Summary: The US Army is under attack. The stress of the long war — loss of confidence in its leadership, family problems from the long war, potential loss of internal cohesion if forced to substantially downsize. A corrupt and too-often incompetent corps of senior generals. Gangs seeking to undermine its integrity from within. And the internal rot of values common to long wars, especially bad ones. The good news: they’re fighting back. At the end are links to other posts in this series.
- A summary of the problem: enemies within
- Thoughts about Dooley’s presentation
- Slides from Dooley’s presentation
- Dooley’s Defenders
- A Reality Check about Islam
- Other posts in this series about the US Army
- For More Information
After 11 years of war, the Army (inevitably) faces many threats — within and without. Fortunately the Army’s leadership is actively responding to them.
Here’s an example, in miniature, of the kind of challenges the Army faces. In this case study, we see people within the Army advocating religious hatred, spreading misinformation, and seeking war — on terms that violates American law and traditions.
A summary of the problem: enemies within
Excerpt from “U.S. Military Taught Officers: Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics for ‘Total War’ on Islam“, Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman, Wired, 10 May 2012:
The U.S. military taught its future leaders that a “total war” against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists, according to documents obtained by Danger Room.
… The course, first reported by Danger Room last month and held at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College, has since been canceled by the Pentagon brass. It’s only now, however, that the details of the class have come to light. Danger Room received hundreds of pages of course material and reference documents from a source familiar with the contents of the class.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to make sure it doesn’t contain similarly hateful material, a process that is still ongoing. But the officer who delivered the lectures, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, still maintains his position at the Norfolk, Virginia college, pending an investigation. The commanders, lieutenant colonels, captains and colonels who sat in Dooley’s classroom, listening to the inflammatory material week after week, have now moved into higher-level assignments throughout the U.S. military.
For the better part of the last decade, a small cabal of self-anointed counterterrorism experts has been working its way through the U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement communities, trying to convince whoever it could that America’s real terrorist enemy wasn’t al-Qaida — but the Islamic faith itself. In his course, Dooley brought in these anti-Muslim demagogues as guest lecturers. And he took their argument to its final, ugly conclusion.
… After the Pentagon brass learned of Dooley’s presentation, the country’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, issued an order to every military chief and senior commander to get rid of any similar anti-Islam instructional material. Dempsey issued the order because the White House had already instructed the entire security apparatus of the federal government — military and civilian — to revamp its counterterrorism training after learning of FBI material that demonized Islam.
By then, Dooley had already presented his apocalyptic vision for a global religious war. Flynn has ordered a senior officer, Army Maj. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim, to investigate how precisely Dooley managed to get away with that extended presentation in an official Defense Department-sanctioned course.
… Ironically, Dooley and his guest lecturers paint a dire picture of the forward march of Islamic extremism right as its foremost practitioner feared its implosion. Documents recently declassified by the U.S. government revealed Osama bin Laden fretting about al-Qaida’s brutal methods and damaged brand alienating the vast majority of Muslims from choosing to wage holy war. Little could he have known that U.S. military officers were thinking of ways to ignite one.
(2) Thoughts about Dooley’s presentation
Speaking as a civilian, I expect the Army to teach its officers to work within the legal framework of our armed forces and nation, not advocate going beyond them. Doing otherwise puts the USA on the fast track to hell. And its not the Army’s role to declare crusades, or advocate them. I see this course as crossing several lines, serious ones.
Second, how does JFSC defines its intellectual standards? This presentation would flunk Logic 101. It’s riddled with statements such as “This model asserts that Islam has already declared war on the West.” Islam is not a person or organization. It cannot made decisions or act, any more than can Christianity. Such statements are crude propaganda. Which raises the question of what an expert on Islam would say in a review of Dooley’s work. What’s been released looks mostly like ignorant hate-mongering.
Third, Dooley’s vision is eerily similar to the viewpoint of bin Laden (a historically common convergence among opposing merchants of hate). In fact, if he were alive bin Laden would probably consider Dooley as useful idiot — pushing America to act in ways that will polarize Islam on terms that favor the jihadists, while over-extending and weakening America.
Last, my congratulations to the Army’s leadership for quickly and boldly confronting this issue. This is the first step towards rooting out this anti-American madness, hopefully before it gains a wide following. It’s the sort of rot that a long bad war encourages, and which spreads fast.
(3) Slides from Dooley’s presentation
“So What Can We Do – A counter-jihad design model“, Matthew A. Dooley (Lt. Colonel, US Army), Joint Staff Forces College, July 2011. Please read carefully. It’s well-constructed to slide outrageous statements by in a seemingly authoritative manner.
It advocates waging “near ‘total war'” and “leaves open the option … of destroying Mecca and Medina in Phase III” (following “the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki”). It “presumes Geneva Convention IV 1949 standards of armed conflict … are no longer relevant”.
Some of this is just ignorant myth, such as the USA being “founded under a judeo-christian ethic of reason and tolerance”.
Read the last slide (#28) carefully. If Dooley has his way, your children will be fighting his war. Like all wars, the consequences cannot be reliably predicted. Other than that there will be many deaths, and afterwards people will see that it was unnecessary.
(4) Dooley’s Defenders
This incident has produced scores of articles in defense of LTC Dooley, such as this skilled agitprop: “US Army Motto: See No (Islamist) Evil“, Arthur Herman, op-ed in the New York Post, 16 October 2012. It’s not a close resemblance to what’s actually been reported, nor does Herman’s description of the course well match the syllabus released. Here is perhaps his core sentence:
“We didn’t have the GermanAmerican Bund approving how we taught our soldiers about Nazism during World War II. “
We’re not always fighting the NAZIs; the world clock is not always set at 1939. This is the thinking of people leading a nation into perpetual war, people addicted to conflict. However, despite the best efforts of folks like Dooley and Herman, we’re not yet at war with Islam.
(5) A Reality Check about Islam
These Islamic experts often have a biased if not fantastic understanding of Islam. We can do a quick reality check by comparing Dooley’s quote of Bertrand Lewis in slide #19 with the full quote — from The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (2003). It paints a different picture of this conflict, in which the forces of reform based on Islamic faith oppose their own governments — which are often (perhaps most often) western-backed, corrupt, and tyrannical.
The Muslim fundamentalists, unlike the Protestant groups whose name was transferred to them, do not differ from the mainstream on questions of theology and the interpretation of scripture. their critique is, in the broadest sense, societal. The Islamic world, in their view, has taken a wrong turning. Its rulers call themselves Muslims and make a pretense of Islam, but they are in fact apostates who have abrogated the Holy law and adopted foreign and infidel laws and customs.
The only solution, for them, is a return to the authentic Muslim way of life, and for this the removal of the apostate governments is an essential first step. Fundamentalists are anti-Western in the sense that they regard the West as the source of the evil that is corroding Muslim, but their primary attack is directed against their own rulers and leaders. Such were the movements which brought the overthrow of the shah of Iran.
For more about Bernard Lewis view of the schisms within Islam, and its relationship with the West, see his book — or the article that preceded the book: “The Revolt of Islam“, The New Yorker, 19 November 2001 — “When did the conflict with the West begin, and how could it end?”
(6) Other posts in this series about the US Army
- US Army – the antidote to US civil disorder, 3 January 2009
- What does the future hold for the US Army – and America?, 29 April 2012 — By Doug Macgregor
- Our Army, under attack on many fronts, fights to maintain its integrity and cohesion, 29 October 2012
- The US army under attack by internal foes, but responds quickly, 31 October 2012
- A look at the Army’s plans to adapt to the 21st century, 2 November 2012
(7) For More Information
(a) Posts about Islam:
- Should we fear that religion whose believers have killed so many people?, 4 August 2010
- Hard (and disturbing) information about schools in Pakistan – the madāris, 1 May 2011
(b) Posts about Islam and America:
- Which is more characteristic of America today?, 28 February 2012 — Creeping sharia or anti-Islamic bigotry?
- Death celebrates 9-11. Can we stop and think before we walk further along the road of terror?, 13 September 2012
- About the violent mobs in the Middle East. And in America, 16 September 2012
(c) About our long war with Islam:
- America’s Most Dangerous Enemy, 1 March 2006
- Was 9/11 the most effective single military operation in the history of the world?, 11 June 2008
- Can we defeat our almost imaginary enemies?, 10 December 2009
- Are islamic extremists like the anarchists?, 14 December 2009
- RAND explains How Terrorist Groups End, and gives Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida, 15 January 2010
- Stratfor’s strategic analysis – “Jihadism in 2010: The Threat Continues”, 17 March 2010
- Stratfor: “Jihadism: The Grassroots Paradox”, 21 March 2010
- Stratfor: Setting the Record Straight on Grassroots Jihadism, 1 May 2010
- Hatred and fear of Islam – of Moslems – is understandable. But are there hidden forces at work?, 3 August 2010
- Bin Laden wins by using the “Tactics of Mistake” against America, 6 February 2011
- The Fight for Islamic Hearts and Minds, 20 February 2012