Gen. Dempsey On Military Anti-Islam Class: ‘Totally Objectionable, Against Our Values’

The U.S.’s top military officer today delivered an extraordinary repudiation of a class taught as the U.S. military’s Joint Forces Staff College. The course, “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism,” used apocalyptic rhetoric and cast Islam as a “barbaric ideology,” employing numerous anti-Muslim tropes. For example, the class taught the lessons of “Hiroshima” to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary” in a “total war” against Muslims.

At a press conference today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey explained how the materials taught in the class were brought to his attention and expressed a harsh criticism of them. He said:

DEMPSEY: As you know, I’ve made an inquiry into a particular course that was brought to my attention by one of the students because he was concerned that it was objectionable and that it was counter to our values — you know, our appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness. And the young man who brought it to my attention was absolutely right. It’s totally objectionable.

And so we are looking at how that course was approved, what motivated the individual to adopt that — it was an elective, but what motivated that elective for being part of the curriculum. And we are looking across the institutions that provide our professional military education to make sure there’s nothing like that out there.


It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound. This wasn’t about pushing back on liberal thought; this was objectionable, academically irresponsible.

Watch the video:

As Dempsey mentioned, he ordered an investigation of the class upon recognizing just how “objectionable” the material therein was. The examination of other teaching materials might find a good place to start by looking into Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, who facilitated the class, remains, for the moment, in his position at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.


This post originally said Lt. Col. Dooley created the slides and delivered the lectures in question. ThinkProgress has since learned Dooley only facilitated the class.