Or, Stephen Coughlin's contract may have been dropped because the Pentagon couldn't afford to have someone on the staff who knew so much about Islam. (An anonymous "Pentagon insider" presumably said that Coughlin is "... brilliant, and he knows his stuff, but he couldn't teach it," according to a journalistic blog post. "It went over everybody's head.")
Maybe there's an element of truth in both claims.
Since Hesham Islam's resume 'didn't add up,' after the Pentagon got around to checking into his bona fides, I'm inclined to put more weight on the first version of the Coughlin story. Especially since America's military only bothered to look into Islam's background after bloggers and non-PC journalists started raising questions: questions which should probably have been covered before he became a "high-level military aide."
Japanese Americans and WWII War Relocation Camps: There's no reasonable question that the American government's treatment of American citizens with Japanese ancestry was appalling and unconscionable. I am not defending the confiscations of property and unwarranted imprisonments which were committed sixty-some years ago.
Learning the Wrong Lesson
However, I'm very concerned that many people in decision-making positions learned the wrong lesson from the shameful 'war relocation camps.'
- What should have been learned:
The nation someone's ancestors came from does not determine that person's loyalties
- What seems to have been learned:
Sensible, even routine, inquiries into a person's background and allegiances must be limited to people whose ancestors come from northwestern Europe
Genuine prejudice based on ethnicity, religion, or hair color for that matter, is wrong. Also stupid: consider the way that the cosmetics industry denied itself a huge share of the market, back in the day, by ignoring the one in five or so Americans with dark skin.
But that does not mean that non-WASPs should be exempt from background checks, when they are considered for sensitive positions in the American military - or any government position.
The strange case of Hesham Islam, Stephen Coughlin, and the Pentagon's hiring standards, is disturbing in two ways.
- The Pentagon seems to follow politically correct standards in hiring and firing
- Traditional news outlets ignored - and continue to ignore - the possibility that an enemy agent was influencing vital decisions at the Pentagon
Some guardedly good news to wrap up this post. Thanks to Information Age technology and freedom of speech in the blogosphere, non-PC bloggers and journalists raised enough of fuss. As a result, Hesham Islam is leaving his Pentagon post. Given the alternatively-stringent standards applied to Mr. Islam's hiring, I think there's a good chance that he wasn't alone.
More about Hesham Islam, Stephen Coughlin, and the Pentagon:
- "Free Speech News Update 2/15/08 - Blogosphere Victory over Jihadist Mole"
"1389 Blog - Antijihadist Tech" (February 15, 2008)
- "Jihadist Hired by Pentagon to Leave Post"
"The Foxhole" (February 12, 2008)
- "2-13-08 Intelligence Roundup" "The Captain's Journal" (February 12, 2008)
- "Hesham Islam gets the boot"
"Winds of Jihad" (February 11, 2008)
- "The real reason Islamism expert Coughlin was fired"
"News Service - Middle East Analysis" (February 5, 2008)
(A mainstream journalism view, repeating the position of a "well-placed Pentagon insider.")
- "Flight 93 Memorial - Why Isn't This an Issue?"
"Another War-on-Terror Blog" (January 16, 2008)
- "Coddling Islamists"
"FrontPage Magazine" (February 14, 2008)
- "As Europe Yields To Islamofascism, Is U.S. On The Same Path?"
"The Bulletin" (PA) (February 13, 2008)
- "HOMELAND INSECURITY - Embattled Muslim aide to leave Pentagon job - Hesham Islam's 'resume didn't add up,' official says"
"WorldNetDaily" (February 11, 2008)
- "A PC-Plagued Pentagon"
"Investor's Business Daily" (February 7, 2007)
(subscription required for access)
- "Hesham Islam, Major Stephen Coughlin, Gordon England - Parsing the truth at the Pentagon"
"Canada Free Press" (January 29, 2008)
- Islamic Law Expert Fired for Being a 'Christian Zealot'?"
"FOXNews.com" (January 13, 2008)