- The Washington Times - Friday, October 24, 2003

Boykin’s stand

I wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times immediately after it launched its unprovoked and unfounded attack against Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin. I feel that it is only right that I write you to commend your efforts in supporting him (“Hysteria and the general,” Editorials, Thursday). To call a person who has garnered the trust of our armed services, the secretary of defense, Congress and the president an extremist is rhetoric that bends to the whim of the uninformed liberal minority. For it is indeed our leadership who approved his appointment to the rank he now holds; people who have spanned many administrations, not just the current one everyone is so eager to criticize.

Nevertheless, it would be nice to know that the purveyors of information have their facts straight and indeed hold high the tremendous responsibility of reporting the unbiased truth. Alas, if they were only to a small degree the students of history that their calling requires, they would realize that this country was based on a biblical worldview. The only way this nation has become great and this form of government has succeeded, where all other similar endeavors have failed, comes from the belief in an absolute God, with an absolute set of morals, ethical standards and limits. To deny that is simply to be misinformed. (And don’t bother looking at the public schools’ history texts. Look at the originals.)

Gen. Boykin has a right to advocate his belief in God within and throughout his activities, calling and professional career, just as our forefathers did.

Americans, and indeed all members of our government, have the right to choose their own God, regardless of the opinion of one man. Perhaps they feel threatened by his fervor and wish they had a belief in something as strong. If Gen. Boykin is an intolerant extremist, how are they suddenly the tolerant moderates by attacking him for being vocal about his beliefs?

Thank you for standing up for Gen. Boykin and for shining the light of sanity and truth on an unreasoned attempt to sell more copies.

LT. COL. MARK A. HOFFMAN

Woodbridge

• • •

What three-star Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin needs is for a four-star colleague to call him in, stand him at attention, grab him by his stacking swivel and remind him that free speech does not apply to him as long as he wears that uniform.

Gen. Boykin need not be fired, but he should be severely admonished, in private, by one of his bosses. If he were less than general officer rank, he would probably have been transferred to Timbuktu by now.

If Gen. Boykin wishes to voice his personal opinions on religion and social issues, he needs to be reminded that he is entirely free to do so — after he retires and removes that uniform.

He’s an experienced officer. He should know better, and he richly deserves the criticism he is presently encountering.

JOHN FULLER

Baltimore

• • •

The flap over what Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin said as a citizen, not as a government representative, exposes some troubling sides of America.

One, true freedom of speech is a myth, especially for anyone calling himself or herself a Christian. Can anyone really continue to doubt that?

Two, politicians continue willfully to undermine our society through their apparent aversion to rationally or morally placing anything above their own self-preservation.

Three, if it is not the de facto national religion — signs point to that disturbing reality — then liberal-based, intolerant, secular political correctness is likely the leading threat to our liberty. Like vultures perched on fences, politically correct practitioners are ready to pounce when they smell the faintest whiff of blood.

Singly or combined, these things reveal a fractious society going further adrift, oppressing or removing its members’ freedoms daily.

C. KENNA AMOS JR.

Princeton, W.Va.

• • •

In your Thursday editorial “Hysteria and the general,” you state that the recent remarks made by Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin to “like-minded congregations” were not made in an official capacity.

Gen. Boykin was in his Class A uniform. I believe that you seriously underestimate the impression that the uniform can provide. If you would take the argument to a local level, what would your response be to the local chief of police in full dress uniform, speaking to a group of “like-minded” citizens, charging that a certain population group was responsible for all the crime in the community? And that he, because of his belonging to a different group, was superior, and that this other, weaker group would be defeated?

I’m certain that such vitriolic speech would be immediately denounced. The chief would not be able to make any inroads to the affected group he had denigrated in order to effectively combat crime. That is precisely the point with Gen. Boykin’s remarks. He is entitled to make them. But when he did so wearing a uniform of the armed forces, he inadvertently gave an unspoken impression that he spoke as an official representative of the military. The responsibility for developing coalitions in order to combat terrorism on a global scale is Gen. Boykin’s. His comments have seriously undermined his ability to build such coalitions across the broad spectrum of belief systems that exist in the international community, and this international community is well aware of the general’s personal beliefs now.

The general does have a fine and distinguished military record, and one inadvertent mistake should not end this career. However, much as a judge would be required to recuse himself from a case in which he has a preconceived opinion, so should the general remove himself from the public view by stepping down from his position as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. While it may not happen, the international community will always wonder if his motives and actions are based on his personal belief system or are the execution of U.S. foreign policy. The doubt must be eliminated from the minds of those with whom we seek to partner.

DANIEL O’SHEA

Copperas Cove, Texas

When the ‘Big Cheese’ wants something

There is an unwritten rule when dealing with royalty, particularly when that royalty runs a country. It matters little that they haven’t a single drop of blue blood in their veins. What’s more important is that they spill blood freely and wontedly, without a drop of discrimination.

It would be a gross understatement to say that such heads of state usually get what they want. Sometimes all it takes is a casual nod of the head, an affirmative glance or, most sought after, the irrevocable “OK” from his own mouth. Regardless, when the Big Cheese wants something, whether its the latest in Bentleys or biological warheads, the people who attend to him, such as confidential secretaries, finance ministers and ministers of defense, move ahead at full throttle.

Urgent calls are made to existing suppliers, and documents are drawn that confirm beyond any doubt that all of the trusted public servants have performed their duty with honor and diligence. Then, everything, including the trusted public servant, simply waits.

In recent weeks, U.S. investigators in Iraq have uncovered numerous official Iraqi government documents that confirm beyond any doubt that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, in fact, had asked for various weapons of mass destruction. The proof is irrefutable. It’s in the paper.

In my experience, when Arab heads of state ask for things, you cover yourself with paper and wait … until they get around to asking again.

I can only guess what was contained in the documents our investigators found in Iraq — most likely lists of raw materials, specifications, production schedules and resumes of technical support personnel. I also can guess that we were able to stop Saddam before he got around to asking twice.

In this case, timing was everything.

TOM MORRIS

Amherst, Va.

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