Obama’s military madrassas

The Pentagon review will have a chilling effect on military students. Graduate-level seminars are designed to promote the free exchange of ideas. Now officers may be unwilling to have frank discussions because of the potential that expressing the wrong ideas, even as a means of spurring debate, could be a career-ender.

America’s top-line military schools are supposed to be cutting-edge centers of strategic education. But say a bad word about Islam there, and it could end your career.

On April 24, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a memo expressing concern that “academic institutions within the Department of Defense may be presenting material … which goes well beyond merely presenting alternative intellectual viewpoints on radicalism to advocating ideas, beliefs and actions that are contrary to our national policy, inconsistent with the values of our profession, and disrespectful of the Islamic religion.” The memo ordered a thorough screening of course curricula and outside speakers with a view toward “cultural sensitivity, respect for religion and intellectual balance.” Disciplinary action could be taken against academics whose courseware is judged somehow to be offensive. Outside speakers could be blacklisted.

The review was ordered after a student complained about the content of an elective – “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” – taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. The class was highly regarded by students, yet one slide in one briefing presented the view that America is at war with Islam – a politically incorrect notion that’s never permitted to be uttered, written or thought. “The course is called ‘Perspectives on Radicalism,’ ” a former senior-level military professor told The Washington Times, “but they only want the official perspective. Graduate school is supposed to be education, not indoctrination.”


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