A Cheeky Maverick Looking for a Fight

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Did the editors of The Washington Post feel the least bit chastened by Bing West’s letter?

In the Dec. 9 Book World review of “Into the Fire” [“When disobeying orders seems the only option”], Elizabeth D. Samet referred to my co-author, Sgt. Dakota Meyer, as “a cheeky maverick… ‘looking for a fight.’?” Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor for attacking five times in the face of almost certain death. To label him as a “cheeky maverick” was condescending. If you leave the wire with a passive, rather than aggressive, attitude, you will lose.

In that same context, Samet, a teacher at West Point, referred to Meyer’s valor under fire as if he were a management consultant. “In the apparent absence of authority,” she wrote, “he attempted to exert some control over events.” In fact, Meyer charged forward time and again, after his seniors froze. He emptied five weapons and killed one enemy with a rock. That is how he “exerted some control.”

Dismissing a willingness to fight as “cheeky” and describing valor as an “attempt to exert control” erodes the soldierly virtues at West Point and elsewhere. The United States cannot prevail in battle without ferocious warriors such as Meyer.


  1. Fred Kiesche says:

    Given that Samet is a professor at West Point and is the author of a book about the intersection of soldiers and literature that (from what I’ve seen) is well-regarded both within and outside the military, these comments are odd, at best.

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