Saturday, October 18, 2003

Onward Christian soldiers

'Holy war' general denies being anti-Islamic

A senior Pentagon intelligence official, under fire for his comments about Islam, has defended his statements and apologised to anyone offended by his statements.

"I am neither a zealot nor an extremist," US Army Lieutenant General William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defence for intelligence and war-fighting support, said in his first official statement.

"I am not anti-Islam or any other religion."

General Boykin tried to explain recent comments he made at churches and prayer breakfasts portraying the US battle with Islamic radicals as a clash with Satan.

In one case he referred to a Muslim fighter in Somalia and said that "my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday declined to criticise Boykin's remarks and praised the three-star general's military record, while General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he did not think General Boykin had broken any rules.

US television network NBC this week broadcast videotapes of the general, an evangelical Christian, giving speeches while wearing his Army uniform at Christian functions around the country.

"I would not expect him to engage in those sorts of speaking engagements in the future," a defence official said.

Last year General Boykin said: 'We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God, have been raised for such a time as this.' He has also said of President George Bush: 'He's in the White House because God put him there.'"

"And you never ask questions
When God's on your side."