Pentagon suspends course advocating ′total war′ on Islam | News | DW | 12.05.2012
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Pentagon suspends course advocating 'total war' on Islam

For years, students at a US military college could take an elective course that advocated total war on Islam. Although the class has been suspended, the teacher remains on staff at the college.

The Pentagon has suspended a class at a US military war college that advocated "near total war" against Islam and the destruction of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

But Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, who taught the elective course "Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism," remains on staff at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. The college teaches midlevel officers and government civilians on subjects relating to the planning and execution of war.

The news website Wired.com published class materials from the course in detail on Thursday

'Totally objectionable'

The course was suspended in late April after a student objected to its content. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, has ordered an inquiry into how the course become part of the college's curriculum.

“It was totally objectionable, against our values and it wasn't academically sound,” Dempsey said. The general went on to say that the course ran counter to American "appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness."

Direct confrontation

The course identified Islam in general, not terrorists, as the enemy of the United States and called for a "direct ideological and philosophical confrontation" with the religion of 1.5 billion people. Dooley's course argued that the Geneva Conventions were "no longer relevant" and proposed "targeting civilians whenever necessary."

Dooley used what he called the "historical precedents of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo and Dresden" to justify the destruction of the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Class materials called Islam a "barbaric ideology" and presented outcomes such as "Saudi Arabia threatened with starvation…Islam reduced to cult status."

The elective course, taught since 2004, was offered five times a year with around 20 students each time. Around 800 students took the course over the years.

slk/tj (AP, dpa)