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Opinion: ‘Duty, Honor, Country’ important to retired officers of West Point

Last May 12 was the 60th anniversary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s famous farewell address to the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in which he outlined the ideals that guided his life as a soldier.

The then 82-year-old, a 1903 graduate of the academy, said that the rallying points of “Duty, Honor, Country” - the motto to personal character-building at the Point - are “to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”

For decades, the Cadet Honor Code has provided the moral compass and ethical underpinning of the cadet’s education.

Paul E. Vallely, a native of DuBois, Pennsylvania, and a West Point graduate, compiled a distinguished 31-year career in the Army, retiring in 1992 as the deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. Along with his 15 years of experience in special operations, psychological operations, and civil-military operations his two combat tours in Vietnam, he was one of the first nominees for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations under President Reagan and the first president of the National Psychological Operations Association.

Concerned about a modern rejection of the principles of the military academy that could ultimately endanger the institution’s core and original mission to “educate, train, and inspire so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor and Country, Vallely and a number of retired military officers recently wrote a letter to Concerned Graduates of West Point and The Long Gray Line. The changes, they said, betray the purpose for which the academy was founded in 1802 - defense of our Constitution, and maintenance of individual freedom - and betray the sacred principles of the Declaration of Independence.

Their letter requests from the academy information in a number of areas including a justification for the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of cadets and an explanation for reaching so-called “critical race theory” at West Point. It also questions the institution’s “exclusive reliance upon radical progressive guest speakers to address the cadets and demands to know why some civilian faculty members have been permitted to become involved with political activism, violating the “long-standing policy of the Academy and Army Regulations.”

In a separate interview, Vallely said it was very troubling that cadets were required to violate their religious beliefs by being coerced into submitting to vaccinations with experimental drugs. As of May 19, the Army had separated 669 soldiers “for refusing the lawful order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

In their letter, the signees charge that the Biden administration seeks to replace allegiance to the Constitution with critical race theory and by forcing the military to undergo liberal socialist indoctrination that violates the cadets’ oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

“We have a beautiful system that has been corrupted and abused by people with no moral foundation,” the letter states. “Our country was born of God’s inspiration and without God as the ultimate power and place for redress, no government can operate to serve their constituents. We need not look for a new system, we need only to restore the original constitution, which provided for states to have the primary authority and most power under their own constitutions designed to accommodate their local cultural norms, yet all of which are dependent on and arise from God’s laws.

“Leftist ideologues are trying to replace personal responsibility, self-reliance, and initiative with the entitlement mentality. They are working hard to transform the Constitution into a document that can be continually revised to accommodate the latest socio-cultural trends. They have made substantial progress in replacing freedom of religion with freedom from religion. Leftists prefer anarchy to law and order as can be seen in their nationwide effort to defund police departments, adopt identity politics and tribalism to replace E Pluribus Unum, and institute moral relativism to replace biblical morality.”

Joe Biden has work to do with the public - as well as the military - if he wants to fulfill his vow to be a unifying president. Last September, 18 Trump-appointed figures on three military academy advisory boards were told by the White House to resign or be fired.

“It is tragic that this great institution is now being subjected to and hijacked by partisan action that serve no purpose and no greater good,” Meaghan Mobbs, a West Point graduate and former Trump adviser on military family issues, stated in her response to the demand.

Sean Spicer, President Trump’s former press secretary, summed it up accurately when he said that the politicization of the military sets a dangerous precedent for future administrations and undermines our institutions.

Although retired generals are no longer engaged in active military service, they are still bound by their oath to do what we can today - to protect our nation from the threats to her freedom.

By Jim Zbick | tneditor@tnonline.com

The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.