The slide above was one of many anti-Muslim presentations US military officers sat through (Picture via Wired)
Over the past decade, fringe ideas about Muslims and Islam have seeped into law enforcement agencies across the country. Now we know the details about what some members of the US military have been learning about Muslims. It’s not pretty.
Wired’s Spencer Ackerman first broke the story last month, when he revealed that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had ordered a thorough review of the entire military to ensure that anti-Muslim ideas were not being taught to soldiers. The order from General Martin Dempsey was issued after an anti-Muslim course was found to have been taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Virginia.
Today, Ackerman and Noah Shachtman published an extensive story in Wired detailing the exact contents of the course, titled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism.” It’s been taught since 2004 by Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, who is still working at the college currently.
Wired has published some of the documents used in the course. Among the lectures military officers heard was a presentation by Dooley in which he suggested that Saudi Arabia should be threatened with starvation and that the historical precedents of Hiroshima and Dresden should be considered to deal with holy sites in Saudi Arabia. Dooley also said that the Geneva Conventions were “no longer relevant or respected globally” because of the “current common practices of Islamic terrorists” and that “total war” should be waged on Islam.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling for the Defense Department to dismiss Dooley. "It is imperative that those who taught our future military leaders to wage war not just on our terrorist enemy, but on the faith of Islam itself be held accountable," Nihad Awad, CAIR's director, wrote in a letter to Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense. "If left uncorrected, the biased, inaccurate and un-American training previously given to these officers will harm our nation's security, image and interests for years to come."
Dooley, who has worked at the Joint Forces Staff College since August 2010, began his eight-week class with a straightforward, two-part history of Islam. It was delivered by David Fatua, a former West Point history professor. “Unfortunately, if we left it at that, you wouldn’t have the proper balance of points of view, nor would you have an accurate view of how Islam defines itself,” Dooley told his students. Over the next few weeks, he invited in a trio of guest lecturers famous for their incendiary views of Islam.
Shireen Burki declared during the 2008 election that “Obama is bin Laden’s dream candidate.” In her Joint Forces Staff College lecture, she told students that “Islam is an Imperialist/Conquering Religion.” (.pdf)
Stephen Coughlin claimed in his 2007 master’s thesis that then-president George W. Bush’s declaration of friendship with the vast majority of the world’s Muslims had “a chilling effect on those tasked to define the enemy’s doctrine.” (.pdf) Coughlin was subsequently let go from his consulting position to the military’s Joint Staff, but he continued to lecture at the Naval War College and at the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In his talk to Dooley’s class (.pdf), Coughlin suggested that al-Qaida helped drive the overthrow of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak and Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi. It was part of a scheme by Islamists to conquer the world, he added. And Coughlin mocked those who didn’t see this plot as clearly as he did, accusing them of “complexification.”
Coughlin titled his talk: “Imposing Islamic Law – or – These Aren’t the Droids Your Looking For!”
Former FBI employee John Guandolo told the conspiratorial World Net Daily website last year that Obama was only the latest president to fall under the influence of Islamic extremists. “The level of penetration in the last three administrations is deep,” Guandolo alleged. In his reference material for the Joint Forces Staff College class, Guandolo not only spoke of today’s Muslims as enemies of the West. He even justified the Crusades, writing that they “were initiated after hundreds of years of Muslim incursion into Western lands.”
Ackerman has also exposed how the Federal Bureau of Investigation was teaching its agents incendiary ideas about Muslims and Islam. The Obama administration has since ordered a “widespread review of government counterterrorism training materials.”
As for the military, Ackerman reports that a senior officer will “investigate how precisely Dooley managed to get away with that extended presentation in an official Defense Department-sanctioned course. The results of that review are due May 24.”