By Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News
Iâ€™ve written often about the US militaryâ€™s endemic culture of hate towards Muslims. The disdain for human life that produced the Dasht-i-Leili massacre in Afghanistan that the Bush administration declined to investigate, the inhumane treatment of chained detainees at Guantanamo Bay, the bestiality and torture that took place at Abu Ghraib â€” and soldiersâ€™ holiday snaps of themselves taken while they were holding up body parts of Afghans theyâ€™d killed like sick trophies destined for pride of place above their mantel pieces. Iâ€™ve talked about amphetamine-popping US pilots who cheerfully drop bombs on civilian populations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Iâ€™ve highlighted soldiersâ€™ dehumanising of Muslims in US-occupied lands with labels such as â€œrag headsâ€ and worse. Iâ€™ve queried the few bad apples theory propagated by former US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld and other senior officials. But never did I imagine that Hiroshima-style â€˜Total war on Islamâ€™ was being taught in class at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.
The course that endured for a year without even a single student raising a complaint dealt with Americaâ€™s waging of â€œtotal warâ€ against all the Muslims on the planet on the basis that Islam, rather than extremist Muslim elements, was the enemy of the United States. It criminally advocated the abandonment of the Geneva Conventions, the destruction of entire civilian Muslim populations and the use of nuclear weapons to wipe out Islamâ€™s holiest cities Makkah and Madinah.
Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey is engaged in damage control but when this abhorrent indoctrination of commanders and officers was going on right under his nose, his excuses ring hollow. The course was â€œcounter to our values of appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness,â€ he maintains. That might be more believable had Matthew A. Dooley, the lieutenant-colonel responsible for introducing this bigoted curriculum, been instantly given a dishonourable discharge. But no, heâ€™s merely been suspended from lecturing.
How could anyone in their right mind advocate war on all followers of one of the worldâ€™s greatest faiths that has almost 1.6 billion adherents, representing around 23 per cent of the global population! Why isnâ€™t he being discredited, charged with criminal incitement or shut-up in a loony-bin when heâ€™s clearly cut from the same cloth as Adolf Hitler?
The Guardian quotes part of Dooleyâ€™s July presentation. â€œWe have now come to understand that there is no such thing as â€˜moderate Islamâ€™. It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction,â€ he announced before setting-out a four-step plan to reduce Islam to a â€œcult statusâ€.
Could it be that the Pentagon was well-aware of those vicious teachings all along â€” and because his course had been approved he canâ€™t be brought to account? This isnâ€™t so far-fetched when the Pentagon has admitted that the course material appeared on its own website. Indeed, Al Jazeera maintains that it has material evidence, including slides, of another course on similar lines to the one taught in Norfolk, which the network received from a nauseated US officer who said â€œthis bigoted conspiracy cabal is both disgusting and so deeply un-Americanâ€. Yes, thatâ€™s true. The material sounds like itâ€™s been filched from Mein Kampf. Americaâ€™s founding fathers must be turning in their graves.
The slides, that had been approved by two three-star generals and a former CIA director, imply that Muslim extremists have succeeded in infiltrating the US government, media and educational establishments through the offices of American-Islamic organisations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is, in fact, a respected civil liberties advocate fostering multi-faith cooperation and unity. Just imagine the outcry if there was a course on Jews infiltrating government, colleges, TV and newspapers via American Israel Public Affairs Committee! Or, if any Arab country politically allied to the US was preparing its military graduates to murder all the worldâ€™s Christians.
I naively imagined that mankind is now more enlightened than it was at the time of the Crusaders who massacred Muslims and Jews in the name of religion between the 11th and 13th centuries. I was wrong. The only difference is that men have painted themselves with a sophisticated veneer. Then the protagonists used swords. Today, a US military college is promoting the use of nukes!!
It seems to me that the international community has a duty to come together to take the Obama administration to task. President Barack Obama should apologise to Muslims everywhere and especially to American Muslims who must surely be shocked and scared by this news which has been compounded by reports of FBI counter-terrorism training materials referring to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as a â€œcult leaderâ€ and US Muslims as mostly terrorist sympathisers.
Americaâ€™s predominantly Muslim allies in the Middle East and North Africa and in south-east Asia should seek iron-clad assurances that these offensive courses were not rubber-stamped in compliance with official government policy; they should also remain wary of a so-called friend whose military teaches how to obliterate Muslims from the face of the earth. Sorry folks! America has lost any vestige of moral authority it had left. It should be internationally shunned until the government admits its institutions are riddled with Islamophobia and takes concrete action to root it out.
Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of the comments may be considered for publication.