The Nuptials of Boykin and Wolfowitz

“This is a first,” a colleague moaned, claiming that the country has fallen into the hands of a religious cult. “Look,” he directed me, “at the crusade-like rhetoric emanating from high circles about the Iraq effort, while we get dosed with supposedly Christian doctrines of enforcement from Attorney General John Ashcroft.” He meant the 2001 order from the AG to cover a bare breast on a statue in the Department of Justice as well as his Puritanical diktats that decry abortion and exalt the death penalty.

“Look at history,” I reminded my colleague. “Until the late 17th Century, a theocracy ruled Massachusetts Bay Colony. Those Puritans believed in witches and the Devil. They also fostered aggressive conversion of the heathen, so that all might hear the `revealed word.’ God had instructed them to build a `Zion in the Wilderness,’ so He could issue in the Kingdom of the Apocalypse, or what the current holy rollers call The Rapture. The Puritan mission to create a virtuous society worthy of God’s redemption placed an urgent burden on their pious shoulders. Since God had chosen these Puritans to do His mission, the stoic New Englanders could not afford to indulge in sentimentality or other forms of weakness. They tried to eliminate the Devil’s presence by killing his witches after fair trials of course.

“Today,” I argued, “the religious or ideological descendents of the Puritan elite, the modern crusaders, repeat similar messages from the pulpit and even from the Pentagon.” I offered as an illustration Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence General William G. Boykin, who called a dark spot on a photograph in Mogadishu, Somalia `a manifestation of evil.’

In speeches Boykin refers to the “Christian army,” waging holy war against the “idol” of Islam’s false God, and the “spiritual battle” against “a guy named Satan” who “wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army.” This does not sound like the emissions coming from the mouth of rational Jewish neo conservatives like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. With completely secular logic, Wolfy explained to Vanity Fair (May 2003) that “For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.”

Now, imagine an intellectual marriage between these two men! Does it seem bizarre that ultra zany Christian theologians wearing military uniforms marry Jewish neo-con ideologues? In the 21st Century, this union has not replaced the family, but it has invaded the space traditionally occupied by foreign policy strategists.

One could see the invasion of Iraq as the nuptial ceremony for this bizarre matrimony. The war itself, over in weeks, symbolized the honeymoon period when both sides of this crusading union talked about “liberating Iraq” and bringing democracy to the Middle East.” This act of “liberation” destroyed with missiles and bombs Iraq’s infrastructure. The neo-con/Christian fundamentalist merger received the blessings of President George W. Bush when he declared victory who could forget his jet landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln? In his May 1 self-congratulatory speech he also indirectly applauded those who had brought him to lead the country into a pre-emptive attack against Iraq.

Then, even as US troops began to rebuild Iraq, the consequences of an unjust war began to intrude. The very neo-cons and Christians who had predicted that Iraqis would welcome our soldiers as liberators, had to face the harsh truth that many Iraqis deeply resented the invasion and the occupation of their country. By the end of October more than 200 US soldiers have died, more than a thousand wounded, more than a dozen suicides; thousands more have fallen seriously ill and been evacuated. Bush’s declaration of victory might even have echoed harshly in the ears of Wolfowitz himself as mortars struck the hotel that lodged him in Baghdad where he had been busy issuing optimistic statements. As Ramadan commenced at the very end of October, suicide bombers struck four targets in Baghdad and hit other Iraqi targets as well. Wolfowitz looked shaken. The fanatics on the enemy side seemed even more committed than Wolfy and his new theological partner.

The peace and order promised by the president as his newly married advisers assured him did not materialize. Instead, the numbers of attacks on US occupation forces, including those by suicide bombers, has grown. The army’s morale has declined. A Member of Congress told me that National Guardsmen from his district call him regularly to complain about as many as twenty attacks a day on US patrols. Guardsmen’s wives also complain, he said, that their husbands did not join the National Guard to become an occupation force in a country whose people didn’t want them.

The Member went on to describe the condition of some of the wounded he had visited in a Washington DC military hospital. “They have lost legs, arms and eyes,” he said. “Some of these poor young men told me that their humvees didn’t have proper protection against explosives or rocket propelled grenades, but had only canvas flaps. The Administration spends our money freely on contracts to Halliburton and Bechtel, but they don’t seem to be able to give our guys proper protection.” The Congressman said that only recently had the occupying troops received Kevlar vests.

Bush has sworn to use them to bring order to Iraq, despite the Administration’s stinginess on providing soldiers protective material. So, ironically, the very agency and methods that destroyed Iraq, will now rebuild it: killing and intimidating to install order and democracy very different from Saddam Hussein’s methods!

But the Administration continues to boast of its progress in Iraq and label critics as party poopers. For upbeat news, watch Fox or CNN. The bad news, the human and material price of occupying a country whose people resent the occupiers, seeps out in daily reports of casualties: dead, wounded, sick (physically and mentally) and suicides.

The Bushies count on their New Crusaders as a counterweight. One example of the new imperialists, Reverend Bobby Welch, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, invites his colleagues on an April 22-23 visit to The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg “to share an experience with the Green Berets.”

If your mind flashes back to the original crusades, you’ve had an insight. “It is believed by you, me and others,” Welch extols, “that we must find a group of men who are warriors of FAITH, pastors who have the guts to lead this nation to Christ and revival.”

The Special Forces will demonstrate for the visiting clergy “today’s war fighting weapons,” (“live fire/real bullets”). They’ll watch, hand-to-hand combat and discover how “Special Forces attack the enemy inside buildings. The trip includes a visit with Major General William Boykin, who had collaborated previously with Reverend Welch. At the time Boykin commanded the special warfare center (<www.thenation.com> 4-9-03).

Try and picture New Crusaders like Reverend Welch at the wedding when the brainy Wolfowitz mated with the muscular Boykin. The neo cons who fed ideologically at the trough of the Heritage Foundation and founded The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) wanted “to promote American global leadership.” Among those who founded this 1997 Project one finds VP Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

While Boykin rants about Muslim devils Wolfowitz seeks to convert the United States into the world’s permanent and only superpower. No nation, backward and hostile or advanced and friendly could challenge US supremacy. To achieve this, Wolfowitz advocated preemptive military actions “when collective action cannot be orchestrated.” Since 1998, Wolfowitz has called for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power by force as a major goal of policy.

Wolfowitz foresaw that such a transformation of policy from alliances to uni-literalism would encounter resistance from Congress, save for “a catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” The events of 9/11 served the purpose. But he and his fellow neo cons needed a man to realize their crusade on the one hand and a wider pulpit from which the new word would issue forth.

And Boykin offered the Christian soldiers the reason to support Emperor Bush. “Why is this man in the White House?” Boykin asked rhetorically. “The majority of Americans did not vote for him,” he accurately stated. “He’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.”

Fellow fundamentalist Jerry Falwell backed Boykin. He told an October 22, 2003 CNN “Crossfire” audience that “God rules in the affairs of men. And history would support that.” Not only did God choose Bush (43) but “we needed Bill Clinton, because we turned our backs on the lord and we needed a bad president to get our attention again.”

Falwell evokes images of Cotton Mather’s Church in the 17th Century. The Puritan salvation mission might have contained more sophisticated theology than that provided by the Boykins and Falwells, but it’s the same hunt for witches and Devils. As the sage once said, “the first time around tragedy, then again, farce.” Unfortunately, we’re living in the second go around. So, get off your butts unless you want the Boykin-Wolfowitz marriage to generate real offspring.

SAUL LANDAU is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. He teaches at Cal Poly Pomona University. For Landau’s writing in Spanish visit: www.rprogreso.com. His new book, PRE-EMPTIVE EMPIRE: A GUIDE TO BUSH S KINGDOM, has just been published by Pluto Press. He can be reached at: landau@counterpunch.org


More articles by:

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
Nick Pemberton
There Are More Important Things Than The Truth
Brian Cloughley
How Trump’s Insults and Lies are Harming America
David Rosen
Sexual Predators in the Era of Trump
Tamara Pearson
Everything the Western Mainstream Media Outlets Get Wrong When Covering Poor Countries
Richard E. Rubenstein
Trump vs. the Anti-Trumps: It’s the System That Needs Changing Not Just the Personnel
Christopher Ketcham
A Walk in the Woods, Away from the Screens
Basav Sen
Democrats Failed Their First Big Test on Climate
Lauren Smith
Nicaragua – The Irony of the NICA Act Being Signed into Law by Trump
Joseph Natoli
Will Trumpism Outlive Trump?
Olivia Alperstein
The EPA Rule Change That Could Kill Thousands
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
The New Congress Needs to Create a Green Planet at Peace
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Cuba: Trump Turns the Vise
Ramzy Baroud
When Bolsonaro and Netanyahu Are ‘Brothers’: Why Brazil Should Shun the Israeli Model
Mitchell Zimmerman
Government by Extortion