The Pentagon’s Muslim tug-of-war

posted at 11:00 am on December 28, 2007 by Bryan

Bill Gertz’s column is chock full of good news today. The Chinese are selling the Venezuelans a new trainer jet. Our troops in Iraq report that Democrat anti-war statements have had serious impacts on morale. And there’s a tussle inside the Pentagon over whether it’s right and proper to assess the role of Islamic doctrine in the war. You’d think this issue would have been settled in the affirmative, oh, on 9-12-01. You’d be wrong.

Pro-Muslim officials at the Pentagon are putting political pressure on one of the U.S. military’s most important specialists on Islamist extremism, according to defense officials.

Stephen Coughlin, a specialist on Islamic law on the Joint Staff, met recently with Hasham Islam, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England’s close aide. The officials said Mr. Islam, a Muslim who is leading efforts for the Defense Department’s outreach to Muslim groups, sought to convince Mr. Coughlin to take a softer line on Islam and Islamic law elements that promote extremism.

There is also evidence that a whispering campaign is under way to try and discredit Mr. Coughlin as a “Christian extremist with a pen” and force him out of the building, according to the officials.

Mr. Coughlin came under fire from pro-Muslim officials after a memorandum he wrote identified several groups that are being courted by Mr. Islam’s community outreach program as front organizations for the pro-extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr. Coughlin based the memorandum on documents released as evidence in a federal terrorism trial that he stated “are beginning to define the structure and outline of domestic jihad threat entities, associated nongovernmental organizations and potential terrorist or insurgent support systems.”

Mr. Coughlin noted that the documents identified one of the Muslim Brotherhood front groups as the Islamic Society of North America, whose leaders were hosted by Mr. England in April at the Pentagon, raising concerns that the deputy defense secretary does not understand clearly the nature of the Islamist threat he is working against as the No. 2 official.

Mr. England has been a leading advocate of what critics in the Pentagon say is a misguided attempt to reach out to the wrong Muslims, regardless of their views, in an effort to counter Muslim extremism.

The trial referred to is the messy Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, in which the ISNA was also accused of supporting terrorism. That trial ended with a hung jury and is likely to be retried. The Pentagon isn’t the only government entity that has linked up with ISNA: The Department of Justice has a similar problem.

In an otherwise important article published by Newsweek this past Wednesday (An Unwelcome Guest), reporters Mike Isikoff and Mark Hosenball detailed a Department of Justice outreach event, cancelled at the last minute because of one of the invitees was a high ranking official with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) – a potentially embarrassing fact since ISNA was recently named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the current trial against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) in Dallas.

The fact that our agencies are so inept that they keep finding themselves linked to groups like the ISNA, and the fact that there seem to be apologists for those groups who also advocate taking a soft line on extremism within the agencies while purging those who advocate knowing more about these groups, all point to a dark fact: We’re screwed. If we can’t even take the most cursory look at Islamic doctrine or what Islamic groups that operate here in the US do with the millions of dollars they raise here every year, we can’t understand who is and isn’t an enemy and we therefore can’t win the war.


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The left has wanted to destroy America for a long time. Their beloved Soviet Union couldn’t do it but their multi-cultural crap just might do the trick.

And this is in a Republican administration! Can you imagine what will happen when the Democrats win an election?

Drew on December 28, 2007 at 11:07 AM

And they ask me why I drink.

flipflop on December 28, 2007 at 11:09 AM

Dear Pentagon:

Gosh darn it, people don’t have to like you. If ever there was a government agency we were counting on to have some stones, it’s you guys. So get out there and step on a few toes. Hurt some feelings. Be insensitive. Tell people, “No, you don’t matter, and you can’t come to our little meeting.”

TexasDan on December 28, 2007 at 11:12 AM

Uhhh…

Got a guy named Mr. ISLAM making decisions as to whether some ISLAMIC groups are a threat?

Sure this isn’t the UN and not the Pentagon we are talking about?

Romeo13 on December 28, 2007 at 11:16 AM

Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.

in 1940 would we have invited Japanese or Nazi apologists to brief and advise our military? I think not. We will be destroyed from within if we don’t wake up and name the enemy.

Swinehound on December 28, 2007 at 11:17 AM

If the CIA can’t detect or prevent illegal Arabian immigrants from joining the ranks, receiving a security clearance, working on sensitive WOT issues, and perusing the CIA files for personal info, why should this be earth shattering news??

a capella on December 28, 2007 at 11:18 AM

I worry when I hear that the troops are being demoralized IN COMBAT by the statements of a bunch of politicians who have never served, demean the military at every opportunity (Murtha, Kerry, Pelosi), and seek to force America’s surrender by political trickery in the budgeting process.

I really worry when I find out that high ranking officals seek to propogate the myth of Islam as a peaceloving religion by launching a smear campaign against the guy on the inside charged with taking the other side of the strategy-building process. Mr. Islam needs to be fired- there is no question about it.

highhopes on December 28, 2007 at 11:19 AM

I really must reread my history. I missed the Nazi outreach program and the Tojo outreach program and the Italian-fascists outreach program in history class. I thought that after we were attacked and they publicly declared their desire to kill or defeat us we just went over and kicked their a$$e$ until we achieved total victory and eliminated their ability to wage war against us and then brought our soldiers home. Also, if memory serves, that only took 4 years with far less sophisticated weaponry.

WTH!! Are these nutbags calling Robert McNamara for advice on how to win a war??

deepdiver on December 28, 2007 at 11:20 AM

If we can’t even take the most cursory look at Islamic doctrine or what Islamic groups that operate here in the US do with the millions of dollars they raise here every year, we can’t understand who is and isn’t an enemy and we therefore can’t win the war.

How we expect this not to happen when we have politicians like Romney bleating “Religion good, Atheism bad”? We’ve always had a secular or classical tradition in the West as we’ve always had Christianity. Let’s just accept each other and worry about our real enemies.

thuja on December 28, 2007 at 11:22 AM

Got a guy named Mr. ISLAM making decisions as to whether some ISLAMIC groups are a threat?
–Romeo13 on December 28, 2007 at 11:16 AM

–Hasham Islam, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England’s close aide.

Freaky given the state of Britain’s self imposed dhimmi-ness of late.

Swinehound on December 28, 2007 at 11:23 AM

Mr. Islam needs to be fired [out of a cannon]- there is no question about it.

highhopes on December 28, 2007 at 11:19 AM

:-P

deepdiver on December 28, 2007 at 11:23 AM

If there is one U.S. government institution I want people not liking, it’d be the Pentagon.

amerpundit on December 28, 2007 at 11:36 AM

They should have left that hole in the Pentagon.

To match the one in their head.

profitsbeard on December 28, 2007 at 11:37 AM

In an otherwise important article published by Newsweek this past Wednesday (An Unwelcome Guest), reporters Mike Isikoff and Mark Hosenball detailed….

Gee, wonder what the reaction would have been if Isikoff had been his usual irresponsible self and suggested the event was canceled at the last minute because the DOS was too busy flushing Korans down the toilet?

Seriously, Isikoff’s “journalism” killed over 17 innocents in rioting based on a rumor the man put forward as part of his (and Newsweek’s) BDS. The man shouldn’t be anywhere near a newsroom.

highhopes on December 28, 2007 at 11:46 AM

Play to win, or quit. Wage war to win it, completely,or quit. No half measures. Is it an enemy or not?

Is this really so complicated?

Cry Havoc…

juanito on December 28, 2007 at 11:50 AM

take a softer line on Islam and Islamic law elements that promote extremism?

Sure, right after the Islamists agree to cease to detonate anything other than confetti and/or feather bombs.

Get back to us then, OK, Mr. Islam?

awake on December 28, 2007 at 12:13 PM

“The Chinese are selling the Venezuelans a new trainer jet”

The article doesn’t say what the Venezuelans plan to do with it, by judging by the article here: http://www.sinodefence.com/airforce/trainer/jl8.as
it can carry a mixture of rockets, bombs, and cannon pods. I don’t know if the Venezuelans have anybody they need to drop bombs on, or practice dropping bombs on. It looks like an angular, old-fashioned variation of the BAE Hawk.

Apeking on December 28, 2007 at 12:14 PM

How to embolden the enemy 101.

Swinehound on December 28, 2007 at 12:16 PM

OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who says the gods have no sense of humor……MR.ISLAM!!!!!!!!

I knew America was in trouble but not this far gone. Is his first name Wormtongue?

You folks might as well vote for Kookcinich or Ron Paul if your political and defense structure is full of Mr. Islam’s.

My apologies to the Muslims, they are way better than Rove could dream of being.

Mr. Islam indeed! Well played Mohammed.

BL@KBIRD on December 28, 2007 at 12:20 PM

Here let me give a little short briefing to the Pentagon.

Mohammed was a thug who murdered, raped and thieved his way into a leadership role. Shall we admire him? Now we are wondering about the religion this thug inspired exactly how can a religion inspired by a thug be worthwhile? Whats next the Free Mumia religion takes hold and in 400 years we worship that thug too?

This is par for the course for our government and absolutely why we must get someone into the Presidency that will shake up the Government. The CIA is more worried about diversity than it is about spies, the Pentagon is buying up silly weapons systems we knew were failed in Vietnam (M16) and the Democrats are traitors.

PierreLegrand on December 28, 2007 at 12:33 PM

How we expect this not to happen when we have politicians like Romney bleating “Religion good, Atheism bad”? We’ve always had a secular or classical tradition in the West as we’ve always had Christianity. Let’s just accept each other and worry about our real enemies.

thuja on December 28, 2007 at 11:22 AM

Bleating?

Romney has spoken against islamic extremism

”Some people think that the jihadists are just a few people in the caves of Afghanistan and Pakistan who want to set off a bomb here and there,” he said. ”It’s much worse than that. The jihadists want to reassemble all the lands that were ever part of Islam, put them under one caliphate. And for that to happen, they have to crush the head of the snake. That’s us.” – M Romney

Meanwhile our whole government is salted with PC apologists whose main job is not to protect the nation, but to crush those who are not politically correct. Such fools will sacrifice our nation and our safety to control speech and promote their feel-good propaganda

entagor on December 28, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Pro-Muslim officials at the Pentagon…

Why is my flesh crawling?

thejackal on December 28, 2007 at 1:16 PM

They should have left that hole in the Pentagon.

To match the one in their head.

profitsbeard on December 28, 2007 at 11:37 AM

LOL. Best line of the thread. And I used to work there, in the same area near where the plane hit several years ago (1995-1997), so I am entitled to that opinion. While I love the US military and all the fine people who serve in it, I do confess to some confusion and misgivings about their ability to shrug off the nefarious political influence wielded by our lying, corrupt Congressmen on the place. The Pentagon (as a bureaucracy) rarely fears anyone in the White House. However, its occupants slaver and worry and “wargame” their efforts and correspondence and actions so much, with Congress and pork on the minds of its leadership, that it overwhelms even the simplest initiatives.

My comrades in (and out of) uniform spent so much more time and effort trying to please Congress than they ever did trying to fight the country’s wars. As an institution, the Pentagon is a noble and honorable place to work, even if it is full of wasteful practices and bloated budgets. I will never be able to say the same thing about Congress. Congress corrupts every man and woman elected to its halls, without fail. Congress compromises their morals and makes them believe its members are better than the people who asked them to serve their in the first place.

At least the Founders had the good sense to make our nation’s military take orders from the President and not Congress. The Republic would have faltered long before 1860 had they done otherwise. And we would be neither free nor democratic today.

I served in the Pentagon under President Clinton. I didn’t agree with everything we did, but I knew that orders were given and followed once given. I knew that the military culture would protect the sanctity of the chain of command and force a workable solution on every problem that was encountered in the defense of the country.

With Congress trying to take over running the country, I fear for our future. Because Congressmen serve their party before their country, our future is cloudy. A Congressman’s ability to besmirch our military at the lowest levels (I don’t care if some Admiral or General gets chastised, I’m talking about the PFC, the Petty Officer 3rd Class, The 2nd LT who hears his beloved country maligned and then is told he or she is the reason for it) has a tremendous effect on our morale.

The single most damaging words a Leader can utter are those which cause a young Man or Woman to doubt that their country’s defense, as ordered by the President and the Officers appointed over them, is a worthy cause, and that service to the country, in military form, is counterproductive to safeguarding the lives of American citizens anywhere, anytime, anyplace. Telling a SGT he can’t win in Iraq qualifies as those words.

I hate Congress almost as much as I love my country. Imagine that as a dilemma towards service to country.

Subsunk

PS, For the record, I followed Mr. Clinton’s orders and would do so again willingly, even if he led me into Hell. I would serve his wife the same way, if she were elected President, or any other Dhimmicrat President. I would not lift a finger to do what Congress tells me in their collective opinion unless it is backed up by Executive Order from SecDef. (And if George W. Bush asked me to follow him into Hell, I’d be out in front of him on the way down.)

Subsunk out.

Subsunk on December 28, 2007 at 1:23 PM

maybe, but what would Mr. Islam say?

BL@KBIRD on December 28, 2007 at 1:30 PM

Meanwhile, in the Bizzaro world, “Joshua Christian, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. France’s close aide” is giving advice that we should be killing the jihadists wherever they are. Or are Mssrs Islam and England in the Bizzaro world? That’s a tough call.

andycanuck on December 28, 2007 at 2:51 PM

I hate Congress almost as much as I love my country.

Co-sign. Glad I’m retired.

Very, very eloquent, sir.

baldilocks on December 28, 2007 at 3:39 PM

Islam is not a religion, it’s a form of insanity.

Hening on December 28, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Subsunk, thank you for that perspective. How sad, and how true. But we elected all of them, thus we deserve each and every one of them. That’s the saddest for me. Respectfully,

Entelechy on December 28, 2007 at 4:20 PM

Game Over

- The Cat

MirCat on December 28, 2007 at 6:14 PM

Is this a parody? Seriously? Someone named “Mr. Islam” has the job at the Pentagon of lobbying for a policy “to take a softer line on Islam and Islamic law elements that promote extremism”

This country is screwed.

Resolute on December 28, 2007 at 7:39 PM

I had to come back to this funny dream quality post.

To see that it is real is the most disturbing/depressing piece of news I have seen in quite some time. How many Mr. Islams are the “close” aides of people in responsible positions?

I imagine all western states are similarly infected.

BL@KBIRD on December 28, 2007 at 9:07 PM

Mr Gertz is correct that there is a connection between the Chinese and Venezuela. But, I also understand the flight manual is written in Chinese which looses a lot in translation. So do not fear the Venezuelan military whose primary mission is to protect the Narcotics Industry.

To combat ISNA linkage, agencies must start sharing their information with others in the organization, or agencies must simply understand their limitations and stop trying to delve into areas they are not responsible or qualified.

Mr. Coughlin is correct, do not lump all Muslims into one group and label them the enemy. Sun Tsu, which many in the DOD often forget to read and understand, reminds us to truly know the enemy in all ways, so you can identify them when you see them on the street and deal with them accordingly.

MSGTAS on December 29, 2007 at 9:41 AM

PC will be the death of US all…

Claire on December 29, 2007 at 11:08 PM