In April 2012, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, a highly decorated combat veteran, was publicly condemned by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and relieved of his teaching assignment because of the negative way Islam was portrayed in an elective course titled, "Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism."
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that it is representing Lieutenant Colonel Dooley, a 1994 Graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point.
The actions against LTC Dooley, an instructor involved with this elective, follow a letter to the Department of Defense dated October 19, 2011 and signed by 57 Muslim organizations, demanding that all training materials that they judge to be offensive to Islam be "purged" and instructors "are effectively disciplined."
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, "We are privileged to represent Lieutenant Colonel Dooley. He has honorably served his Nation for 18 years and effectively carried out every assigned mission with distinction. He served as Aide-de-Camp to three different General Officers and deployed to Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq for a total of six operational and combat tours. During that time he received numerous awards and decorations. Now after a lifetime of service to his country, he is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and expediency by the Army he so loyally served . . . and loves."
Thompson observed, "In order to appease Muslims and the White House, General Dempsey and the Department of Defense rushed to punish LTC Dooley. In the process, they violated not only our Nation's core principles of free speech and academic freedom guaranteed by our Constitution, but also, a number of the military's own regulations dealing with academic freedom and non-attribution policies of the National Defense University (NDU) to which LTC Dooley was assigned. They violated the right to due process of law and even by-passed the University's Provost, who under NDU's own rules has primary responsibility for adjudication of this matter."
While serving as an instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) , a branch of the National Defense University established by Congress, LTC Dooley took on the task of guiding students through one of its most vibrant but controversial elective courses. In grappling with the most dangerous aspects of radical Islamist ideology, students in the elective were encouraged to debate and affirm or dismiss a number of notions regarding Radical Islam as well as confront what strategic U.S. actions were feasible or infeasible. Dooley assumed his instructor position within the National Defense University with an understanding that years of prior-approved course content, established guest speakers, and doctrinal teaching methodologies were still safe to discuss.
The Thomas More Law Center played a pivotal role in defending LtCol. Jeffrey Chessani, USMC, another loyal military officer, who was ordered to face a court martial to appease the Iraqi government and anti-war politicians, especially Congressman John Murtha (D-PA). A military judge dismissed the charges against Chessani on the grounds of undue command influence.
Parroting the FBI's reason, namely, "political sensitivity" as the reason for not thoroughly investigating Army Major Nidal Hasan, which ultimately led to the Ft. Hood Massacre, General Dempsey on 24 April 2012 ordered a review of instruction that was "disrespectful of the Islamic religion" to ensure "cultural sensitivity."
The result is certain. Officers and instructors see what has happened to LTC Dooley, and will refrain from telling the truth about Islam or confronting the difficult strategic challenges facing our nation for fear of jeopardizing their professional careers. The Pentagon has still apparently not learned from the politically correct policies that led to the Ft. Hood massacre.
Our military, while conducting the difficult task of threat analysis, does not have the luxury of hiding from potentially offending those who would do us harm. It is precisely our refusal to consider the often irrational, volatile nature of those who do not think with our western world view that has led us to this crisis of conscience. Those people who subscribe and enforce the current environment of political correctness are the ones most often surprised by incidents like the terrorism at Ft. Hood and the uncivilized behavior currently roiling North Africa and the Middle East.
Rather than thinking and acting bravely, PC'er's strike at our cherished First Amendment in a vain hope of buying friendship with a force we still do not understand that neither respects us nor appreciates civility. Despite the military's decade long effort to come to a more sophisticated level of cultural awareness, we have missed the most critical and basic lesson of this war: weakness itself is a provocation.
This is a threat to our National Security. In effect, our own government is applying Islamic Sharia law to prevent any criticism of Islam. The chill on instruction is already happening at the Joint Forces Command College of the National Defense University, to which LTC Dooley is assigned.
Claire M. Lopez, a former CIA agent and strategic policy and intelligence expert, recently commented on General Dempsey's order:
"The final bastion of America's defense against Islamic jihad and sharia, the Pentagon, fell to the enemy in April 2012, with the issuance of a letter from General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, re-issuing his earlier order that all Department of Defense (DoD) course content be scrubbed to ensure no lingering remnant of disrespect to Islam.
"All U.S. military Combatant Commands, Services, the National Guard Bureau and Joint Staff are under Dempsey's Muslim Brotherhood-dictated orders to ensure that henceforth, no U.S. military course will ever again teach truth about Islam that the jihadist enemy finds offensive (or just too informative). To all intents and purposes, DoD Secretary Leon E. Panetta likewise has acquiesced to a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of U.S. military education."
In an astonishing and unprecedented Pentagon News Conference on May 10, 2012 carried nationally on C-SPAN, General Dempsey, with Secretary of Defense Panetta sitting at his side, personally attacked LTC Dooley, a subordinate Army officer who honorably served our Nation, and was subsequently prohibited from publicly defending himself.
Once LTC Dooley's name was publicly revealed, immediate threats to him and his family prompted security measures to be taken for their protection.
The administrative disciplinary procedures against LTC Dooley included removal from his teaching assignment and withdrawal of an outstanding Officer Evaluation Report (OER) concerning the elective course he had been teaching at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) entitled, Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism. However, the course content critical of Islam as an ideology, the guest speakers and their methods of instruction were all pre-approved by the JFSC years ago.
All of that changed when a student outside of his elective complained directly to the Secretary of Defense and touched off a media firestorm full of inaccuracies and political "blame-storming."
LTC Dooley had received only top marks as an instructor from both students and the faculty chain of command. He carried the highest student evaluations over the previous 18 months and the highest faculty rating among all active military instructors. In fact, his senior rater in 2011, Brigadier General Marvin Smoot, went so far as to exclusively point out LTC Dooley as the best of his new instructors, specifically mentioning his positive contribution to the Islam elective now under attack by General Dempsey.
On April 25, 2012, a Defense Department News Release referring to LTC Dooley's course claimed that General Dempsey felt unprofessional things are being taught to students and that the course material was not "simply objectionable" but "inflammable." The release went on to say that such content would be scrubbed from the curriculum. Moreover, the release claimed that Defense Secretary Panetta shared General Dempsey's concern.
Less than a month later, on May 10, 2012, during a Pentagon press conference with Defense Secretary Panetta seated next to him, General Martin Dempsey expressed negative opinions regarding the Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism elective course content, characterizing it as "totally objectionable" and "against our values."
In this same press conference, General Dempsey personally committed to removing any similar curriculum from military professional education within the JFSC and elsewhere. Despite a preliminary inquiry that confirmed the purely notional, conceptual, and theoretical nature of LTC Dooley's class, General Dempsey's implication, before the inquiry was complete, that Dooley formally advocated actions outside of U.S. policy was both premature and inaccurate.
By the academic methods trained and practiced at the Joint Forces Staff College, instructors protected by the official and non-attributional environment of the classroom were routinely expected to challenge their students to consider all options both within and outside of U.S. policies and to "think the unthinkable."
Dooley's case also clearly demonstrates the results of prejudicial public statements made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in prematurely determining the outcome of the preliminary inquiry into the elective that had not yet concluded. The outcome of the military investigation into the Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism elective was predetermined by the CJCS and the Secretary of Defense before the review process had even begun.
After their prejudicial comments and press release, how then could LTC Dooley ever be given a fair and impartial inquiry following the command influence from the nation's highest members of the military chain of command?
LTC Matt Dooley was deployed to Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq for a total of six operational and combat tours over the course of his career. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant of Armor in May 1994. LTC Dooley has served as a Tank Platoon Leader, Tank Company Executive Officer, Tank Company Commander, Headquarters Company Commander, Captains Career Course Small Group Instructor, Cavalry Squadron Operations Officer, Cavalry Squadron Executive Office, Regimental Plans Officer, Aide-de-Camp (to three separate General Officers), and Instructor at the Joint Combined Warfare School. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College as well as the Joint Forces Staff College.
Betrayed by his military chain of command, all of whom refused to stand behind their own Academic Freedom and Non-Attribution regulations, LTC Dooley stands alone in his association with what had been previously acceptable methods of educational inquiry. As a result, LTC Dooley, an 18-year Army Officer and combat veteran, has been stripped of his teaching position and is now the subject of a negative evaluation report that threatens to damage his otherwise sterling career.
LTC Dooley's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Star, Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Stars, both the Global War on Terrorism Service and Expeditionary Medals, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Parachutist Badge, the Air-Assault Badge, and two Army Superior Unit Awards.