Small Wars Journal

Colonel’s Class on Radical Islam Leaves Career in Limbo

Colonel’s Class on Radical Islam Leaves Career in Limbo by Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times.

... A highly rated armor officer who saw combat in Iraq, Col. Dooley planned to instruct for several years at the Joint Forces Staff College within the National Defense University, then seek command of a combat battalion – a ticket to better postings and higher rank.

Today, Col. Dooley finds himself at a dead end while being targeted for criticism by American Islamic groups, at least two of which are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates universal Islamic law...



Thu, 10/25/2012 - 6:28am

So when should we discuss radical ideals and concepts? The only three place I know of are the classroom and the barroom and here. This is not the only foolish firing I have seen lately. One only need look at the Army times in the last few months to see more.


Wed, 10/17/2012 - 8:07am

In reply to by emjayinc


I think the untold story here is content review by the schoolhouse. From direct experience, although only in two organizations, I can say that instructors, once certified and launched, routinely alter slides (don't we all?). Certainly 'altering' slides is a far cry from the content referenced here BUT the lesson seems to be this:

"Army, start paying better attention to conent and quality, please."

Had these slides been subjected to any review process, this issue would have never come to light.

Yes, Dooley screwed up.
Yes, the schoohouse failed to adequately review.

So what we hear is that Dooley is sent to color.

What about the review process?



Tue, 10/16/2012 - 7:51pm

When I was a young officer, many peers and seniors proposed plans for turning North Vietnam, or even both Vietnams, into parking lots, to reduce the pain of thinking one's way through the issues. Most were joking, of course. Looks like some of the serious ones are still around. The slides provided by Wired reflect a similar confusion of categories: (Islam with GSFI), historical events (OIF/OEF with WWII), cultures (Arab with South Asian),and much else. This confusion, often unintentional but nonetheless dumb, seems typical of the wing nut conspiricists and tin foil antennae folks at both ends of the spectrum. That these materials received an OK by senior reviewers indicts them. That LTC Dooley elected to use them, as he apparently did, rather than find a way to clarify the contradictions and polemics or rewrite the whole POI, does, in fact, IMHO, indict him on grounds of judgment, if not intelligence. I recently requested his defense at Thomas More legal center to provide the exact materials (the Wired slides would have fit the bill) he is accused of presenting, only response there was to refer me to some articles about LG Boykin's supposed pillory. Looks like this is a continuation of that ongoing cultural struggle within the military, which in turn reflects the same struggle in civilian society. On balance, I side with Gen. Dempsey and those who seek clarity in these matters. Thomas More center and the defense will see none of my funds, will donate to SWJ, instead.


Tue, 10/16/2012 - 8:49am

In reply to by Pol-Mil FSO

Ooooohhhh kaaaaayyyy then! (said convincingly as I run away from Jim Jones' jungle utopia towards the aircraft...).

I can understand red-teaming radical Islam and I have not yet really done it in my head. Just the concept of 'red-teaming radical Islam' is likely way too much for NCA/Admin to stomach; far too many twists and turns and little nasties.

The trouble is: how does an open society that worships diversity and fairness deal with a closed society that values cultural (but certainly not sexual) heterogeneity? All I can come up with is this joke:

Toleranc and Intolerance walk into a bar.

Intolerance walks out.

The end.

Pol-Mil FSO

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:07am

I looked at the slides and it appears that they advocate a global war against Islam - which is really a terrorist ideology not a religion as we would define it - until we reach a point where the current form of Islam is eradicated around the world and replaced by a form of Islam which we find more in keeping with Western norms. This seems a little more ambitious than nation building in third world countries (sarcasm). This stuff is Frank Gaffney/Lyndon LaRouche tinfoil territory and somebody was obviously negligent in allowing this material to be disseminated as a course of study in a USG institution.

A few notable items in the slides: First Amendment protections should be dissolved for radical extremists in the USA. The Geneva Convention is not relevant in current environment. Brigades returning from Iraq/Afghanistan should be retrained and deployed to the southern U.S. border in two Division/twelve month increments.

The final paragraph from the last slide in the deck (Theoretical STRATCOM Message): "It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction. Let it be known that the United States remains, and will forever be, a beacon of freedom, self determination, hope, and representative democracy. The American people will not be converted. We will not submit. We will not be intimidated, and we will not be driven from this earth."


Tue, 10/16/2012 - 8:42am

In reply to by Lamson719

contact me offline:

tomkinton at g mail dot com


Mon, 10/15/2012 - 5:49pm

Hi Tom,
Please can you send me the info for the SWCS course you taught on Islam and radicalisation? I am doing research into special forces in Iraq (amongst other Iraq related study.) It would be greatly appreciated.
My email is


Mon, 10/15/2012 - 1:35pm


I am not familiar with that school's POI or the slide sets/context.

As a (now retired Army) instructor and currently-employed civil affairs instructor to the Navy (MCAST) I would love to see what the content looks like.

When I taught at SWCS all the students received several Islam-themed courses, from Intro to Radicalization. I have all those slides if interested.

What I find a little strange is the assertion, if true, that the instructor advocated the destruction of certain locations. In almost every student set I've had since 2006 there has been at least one Muslim (or sympathiser). So as a uniformed instructor, even with all my SWCS students under non-attribution disclaimers (signed by each) I would never have advocated something like that. As a matter of fact, I have pulled instructors off the podium for innapropriate delivery/content (i.e. videos shown with insufficient explanation/offensive content with no connection to TLOs and ELOs etc...).

What sounds more plausible is a mis-read or absence of context. And that says to me that this teacher was pushed onto his sword. I hope that isn't true, but in either case it seems to be a no-win.


G Martin

Mon, 10/15/2012 - 1:05pm

My issue with what little I've received on Islam within the Professional Military Education system is that it is usually one of two extremes- either super sensitive to offending anyone or "they want to take over the world, we need to kill them all". I even had the latter justified with the rationale that we usually get the other version in our mass media- so they were just offering a different perspective that you wouldn't normally get "in order to provide balance".

No matter the extremes- I usually commented that I felt dumber afterwards. It seems to me that we don't get any nuance from actual experts- to include people who have lived and are from Islamic countries. For instance- outside of a SOCOM-sponsored workshop- I have never heard anyone in our PME bring up the question of why fundamental Islam didn't seem to be that big of a problem prior to (relatively) recently. There seems to have been a spike in the growth of the numbers of fundamentalist groups in the Middle East- but I haven't heard anyone even discussing that- much less discussing possible sources. THAT issue is something I wish we paid as much attention to- if not more- as this issue.


Tue, 10/16/2012 - 2:33pm

In reply to by Jimbo Monroe

Cool. Yeah, I googled that and got the wired story and six color slides that really didn't have any meat.

I can understand your perspective but don't share it. If he's promoting total war NOW he's a nut. I got a different message though from the slides. Seems that he was portraying a world where other islamic countries fall to the AQ jihad strategy and a coalition develops. If that's the case denying you're at war with a billion people isn't too bright and with numbers like that total war IS on the table unless you think a nation of 300 mil has a chance by continuing with limited warfare.

Appreciate you sharing the slides. They were very helpful and the most I've seen on the subject the majority of which is rabidly against this LTC. My gut tells me PC is destroying the military from the inside and this is just the latest sacrifice.

Jimbo Monroe

Tue, 10/16/2012 - 7:52am

In reply to by major.rod

I wrote my response after looking at the slides, which are fairly easy to find if you Google for something like "Dooley class slides." Most of the articles link back to the original reporting at's danger room blog. My feelings are in basically in line with what POL-MIL FSO wrote: the presentation calls for a war on Islam itself. Unless we are willing to take LTC Dooley's idea to the required conclusion of a full on war of extirpation against 1/6+ of the world's population, his ideas would not end the threat of Islamist terrorism, his ideas would eternalize the threat of Islamist terrorism.


Mon, 10/15/2012 - 10:05pm

In reply to by Jimbo Monroe

Thanks for sharing. Never saw those slides. Impossible to find on the web. Very helpful for context but it still feels incomplete. Do you know if there was anymore material? BTW, where did you find them?

There seems to be a disconnect on what precipitates the destruction of Mecca and Medina. Was there a connection between AQ global strategy that promotes a "global uprising against the world order" or "an offensive jihad to subjegate all non-Muslim people". (slide 11)

Slide 12 seems a pretty reasonable approach to get Islamic countries involved in defending against radical islam.

From the 28 slides the author doesn't seem to make his point clear that what he describes as "islam" is what we commonly understand as radical, islamist, salafist Islam which does go beyond the realms of religon. He could do a much better job of explaining it.

I've seen some of the same analysis on what does it really mean to be a moderate muslim. E.G. some "moderate muslim" definitions consider folks that don't support AQ's means but embrace it's ends actually qualify as "moderate muslims".

It's important for folks to go through all the slides and read them to make a semi-informed decision. LTC Dooley brings up some key points using polls about the definition of civilian in the muslim world where Israeli civilians are not considered "innocent civilians" but Jordanian citizens are. That point is important to understand what he's trying to get at.

I still fail to see what he said or did that was so out there. He did an excellent job of predicting the PC backlash though and is suffering for being right.

Did you write your initial post before going through all the slides?


Mon, 10/15/2012 - 1:39pm

In reply to by Jimbo Monroe


Are the slides available?



Mon, 10/15/2012 - 10:10pm

In reply to by AFSTRAT

Wait, you're willing to make a judgement on the whole class based on 5% of the material picked by who knows?

Have you even looked at the slides from the link Tom offered about an hour after your post?

Informed opinions are so much better than opinions based on 5% of a given subject...


Mon, 10/15/2012 - 9:29am

In reply to by major.rod

M-rod: Jimbo (and Gen Dempsey) had it precisely right. Go look at all the attachments available at the WIRED article. They are about 5% of what was on the CD-ROM Dooley handed out, but they are sufficient to give you a flavor. The course was off the rails, and had essentially been hijacked by wing-nut conspiricists. (not sure if that's a word, but it is now!)


Mon, 10/15/2012 - 4:16am

In reply to by Jimbo Monroe

Are you referring to the one slide the press has been showing or are you familiar with the complete presentation?

LTC Dooley discusses total war he refers to it as Phase III and mentions Phase I was a failure of deterence. What was Phase II? What is the content and context of the briefing? How do we get to Dooley's Phase III? I can't find it anywhere and while some may find it unpleasant to target cities this is exactly what we did for decades with "Mutually Assured Destruction".

Content and context is extremely important to determine what was truly being taught and I suspect the same organization that couldn't hold MAJ Hasan to some standard when he was defening suicide bombers and counseling our troops that the war was a war aginst Islam and troops were behaving dishonorably might be doing some PC coverup.

Short some references and details you may want to take a chill pill Jimbo.

Jimbo Monroe

Sun, 10/14/2012 - 11:15pm

At the point I reached in one of LTC Dooley's presentations the suggestion that Mecca and Medina should be targeted ala Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, I realized this was not a matter of sensitivity, but stupidity. Given the hoops an Army course has to go through to get approved, I'd still like to know who approved the POI for this rubbish. Those folks should be hung out to dry as well for failure to exercise due diligence. If LTC Dooley was allowed to develop the course without adult supervision, then the question becomes what else is out there masquerading as education.