Military ignored glaring threats
Stephen Coughlin is an attorney and intelligence officer who was once the Pentagon's sole specialist on Islamic law. He lectured on jihad doctrine -- what the Koran and key Islamic texts actually say about waging war -- to military leaders who had been (and continue to be) strategizing, planning and fighting the so-called war on terror without any knowledge of the jihad doctrine behind the terror.
Hesham Islam, an Islamic aide to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, rejected what Coughlin's brief said about Islamic jihad, even though the brief, which I've had the opportunity to attend, relies solely on authoritative Islamic sources. Under Islam's tutelage, England and the rest of the Pentagon brass preferred outreach -- you know, Muslim outreach -- even to unindicted Muslim co-conspirators in government terrorism cases. Long story short: Muslim outreach was "in," and Coughlin and his famous brief on jihad doctrine (later transformed into a masters thesis published by National Defense Intelligence University as "To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad") were "out."
That was January 2008. Fast forward to November 2009.
The Washington Post this week published a story about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan headlined: "Fort Hood suspect warned of threat within the ranks." The story opens by explaining that Hasan, using a PowerPoint presentation, "warned a roomful of senior Army physicians a year and a half ago that to avoid 'adverse events'" -- meaning such events as the 2003 jihad attack on Army personnel in Kuwait by Sgt. Hasan Akbar, killing two and wounding 14 -- "the military should allow Muslim soldiers to be released as conscientious objectors instead of fighting in wars against other Muslims."
Good idea. More sensational was the fact that the senior Army psychiatrists who witnessed the 50-slide PowerPoint presentation, based not on medical research as scheduled, but rather on classical jihad doctrine from the Koran and Hadiths, did nothing that rid the armed forces of this jihad threat in uniform. Hasan's presentation, called "The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military" and viewable online at the Washington Post, describes, in Hasan's words, "what the Koran inculcates in the minds of Muslims and the potential implications this may have for the U.S. military." This series of Islamic lessons culminates in the message: "Fighting to establish an Islamic State to please Allah, even by force, is condoned by Islam."
And what did the Army's senior shrinks do about this? As NPR reports, they essentially went into denial, discussing, but not addressing, the threat they believed Hasan posed to others, including the U.S. military, as recently as last spring.
This dereliction of every kind of duty is staggering, and I wish I could convene a court martial myself. But here's the thing. Using standard, non-"extremist" Islamic texts, Hasan warned of the Muslim threat to the U.S. military from within. Using standard, non-"extremist" Islamic texts, Coughlin warned of the Muslim threat to the U.S. military from without. The Koranic intersection of these warnings is significant. So is the fact that both were shut down for similarly PC reasons: the institutional aversion to facing facts about Islam and jihad, either as they pertain to what the military knows as the "enemy threat doctrine," or, in Hasan's case, as they pertain to the enemy threat within -- Hasan himself, for instance.
Now that Hasan has fulfilled his own jihad prophesy, is anyone taking Islam and jihad more seriously? Not so long as our PC senior military leadership remains in place to fret, as Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey frets, about the fate of "diversity" post-Fort Hood. "Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength," Casey told NBC's "Meet the Press." "And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."
Only a zealot could say such a thing, a zealot whose duty is to prioritize "diversity" over the lives of his troops. And only a "diversity"-zealot could be blinded to the Fort Hood-underscored fact that the teachings of Islam are irreconcilable with the goals of the U.S. military, and that anyone who takes those teachings seriously shouldn't be serving in the U.S. military.
The zealotry lives on, even as Fort Hood buries its dead.
-- West is the author of "The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization," and blogs at dianawest.net. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.