Friday, May 11, 2012


News Flash: US Military Calls For Violent Measures

Does that headline seem as ridiculous to you as it does to me?  I would have thought that this can be simply assumed.  It's like saying that the Pope has come out in favor of people going to church on Sundays, or that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced that he doesn't like Israel.  This is supposed to be news?

Apparently it is. writes breathlessly about about a course, taught at the Joint Forces Staff College by Lt. Col Matthew Dooley, that suggests a war with Islam may be coming, and that extreme measures may need to be taken in such a war.

I'm having difficulty seeing what all the excitement is about here.  First of all, Wired reports that the Pentagon has already canceled the class; furthermore, "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".  That seems pretty thorough to me.  But Wired complains that Lt. Col. Dooley is still at his position (although he is under investigation).

Okay, so a teacher is found teaching material that his higher-ups find objectionable.  The class is canceled, the teacher is put under investigation, and a nationwide search is conducted for similar class materials so that they can be purged too.  And this is somehow not enough?  Was the U.S. Army supposed to execute Lt. Col. Dooley without trial, or something?

Furthermore, why the uproar?  We have seen incendiary lectures given in the US Military before, which were not condemned by anyone.  (Not until the lecturer decided to commit murder, that is.)  And why paint with such a broad brush?  The Wired headline reads "U.S. Military Taught Officers: Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics for ‘Total War’ on Islam", blaming the entire US Military for the actions of a single instructor, as though he was teaching official US Army doctrine.  (The fact that his class has been so thoroughly repudiated by the top brass should indicate that, on the contrary, Lt. Col. Dooley was working on his own here.)

The reasons, of course, should be obvious.  Dooley's lectures were harshly critical of Islam and Muslims, something that is not to be tolerated in any form today.  (By contrast, Maj. Hassan's lectures on the superiority of Islam, and on the need for Muslim US soldiers to disobey orders, were perfectly acceptable.)

But let's take a closer look.  Granted, Lt. Col. Dooley was teaching about the possibility of an all-out war against Islam as though it was a distinct possibility, and he explored the connotations of that in ways that many might view as distasteful.  But isn't that what military planning is all about?  Any competent military has detailed plans, written up and ready for immediate execution, to deal with situations that are unlikely in the extreme.  We can rest assured that the US Military has war plans for what to do if aliens attack us from the moon, if a volcano suddenly appears in the middle of Yellowstone National Park, if Alaska declares independence and cuts off all connections with the rest of the US, and so on, and so on.

The reason for this should be obvious.  When faced with a military emergency, or an emergency with military implications, we don't want to be making it up as we go along.  We want to have plans in place, ready to go.  If a preposterously unlikely event happens and the US Military isn't prepared for it, then someone hasn't been doing his or her job.

So we can expect the military to have all sorts of plans, including some non-politically-correct ones.  But we're not even complaining about that.  Wired protests that a course was taught to military officers, exposing their delicate ears to negative depictions of Islam.  This is not policy; this does not in any way change current US military planning.  It's just a class.  And this is supposed to be a scandal?

Yes, apparently it is... one requiring inaccurate headlines to scare as many people as possible.  (The headline puts quotes around Hiroshima, i.e. "use 'Hiroshima' tactics for 'total war' on Islam".  Did Dooley teach that?  He didn't have to; all he had to do was mention the word 'Hiroshima'.  Could they not find a single direct quote from Dooley that was incendiary enough for them?)

I can see reasons for people to be upset by this class, certainly.  But I don't see why hysteria of any sort is justified here.

(hat tip: Ed Driscoll, writing at Instapundit.)


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