Saturday, 29 November 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

West Point Think Tank Buries the Dynamite

Saturday, 26 January 2013 11:56 By Mikey Weinstein, AlterNet | Op-Ed

The United States Military Academy at West Point's  Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) is often referred to as a "think tank," whose primary mission is to inform and shape counterterrorism policy and strategy.  CTC's  recent study on domestic right-wing terrorist groups clearly reveals that more taxpayer-funded "tanking" than thinking goes on at the CTC. Indeed, after carefully reviewing the study myself, I am confident that the ladies and gentlemen that worked on this project have gone down in flames in the attempted accomplishment of their mission.

The CTC attempts to aim a blinding spotlight at the Racist/White Supremacist Movement, the Anti-Federalist Movement, and the Christian fundamentalist Movement and their potential for violence. While exorbitant amounts of money and time were wasted on the CTC's flimsy, tissue-thin report, it fails to focus so much as a dim penlight on a far greater threat to the liberty of our brave military personnel. Allow me to fill in the blanks for you.

We at the  Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) consider the report pathetically cold consolation to the countless members of our military whose Constitutionally-guaranteed civil and human rights are unceasingly violated by vicious attacks from a far greater and more sinister enemy within. As the founder and President of MRFF, a United States Air Force Academy graduate, and a sentient human being with access to public media, I observe on a daily basis the despicable and systemic abuse of authority by the members of our nation's military, up and down and through the chains of command. The forced imposition of fundamentalist Christianity throughout our American armed forces is the perpetual "flavor of the day," and has been for decades.

To paraphrase, more irreparable harm has been done with the point of a pen than at the point of a gun. The CTC obsesses on skinheads and the most extreme fundamentalist Bible-wavers. In doing so, it ignores the daily, relentless assault on freedom committed by those with stars on their chests and stripes on their shoulders.

There have been an unfathomable number of  personal accounts of our nation's servicemembers being given little choice in whether or not to take part in Christian events, and even many commanders throwing hazard to the wind (along with the United States Constitution) and making participation in religious ceremonies outright mandatory!  We live in a world where our enemies are already hostile to our country because they believe that our leaders are using our armed forces for the purposes of latter day Crusades. How, then, does allowing this utterly reprehensible nonsense to continue not produce a greater threat than the handful of neo-Nazis still getting together for bonfires and hate parades?

The CTC report wantonly ignored the continual, systemic proselytizing among United States military personnel. This brainwashing results in widespread, brutal stigmatizing of those opposed or indifferent to fundamentalist Christian doctrine--a savage trampling of their Constitutional rights!

Foolishly, the CTC engages in high-minded dithering about domestic terrorist groups and their potential for violence. That's like having a casual discussion about removing piles of newspapers and oily rags from the garage, while inside the house, the kitchen, the living room, and the bedrooms are blazing away in full conflagration! Money and time are better spent on exposing to the light of day and aggressively punishing the single-minded, unconstitutional religious predators who serve ubiquitously in our military, constituting literal multitudes of constitutionally crooked American military personnel.

Blake Page, Director of MRFF Affairs at West Point, recently stated, "Some may attempt to mince words... with claims that Christianity is a philosophy and Christmas is a cultural tradition." Page refers to officers who blithely use disgusting ruses such as "ceremony" and "custom" to excuse the blatant and systematic advancement of a rapacious sectarian religious agenda.

Breathless media coverage trumpeted the news of Page's bravery in withdrawing from the Military Academy. Page, a veteran and proud cadet, was a mere six months shy of graduation. His fearless action exposed him to liability for a small fortune in academy tuition and risked his being forced involuntarily back into the Army as a junior enlisted soldier. With the buzz of personal attacks and malcontent directed toward former Cadet Page that resounded up and down the Academy's hallowed halls for weeks after his viral blog titled  "Why I Don't Want to be a West Point Graduate," no one could dare argue that the authors of the CTC's report were unaware the problem existed. Page  continues to fight--a la Rosa Parks--against the insidious, ingrained forces that trample on his rights and those of his fellow cadets.

One hundred and fifty-one West Point cadets, faculty, and staff are MRFF clients, and 90% of those cadets, faculty, and staff are Christians. Clearly, MRFF's battle is not with the Christian religion, despite the bloodthirsty, threatening hate mail, phone calls, and "other serious category" threats that MRFF staffers, my family, and I  receive continuously. The content of these deranged attacks is beyond vitriolic, furthering the false and hateful characterization that MRFF is somehow guilty of the canard of "anti-Christian" bigotry.

Perhaps the CTC has taken a step farther and begun to physically plug their ears and close their eyes to news that might scuff the shine on their donors' highly polished low-quarters. Earlier in 2012, due to MRFF's demands,  unabashed Islamophobe General Boykin was forced to back out after having been invited to speak at an official West Point event, ludicrously dubbed a "Prayer Breakfast."  Boykin is now the Executive Vice President of the wretchedly hateful, Christian extremist Family Research Council.

The skinheads, the sheet-wearers, and the cross-burners are easy to spot. But the more devastating injury, as MRFF has shown repeatedly, is the stark and severe NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT wrought by those in suits, in vestments, and--most disgracefully of all--in the uniform of our nation's armed forces.
 
In short, West Point's Combating Terrorism Center has completely failed to investigate whatsoever the pervasive "inside job" emanating from and permeating the official military establishment of the United States armed forces. There should be no mystery as to why an organization situated at West Point would prefer to feign ignorance.  They do it because they know that speaking up from within can cost them their careers and worse.

As Frederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand." It's hard and it's dangerous to stand up and demand one's civil rights. Look, when even the President of the United States of America gives a  nontrivial, symbolic endorsement of Christian exceptionalism at his second inauguration by having a prayer "In Jesus' name," followed by a choir singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," an unabashed anthem of Christian supremacy, who would dare to step up and say, "No Mr. President, our Constitution applies to you too!"?  If no one else, then MRFF and I will.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Mikey Weinstein

Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein is president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and an honor graduate of the Air Force Academy. He previously served as White House Counsel in the Reagan administration and general counsel to H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corp. He is the author of the recently released book, "No Snowflake in an Avalanche: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Its Battle to Defend the Constitution and One Family's Courageous War Against Religious Extremism in High Places" (2012, Vireo).


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West Point Think Tank Buries the Dynamite

Saturday, 26 January 2013 11:56 By Mikey Weinstein, AlterNet | Op-Ed

The United States Military Academy at West Point's  Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) is often referred to as a "think tank," whose primary mission is to inform and shape counterterrorism policy and strategy.  CTC's  recent study on domestic right-wing terrorist groups clearly reveals that more taxpayer-funded "tanking" than thinking goes on at the CTC. Indeed, after carefully reviewing the study myself, I am confident that the ladies and gentlemen that worked on this project have gone down in flames in the attempted accomplishment of their mission.

The CTC attempts to aim a blinding spotlight at the Racist/White Supremacist Movement, the Anti-Federalist Movement, and the Christian fundamentalist Movement and their potential for violence. While exorbitant amounts of money and time were wasted on the CTC's flimsy, tissue-thin report, it fails to focus so much as a dim penlight on a far greater threat to the liberty of our brave military personnel. Allow me to fill in the blanks for you.

We at the  Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) consider the report pathetically cold consolation to the countless members of our military whose Constitutionally-guaranteed civil and human rights are unceasingly violated by vicious attacks from a far greater and more sinister enemy within. As the founder and President of MRFF, a United States Air Force Academy graduate, and a sentient human being with access to public media, I observe on a daily basis the despicable and systemic abuse of authority by the members of our nation's military, up and down and through the chains of command. The forced imposition of fundamentalist Christianity throughout our American armed forces is the perpetual "flavor of the day," and has been for decades.

To paraphrase, more irreparable harm has been done with the point of a pen than at the point of a gun. The CTC obsesses on skinheads and the most extreme fundamentalist Bible-wavers. In doing so, it ignores the daily, relentless assault on freedom committed by those with stars on their chests and stripes on their shoulders.

There have been an unfathomable number of  personal accounts of our nation's servicemembers being given little choice in whether or not to take part in Christian events, and even many commanders throwing hazard to the wind (along with the United States Constitution) and making participation in religious ceremonies outright mandatory!  We live in a world where our enemies are already hostile to our country because they believe that our leaders are using our armed forces for the purposes of latter day Crusades. How, then, does allowing this utterly reprehensible nonsense to continue not produce a greater threat than the handful of neo-Nazis still getting together for bonfires and hate parades?

The CTC report wantonly ignored the continual, systemic proselytizing among United States military personnel. This brainwashing results in widespread, brutal stigmatizing of those opposed or indifferent to fundamentalist Christian doctrine--a savage trampling of their Constitutional rights!

Foolishly, the CTC engages in high-minded dithering about domestic terrorist groups and their potential for violence. That's like having a casual discussion about removing piles of newspapers and oily rags from the garage, while inside the house, the kitchen, the living room, and the bedrooms are blazing away in full conflagration! Money and time are better spent on exposing to the light of day and aggressively punishing the single-minded, unconstitutional religious predators who serve ubiquitously in our military, constituting literal multitudes of constitutionally crooked American military personnel.

Blake Page, Director of MRFF Affairs at West Point, recently stated, "Some may attempt to mince words... with claims that Christianity is a philosophy and Christmas is a cultural tradition." Page refers to officers who blithely use disgusting ruses such as "ceremony" and "custom" to excuse the blatant and systematic advancement of a rapacious sectarian religious agenda.

Breathless media coverage trumpeted the news of Page's bravery in withdrawing from the Military Academy. Page, a veteran and proud cadet, was a mere six months shy of graduation. His fearless action exposed him to liability for a small fortune in academy tuition and risked his being forced involuntarily back into the Army as a junior enlisted soldier. With the buzz of personal attacks and malcontent directed toward former Cadet Page that resounded up and down the Academy's hallowed halls for weeks after his viral blog titled  "Why I Don't Want to be a West Point Graduate," no one could dare argue that the authors of the CTC's report were unaware the problem existed. Page  continues to fight--a la Rosa Parks--against the insidious, ingrained forces that trample on his rights and those of his fellow cadets.

One hundred and fifty-one West Point cadets, faculty, and staff are MRFF clients, and 90% of those cadets, faculty, and staff are Christians. Clearly, MRFF's battle is not with the Christian religion, despite the bloodthirsty, threatening hate mail, phone calls, and "other serious category" threats that MRFF staffers, my family, and I  receive continuously. The content of these deranged attacks is beyond vitriolic, furthering the false and hateful characterization that MRFF is somehow guilty of the canard of "anti-Christian" bigotry.

Perhaps the CTC has taken a step farther and begun to physically plug their ears and close their eyes to news that might scuff the shine on their donors' highly polished low-quarters. Earlier in 2012, due to MRFF's demands,  unabashed Islamophobe General Boykin was forced to back out after having been invited to speak at an official West Point event, ludicrously dubbed a "Prayer Breakfast."  Boykin is now the Executive Vice President of the wretchedly hateful, Christian extremist Family Research Council.

The skinheads, the sheet-wearers, and the cross-burners are easy to spot. But the more devastating injury, as MRFF has shown repeatedly, is the stark and severe NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT wrought by those in suits, in vestments, and--most disgracefully of all--in the uniform of our nation's armed forces.
 
In short, West Point's Combating Terrorism Center has completely failed to investigate whatsoever the pervasive "inside job" emanating from and permeating the official military establishment of the United States armed forces. There should be no mystery as to why an organization situated at West Point would prefer to feign ignorance.  They do it because they know that speaking up from within can cost them their careers and worse.

As Frederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand." It's hard and it's dangerous to stand up and demand one's civil rights. Look, when even the President of the United States of America gives a  nontrivial, symbolic endorsement of Christian exceptionalism at his second inauguration by having a prayer "In Jesus' name," followed by a choir singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," an unabashed anthem of Christian supremacy, who would dare to step up and say, "No Mr. President, our Constitution applies to you too!"?  If no one else, then MRFF and I will.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Mikey Weinstein

Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein is president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and an honor graduate of the Air Force Academy. He previously served as White House Counsel in the Reagan administration and general counsel to H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corp. He is the author of the recently released book, "No Snowflake in an Avalanche: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Its Battle to Defend the Constitution and One Family's Courageous War Against Religious Extremism in High Places" (2012, Vireo).


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