portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

anti-racism | human & civil rights | imperialism & war

Evangelical "Holy War" General Boykin Tied To Iraq POW Scandal

A Senate hearing into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was told on Tuesday that Lt. Gen. William Boykin, an evangelical Christian under review for saying his God was superior to that of the Muslims, briefed a top Pentagon civilian official last summer on recommendations on ways military interrogators could gain more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners.

Critics have suggested those recommendations amounted to a senior-level go-ahead for the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners, possibly to "soften up" detainees before interrogation -- a charge the Pentagon denies.

One Senate aide, who asked not to be identified, said any involvement by Boykin could be explosive. "Even if he knew about the abuse, that would be a big deal," he said.
Lt. Gen. William Boykin:
Lt. Gen. William Boykin: "My God is superior to that of the Muslims"
General Who Made Anti-Islam Remark Tied to POW Case

Tue May 11, 2004 06:19 PM ET
By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army general under investigation for anti-Islamic remarks has been linked by U.S. officials to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, which experts warned could touch off new outrage overseas.

A Senate hearing into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was told on Tuesday that Lt. Gen. William Boykin, an evangelical Christian under review for saying his God was superior to that of the Muslims, briefed a top Pentagon civilian official last summer on recommendations on ways military interrogators could gain more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners.

Critics have suggested those recommendations amounted to a senior-level go-ahead for the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners, possibly to "soften up" detainees before interrogation -- a charge the Pentagon denies.

Congressional aides and Arab-American and Muslim groups said any involvement by Boykin could spark new concern among Arabs and Muslims overseas the U.S. war on terrorism is in fact a war on Islam.

"This will be taken as proof that what happened at Abu Ghraib (prison) is evidence of a broader culture of dehumanizing Arabs and Muslims, based on the American understanding of the innate superiority of Christendom," said Chris Toensing, editor of Middle East Report, a U.S.-based quarterly magazine.

One Senate aide, who asked not to be identified, said any involvement by Boykin could be explosive. "Even if he knew about the abuse, that would be a big deal," he said.

Boykin has declined comment, and defense officials could not say what the extent of his involvement or knowledge about the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners might have been.

Boykin touched off a firestorm last October after giving speeches while in uniform in which he referred to the war on terrorism as a battle with "Satan" and said America had been targeted "because we're a Christian nation." He said later he was not anti-Islam or any other religion.

President Bush distanced himself from Boykin's remarks, but the Pentagon said it would not fire the general, who played a role in the 1993 clash with Somali warlords and the ill-fated hostage rescue attempt in Iran in 1980.

CALLS FOR REASSIGNMENT

Hussein Ibish, communications director for the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, said his group and others had repeatedly called for Boykin to be reassigned to a less sensitive job until the Pentagon inspector general completes his investigation of Boykin's remarks

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner and congressional Democrats have also urged Boykin to step aside, but the Pentagon has defended his right to free speech.

Defense officials said the IG investigation, begun last fall, was nearly done and a report could be issued next month.

"I'm not saying Boykin is directly responsible. ... But there is a collective failure here," Ibish said. "There is a tolerance in our society, in our government, in our media for hateful rhetoric when directed against Arabs and Muslims.

"It definitely contributes to a climate in which these young MPs apparently felt it was ... OK to abuse Muslim and Arab men like this."

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, chided the Pentagon for not acting promptly to discipline Boykin and the delayed engagement of top military leaders on the prisoner abuse scandal.

"It creates a climate in which ... the perpetrators believe they're carrying out the policies of those above them, whether those policies are explicit or not," Hooper said.

homepage: homepage: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=5109973

these "christians" are amazing 12.May.2004 13:14

dumbfounded

everyone knows jesus christ was a fierce advocate of torture and war. yee-haw! i mean, jee-had!

HEY - INTERESTING POINT "dumbfounded" 12.May.2004 13:23

?!

any connection between all of this and Mel Gibson's recent film??

preparation of the Sheeple for "mass torture"?

i don't know 12.May.2004 13:34

dumbfounded

other than gibson's film providing more fodder for these fanatics to whip themselves into a frenzy of self-righteousness and crocodile tears over the poor, white americans suffering in iraq at the hands of the brown barbarians. i have no idea.

"whip themselves" - good one 12.May.2004 13:49

?!

also known as self-flagellation -

parodied in Monty Python's 1975 Holy Grail movie (The Flagellants) - characters who also I think made a 'bonus' appearance in the 1979 Life of Brian, which was recently re-released in response to the success of Gibson's film . . .

quicktime of boykin's comment? 07.Jun.2004 12:46

tbh tmborden@earthlink.net

does anyone know where on the Web i can find a downloadable quicktime clip of General Boykin making his now infamous remarks in churches in Oklahoma, Oregon and Florida that his "God is superior to that of the Muslims"?

beats me... 22.Aug.2004 13:29

Tim

everyone knows jesus christ was a fierce advocate of torture and war. yee-haw! i mean, jee-had!

^^^Huh?^^^^

I don't know where you can find it but if you can, let us know. I'd like to see it myself.

I agree with Boykin