Bible Quotes Included on Iraq War DoD Briefing Covers

According to the GQ Magazine, intelligence reports and briefings from the Department of Defense passed to then-President Bush included Biblical scripture on their covers.
This mixing of Crusades-like messaging with war imagery, which until now has not been revealed, had become routine. On March 31, a U.S. tank roared through the desert beneath a quote from Ephesians: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." On April 7, Saddam Hussein struck a dictatorial pose, under this passage from the First Epistle of Peter: "It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men."
This sort of Biblical direction was undoubtedly due to the fact that Bush explicitly proclaimed his Christianity and offered numerous instances where he believed he was acting on behalf of God.
Bush was easily manipulated by those aware of his full-throated acceptance of Christianity (and God-dictated neo-Manifest Destity, as well). More from the GQ article:
These cover sheets were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense. In the days before the Iraq war, Shaffer’s staff had created humorous covers in an attempt to alleviate the stress of preparing for battle. Then, as the body counting began, Shaffer, a Christian, deemed the biblical passages more suitable. Several others in the Pentagon disagreed. At least one Muslim analyst in the building had been greatly offended; others privately worried that if these covers were leaked during a war conducted in an Islamic nation, the fallout—as one Pentagon staffer would later say—"would be as bad as Abu Ghraib."

But the Pentagon’s top officials were apparently unconcerned about the effect such a disclosure might have on the conduct of the war or on Bush’s public standing. When colleagues complained to Shaffer that including a religious message with an intelligence briefing seemed inappropriate, Shaffer politely informed them that the practice would continue, because "my seniors"—JCS chairman Richard Myers, Rumsfeld, and the commander in chief himself—appreciated the cover pages.

I bet Myers, Rumsfeld, et al were thrilled to have the Biblical messages included. They were amongst the group pushing hardest for the invasion of Iraq (and Iran), so any means they could use to push Bush in that direction were not only ok, but desired. Religion demonstrates itself as a weakness, and regardless of what you think of Bush as a man or politician, it is clear that his faith was used by those he trusted to manipulate him. By making clear connections between the word of God and Bush's actions, it was easy for Bush to maintain his resolve and follow through on plans that in retrospect even he has to have questioned. A bit more from GQ:
The Scripture-adorned cover sheets illustrate one specific complaint I heard again and again: that Rumsfeld’s tactics—such as playing a religious angle with the president—often ran counter to sound decision-making and could, occasionally, compromise the administration’s best interests. In the case of the sheets, publicly flaunting his own religious views was not at all the SecDef’s style—"Rumsfeld was old-fashioned that way," Shaffer acknowledged when I contacted him about the briefings—but it was decidedly Bush’s style, and Rumsfeld likely saw the Scriptures as a way of making a personal connection with a president who frequently quoted the Bible.
The rest of the article goes on to single out Rumsfeld as a bad apple in the bunch, incapable of normal relations with those in the White House. However, a lot of that insinuation reads like after-the-fact sour grapes and finger pointing from those who didn't get their way.

Regardless, the insights here about religion as a fulcrum at the highest levels should raise numerous red flags, ones many of us have been screaming about for years. The dangers of religion as a matter of policy in government are numerous. Governments which rely on religious scriptures are easily described as exclusionary, deterministic, and manipulatable, and give in to terrible instances of groupthink and End Times posturing. Let us hope the current administration is more rational and capable of considering the real world without resorting to mythical characters and fictional instructions from invisible men in the sky.

(posted on my blog: davenichols.net)

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