Skip to comments.Probe of General's Anti-Islam Remarks Drags On (unbiased Reuters headline)
Posted on 05/04/2004 2:39:47 PM PDT by ambrose
Probe of General's Anti-Islam Remarks Drags On Tue May 4, 2004 11:55 AM ET
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Arab- and Muslim-Americans are increasingly frustrated by the Pentagon's failure to discipline a top U.S. general who said Muslims do not worship "a real God," and say it raises questions about whether the so-called war on terrorism is not a war on Islam.
Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, head of military intelligence, touched off a brief firestorm last October after publicity about speeches he gave while in uniform that referred to the war on terrorism as a battle with "Satan" and said America had been targeted "because we're a Christian nation."
In one speech, Boykin, an evangelical Christian, belittled a Muslim fighter who said Allah had protected him from U.S. forces. "I knew ... that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol," said Boykin, a much-decorated veteran of covert military operations.
Since then, an internal investigation into the affair has worked its way slowly through the Pentagon bureaucracy. A spokeswoman said there was no deadline for its completion.
"I don't think the administration understands how much damage Boykin has done," said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, an advocacy group.
He cited a recent poll that showed Arab-Americans in four key U.S. states would choose Democrat John Kerry by a wide margin over Bush if the election were held now.
"They could stop the hemorrhaging at any time, but they allow this to continue to occur so the wound continues to stay open," Zogby said. "It's just not taken seriously."
At the time, President Bush said Boykin "didn't reflect my opinion," but the Pentagon said there were no plans to fire the general. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called Boykin -- who played a role in the 1993 clash with Muslim warlords in Somalia and the ill-fated attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran in 1980 -- "outstanding."
NO DISCIPLINARY ACTION
Sources familiar with the investigation said Boykin would probably not face disciplinary action, noting that officials had signaled that Boykin's remarks fell into a "gray area" in rules governing the public speeches of military personnel.
However, the report is expected to recommend the rules be tightened to prevent future incidents, and it may suggest that Boykin should have used more discretion, the sources said.
Defense officials, who asked not to be named, said the Pentagon Inspector General's office sent a draft report to Boykin for his review several months ago, standard procedure in such cases. His comments will be included in the final report.
Boykin's remarks -- and the administration's perceived lack of action about them -- have fueled Arab-Americans' growing disappointment in the administration over its handling of the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and civil rights issues at home, Zogby said.
Already raw emotions flared again after news that U.S. soldiers had abused Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.
Yvonne Haddad, professor at Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, said the administration's failure to promptly discipline Boykin smacked of hypocrisy. "When somebody says anything against blacks or Jews, they are immediately relieved of their jobs," she said.
The lack of disciplinary action against Boykin has undermined the administration's campaign -- aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in Arabic language media programs -- to promote the country's image in the Middle East, she said.
"When the administration is playing to its American supporters, it appears anti-Islamic; at the same time, it is trying to send a message overseas that we love Islam," Haddad said.
The Pentagon's inspector general began an investigation last October after Boykin's remarks prompted criticism by civil rights groups and lawmakers, including Sen. John Warner of Virginia, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who unsuccessfully urged Boykin to step aside during the inquiry.
I didn't think there was any question on that count.
Indeed, there a pecking order in this mediatarian re-write of civil liberties.
Atheists may publicly denounce any religion, even including Islam.
Muslims may denounce any other religion, especially Judaism and Christianity, even to the point of advocating genocide.
Hindus may criticize any religion except Islam, lest they incite the rage of the ummah.
Jews may criticize Christianity, so long as they are not Conservative Jews attacking liberal collaborator denominations.
Christians must stay silent, unless they are pacifists and collaborators, in which case they criticize only Conservative Christians anyway.
Interesting twist at this time.
Gees next thing you know the musselmen will want Spain back, and part of john f'ning kerry's adopted home land.
"When in Mecca kissing the Kaaba, it is also incumbent upon pilgrims to kill an animal in the Mina valley on the tenth day of the month of pilgrimage, since Allah, like the Yahweh of the Jews, is believed to enjoy having animals killed for his viewing pleasure. (It is amusing to imagine what will happen if P.E.T.A. and the Animal Liberation Front ever get wind of this. How Muslims would deal with the threat of animal-rights terrorism would be something worth watching closely.)"
Another sign that Georgetown's tuition is way too high.