By John Hughes, MD, USMA ’96, Veteran of OIF/OEF
More than 10 years ago, military analysts declared the war in Afghanistan lost and began to publish articles and books on the reasons for the United States military’s glaring failure.
Two of the most noteworthy commanders in the debacle were both Army officers and West Point graduates — General Stanley McChrystal and General David Petraeus.
In addition to strategic incompetence and lack of integrity in situational reports, both were eventually fired for character flaws.
McChrystal was relieved of command by then-President Barack Obama for egregious and public insubordination in a Rolling Stone article. And Petraeus was fired as CIA director for mishandling classified documents and making false statements, while having an extramarital affair.
Students of history may look holistically at the Afghanistan debacle and point to the need to build more competent and ethical officers to return to what the Army is supposed to have been doing all along — winning our nation’s wars.
West Point has traditionally been the moral epicenter of the U.S. Army, so it should seem obvious that West Point’s leadership should do intensive introspection into its methodology of training cadets to become better officers to avoid providing such flawed officers for future wars.
Instead, West Point has chosen to go in a completely different direction.
Even though not a single critic of the Afghanistan failure has cited not being woke enough as a reason for losing, West Point seems to believe that, in fact, the critics are wrong.
Beginning under the tenure of Superintendent LTG Darryl Williams and continuing under the watch of current Superintendent LTG Steven Gilland, West Point created a Diversity and Inclusion Studies minor.
It has five courses for future leaders of the U.S. Army:
Must take 2 of 3:
PL377: Social Inequality
EN352: Power and Difference
SS392: The Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Must take 1 of 4:
HI392: World Religions
HI461: Sex and Civilizations
HI463: Race, Ethnicity, and Nation
HI398: Society and Culture in American History
Must take 2 of 42:
Free Electives from DISM-designated courses in Sociology, History, English, Philosophy, Psychology, Geography, Law, Foreign Languages, and Social Sciences.
SS392 — the Politics of Race, Gender, and Sexuality — requires a research paper. Recommended topics include: race discrimination, homosexuality, queer theory, and feminist theory.
The class’s required texts are:
Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic;
Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Class: Dimensions of Inequality and Identity, by Susan Ferguson; and
Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, by Rosemarie Tong.
To make matters worse, in 2022, West Point hired English professor Mollie Kervick, whose bio lists a favorable review of a book about transgenderism and pedophilia.
It remains to be seen how indoctrinating cadets on sexuality, structural racism, and other woke topics will win our next war.
Curiously, the Army’s present and past leadership doesn’t understand that this is a problem. In 2022, when the Army failed to meet its recruiting target by 25%, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth commented:
“I’m not sure what ‘woke’ means. I think woke means a lot of different things to different people. If ‘woke’ means we are not focused on war-fighting (or) we are not focused on readiness, that doesn’t reflect what I see at installations all around the country or overseas when I go and visit.”
And just this month, Wormuth again complained that criticisms of “woke military” policies, rather than the policies themselves, were still hurting Army recruiting.
Ironically, two of the officers leading West Point, Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams and Lt. Gen. Steven Gilland, refused to publicly acknowledge West Point’s DEI/CRT agenda.
It would seem intuitive that with an office of DEI being installed in every unit in the military, they would be happy to share what they are doing to further the ideology.
But a year ago, Judicial Watch had to sue to force West Point to release more than 600 documents proving CRT was being taught at the academy. The superintendents apparently didn’t consider academic slides that described “Modern Slavery in the USA” as being woke.
Meanwhile, our chief threat, China, is working overtime to grow its military capability and lethality.
Sadly, West Point, the soul of America’s Army, thinks critical race theory is the key to military success.
This has dire consequences for our troops’ readiness and raises serious questions about whether they will be prepared to face the looming threats facing our nation.
John Hughes, MD, graduated from West Point in 1996 and served in the U.S. Army in Haiti, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Diversity & Inclusion Plan (2020-2025)
USCC Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Strategy (2020) [release o/a 11 JUL 2020]
Dean’s Diversity Strategy (AY 2017)
Diversity & Inclusion Studies Minor (Request Curriculum Committee)
Diversity, Inclusion, Equity at USMA