General Boykin

Originally posted October 24, 2003

It has been a week since the news came out relating General Boykins’ speeches to several churches, where he cast the current “war on terrorism” as a war between the Jews/Christians and the Muslims. I thought the remarks were quite divisive, and in direct conflict with Bush’s stated policies. Whether they are correct or not depends on your viewpoint.

Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the general (I do not, see below) I have to question his fitness as chief of intelligence for the pentagon. The one thing I think I’d want from my intelligence operation is an unvarnished, truthful assessment of any situation. Is Boykin able to provide that, given his strongly held opinions? Did his appointer, Mr. Rumsfeld, do so, knowing the general’s proclivities, so he’d get intelligence more to his liking? Given the sorry state of the pentagon’s Iraqi intelligence so far, I have to wonder if it hasn’t been bent more to the neo-cons liking for some time now, and Boykin is just the latest bender.

As an aside, I think most Muslims are peaceful, and want nothing more than to live their lives as productively as possible, pretty much like us. But the Arab governments are such a mess that radicals (of which there are always a few, in every society, even ours) find a congenial environment in which to grow and flourish. I don’t know of any way to eliminate all those who wish us ill. All we can do is to give other societies enough strength and justice so they become less congenial places for the criminals and terrorists to hang out. Invading and occupying them without compelling cause is not the best way to do this.

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