Point/Counterpoint: West Point is outdated and aristocratic vs. Why is this enlisted man speaking in my presence?

The following is a discussion between Army Spc. Travis Bales, an 11B infantryman with 3 combat deployments, who will present the point. The rebuttal is offered by Maj. Jack Rogers, a 2006 USMA graduate.

POINT: West Point has long upheld itself as the standard bearer for the U.S. Army officer corps. However, in the 21st century our nation faces a diverse array of threats and situations that require outside-the-box thinking, varying life skills, and other extraordinary factors that can’t be obtained through a core curriculum of military study that aims to generate an entire class of officers trained to think alike.

COUNTERPOINT: Excuse me, Lieutenant? There seems to be an enlisted man speaking in my presence. Is it yours? Please keep a better eye on him. This is a professional space. You know better.

POINT: ROTC should be standardized as the commissioning source for the military. Unique backgrounds, schools of thought, and regional differences can all be used to create a mentally agile and academically diverse pool of officers prepared to take on the threats of the modern battlefield

COUNTERPOINT: It’s still speaking, but I can’t quite understand. WHAT. DO. YOU. WANT? Food? Water? Lieutenant, what the devil do these things eat? I believe there may be a half-empty tin of dip in the trash there. Would you like that? Or perhaps you want a Rip-It? I hear you all like the red ones, yes?

POINT: Better yet, maybe we should reevaluate the entire process for selection and creation of military officers. With the availability of online training and real-life experiences, does a four-year degree really matter in terms of national defense?

COUNTERPOINT: I believe it’s trying to offer some sort of opinion. Fascinating. I need a bloody translator. Can someone tell it “Thank you?” We need to make them think their wants and desires matter.

POINT: I’ve met numerous senior-enlisted personnel without so much as an associate’s degree capable of planning and executing brigade and division-sized operations in a combat zone, absent any assistance from the so-called “professional officer class.” At some point can’t we all just admit West Point is an anachronism that needs to be done away with, like the blanket-sized 1st Cav patch , or the 82nd Airborne Division?

COUNTERPOINT: Thank you for whatever those words were specialist. I’m sure you thought they were very important. Should I need advice on marrying a prostitute or soiling myself when blackout drunk at a unit function I will gladly seek you out. You’re dismissed.

POINT: Sir, this is an interview. I can’t be dismissed. This is exactly the kind of arrogance and disrespect I’m talking abo-

COUNTERPOINT: It’s still speaking. Lieutenant, take the specialist outside and have it horsewhipped for insolence.


At the conclusion of this interview Maj Rogers climbed into his 2019 Lexus, chauffeured by his battalion sergeant major, and careened through a formation of privates, wounding six on the way to the officer’s club. Spc. Bales was given a Field Grade Article 15 for disrespecting a senior officer.