An elective course called “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” was summarily cancelled at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA by General Marty Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, our highest-ranking uniformed officer. Dempsey also ordered an investigation based on complaints of about 20 officers.

The course apparently had asserted, “Islam is at war with the West.”

OK, the Chairman gets high marks for ensuring we don’t offend anyone. Given that several hundred officers go through the AFSC each year, it is nice that a 4 star is concerned for the sensibilities of 20 officers. I just wonder how one defines “Perspectives.” It seems to me to be a plural word, implying multiple perspectives, one of which might be that some radical Muslims hate the West.

Does anyone sane believe that every single adherent of Islam is at war with the West? Clearly not anyone who has ever visited there, known an American Muslim, or has fought there shoulder to shoulder with Muslims who only want their countries to be free of oppression of any sort, and peaceful. However, does any honest, thinking person really believe that a significant minority (significant by their actions, if not their numbers) does not have that perspective?

Come on folks, Al Qaeda, its affiliates and ideological progeny have declared war on the West. They did it well before 9/11, and they have never declared even a ceasefire. We deluded ourselves then, are we now going back to self-delusion? These guys clearly don’t represent the entire spectrum of Islam, but their “war” is justified solely by their interpretation of their faith.

Marty Dempsey is an American hero. He was a superb choice for Chairman, but this flap leaves the same taste in my mouth as when the Army that I served and love declared the Ft Hood Terror Murders an act of “work place violence.”

We are right to work hard to keep Americans from developing a hatred for all things Islamic. It would be wrong, counterproductive and destructive. We are better than that. At the same time, we must resist the temptation to “outlaw” any mention that Hitler was a German, Mussolini was Italian, and yes, Al Qaeda and their ilk are adherents of radical Islam.

I look forward to the results of the investigation.

Dr. Steven Bucci is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He was previously a lead consultant to IBM on cyber security policy. Bucci’s military and government service make him a recognized expert in the interagency process and defense of U.S. interests, particularly with regard to critical infrastructure and what he calls the productive interplay of government and the private sector. Read More