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U.S. Military's Middle East Crusade for Christ
by Robert Weitzel
June 14, 2008
Last August the watchdog group, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, foiled a Pentagon plan that would have allowed the shipment of "freedom packages" to soldiers and Marines in Iraq. The parcels were put together by the fundamentalist Christian ministry, Straight Up, and contained Bibles, proselytizing tracts in English and Arabic, and the apocalyptic "Left Behind" computer game, in which Christian Tribulation forces convert or kill infidels—nonbelievers, Muslims and Jews.
Considering both the Pentagon's evangelical proclivity and a 2006 Pew survey which found that of the major religious groups in America, evangelicals have the most negative views of Islam and Muslims, the U.S. sniper who was recently caught using the Quran for target practice in the Baghdad neighborhood of Radhwaniya might be excused for thinking the book was a legitimate target upon which to perfect his craft . . . excused for thinking hewas acting in the line duty.
And is it any wonder that with evangelicals and fundamentalists at the very top of the military's officer corps —to say nothing of their Commander in Chief—that an enlisted Marine was passing out Christian "witnessing coins" inscribed in Arabic at a checkpoint in Fallujah? One side of the coin asked, "Where will you spend eternity?" An evangelical favorite, John 3:16, was on the flip side.
Sheik Adul-Rahman al-Zubaie, a tribal leader in Fallujah who was outraged by the Marine's proselytizing said, "This event did not happen by chance, but it was planned and done intentionally."
While the Marine's proselytizing is not the official policy of the predominately Christian force occupying the predominately Islamic Iraq, it was done "in the line of duty" with a wink and a nod from his chain of command. Think Abu Ghraib!
From Fort Jackson, the Army's largest basic training facility, where trainees are encouraged to attend Campus Crusade's weekly "God's Basic Training" programs, to the U.S. Air Force Academy where students are pressured to attend the Crusade's weekly "cru" (short for crusade) Bible study, American military personnel are, as Campus Crusade's Scot Blom gloats, "government paid missionaries" when they complete their training.
As the demands of fighting a perpetual war against "radical Islam" begins to strain both the military's resources and the country's resolve, the Pentagon has begun outsourcing larger chunks of the war to private contractors. Predictably, our "government paid missionaries" have become more expensive and much less controllable or accountable.
The Bush administration's favorite contractor, Blackwater, is the most powerful private army in the world. It commands thousands of mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan, has over a billion dollars in government contracts, and enjoys complete immunity from prosecution for its theater of operations' conduct.
In his book, "Jerusalem Countdown - A Warning to the World," Hagee warns that the war between Islam and the West "is a war that Islam cannot and must not win."
John Hagee is not just a mad evangelizing prophet. He is the mad evangelizing prophet who is courted by a war president, a hawkish presidential candidate and members of Congress from both parties. His Islamophobic bilge has trickled down from Capital Hill, through the labyrinthine corridors of the Pentagon, and into the chamber of a sniper's rifle and the hand of a Marine guarding a checkpoint in Fallujah.
Officers in the military are expected to lead by example. Enlisted personnel are expected to follow that example. If the recent incidents at Radhwaniya and Fallujah are not just the acts of renegades, then the chain of command seems to be working the way it was designed.
Robert Weitzel , MWC NEWS editor, is an educator and freelance writer who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times of Madison.
Source: Global Research