Christian god bigger than allah
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God put Bush in charge, says the general hunting bin Laden
By David Rennie
The general leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein has publicly declared that the Christian God is "bigger" than Allah, who is a false "idol", and believes the war on terrorism is a fight with Satan, it emerged yesterday.
Investigative reporters from the Los Angeles Times and NBC television have dug up two years' worth of seemingly incendiary comments from Lt Gen William "Jerry" Boykin, the newly promoted deputy undersecretary of state of defence for intelligence.
Gen Boykin has repeatedly told Christian groups and prayer meetings that President George W Bush was chosen by God to lead the global fight against Satan.
He told one gathering: "Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."
In January, he told Baptists in Florida about a victory over a Muslim warlord in Somalia, who had boasted that Allah would protect him from American capture. "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real god and his was an idol," Gen Boykin said.
He also emerged from the conflict with a photograph of the Somalian capital Mogadishu bearing a strange dark mark. He has said this showed "the principalities of darkness. . . a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy".
On the Middle East, Gen Boykin told an Oregon church in June that America could not ignore its Judaeo-Christian roots. "Our religion came from Judaism and therefore [Islamic] radicals will hate us forever."
In the same month, Gen Boykin told an Oklahoma congregation that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were not the enemy.
"Our enemy is a spiritual enemy because we are a nation of believers. . . His name is Satan."
The disclosures will doubtless be seized on by Muslim critics as proof that the US-led war on terrorism is a crusade against Islam. It is a charge that Mr Bush has worked hard to refute.
Though careful to respect minority religions within its ranks, the US military is strikingly devout from top to bottom. Mr Bush and several key figures in his administration are staunch Christian conservatives.
Few outside the Pentagon noticed when Gen Boykin, a 13-year member of Delta Force, the top-secret commando unit modelled on the SAS, was promoted this summer, with responsibility for speeding the flow of top-secret intelligence to commandos hunting bin Laden and other high-value targets.
At a routine press conference yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld, the normally confident defence secretary, appeared wrong-footed by the controversy. He hailed the general's "outstanding record" and said his comments were made "in his private capacity".
However, Mr Rumsfeld was careful to cite Mr Bush's injunctions against viewing Islam as the enemy.
Gen Boykin told NBC that he would be curtailing his speeches to religious groups. "I don't want to come across as a Right-wing radical," he said.