Diana West

The year is 1942. The place, the Pentagon. A Berlin-born aide to the U.S. deputy secretary of Defense has learned that a military intelligence officer has not only read Hitler's "Mein Kampf," but is lecturing senior officers about Hitler's heretofore unexamined goals of world domination.

This schweinhunt must go. At least, that's what the German-born staffer thinks. Did I mention he's fluent in German? That's partly why the deputy secretary of Defense relies so heavily on his aide's judgment on all things German, particularly when it comes to the War on Nazism's German outreach program. This program brings Nazi apologists into the inner sanctum of the American war machine ...

Sound crazy?

Travel forward to 1973. The deputy secretary of Defense's Soviet-born, Russian-speaking aide is gunning for the one intelligence officer who has boned up on Marx, Engels and Soviet military doctrine. Why? Because the officer refuses to "soften" his brief on communist ideology, and is presenting it to the military leadership -- now hearing it for the first time since the Cold War began. If communist plans for global domination become common knowledge, the aide realizes, gazing thoughtfully at a blown-up photo of Soviet mouthpiece Vladimir Posner on his office wall, the Pentagon will surely change strategy and halt the USSR outreach program, which gives commie symps Pentagon access ...

Totally outlandish, right?

Once upon a time, yes. But this month, the Washington Times' Bill Gertz reported on a not entirely dissimilar real-life version of such fictions, the termination of Maj. Stephen Coughlin (USAR). Coughlin, a lawyer and reserve military intelligence officer, has been the Pentagon's sole specialist on Islamic law charged with lecturing senior officers on jihad doctrine -- military leaders who have been fighting the so-called war on terror for years without an inkling of Islamic ideology. His contract with the Joint Staff will end in March, Gertz wrote, because Coughlin "had run afoul of a key aide" to the Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England.

That "key aide" is Cmdr. Hesham Islam (USN ret.), an Egyptian-born, Arabic-speaking Muslim whom Gordon England describes as "my interlocutor" and "personal, close confidante." According to Gertz, England's interlocutor and confidante confronted Stephen Coughlin seeking "to have Mr. Coughlin soften his views of Islamist extremism."


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).