Washington DC – American values do not support a US military course which identified Islam and not terrorists as the enemy of the United States, according to General Martin Dempsey, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Addressing a joint press conference with US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Gen. Dempsey said, “It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound.” Dempsey repeated for emphasis, “This was just objectionable, academically irresponsible.”
The course called for a “direct ideological and philosophical confrontation” with Islam and cited the “historical precedents of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo and Dresden” to justify the destruction of the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia since 2004 by Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, the course was suspended in late April after a student objected to its content.
Thanking the young man who brought the “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” course to his attention, Gen. Dempsey said, “I’ve made an inquiry into a particular course that was brought to my attention by one of the students because he was concerned that it was objectionable and it was counter to our values, you know, our appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness.”
Asked to clarify if it reflected current thinking among some in the military that the US is or ought to be at war with Islam, Gen. Dempsey said, “We are looking at how that course was approved, what motivated the individual to adopt that — it was an elective, but what motivated that elective for being part of the curriculum.”
“We are looking across the institutions that provide our professional military education now to make sure there’s nothing like that out there,” said Dempsey.
US war veterans applauded Gen. Dempsey’s action. Saif Khan, an Iraq veteran said, “I commend the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, for taking appropriate actions to ensure such offensive courses are not taught at any US military school in the future.”
Khan, an Indian American and very active in veteran affairs added, “There are thousands of patriotic Muslim Americans serving in the United States armed forces. It is appalling and extremely offensive that such a course was taught at the Joint Forces Staff College against the religion of fellow service members who are fighting to protect the same freedoms we all value as Americans.”
On the fate of Army Lt. Col. Dooley, Gen. Dempsey said, “There is an investigation ongoing. The individual instructor is no longer in a teaching status.”
Expressing surprise at the course, which argued that the Geneva Conventions were “no longer relevant” and proposed “targeting civilians whenever necessary” Gen. Dempsey said, “And are you asking me am I surprised? Yeah. I’m surprised. And I was actually quite thankful that the young man who did find the course material offensive spoke up.”
The news website Wired.com published detailed materials from the course last Thursday. (IATNS)