By Chris Petty, Brig Gen, USA (Ret), USMA ’87
Last week, a West Point classmate of mine shared a disheartening story. A little over two years ago, her son went into one of our nation’s military academies. He entered full of patriotic pride, traditional values, and the ability to think critically about complex problems. In just two years, however, he’s changed. He no longer believes his parents “understand” him. His arguments are emotional, devoid of reason and logic. He has come to terms with his white privilege, and the fact that he lives in a systemically racist country. He is now a social justice warrior.
I was lucky. Two of my sons graduated from academies. Fortunately, it was before “wokeness” had infiltrated ‒ before professors taught Critical Race Theory, before speakers were brought in to talk about the dangers of toxic masculinity and the evils of white privilege. Sadly, our military academies ‒these national treasures that have produced exemplary warrior-leaders for over two centuries ‒ are being turned into social justice factories.
Let me introduce myself. I’m Brig. Gen. Chris Petty (USA, retired), the STARRS Vice President of External Affairs. I graduated from West Point in 1987 and served on active duty and in the National Guard. I commanded troops in Iraq during “the surge”, as well as commanding the NATO headquarters in Bosnia. I have served at both the combatant command staff level and the Department of the Army headquarters level in the Pentagon. As someone who understands how the military works, I know the urgency of the STARRS mission.
Our task at External Affairs is to educate our military’s senior civilian and uniformed leaders, members of Congress, and leaders throughout the military’s education and training base, on the dangers of these racist and radical ideologies that are infiltrating the force. Beginning with this newsletter, I will send each superintendent a personal note each month introducing myself and STARRS, with the goal of building a key alliance in the fight against this nefarious propaganda.
Some of our members have said, in effect, that “the superintendents can’t be saved.” I disagree. They grew up in my era of service, before wokeness and social justice had taken root, when American ideals were lauded, and patriotism was a compelling call to serve. As experienced leaders, these superintendents understand the importance of unity, trust, and morale in forming teams that can win in combat. And in their guts, they know the “woke” agenda undermines and destroys it all.
Our job is to support them in this difficult battle ahead. They will need it. And thanks to your support of STARRS, we will all have a fighting chance.