National Review calls for the sacking of General Boykin for “insubordination.” It compares Boykin to Douglas MacArthur, who publicly advocated attacking China, which was contrary to President Truman’s policy. It also compares Boykin to Gen. Edwin Walker, who claimed (circa 1960) that the U.S. government was 60 percent under Communist control. These comparisons seem inapt. To my knowledge, Boykin has not publicly disagreed with the terms of our military engagement; nor has he claimed that the enemy has infiltrated our government. Moreover, he agrees with President Bush that the war we are waging is a war against evil, and it has not been established (again to my knowledge) that he disagrees with Bush that this war is not against the religion of Islam generally. Finally, to the extent that his remarks might be construed as expressing such disagreement, Boykin has apologized. Where is the insubordination?
Suppose that a high ranking official told people that he or she does not view the war in Iraq in terms of good against evil, or does not think that God takes an interest in the war against terrorism. Such statements would be contrary to the views of our commander-in-chief about these wars. Would National Review call for the sacking of that official? Would liberals? I think we need to be very careful before we start firing public officials for expressing views about religion.
UPDATE: National Review has issued a “correction” stating that its call for General Boykin’s sacking was just a draft, and that the promulgation of NR’s official position will await full development of the facts. Let’s hope that NR decides to leave the advocacy of religious litmus tests for our military commanders to the Saudis and to American liberals.
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