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« on: August 22, 2004, 06:23:24 AM »

Bauer: Regardless of Report, Don't Expect Media to Give Boykin a Break

by Jody Brown
August 20, 2004

(AgapePress) - The mainstream media is playing up the fact that a military intelligence officer -- who is described as a conservative Christian and a man of faith -- reportedly violated regulations in remarks he made to evangelical groups following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. But one conservative commentator doesn't expect the media to emphasize another fact: those violations were relatively minor.

After 9/11, Lt. General William "Jerry" Boykin spoke to numerous church and Evangelical groups, casting the war on terrorism in religious terms. What did he say? One of his verified statements was that Islamic extremists 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." And in describing an Army battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia in 1993, he stated: "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

In most cases, Boykin was wearing his uniform when he gave the speeches. He received heavy criticism from both Muslim and liberal circles, some of which called for his resignation as the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. He later issued a written apology, saying he did not mean to insult Islam.

Now comes a report that a Pentagon investigation has concluded that Boykin violated regulations because he failed to make it clear to his audience that he was not speaking in an official capacity during those speeches. The probe by the Defense Department's deputy inspector general also found that Boykin violated Pentagon rules by failing to obtain advance clearance for his remarks.

A retired Army officer and military analyst says Boykin "stepped over the line" with his comments to the church groups -- comments, he says, that should have been cleared with Pentagon officials in advance.

"General Boykin fell into a trap because he didn't get his statements vetted," says Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Bob Maginnis in an Associated Press interview. "And had he tried to get them vetted, in all probability he would not have said much of what he said that was eventually videotaped and ... caught him in this mess."

He says what Boykin failed to do was to make it clear, by saying up front, that he was sharing his personal views and not those of the Defense Department or the U.S. government.

 
Gary Bauer
But Gary Bauer of American Values believes most media outlets will ignore one aspect of the investigation because they prefer to make Boykin look guilty. "If the leak [of the investigation] is accurate, it shows that Boykin repeatedly asked military lawyers about the propriety of this church speeches and that no one raised a red flag," Bauer states.

A Chicago Sun-Times story confirms Bauer's comments, saying that the Pentagon report suggests the Army should take into account that Boykin sought input from military lawyers and was not advised against speaking.

"He did not clear his speeches verbatim -- but top Department of Defense officials seldom do when delivering personal remarks. In short, Boykins' 'violations' were minor," Bauer says.

Like Bauer, Maginnis believes the report faults Boykin with relatively minor offenses. "Boykin is a man of faith who should have crossed the T's and dotted the I's, but ... he probably is not going to end up with much more than a slap on the hand."

But the "real story," Bauer says, is that the "politically correct crowd" wants Americans with a strong faith to keep that faith to themselves. "They certainly don't want anyone in a position of authority to openly suggest there is a spiritual dimension to the [war on terror]," he comments.

Bauer says General Boykin is "a good man, a real war hero, committed to God and country. As such, he is an affront to those who hate both."

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