Political correctness is the constraint that none dare mention

By Col. Thomas E. Snodgrass (USAF, Ret.)


There appeared in a recent Armed Forces Journal an article, “A New Principle of War,” by Frank Hoffman that was interesting, provocative, and important reading. As Mr. Hoffman indicates, the principles of war provide a framework of salient fundamentals within which to think about the planning and conduct of warfare.

The principle Mr. Hoffman advocates adding to those that have been the bedrock of Army Field Manual 3-0 “Operations,” is that of ‘understanding.’ Mr. Hoffman defines ‘understanding’ as crafting “strategy and operations upon a detailed understanding of the nature of military conflict and the specific context (cultural, social, political and geographic) in which military force is to be introduced and applied.” In order to provide ‘authority’ for his recommended addition to the war principles, he quotes the renowned military strategist, Bernard Brodie, who stated,  “good strategy presumes good anthropology and good sociology.”

Everything in the foregoing paragraph presented by Mr. Hoffman is fairly well beyond dispute based on military history and common sense. However, the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the room Mr. Hoffman did not mention was that the ‘understanding’ of Islam, in the context of countering the current jihad [Islamic religious war of domination] being waged against us, has been prohibited by both the Bush and Obama administrations.

rightsidenews_camps_02It should be obvious to anyone cognizant of the daily content of the media that Islamic religious beliefs are at the root of the international terror and warfare plaguing humanity around the globe. As the preeminent American political scientist Samuel Huntington put it in his seminal 1993 essay, “The Clash of Civilizations?”: “In Eurasia, the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders.”

Consequently, it is axiomatic that Islamic jihad is the enemy warfare doctrine [spelled out in the Shari’a] that U.S. forces and allies will confront on worldwide battlefields for the foreseeable future. So, why is Islamic jihad such a taboo subject for the U.S. Government? The simple answer is ‘political correctness.’

We still remember President George W. Bush’s pronouncement during the days immediately following the attacks of 9/11, with the embers of the World Trade Center still smoldering that “Islam is peace.” More precisely, he made that counterfactual proclamation on September 17, 2001, at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. It was this statement that undergirds the dangerously flawed government policy of distorting the true violent nature of Islam and initiating a false narrative that all the problems involving Muslims are caused by a small minority of “extremists” who have “hijacked Islam.” This misguided Bush policy premise, which actually refutes reality, has been continued and expanded by President Barack Hussein Obama.


No one, except a mental captive of ‘political correctness,’ can read the words of the Qur’an, the Islamic “sacred” book, and the fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence] in the Shari’a [Islamic law which implements the Qur’an], and seriously assert that “Islam is peace.” To prove this point beyond question, consider the “Verse of the Sword,” which is recognized as the basic organizing principle of Islam:

Qur’an Sura 9:5 – And when the sacred months have passed [four periods during the year when tribal warfare was forbidden by mutual tribal agreement on the Arabian peninsula in Mohammad’s time], then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah [zakah are alms for poor Muslims that are considered to be a religious duty, and the payment is expected to be made by all practicing Muslims who have the financial means; furthermore, zakah is charity to only be dispensed to fellow Muslims, and funding jihad is also considered to be a proper use of zakah], let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [In short, kill those who do not receive Islam as their faith, but spare those who convert to Islam.]

Further, consider the Qur’anic sura that definitively identifies Islam’s enemies:

Qur’an Sura 9:29 – “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day [Muslim Qur’anic eschatology] and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger [Mohammad] have made unlawful [that is, they don’t follow Islamic Shari’a law] and who do not adopt the religion of truth [Islam] from those who were given the Scripture [Jews and Christians] – [fight] until they give the jizyah [a yearly, so-called “poll tax” that is actually protection blood money buying the subdued non-Muslim’s life] willingly while they are humbled.”


Additionally, Islamic law, as sourced in and flowing from the Shari’a, spells out the Islamic authority for jihad and the terms of the struggle. One of the most authoritative legal guides for elucidating this law is Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Law:

AntwerpJihadRiotAELShari’a o9.0 JIHAD

O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion. . .

The scriptural basis for jihad . . . is such Qur’anic verses as:

(1) “Fighting is prescribed for you [Muslims]” (Qur’an2:216);
(2) “Slay them [non-Muslims] wherever you find them” (Qur’an4:89);
(3) “Fight the idolaters [non-Muslims] utterly” (Qur’an9:36);


09.1 Jihad is a communal obligation . . . 

He who provides the equipment for a soldier in jihad has himself performed jihad . . .” 


As the above Islamic theological pronouncements make clear, the central organizing principle of Islam is to impose this religion on all non-Muslims through the imposition of Islamic Shari’a law as the legal ordering principle for every aspect of society. Shari’a encourages, but does not compel, non-Muslims to convert. However, the choices left to those who reject Islamic conversion according to Shari’a are (1) to acknowledge the political supremacy of Islamic authority and to submit to Islamic rule by accepting second-class resident alien status as “protected people” [ahl al-dhimma], requiring payment of the Islamic extortion tax called “jizyah,” which is annual protection money], or (2) to die by the sword. So, the options presented to non-Muslims who are called to convert by the Muslim political authority are three: convert, consent to subjugation and extortion, or die. 

To summarize Islam, the ultimate goal of Shari’a-centered Islam is to establish a hegemonic Islamic political order because the Islam envisioned in a Muslim-ruled world without national borders [ummah] is far more than just a religious worship, but rather it is a world order based upon “the law of Allah.” It is important to recognize that “the law of Allah,” or Shari’a, deals with topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting. In other words, Shari’a literally dictates the proper conduct in every human-life choice. In view of such comprehensiveness, Islam tolerates no other form of secular governmental system because man-made laws contradict the very notion of Allah as the supreme and only legitimate lawgiver. And, what bears repeating is that taking cognizance of these facts about Islam may be disconcerting to people reared in the traditions of Western Civilization, but these are the truths as articulated and lived by the mujahideen [jihadists] and the majority of Muslims in the Islamic world as evidenced by independent and reliable surveys. Indeed, when the pundits and Obama administration officials were telling us a year ago that the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists [Islamic fundamental literalists in interpreting the Qur’an and Shari’a] would garner no more than 20-25% of the vote in the post-Mubarak Egypt, the World Public Opinion Survey of 2006-2007 and the Pew Survey of 2010 rather indicated that 70-75% of Egyptians sought a political order based upon Islamic law where blasphemy [freedom of speech] and another form of blasphemy [freedom of religion] were both punishable by death. We’ve now learned that the brute facts of Shari’a domination predicted by the surveys crushed the Pollyannaish myth of a “liberal democratic Arab Spring.” It was the mythical “Arab Spring” that was used by the Obama administration to deceive and mislead the American public into believing their false narrative about the transformation of Islamic authoritarianism into liberal democracy.

Understanding Islamic jihad, or holy war, as outlined in the foregoing paragraphs is the equivalent of having the enemy’s strategic war plan – regardless whether it is the Sunnis or Shiites, or both, who are on the attack. And this Islamic strategic war plan will not change, as the Qur’an and Shari’a are considered to have been revealed to Muslims by their god, Allah; therefore, no human being can change their contents.


In view of the existential threat to the U.S. that is expressly stated in the Qur’an and Shari’a, what actions has the U.S. national leadership undertaken during the administrations of our last two presidents, representing both political parties? The U.S. national command authority [President and Secretary of Defense] has actually become more and more prohibitive toward the official study and understanding of Islamic jihad as the war with the Islamic jihadists has progressed – exactly the opposite course of action from what one would expect the national war leadership to pursue during a seemingly unending conflict without victory. The following are just some illustrative examples of official censorship that are documented in the media.

In addition to President Bush establishing the false narrative and official policy promoting the peaceful nature of Islam, his Department of Defense dismissed Maj. Stephen Coughlin (USAR) who was working in the Pentagon in the capacity of civilian contractor on the Joint Staff, J-2 (Intelligence) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As detailed by the authoritative web site, Jihad Watch, the Joint Staff specifically employed him because of his knowledge of Islamic doctrinal thinking as it applied to “jihad” and the underlying objectives of Islamic jihadists, as well as his degree in law and international affairs. But as the result of a campaign undertaken by Hesham Islam, the senior advisor for International Affairs to Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, on January 3, 2008, Mr. Coughlin was told by his Pentagon employers that his contract would not be renewed due to the fact his message, and by extension he himself, had become too “politically hot.”

Coughlin’s message can be summed up by his master’s thesis title, “To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad.” His thesis had been accepted by the National Defense Intelligence College shortly before his dismissal, and it dealt specifically with Islamic precepts that are the doctrinal drivers of jihad, and the failure of the U.S. leadership to learn and understand this doctrine. Mr. Islam asked Mr. Coughlin to “soften his message” regarding Islamic jihad. Mr. Coughlin refused. Mr. Islam was heard referring to Coughlin as a “Christian zealot with a poison pen.” Despite the fact that no one in his chain of command has disputed the veracity and accuracy of his thesis, lectures, or briefings, Coughlin’s employment was terminated for speaking the truth in the Department of Defense, where truth about Islam has been and still is purposefully suppressed.

As obstructive as the Bush administration was impairing and blocking attempts to gain the ‘understanding’ advocated by Mr. Hoffman’s article, the actions of the Obama administration have been even more proscriptive and repressive. At least under Bush, the 2006 National Security Strategy stated: “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.” Under the Obama administration, the 2010 National Security Strategy has excised “militant Islamic radicalism” and instead identified the enemy vaguely and innocuously as “violent extremism” and “terrorism.” Thus, we are told that “ . . . these wars—and our global efforts to successfully counter violent extremism—are only one element of our strategic environment and cannot define America’s engagement with the world. Terrorism is one of many threats that are more consequential in a global age.” This level of political correctness is not just injurious and silly — it is fatally flawed and will not only result in the deaths of countless men and women in uniform, it will no doubt lead to yet more 9/11s with even more deadly consequences.

As crippling to the war principle of ‘understanding’ as the denial that Islamic jihad is one of the primary national security problems may be, the security environment recently became even more stifling when FBI Director Robert Mueller secretly met on February 8, 2012, at FBI headquarters with a coalition of groups, including various Islamist and militant Arabic groups who defend the jihadist Hamas and Hezbollah organizations, and agreed to their demand that more than 1000 FBI Islamic training presentations and curricula which these Islamist groups consider “offensive” be removed from FBI offices around the country! Furthermore, FBI agents have confirmed that from now on, FBI headquarters has banned all FBI offices from inviting any counter-terrorist specialists who are considered “anti-Islam” by these Muslim Brotherhood front groups. This bureaucratic irrationality of giving the Muslim Brotherhood authority to determine what training U.S. counterintelligence forces can receive would have been akin to inviting the Soviet KGB to determine what measures the FBI could only employ to identify their secret agents during the Cold War.

So, immediately following 9/11, in order to develop a U.S. military, law enforcement, and government that are ‘politically correct’ and ‘Islam-ignorant,’ President Bush established the false planning premise, “Islam is peace,” underpinning futile and expensive U.S. actions like ‘nation-building’ in Iraq and Afghanistan in this open-ended war against Islamic jihadist forces. Then the Bush Defense Department declared and enforced an ‘Islamic-jihad-knowledge-free-zone’ in the Pentagon through the prohibition of study and analysis of the enemy’s strategic war doctrine by firing Stephen Coughlin from the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he was an intelligence advisor regarding Islamic jihadist doctrinal thinking. Next, in order to continue on the irresponsible course of being ‘Islam-ignorant,’ the Obama National Security Council removed terms like “militant Islamic radicalism” from the 2010 National Security Strategy and substituted “violent extremism” and (undefined) “terrorism” in an effort to deny and conceal the cause of the on-going war against America, and that cause is, the ‘theo-political-military imperialist doctrine’ laid out in the Qur’an and Islamic Shari’a. From there the Obama administration’s obstructive effort becomes even more serious when Islamist and militant Arabic groups, representing the jihadist Hamas and Hezbollah terror organizations, demanded that the FBI purge its training materials of all information which the Islamists found offensive to their ‘religious sensibilities.’ To his ever-lasting disgrace, FBI Director Mueller complied with these Islamic demands, undoubtedly carrying out with his superiors’ policy.

But it is at this point that the U.S. national security establishment descends to its all-time nadir when President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, acquiesced to the stipulations in a October 19, 2011 letter to the White House, signed by 57 Muslim organizations, demanding that all training materials not meeting their approval be “purged” from the curricula of U.S. military schools and that instructors “guilty” of teaching the Islamic Shari’a to U.S. military officers be “effectively disciplined.” Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, Joint Forces Staff College instructor, was selected as the “guilty” scapegoat to meet the Islamists’ punishment demand. Here is where it gets beyond outrageous. General Martin Dempsey proved himself to be the U.S. lackey-equivalent of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, Chief of Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command under Fuhrer Adolph Hitler, when he “personally attacked” Lt. Col. Dooley on C-Span television, May 10, 2012, during a Pentagon News Conference. Obviously Dempsey was subserviently executing “his leader’s” orders to suppress the truth about Islam. Lt. Col. Dooley’s “crime” in Obama’s and Dempsey’s eyes was to present Islam in an accurate way that displeased Islamists in his Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism course. When America’s top ranking military officer publically rebukes a much junior officer on live television, which is absolutely unprecedented, it sends the unmistakable message to all officers in every military service that to be a truth-teller about Islam is a career-ending offense in the Obama military. 

So, not only has Obama banned the use of words that accurately describe the inherent imperialist aggression of Islam, e.g., “militant Islamic radicalism,” “jihad,” “Shari’a,” “Islamic terrorism,” etc., in the National Security Strategy and in official correspondence and discourse – he has also attempted to conceal the barbarity of Islam by refusing to acknowledge acts of Islamic jihad for what they actually are. A prime example is Abdulhakim Mujahid Mohammad’s attack on a military recruiting center in Little Rock, AK., on June 1, 2009, that left one American soldier dead and one wounded. Mohammad told police that he had been sent by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and that the jihadist attack he had carried out was justified according to the Islamic Qur’an and Shari’a. But neither Obama nor his underlings has ever acknowledged the Little Rock attack as an act of jihad.

nidal-hasan-all-american-muslimEven more egregious has been the Obama administration’s handling of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s November 5, 2009 jihadist murders of 13 people and wounding of 29 victims. In spite of Hasan repeatedly shouting the jihadist cry of “Allah u Akbar!” during the commission of the murders, the Obama Pentagon officials labeled the Islamic-inspired massacre “work place violence!” The Obama administration’s jihad denial got worse still when the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was murdered along with three other Americans in a well-planned jihadist attack by al-Qaeda affiliates in the Maghreb on September 11, 2012. In knee-jerk reaction, Obama and his national security minions took their ‘Islamic-political-correctness-cover-up-conspiracy’ to delusional lengths by claiming that the ambassador and the others were killed by a demonstration turned mob that was spontaneously protesting a ridiculous, Internet video trailer mocking Mohammad. Almost no one had seen the trailer, but the worldwide publicity that Obama afforded it at the United Nations in his attempt to deflect blame for his foreign policy incompetence fanned the flames of Muslim rage around the globe against America. Obama’s obsequious, wrong-headed apology to Islam did not defuse Muslim acrimony; instead it did exactly the opposite. Subsequently in a November 10th congressional hearing the Obama lie that blamed the movie trailer for the ambassador’s death has been shown to be a total fabrication perpetrated by an incompetent group of foolish government officials attempting to deceive the American public into believing that Islamic jihad does not exist as a threat to U.S. national security.

In view of the fact that the ‘jihad denial syndrome parameter’ Obama’s administration has mandated in the fight against Islamic jihad is not conducive to expanding or sharpening the U.S. security establishment’s understanding of the enemy we have been at war with for more than a decade, it would be wise at this point to reflect on the words of Sun Tzu in his redoubtable “The Art of War”: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” 


As a result of the foregoing accounts of shame and ineptitude, the obvious question we are left with is: Why is our national leadership intentionally denying the underlying motive of Islamic jihad and at the same time limiting our understanding of the enemy that has been killing Americans in large numbers since the 1983 Beirut bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks? That is, what is the bottom line motive in the ‘political correctness’ that compels this unquestionably irrational behavior? It is past time that the American electorate demand answers as to why we have been following such a foolish policy that is needlessly costing the lives of young Americans and fecklessly expending national treasure!

Returning finally to Frank Hoffman and his case for a new principle of war, ‘understanding.’ It is self-evident that adding ‘understanding’ as a U.S. principle of war could improve the intellectual paradigm for planning the conduct of the ongoing conflict against Islamic jihad. But it is obvious that as long as Obama and his maladroit national security officials are in charge of defending our society, ‘understanding’ will not be one of our principles of war. 

Tom_Snodgrass_RSNCol. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired), was stationed in Peshawar, Pakistan, where he worked daily with Pakistani military personnel for more than a year and had many subsequent dealings with Muslims as an intelligence officer during a thirty year military career.

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Col. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired) served over a year in Peshawar, Pakistan, working with Pakistani military intelligence. During his year in Vietnam he daily scheduled 130 U.S. Army and Air Force intelligence collection aircraft. In his final overseas tour he was the U.S. Air Attaché behind the Iron Curtain in Warsaw, Poland. In total, Col. Snodgrass was variously an Intelligence Officer or an International Politico-Military Affairs Officer (military diplomat) serving duty tours in seven foreign countries, as well as teaching military history and strategy at the Air War College, US Air Force Academy, and USAF Special Operations School during a thirty-year military career. Additionally, he was awarded an Air Force scholarship to get a history master’s degree in revolutionary insurgent warfare at the University of Texas, as well as being granted a year’s educational sabbatical to teach and to write about international relations as an Air Force Research Associate in the graduate school at the Center for Advanced International Studies, University of Miami, Florida. Following the Air Force, Col. Snodgrass was an adjunct professor of military history for ten years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona.