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Old 11-29-2003, 06:21 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool Religion, Generals and Leadership


Religion, Generals and Leadership

By Roger Moore

?When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.?

That?s our motto here at DefenseWatch and Soldiers For The Truth. It came from George Washington, our nation?s first Army commander and president. And it occurred to me, as I reviewed the recent tempest over Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin?s remarks on Islam and Christianity, that Washington?s life and comments could provide a firm perspective over the issue of a military leader voicing religious beliefs.

Boykin, you may recall from my earlier article (?The Limits to Diversity in the Military,? DefenseWatch, Nov. 6, 2003), became ensnared in a nationwide tempest when a Los Angeles Times reporter secretly recorded his comments in front of an invited church audience.

In the earlier article, I quoted a remark attributed to Boykin from House Resolution 419 sponsored by Rep. John Conyers D-MI:

?I knew that my God was a real God, and [the Muslim God] was an idol.?

This particular comment, made by the general over a decade ago, referenced Boykin?s battle with Somali warlord Osman Otto. He said, ?I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol.?

Boykin recently clarified his statement to say that his remarks were not directed toward Otto?s supposed worship of Allah, but rather, the warlord?s love and worship of power and money, both practices inconsistent with what followers of Islam would have us believe. In other words Otto was not a true believer but unclean and an infidel.

In that light, I have to ask if the sacrifices made by Otto and his followers were also found to be unclean and therefore unworthy of acceptance by Allah and their place in Akhirah subsequently forfeited?

Perhaps Rep. Conyers and his co-sponsors were hoping to enlighten the educationally and religously challenged among us.

In that vein of thought, I also wondered if Harry Truman, the last ?educationally challenged? president (to serve without a college degree), would have required such congressional enlightenment when he implemented the Truman Doctrine ? the post-World War II doctrine that announced American willingness to provide military aid to countries resisting communist (insert Islamic here) insurgencies.

Did President Truman, renowned for his plain-spoken ways, worry that his ?intolerance? of communism might have offended communists around the world?

By today?s standards, Truman wouldn?t be found fit to command his old artillery battery but then again, had he let MacArthur go ahead and prosecute the undeclared, Korean War the way it should have been, we wouldn?t be facing nuclear blackmail or wondering about the intentions of the North Korean Army.

Nevertheless, I pressed on with my research and quickly found an instance on Aug. 3, 1776, where General Washington was proselytizing his officers and men (as opposed to proselytizing an invited audience in a church or prayer breakfast). Here is the General Orders of the Day as read in The Papers of George Washington: Revolutionary War Series, Vol 5, June-August 1776?:

Head Quarters, New York, August 3rd 1776

Parole Uxbridge. Countersign Virginia

?That the Troops may have an opportunity of attending public worship, as well as take some rest after the great fatigue they have gone through; The General in future excuses them from fatigue duty on Sundays (except at the Ship Yards, or special occasions) until further orders. The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practice, of profane cursing and swearing (a vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavour to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it.?

What relevance does this have to our armed forces today?

The Fourth Generation warfare being waged against us, primarily but not exclusively through terrorism for the last thirty years, requires the understanding that this is not only a military conflict, but also a moral conflict that assaults the very foundation of our nation.

Freedom without the exercise of responsibility descends into anarchy, chaos and ultimately oppression. The enemy we are facing has a uniting bond, its radical interpretation of Islam. The focal point, or Schwerpunkt, is to destroy America, and we seem to be bent on giving them all the help we can.

While we continually focus on our differences, they focus on their commonalities and draw strength from them while exploiting our differences, magnifying them and creating divisiveness and weakness. In the ?United States of Me,? we've lost the focus that made our country great and we're riding on borrowed time.

Foolishly, we think we?re the lone superpower and it will stay that way. Comparing our defense budget to other countries? defense budgets is like comparing apples and oranges. While we attempt to fight a guerilla war we cannot neglect our conventional forces and the transformation they must urgently undertake.

In the headlong rush to be ?enlightened? and ?all-inclusive,? too many critics have failed to think what will happen should the Muslim minority and Islamic theocracy ever become the majority in our country. Our precious social agendas will, in all likelihood, be placed on the chopping block along with the heads of the ?diversity? advocates.

While anything can be taken to the extreme, most mainstream religions ask that we act with personal responsibility, thoughtfulness, humility and sacrifice to others. Which of these traits do we not wish to see in our military or our country?

The Founding Fathers were unambiguous in their belief that God ? not ?some higher force? ? existed, and in those same beliefs, still exists today. God is also not the one trying desperately to sort out our complex world. The more we distance ourselves from God the more government will step in and try to maintain control, ultimately having a law for everything and oppression for everyone.

In order for our conventional forces to make the transition from Second Generation to Third and Fourth Generation warfighting, the type of military envisioned by Maj. Don Vandergriff and his predecessors will require rebuilding a common civic culture which feeds into our military.

Boykin has focused on one of the single greatest threads of cohesion in our culture, religion. Undoubtedly, he has shared this with his soldiers, giving them a glimpse into his personal character that engenders real respect ? not just respect required by rules, but respect that gives insight into what actions he would take and why.

In order to lead effectively and build a unit capable of operating in constantly changing conditions, officers cannot remain aloof and detached in these matters. They must lead the way. NCOs who know that their officers will do what is right and not what is expedient for their career will intuitively know what is required of them and their troops and take action accordingly.

Troops who know that officers and NCOs are genuinely interested in them and doing what is right will be emboldened to take action and exploit enemy weaknesses rather than wait.

For the last forty years America has ?progressed? towards social enlightenment but ignoring the historical truth that appears in black and white print and video images every day. The farther we move from the restraining influence of religion, the more desperate our society becomes. Our enemies see weakness and a lack of national resolve and act accordingly.

Rather than being rebuked, Gen. Boykin should be commended for recognizing the nature of our enemy and taking action to combat them across both the military and moral spectrums of war.

Roger Moore is a Contributing Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at


SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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