A Department of Defense teaching guide meant to fight extremism advises students that rather than “dressing in sheets” modern-day radicals “will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place,” and describes 18th-century American patriots seeking freedom from the British as belonging to “extremist ideologies.”
The guide comes from documents obtained by Judicial Watch and is authored by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, a DoD-funded diversity training center.
Under a section titled “extremist ideologies,” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”
Besides a brief reference to 9/11 and another to the Sudanese civil war, the guide makes no mention of Islamic extremism.
The guide also repeatedly tells readers to use the Southern Poverty Law Center as a resource in identifying hate groups. The SPLC has previously come under fire for its leftist bias and tendency to identify conservative organizations such as the American Family Association as hate groups.
In August 2012, an attempted terrorist attack occurred at the Family Research Council, another conservative organization the SPLC has branded a hate group. FRC president Tony Perkins said the SPLC’s designation prompted the attack, stating the gunman “was given a license to shoot … by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
In a statement, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton slammed the Department of Defense documents for what he described as their bias against conservatives.
“The Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism. And now, in a document full of claptrap, its Defense Department suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military,” said Fitton. “And it is striking that some the language in this new document echoes the IRS targeting language of conservative and Tea Party investigations. After reviewing this document, one can’t help but worry for the future and morale of our nation’s armed forces.”