Monday, January 21, 2008

Another NeoCon Down

Here's something to brighten a Monday for those who have to work this holiday: another NeoCon theorist has lost his cushy government job. This article from Hong Kong's Asia News has the story:

Neo-conservative hawks lamented the latest casualty in the "war on terror" last Friday, as the ax fell on Stephen Coughlin's job. The Pentagon decided not to renew the contract of its "foremost" specialist on Islamic law and Islamic extremism when it ends in March, citing budget cuts. ...

Coughlin was presumably the model soldier in the battle of ideas, delivering tough and blunt analysis; and he didn't mince words. From the laudatory statements of his supporters, it appears he was a powerful bulwark against the Islamo-fascist threat currently facing the US mainland. And for his service to the cause of battling Islamic extremism, he became a victim of the type of misguided sensitivity that fears to lift the veil from radical Islamist front groups. ...

This so-called expert, however, actually had little expertise beyond promoting hateful rhetoric in service of the Global War On Terror.

...for all his motivation and zeal, Coughlin is not the Islam "expert" he and his supporters claim he is. In fact, he has no academic background in Islamic law or extremism. A reservist in the US army, Coughlin holds a masters degree in strategic intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College, with a focus on global terrorism and jihadi movements, as well as a law degree from the William Mitchell School of Law.

Said former Central Intelligence Agency agent Larry Johnson, who has helped script exercises for the US military forces that conduct counter-terrorism missions: "Does [Coughlin] speak Arabic? No. How about Urdu? Nope. He studied Islam where? No clue. But he graduated from an ABA-sanctioned second-tier law school. A good school, but it is not known as a center of Islamic study. Unfortunately, Coughlin's broad-brush approach to Islam is more polemics that scholarship."

What did him in? The very rhetoric that got him his job, especially when it clashed with the current administration's attempt to disconnect the radical movement within Islam and the religion itself.

As reported by Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, Coughlin's recent misfortunes transpired after a confrontation with Hasham Islam, a high-level aide to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, who reportedly asked Coughlin to "soften his views on Islam" after the "specialist" emphasized the relationship between Islamic law and Islamist jihad doctrine, a belief which runs contrary to the White House view of Islam as a religion of peace hijacked by extremists.

Poor Mr. Coughlin: used and then discarded unceremoniously by an administration anxious to keep Middle Eastern oil flowing to the US. He may have been discharged for the wrong reasons, but at least he's gone.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

He'll be missed, by the eliminationist crowd.

5:41 AM  
Blogger said...

ThinkProgress has a nice little post up called something like "Architects of the Iraq War: Where Are They Now." It's stunning how many of them either resigned in disgrace or are awaiting indictment on the one hand, and on the other got promoted to top spots in Cheney's office.

There doesn't seem to be much middle.

We will forever pay for our failure to impeach Cheney, I fear.

12:43 PM  

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