Inside the Ring: Military hit for correctness

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The report concluded with a warning that the U.S. government “cannot continue to simply ignore or deflect” the threat posed by radical American Muslims.”

“Unfortunately, it appears that within the United States, political correctness has prevented many from sufficiently acknowledging and tackling this dangerous problem,” the report says.

“We continue to face an unwavering threat, and must be fully aware that homegrown radicalization is part of Al Qaeda’s strategy to continue attacking the United States.”

Meanwhile, the same day the report was released, the Pentagon announced it had completed a review of the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) course, “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism,” and other course content to determine whether the material was offensive to Muslims.

“The inquiry into the JFSC elective course … concluded there were institutional failures in oversight and judgment, which allowed the JFSC course to be modified over time in a manner that ceased to include instruction on U.S. [countering violent extremism] policy or counter-terrorism strategy and to adopt a teaching methodology that portrayed Islam almost entirely in a negative way,” said Col. Dave Lapan, spokesman for Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The inquiry recommends the course be redesigned to include aspects of U.S. policy and reduce its reliance on external instruction,” Col. Lapan said.

The review was called after Muslim advocacy groups complained that one of the course lecturers was former Joint Staff terror analyst Stephen Coughlin, a specialist on Islamic law who has been a target of Muslim groups for his hard-line but accurate views of Islamic law and its use by Muslims in conducting terrorist attacks.

Asked if political correctness was limiting the ability to the military to properly identify enemies in the war on terrorism, Col. Lapan told Inside the Ring:

“The U.S. military shouldn’t be offending Muslims. We work closely with them, and people of all faiths, in many countries around the world. The military is very clear on the enemy, and the threat they pose to the U.S. We seek to dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and associated forces and counter violent extremism.”

ROMNEY CABINET EYED

With polls showing a narrowing gap between President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Republican insiders are discussing likely people for top Cabinet posts in a Romney administration.

Former Reagan administration Navy Secretary John Lehman, a current Romney adviser, is said to be a favorite for defense secretary. Also being mentioned for the top Pentagon post is former Sen. Jim Talent, Missouri Republican and also a current Romney adviser. Mr. Talent headed a blue-ribbon commission on preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

John R. Bolton, the U.N. ambassador during the George W. Bush administration and specialist on arms control and security issues, is said to be a leading candidate for secretary of state.

Paula Dobriansky, another former Reagan administration official, is said to be eyed for a senior State Department post as well.

Speculation for deputy defense secretary is focused on two Romney advisers: Dov Zakheim, a former Reagan defense official, and Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy during the George W. Bush administration.

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

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