Bush remarks countered by military actions

President George W. Bush made a token stop in the Indonesian resort island of Bali to speak to a Muslim audience Wednesday. In light of growing religious tensions, Bush must strongly reiterate the U.S. war “against terror” and that military action in Iraq is not a war on Islam.

Incidents in the last week illustrate the necessity of religious sensitivity training. While Bush made his brief remarks in Bali, the Pentagon launched a formal investigation into anti-Islamic remarks made by Lt. Gen. William Boykin, the deputy undersecretary for intelligence. Boykin made several speeches at churches framing the current U.S. conflict as a battle between Judeo-Christian foundations and Islam. Additionally, he proclaimed the Christian God to be bigger than Islam and referred to Islam as Satan and an idol. Under pressure, Boykin later apologized for his remarks.

In what is becoming a common occurrence in Iraq, U.S. soldiers insulted Islamic followers once again. On Tuesday, soldiers searched an Iraqi woman, and upon finding her Koran, they handcuffed her and a soldier threw the Koran to the ground, causing protests to erupt.

It is to the advantage of Islamic terrorist organizations to portray the United States as anti-Islamic, because it justifies their argument for jihad and continues to affirm their belief that the United States is the “Great Satan.” The United States cannot possibly “win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people” by consistently offending religious sensitivities and depicting Christianity as Islam’s enemy.

Bush has not helped matters by constantly preaching good versus evil. His “axis of evil” speech has proven to be an idiotic move that heightened world tensions. Although Bush politely disagreed with Boykin’s remarks, he has refused to address the incidents in Iraq. This is unacceptable. Bush must remove Boykin from his high-ranking position and strongly condemn Boykin’s remarks as well as U.S. soldiers’ insensitive actions in Iraq.