Diana West

Note the irony in this choice of words. "Islamist" and "extremism," like "Islamofascism" and other euphemisms, are words that draw a PC curtain over mainstream Islam. They effectively shield the religion and its tenets from the scrutiny necessary to assess the ideology driving our jihadist enemies. Of course, lifting that PC curtain on Islam and its jihadist tenets is precisely the affect of Stephen Coughlin's Pentagon brief. It goes against what political correctness tells us; it also goes against what Islamic advocacy groups tell us.

For example, Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), is someone who advocates decoupling the word "Islamic" from the word "terrorism" for discussions of, well, Islamic terrorism. Why do I mention this? ISNA is a group that has been strenuously "outreached" by Gordon England's Pentagon even as the Justice Department has officially labeled it a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Wonder if England ever thought much about the large picture of Mattson -- head of what Justice has said is an MB front organization -- hanging amid the photos on Hesham Islam's office wall.

What Hesham Islam wanted from Stephen Coughlin was a softer interpretation of Islamic law and jihad, and, as Gertz reported, in the process he slurred Coughlin as "a Christian zealot or extremist `with a pen.' " Now Coughlin is out.

This high-level effort, in effect, to deny the connection between Islamic law and what the military calls the "enemy threat doctrine" should ring bells, not just in the military, but in Congress, which obviously has Pentagon oversight responsibilities. And what about the FBI? When a citizen is denounced as a "Christian zealot or extremist" shortly before his government contract is dropped, has a civil rights violation occurred?

More questions. Why is the deputy secretary of Defense engaged in Muslim "outreach" in the first place? And how good (safe) is his "outreach" advice if, to name a couple of examples, it brings ISNA into a bizarro relationship with the Pentagon, and sends a longtime apologist for assorted terrorists, Muslim Public Affairs Council's Salam Al-Marayati, on a Pentagon-sponsored trip to Guantanamo Bay? When such advice brings the military's woefully belated education on jihad to a halt, it becomes shockingly clear that the Pentagon is more concerned with political correctness than protecting the nation.

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).