Military analysis of radicalism now called ‘totally objectionable’
Lawyers who are defending a military officer blasted by his commanders for teaching about the dangers of radical Islam are accusing the Pentagon of selling out to the politically correct religious perspective.
“In order to appease Muslims and the White House, Gen. Dempsey and the Department of Defense rushed to punish Lt. Col. Matt Dooley,” said Richard Thompson, chief counsel for the Thomas More Law Center.
“In the process, they violated not only our nation’s core principles of free speech and academic freedom guaranteed by our Constitution, but also, a number of the military’s own regulations dealing with academic freedom and non-attribution policies of the National Defense University…
“The violated the right to due process of law and even bypassed the university’s provost, who under NDU’s own rules has primary responsibility for adjudication of this matter.”
The dispute is over a purge of U.S. government teaching and training materials that Muslim organizations demanded, and the impact of that action on an individual instructor.
Dooley previously had been deployed in Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq, serving as a tank platoon leader, tank company executive officer, operations officer, plans officer, small group instructor and instructor at the Joint Combined Warfare School.
He accumulated the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and a dozen others during that time.
But he was relieved of his teaching assignment at the Joint Forces Staff College because he happened to be teaching a longstanding course called “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism.”
The course, its materials and subject matter all had been presented before, but because of a demand from a long list of special interest groups accommodating the Muslim perspective, he was relieved of those duties.
Additionally, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then publicly blasted him for the topic of the course he was assigned to teach.
The course and teacher became a bull’s-eye when the Muslim groups demanded that whatever they viewed as offensive to Islam be “purged” from the coursework and that anyone teaching that material be “effectively disciplined.”
“The final bastion of America’s defense against Islamic jihad and Shariah, the Pentagon, fell to the enemy,” said Claire M. Lopez, a former CIA agent and strategic policy and intelligence expert.
She said it came “with the issuance of a letter from Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reissuing his earlier order that all Department of Defense course content be scrubbed to ensure no lingering remnant of disrespect to Islam.”
Dooley administratively was removed from his teaching assignment and an Officer Evaluation Report, marking him as outstanding, was withdrawn.
The law center said Dooley was grappling in class with the most dangerous aspects of radical Islamist ideology and encouraged students to debate the issues openly, using “prior-approved course content, established guest speakers, and doctrinal teaching methodologies…”
But the letter from organizations, including some with known links to terror groups, demanded that all government training materials be purged, a mandatory retraining program be instituted and punishment be instituted for “bigoted trainers” who would use “biased training materials.”
Groups included the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Islamic Circle of North American, Islamic Relief USA and dozens of others.
Among the information cited as damaging was the FBI report that explained individuals who convert to Islam and suddenly begin wearing Muslim attire, growing beards and travel to Muslim countries could become radicalized.
Text materials that were accused of being biased included Robert Spencer’s “The Truth About Mohammed: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion,” and during a Pentagon press conference with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Martin characterized Dooley’s teaching as “totally objectionable” and “against our values.”
“The result is certain,” the center said in a statement. “Officers and instructors see what has happened to Lt. Col. Dooley, and will refrain from telling the truth about Islam or confronting the difficult strategic challenges facing our nation for fear of jeopardizing their professional careers. The Pentagon has still apparently not learned from the politically correct policies that led to the Ft. Hood massacre.”
The legal team said enforcement of a political correct perspective is dangerous.
“Those people who subscribe and enforce the current environment of political correctness are the ones most often surprised by incidents like the terrorism at Ft. Hood and the uncivilized behavior currently roiling North Africa and the Middle East,” the law team said.
“Rather than thinking and acting bravely, PC’ers strike at our cherished First Amendment in a vain hope of buying friendship with a force we still do not understand that neither respects us nor appreciates civility.”
But the damage went further, “In an astonishing and unprecedented Pentagon news conference on May 10, 2012, carried nationally on C-SPAN, Gen. Dempsey, with Secretary of Defense Panetta sitting at his side, personally attacked Lt. Col. Dooley, a subordinate Army officer who honorably served our nation, and was subsequently prohibited from publicly defending himself. ”
The center said Dooley’s family was targeted by threats because of the situation.
The law firm said the case illustrates the result of “prejudicial statements” from military commanders.
“Betrayed by his military chain of command, all of whom refused to stand behind their own academic freedom and non-attribution regulations, Lt. Col. Dooley stands alone in his association with what had been previously acceptable methods of educational inquiry,” the law firm said.