If nothing else, this article proves how quickly a story can travel. I saw it in its original form, on Sunday as part of a collective “ways the government could save money” piece. The idea of it is not new; I remember being a yearling and going to the dayroom with my companymates to watch a 60 minutes piece about closing the academies. As much as we complained about our cadet lives, it was entirely different when the criticism came from the outside. We scoffed, we laughed and we claimed the suggestions being made were conjured up by people who clearly had no clue about being in the military. The dollar amount for graduating someone in four years was thrown around too. The value of the education is about $50K more now, but the argument remains the same: It's cheaper to develop officers through civilian schools, so let's close the service academies. My response to that is this: what the academies offer is an intangible thing that can only be understood by people who have gone to one of them, or those who are familiar with the every day routine. If you don't get it, maybe you never will, and that's not intended to be mean, or smart assed or pat. To some people it really boils down to money (and let's not even discuss how anyone arrives at the $300K bill).
And because we all know I'm petty, let's address some specific criticisms:
It’s so simple, and I don't mean the cleaned up, stylistic way of writing. Basic would be a better description, basic like the title of the essay you wrote at the start of third grade:
“What I did last summer”
Some of the comments regarding cadets themselves--
“They are crackerjack smart...”
Can someone please explain what “crackerjack smart” means exactly? If I’m “crackerjack smart,” then how is it that I have never heard this term before? Is there wisdom in that caramel coated popcorn/peanut mix that I haven’t discovered yet? Why not discuss Crunch ‘n’ Munch and Fiddle Faddle while we're at it? Out of the three, which is the smartest? Is there a prize inside the skull of every cadet and West Point graduate?
The glaring inaccuracies—
“…we should send them to civilian schools where their assumptions will be challenged, and where they will interact with diplomats and executives, not to a service institution where they can reinforce their biases while getting in afternoon golf games.”