Elizabeth D. Samet just finished a great presentation on the perils of preparation and is now entertaining questions and commentary. Dr. Samet is author of Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point
. From a NYT review
... By writing a thoughtful, attentive, stereotype-breaking book about her 10 years as a civilian teacher of literature at the Military Academy, she offers a significant perspective on the crucial social and political force of honor: a principle of behavior at the intersection of duty and imagination.
Honor is a reality: people have been known to live by it and die for it. As Samet points out, it has been invoked as a reason to continue sending troops to Iraq. It has also led some of her students, former students and colleagues to question the nature and conduct of that war. Normally, honor and loyalty re-enforce each other; in bad times, they can come suddenly into conflict.
Like love and art, honor comes from the imagination as a force that determines the fate of individuals and nations. And like love and art, honor has also attracted a thick enveloping tonnage of baloney, an encrustation of lies and exploitations. The lies and exploitations, in turn, have attracted debunking counterforces: the acids of doubt and the harsh illumination of exposure. A literature teacher at the academy deals with the imaginative forces of lofty aspiration and earthly truth-telling in an especially germane, intensified community — all the more so in a time of war...
You can read chapter one of Soldier's Heart at this NYT link