Pentagon journal explores what could happen if a president called for Muslim internment camps

imrs-1Source: The Washington Post

By Dan Lamothe

The scholarly journal of the Pentagon’s top general published an essay that examines what someone in his position should do if a president ordered the establishment of Muslim internment camps, one day before President Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The article appears in the most recent issue of Joint Force Quarterly under the headline “The Viability of Moral Dissent by the Military.” It won an annual essay competition last spring overseen by National Defense University in Washington in the name of then-Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, and was published with the winners of two other competitions run in the name of Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Jan. 26 publication of the essay came at a particularly sensitive time for the Pentagon, which bans engaging in “partisan political activity.” Senior defense officials were caught by surprise by President Trump’s temporary travel ban a day later, which was signed in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes along with another order to improve military readiness. The travel restrictions are being contested in federal court.

Dunford, perhaps more so than any other senior officer, has stressed the need for service members to stay out of politics. But academic military journals have explored political issues in the past, such as when the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute published a piece by professor emeritus Don M. Snider in 2014 that discussed how forcefully Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, then the Joint Chiefs chairman, could dissent from President Barack Obama’s plan to counter the Islamic State.

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