Veterans Group Asks West Point Not to Host Jerry Boykin

The veterans group VoteVets is asking the US Military Academy Chaplain’s Office to disinvite retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin from their upcoming National Prayer Breakfast, Think Progress reports, noting the danger of endorsing Boykin’s extreme views of Muslim Americans. Boykin earned a reprimand from President George W. Bush for making speeches while in uniform that depicted the US military as part of a religious war against Islam, and after leaving the military, has raised bizarre conspiracies about President Obama and called for the government to ban mosques and strip Muslims of their First Amendment rights.

Jon Soltz and Richard Allen Smith, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively, said that Boykin’s “views are inconsistent with the values of the Army as an institution” and contradict “current Army doctrine” which “instructs Army leaders to respect the Muslim culture as a part of counterinsurgency operations.” Soltz and Smith note that the military makes clear that anti-Muslim “remarks threaten our relationships with Muslims around the world, and thereby, our troops serving in harm's way,” and having Boykin lead this event would not only damage the military but also show disrespect to Muslim American service members who “have fought and died in the uniform of the American Soldier in post-9/11 combat, as well as in previous eras”:

These remarks are incompatible with the Army values, and a person who is incompatible with Army values should not address the cadets of the United States Military Academy. As has been articulated by GEN Petraeus, these remarks threaten our relationships with Muslims around the world, and thereby, our troops serving in harm's way. LTG Boykin's values are inconsistent even with current Army doctrine that is taught at the Joint Readiness Training Center, National Training Center and the Combined Arms Center which instructs Army leaders to respect the Muslim culture as a part of counterinsurgency operations. It is counterproductive for our future Army leaders to hear the views of LTG Boykin, a man who's views are inconsistent with the values of the Army as an institution.

Not to mention, many Muslim Americans have fought and died in the uniform of the American Soldier in post-9/11 combat, as well as in previous eras. To allow LTG Boykin to address the corps of cadets would be disrespectful to the Muslim cadets currently enrolled at West Point. It would be a slap to the face to Muslim Americans who have served their country, not to mention those who gave the fullest sacrifice for their nation and their comrades.

Sir, as Veterans, we have the utmost faith in your leadership. As Veterans of these wars and men who have served in combat alongside Muslim Americans, we respectfully request that you retract LTG Boykin's invite to the USMA Prayer Breakfast. The presence of LTG Boykin at West Point would violate Army Values, as well as potentially be used as propaganda by the enemy and endanger our troops in combat.

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