Friday, June 17, 2011

'Friendly Persuasion' Subverted the Enemy Assessment Process and Robbed Our Warriors of a Chance to Win and Survive in Afghanistan; Three- years-Ago!

Part III

The Message, Apathy and Malfeasance

The Message:

The message in Coughlin's thesis, "To Our Great Detriment", is principally that ignoring so major a doctrine based ideology as Islam and refusing to consider it's potential for motivating it's followers is foolish. This is especially true when the enemy you are about to engage or the people you are about to surround your Warriors with, are uniformly beholding to that ideology.

No one can deny that Islam is the predominate religion of Afghanistan to the tune of 99+%. No one can deny that Allah is their God. No one can deny that they all submit to Jihad, and live by the doctrines like Taqiyya and Kitman. If this is true then why the aversion to doing what men have done since the dawn of warfare; study the enemy and his doctrines?

Throughout history men have considered the religions of their enemies and considered the religion's role in motivating men and providing them with the endurance needed to continue in a prolonged conflict with an enemy. Conquering Armies from the time of Joshua to Sennacherib, Hitler to Stalin and in history in between, and since have recognized the value of religion in motivating men to endure the hardships of battle and the willingness to fight, mutilate and die for their deities and their doctrines.

General Orders have been given not only to stifle the religions and places of worship of whole populations but to destroy edifices and places of worship in recognition of their power over the people.

The phrase 'religious ideology', is not of necessity tied to a spiritual deity but is always tied to an entity - alive or spiritually existent. It is also something that defines a significant part of the person who chooses to take on that ideology. Separating the ideology from the adherent is work that Missionaries do simply by sharing opposing ideologies. Sometimes this is effective and sometimes it fails. Failures of this kind are catastrophic for the Missionary often ending with the killing of the Missionary and his family.

In the first few pages of his thesis, Coughlin quotes from a speech by General Peter Pace who declares;

"Remember Hitler; Remember he wrote Mein Kampf. He said in writing exactly what his plan was and we collectively ignored that to our great detriment. Now, our enemies have said publicly on film, on the Internet, their goal is to destroy our way of life."

How strange that we can collectively understand the tragedy of that statement as it relates to a conflict in history but not understand that the principle it teaches is timeless. While Mein Kapf relayed the principles and doctrines of a socio-economic structure, those who believed in it followed it with the same vigor as any religious adherent. How much more should we expect, then, from a religious adherent who by willing submission to a deity also submits to the revelations and precepts of the religion?

Coughlin also exposed what is second to the potential dangers of the literal teachings of Jihad doctrine. Quoting from Jeff Stein, national security editor for Congressional Quarterly;

{He}"exposed the depth of the deficit among senior Washington decision-makers, including those with direct responsibility for WOT related issues. Leading into the elections, in a New York Times article titled “Can you tell a Sunni from a Shi’ite?,” Stein caused a stir by demonstrating that most American officials interviewed “did not have a clue” about the most basic issues concerning Islam."

This is a sad commentary and completely inexcusable because these cretins we call public servants have been making uninformed decisions FOR TEN YEARS, that have cost the lives and limbs of tens of thousands of this generation's best! Not only have their decisions been uninformed, but intentionally so.

Some will ask, then, why a study wasn't ordered…Well; it was, within the Department of Defense under Deputy Secretary Gordon England but that study which is the subject of this piece, was effectively buried by an ideological mole by the name of Hesham Islam and England himself. The study was the victim of an apathetic and uneducated if not cowardly pool of Congressional Representatives and Senators and the poor professional ethics portrayed by England.

Coughlin's study makes the case, over and over again, that the religion and it's supporting texts, scholars and studies declare the religion and it's exhortations are for "believers" to actively support and be part of Jihad as understood in the latter verses. From page 10 of the thesis;

"From the English language translation of the Saudi-published Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an in the English Language, one can read “Appendix III -- The Call to Jihad -- (Holy Fighting for Allah in the Qur’an Statement),” written by Saudi Arabia’s Chief Justice, and learn that jihad --holy fighting in Allah’s Cause -- is a requirement of Islam:"

"The Verses of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (the Prophet's legal ways, orders) exhort Muslims greatly to take part in Jihad and have made quite clear its rewards, and praised greatly those who perform Jihad (the holy fighting in Allah's Cause) and explained to them various kinds of honours which they will receive from their Lord (Allah). This is because they -Mujahidin are Allah's troops. Allah will establish His religion (Islam), through them (Mujahidin). He will repel the might of His enemies, and through them He will protect Islam and guard the religion safely. And it is they (Mujahidin) who fight against the enemies of Allah in order that the worship should be all for Allah (Alone and not for any other deity) and that the Word of Allah (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and His religion Islam) should be superior."

The very Scholars of Islam make it imperative to understand the tenets and principles of any teaching from the progenitors of those doctrines rather than from our own history and teachings. Trying to imbue our desire for these teachings upon the adherents or their doctrines is not only futile, but doomed to fail. It amounts to a dog chasing his own tail.

The thesis continually draws a distinction between the language of the western ideal and Islamic teaching. Whenever the subject of "terrorist" acts comes up for instance, the question that follows leads to misleading answers; does "true" Islam teach terrorist acts are permissible? Of course the typical answer to the typical infidel is no. However it is important to remember that one man's terrorist act is another man's righteous act in combat. An example is the underground movement in France, Belgium and other European countries during World War II. We, as a nation supported those efforts with rhetoric and war materiel. The German soldier however saw those acts in a far different light.

It is easy to mark the acts committed by "Islamic extremists" as different by virtue of their seeming indifference to the wanton killing of civilians but not so if you consider their understanding of the civilians they kill. For them, those civilian deaths are just as justifiable as the killing of infidel soldiers because those particular civilians fall into one of two categories; (1) non-believers and (2) apostates. In both cases, by the chronologically defined latter verses and keeping the doctrine of abrogation in mind, Allah permits and even commends the killing of these two groups. The killing of civilians that fall into these two categories while killing infidel troops, then, is win, win.

Again; trying to confine the religion of Islam, as defined by the Prophet and the Scholars of the religion, within the constraints of western concepts, reaps a wrong-headed understanding of the religion and it's mandates for the believer. Coughlin's entire effort was to provide insight into the religion as seen through the eyes of the Prophet, the Caliphs and the Scholars; unfiltered and without bias. Consider this from page 44 of the thesis;

"Because the paper seeks to reflect the broader consensus view, Islamic authorities

and authoritative sources relied on will be those demonstrating broad acceptance within the four orthodox schools of Sunni Islamic law - the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali– as reflected by the broad acceptance of those authorities in the historical writings on jihad. For this reason, while reference to Hanbali authorities may be used to round out representation of the four doctrinal schools, this paper will not rely on Hanbali law to establish the doctrinal authority of any point of law. The decision is purposeful and based on three reasons. First, a review of “extremist” literature from Wahhabi groups like al-Qaeda reveals that they rely on the writings of the authorities from all the schools, including those used in this thesis. Extremists rely on these authorities not only because they are recognized among the broader Islamic community but also because, by using them, they can genuinely demonstrate that jihad -- as they define it -- actually is a requirement of Islam for all Muslims."

When you keep the doctrine of Taqiyya in mind, it renders any Islamic renunciation of terrorist acts, or any defense of Jihad as a 'personal inner struggle with sin' or the many other declarations by true adherents as suspect especially when the very Apostles of the religion say something radically different. Deceit as a weapon in the war to subjugate the world to the teachings of Islam becomes the single most effective weapon if it keeps the infidel forces off balance and forces them to adopt battlefield strategies and practices that weaken their ability on the battlefield.

For a military organization to employ Counter Insurgency Doctrine in a religiously monolithic society that upholds deceit and cunning as proper in the day to day transaction of business with unbelievers as righteous and sanctified by the deity of that society is sophomoric and doomed to fail. And yet that is the road the General Grade Officers of this nation chose to do. There can only be one of two reasons they did so; they are either incredibly poor strategists or they proceeded with faulty or incomplete information.

Over and over again, Coughlin allows the teachings and beliefs of those in authority within the structure of the religion to inform those reading his thesis. Let's remember that the purpose of the thesis was to analyze the religion, it's doctrines and demands on it's adherents and ultimately, then, the likely affect they would have on a population of people ensconced in a culture controlled by this religion.

Coughlin's own notes from page 34 define his definition of doctrine along with a recent example of this nation studying the doctrine of a then current enemy in order to better understand them from a cultural and martial perspective:

Author’s Note on Doctrine. Through the Cold War, national security analysts and

decision-makers evaluated the Soviet threat based on its known doctrine. Soviet military commanders trained their forces using Soviet war-fighting doctrine and their competencies and capabilities were evaluated based on their conformance to it. When commanders deviated, they were evaluated to determine if they broke from it because they were inadequate to the task or whether instead they exceeded its parameters through sheer command of the operational art. In all cases, the evaluation was templated against the Soviet doctrine that defined their rules of engagement. If, rather than evaluating Soviet military commanders based on their doctrine, national security analysts and decision-makers used U.S. war-fighting standards, those analysts and decision-makers would have concluded that Soviet war-fighting was incoherent and therefore difficult to explain rationally. A Soviet meeting engagement was not the same as a U.S. movement to contact. This was true even as they appeared the same in battle because they reflected two different concepts of the battle based on competing theories of war. Islam is not Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism. Islamic law is not U.S. Constitutional, English common or European civil law. Hence, to measure against those standards, or to allow Current Approach advocates to explain along those lines, is to find incoherence and an inability to explain – or predict – the rational decisions of a rational threat. This often leads one to erroneously conclude that we are facing an irrational threat making irrational decisions. Before being able to generate the ability to reliably plan against terrorism perpetuated in the name of Islam, one must first know Islamic doctrine and then Islamic doctrine as it relates to Islamic concepts of war. To be able to do this, one must first read their doctrine.

What a unique concept; studying the enemy and his doctrines in order to better understand him and the effect of his doctrines - whatever they might be, on his decision-making processes.

Does anyone want to argue that a culture or country with a 99% adherence to Islam is not likely to have some of that teaching affecting their day-to-day decisions - especially as they pertain to a common enemy; an enemy as defined by the sacred writings of the "one true prophet", having been received through revelation by their god? And if we can agree that ignoring information of this kind to be not only irresponsible but potentially catastrophic, then what does it say about a person or persons who deliberately withheld a well appointed thesis from consideration in a process designed to improve our chances on the battlefield and reduce our casualties? What can we then say about our current government and their continued disregard for this treasonous episode and the intentional diversion of this information from those who could use it to save lives; American lives?


I first heard of this story a little over a year and a half ago and instantly realized the ramifications of the actions of all involved on our war effort and most importantly, our Warriors. That either makes me one of the most insightful people in the world, or suggests something very devious about those whose sworn duty it was to provide the most accurate and timely appraisal of the human terrain in Afghanistan. This information was critical to facilitating our Warriors ability to win this war by vanquishing an incalcitrant and ideologically motivated enemy and the survival of our Warriors amidst an ideologically driven population.

I humbly suggest the latter.

It defies logic to think that people who have been rewarded with rank and appointments to lofty positions in the upper echelons of the defense structure, could collectively miss such important information by sheer chance. It also seems highly unlikely that there would be a confluence of personal gut feelings, knee-jerk, politically correct attitudes and chance that would so affect the entire upper echelon military structure to the point of intellectual paralysis. What does seem clear, is that the continual campaign-mode attitude in DC with it's politically correct vision of this ideology and the one billion people who have made a free will choice to subjugate themselves to it's doctrines were waiting for a convenient pass. It also appears that the upper echelon Military structure was awaiting the same. If there were those who did not fall under the trance, they lacked the political and personal courage it required to define the enemy at the time. The sad thing is, they still lack the courage and now the vision. Both got what they wanted and needed, and like Pontious Pilate, they washed their hands and ceded responsibility to someone else and in this case, the good Islamic soldier, Hesham Islam.

Hesham Islam, and his associates in ISNA and MB were successful in piercing the security of the Pentagon and Gordon England's better judgment and in so doing, caused the citizenry of Afghanistan to be declared 'friendly and oppressed' and needing the protection of America and her Allies. It also successfully caused this country's war planners to decree an Afghan phenomenon, The Taliban, an insurgency not known or wanted by the average, Afghan citizen. The reality is, the Taliban are Afghan and are of the citizenry, supported by the citizenry and recruited from the citizenry. Even the Pentagon's defense of COIN strategy testifies to this truth. Over, and over again they have told us that not making heroic attempts to preserve the lives of the "innocent" in Afghanistan would cause them (the "innocent" Afghan's), to join the Taliban.

This schizophrenic defense has been allowed to stand and even thrive by a media lacking any regard for their first obligation as American citizens to actively engage in the defense of this nation and this government's lack of intestinal fortitude to declare our current enemy - the enemy. A curious thing being as they have made it clear for nearly as long as we have been a nation. Stranger still being as the doctrine they have chosen to believe is 1400 years old.

NOTE: Had Coughlin's thesis been studied, what has since come to be the war doctrine in Afghanistan, would never have been considered. The entire Defense department and military establishment has been guided to 'another rail' by the complaint of a man the FBI deemed a security risk with questionable loyalties.

Essentially, England allowed a personal relationship with a person of questionable design for this country to divert his attention from his sworn duty to support and defend the Constitution and the security of this nation. In so doing:

1. He pulled the thesis and removed Coughlin from the project. The result was an assessment without consideration of the possible ramifications of a, religious and ideologically motivated enemy for our forces on the ground. In addition, it yielded a skewed understanding of the "innocent civilian" population there and the possibility of collusion to our detriment. The persistent mantra that the Taliban is an "insurgent militancy" continues to poison the well of reason and absolutely no legitmate consideration is given to the relationship between the insurgency and the local population. This continues to hamper the ability of local commanders to deal, realistically, with the threat faced by our Warriors on the ground. It does so strategically and personally for there is an eager gaggle of lawyers gleaning after action reports, seeking which American Warriors they might prosecute - and the entirety of our Military; knows it.

2. This led directly to the adoption of COIN and it's disastrous ROE. For if in fact the local population did not agree either with the Taliban or their ideological motives, an argument could be made that a properly waged Counter Insurgency operation could succeed. But if, in fact, the population had been misjudged and the affect of their shared ideology ignored or underestimated, COIN could in effect finish the job an underequipped militant force could not. The evidence is to the latter. Our government's current efforts to woo the Taliban are not only fruit of a failed strategy - they are repugnant and an insult to the incredible valor displayed by the average PFC and LCpl!

The consequence is that the total number of American deaths suffered in Afghanistan at least since June 2009 as well as Afghan civilian deaths can be attributed to this failure to adhere to proper and secure relationships, free of the perils of fraternization by England and the subversive conduct of Islam.

3. Coughlin's report has never been gleaned for impact on the war strategy by the people who wrote the orders and selected the strategy although Coughlin has been asked to present his material to deploying units at the behest of the base and unit commanders being held to the most stringent elements of COIN doctrine. Although his thesis is readily available in PDF format online, the upper most echelons of civilian and military leadership as well as our collective Congressional representation have stubbornly refused to read it and consider it's conclusions.

The cost of the illicit relationship between Islam and England has effectively destroyed any possibility of military success in Afghanistan and contributed to a far less secure America by virtue of our having effectively abandoned the battlefield and allowed the Taliban, the enemy, to exploit the vacuum and our perceived weakness in not maintaining pressure on the Taliban due to the doctrinal restraints of COIN "warfare"; and this because Hesham Islam through Gordon England, ensured the information in Coughlin's thesis was never scrutinized by those whose job it was to properly assess the "human terrain" in Afghanistan.

Our follow on decisions in Libya, Syria, Yemen and the others that-will-follow are evidence that the particulars of that same faulty assessment have contaminated our world-wide perspective of Islam and it's motivational affect on civilian and military populations alike. The current unrest in Iraq and threats from Al Sadr's Al-Mahdi militancy to attack American forces still on the ground in Iraq, punctuate our continued misunderstanding of the implications of a religiously motivated population.

The question that begs asking is whether the intentional deflection by Hesham Islam from a full and proper analysis and the failure in judgment of England rises to the level of a treasonous act. For most; the radical associations of Hesham Islam and his subsequent forced resignation, ended the entire episode…But not for the hundreds of thousands of American Warriors forced to perform under the most stringent set of rules ever experienced in the annals of warfare.

And what of Coughlin and his thesis?

As for Hesham Islam, what is certain is that his most affective single act of "service" was to his religion and not for this country during his years "of service" or, for that matter as a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Regardless of what we, as Americans choose to believe about this man or his religion, the fact is he managed to get the single piece of evidence buried that would have caused the order writers who were reconsidering our posture in Afghanistan and would have forced the General Grade Officers in charge of the operation there to consider alternate strategies rather than rolling COIN doctrine from the battlefield in Iraq, to the battlefield in Afghanistan without so much as a blink.

And the best of this generation continue to pay the price and our current crop of representatives continue to ignore the cost….Except at grave sites!

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

'Friendly Persuasion' Subverted the Enemy Assessment Process and Robbed Our Warriors of a Chance to Win and Survive in Afghanistan; Three- years-Ago!

Part II

The Cast of Characters

The Mole:

Hesham Islam was born in Cairo in 1959. He was raised in Alexandria where he remained until his parents moved the family to Basra during his teenage years. It was in Saddam Hussein's Basra that he completed his High School education and attended the Arabian Gulf Academy, where he purportedly graduated with a BS in Maritime Studies. His native language is Arabic and he is a devout Muslim.

In 1980 he immigrated to the U.S. Considering the era in which this happened, it would be nice to know the particulars of that move but very little is publicly known about the family migration or even under what circumstances they left Iraq.

From 1985-2005 he served in the U.S. Navy first as an enlisted man serving at Groton Connecticut as an Electronics Technician for the Submarine Service before being accepted to OCS in 1987. He was hired by DRS Technologies, a defense industries company in February of 2009. According to his biography, he completed his Master's program in California, earning an M.A. in National Security Affairs. His 139 page thesis about the Middle East, entitled "Roots of Regional Ambition", railed against US policy on Israel and the Middle East region, favoring a more Arab-centric policy. In a story by Claudia Rosett at the National Review dated January 25, 2008 the thesis was anything but even-handed; from the story:

"…he devoted dozens of pages to lambasting Israel, and the influence of American Jews on U.S. politics. He deplored "Israeli activities which have detrimentally affected U.S. objectives but which have continued with impunity." He argued that U.S. support for Israel "has negatively affected the attainment of U.S. objectives in the Middle East." He blamed the influence of American Jews on U.S. policy for a host of ills, ranging from Arab "retaliation" against Americans, to jobs lost overseas, to hampering sales of "defensive arms to friendly Arab states."

It is important to note that he was also accused of 'padding' his personal biography. While those elements of his biography affected by that effort are of very little consequence to the overall story, it raises questions about the man's trustworthiness and particulars of the years prior to his migration to the U.S.

Question: How does an Islamic immigrant from Iraq, during Saddam Hussein's reign, manage to get clearance for Officer Candidate School much less the clearance necessary to be assigned to the Submarine Service?

To give this context; ten years earlier, I had considered applying to the FBI only to be told that I would not pass the first level of scrutiny because my Mother had migrated… from Canada!

Curiously, Mr. Islam's biography is silent as to when he was first assigned to the Staff of the Secretary of the Navy under Gordon England but the two became very good friends during this assignment. It is important to note that England identified Islam as a close personal friend and 'confidante'; "I take his advice," England said, "and I listen to him all the time."

Note: professional relationships that develop into personal friendships are not rare but are traditionally deemed unwise and in some instances, in some organizations, discouraged or made unlawful - especially in the ranks of the highly structured, military and intelligence communities. This is especially true when the friendship crosses lines of authority. The reason for this is the high probability of compromising one's authority and responsibilities. Fraternization across lines from Enlisted to Officer and from Officer to Senior Political Appointee is not allowed within the Armed Forces. Even if we consider England's apparent lack of familiarity with military life as excusable, Islam should have, never-the-less, acted in a way that was in keeping with this protocol. This is, of course, assuming his first priority and first loyalty was to Corps and Country.

Question: Was Hesham Islam sincerely interested in securing a friendship with England or was he softening up a stooge for a future need? The question is valid for a 'man cannot serve two masters'. Any diversion from a full blown examination of all aspects of a society, would certainly render the assessment incomplete and thus invalid. Any true American, loyal to country first, would be most interested in securing the best and most complete information for safeguarding our American troops. But if a man with divergent loyalties were so placed as to influence the process of selecting the information used to assess that society, the entire process would be suspect. Hesham Islam was certainly loyal to the religion of his youth and hence, his fellow worshipers. What other justifiable reason can there be for denying access to an academic study of the very words of the Scholars of that religion and it's likely affect on military operations in a predominately Muslim society, than giving deference to that religion above that of the security of the country?

In 2005, Islam was reassigned to the staff of Deputy Secretary of Defense under the title of Special Assistant for International Affairs, shortly after England himself was appointed as Deputy Secretary. It is during this assignment that Islam's associations and actions came under the intense scrutiny of Federal investigators.

Islam was accused of essentially acting as liaison and setting up meetings with Husam al-Dairi of the Muslim Brotherhood in late 2005 and ISNA (named by the Department of Justice as a member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of the Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charity indicted in 2005 in Dallas federal court for allegedly providing millions of dollars to the terrorist group Hamas, itself an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) with England with the intent of "influencing the process".

The two most egregious points of the story are; (1), England was preparing to meet with them based, remarkably, on Islam's prompting alone; (2) No one except the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs seemed concerned about it even though it was against protocol. From the Story:

At the urging of a subordinate, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England scheduled at least two meetings with foreign emissaries in direct contradiction of U.S. policy at the time. The meetings date back to 2005. They involved a Lebanese ambassador considered a proxy for the Syrian government and a leading member of Syria's Muslim Brotherhood.

U.S. policy at the time was not to engage in talks with either man, because they represent groups with whom the United States was not to communicate. The meetings were organized by England's special assistant for international affairs, Hesham Islam.

An invitation to Muslim Brotherhood official Husam al-Dairi was canceled in late 2005 after a senior State Department official heard about it and insisted it not take place. That official, J. Scott Carpenter, told IPT News he was shocked that such an invitation was issued, let alone that it was done without anyone consulting the State Department.

Carpenter was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs at the time and knew the meeting went against U.S. policy toward the Muslim Brotherhood.

"I said, ‘what are you talking about?'" he remembered in an interview last week. "It was a bad idea."

Without due deliberation, it is easy to send the wrong message "broad and near," Carpenter said. "If something like that were to come up and be blindsided … it's not just a procedural foul up. It could unwittingly create bigger problems for the United States government."

"When you have somebody who has a controversial background," Carpenter added, "you don't want to give the impression that the United States government is standing behind them."

Two discussions should have taken place, he said. One would debate whether the meeting should take place at all. If it was agreed it should, the next question should determine the level of government appropriate to meet someone from the Brotherhood. Deputy Defense Secretary is far too high, Carpenter said.

After Carpenter relayed his concerns to England's office, a staff member called back. She told him it would be "a huge hassle to postpone it" and if that happened, England's office would make it clear this was the result of the State Department "putting its foot down and [saying] the meeting should not take place."

Carpenter said that was fine by him. The episode, including the serendipitous way he learned about it, made him wonder whether other meetings like that took place without State Department consultation, he said.

In a story released by WND released as early as February 2008, the FBI described Islam as a "Trojan Horse" and England's apparent blindness to the tactics of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islam this way; "England doesn't know it's an influence operation that's been laid at his door," he said. "His lack of awareness is irresponsible.".

So what we have thus far, is a devout Muslim and nationalized citizen from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, who manages to get access to a highly confidential area of the Navy, the Submarine Service and eventually a Commission leading to two high level positions within the Department of Defense. During his last appointment under the Deputy Secretary of Defense, he orchestrates meetings between members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ISNA and his boss, the Deputy Secretary of Defense in direct contradiction of US policy at the time.

Keep in mind that we were in the process of trying to define the nature of an enemy and the local population in a country that is 99% Muslim. Add to this the fact that an Analyst had been hired, by the Department of Defense to produce a study defining not only the religion but it's likely affect on the decision-making process of not only the enemy but the local population as well.

This study would certainly have helped address implications for an American, "Infidel" Force fighting within that society. Let us keep in mind that the "Infidel Force" is made up of the Sons and Daughters of this current generation of Americans - not some nebulous force of drones from space. One assumes that a patriotic "American" would be concerned about that first.

Islam's lack of professionalism and the true object of his loyalty can be summed up in the simple comment he made about the Analyst who had been hired for his expertise in this particular area; "A Christian zealot with a poison pen." is how he described the Analyst. Curious that he didn't see the Analyst as an American investigating a facet of Afghan society that could have a profound affect on the thought processes of the individual Afghan that could negatively affect American Warriors.

As a result of the conversation he had with his boss/friend, Gordon England, the thesis was ignored. Remarkable! A very critical piece of information that would have been used to help formulate a more exacting understanding of the enemy and the population we were about to thrust American Servicemen in the midst of was buried because of the unwise friendship between a subordinate and his boss.

Can you say, compromised?

It is safe to say that Hesham Islam was far more concerned about the implied stigma the Analyst's report would leave on his chosen religious ideology. He was certainly more concerned than for the accuracy of the information provided to men whose study and conclusions would affect the lives of American Warriors working in a 99% Islamic compliant country.

Consider these comments from an FBI agent close to the investigation:

WND has learned that Islam is closely associated with a Muslim military chaplain trained at a radical Islamic school that federal agents raided after 9/11 in connection with terror-financing.

As WND reported, the chaplain, Abuhena M. Saifulislam, studied Islam at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Virginia.

Recently declassified FBI documents reveal its sister organization, an Islamist think tank known as the International Institute of Islamic Thought, or IIIT, is involved in a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to wage a cultural and political jihad to eventually take over America from within; most notably, through infiltration of government agencies.

Islam works closely with Saifulislam (Arabic for "sword of Islam") on Pentagon outreach projects involving Middle Eastern embassies and the so-called Wahhabi lobby in Washington.

"He's a Muslim brother," an FBI official said of Islam. "He's a bad actor. He's well-positioned to be where he is, and that doesn't do us any good."

He also said Saifulislam is "definitely Muslim Brotherhood," while noting that Islam "is a lot smoother than Saifulislam," who as a chaplain at Gitmo lobbied for special meals and other privileges for al-Qaida detainees.

The official hastened to add that, at this point, belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood is not criminal, and neither Defense Department employee is the subject of a formal counterterrorism or counterespionage investigation. Both men have refused interviews, and the Pentagon had no comment.

However, the FBI official warned that the Muslim aides are part of a conspiracy by Muslim Brotherhood fronts to run "influence operations" against the U.S. government.

It may be true that the Muslim Brotherhood, the ISNA and several other organizations we could mention, including the KKK, Neo-Nazism, the Black Panthers, the Communist Party, the Crips, Bloods, et al are not illegal to be members of. It is, however, the epitome of arrogance and the very definition of poor judgment for anyone to be actively engaged with organizations like these - especially at the highest levels of government and especially when we are trying to define an enemy, within the borders of a country whose people share that enemy's ideology. Remember; the Analyst we are talking about was hired, by the Pentagon, because of his credentials in this area of study and for the specific purpose of answering those questions and providing counsel and guidance on this narrow aspect of Afghan society.

This study would help round out our understanding of the people of Afghanistan, Afghan custom and courtesy, the home-grown Taliban phenomenon we were preparing to re-engage and whether or not the religion would complicate those efforts.

The Useful Idiot:

Gordon England was sworn in as the Secretary of the Navy on May 24, 2001. His selection for the role was controversial at the time because of his lack of military service and his business background in the defense industry. The rightful concern was that a conflict of interest might arise from the inevitable lobbying attempts from other members of the industry.

Whether his defense contract background is or was an issue is a topic for another day but being selected to serve in one of the top military billets in government without a resume´ including military service is disrespectful of those serving at-the-least.

Whether it is a position in business without any associated experience in that industry or a position of authority in the military lacking the same, questions concerning suitability will and should arise and are certainly justifiable.

The military community is unique from all other walks of life because the professional Warrior is held to a different set of standards than his civilian counterpart. Personal discipline and a personal understanding of selflessness is not only required, but I argue, part of the character makeup of those who seek to serve in this capacity. Those who seek a political appointment lacking that background most likely lack the ability to understand they are not suitable for the position in the first place. While they may 'respect' the Warrior community, they lack an intrinsic understanding of the Warrior ethos and they certainly lack an empathetic respect.

There are also other stated yet subtle reasons why a person not brought up in the military community should be excluded from serving as the head of any branch and Gordon England ran afoul of one of those rules; Fraternization.

Definition. Fraternization is a social or business relationship between Marines of different grades in violation of a custom of the naval service which, in the eyes of one experienced in military leadership, impacts adversely on good order and discipline, or degrades or at least threatens to degrade the character or status of the position that a Marine holds.

While I admit this is a definition from the Marine Corps Fraternization Policy, the spirit of the policy exists in all branches of the service. Many mistakenly attribute this exclusively to male/female relationships across lines of rank, but in fact it covers any gender and in all situations.

The concern is, as the policy definition states, that the higher ranking person's authority may be compromised by restrictions placed on the individual by the relationship. This isn't rocket science; this is simply a classic understanding of human behavior. So how does this fit our current discussion? Because it was during this first appointment that Hesham Islam was assigned to the office of the Secretary of the Navy and during this tenure that the two, purportedly, became friends. It's too bad our naïve Congressional Servants aren't as concerned about things like fraternization as they were about lobbyists in this case.

If there is legitimacy to the concern over an E-3 Lance Corporal having a friendly relationship with an E-6 Staff Sergeant, how much more should we be concerned over a friendship developing between a member of the armed forces and a high level civilian appointee to whom he reports? Legitimate concerns about national security and the effectiveness and security of our Armed Forces are raised. Will the civilian senior be able to hold that relationship in check and not allow it to affect his judgment during a time of crucial decision-making? Considering Gordon England's own words describing his loyalty to his friend and the level to which he shared information and accepted counsel from him, it is clear his judgment was affected by the friendship.

At this point in the story, we have a naturalized citizen from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, who somehow gets accepted not only into the Navy but the Submarine Service and finally as an Officer. He is eventually ushered into two of the highest and most classified areas of the Defense Department, answering directly to the heads of both of those departments. Those heads are in fact the same person and someone whose intrinsic understanding of those departments lacks a history of military service. He allows a friendship to develop in violation of fraternization policies that threatens to undermine his authority and his judgment. By his own words, he uses his friendship with this Naval Officer for counsel and guidance.

Does anyone see a potential problem here?

The next entry to the story will introduce you to the Analyst and his work. I want to remind the reader that his contribution to the assessment of the 'human terrain' in Afghanistan was crucial to rounding out our entire understanding of the very people our Warriors would be surrounded by, day to day. It is unreasonable and sophomoric to arbitrarily exclude any element of a society, the culture, the religion, the economy or the standard of living from the assessment. Any of these can motivate people, in normal times, to act in ways that can lead to violence. Add to this the stresses of War and the inclusion of an outside, uniformed force and all of these elements take on a new dimension. If you consider the possibility that the uniformed force is likely to be seen, as an occupying force of pagans and a religiously defined unclean element and the opportunities for covert and overt violent acts or even a general lack of cooperation should be apparent.

But none of that was possible to be considered because that element of the study was buried by the Deputy Secretary of Defense at the demand of his friend, the naturalized American and pious Muslim, Hesham Islam; a man who was given access to areas of the government not made available to the average American born here.

The Messenger:

(Excerpt from his bio with SEG, Inc.) Stephen Coughlin is the Vice President of Strategic Communication Initiatives for SEG, Inc. He is considered to be the leading expert in the United States on Islamic Doctrine, specifically as it relates to the doctrine of jihad. He is a Major in the Army Reserve in Military Intelligence, and was previously assigned to CENTCOM J2 where he worked in strategic communications / information operations problems. He was a consultant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, J2 (Intelligence) where he supported Joint Staff strategic communications related to Islamic law on jihad in association with OEF, OIF, and the WOT.

He is an attorney with a background in International law and International business. Before starting with Jorge Scientific, he worked at LexisNexis Special Services Inc supporting certain government organizations in the classified domain. Prior to that, he was the International Export Counsel for West Group and a member of the prestigious West Publishing Editorial staff.

Mr. Coughlin holds the JD from the William Mitchell School of Law, and BA degree in history and Russian area studies, from the University of Minnesota. Mr. Coughlin also served on the Board of Governors of the Minnesota State Bar.

In 2006, Mr. Coughlin’s thesis, “To Our Great Detriment: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad,” was accepted by the National Defense Intelligence College, and details the doctrinal drivers of jihad within Islamic Doctrine, and the failure of the United States leadership to learn and understand this doctrine. He has taught, lectured, and briefed senior members of DoD, members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials, and many law enforcement and intelligence officers in the United States.

It is the substance of the 2006 thesis that caused Stephen Coughlin to run afoul of Hesham Islam and their boss, Gordon England.

Again; keep in mind that He was hired for his expertise in this area and for recommendations and conclusions about the likely affect of Islam on the mission. Apparently, his analysis was a bit more than the DOD and the Pentagon were willing to consider or just maybe, the White House.

In any case, it took very little persuading on the part of Hesham Islam to cause Gordon England to ditch the thesis and the ramifications of it's contents. This was done without any academic rebuttal, any opposing study, any lengthy discourse. All it took was for a friend to convince the Deputy Secretary of Defense, a man who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and by proxy, the security of this nation and it's people, to sidetrack the very piece of work Coughlin had been hired to produce.

This thesis was not 'the assessment' but a detailed piece of information that the order writers needed to help fill out a picture of the human terrain in Afghanistan. This assessment in turn would be used by General Grade Officers to determine the best course of action and the best strategy to complete the stated Commander's Intent with the least number of American casualties while inflicting the greatest amount of pain on the enemy.

After all; isn't that the point of warfare? To inflict as much pain on the enemy in as short an amount of time as possible - all in an attempt to convince him of the hopelessness of continuing the struggle? Wouldn't this in fact be the first best way to avert undue hardship and pain on the local population, our Warriors and their waiting families at home?

Or maybe that wasn't of any interest to either man. Maybe Gordon England's first concern was loyalty to his friend rather than his duty to his country. Maybe Hesham Islam's first loyalty was to the religious ideology of his homeland rather than the security of his adopted home; the home that overlooked his questionable background and swept him up into the United States Naval Service and into several of the most critical areas of security in this nation.

In Part III we will look at the Thesis, the perspective of it's author and ask why this was considered too inflamatory to give to the assessors.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'Friendly Persuasion' Subverted the Enemy Assessment Process, Robbing Our Warriors of a Chance to Win and Survive in Afghanistan; Three- years-Ago!

NOTE: This Entry will be released through this Blog over three days. It is lengthy but I implore all of you to take the time to read it and pass it on to all you know and most especially to your Congressmen/women.

This is the genesis of the argument against COIN/ROE. It is the sole act, I believe, that "gave permission" for the military ideologues to dust off a 70 year old controversial doctrine and roll it into Afghanistan. And the rest, as they say, is history.

* * *

Part I

Introduction and Definitions of Betrayal and Doctrine


What follows is a summary of a problem that finds it's genesis in the office of then Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordan England. Elements of this story were reported on by Mil-Blogs and a couple of smaller news agencies in 2008 but the most egregious details of the story were either missed or glossed over as not news-worthy. Even the federal agencies that investigated this story missed the crucial elements of it in lieu of a lesser issue; that of Hesham Islam's questionable ties to organizations considered 'unfriendly' to the United States. By itself, any relationship to these various organizations would be inconsequential without an associated intent to harm. Lacking a "smoking gun", federal authorities and the court determined his associations unwise and applied pressure for him to resign from his post….

* * *

The past nearly three years have caused even the staunchest supporters of our war effort in Afghanistan to question the viability of our current strategy and the competency of both our entire federal political establishment and upper echelon military leadership. It has been hard to watch the nearly total support of the American public for this war erode after ten years of promises followed by ten years of casualties caused by a cluster of murderers, cutthroats, brigands and pious adherents to Islam with an 11th century mentality.

As the Counter Insurgency Effort in Afghanistan continues to plod along, nearly daily reminders of the complexity of Afghan society are thrust before our eyes by one example of treachery, after another. And yet, the very General Grade Officers that have been given nearly total reign over the direction and strategic governance of this war seem oblivious to the realities that declare we have somehow missed the mark. It raises serious and yet basic questions:

1. How is it that the best trained, best equipped, most motivated and dedicated Warriors in the world can't seem to stop what can be legitimately described as a gaggle of cavemen with rifles, RPG's and various raw materiel ?

2. What was it that gave the Pentagon and the Officers who had been charged with the conduct of this war any reason to think that controversial COIN doctrine was not only a viable option but the very strategy that would successfully fulfill the Commander's Intent; 'Find and destroy Al Qaida and hold all those who give them aid and comfort accountable'?

3. How can an entire Administration and it's upper Military General Grade Officers still be puzzled to the point of asking "Why is this Still Happening?" every time a "trusted Afghan Partner" turns his weapon on his American trainers?

In the next few pages we will see how the actions of one man derailed a process that should have properly identified the enemy, the likely actions of the enemy and the local population and the best course of action for dealing with him in the midst of a hostile population and culture. We will also see that Federal Law Enforcement Agencies had this man, in their hands and still missed his effective subterfuge that diverted this country's Military might toward a perverse game of wack-a-mole. He was not only successful in subverting the process of studying and learning about the enemy, he was also successful in diverting attention from this treacherous act to a lesser concern.

We will see that while having missed that unique opportunity they also missed the single most damaging aspect of his successful mission and most importantly, failed to undo the damage he caused. This failure condemned literally tens of thousands of sovereign American Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coastguardsmen as well as their NATO partners, to suffer the cruelties of physical and emotional trauma, the loss of limb(s), severe mutilation and death as well as unnecessary repeated operations into the very same areas once thought cleared of the "enemy".

These are the "Fruit" and "Legacy" of a single pious man and his "Useful Idiot". Their combined act of sedition has caused a delusion about the religion among much of the General Grade Officer Corps and caused others to 'dig in', in an attempt to preserve personal careers and legacies and all at the cost of the life and limb of the average Warrior and to the detriment of our National security.

Quite an accomplishment for a quiet, pious, adherent of what we have been told over and over again is a religion of peace; made even more astounding by the fact that federal prosecutors had him in their sights and amazingly, let him go.

If there has been a single point we have been making, over, and over, again, it is to the irrelevance of individual 'gut feelings' about the religion or even the adherents when it comes to our military posture in the midst of an overwhelming Muslim population. What needs to be determined is what the religion's texts and Scholars say about the religion. Every thought, every order and every strategy must reflect a historic and textually accurate understanding of that same religion and it's culture. To do less, is to make the immoral decision to place someone else in harm's way with incorrect information and incorrect perceptions of the enemy and the population.

As free thinking Americans living in a land that values freedom of thought, we must never lose sight that someone has to pay a price for that freedom. Demanding that others pay the price for what we 'think' may be true is immoral. If those who truly believe Islam is a religion of peace are prepared to test that theory with their own lives - or that of their children, then at least they are consistent. The problem is the vast majority of this population and their elected officials are prepared to send someone else to test their lofty theories but unwilling to jeopardize their own lives for the same.

A good leadership principle is; "Never ask a Man to do something you would not, or could not, do yourself". Our elected representation would do well to consider that little piece of wisdom and to reflect on the reasons we are paying a high price to subdue an "enemy" in the midst of "a friendly population" who are far too often turning their weapons on our Warriors and failing to offer up sound intelligence on the whereabouts of recently set IED's and other dangers.

None of the three questions posed earlier would need to be asked if our posture in Afghanistan was focused on security for our forces, first, and trusting an unknown civilian population, second. If the enemy we sought justice from was indeed nestled in the protective cover of the population of Afghanistan, it was then the burden of the Afghan people to prove themselves worthy of the trust of our Warriors - not the other way around.

The continued treacherous actions of those in ANA and ANP uniforms as well as the unreported presence of literally 10's of thousands of IED's deadly to our Forces, is proof that we have approached this population with the wrong posture - because of an incomplete study of the enemy and the population.

This paper hopes to show how we arrived at such a wrong understanding of the people of Afghanistan.


Before we look at the specifics of the betrayal that has caused us unnecessary casualties and frustrated the best efforts under the constraints of COIN, we will need to lay some ground work. What follows is a glossary of terms with definitions from the dictionary, U. S. Constitution, Koran, Hadith and the Reliance of the Traveler.

These definitions need to be considered as you read the context of this story. Failing to understand that the definitions of the Islamic doctrines listed below are considered Sacred and the very purpose and desire of Allah, will cause you to misunderstand the motivation of the Islamic worshiper to use and keep these doctrines.

* * *

Treason: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. (United States Constitution, Article 3, Section 3)

Subversion: Action designed to undermine the military, economic, psychological, or political strength or morale of a regime. (Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.)

Abrogation: An Islamic doctrine that says any newer verse that seems to contradict an older one, takes precedent over the intent and message of the older verse:

2:106 "Whatever of Our revelations We repeal or cause to be forgotten, We will replace them with something superior or comparable. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things? Do you not know that Allah reigns sovereign over the heavens and earth and besides Him you have no protector or helper? Would you question your messenger as Moses was questioned in his time? Those who exchange their faith for disbelief have gone astray from the right path."

16:101 "When We exchange one verse for another, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say, 'You are making this up.' Most of them do not understand."

Jihad: The Islamic doctrine of 'struggle' which has been offered up by adherents to describe the inner struggle of man with himself and his sin. The fact is, more current verses say something radically different: (there are over 100 verses related to Jihad)

The Abrogated Verses on Jihad:

32:48 "Say 'O men, I am sent to you only to give a clear warning"'

32:67 "If they contend with you, say, 'God knows best what you are doing"'

23:98 "Repel evil with that which is best"

33.56 "Leave them (the unbelievers) in their confused ignorance for a time"

20:130 "Be patient at what they say"

20:135 "All are waiting, so you too wait if you will"

73:10 "Have patience with what they say and leave them with dignity"

19:87 "Make no haste against them

19:40 "Warn them of the Day of Distress"

2:103 "Forgive and overlook"

The Abrogating Verses on Jihad:

2:212 "Fighting is prescribed for you"

9:29 "Fight those who do not believe"

9:124 "Fight the unbelievers whom you find round about you"

2:189 "Fight them (the unbelievers) until Allah's faith prevails"

4:089 "They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back [to their homes], then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper."

8:12 "God revealed his will to the Angels, saying; 'I will be with you. Give courage to the Believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!' "

9:5 "Slay the pagans wherever you find them"

2:187 "Slay them wherever you catch them"

Taqiyya: This is a doctrine of deceit which is commended by Allah in dealing with 'the enemy/infidel'. When you understand who the 'enemy' is, you then understand how insidious and pervasive this doctrine is. It renders the Islamic adherent completely untrustworthy when we, the Infidel, are dealing with them.

3:28 "If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them . [know that] God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers-except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion."

3:54 "And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers."

49:857 (From the Hadith) "That she heard Allah's Apostle saying, "He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar."

pg 746 - 8.2 Reliance of the Traveler "Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory... it is religiously precautionary in all cases to employ words that give a misleading impression..."

Enemy: Understanding who Muslims are taught to be enemies is important to understanding how the Islamic community is likely to respond to the kinds of incursions we are currently embroiled in:

9:29 "Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by God and His Apostle[Mohammed], nor acknowledge the religion of truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book[Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

2:191-193 "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]...and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah."

47:4 "When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.

Infidel: The classic definition of Infidel does not change from the secular to the religious, or among differing religions:

in·fi·del 1. Offensive An unbeliever with respect to a particular religion,

especially Christianity or Islam.

2. One who has no religious beliefs.

3. One who doubts or rejects a particular doctrine, system, or

principle. (American Heritage Dictionary of the English