Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Today’s question: What is going on with the West Point rugby team and Facebook? Is that what led to the team’s suspension?

That is, rating female cadets on Facebook, and subsequent acts? Could these be the “unforeseen circumstances” that at the last minute kept the West Point rugby team out of the collegiate championship tournament? Apparently. Rugby magazine reports that “the reason for the withdrawal at this late stage is due to an internal matter at West ...

U.S. Military Academy
U.S. Military Academy
U.S. Military Academy

That is, rating female cadets on Facebook, and subsequent acts? Could these be the "unforeseen circumstances" that at the last minute kept the West Point rugby team out of the collegiate championship tournament?

Apparently. Rugby magazine reports that "the reason for the withdrawal at this late stage is due to an internal matter at West Point that has seen the team suspended from rugby activities for the foreseeable future."

Which leads one to wonder: The offense was grave enough that the cadets involved are not allowed to play rugby. Yet they last weekend apparently still were deemed acceptable to become commissioned officers of the U.S. Army. Would it have been possible to hold off commissioning until the situation is resolved?

That is, rating female cadets on Facebook, and subsequent acts? Could these be the “unforeseen circumstances” that at the last minute kept the West Point rugby team out of the collegiate championship tournament?

Apparently. Rugby magazine reports that “the reason for the withdrawal at this late stage is due to an internal matter at West Point that has seen the team suspended from rugby activities for the foreseeable future.”

Which leads one to wonder: The offense was grave enough that the cadets involved are not allowed to play rugby. Yet they last weekend apparently still were deemed acceptable to become commissioned officers of the U.S. Army. Would it have been possible to hold off commissioning until the situation is resolved?

Kind of makes you wonder whether the military academy’s superintendent and commandant heard the secretary of defense’s speech at West Point on Saturday about fostering “a culture of respect and dignity” in the military. Over the long weekend I e-mailed a query to the West Point public affairs office asking for info, and then called again this morning just after nine and left a message saying I had some questions about the rugby team, but I haven’t heard back yet.

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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