In recent weeks, photos of Army 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone promoting communism in uniform began circulating the internet.Typically barred from promoting political affiliations while in uniform, Rapone’s actions were a major departure from acceptable military conduct. Even worse, the ideology he espouses is not only dangerous, but a moral enemy of the country he swore to protect.
Rightfully, many military leaders condemned the photos. For their part, West Point and the Army opened up an investigation into Rapone’s conduct.
However, one GOP U.S. Senator is among many who don’t think this is enough. In fact, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is demanding that the Army immediately revoke Rapone’s commission.
From the Military Times:
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is demanding West Point officials revoke the commission of an officer who posted photos of himself with pro-communist messages hidden under his graduation uniform, calling it an “extreme embarrassment” for the military.
In a letter to acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy Tuesday, the Republican senator also questioned whether service officials ignored signs of misconduct and potential insubordination during the cadet’s time at the U.S. Military Academy.
“It is extremely concerning that someone who so often expressed such hostile views towards the United States’ system of government was able to obtain a commission,” he wrote. “(His) revolutionary ideas were harbored long before he was commissioned as an Army second lieutenant. Were West Point administrators or faculty aware of his views and behavior?”
“Posts on social media by Rapone broadcast his devotion to the communist cause and his plans to infiltrate and sabotage the military,” the senator wrote. “His conduct, writings, and sympathies for American adversaries predates his commission in the Army.
“Therefore, I respectfully request the United States Army immediately nullify Rapone’s commission and pursue all available disciplinary options under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Rapone should be required to pay back in full the cost of his education, and the United States Military Academy should consider revoking his degree.”
In addition, Rubio also demanded that West Point release “all relevant information regarding West Point’s efforts to ensure cadets who actively support the destruction of our government do not waste more taxpayer funds or prevent a more worthy candidate from attending” the academy.
Of course, there’s little doubt this issue hits closer to home for Rubio. Being of Cuban descent, Rubio’s parents fled their home country in response the the communist takeover by the Castro regime. Perhaps being more conscious of the dangers of communism than most, Rubio is rightfully demanding the Army take appropriate action.Since the story originally broke last month, it has also come to light that one of Raport’s closest mentors at West Point Military Academy, Dr. Rasheed Hosein, a Middle East history professor, has been placed on administrative leave. We may soon learn if he had a role in Rapone’s radicalization, though one of the professor’s Facebook posts may hold a clue. It’s a picture of him standing next to Rapone, who’s in a colored turban and white tunic. Underneath, the professor wrote: “The brothers are gonna work it out.”
Whatever the case, Rapone has no business serving in the United States military, let alone as a commissioned officer in charge of troops. With Senator Rubio weighing into the controversy, hopefully Rapone’s days as a member of the Army are numbered.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]