October 13, 2012
Obama's Orwellian Binge and Purge
This post is a Sachi-Dafydd joint.
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, chapter 3.
One would imagine that to "know your enemy" is common sense, and nobody would gainsay it. If we're ignorant of whom we're fighting, how can we hope to out-think, surprise, resist, and defeat him?
Knowledge is our most powerful weapon: knowledge of strategy and tactics; of how to maintain supply lines and other logistical necessities; of actionable intel on what the enemy is going to do next; of how to transport combat units quickly hither and thither; and of course, knowledge of who the enemy is (so we know who to attack), how he fights (so we know what signs to look for), and how he thinks (so we understand what the enemy will do even before he himself knows.
One would imagine. But under President Barack "Ve knew nussink, nussink!" Obama, our military is systematically purging that valuable weapon of knowledge, word by word and concept by concept, from our military, intelligence, and political agencies... and all in the name of sensitivity and political correctness.
This Orwellian loss of language, like the "Newspeak" of Nineteen Eighty Four, has one obvious and ominous consequence. Since language evolved, human beings have learned to think primarily in terms of words; so when all the words that describe an idea are banned, it becomes impossible even to think it, because we have no verbal hook to hang it on.
That is precisely what the Obamunists have done... and now it even has its human face. Meet LTC Matthew Dooley, a West Point graduate and decorated combat veteran... a once and perhaps future instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College at the National Defense University, teaching such courses as "Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism."
His courses were popular among students and colleagues. Nevertheless, Dooley was relieved of his position NDU. He and his course was adjudged "unprofessional" and "against our values," by no less a personage than Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Chillingly, this is no isolated case; it has become Department of Defense policy to remove from training materials and even military-university textbooks and course outlines any word or concept that is declared objectionable by Moslem in general or even by Islamists in particular.
In October 2011, a cohort of Islamic and Islamist individuals and organizations -- including a number of radical Islamist groups, including unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial -- the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, and the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA -- jointly signed a letter to a number of federal, state, and local agencies, including the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA, and local law-enforcement. The Islamist letter complains about supposedly offensive, bigotted, and religiously discriminatory documents and training courses, and its authors demand that the Obama administration purge all such material.
The letter was taken seriously by the administration, which responded, as instructed, with a sweeping purge of all military training documents. Page after page of materials were ruthlessly cut from the curricula of training and education courses, simply because the passages contained certain expressions that angered radical Islamsts and their co-dependents. Much of the purge was less surgical and more like an overwrought lumberjack. Sometimes, every single word that could describe a concept was rejected, leaving the concept itself inarticulable.
The purge policy did not arise from a vacuum; oddly, it began under the administration of George W. Bush... and initially was a misguided effort, not to shelter Moslem terrorism, but rather to avoid glorifying, aggrandizing, and popularizing radical Islamists.
In April of 2008, the Bush administration sent a global memo to American embassies; the memo listed specific words that should not be used, such as "jihadist" (holy war or struggle) and "mujahedeen" (holy warriors, warriors for God):
- "Never use the terms 'jihadist' or 'mujahedeen' in conversation to describe the terrorists. ... Calling our enemies 'jihadis' and their movement a global 'jihad' unintentionally legitimizes their actions."
- "Use the terms 'violent extremist' or 'terrorist.' Both are widely understood terms that define our enemies appropriately and simultaneously deny them any level of legitimacy."
- On the other hand, avoid ill-defined and offensive terminology: "We are communicating with, not confronting, our audiences. Don't insult or confuse them with pejorative terms such as 'Islamo-fascism,' which are considered offensive by many Muslims."
I understand the Bush State Department's intent. But any word can be misused or corrupted and be turned into an excluse for the chronically violent to act violently. That cannot mean we should purge such words from our lexicon, particularly when those most anxious to censor our speech are those who ally themselves with our enemies and routinely engage in Dawa -- jihad and the imposition of sharia law through means other than actual combat.
Dawa includes direct propaganda; "lawfare" (using our own civilized legal system against us); calling mass protests; appealing to the eager and pliant "fourth estate," the press; teaching Islamism in liberal universities as gospel; producing or at least influencing the production of movies and television shows, and other ostensible entertainments, that portray sharia and Islamism in a positive lighe; or alternatively, using methods such as boycotts, protests, and political persuasion to prevent the production of movies or tv shows that depict radical Islamism in a critical light.
And of course Dawa includes persuading military leaders, up to the Chairman of the JCS, to do their dirty work for them by purging "objectionable" words, phrases, and understandings in the name of diversity, tolerance, and inclusiveness. Leftist totalitarians are already in the censorship groove; it doesn't take much to get them all het up about "religious bigotry" or "hate speech."
Our Founding Fathers had a different approach: Rather than try to prevent speech considered "bad," they allowed it; and they likewise encouraged counter-speech that was "good," or at least allowed speech aggressively supporting and attacking every conceivable proposition. We now call that our sacred right to freedom of speech; and the religious nature of the phrase is no accident: Such universal freedoms come ultimately from the Hebrew and Jewish side of our American Judeo-Christian heritage, and are utterly rejected by the same radical Islamists who use freedom of speech here to support the imposition of sharia. (Their love of free speech ceases the moment sharia law is established, naturally.)
Rather than purge words from teaching materials lest some Islamist get huffy, we should redouble using those very "forbidden" words; but using them in an accurate, correct, and complete context. We enrich our ability to think by having more word arrows in our vocabulary quiver; and we do not further corrupt the English language by transforming it into Newspeak, trying to bludgeon Americans into concensus by whittling their tongues down to size.
Ever since Obama went on his Middle-East apology tour, Americans have suspected something strange was going on. He called it his "smart diplomacy," but we sensed something more sinister: The president was not simply apologizing for America's sins, he was kow-towing to radical Islamists and changing the language of our official documents -- and by extension through the establishment media, of our very way of thinking about radical Islamism.
Like Obama's Fast and Furious scandal, Purgegate had its earliest roots in the Bush administration; but also like Fast and Furious, the bad seed sprouted a far more poisonous fruit when Obama took office. From the Washington Times piece:
By 2011, Obama’s Counterterrorism and Deputy national security advisor John Brennan was urged by Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations to begin an “independent, effective investigation into the federal government’s training of its agents and other law enforcement” and institute a “purge” of any material that the undersigned organizations deemed unacceptable.
In an October 19, 2011 letter to Mr. Brennan, the groups criticize for anti- Muslim bias the FBI’s 2011 training manual, the books at the FBI library in FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia, specific FBI trainers and analysts, and a report made by Army Command and General Staff at the Fort Leavenworth School of Advanced Military Studies."
Swiftly thereafter, Tom Perez, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division, made his final recommendations to John Brennen:
In response to these recent disclosures, federal officials across the country—particularly FBI field offices—have been reaching out to local Muslim communities to state that the offensive training materials do not reflect the opinion of the FBI, its field offices or the federal government. Until the following steps are taken to remedy this problem and to prevent it from recurring, we will not be confident in these assertions. We urge you to create an interagency task force, led by the White House, tasked with the following responsibilities:
We paraphrase the so-called "following steps" that Perez recommended:
- Review all FBI, DoD, and Homeland-Security trainers and training materials at government agencies;
- Purge all biased materials;
- Install mandatory re-training programs;
- Ensure all trainers who used "biased" training materials are effectively disciplined (Adios, Col. Dooley);
- Ensure that bigoted trainers and biased materials are purged;
- Make clear that religious practice and political advocacy are protected under the First Amendment, are not indicators of violence, and shall not be subject to surveillance or investigation.
The recommendations concluded:
The interagency task force should include a fair and transparent mechanism for input from the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities, including civil rights lawyers, religious leaders, and law enforcement experts.
But not, it appears, any military, intelligence, or even diplomatic personnel or organizations that might harbor "bigoted trainers and biased materials." Presumably this would include anybody who saw a connection of some sort, however tenuous, between radical Islam and murderous terrorism.
How significant was the ideological purge of inconvenient military, diplomatic, and intelligence truths? Is there any basis to conclude that this was a deliberate effort to expunge certain ideas from the American mind, so that better and more "flexible" understandings, perhaps more anti-colonial, could take their mental slots? Consider this point from the Washington Times:
In December of 2011 Congressman Dan Lungren, California Republican, questioned Paul N. Stockton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense, at a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee. After much back and forth, Stockton would not say the United States was “at war with violent Islamist extremism.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, had a similar experience in May of 2010, when he questioned Attorney General Eric Holder at a House judiciary hearing about the issue of radical Islam.
The FBI training manual changed. Nearly 900 pages of training that was considered offensive were deleted. Members like Congressman Allen West, Florida Republican, and Congressman Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, were critical of the purge.
Gohmert questioned FBI director Robert Mueller in May 2012 about the deleting of FBI material. Rep. Gohmert went to the House floor and compared the number of times certain terms (at 22:40) were used in the 9/11 Commission report as opposed to the now purged FBI training manual. For example, according to Gohmert, the 9/11 report mentioned the word “Islam” 322 times. However, Gohmert discusses that the FBI training manual can no longer mention the terms: Islam, Muslim, jihad, enemy, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, caliphate, Shariah law.
Now we know why "the fierce urgency of now" demanded Dooley's course be thrown into the ashheap of history and his head on a pike: As far as the Obama administration is concerned, there are some things Man is not meant to know; and among those unknowable things is the absurdity of Obama's perverse foreign policy, where we cast off our allies and bitterly cling to our adversaries and enemies.
Dooley himself is fighting back, trying to regain his job. But the real issue here is not whether one man can stop the boot from stamping on his face, but whether the American electorate can bring itself to believe just how anti-American is the American president... and can find the spine to do something about it on November sixth.
Hatched by Sachi on this day, October 13, 2012, at the time of 10:19 PM
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