morale. When it starts to effect a Service Academy's mission, then it either has to go or be scaled back.

Sally327 said...

It's the millennials. And the Gen-Zers (the iGen). If you work with any, then you know what I mean. They have their own expectations of the world, of themselves, of other people, they see it all very differently.

I've realized that I can expect them to be like me, my generation (late Baby Boomer), or accept that they couldn't be that even if they wanted to because their experiences, how they were raised is completely different and I am the one who must adapt. How that conclusion translates into what would be workable at a military academy I'm not sure but I'm fairly confident that what won't happen is a return to how it used to be, I don't care how many old fogeys write damning letters.

Jonny Scrum-half said...

Does anyone here get tired of the BS? It's ridiculous to claim that until now (or I guess until Obama) the standards at West Point were inviolate. Has anyone ever heard of the cheating scandals in 1951 and 1976? The hazing scandal of the late 1800s?

Please, stop pretending that standards have gone to hell. People are fallible, no less or more than ever before.

Khesanh 0802 said...

@holdfast Your typical ensign (remember Ensign Pulver?) has a lot less responsibility than a Marine Second Lieutenant leading a rifle platoon. You'd better hope that the good guys are being sent to the Marines because there are a lot of people who can cover his ass when an Ensign screws up; when a rifle platoon commander screws up good Marines die.

holdfast said...

To have a scandal implies that at least someone cares.

The "scandal" here seems to be that nobody cares at all.

I mean, just look at Rapone's hair - he doesn't even look like the other cadets.

Kirk Parker said...

Cookie,

Take a trip to flyover land sometime.

mockturtle,

"The British Empire could have been maintained but the social pressure to grant independence became stronger than the will to do so."

The British Empire should have been maintained (and damn Monty, partition of India was a complete disaster) but the EXPENSE became greater than the will to do so could bear.



MOM:

"We may not find him the most admirable character around, but is he really that deplorable compared to all the Deplorables we know about in public life? "

As long as he's pointing the flamethrower in the right direction, on he is not, in our estimation!

holdfast said...

@Khesanh - Yes and no. An ensign probably has a lot more day-to-day supervision, but if he's the junior officer of the deck, and the senior watchstander is not paying attention or dealing with another problem, the that JOOD can still crash a $billion Burke class destroyer into a cargo ship.

Also, while being a platoon leader involves a lot of responsibility and man-management (EQ and attention to detail), it is not technically that difficult, compared to running complicated shipboard sensor and weapon suites.

Andrew X said...

DID EVERY ADULT IN WHAT WE ONCE CALLED CHRISTENDOM DIE ONE DAY A DECADE AGO AND NOBODY FREEKING NOTICED?!?!?!

I mean seriously.... DUBBAYOO - TEE - EFF!?!?!

Oso Negro said...

It would be pleasant to believe that there remains a public institution dedicated to developing young people that retains some standards. It is difficult, though. Either negroes can't hack it intellectually, women aren't physically up to it, or it is too hard for the millenials to show up.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

"More important, is there a point where we decide as a nation that we are paying too high a price for our military and for our empire?"

No price is too high to bear to have enough helicopters available to throw every Communist cheerleading cunt like Cooktard to their deaths.

I wish that the starving victims of Cook and his fellow travelers in Venezeula could get their hands on him instead of cats.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Jonny Scrum-half said...
Does anyone here get tired of the BS? It's ridiculous to claim that until now (or I guess until Obama) the standards at West Point were inviolate. Has anyone ever heard of the cheating scandals in 1951 and 1976? The hazing scandal of the late 1800s?"

I don't think anybody is saying West Point was perfect until Obama was elected. It's a matter of degree. Do you think a Communist cadet would have been able to operate openly at WP in 1955 or 1985 or even 1995?

Daniel Jackson said...

This is far from new. The military, especially the navy, has been home to fools and idiots throughout history. Battles tend to sort out the posers at the expense of the rank and file.

I went through the process of becoming an officer and a gentleman via the aegis of Kings Point, the majority of whose ranks are made up of those refused at the other four service academies. I entered full of hope of continuing the maritime tradition in my family in the merchant service. Instead of seamanship, I was thrust under the thumb of the class rates system and the command of a vast array of posers there because they had political connections and could pull off an appointment.

In fact, it is this appointment system whereby a candidate must receive a congressional by-your-leave to enter the corps, one can see how the qualities to enter such a system are not based on talent or aptitude; rather a rather repulsive class system.

I left the academy but continued to work in the merchant marine in one capacity or another, on deck, heaving lines, chipping paint, and studying celestial navigation throughout my career in gradual school and university teaching.

LYNNDH said...

Eight years of a anti military idijt gets you this and Naval ships that crash. What a mess.

Bay Area Guy said...

Was enlisted in the Navy in the 80s. Standards among the rank and file was pretty damn high back then. At least, that's my rough recollection. Ronnie Reagan was prez, and well beloved.

I recall walking the streets of Tokyo in uniform, and feeling pretty safe. Japanese kids on the subway often approached me with smiles, gave me candy.

Sometime in the past 35 years, I think that goodwill has eroded. My rough understanding is that it is discouraged to wear your uniform off base in foreign lands.

As for the Officer Corps, well, they just bossed me around, but they seemed pretty damn squared away.

I think culture standards IN GENERAL (clothing, dating, language, etc) have gone downhill in the past 3 decades, so it doesn't surprise me that it has also hit West Point.

Need to fire some brass, need to clean out the rat nests.

The Drill SGT said...

holdfast said...
Also, while being a platoon leader involves a lot of responsibility and man-management (EQ and attention to detail), it is not technically that difficult, compared to running complicated shipboard sensor and weapon suites.


ah no.

The situational awareness required of a 2LT in combat or in a peacetime live fire exercise is overwhelming. Start with not having slept in 24 hours, have rounds zinging, popping and hissing overhead. 6 people talking on the radio at you including 4 subordinates, your boss, the fires guys and maybe, your bosses boss. your group of 40 are moving randomly. some you want firing are moving. Some you want moving are firing. hopefully not at each other.

"Everything in war is simple, but battle, the simplest thing is very difficult"

- von Clausewitz

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"Wait 'til they take a look at the Naval Academy."

I know two midshipman who are anything but soft, stupid, and undisciplined. If they say Annapolis is almost unbearably rigorous, I'm inclined to believe them.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Jonny Scrum-half said...
Does anyone here get tired of the BS?


So...all good, then?

Nevermind?

Big Mike said...

Really? You really think this?

@Cookie, please keep in mind that you're only technically an American.

Ralph L said...

Did anyone read the LTC's sworn affidavit about Rapone? It's ridiculous the amount of disrespect he accepted. He must have known the brass wouldn't have supported him if Rapone complained further up.

The football teams are used to keep the diversity numbers up. True in a lot of other colleges.

The Drill SGT said...

WRT the piece written by the USMA LTC, note he served two tours. 06-09 and 13-17. He notes that things were much worse the second time. I was a math Prof in the Army for 3 years. Mostly at the the USMA Prep School and a rotation at USMA.

I suspect that the rot comes in two types. One being the top down destructive PC BS that got worse during the Obama years. But as one poster mentioned was present in the Clinton period. The other is more institutionally generated, though it does have some top down AA drivers.

Cadets come from 5 sources.
1. Presidential appointments (MOH kids)
2. Congressional appointments. The quality here used to be mized, but over the years, most Congresspersons have settled on a standard approach. Appoint 3-5 USMA grads in the district to a board. Make it a bit diverse. take applicants and use the board to screen, rank and give you 2 keepers. You pick the primary, the other kid is the alternate
3. Athletes USMA wants but who lack the basic skills
4. Minorities USMA wants (in my day, this also included women)
5. bright Army enlisted kids (boarded and screened)

Most of your issues start with groups 3-5. Academic weaknesses drive lowering standards. and create some cadets who are protected. This protection demoralizes the rest and bleeds into the discipline arena.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...
"The military is one of the last institutions Americans still have faith in."

Really? You really think this?

Americans put faith in honor and virtue. Two things that leftists make an effort to destroy. The Military has been a last bastion of sorts from the left.

The NCO corp is still solid. Some end up in DC and E9's are a weird lot to start with. But the 5-8's can still be counted on completely. I have been pointing out the Officer ranks have been sliding for a while. They need to cut ties with the university system completely.

Americans are learning what the left really is. They are seeing the left infest and destroy every institution they are a part of. DC, cities, bureaucracies, the media, planned parenthood, Hollywood are all infested with amoral shitheads who want to tell other people what to do. Now they have infested West Point and there is cheating, corruption, and an elimination of standards.

Corruption is the primary effect of leftist dogma. It doesn't follow them. They generate it as a matter of course.

Ralph L said...

My rough understanding is that it is discouraged to wear your uniform off base in foreign lands.
In the 70's, they wore their uniforms only once a week--in the Pentagon. Reversed by Reagan.

Bay Area Guy said...

If the army focus has shifted from training and forming good men to fight and win wars to:

diversity quotas
homosexual sensitivity training
transgender acceptance seminars
obesity management classes
female combat unit equality courses

..then, well, the Army is on the same downward path as the major universities and other leftist segments of our culture.

The Left causes rot in everything it touches.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard said...

Blogger holdfast said...
@Richard - Football can be good for developing camaraderie and teamwork, and boosting morale. When it starts to effect a Service Academy's mission, then it either has to go or be scaled back.

I should not have left off my sarcasm tag.

TwilightofLiberty.com said...

Very interesting thread with lots of insightful comments.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Well, leadership over the past few years has been seeing examples of others in their positions/similar positions having their careers sacrificed on the altar of political correctness when they speak up about something, or when they take an action that goes counter to that general philosophy, and the sacrifice accomplishes nothing. So they can stick their head up and get whacked, with nothing to show for it, or they can keep their heads down and (presumably) try to use their position to limit the damage.

And there are those (what percentage?) who take advantage of it for personal gain – it would certainly be easy to surf that wave if you’re so inclined.

USNA grad; I've been retired from the Navy for 20 years - unfortunately, my observations from a distance is that this is not just a West Point issue.

Rumpletweezer said...

I'm imagining a world in which we mind our own business and let the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians do whatever they want.

Jim at said...

"Every empire eventually overextended themselves and collapsed from corruption and the inability to maintain that which they had wrought."

No. They collapsed from within.
With people like you leading the charge. Gleefully.

Robert Cook said...

Achilles,

You can say the military is a bastion of honorable virtues that is being destroyed by "the left," (as if) if this is what you want to believe, (or have us believe). However, my oldest friend of 54 years, who I've known since third grade, was in the Air Force active duty for 12 years and in the reserves for another 8. He just retired last year as a civilian employee from the same job he had done and at the same base where he'd worked while in the service. He had worked at that base at that job for a combined total of nearly 40 years.

He told me from the start of his time in the military (1975) of all the bullshit, blame-shifting and scapegoating he saw in the military, and how fuck-ups at whatever level are always shifted lower down the chain until blame reaches the lowest level it can reach and can be shifted no lower.

The truth is, the military is just another large, hierarchical, bureaucratic organization of people, and is rife with the same incompetence, opportunism, and corruption as any other large, hierarchical institution.

Ralph L said...

I'm imagining a world in which we mind our own business and let the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians do whatever they want.

This was Obama's anti-colonialism dream from his father.
Like Kaepernick, he rejected the whiteness of the family that raised him, for a polygamist drunken socialist failure.

EDH said...

After the NFL, Trump should open a new front in the culture wars at the service academies.

Robert Cook said...

"'Every empire eventually overextended themselves and collapsed from corruption and the inability to maintain that which they had wrought.'

"No. They collapsed from within."


Yes...as I said, because they overextended themselves, were rife with corruption, and could no longer maintain that which they had wrought.

"With people like you leading the charge."

No, in fact, often with people like Trump in charge, the decadent, over-privileged rotten fruit of a long process of decline.

Jupiter said...

Rumpletweezer said...
"I'm imagining a world in which we mind our own business and let the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians do whatever they want."

The Russians and Chinese are one thing. If the Norks and the Mullahs are allowed to do what they want, the only business we'll be minding is burying our dead.

Robert Cook said...

"'I'm imagining a world in which we mind our own business and let the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and Iranians do whatever they want.'

"This was Obama's anti-colonialism dream from his father."


You must have been asleep for 8 years. Obama was just as much an interventionist in the affairs of other nations as his predecessors. Obama was one more of a series of loyal vassals to the military/corporate/intelligence state. Any differences between Obama, the Bushes, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, etc., were cosmetic. They all served the same purposes and masters.

gregq said...

Amadeus 48 said...
I read this slack-jawed. This is not West Point...it can't be!
Then I thought: OBAMA. And it all makes sense.

I thought that too.

But the rot was there during his first term teaching 2006 - 2009.

I think the key is the fact that most of the students he mentions getting away with things are "she". Remember how important it was to get women in the military?

But, let's be clear. Yes, there are scumbag politicians pushing the military whenever a woman or "skin color minority" has a problem with the Chain of Command. So what?

If the "leaders" of the military aren't willing to stand up to domestic politicians, how can we possibly believe they'll be willing to stand up to an enemy that's shooting at them?

This is, first and foremost, a tale of failure of military leadership.

gregq said...

rcocean said...

The real question is: "Who's to blame" - Obviously the West Point Superintendent, but he's probably getting pressured by someone else to graduate x number of cadets, no matter what. And there are "unofficial" female/minority quotas too that must be met.

So freaking what? Poor baby, he's being "pressured". Does he need a "stress card"?

Yes, the pressuring politicians are wrong, and evil, and bad. But the "military leadership" that's utterly devoid of any shred of moral courage is worse. Fire them all

Khesanh 0802 said...

@Drill Sgt You saved me from shouting at holdfast. Thanks.

@holdfast A junior ensign doesn't run the "sensors and weapons suites" the enlisted men (sailors) do that. The jr. Ensign if he is smart watches, learns and keeps his mouth shut. Highly unlikely that he has permission to initiate any action with out clearing it with someone more senior. That's why he is JOOD.

The Drill SGT does a good job of describing part of the environment an infantry Second Lieutenant has to operate in. He left out things like mud, incoming fire, dealing with wounded, obtaining the objective. No junior Ensign has that kind of responsibility under those kinds of conditions. (I have nothing against Navy Ensigns. Swabby officers have to start somewhere. And where would the Marines be without someone to drive them where they need to go?)

Mike Sylwester said...

An institution of higher education can enroll a few students who are poorly qualified. As long as it's just a few, then they have to accommodate themselves to the institution, and the institution can give them special help to bring them discretely along.

Now, however, our institutions are enrolling too many such students and are coddling them too much. Now the institutions are accommodating themselves to the unqualified students. The institutions are being blamed for so much academic failure and are being manipulated and taken over by uncultured, uncivil thugs.

All this dysfunction is being abetted by the administrators who specialize in coaching unqualified students how to blame the institution.

Since the military likewise has been enrolling too many unqualified students, the same dysfunction is happening there too.

gbarto said...

Mockturtle: The British empire collapsed from within. Calling it social pressure for independence ignores a) loss of faith in what the British empire stood for and b) loss of appetite for the military commitments. Any decent history of "The Great Game" and Britain's lack of appetite for holding Afghanistan presages this loss of resolve.

Tarrou said...

Better stop it now, before it infects the soldiery!

Khesanh 0802 said...

@gbarto and MockTurtle My impression of the end of the British Empire has always been that a bankrupt Great Britain after WWII did not have the funds needed to control what was left of the Empire so recognizing reality let it devolve into the Commonwealth of Nations. They essentially had no choice, and unlike France they were smart enough to know it. Certainly anti-colonial sentiments had something to do with it, but it was mostly about economics.

David Baker said...

I have an idea; let girls into West Point.

David said...

Yikes! and 3x Yikes!

A few thoughts:

1. Nearly all comments assume that the letter is an accurate portrayal. That shows how low our confidence in our educational and governmental institutions has become. Nevertheless I think we need to learn more to see how deep this actually is.
2. Navy has been beating the crap out of Army in football for a decade. If West Point is admitting academically unqualified athletes, they are doing a piss poor job of it.
3. If true, this has to have been known by senior military officers and top level civilians. Perhaps not the president, if you can believe that, because who would tell him?
4. If true, this needs to be addressed immediately by the chain of command. Have all the commissions and hearings you want, but act now and analyze later.
5. Academic rigor above all else has to return at all levels of our educational system. Good luck with that.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

Gbarto: While there was little or no will to maintain the empire, there was considerable propaganda and pressure--much of it from the US--to relinquish colonies. And only when the UK became a welfare state did economics become the main issue.

My late husband was thoroughly British and this is his theory. YMMV.

Ralph L said...

You must have been asleep for 8 years
I said "dream", not the few actual things he did, largely from pressure. He wasn't as feckless as Bill C, but he was POTUS in a more unsettled and dangerous time. Most of the big things he did reduced our power and influence, helping to destroy Libya and Syria and embolden ISIS, Iran, and NK.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...
Achilles,

...

The truth is, the military is just another large, hierarchical, bureaucratic organization of people, and is rife with the same incompetence, opportunism, and corruption as any other large, hierarchical institution.

The truth is the military is made of of humans who are by definition imperfect. The difference is how corruption was treated before vs. how it is treated now. Not everyone is able to live up to the standards in any institution.

The difference between the Army before and the left is the army had standards for honor and virtue and worked to uphold those standards. The left came in and replaced honor and virtue and clear standards with diversity and tolerance and corruption.

In the end it is about freedom. We all know people are imperfect. The left just uses that imperfection to degrade the human condition and weaken the people. A free society requires a polity that is made up of people with virtue. People who will do the right thing when nobody is watching. A people who can be armed and take care of itself.

The left tries to destroy virtue because the left is at every step an enemy of freedom.

brylun said...

I was in the military about 45 years ago. If I read the professor’s letter correctly the decline in standards began 10 years ago under the Bush administration. President Trump, please drain the swamp!

Achilles said...

David Baker said...
I have an idea; let girls into West Point.

You are a naughty naughty man.

holdfast said...

The situational awareness required of a 2LT in combat or in a peacetime live fire exercise is overwhelming. Start with not having slept in 24 hours, have rounds zinging, popping and hissing overhead. 6 people talking on the radio at you including 4 subordinates, your boss, the fires guys and maybe, your bosses boss. your group of 40 are moving randomly. some you want firing are moving. Some you want moving are firing. hopefully not at each other.

That's not the same thing as being really IQ-smart. A certain baseline intelligence is required, but beyond that it's a combination of training, instinct and native ability. Some really smart people will never develop the ability to handle the multi-tasking and stress involved in what you're describing. On the flipside, people who were pretty meh in academics turn out to have a real flair for that sort of thing. Training helps, but some folks will never have it.

Maneuvering a ship at night, on the other hand, is a lot less chaotic(unless you're fucking it up) but requires certain very precise technical skills that you can't fake.

Unclebiffy said...

For those believing that this was an Obama era problem, I'm afraid this problem was prevelent well before his arrival. The Army has been congresses social experiment ever since I joined in the early 80's. I spent 21 years in the USAR and the consistent lowering of standards in an effort to achieve certain social ideals was extremely detrimental to the effectiveness of the military.

If you tried to apply the clear, written standards to certain soldiers not only would you be forced to stop but in many cases attacked like the LTC describes in his letter. This resulted in marginal soldiers deciding why bother trying, there is no consequence for poor performance. Many exceptional officers and NCOs just left. They had opportunities elsewhere where they wouldn't have to deal with the nonsense.

I have always held West Point in high regard and , if the description of the state of the Academy is accurate, I hope the alumni are able to force a correction.

holdfast said...

Also, regarding my original comments, you're assuming that all 2nd Lts become infantry platoon leaders - I don't think that's correct.

Achilles said...

brylun said...
I was in the military about 45 years ago. If I read the professor’s letter correctly the decline in standards began 10 years ago under the Bush administration. President Trump, please drain the swamp!

I am sure you can trace this back 40 years. This kind of rot is a long term goal. But you can point to concrete steps taken during the Clinton administration.

The flag level officers in peace time have always been more of a political bunch than actual military leaders. The latter are all found out in the field. The former live in DC. The ones that live in DC have been forcing the work in the field into retirement for a while.

When there is no danger sitting at a desk writing diversity memos but you can get fired for dropping a bomb on the wrong house you are going to end up with a predictable result. The left knows exactly what they are doing.

Ralph L said...

Here's LTC Herrington's sworn statement about Cadet Rapone

brylun said...

Where is Yalie Sasse on this issue? He appears to be part of the swamp, even though newly elected. The people of Nebraska, what did you do?

Achilles said...

holdfast said...
Also, regarding my original comments, you're assuming that all 2nd Lts become infantry platoon leaders - I don't think that's correct.

When I was in only the ones that made it through ranger school ended up being PL's. There are far more jobs for 2lt's checking manifests and ordering supplies and maintaing hum-V's etc than there are for PL's.

While it wasn't as shitty for cadets as it was for batt boys nobody had an easy time getting through that so most PL's are not total losers.

Unclebiffy said...

And as follow up to my last note, the officers and senior NCOs that decide to stay learn not to stick their necks out in certain situations in order to survive. The one's that rise to the top are often officers that can mouth the Army's codes and standards but actively promote the politically correct ideals that often are in direct conflict with those codes.


Char Char Binks said...

The Air Force Prep Academy has a racist-message-board-message problem. We may never know the perp's true motive.

David Baker said...

I have an idea; let girls into the Boy Scouts.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"Maneuvering a ship at night, on the other hand, is a lot less chaotic"

Disagree. Most of the time, it is. But it is every bit as chaotic, arguably more so, at times.

Achilles said...

David Baker said...
I have an idea; let girls into the Boy Scouts.

This may be counter intuitive but this is a good thing for the girls and the boys scouts. The Girls Scouts have turned into an SJW fundraising wing for activism. A lot of parents of girls were asking the Boy Scouts to do this because the leftists infested GSoA and destroyed it.

David Baker said...

"...girls were asking the Boy Scouts to do this because the leftists infested GSoA and destroyed it."

Yes, so stay tuned.

David Baker said...

Btw, I'm not the only one with bright ideas; they let girls into Citadel.

SDaly said...

I'm starting to suspect that diversity does not equal strength.

David Baker said...

They're must be a counter-quote to this: "You're only as strong as your weakest link."

Otherwise, why do we keep creating weak links?

rcocean said...

"A lot of parents of girls were asking the Boy Scouts to do this because the leftists infested GSoA and destroyed it."

And why was the GSoA infested? I'll tell you why, its because women/girls find it impossible to fight effectively against SJW's.

So all these GSoA "girls" will bring their "Lets not fight the SJW's" attitude to the BSA, and help destroy that organization. Just like they destroyed the GSoA.

Jupiter said...

David Baker said...
They're must be a counter-quote to this: "You're only as strong as your weakest link."

"Otherwise, why do we keep creating weak links?"

Good question. One should be enough.

Hari said...

Regardless of whose fault this is, the ultimate responsibility rests with the commander.
The Superintendent of West Point should be relieved of his command.
That is the first step in signaling that once again, officers and cadets will be held accountable.

Khesanh 0802 said...

@holdfast Only the "best" become infantry platoon leaders. Just like in the Navy where the best get sea duty in preparation for command and the rest end up in supply, transport , communications, etc.

Gospace said...

Mike Sylwester said...

In any large group of 19-year-olds, it's likely that a few will socialist or even communist teachings. That is not the institution's fault. Rather, it is a common consequence of youth.


In any large randomly selected group of 19 year old college students, it's likely more then a few will be socialist or communist. Cadets and Midshipmen at the service academies and in ROTC are not a randomly selected group of 19 year old college students. The percentage of true believers in socialism/communism, since they're ultimately the same thing, should be zero, as an absolute number and percent. And any discovered should be weeded out.

Having said that, it's been more than obvious for quite some time that maintaining a competitive Division 1-A football team is a corrupting influence on academics at the service academies. And at every other college in the United States.

On my last visit (last year, I can't make it this year) to Scout Day at Navy Football I discovered a new term- for me- in use by midshipmen. NARP. Naval Academy Regular Person. Referring to midshipmen who are not athletes and not in any protected class. You can figure out who they are by that. Discipline and rules and academic excellence are required of them. The rest, not so much. Never heard the term during my 2½ years there in the late 1970s. Although it was obvious even then athletes got special treatment. Any of these NARPs who in the future make it to leadership positions are NOT going to be very PC. They aren't now, but they're smart enough to know when to keep quiet.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Could have told you this when apparently nothing happened to those black female cadets giving the black power salute.

Mike bruno said...

I have two children. One son at the United States Naval academy, and the other son at the United States Air Force Academy. Both good young men. I pray the nation does not waste them on some meaningless foreign adventure.
And yes, the left marches through the institutions. But the Left is reviled there.

Leland said...

Wait 'til they take a look at the Naval Academy.

I don't know; there has been two high profile collisions recently in which junior officers managing the bridge failed to miss large commercial vessels in sea lanes.

Earnest Prole said...

there has been two high profile collisions recently in which junior officers managing the bridge failed to miss large commercial vessels in sea lanes

You had one job!

Clyde said...

A fish rots from the head. The decline in standards for the would-be cream of the officer corps came from the civilian leadership at the top for the past several years.

Chris N said...

Socialism, get your red hot socialism heah

Say mister, it’s all a sham
A warmongering bunch of Oligarchs?

The falsely conscious ‘Man’

Work in the morning, fish in the afternoons.
Equality...soon.

Socialism! The Musical.

Bob W. said...

I think the author of this letter sounds like a knucklehead. The military as an institution, one could argue, has performed poorly in the last two wars, right? Most of the Army's leadership for those two wars were West Point alumni. It obviously hasn't been producing adaptive leaders over the past few decades. If it is changing, maybe that's a good thing.

Are the newly commissioned lieutenants faring poorly leading American Soldiers on the battlefield? Are they less intelligent, less dedicated? I haven't seen anything written to indicate they were lower quality than lieutenants who graduated, say, in the early 2000s.

The author of this letter is a retired Army officer. He spent a considerable amount of time, while the Army was busy fighting two unpopular wars, parked in West Point. Worrying about what clothes college students were wearing while they were doing their homework.

Freeman Hunt said...

Things fall apart...

Seems like that's what all the things are up to lately.

Ralph L said...

Bob, read my link at 3:12.
Aside from the gross disrespect from a much junior officer (Commiecadet Rapone), there's the fact that Herrington put up with it and felt he needed to make a sworn statement to cover his ass with his superiors.

If officers don't learn obedience to regs and orders when they're young, they can't be trusted with the power of the US military when they're top brass.

Gahrie said...

Regardless of whose fault this is, the ultimate responsibility rests with the commander.
The Superintendent of West Point should be relieved of his command.
That is the first step in signaling that once again, officers and cadets will be held accountable.


It would be even better if he took responsibility and resigned.

The Drill SGT said...

holdfast said...
Also, regarding my original comments, you're assuming that all 2nd Lts become infantry platoon leaders - I don't think that's correct.


Almost all 2LT's become Platoon Leaders of something. Infantry LT, lead infantry. I commanded a Tank Platoon. Maintenance types lead a maintenance section. Etc, Etc.

Bout the only 2LTs that don't lead anything are Pilots. If a junior officer pilot is smart he:

1. listens to the CW3
2. tries not to call the CW3, "Sir"


Global to this entire Cluster F is the universal truth.

In order to successfully give orders, you need to learn to take orders.


Gospace said...

In order to successfully give orders, you need to learn to take orders.

One of those false truisms.

Kevin said...

Your typical ensign (remember Ensign Pulver?) has a lot less responsibility than a Marine Second Lieutenant leading a rifle platoon.

Ha! So we're going to compare the typical Ensign to a Second LT doing not only the toughest job possible in the Marine Corps but doing it in combat to boot?

Seriously, I love my USMC brothers, but this is the equivalent of being in the chow line at sea, overhearing a sailor remark that the sea is getting a little rougher today, and then having the Marine next to him launch into a diatribe about how this doesn't even compare to the worst day of his Marine life.

No one is saying the 2LT platoon leader has it easy, particularly in combat. God love them for what they're dealing with and the consequences thereof.

I would say the Navy equivalent is right now there are Ensigns standing Engineering Officer of the Watch on submarines in the middle of the night as the sole officer responsible for operating the nuclear power plant on a ship submerged under the ocean and hundreds, if not, thousands of miles from the nearest land.

That too is an awesome responsibility. Thankfully both the Ensign and the 2LT both have capable NCO's to help with situational awareness and decision making, and from time to time to steer them away from some of their less wise first thoughts.

Kevin said...

Almost all 2LT's become Platoon Leaders of something.

Some become supply, logistics or staff officers and get a Platoon of paperwork.

Rusty said...

The military acadamy's should not be the places where everyone gets a trophy. Just my opinion.

Bob W. said...

I think this is a right wing nothing burger. The Cadet Rapone thing, too.

Are newly commissioned second lieutenants getting into trouble at a higher rate in the last few years than they did previously? Are they exhibiting cowardice or inability to do their jobs in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan?

I have seen no reports or indications that they are. I cannot recall too many articles talking about how Army lieutenants were failing their soldiers in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan over the past decade, has anyone here? So I think this West Point instructor's open letter is a bunch of crap.

I also suspect, from reading his letter and then the sworn statement, that he was a martinet, a dick that ran around enforcing the petty stupid rules with everyone at West Point more for his own satisfaction than anything else, and that he wasn't respected by his peers. People were probably telling him to watch his lane because they thought he was an asshole. Maybe they didn't take his complaints against then cadet Rapone seriously because of this.

Again, if West Point is changing dramatically right now, I don't see how anyone who wants to have a capable military would think that is a bad thing. The military's leadership, the Army in particular, has been pretty mediocre over the past 16 years. We are not losing wars year after year because new West Point second lieutenants are tweeting about communism and lack discipline.

25 years from now, I want the military to have leaders that can adapt rapidly to whatever threat the U.S. faces. Better than our generals now, most of whom were commissioned in the 1980s, are doing.

I don't think how those future leaders dress while they are doing their homework is really that important in the scheme of things.

Ralph L said...

Yeah Bob, let's have entitled, disobedient generals and admirals

Inkling said...

Coverups have been going on for a long time. In the late eighties, I dated two very smart, very capable young women. Both had been in the Navy. Both had left early on terms they dictated. Both had agreed to not talk about the why—although we know what it was.

One did offer a more general explanation. She said that the Navy often took criminals that some judge had said, "It's either enlist or prison." It says a lot bad that the Navy would not only take such people but put them on ships with women.

So, like I said, the coverups have been going on for a long time. That was almost thirty years ago. An entire culture of coverup must be in place by now, one perhaps not that different from Hollywood.

greyniffler said...

"No, in fact, often with people like Trump in charge, the decadent, over-privileged rotten fruit of a long process of decline."

Trump may have had an easy, decadent life, but he's gotten a lot done and driven a lot of hard bargains. He's seen the political class from a developer's perspective. To a politician, a developer is a source of money, a useful scapegoat, and a lower form of life who works instead of giving speeches to get elected. And also a tool to be used for social engineering.
Trump thrived in that environment. That says he's got brains and iron.

Dewage Ex Machina said...

I'm reminded of a quote from Richard Fernandez' old "Belmont Club" blog, where one of the commenters observed that:
"Are we to mourn that the Kingdom of Education has been divided into the duchy's of Race and Gender?"

Rusty said...

"I also suspect, from reading his letter and then the sworn statement, that he was a martinet, a dick that ran around enforcing the petty stupid rules with everyone at West Point more for his own satisfaction than anything else, and that he wasn't respected by his peers."

But that's the kind of asshole you want to be running a national military academy. Yeah. To you and me it's bullshit. But to the corps of cadets it's tradition and discipline. Every waking hour they're on their game. It might not mean so much to most of the graduates that are going to wind up as staff officers, but to that 5% that are going to wind up leading other young men and women into danger. There isn't any room for just getting by, or just fuck it we'll rest now.
That bullshit and those assholes are the price they pay to get into the game. You don't want to put up with the traditions and the discipline? Don't go.

Bob W. said...

Rusty,

I think a guy like mr. Open Letter Writer is the absolute wrong type of person this country needs working at a taxpayer-funded military academy. The traditions at West Point were in full force during the late 70s and 80s, when the Generals who have led the military through our recent wars attended; how did that turn out?

The purpose of West Point is to produce leaders. I don't think harassing college students while they are studying for tests or doing their homework is a critical component of that.

I went to a state university and never had anyone harassing me about what I was wearing while I was studying. I wore mostly sweatpants and was frequently hung over, btw. I have somehow survived 26+ years of military service, and four combat tours, two of them as a commander. I'd rather see the academies focus on leadership and education. Which I think in the case of West Point, it is.



Bad Lieutenant said...

I think a guy like mr. Open Letter Writer is the absolute wrong type of person this country needs working at a taxpayer-funded military academy. The traditions at West Point were in full force during the late 70s and 80s, when the Generals who have led the military through our recent wars attended; how did that turn out?

OK, one vote for Bill Murray in Stripes.



I went to a state university and never had anyone harassing me about what I was wearing while I was studying. I wore mostly sweatpants and was frequently hung over, btw.

And...you are the very model of a modern major general? You sound rather a sad sack, to me.