Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Sex? Really, Sir? the Military Should Wise Up; after All, Warriors Are People, Too

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Sex? Really, Sir? the Military Should Wise Up; after All, Warriors Are People, Too

Article excerpt

West Pointers are human beings, even those with names such as David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. I think I have the standing to make this declaration, because I'm a fellow graduate.

West Point is long on molding military officers, but a bit short on humanity. Its mission statement stresses the intent to commit every graduate to a career of professional excellence and service, embodying the values of "duty, honor and country." How does West Point do that?

Here's how: Rules! Hundreds upon hundreds of rules that govern every facet of human conduct imaginable, including my favorite: No sex in the barracks.

Yes, to become a leader of character and serve my country well, it is imperative that I not have sex in my college bedroom.

Does West Point succeed in stifling one of the most basic of human urges? What about cadet couples who are in love and will one day get married and have families? Does the threat of punishment -- namely having to spend a weekend dressed in full parade regalia, marching with a heavy rifle back-and-forth in a confined area -- deter them?

Not so much.

Whether it's because love (or lust) conquers all, or because ambitious Type-A's stop at nothing in the face of adversity, cadets soon become experts at evading the no-sex rule. West Point officially designates "Flirtation Walk" as the one area where cadets can enjoy romance. But who, with the exception of the die-hard infantry types who will go on to Ranger school, wants to trek outside, far from the cadet barracks, to do their "flirting"? (Plus, for most of the year, it's freezing outside in upstate New York.)

So cadets engage one another in the parking lot, behind Battle Monument and in sports equipment rooms, among other places. Many grow tired of navigating these complicated logistics and succumb to the comfy confines of their bedrooms, breaking myriad rules in the process.

Now throw us into a war zone, and things get really wild.

General Order No. …

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