Interpreting the war on terror as a crusade has led to a simmering religous extremism in the US military, which needs to be curbed
When the US ex-President George W. Bush tagged his War on terrorism as a new Crusade, little did he know that his words were being taken too literally by audiences in his own nation as well as across the world. On September 16, 2001 at South Lawn of the White House, Bush said during a press conference, “This is a new kind of evil. And we understand. And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while. And the American people must be patient. I’m going to be patient.”
This statement of his obviously stoked a huge controversy, since it was taken in the religious context, and did not go well with Islamic countries across the world. Franklin Graham (American Christian evangelist and president and CEO of international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse) took it further, as he made an anti-Islamic comment (just after 9/11) and referred to Islam as “a very evil and wicked religion”. Further, on April 18, 2003, he made an statement that true Islam cannot be practiced in the US as the country criminalizes beating your wife, killing your children, committing adultery, et al. Recently a video obtained by al Jazeera (and advocated by the Huffingtonpost) revealed how military officials at Bagram were urging US soldiers to evangelize in the Muslim country. The video also exposed how US military forces in Afghanistan were asked by top chaplain to “hunt people for Jesus” and spread Christianity in Afghanistan. Evidences also reveal that the soldiers stationed at Afghanistan were given bibles translated into Pashto and Dari – the dominant languages of Afghanistan. Even air force cadets in the US were taught to proselytize.
When it comes to religious diplomacy, nothing can beat the Boykin saga. Lieutenant General William G. Boykin – retired Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and a key person during military operations in Grenada, Somalia and Iraq, openly framed the War on Terror in religious terms (obviously anti-Islamic) during a show on NBC News on October 15, 2003. The heights of audacity got breached when it was found that The Soldier’s Bible contained the words of Lt. Gen. William Boykin (in inspirational words from military leaders), where he said of his 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.”
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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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