Saturday, May 06, 2006
'West Point' off limits to anti-war alums
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Army warned an anti war group of former West Point military cadets to stop using the words "West Point" in its name, saying they are trademarked.
A co-founder of West Point Graduates Against the War countered Friday that his organization is simply following the cadets' code.
"At West Point, we were taught that cadets do not lie, cheat or steal - and to oppose those who do," said William Cross, a 1962 West Point graduate. "We are a positive organization. We are not anti-West Point or anti-military. We are just trying to uphold what we were taught."
The group, open to West Point graduates, spouses and children, claims about 50 members.
West Point spokesman Lt. Col. Kent Cassella said the academy sent the April 12 warning letter because the group failed to go through a licensing process to get permission to use the term "West Point." The group's anti-war stance is irrelevant, he said.
"This is not a political issue. They did not ask for permission. We are doing what any college or university would do to enforce its trademarks," Cassella said.
The Army registered the words "West Point" - as well as "United States Military Academy," "USMA," and "U.S. Army" - as trademarks in 2000 to control their use on educational material and commercial goods.
An attorney hired by Cross and his colleagues said the warning raises questions of First Amendment speech protection and selective enforcement. Joseph Heath said he noted the concerns in a response sent to the Army on Monday; he has not yet received a reply, he said.
"I would hope that the Army would be proud of these men and their willingness to promote democracy and freedom of speech," wrote Heath, a Navy veteran who also opposes the war.
Heath also noted widespread commercial use of the words "West Point."
Cassella said the Army has negotiated agreements with local businesses allowing them to use the phrase in their names.
"The Honor System as a feature of West Point seems to grow in importance with a graduate as the years secede until finally it becomes something which he is almost reluctant to talk about -- it occupies a position in his mind akin to the virtue of his mother or his sister." (1)
Dwight D. Eisenhower
United States Military Academy
Class of 1915
"When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war." (2)
"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity. War settles nothing." (3)
"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." (4)
"If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government." (5)
Dwight D. Eisenhower
34th President of the United States