The US army under attack by internal foes, but responds quickly

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.



  1. A summary of the problem: enemies within
  2. Thoughts about Dooley’s presentation
  3. Slides from Dooley’s presentation
  4. Dooley’s Defenders
  5. A Reality Check about Islam
  6. Other posts in this series about the US Army
  7. 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.

Slide #7, Dooley (2011)
Slide #8, Dooley (2011)
slide #9 Dooley (2011)
slide #19, Dooley (2011)
Upper part of Slide #28, Dooley (2011)
Conclusion of slide #28, Dooley (2011)

(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

  1. US Army – the antidote to US civil disorder, 3 January 2009
  2. What does the future hold for the US Army – and America?, 29 April 2012 — By Doug Macgregor
  3. Our Army, under attack on many fronts, fights to maintain its integrity and cohesion, 29 October 2012
  4. The US army under attack by internal foes, but responds quickly, 31 October 2012
  5. A look at the Army’s plans to adapt to the 21st century, 2 November 2012

(7)  For More Information

(a)  Posts about Islam:

  1. Should we fear that religion whose believers have killed so many people?, 4 August 2010
  2. Hard (and disturbing) information about schools in Pakistan – the madāris, 1 May 2011

(b)  Posts about Islam and America:

  1. Which is more characteristic of America today?, 28 February 2012 — Creeping sharia or anti-Islamic bigotry?
  2. Death celebrates 9-11. Can we stop and think before we walk further along the road of terror?, 13 September 2012
  3. About the violent mobs in the Middle East. And in America, 16 September 2012

(c)  About our long war with Islam:

  1. America’s Most Dangerous Enemy, 1 March 2006
  2. Was 9/11 the most effective single military operation in the history of the world?, 11 June 2008
  3. Can we defeat our almost imaginary enemies?, 10 December 2009
  4. Are islamic extremists like the anarchists?, 14 December 2009
  5. RAND explains How Terrorist Groups End, and gives Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida, 15 January 2010
  6. Stratfor’s strategic analysis – “Jihadism in 2010: The Threat Continues”, 17 March 2010
  7. Stratfor: “Jihadism: The Grassroots Paradox”, 21 March 2010
  8. Stratfor: Setting the Record Straight on Grassroots Jihadism, 1 May 2010
  9. Hatred and fear of Islam – of Moslems – is understandable. But are there hidden forces at work?, 3 August 2010
  10. Bin Laden wins by using the “Tactics of Mistake” against America, 6 February 2011
  11. The Fight for Islamic Hearts and Minds, 20 February 2012


15 thoughts on “The US army under attack by internal foes, but responds quickly”

  1. I’m especially smitten by the slide, “Why Are We So Culturally Vulnerable To This Threat”. People here are surely aware of how, in the 30’s and 40’s, Soviet Communism **did** have genuine cultural appeal to many Americans and Europeans. I would love to hear Dooley explain just how much appeal an alien, often ascetic religion is likely to have in a culture where WalMart & Starbucks & Ikea have more devoted followings than most churches.

    For that matter, the cultural appeal of bin Laden-esque ideology is slight in the Islamic world. Al Qaeda types have a helluva recruiting problem: They have to get people who have the technical skills to actually accomplish something, enough social sophistication to blend in in a foreign culture, AND they have to be indifferent to the more pleasant and lucrative opportunities that their other skills make possible. As far as I can tell the recruiters aren’t getting guys who meet even ONE of those cirteria, let alone all three. I’m supposed to fear shoe bombers? Pants bombers? Huh?

    Golly, I wonder how this “strategist” Dooley overlooked all this?

    Anyone who lived through the Cold War, when the other guys REALLY DID have missiles pointed at us that REALLY COULD turn American cities into gas, ought to be embarrassed to toss around ignorant childishness about the Islamic “threat to our survival”. The army promoted this idiot above lieutenant?!?!?

    1. “The army promoted this idiot above lieutenant”

      We know nothing about Dooley other than from the Wired article and this presentation. He might be awesome in many other respects.

      From a larger perspective, long bad wars often lead to promotion of the wrong peoople. No need to look far away or far back in time: Vietnam is a powerful case study. Haters, sometimes even grossly unbalanced, get advanced due to their passion.

  2. Not only is this presentation hateful but it also is so inaccurate that it would obstruct useful policy.

    For example, Libya is much in the news nowadays. While the attack on the consulate and the murder of the ambassador have occupied our attention; there also have been attacks upon and destruction of Sufi shrines by “fundamentalists” ( I hate that term. )

    Essentially fundamentalists view these shrines, which are usually tombs of Sufi holy men, as idolatrous for much the same reason that 17th century Puritans viewed Catholic relics and icons as idolatrous. And yet the Sanusi Sufi order, prevalent in Libya, is generally strict in its observance of Islamic law.

    Clearly any effective response to the current Libyan situation would need to factor in this intramural Islamic conflict. Dooley’s approach fails to provide one with the necessary tools to do so.

  3. Best books on Islam:

    • Islam and the Destiny of Man, Charles le Gai Eaton
    • Understanding Islam, Frithjof Schuon
    • “From the Spirituality of Jihad to the Ideology of Jihadism” In Islam, Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition, Reza Shah-Kazemi
    • Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, Martin Lings
    • Fez: City of Islam, Titus Burckhardt
  4. Frank Livingston

    Who said this, when and why?
    “The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every musselman [muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
    Here is just part of a March 28, 1786, letter to John Jay, the United States Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Continental Congress, signed by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson concerning their conversation with the Tripoli ambassador as to why his terrorist/pirates hijacked our merchant ships and sold the seaman at slave auctions. (Thomas Jefferson. “The Papers of Thomas Jefferson” Princeton Univ. Press. pp. 9:358.)
    As you read the letter keep asking yourself if you see any similarities between 1786 and today’s challenges with the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating our government from the White House on down. Here is a part of the 1786 letter from Adams and Jefferson:

    The actual letter has been photocopied and it is here:

    The typed version is here:

    What is the difference between what the ambassador said over 226 years ago and what the Muslim Brotherhood says today in their effort to force a global Caliphate dictated by Shariah/Islamic law?

    1. Thank you for this interesting historical note! Some challenges never go away.

      However, things do change. The Barbary States were not a serious challenge to US interests in the early 19th century (but were a great opportunity to show that we were studs!). Today, however, we are the global hegemon. It’s a different game.

      How great a threat to the US are jihadist movements (I don’t believe conflating them with the MB is useful)? Their primary targets are their own governments (ie, the national movements which the US all identify as “al Qaeda”) — most of whom are corrupt, tyrannical, and lacking popular support or legitimacy.

      Why is it in our interest to draw cards in these civil wars?

      Even worse, and the primary point of this post, to what extent is it wise to declare what is in effect a crusade against Islam as a whole? That looks like madness to me, on all time scales. And that’s the analysis of most mainstream US experts on Islam (ie, not the self-appointed jihadist experts cited in this presentation).

  5. Col. Dooley is correct. We are in a new crusade. This man, Col. Dooley, just like Doolittle and his “air war doctrine” and Gen Billy Mitchell and his “attack planes vs ships” theories and tests, is SPOT ON correct. Yet both of those visionaries were criticized by their own USA government and later needed in World War 2. How ironic. There is no moderate islam and islam is a threat to the USA and Europe. Several recent reports both private and those issued publically by Germany and France illustrate the demographic fate of such states of Europe as the UK, Germany and France where muslims will be majorities at present birthrates in less than 50 years. I for one, do not want to live under sharia when there are millions of these people here in the USA and the entire country resembles “Dearbornistan”.

    1. It’s always nice to hear from Oz. Unfortunately experience has shown the difficulty of sending information to Oz (perhaps the Internet only runs from Oz, not to it), so I’ll just point out your statements about Islam have little basis in reality.

      Rates of relative population growth vs assimilation make Islamic states unlikely in Europe and almost impossible in the US. There is a “moderate Islam”, and it’s the most common form in the world.

      Can you send us links to those reports?

      1. I could send you links and forward the videos BUT if you are going to reply in a “smart-ass” kid manner about OZ , then I see no reason to cooperate or discuss anything with someone whose mind cant be changed or where debate is fruitless. Here’s a hint for one report on Germany… try finding the report and their own admission that “the german state and population will become majority muslim by 2050” in Der Spiegel. “The fall in the population can no longer be stopped,” vice-president Walter Rademacher with the Federal Statistics Office said, reported Agence France-Presse. I comment often at foreign policy review and have not been treated rudely as at your site.

      2. Let’s take this by the numbers.

        (1) “try finding the report and their own admission that “the german state and population will become majority muslim by 2050″ in Der Spiegel.

        (a) Google does not show that statement, on the Der Spiegel website or anywhere.

        (b) The “majority muslim by 2050” nonsense has been debunked countless times. Here are two, which reference some of the research.

        (2) “The fall in the population can no longer be stopped,” vice-president Walter Rademacher with the Federal Statistics Office said, reported Agence France-Presse.”

        Perhaps so. That’s a guess about future fertility, no a fact (let alone a statistical fact). And your point?

        Also, Google doesn’t show the AFP story, just misc websites citing it. Also, here’s a fun takedown of the claims usually accompanying Rademacher’s statement).

        (3) “I comment often at foreign policy review and have not been treated rudely as at your site.”

        My reply was quite gentle given to someone making an ignorant and bigoted statements like “here is no moderate islam” and “islam is a threat to the USA and Europe”. IMO people like you are a threat to America. Hatred is on the rise, and it spreads just like the plaque.

  6. Fabius Maximus: I wonder if you or your readers have read the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) (Ikhwan) in America’s plan to destroy us as they march towards a global Caliphate ruled by Shariah/Islamic law? Why hasn’t the House or Senate held hearings in the MB and the plan they wrote to destroy us?
    You can buy their plan on Amazon for only $5.00. An Explanatory Memorandum: From the Archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. It is was presented in America’s largest terrorist prosecution in US federal court, Government Exhibit 003-0085 3:04-CR-240-G in U.S. v Holy Land Foundation, et al.

    This is from the Explanatory Memorandum– the Muslim Brotherhood in America in its own words:
    “The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

    This is from the Center for Security Policy: “In August of 2004, an alert Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer observed a woman wearing traditional Islamic garb videotaping the support structures of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and conducted a traffic stop. The driver was Ismail Elbarasse and detained on an outstanding material witness warrant issued in Chicago in connection with fundraising for Hamas.The FBI’s Washington Field Office subsequently executed a search warrant on Elbarasse’s residence in Annandale, Virginia. In the basement of his home, a hidden sub-basement was found; it revealed over 80 banker boxes of the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America. One of the most important of these documents made public to date was entered into evidence during the Holy Land Foundation trial. It amounted to the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic plan for the United States and was entitled, “An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” The Explanatory Memorandum was written in 1991 by a member of the Board of Directors for the Muslim Brotherhood in North America and senior Hamas leader named Mohammed Akram. It had been approved by the Brotherhood’s Shura Council and Organizational Conference and was meant for internal review by the Brothers’ leadership in Egypt. It was certainly not intended for public consumption, particularly in the targeted society: the United States. For these reasons, the memo constitutes a Rosetta stone for the Muslim Brotherhood, its goals, modus operandi and infrastructure in America. It is arguably the single most important vehicle for understanding a secretive organization and should, therefore, be considered required reading for policy-makers and the public, alike.
    Another extraordinarily important element of the Memorandum is its attachment. Under the heading “ A List of Our Organizations and Organizations of Our Friends,” Akram helpfully identified 29 groups as Muslim Brotherhood fronts. Many of them are even now, some twenty-two years later, still among the most prominent Muslim- American organizations in the United States. Worryingly, the senior representatives of these groups are routinely identified by U.S. officials as “leaders” of the Muslim community in this country, to be treated as “partners” in “countering violent extremism” and other outreach initiatives. Obviously, this list suggests such treatment translates into vehicles for deep penetration of the American government and civil society.

    Here is a question for you and your readers. “Is the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) (Ikhwan) in America our friend or foe? Please provide me with links to the source material(s) that provides you with your views.”

    1. Frank,

      There is not much to reply to this nonsense. In October 2005 John Rogers once gave an analysis of a speech by President Bush Jr quite similar to your comment:

      You can’t cite your enemy’s delusional hopes as a basis for a rational strategy. Goals don’t exist in a vacuum, they’re linked to capability. David Koresh was utterly committed to being Jesus Christ. See how far that got him.

      Either Bush is making strategy based on a delusional goal of his opponent, which is idiotic; or he’s saying he believes his opponent has the capability of achieving this delusional goal, which is idiotic. Neither bodes well for the republic.

      Time showed that Rogers’ worst fears were correct.

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