I just want to note that this is not about what Senator John Walsh did, or did not, do.
I was trying to raise a question about the US Army War College.
As I am sure everyone is aware of now, John Walsh (D-Montana) has been found to have completely plagiarized his masters thesis:
Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man.I would also note that fetishizing military service in this way serves neither the political or policy goals of the Democratic Party, but that's another diary.
But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at LEAST A QUARTER OF HIS THESIS ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY FROM OTHER AUTHORS’ WORKS, WITH NO ATTRIBUTION.Well, it's time to put butter on Senator Walsh, because he is toast, as is that Senate seat, unless he pulls out and Brian Schweitzer jumps in. (Unlikely, as he appears to be pursuing a rather quixotic run for President.)
It doesn't help that he appears to blame the plagiarism on PTSD. (And the survey says, unbelievably lame)
The Wiki machine speaks thusly about the War College:
According to U.S. Army regulation 10–44, the mission of the War College is "To prepare selected military, civilian, and international leaders for the responsibilities of strategic leadership; educate current and future leaders on the development and employment of land power in a joint, multinational and interagency environment; conduct research and publish on national security and military strategy; and engage in activities in support of the Army’s strategic communication efforts."Wiki further says that the institution, "Provides graduate level instruction to senior military officers and civilians to prepare them for senior leadership assignments and responsibilities."
So, I'm wondering, is the Army War College just some sort of ticket that gets punched by officers on the General track?
Plagiarism is a constant concern of academia, it has been so for a very long time, and those concerns have become even stronger since the internet opened up this activity to industrial scale fraud.
If this man plagiarized at least ¼ of his thesis, then how did someone at that institution not catch it?
The response of the college seems to admit that it did no due diligence:
After The New York Times published the article about Mr. Walsh’s paper online on Wednesday, the War College’s provost, Lance Betros, a retired brigadier general, said in a telephone interview that the college would begin an investigation immediatelyOnline plagiarism detection programs have existed since the days when people's favorite search engine was AltaVista, but the administration doesn't bother taking the 15 minutes to actually run one for a student's thesis.
Mr. Walsh’s paper will be run through an online plagiarism detection program, the provost said, and if there is evidence of a violation, the college will convene an academic review board to determine whether Mr. Walsh committed plagiarism and, if so, whether it was intentional.
It seems to me that the War College needs to get some scrutiny from an outside (as in outside of the Pentagon) investigator.