Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Colonel’s class on radical Islam leaves career in limbo
When Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley last year began teaching a class to fellow officers on the dangers of radical Islam, he seemed to have landed in a perfect spot.
A highly rated armor officer who saw combat in Iraq, Col. Dooley planned to instruct for several years at the Joint Forces Staff College within the National Defense University, then seek command of a combat battalion — a ticket to better postings and higher rank.
Today, Col. Dooley finds himself at a dead end while being targeted for criticism by American Islamic groups, at least two of which are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates universal Islamic law.
More important, Col. Dooley’s critics include ArmyGen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In a news conference with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta in May, Gen. Dempsey, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, publicly excoriated Col. Dooley’s training materials as being unfair to Islam and “academically irresponsible.”
A month after Gen. Dempsey’s rebuke, a general on his Pentagon staff ordered Col. Dooley to be removed as an instructor “for cause.”
As a result, regulations called for Marine Lt. Gen. George Flynn to order the National Defense University to produce a negative officer evaluation report on Col. Dooley — a career ender.
Richard Thompson, president of the nonprofit Thomas More Law Center, is representing Col. Dooley in an appeal against the negative report. He said the Pentagon is trying to appease the Muslim Brotherhood.
“What happened here was this whole idea of political correctness deterred the ability of our military to speak frankly about the identity of the enemy,” Mr. Thompson said in an interview. “Once you allow political correctness to overwhelm our military, then we are really going to have an impact on our national security.”
Mr. Thompson said the university simply could have informally counseled Col. Dooley to change some of the material, which the officer would have done. Instead, Gen. Dempsey and others chose to “throw him under the bus in public” and “damage his reputation,” the lawyer said.
Col. Dooley’s evaluation report last year, while he was teaching the course, lauded him as a superb officer.
In addition, the course and the materials in it had been approved by the National Defense University, whose guidance to instructors says that “no subject or issue is considered taboo.”
On Aug. 29, two raters at the university issued a negative officer evaluation report, as ordered, ruining any chance for Col. Dooley to make full colonel and effectively cutting short his professional upward path.
That action prompted two Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee last week to send a letter to Gen. Dempsey asking why such harsh action was taken.
U.S. to End Pro-Democracy Broadcasts in Russia
America’s broadcast voice in Russia will soon be silenced following Moscow’s ratification of a new law that will force a legendary broadcasting company to abandon the Russian airwaves.
Radio Liberty (RL), a division of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe (RFE), recently fired a large portion of its staff after the passage of a Russian law prohibiting foreign-owned media outlets from broadcasting on AM frequencies.
The unexpected mass layoffs came as a shock to RL journalists and Russian human rights activists alike, and spurred accusations that the Obama administration is kowtowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin as he seeks to silence the democratic voice that helped topple communism.
“The timing of it, the way it was done, and the lack of explanation” sends an unfortunate message, said David Kramer, president of the human rights organization Freedom House. “It creates the impression, whether intended or not, that the U.S. is pulling out [of Russia], and that’s not the impression we want to leave.”
On Nov. 10, RL, known by locals as Radio Svoboda, will cease its AM broadcasts after nearly 60 years on the airwaves.
During that time, RFE-RL fought communism from behind the Iron Curtain, where its pro-America broadcasts provided an alternate source of news for Russians interested in a Western perspective.
The station’s American overseers have announced that Radio Svoboda, which reaches an estimated 150,000 listeners daily, will turn exclusively to the Internet where it hopes to reach a younger generation of Russians.
The new broadcasting law, spearheaded by Putin, orders companies that are more than 48 percent foreign-owned to leave the Russian airwaves. It comes on the heels of the ouster of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a nonprofit aid group recently banned from operating in Russia.
Soon after the radio measure was approved, RL axed the majority of its veteran reporters, radio hosts, and editors—a move viewed as suspicious to many on the inside. A handful of additional RL staffers quit in protest following the firings.
Experts fear that the disappearance of RL’s independent voice from the airwaves will allow Putin’s regime to further tighten its grip on the flow of information in Russia.
If we are the new Elizabethans, then conservatives are the new Catholics
I recently read Ian Mortimer's A Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England, which includes a chapter on religion in this period. It illustrates how during the 16th century the acceptable range of religious beliefs changed rapidly in a short space of time.
Anti-Catholic hostility steadily grew, inflamed by the Pope’s declarations against Queen Elizabeth. In 1571, Parliament passed a new act making it high treason to claim the Queen was “a heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper”. It became illegal to import papal bulls, crucifixes or rosary beads.
Just as in later secular regimes where the old religion was suppressed, ordinary people could end up in serious trouble if they said the wrong things. Essex tailors George and William Binkers were hauled before magistrates in 1577 for saying that the Host became “the very body, flesh and blood of Christ.” John Howard was also summoned to court for stating that “it was never merry in England since the scriptures were so commonly preached and talked upon.”
The situation intensified in 1580, when scholars from Douai set up an illegal printing press in Oxfordshire and 100 Jesuits arrived with the mission “to preserve and augment the faith of the Catholics in England.” From then on anyone trying to persuade people to join the Catholic Church was guilty of high treason and executed, whilst anyone missing an Anglican service was to be fined £20 per month.
After 1593, Catholics could travel no more than five miles from home without forfeiting all property, and had to register with local authorities in order to obtain a licence if they wished to go anywhere. Things had changed a lot since 1564, when half of all justices of the peace had hesitated to swear Oath of Supremacy.
I grew up in a mixed Anglican/Catholic household, but until adult life I probably held the standard Protestant Whig view of our history; that Protestantism freed the English from Papist tyranny, which is essentially alien and un-English.
Yet, a lot of that is myth. James I was as much an absolutist as any continental monarch, and absolutism was seen as the future. England’s constitutionalism may have been helped by some of the radical elements of Protestantism — and the literacy it encouraged — but it was formed in a Catholic country. The men who signed the Magna Carta then 40 years later held meetings that came to be known as Parliament were all Catholic. As for the Protestant work ethic, Flanders seems as hard-working as Holland, and Bavaria as Saxony. Would a Catholic England have been that different? The only difference in a world in which England had remained Catholic would have been, as someone once quipped, that Ireland would have been Protestant.
There are some parallels with our own time. Protestantism at the start of Elizabeth’s reign was a minority faith, and when Henry VIII had broken with Rome it was only practised by a small number of radicals around London and Cambridge. But they were a highly-motivated, disproportionately well-educated minority, and once given power were able to inflict a cultural whitewash on England’s Catholic heritage. This was physically manifested in Thomas Cromwell’s wrecking of the monasteries, an act of cultural vandalism that resembles the actions of the Taliban. The Protestant radicals, crucially, were better able to manipulate the medium of the day — print.
If you look at the present day, cultural changes that have occurred under the second Elizabeth have shifted the acceptable range of beliefs within a generation. A number of opinions that were almost universally held during the last London Olympics might get you sacked today, or possibly investigated by the police.
When bishops talk of the “persecution” of Christians they are being hyperbolic. Christians really are persecuted in places like Pakistan or Iran, but what they mean is that the Anglican supremacy has been replaced by an atheist one, and that people who don’t believe in its articles of faith, whether it be gay marriage or multiculturalism, face legal harassment and social handicaps.
Today’s new puritans maintain that they are fighting for equality rather than control, but this is as much of a delusion as the idea that they are “rational” (and people who think they’re rational and others aren’t can be quite dangerous). We could have “procedural” secularism, in which the state allows people to worship and does not have favour any religion in particular, but when two sets of beliefs — sexual equality and traditional Christianity — have such opposing belief systems, the state has to favour one. That’s what it has done on things such as adoption agencies; it’s not quite the same as being squashed underneath seven hundredweights of metal, but we live in more peaceful times, and no one wants to lose their job or funding, especially when the state is so much larger today.
Although most people are quite moderate on the “culture war” issues, just as in the 16th century the most fanatical are also the most vocal and determined; like in the 16th century they understand the media of the day, television and radio, better than conservatives. That is why, just as in the 16th century, it is used to spread relentless propaganda against the old society and faith. (Another parallel is the physical vandalism of the 20th century that tore down so many beautiful buildings that reminded people of another era.)
And just as in the 16th century, they use the law to exclude people with whom they disagree, people who do not swear the 21st century equivalent of the Oath of Supremacy – the Oath of Diversity.
Liberal racism sightings have become like a lunatic's version of "Where's Waldo?" Kevin Baker of Harper's magazine says Romney's referring to his "five boys" in last week's debate was how he "slyly found a way" to call Obama a "boy." Says Baker: "How the right's hard-core racists must have howled at that!"
MSNBC's Chris Matthews says the word "apartment" is racist because black people live in apartments. He also says the word "Chicago" is racist because -- despite its well-known reputation as the home of Al Capone and the Daley machine -- a lot of black people live there, too. (And don't get him started on "Chicago apartments"!)
As we go to press, Matthews is working on an exciting new hypothesis that peanut butter is racist.
Meanwhile, my new favorite actress, Stacey Dash, sends an inoffensive little tweet supporting Mitt Romney and is buried in tweets calling her "an indoor slave" and a "jiggaboo," who was "slutting (herself) to the white man." (And those were just the tweets from the Obama 2012 Re-election Campaign!)
Could we get an expert opinion from Chris Matthews or Kevin Baker about whether any of that is racist?
It's a strange thing with liberals. They spend so much time fawning over black nonentities -- like Maya Angelou, Eugene Robinson, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Rachel Maddow's very, very, very special black guest Melissa Harris-Perry -- that, every once in awhile, they seem to erupt in racist bile to restore their mental equilibrium.
After President George W. Bush appointed Condoleezza Rice the first black female secretary of state, she was maligned in racist cartoons portraying her as Aunt Jemima, Butterfly McQueen from "Gone With the Wind," a fat-lipped Bush parrot and other racist cliches.
Kevin Baker didn't notice any of that because he was working on his theory that referring to your sons is racist.
When Michael Steele ran for senator from Maryland, he was depicted in blackface and with huge red lips by liberal blogger Steve Gilliard. Sen. Charles Schumer's Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dug up a copy of Steele's credit report -- something done to no other Republican candidate.
Is that more or less racist than Romney mentioning his sons? More or less racist than the word "apartment"?
Mia Love, a black Republican running for Congress in Utah had her Wikipedia page hacked with racist bile, heavy on the N-word. Her campaign headquarters has been bombarded with racist graffiti and slimy mailings with pictures of Klansman next to photos of her family.
Some would say that's even more racist than Romney talking about his sons.
On less evidence than the birthers have, liberals slandered both Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain with the racist stereotype of black men as sexual predators.
As the preceding short list suggests, liberals usually limit their racist slime to conservative blacks. But not always.
In 2008, Bill Clinton said of Obama "a few years ago this guy would have been carrying our bags." Democratic Sen. Harry Reid praised Obama for not speaking in a "Negro dialect." Joe Biden complimented Obama for being "clean" and "articulate."
Did I mention that Kevin Baker thinks that Romney referring to his "five boys" is racist?
Two years ago, liberal newsman Dan Rather said the criticism of Obama was that he "couldn't sell watermelons if you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic." (I immediately called for Rather's firing for that, and then remembered that he didn't have a job.)
Last week, Rather won the 2012 Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement from Washington State University. That's not a joke -- or at least not my joke.
Meanwhile, evidence of alleged Republican racism invariably consists of tenuous connections and apocryphal signals normally associated with schizophrenics and sufferers of "Thrilled Leg Syndrome."
Since February 2008, the primary evidence of racism has been failure to fully support Obama's election, policies or re-election. As Slate magazine's Jacob Weisberg put it during the last presidential campaign, only if Obama were elected president would children in America be able to "grow up thinking of prejudice as a nonfactor in their lives."
I wish I had a nickel for every kid who's come up to me in an airport and said, "What I wouldn't give to be able to think of prejudice as a non-factor in my life ..."
Curiously, liberals weren't concerned about what children in America would think if Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court nomination had been defeated. No, only electing the most liberal person ever to seek the presidency on a major party ticket would prove that the country could "put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race."
The left's racial demagoguery worked: In 2008, Obama received a larger proportion of the white vote than any Democrat running for president in nearly 40 years. (Though he tied Clinton's 1996 white vote record.)
And look how well that turned out! We haven't heard another peep about racism since then.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.