by Karla Dial
Two members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee last week sent a letter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asking why an Army officer who was teaching a course on radical Islam was given a career-killing review — one the officer is now fighting in court.
For the last two years, Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley has taught an elective course at the National Defense University’s Joint Forces Staff College, called “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism.” As a combat veteran with 18 years of experience and aspirations for further promotion, teaching the course was a good way to advance to commanding a combat battalion. But the course became controversial last October, when 57 Muslim organizations — including two with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood — sent a letter to the White House and senior defense officials complaining that all training materials they find offensive to Islam be “purged” and that instructors be “effectively disciplined.”
As a result, the college cancelled Dooley’s class this spring, and he was reprimanded by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also received the first black mark of his career — a negative Officer Evaluation Report, which effectively halted his upward career trajectory.
A month later, Dempsey took things a step further, saying in a Pentagon press conference that the course was “totally objectionable” and “against our values,” as well as dedicating himself to eradicating similar materials from all military education courses.
On Oct. 10, Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) sent a letter to Dempsey demanding an explanation for his actions against Dooley.
“It appears that LTC Dooley led this course well within the scope of NDU’s professorial guidelines, as NDU’s own Faculty Handbook states: “Academic Freedom at National Defense University is defined as freedom to pursue and express ideas, opinions, and issues germane to the University’s stated mission, free of limitations, restraints, or coercion by the University or external environment.”
Since all Dooley’s other OER’s had been outstanding, the congressmen said, “We would like to know why the DoD was compelled to further discipline LTC Dooley by jeopardizing his reputation and his future in the service.”
Meanwhile, Dooley is fighting the issue in court, represented by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC).
“As you read his OERs, I’m sure you will come to several conclusions about Matt Dooley,” said TMLC President and Chief Counsel Richard Thompson. “First, he is an outstanding officer and had a brilliant career ahead of him. Secondly, he loyally served every one of his commanders. Third, he was respected by the men under his command. Fourth, his superiors at the Joint Forces Staff College considered him an outstanding instructor. And lastly, after all he has done for his country and the Army his superiors sacrificed him to the dogs of political correctness.”
LtC Dooley’s Officer Evaluation Reports
As one reads the above correspondence and evidence, it is readily apparent that the discrimination against all the good that America represents in the personage of its finest military officers is subjugated by a Commander-in-Chief whose loyalties rest at best with some misplaced sense of political correctness.