Here we go again …. Army Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, who was in the news a few months back for the
crazy controversial things about Islam he was saying in the classroom at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) in Norfolk, is now upset that all the negative press coverage – surprise! – proved less than career-enhancing for him.
Now he’s lawyering up and talking about suing the Department of Defense, and possibly the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) himself – stay classy, Dooley – to get his career back on track. Today, Fox News is on the case with a fawning piece about the allegedly wronged lieutenant colonel, so this story isn’t dead just yet.
To refresh, Dooley was the guy who was teaching an elective at JFSC – the lowest rung of our War Colleges, academically speaking – in which he took the “Islam is the problem” line and advocated “total war” against the Muslim world, including Hiroshima-style “solutions” to the “problem” of Islam. In other words, genocide on an unprecedented level. Be sure to see his PowerPoint, it’s … special.
It should hardly need stating that Dooley’s content was completely opposed to any and all existing U.S. policies towards the Muslim world. Unsurprisingly, the course got the attention of the Pentagon and, eventually, CJCS General Martin Dempsey, who put an end to this sort of nonsense, calling out LTC Dooley directly and ordering a thorough scrub of U.S. military education on this important and sensitive topic. Media coverage was not flattering to Dooley and those of his ilk. He was pulled from the classroom, JFSC was humiliated, and the whole saga had a negative impact on Dooley’s career.
As for academic background to be discussing Islam at the (alleged) graduate level, LTC Dooley had none I am aware of. This incident raises all sorts of troubling questions about academic quality control at our War Colleges, as my colleague Tom Nichols and I have both elaborated on: the issue ought to be discussed and opened up for some debate.
Now, Dooley is falling back on the “academic freedom” excuse. That is a hill that I, for one, am prepared to die on at least in theory, since if our War Colleges cannot maintain academic freedom, especially on touchy subjects of high interest in the real world, what is the point of having them? That said, I am not aware that Dooley is an academic, rather an armor officer who was given a graduate-level teaching job he does not appeared to be prepared for. (Why the U.S. military is pretending that officers without appropriate education and background ought to be teaching anyone at the graduate level, least of all on touchy subjects requiring tact as well as deep knowledge, is a related and important question.)
Dooley is said to have an excellent military record, pre-JFSC, and I’ve never met the guy so I cannot speak to his character. His lawyer has posted several years’ worth of his OERs (annual reviews, in Army-speak) and they mention a lot about how great an armor/cavalry officer Dooley is and that he should get battalion command and promote to colonel …. yet nothing about any advanced knowledge of Islam. He is now claiming to be a victim of political persecution, citing an alleged conspiracy by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to shut him down, as well as other “truth-tellers” about Islam in the U.S. Government.
I’m no fan of CAIR – they are pretty much a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, and I’m sure they don’t like me and my work either – and I certainly don’t appreciate any ability they may have to influence the way matters Islamic are handled in the Department of Defense. However, LTC Dooley could have done himself, and all of us who teach and write on issues relating to Islam and Islamism at our War Colleges, a huge favor by laying off the crazy talk in the classroom.
P.S. The opinions expressed here are mine alone, and certainly not those of the Naval War College or Department of Defense.