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Thread: Uncle Sam Wants U.S. Muslims to Serve

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Uncle Sam Wants U.S. Muslims to Serve

    27 December Christian Science Monitor - Uncle Sam Wants U.S. Muslims to Serve by Richard Whittle.

    As US troops battle Islamic extremists abroad, the Pentagon and the armed forces are reaching out to Muslims at home.

    An underlying goal is to interest more Muslims in the military, which needs officers and troops who can speak Arabic and other relevant languages and understand the culture of places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The effort is also part of a larger outreach. Pentagon officials say they are striving for mutual understanding with Muslims at home and abroad and to win their support for US war aims. Among the efforts to attract and retain Muslim cadets...

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    Council Member SSG Rock's Avatar
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    Default A good idea on paper but.....

    I'm not sold on this idea. It sounds like another knee jerk reaction, akin to opening military recruiting stations in overseas countries. It is rife with potential, serious issues, all of them obvious.

    I agree that putting a muslim face on our efforts in both theaters should be a top priority, but to me it isn't worth taking this risk.

    I dislike stereotyping as much as anyone else. But untill we have a deeper understanding of Islam I think it is a brutal fact of reality that all muslims are suspect. It seems to me that we should stick to hiring muslims as Department of Defense Civilians, contractors and the like. I'm reminded of the fragging that the 101st experienced and I wonder, how can a devout muslim justify serving in a western military in operations against fellow muslims? For now, I think that we should keep muslims at arms length.

    Once the enemy is inside the wire, the damage they can do is disasterous, and it's hard to root them out.
    Don't taze me bro!

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I'm a bit confused by your "arm's length" comment. Are you suggesting that we should not recruit Muslims for the armed forces? Should we stop those who want to join from joining?

    Similar arguments were made in WWII with regards to Japanese-Americans.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    I'm a bit confused by your "arm's length" comment. Are you suggesting that we should not recruit Muslims for the armed forces? Should we stop those who want to join from joining?

    Similar arguments were made in WWII with regards to Japanese-Americans.
    You make a basic error in equating Islam religion in any form to Japanese-American internment camps. The internment of Japanese-Americans was a ethnocentric response that had been brewing since the 1800's in California including the despotic practices of utter slavery endured by the Chinese who built the rail roads in the west.

    To balance this you have 2000 years of societal religious warfare between various dictates of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In a Hatfield versus McCoy moment the mullahs have basically set the destruction of Western Society as a primary goal of Islam. You'll notice I said "Western Society", and not Christianity. I'm sure many of the mullahs would be more than happy to see the Western Societies become as repressive and totalitarian as they ascribe to. Their fear is our freedom not our religion.

    There is little in common between ethnocentrism and classicism, and being protectionist towards a religious servitude to a jihadist ideal.

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    Default The speaker is more important than the message

    I see our Muslim population as a potential asset, not a threat. It is a population that we (non-Muslim Americans) can either alienate and turn into a threat, or one that we can treat as fellow Americans. The second option has obvious strategic IO value, because it shows the world we're walking or talk. If we choose the first option, we'll give the Al Qaeda Network an IO weapon the equivalent of a Nuclear weapon. I had the opportunity to work with numerous Muslim Americans since 9/11, and they put their lives on the line like the rest of us for their country. They love their country, and many are looking for an opportunity to serve despite the current wave of bias.

    A Muslim America speaking about the virtue of freedom and democracy in Afghanistan or Iraq brings a lot more credibility to the message, than a red headed farm boy from Kansas. Of course there will be risks, and some penetrations. That is the nature of the game, just as the KGB occassionally penetrated our CIA, FBI, and military intelligence, but the risk is definitely worth the potential gain. Just what exactly will they compromise anyway?

    The real battlefield isn't physical turf, but it is a battle over minds. In this case we're ultimately talking about the interpretation of the Koran and Islam. If American Muslims could have a moderating effect on the radical Muslim voice, that would have much more strategic impact than deploying additional Brigades into the fray. If we're only going to fight at the physical level, and not use the IO realm, then we're only left with options that much more draconian.

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Did anyone read this September 2004 Chicago Tribune article on the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States?

    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=1647

    After he joined, he learned the names of other local members.

    "I was shocked," he says. "These people had really hid the fact that they were Brotherhood."

    He says he found out that the U.S. Brotherhood had a plan for achieving Islamic rule in America: It would convert Americans to Islam and elect like-minded Muslims to political office.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Not quite sure why I'm mistaken, Selil. I wasn't referring to Japanese internment, but rather arguments against using Japanese-Americans in the U.S. armed forces. Luckily these doubts were overcome, and Japanese-Americans (some enrolled out of the camps, or with families locked up inside) served honorably in WWII.

    You seem to be arguing that since there is some historic enmity between Muslims and Christians, the U.S. would be justified in discriminating against Muslims. Also perhaps you could clarify when you say "the mullahs" --- are you suggesting that all Muslims or Muslim religious authorities have decreed the destruction of Western civilization?

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Anyone remember Ali Mohamed?

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.co...l/triplecross/

    http://usinfo.state.gov/is/Archive_I...i_Mohamed.html

    Mohamed, 48, is a former Egyptian intelligence officer who became a United States citizen and a U.S. Army sergeant assigned to a Special Forces unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He left the U.S. Army in 1989 and in the early 1990s became involved in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization, which also worked with al Qaeda. He then trained fighters in surveillance techniques at al Qaeda camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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    Default Good White Christian Americans

    Yes there were those traitors, along with these (and many, many more not so famous):

    Aldrich Ames (probably the worst)
    Robert Hanssen
    John Walker
    Ronald Pelton
    Jane Fonda

    The list goes on, and none of these folks were special, on the other hand we assume some risk by recruiting Muslims and in return stand to reap great gains. Furthermore, unless someone is a position of great trust there is very little they can compromise in the information age that is beyond limited tactical information.

    I'm not convinced we shouldn't pursue this option.

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    Council Member SSG Rock's Avatar
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    Default Allow me to clarify....

    I see the potential benefits from having muslims serve. Thats why I stated that putting a muslim face on our efforts is paramount. But, that doesn't mean we should actively recruite muslims to serve. Today, any muslim American is free to enlist or apply to attend a military academy, I see no real benefit in "actively" seeking muslims to join the military.

    Bill, I'd like to share your optimism but I just don't, because I see no evidence that sways me to beleive there are very many muslims out there who will publicly stand up for America against radical muslims. Sure, I read the occassional press release, the occassional appearance in the MSM condeming this terrorist act or that.

    I've served with a couple muslims too in the Army, sure, they are good Soldiers, but I never served with one during combat so I can't personally make judgement in that regard. One of my best friends in high school back in Oregon was an Iranian kid named Atta Shirazi. We got along just grand untill the Iranian hostage crisis that is. We remained friendly to one another, in fact, we remained friends, but he completely supported the taking of American hostages. Even though he lived in America and enjoyed the freedom, when push came to shove, when faced with an ultimatum, Islam won out. And I firmly beleive that is the norm, not the exception. To him America was NEVER right, and I mean never, no matter what the issue was, and Islam and muslim leaders were right about everything. He could execute the most amazing contortions of logic to justify his wrong headed opinion on any issue. He never failed to support Islamic leaders no matter what. And thats just the simple truth, for the life of me, I could not see how he could possibly have talked himself into beleiving half of the stuff that came out of his mouth.

    But during my assignment as the Operations NCO of the International Student Division of CGSC, I had the opportuity to interact with lots of muslim students. I have to tell you in all honesty, in none of those discussions did I ever get the feeling that Islam takes a second seat to any other consideration, none.

    As to this pitch to recruit muslims. I agree that it could be a boon to our IO efforts, but I don't see the advantage in creating a campaign to actively seek them out and entice them into signing up when they are free to do so as it is. And, a muslim who voluntarily contacts a recruiter or applies to attend a military academy at least demonstrates a degree of desire, appreciation, a willingness to take a stand over those who might be approached, enticed, talked into joining would likely possess.

    We don't need a special campaign. The consequences of making a misjudgement might be catastrophic. Muslim Americans who desire to enlist should be allowed to do so.

    Political correctness be damned. I'm not prepared to disregard 2000 years of historical evidence, who is right, who is wrong? It doesn't matter, what matters is that history should be our teacher and we should have learned by now, keeping muslims (non-American muslims especially) at arms length is not only prudent, but necessary. I wish it were different, but it isn't.

    What matters in this war isn't so much how we feel about it, but how the enemy does.

    Hopefully one day, it will not be so.
    Last edited by SSG Rock; 12-28-2006 at 04:32 PM.
    Don't taze me bro!

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Not quite sure why I'm mistaken, Selil. I wasn't referring to Japanese internment, but rather arguments against using Japanese-Americans in the U.S. armed forces. Luckily these doubts were overcome, and Japanese-Americans (some enrolled out of the camps, or with families locked up inside) served honorably in WWII.

    You seem to be arguing that since there is some historic enmity between Muslims and Christians, the U.S. would be justified in discriminating against Muslims. Also perhaps you could clarify when you say "the mullahs" --- are you suggesting that all Muslims or Muslim religious authorities have decreed the destruction of Western civilization?
    My misunderstanding as to point 1 (though you're still talking about nation of origin versus religion), but as to point 2....

    I think that the religious leaders have decreed the destruction of western civilization. For every enlightened religious Muslim leader saying let's all get along there are others saying destruction is a necessity. A thin veneer of civility does not change the fact that "some" have destruction as an intent.

    It may not be politically correct, but unlike national origin religion does not carry a passport. You can't identify religious dogma, you can't make laws against it, and when it is tied to political purpose it is highly dangerous. Luckily from what I've seen most Muslims are more alike with Christians and Jews in that the different groups equally ignore religious leaders.

    To clarify further I think that the call for Muslims to serve is onerous and strange. What would we say if suddenly there was a recruiting drive for Jews so that we could work closer with Israel, or please sign up if you're Catholic as it will give a better face to working with the Vatican? It seems like a strange recruiting drive and fraught with a lot of risk.

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    Default We'll just have to disagree

    Rock I have always respected your posts, whether I agree or not, and this is one time I don't concur with your logic. In the end you may turn out to be right, but I (as if I have a vote) would be willing to accept that risk, as long as it is mitigated with the appropriate counterintelligence background checks and measures.

    Osama Bin Laden has attempted to define this war as the world against Islam, and Islam against the rest of the world. Some of the posts I have seen here indicate we as a nation have took his bait hook, line and sinker. This whole conflict is about perception, and the perception I see is we're running scared of anyone who is Muslim. This is dangerous to us, not AQ. This attitude could force the "vast majority" of Muslims worldwide who are not on AQ's side to find areas of agreement. I remind you that Dearborn, MI is not in flames, unlike Paris was, and Paris of course is a proponent of penalizing Muslims with bias, job discrimination, etc. Paris created an Army for the Islamists to exploit.

    Selil, I don't find it unusal at all to seek out required skills in recruits. Good corporations do it, the CIA, the FBI, and a multitude of other organizations focus their recruiting efforts based on their needs (not PC, but needs). I think most of us accept that we're working in complex human terrain, and in the current war we need people who can speak the language, understand the religion, and help us collectively shape perceptions. It would it find it strange if we didn't focus on recruiting "vetted" Muslims. Actually I would find it criminal.

    I'll let this one go for awhile, I personally hope cooler heads prevail at the decision level.

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    Default Iran's Spies

    The Sunday Herald, 6 January 2007: Iran's Spies
    ...Last week, corporal Daniel James, a British soldier of Iranian extraction, was charged under the Official Secrets Act with passing secrets to the enemy. He was a trusted aide and interpreter for lieutenant-general David Richards, head of Nato forces in Afghanistan. If the allegations are true, Iranian intelligence have penetrated the very heart of the British military....

    ...One 2005 report by Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution roughly equivalent to Britain's MI5 stated: "Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has several groups under surveillance in Europe ... for collecting information and spying activities, Iran's intelligence service uses a network of agents who have defected from dissident organisations. The agents are invited to travel to Iran for briefings. In the process of the talks these people are put under pressure.

    "For agent recruitment, the MOIS ... brings psychological pressure to bear on the targeted person, eg by threatening them with reprisals on their relatives living in Iran. Those who do not travel to Iran are contacted and directed from Iran by phone."

    Holland's Interior Security Service says that Iranian intelligence "distributes negative information" on dissidents and "strives to portray a Satanic view" of anti-Tehran refugees in order to weaken the opposition in exile. Ex-members of dissident groups who have been turned by Iranian intelligence are encouraged to write diatribes against exile groups. As well as using threats and intimidation to turn espionage targets, bribes are also employed.

    Another German security report said that Iranian intelligence used the embassy in Berlin as the centre for its spying activities. Intelligence chiefs in Iran direct the European operations. The report states that when it comes to recruiting spies from exiles, "Tehran will make the final decision"...
    Good article. But it illustrates that this sort of thing is still plain old fashioned espionage, with the usual spectrum of source recruiting methods. Islam plays little role beyond the rhetorical in the recruiting and handling of agents by the spymasters of the Iranian regime. Nationalism, blackmail, extortion, exploitation of personal weaknesses - methods as old as the hills - are still at the fore. This is not a herald of a broader clash of civilizations - it is just spy vs spy again.

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    Default Re: Points That SSG Rock & Jedburgh Made

    Quote Originally Posted by SSG Rock View Post
    I'm not sold on this idea. It sounds like another knee jerk reaction, akin to opening military recruiting stations in overseas countries. It is rife with potential, serious issues, all of them obvious.

    I agree that putting a muslim face on our efforts in both theaters should be a top priority, but to me it isn't worth taking this risk.

    I dislike stereotyping as much as anyone else. But untill we have a deeper understanding of Islam I think it is a brutal fact of reality that all muslims are suspect. It seems to me that we should stick to hiring muslims as Department of Defense Civilians, contractors and the like. I'm reminded of the fragging that the 101st experienced and I wonder, how can a devout muslim justify serving in a western military in operations against fellow muslims? For now, I think that we should keep muslims at arms length.

    Once the enemy is inside the wire, the damage they can do is disasterous, and it's hard to root them out.
    Having read Vasili Mitrokhin's "The Sword & The Shield" & "The World Was Going Our Way", I'm reminded of the relative ease by which the KGB "turned" DOD civilians, contractors and "the like". Far more contractors were traitors than soldiers, their sense of honor and camaraderie being far less than that of those in uniform.

    This leads me to lean towards Jedburgh's observation of "spy vs. spy" when reading about the numerous "Muslim" traitors. Money, ego & pride, blackmail, these would seem to the real factors, Islam normally just being a "front".

    Imagine also the number of potential traitors within our midst working for the Saudis (special relationship and all those petro dollars, combined with the paranoia the Saudis have always had about us only heightened by some of anti-Saudi rhetoric after 9/11).

    A "but" regarding that first of methods Jedburgh mentioned: nationalism (and tribal identity of a sort). While underway last summer during the Israeli-Hezbollah mess, I sought out the reactions of three sailors of Lebanese descent I knew of and found them intensely angry with the US and the military for backing Israel, especially once the IDF started hitting Lebanese infrastructure like the airport, bridges and seaports (ostensibly to prevent resupplying of Hezbollah). No Islam involved, all three of them were Christians. IMHO, their sense of betrayal and disapointment at what they viewed as US heavy-handedness could have made them optimal targets for intelligence operators.

    The US will of course need to be wary when supporting our "friends" and "allies" actions that take sides in long-running disputes and cause substantial suffering among civilians and/or infrastructure. As a nation of immigrants, the blowback could well be substantial and be from within.

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    Default Not traitors to what their loyal to

    Eddie, good points, and one I want to expand on briefly. One result of globalization is multinational corporations (even Ford claims to be a MN, not a U.S. Company). Some MN companies have extensive political sway in different parts of the world, and if it benefited them to see a particular group win a conflict, even if it wasn't in synch with U.S. interests, would they try to influence the situation to benefit the Company? I think it has been done before, but I need to research it. Assuming they are U.S. citizens, are they traitors, or rather are they part of the new global community, and their primary loyality goes to their Company? Spy versus spy threats are no longer restricted to State versus State. Is this any different than a large Company donating money to both the Democrats and Republicans to cover all their bases? Of course it is, but in concept it isn't.

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    Council Member SSG Rock's Avatar
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    Default Good points all around

    Eddie, Bill, those are very cogent points. Non-state entities do present a new (well, not that new) wrinkle to the issue. And so does the Interent I'm afraid.

    It doesn't take a master spy to do the damage these days, it could be a pimply faced teenager prodigy with an Interent connection and maybe someone to give him some financial benefit?

    I guess I need to have faith that our smart guys have covered all of the bases in implementing an active recruiting campaign toward muslims. Maybe I'm jaded, I could be.

    Cross our fingers and roll the dice I guess.
    Don't taze me bro!

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    Default Drafting Amish Horses

    Obviously we would be better off in time of extreme need to draft the Amish's horses rather than the men and the same applies to Quakers, Shakers, Mennonites, Hassidic Jews, Hutterites,bonafide Buddhists and the Left in general and Muslims in general. We just can count on many of these folks to do any fighting or directly contribute much to military/intelligence affairs. It's a waste of resources, about like trying to convince couch potato teens to join the football team. Civilian contracting for interpretation duties is another matter though and that maybe should be pushed a bit. There's lots of low key data that needs to be interpreted and collated.

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    Actually, couch potato teens do join the football team. They're called linemen.

    I've been doing some reading about the covert development of the non-communist left in postwar europe, CIA funding of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, etc. and it seems to me that they were smart enough to fund people who didn't just spout the American line, so long as they were opposed to soviet totalitarianism.

    In America, the best people at exposing and repudiating actual communist infiltrators were generally people in the center or the anti-totalitarian left, because they were close enough to the problems to see the fine details. When you don't have enough context/human geography/ you tend to make a lot of errors that someone with a different background wouldn't. The FBI was good at fighting the Klan, because they could understand though did not endorse the mindset. They weren't as good at discerning out the differences between Martin Luther King and say, Eldridge Cleaver.

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    Council Member SSG Rock's Avatar
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    Default Speaking of finding muslims to take an anti terror stand?

    Stumbeld upon this website and thought it worth posting here for all to take a gander. This organization seems to be organized, but I've never heard of them. I thought some of their articles were interesting because they approach it from the peaceful muslim living in America perspective. I think I'll give it some of my time for awhile.
    Don't taze me bro!

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Very interesting site! Thanks for posting it. I particularly liked their background piece on the Muslim Brotherhood. Worth looking at, and it seems to have all of the major points covered nicely.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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