Eight years and three months ago, I wrote a column inspired by the furor over statements by General William Boykin attesting to the religious dimension of the so-called war on terror. The thought that there might be a religious dimension to Islamic terrorism is, absurdly and disastrously, the Big No-No-No of our age (as noted once or twice in my body of work). That a devout Christian might appreciate the religious dimension of Islamic terrorism and express it in Christian terms is similarly verboten. And if he dare express it in the uniform of the country that expunges this key piece of the strategic puzzle, doctrinally, historically culturally, in its official war- and policy-making capacities, “furor” breaks out.
Back then, I decided to imagine how future historians might explain this early controversy in the “war on terror.”
“The ‘war on terror,’ later rechristened — sorry, renamed — the ‘war for Muslim outreach,’ began on Sept. 16, 2001, the day President George W. Bush carelessly spoke of a ‘crusade.’ His remark was heard neither as an echo of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s World War II book ‘Crusade in Europe,’ nor as a sober pledge to avenge thousands of American dead still smoldering at Ground Zero — victims, as Muslims on the outer reaches would reveal, of a joint CIA-Mossad plot. Instead, the word ‘crusade’ was perceived as a calculated insult to all of Islam still stewing over Holy Land incursions by Really Old Europe a millennium earlier.
“Early victories in the war for Muslim outreach were small but significant, such as forcing a new name onto ‘Operation Infinite Justice,’ the distinctly dis-lamic moniker for the war in Afghanistan. This was necessary, of course, since it is Allah who dispenses infinite justice, not the United States military. It wasn’t long before ‘Islam is love’ was the word from the president, and post-Sept. 16 outreach included annual Ramadan suppers at the White House. …
“Then along came Gen. Boykin. In every war, there are generals who want to fight an earlier war. This was true of Gen. Boykin. He wanted to fight the war of Sept. 11, the attack that is now, of course, but a tiny footnote to Sept. 16th, Death to Crusades Day, the first new national holiday since Martin Luther King Day.
“Gen. Boykin saw in the emergence of Muslim terror networks a resumption of the old wars of Islamic expansion against the Judeo-Christian West. And he saw fit to explain his vision in stark religious terms when he spoke in American Christian churches. Islamic terrorists hate the United States, he said in June 2003, ‘because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian. And the enemy is a guy named Satan.’ When such statements became public through the now-defunct Los Angeles Times, all hell, pardon the expression, broke loose, spreading a plague of damning liberal editorials, columns and statements.
“General Boykin, the New York Times editorialized, ‘should not be … providing ammunition for those who portray the war against terror as a war against Islam.’ Note the implicit denial of the specifically Islamic character of the terrorism aimed at the non-Islamic West — a semantic victory dating back to early outreach. Fareed Zakaria, a Washington columnist of the day, suggested Gen. Boykin be fired simply to assuage Arab/Islamic suspicions of the United States. Others compared the American officer’s biblical perspective with that of holy war-mongering Osama bin Laden.
“But it was the president himself who may have tipped the balance when he rejected even the basis of the three-star general’s worldview — that the war on terrorism had its undeniable religious dimension in being a response to Islamic jihad on the West, a civilization with Judeo-Christian roots.
“Some say that was the point at which outreach trumped terrorism as the war’s priority. Once Gen. Boykin was history it was just a matter of time before Hamas had its AWACS, and jailed Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr was installed as supreme ayatollah of the United Nations Mandate of Iraq. Soon, the [battle] for high U.S. poll numbers throughout Muslim culture — was ours.”
In retrospect, of course, I realize outreach trumped terrorism from Day 1. General Boykin survived the squall, retiring from the military in 2007 (full disclosure: he and I and 17 others are co-authors of the Team B II report, Shariah: The Threat to America). Hamas doesn’t have its AWACS yet, although it does has the public relations equivalent in the prominence of Hamas-linked CAIR as a public voice in the US (as seen below). Sadr is a major power in Iraq, where the UN is nowhere to be seen. But the squall — the war for Muslim outreach — continues to intensify.
After accepting an invitation to speak at West Point’s National Prayer Breakfast on February 8, General Boykin has withdrawn from the event following what the New York Times calls “a growing list of liberal veterans’ groups, civil liberties advocates and Muslim organizations called on the Military Academy to rescind the invitation.” West Point issued a statement saying, “In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the United States Military Academy will feature another speaker for the event.”
No doubt “another speaker” pre-approved by the liberal veterans’ groups, civil liberties advocates and Muslim organizations.
The Times story continues (links from the original):
General Boykin, a longtime commander of Special Operations forces, first caused controversy after the Sept. 11 attacks when, as a senior Pentagon official, he described the fight against terrorism as a Christian battle against Satan. His remarks, made in numerous speeches to church groups, were publicly repudiated by President George W. Bush, who argued that America’s war was not with Islam but with violent fanatics.
…who just happened to be weaponizing mainstream, specifically Islamic teachings regarding the requirement to make war (jihad) on the infidel.
Since his retirement in 2007 and a new career as a popular conservative Christian speaker, General Boykin has described Islam as “a totalitarian way of life” and said that Islam should not be protected under the First Amendment.
I am not familiar with General Boykin’s arguments regarding First Amendment protection and Islam. The short quotation attributed to him on this subject states Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life,” and thus not eligible for such protection. Given the “doubly totalitarian” aspects of Islam (global and personal controls) as codified, for example, in Islamic law (sharia), this point is surely debatable — or would be in a country not already under Islamic strictures against free inquiry into Islam. But no. Boykin’s opinion about a legitimate topic of discussion is cause for ejecting him from West Point. The effect is to further marginalize the quest for open debate about Islam and its threat to liberty — and to marginalize further those who seek it.
Last week, after learning that General Boykin would be speaking at the prayer breakfast, a liberal veterans’ group, VoteVets.org, demanded that the invitation be revoked. In a letter to West Point’s superintendent, the group said General Boykin’s “incendiary rhetoric regarding Islam” was “incompatible with Army values” and would “put our troops in danger.”
Lt. Col. Sherri Reed, West Point’s director of public affairs, defended the invitation on Friday, saying that “cadets are purposefully exposed to different perspectives” and that the breakfast “will be pluralistic with Christians, Jewish and Muslim cadets participating.”
Seeking safety in pluralism. United We Stand?
But by Monday, several other groups had condemned the invitation and concern was also reportedly being voiced by some faculty members and cadets. The Forum on the Military Chaplaincy (a liberal group of retired military chaplains), the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the Council on American-Islamic Relations made public appeals to the Pentagon to cancel General Boykin’s appearance.
That was quick.
FYI, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is an unindicted co-conspirator in the landmark Holy Land terror financing trial in which evidence was introduced defining CAIR as a Muslim Brotherhood front organization.
A fourth-year cadet at West Point, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals for breaking military discipline, said in a telephone interview before the cancellation was announced that “people are definitely talking about it here.”
He feared reprisals? For what — mopping-up operations in the war for Muslim Outreach?
“They’re inviting someone who’s openly criticizing a religion that is practiced on campus,” he said. “I know Muslim cadets here, and they are great, outstanding citizens, and this ex-general is saying they shouldn’t enjoy the same rights.”
Not to speak for the general, but the problem on campus begins when Islam’s supremacist, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-female teachings are obscured and denied to a point of non-deniable parity with other religions.
The cadet asked, “Are we supposed to take leadership qualities and experience from this guy, to follow in his footsteps?”
A similar controversy erupted last week, in the days before General Boykin spoke at the mayor’s annual prayer breakfast in Ocean City, Md. The general made no inflammatory statements about Islam, instead describing how prayer had helped him through dangerous military operations.
But Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, said the West Point invitation was a mistake. West Point, Mr. Montgomery said, would have given “a platform to someone who is publicly identified with offensive comments about Muslims and about the commander in chief.”
Poof. Open criticism of a demonstrably aggressive and liberty-hostile religio-political movement is reduced to “offensive comments about Muslims” and thus forbidden. And, by the way, never, ever criticize “the commander in chief.” Our comissars — CAIR, PAW, VoteVets.Org and the rest of the Islamo-Socialist Left –won’t permit it.