Military target from the nation’s top Navy SEAL training facility in Virginia. (Photo: Hyunsoo Leo Kim/Virginian-Pilot)
Until last week the “crown jewel of America’s military bases” used cardboard cutouts of veiled Muslim women for target practice in a training facility known as the “kill house.” The Virginian-Pilot reported the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story training facility in Virginia Beach installed the images in a Navy SEAL close combating training facility:
The 26,500-square-foot building contains 52 interconnected spaces, including mock-ups of markets, a hospital, schools, a bank, a bus depot and two mosques. It will allow small groups of SEALs to practice enemy engagement at close range.
Many of the details were taken from actual raids over the past decade.
The massive $11.5 million mock combat zone was designed by a company that specializes in building movie sets. Up to four military units can practice shooting Muslim women in dynamic settings:
In one section, nine chairs painted in primary hues sit behind desks in an elementary school classroom. Other rooms are more sinister, like a torture chamber accessed through a bus station wall.
But the images of women were removed after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) pressured the Pentagon. “This is a welcome first step, but a serious and comprehensive review is needed to deal with the issue of Islamophobia in military training,” said CAIR’s National executive director Nihad Awad.
The elimination of the offensive targets comes after another recent CAIR watchdog victory to curtail violent Islamophobia in the U.S. military’s educational system. After Wired published a curriculum that called to drop nuclear bombs on Mecca and Medina in a “total war” against Islam, CAIR spearheaded a campaign that caused the suspension of the instructor, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley. The course, which had been offered for two years, espoused, “It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”