Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Asking "Why?"

I like to understand things. When something is broken, I want to know how it happened. When someone’s angry, I want to know why. When I don’t know something, I ask. The topic of this blog is the United States Military Academy (also referred to as West Point), and during this writing process I will ask and answer the question of why. Why does West Point do things the way it does? Why does it follow traditional training methods when America is fighting a very non-traditional war? Why is so much emphasis placed on uniforms and room organization? For the next several months I plan to further my understanding of the United States Military Academy with the help of a variety of sources, including interviews with attending cadets, and web resources.
A native New Englander, I grew up in a democratic household with a family of self-described liberals. Although my grandfathers served in the Army and Navy, none of my relatives have been involved with the military in recent years. As a household, we do not support the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq, and are fully behind bringing our troops home. Personally, I have a great respect for the men and women of our nation who make the selfless decision to enlist in the military, and deeply admire their courage. Those who are accepted to West Point attend the school for four years, graduate as an officer in the Army, and then spend a minimum of five years in active duty. Getting in to West Point is not easy. With an acceptance rate of 14% ("The United States Military Academy"), those who are selected for admission are at the top of their games both physically and academically. However, with the possibility of a nine year commitment, attending the school cannot be taken lightly. I’m under the impression that those who endure the tedious application process and challenging enrollment must have a strong motivation to do so. Therefore, it is my goal in this blog to discover what that motivation is, and use this information to determine why the United States Military Academy does things the way it does.

"United States Military Academy." The Princeton Review. The Princeton Review. 19 Feb 2008 .

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