Pentagon Locked In Heated Debate About Whether To Call Out Radical Islam

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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U.S. Special Operations Command is internally putting pressure on the Joint Chiefs of Staff to add a careful exposition on radical Sunni Islam to the next edition of the National Military Strategy.

The 2015 edition of the National Military Strategy doesn’t at all mention radical Islam as a driving force of terrorism underpinning movements like the Islamic State and Special Operations Command wants that error corrected, The Washington Times reports.

The purpose of the document, authored by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, is to provide a set of guidelines for global combatant commanders to follow closely and study.

Officials within Special Operations Command want Dunford to talk about Salafi jihadism, an offshoot sect of Sunni Islam, but apparently, these officials haven’t been able to convince Dunford’s staff that it would be a good idea to include in the publication, which is set to be private.

Although proposals from SOCOM for the document did not include a specific mention to “radical Islam,” the label of Salafi jihadism is, as far as they are concerned, good enough. The term captures a large number of Muslims who use a particular theological understanding of Islam to justify acts of violence and terror.

Such a proposal puts SOCOM in conflict with the rest of the Obama administration. President Barack Obama has repeatedly denied connections between Islamic and the Islamic State, as well as al-Qaida. Since terrorists have apparently corrupted Islam, the Obama administration prefers to refer to them simply as “extremists.”

Internally, officials are upset with the Obama administration’s dodging of the issue.

“If you look at threat doctrine from that perspective, it’s a much bigger problem because it’s not just the violent jihadists; it’s the nonviolent jihadists who support them,” a source on the National Military Strategy told The Washington Times. “Pretending there is no relationship between the violent jihadists and Islam isn’t going to win. We’re completely ignoring the war of ideas. We’re still in denial. We’re pretending the enemy doesn’t exist.”

SOCOM’s position on how to define the problem of “extremism” is an issue of much contention in the 2016 presidential election.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has castigated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for refusing to call the threat the U.S. faces “radical Islamic terrorism,” although in the past, she has said she’s willing to use the labels radical jihadism or “radical Islamism.” However, Clinton almost never uses either term.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, formerly head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Breitbart News Daily that many in the military and intelligence community are extremely frustrated with the Obama administration’s decision to politicize terror.

“I argued this while I was in the military, I was very vocal about this — we must clearly define the enemies that we are going to face. And in this case, it’s radical Islam,” Flynn said.

“The Administration right now, and Hillary Clinton has been a big part of it, she’s been a big part of this for a long time — the influence by organizations inside of our government right now at the federal level, and by some of these very strong Muslim organizations, like a CAIR or the Muslim Brotherhood, they have influenced our government to excise, to eliminate, this type of language from our training manuals, from all the things that we know to be true.”

“And I will tell you, there’s frustration in the intelligence community, there’s frustration in the military, to be able to go after this enemy the way we know we should,” Flynn said.

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