Muslims in Lower Manhattan, American Evangelicals in Iraq
Does a Christian undertone to the Iraq War transform discussion about Islam in America?
The most obvious is also the most chilling. Throughout his career, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to paste Bible verses and images of praying Christian soldiers atop Iraq War intelligence memos to President George W. Bush:
Each cover page features inspiring color photographs -- soldiers praying, a young man preparing for battle, Saddam's statue falling. With them are biblical quotes, some related to providing strength to the soldiers but some about the godliness of the cause.
Next to a picture of an American tank is the quote: "Open the gates that the righteous nations may enter, The nation that keeps faith. Isaiah 26.2"
A photo of two soldiers in prayer is accompanied by the quote, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us. Here I am Lord, send me! Isaiah 6:8"
In a GQ story about the proselytizing briefings, reporter Robert Draper wrote, "At least one Muslim analyst in the [Pentagon] building had been greatly offended [by the verses]."
And never mind that Christians actually fared pretty well under Saddam Hussein. One memo photo "showed Saddam delivering a speech to camera with these words from the First Epistle of Peter: 'It is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.' "
Beyond that, there's the close relationship President Bush had -- and has -- with hard-right Christian fundamentalists, who, almost as soon as the war in Iraq began, talked up the conflict while simultaneously champing at the bit to get into Baghdad and preach. One of these allies, Bryan Fischer, director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at conservative nonprofit the American Family Association, even called the entire Iraq War a failure because it didn't turn Iraq into a Christian nation.