The plaudits in the military records regarding the performance of one Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, a 1994 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, are startling:
- “Exceptionally superb performance from a professional, innovative and enthusiastic officer”
- “He is clearly the best of our new instructors … already cited by his students as an outstanding instructor. … A must select for battalion command. … Dooley possesses unlimited potential to serve in positions of much higher authority.”
- “Unquestionably among the most dedicated and hard working officers I have ever known. … He can always be counted on to deliver top-north results. Select immediately for battalion/squadron command. Unsurpassed potential for future promotion and service.
- “Absolutely spectacular officer. … He has the highest work ethic of any officer in this command.”
These, then, were the military’s own descriptions of Dooley in the service periods leading up to a complaint by Muslims that he was teaching “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” at the National Defense University.
Then, according to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who “publicly excoriated” the officer at a public news conference, Dooley’s teaching was “totally objectionable” and “against our values.”
Dooley was ordered fired from his instructor’s position and given a negative Officer Evaluation Report, a death knell for a military career.
The Thomas More Law Center has agreed to represent Dooley in his battle over the abrupt change in attitude on the part of the military. The legal advocacy group said it decided to release a number of documents about the officer “to give the public an idea of the loss to the army and our nation.”
Like many of his peers serving alongside him in the military, Lt. Col. Dooley has served honorably and with distinction through a number of complex operating environments, Thomas More explained.
Evaluations are required at least once a year and are normally completed by two superiors, a rater and a senior rater.
“As is clearly shown by the OERs below, Lt. Col. Dooley’s raters and senior raters all considered him an outstanding officer and advocated his rapid promotion and advancement to the highest levels of responsibility,” the legal group said.
It was during a May 10 news conference when Dempsey attacked Dooley because of Muslim complaints about the military’s references to Islam in its various training courses.
Dempsey ordered “all material offensive to Islam” scrubbed from military training.
“As you read his OERs, I’m sure you came to several conclusions about Matt Dooley,” said Richard Thompson, chief counsel for the law center. “First, he was 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. And lastly, his superiors at the Joint Forces Staff College considered him an outstanding instructor. It’s sad that after all he has done for his country and the Army, his superiors sacrificed him to the dogs of political correctness.”
Dooley has served the U.S. in Bosnia, Kuwait and Iraq in dozens of positions, including tank platoon leader, tank company executive officer, tank company commander and headquarters company commander.
Thompson said the Pentagon’s behavior was triggered by complaints from Muslims. He said Dooley’s commanders “violated not only our nation’s core principles of free speech and academic freedom guaranteed by our Constitution, but also, a number of the military’s own regulations dealing with academic freedom and non-attribution policies of the National Defense University.”
“They violated the right to due process of law and even bypassed the university’s provost, who under NDU’s own rules has primary responsibility for adjudication of this matter,” he said.
The Thomas More Law Center called Dempsey’s rant “astonishing and unprecedented,” noting Dempsey personally attacked “a subordinate Army officer who honorably served our nation, and was subsequently prohibited from publicly defending himself. ”
“The final bastion of America’s defense against Islamic jihad and Shariah, the Pentagon, fell to the enemy,” commented Claire M. Lopez, a former CIA agent and strategic policy and intelligence expert.
She noted Dempsey reissued his earlier order that all Department of Defense course content “be scrubbed to ensure no lingering remnant of disrespect to Islam.”
The Thomas More Law Center said Dooley was grappling in class with the most dangerous aspects of radical Islamist ideology and encouraged students to debate the issues openly, using “prior-approved course content, established guest speakers and doctrinal teaching methodologies.”
But a letter from Islamic groups, including some with known links to terrorism, demanded that all government training materials be purged, a mandatory retraining program be instituted and punishment be instituted for “bigoted trainers” who would use “biased training materials.”
The groups included the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Islamic Circle of North American and Islamic Relief USA.
Among the information cited as damaging was an FBI report that explained individuals who convert to Islam and suddenly begin wearing Muslim attire, growing beards and travel to Muslim countries could become radicalized.
Texts that were deemed biased included Robert Spencer’s “The Truth About Mohammed: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion.”
“The result is certain,” Thomas More said in a statement. “Officers and instructors see what has happened to Lt. Col. Dooley, and will refrain from telling the truth about Islam or confronting the difficult strategic challenges facing our nation for fear of jeopardizing their professional careers. The Pentagon has still apparently not learned from the politically correct policies that led to the Fort Hood massacre.”
The legal team said enforcement of a political correct perspective is dangerous.
“Those people who subscribe and enforce the current environment of political correctness are the ones most often surprised by incidents like the terrorism at Fort Hood and the uncivilized behavior currently roiling North Africa and the Middle East,” the law team said.
“Rather than thinking and acting bravely, PC’ers strike at our cherished First Amendment in a vain hope of buying friendship with a force we still do not understand that neither respects us nor appreciates civility.”
The law firm, which noted Dooley’s family was targeted by threats, said the case illustrates the consequences of “prejudicial statements” from military commanders.
“Betrayed by his military chain of command, all of whom refused to stand behind their own academic freedom and non-attribution regulations, Lt. Col. Dooley stands alone in his association with what had been previously acceptable methods of educational inquiry.”