This week veteran journalist Seymour Hersh came under fire for having delivered what Foreign Policy calls a “conspiracy-laden” speech in Doha, Qatar. Speaking of some members of the Joint Special Operations Command, Hersh said, “”They do see what they’re doing…it’s a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”
FP’s Thomas Ricks takes the time to do some straight up mocking of Hersh. The Washington Post‘s Charles Lane writes that Hersh is on a “loopy crusade” and that his accusations that the U.S. military is trying to evangelize the Middle East are disproven by their lack of success. As if success was ever proof of military intent….
Hersh’s comments are of course not that far fetched. Yesterday the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) petitioned the Air Force Academy to drop “sectarian” Lt. McClary from their list of speakers for next month’s National Prayer Luncheon, a voluntary event that is associated with the founders of the National Prayer Breakfast. MRFF, headed by Mikey Weinstein, works to end religious discrimination in the military.
The Revealer‘s founder, Jeff Sharlet, has written about the National Prayer Breakfast and its founders, The Family, for years now, including in two books (here and here). Last year ABC News and other sources reported that guns used in Afghanistan and Iraq were inscribed with bible verses. CNN and other sources reported in 2009 that bibles had been printed in local languages and were being distributed in Afghanistan. Also in 2009, GQ reported that Rumsfeld’s intelligence reports included bible quotes. Whatever criticism may be thrown at Hersh, the problem of organized religion in the U.S. military is well-documented.
Read more at the links below:
“Jesus Killed Mohammed,” Jeff Sharlet, Harper’s magazine (May, 2009)
“Christianity in the Military: Are Chaplains becoming Increasingly Fundamentalist?” Jeff Sharlet, Huffington Post (October, 2010)
“Questions Raised Anew About Religion in Military,” Eric Lichtblau, New York Times (Feb, 2009)
“Organized Religion’s Role in the Military,” an interview with church-state scholar Robert Tuttle, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (July, 2008)
“Religion in the Military,” Fault Lines TV show, Al Jazeera English (June, 2009)