In his first message as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler declared "we are a nation at war," a war the admiral believes will "last for the entire commissioned careers of midshipmen . . . currently at the Academy." From that statement and the rest of his message, one expects much to follow.
But will it? Or will Admiral Fowler's vision be reduced to empty rhetoric by the combination of inertia, disagreement about what should go into the four-year program to mold midshipmen into "capable mariners," and growing negative public sentiment against the war in Iraq.
A word of disclosure? I am a Naval Academy graduate of long ago and more recently, in 2004, I served as chairman of a panel set up by Secretary of the Navy and now Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England to assess education for the Department of the Navy.
Further, I have been a critic first of the rationale and case made by the Bush administration for toppling Saddam Hussein and then of the subsequent management of the occupation.