Recently I wrote about some comments made by the Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad. His recent comments were merely one incident in a long string of Jew-bashing speeches he has made. But honestly, did you hear about Mohamad on the nightly news? While some Jewish organizations spoke out against Mohamad’s comments before the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit, the major media basically gave his speech a pass. Where is the outrage?
Well, the media outrage is not focused on Mahathir Mohamad’s speech; instead, it is focused on Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin’s recent comments. Gen. Boykin is the decorated former commander and veteran of the Army’s elite Delta Force and the new deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. If you have been watching the nightly news for the last week, you will have seen news stories about Gen. Boykin’s comments. But let me quote a few, just so you know what the hubbub is all about.
Speaking of President George Bush: “He’s in the White House because God put him there.” Speaking of the battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia: “I knew my god was bigger than his. I knew that my god was a real god and his was an idol.” Speaking of radical Islamists: “[They hate America] because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian … and the enemy is a guy named Satan.”
Did he make these comments before the nation in some televised forum? No. These comments were made in churches around the nation, but the media decided to make the comments into national news. Judging by the venom issuing from the left, you would think that the General had eaten a spotted owl or done something similarly evil. Representative John Conyers (D-MI) jumped into this fray with his letter to the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld:
“I am writing to express my extreme displeasure over Lieutenant General William Boykin’s remarks about the war and the Muslim religion. Lt. Gen. Boykin serves as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and is charged with heading a Pentagon office that focuses on finding Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and other targets. This is a critical policymaking position, and it is outrageous that someone who holds such extreme, closed-minded, zealous views would be allowed such a prominent position in our military.”
There has also been some reaction from the Islamic community. Nihad Awad, the Executive Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said, “Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs, no matter how ill-informed or bigoted, but those beliefs should not be allowed to color important decisions that need to be made in the war on terrorism.” Tell me, Mr. Awad, should we instead listen to you and other members of CAIR? Your organization is suspected of having ties with Hamas and other radical terrorist groups. Former and current members of CAIR have been arrested for such offenses as conspiring to train on American soil for a “violent jihad.” Forgive me if I’m not too keen to follow suggestions issued by CAIR.
While listening to discussions of Gen. Boykin’s comments on the radio, I heard several conservatives suggest that he should not have made religious pronouncements while in uniform. But contrary to the popular and incorrect view of separation of church and state, the General did nothing wrong. When someone joins the military or has a position of leadership in the government, that person does not give up his religion nor his freedom to express it freely.
Gen. Boykin has stated that he respects Islam, but that the terrorists and radicals who fight against America are “not true followers of Islam.” For the pundits on the left, this was not enough. Last week, Boykin apologized by saying, “For those who have been offended by my statements, I offer a sincere apology.” I can understand the political necessity for it, but I think that style of apology was the wrong choice. Here’s the apology I wish I had heard him give:
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I do have an apology to make. To the good and faithful people of Islam, I am sorry that radicals have twisted your faith into an excuse to commit murder. I regret that too many good Muslims have stood by while terrorists and lawless thugs have hid behind the words of Mohammed in an attempt to justify their evil deeds. I apologize for the need to kill these people who have taken up arms against our nation and our people. I regret that Islam stood by while evil men conspired to do wickedness in the name of Allah. I am sorry Afghanistan and Iraq needed to be freed from the hands of brutal, diabolical dictators. I am truly saddened at the loss of life caused by these terrorists, and I apologize for the need to hunt these murderers like the dogs they are. I pray to God that we are victorious in ripping out, root and branch, this wickedness from off the face of the earth, and that the terrorists burn in hell forever.”
Now that is the type of apology I would love to hear, but I realize that we as Americans are not unified in the war on terrorism. Too many people have forgotten the image of planes slamming into the World Trade Center towers, and too many people do not understand that radical terrorists do not want to discuss their hatred for us. They want to kill us. But this understanding has been lost. That is why there is more reaction to the fervent words of a decorated, twice-wounded soldier who believes in God than the malevolent speech of an outgoing Malaysian prime minister who wants to see Israel destroyed. Please tell me, which of these two is filled with more hatred?