Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The word at Fort Leavenworth on moral growth, or not, among West Point cadets

Kids, you can’t make this stuff up. Our recent discussion of character and ethical issues (like sadism coexisting with an honor code) at West Point provoked this note from a Best Defense reader : “For what it’s worth, a recent ‘tiger team’ study by a team of colonels was recently presented here at the CGSC ...

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Kids, you can't make this stuff up. Our recent discussion of character and ethical issues (like sadism coexisting with an honor code) at West Point provoked this note from a Best Defense reader :

"For what it's worth, a recent 'tiger team' study by a team of colonels was recently presented here at the CGSC ethics symposium. It briefed character development at West Point when compared to other college-level institutions. The briefer said the results of the study were rejected. Its conclusion was that 'Bible schools showed the least moral growth -- but they did show growth. West Point showed a diminution of principled moral reasoning in its graduates.' The data indicated this diminution was specifically associated with the first class cadets. So much for improvement."

Kids, you can’t make this stuff up. Our recent discussion of character and ethical issues (like sadism coexisting with an honor code) at West Point provoked this note from a Best Defense reader :

“For what it’s worth, a recent ‘tiger team’ study by a team of colonels was recently presented here at the CGSC ethics symposium. It briefed character development at West Point when compared to other college-level institutions. The briefer said the results of the study were rejected. Its conclusion was that ‘Bible schools showed the least moral growth — but they did show growth. West Point showed a diminution of principled moral reasoning in its graduates.’ The data indicated this diminution was specifically associated with the first class cadets. So much for improvement.”

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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