Convergent “Myths” on Coughlin’s Firing?

FrontPage Magazine.com published an updated version of my essay “Saving Major Coughlin” today (1/18/08), which includes my discussion about possible Congressional hearings on his firing. 

Bill Gertz’s dogged investigative reporting on this critically important story continues today at “Inside the Ring.” Gertz maintains that Coughlin’s firing may involve an element of Anti-Christian bias (he alludes to other instances), which predictably does not get a sympathetic hearing (or any discussion at all!) from the mainstream media: 

Pentagon aide Hasham Islam remains a key adviser on Muslim affairs to Mr. England and faced no punishment or even criticism for recently calling Joint Staff counterterrorism analyst Stephen Coughlin a “Christian zealot with a pen” because of his views on the linkage between Islamic law and terrorism. There was no outcry in the press, as could be expected if the criticism had been reversed and Mr. Islam was called a Muslim zealot.  

And Gertz remains steadfast in his contention that Hesham Islam’s (uninformed and over wrought) reaction to Coughlin’s meticulously documented “hard to refute” arguments on the nexus between Islamic Law and modern jihadism (including jihad terror), resulted in Major Coughlin’s firing. Indeed Gertz challenges the Pentagon to review the firing vis a vis usual Joint Staff contracting arrangements and come up with a different interpretation:  

The confrontation in a meeting several weeks ago led to Mr. Coughlin’s firing. The Pentagon spin is that ending Mr. Coughlin’s contract had nothing to do with Mr. Islam but was due to an expensive contract that was cut off. Other officials said any review of Joint Staff contracting would explode that reason as a myth. 

From my own perspective, knowing Major Coughlin, there is some irony in this discussion which adds another, perhaps related layer of mythology to Coughlin’s firing: In contemporary parlance, which notably applies to the Western, but alas NOT the Islamic world, Steven Coughlin is best characterized as a “lapsed” Catholic. He is most assuredly NOT a “Christian zealot,” with or without his pen!  


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