I'm Generally Opposed To Witch Hunts ...
... but this one cackles too loudly to be ignored. Last October, I wrote about anti-Muslim remarks by Army Lieutenant General William G. Boykin in a post entitled "The Tin Foil Hat on Your God" (scroll down to 18 October 2003). The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad, had made some very foolish anti-Semitic remarks, which deserved condemnation. But they came at a time when General Boykin said some equally foolish things."I have no problem putting a tin foil hat on Malaysia's prime minister," I wrote.
Some of his remarks were outrageous. Put them beside the remarks by Army Lieutenant General William G. Boykin ..., Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, however, and you have to wonder, if this is our guy in charge of intelligence, if our leadership isn't also wearing lite metal on its head. The American Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence appears in full dress uniform before evangelical Christian audiences and says of his confrontation with a Muslim opponent:"I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol" and of our"war on terrorism":"we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan." When that happens, we're in the land of Oz and our guy is at least as dangerous as their guy.I went on to preach a bit about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam serving the same G_d. I claim that latitude here, since I'm ordained and can't help myself, but this morning I was astonished to read that General Boykin has been implicated in the congressional inquiry into the scandal at Abu Ghraib. Last summer, he"briefed a top Pentagon civilian official ... on ways military interrogators could gain more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners." There's more to be learned here and we may not learn it. This much is sure, though, if you demonize an enemy over whom you have absolute power, there is no limit to what can be done to him. It's not about sex. It's not about pornography. It's about understanding that divine authority stands in judgment on all human agency. General Boykin doesn't know that. Thanks to Max Sawicky for the tip.
Update: Maybe General Boykin would learn something if he read Tim Burke's "In Nothing We Trust". Maybe not. Everyone else should read it.
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Ralph E. Luker - 5/13/2004
Richard, I don't see much of an argument here that Boykin ought to remain in the position he is in. In fact, if he had anything to do with instructions to intelligence personnel in Iraq about the treatment of prisoners of war, it would have been too late to have removed him as of last October when he became such a matter of public controversy. If your argument that Boykin would be a good guy to have in a foxhole? Maybe so, but I wouldn't want to have to listen to him.
Richard Henry Morgan - 5/13/2004
For another example of someone who can perform respectably in one sphere of human activity, while a manifest idiot in another, consider the case of Bobby Fisher.
Richard Henry Morgan - 5/13/2004
First the guy is not in charge of intelligence. He sits in the Pentagon in a DOD slot, making intelligence management decisions. Secondly, he had no business appearing in uniform and making that speech. Third, I've known some great soldiers with bizarre ideas -- for instance, Bo Gritz, who commanded the 3rd of the 7th SF Group. Tin foil hat all the way, but he's be great to have in your foxhole, or even directing military operations.
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