Posted by: Lister | May 21, 2009

The Unknown Crusader

Donald Rumsfeld has been accused of allowing Biblical quotes in intelligence briefings. The BBC:

The quotes were placed on the cover of the briefings alongside images of US soldiers, GQ magazine has reported.

[…] Defence department staff were privately worried, GQ reports, that if the briefings with biblical quotes on them had ever been made public, the fallout would have been “as bad as [the revelations of prisoner abuse at] Abu Ghraib”.

But other former officials doubt that Mr Bush saw the briefings very regularly, and say that Mr Rumsfeld was unlikely to have “tolerated” having the quotes on the briefings for very long, the New York Times reports.

The decision to put the biblical quotations on the cover pages was taken by Maj Gen Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both Mr Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to GQ.

[…] One cover page featured pictures of US soldiers at prayer and US tanks in Iraq, underneath a passage from the Book of Isaiah: “Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses’ hoofs seem like flint, their chariot wheels are like a whirlwind.”

Another briefing showed a picture of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein beneath a quotation from the First Epistle of Peter: “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

The BBC quotes from the NYTimes:

Take the one dated April 3, 2003, two weeks into the invasion, just as Shock and Awe hit its first potholes. Two days earlier, on April 1, a panicky Pentagon had begun spreading its hyped, fictional account of the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch to distract from troubling news of setbacks. On April 2, Gen. Joseph Hoar, the commander in chief of the United States Central Command from 1991-94, had declared on the Times Op-Ed page that Rumsfeld had sent too few troops to Iraq. And so the Worldwide Intelligence Update for April 3 bullied Bush with Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Including, as it happened, into a quagmire.)

What’s up with that? As Draper writes, Rumsfeld is not known for ostentatious displays of piety. He was cynically playing the religious angle to seduce and manipulate a president who frequently quoted the Bible. But the secretary’s actions were not just oily; he was also taking a risk with national security. If these official daily collages of Crusade-like messaging and war imagery had been leaked, they would have reinforced the Muslim world’s apocalyptic fear that America was waging a religious war. As one alarmed Pentagon hand told Draper, the fallout “would be as bad as Abu Ghraib.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: