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Austin Cline

War on Terror is a Holy War?

By October 21, 2003

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For some of the people involved in the "War on Terrorism," their fight isn't simply one that is about preserving American security or stopping violence. Instead, it is also or even primarily a battle of Good and Evil, a battle of those who side with God against those who side with Satan. Most of the time, though, they manage to keep quiet about that.

As MSNBC reports, Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin - the former commander of Army Special Forces and now an undersecretary of defense who is one of the leaders of a Pentagon unit coordinating intelligence on terrorists - is not one of those who can keep quiet:

In June 2003, Boykin spoke to a church group over a slide show:  “Well, is he [bin Laden] the enemy? Next slide. Or is this man [Saddam] the enemy? The enemy is none of these people I have showed you here. The enemy is a spiritual enemy. He’s called the principality of darkness. The enemy is a guy called Satan. Why are terrorists out to destroy the United States? Boykin said: “They’re after us because we’re a Christian nation.” ... Boykin also routinely tells audiences that God, not the voters, chose President Bush: “Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.”

Boykin has said that he doesn't want to come across as a "right-wing radical." But let's face facts: he is. He doesn't believe that President Bush was democratically elected, which actually isn't that uncommon, but what is uncommon is that he also doesn't believe that this is a bad thing. Presumably he also doesn't believe that Bush is answerable to the citizens of the United States; being the Chosen Leader of God, Bush would only be answerable to God - at least, to God as Boykin understands God.

If Bush gave orders that violate this oath of office, could we expect Boykin to obey those orders if he also thinks that they assist Bush's Holy Mission? Yes, I think we could. Are people like Boykin a danger to liberal democratic republics? Yes, I think they are. Whatever his past military achievements may have been, today he is a loose canon whose views are a real danger; at the very least, views like his should be repudiated in the harshest terms and at the highest levels.

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