Thursday, October 16, 2003

General Boykin: Leading the New Crusade?

The general and his divine mission - (LA Times)
...The Pentagon has given the task of tracking down and eliminating Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and other high-profile targets to an evangelical army general who sees the war on terrorism as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and Satan.

Lieutenant-General William "Jerry" Boykin, the new deputy under-secretary of defence for intelligence ...

... the former commander and 13-year veteran of the US Army's top-secret Delta Force is an outspoken evangelical Christian who appeared in uniform before a religious group in Oregon in June to declare that radical Islamists hate the US "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. And the enemy is a guy named Satan."

... Discussing the battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia, General Boykin told another audience: "I knew my god was bigger than his. I knew that my god was a real god and his was an idol."

General Boykin has said of President George Bush: "He's in the White House because God put him there."

... General Boykin has also said radical Muslims who resorted to terror were not representative of Islam. He has compared Islamic extremists to hooded Christians who terrorised blacks, Catholics, Jews and others from beneath the robes of the Ku Klux Klan.

...President Bush often uses religious language in his speeches, but he keeps references to God non-sectarian.

At one point, immediately after the September 11 attacks, Mr Bush said he wanted to lead a crusade against terrorism. But he quickly retracted the word when told that, to Muslim ears, it recalled the medieval Christian crusaders' brutal invasions of Islamic nations.

The radical left has said the Iraq invastion was about oil, and Al Qaeda have (confusingly) said their war is against materialism and /or the Crusaders.

While I still don't think either group is quite correct, I'm forced to admit they seem to have a point. The huge investment in war fighting, combined with a perverse antagonism to energy conservation, is most compatible with the thesis that oil has a special place in Bush's heart. Point for the radical left. As for Al Qaeda ...

Last comments:

1. Bush does NOT keep references to God non-sectarian. There are other gods than those of Abraham (Hindu, native American, etc) and other religions than those of Abraham -- such as Buddhism, Hinduism, native American beliefs, etc. Bush has never said anything to indicate any particular respect or tolerance for the non-Abramic faiths, nor, for that matter, for agnostics, secular humanists, and atheists.

2. Boykin may legitimately separate Muslims into those who follow Osama and those follow Muhammed. If Satan is out there, one could make a case that Osama is in his camp. I'd love to learn more about what he says to evangelical groups.

3. I wonder if Boykin is a big reader of the "Left Behind" series. The influence of that series on a particular sort of susceptible mind has, I think, been underestimated.

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