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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Call on West Point to Retract Invite to Vocal Anti-Muslim Boykin

By VoteVets.org  |  Press Release
PUBLISHED: January 26, 2012

"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."

 

WEST POINT, NY - Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are writing to the Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point today, to request that he retract an invite to Lt. Gen. William Boykin (Ret.) to speak at a prayer breakfast at the academy on Feb 8.

Boykin has made a name for himself with incendiary rhetoric regarding Islam and Muslims, even characterizing America's wars as Christianity versus Islam. The veterans wrote that statements like Boykin's are incompatible with Army values, and only put our troops in danger.

"As has been articulated by GEN Petraeus, [statements similar to Boykin's] 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," wrote Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Richard Allen Smith, Afghanistan War Veteran, who serve as Chairman and Vice Chairman of VoteVets.org, respectively.

Soltz and Smith concluded in their letter to the Superintendent, "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."

The full text of the veterans' letter is below.

Founded in 2006,  and backed by over 100,000 members, the mission of VoteVets.org is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home.  VoteVets.org also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans' interests in their day-to-day lives.   VoteVets.org is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world - with force when necessary - to protect America.  While non-partisan, the group is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.

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January 26, 2012

Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon

Superintendent

United States Military Academy

West Point, New York 10996

 

Dear Lieutenant General Huntoon,

General David Petraeus (Ret.) has been a vocal advocate of the need for our society, and especially our armed forces, to build and maintain bridges of trust into the Muslim community in America and abroad. When an extremist in Florida sought to burn a Koran in a media stunt, General Petraeus accurately stated that the act "would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan- and around the world- to inflame public opinion and incite violence" and that "Such images could, in fact... put our troopers and civilians in jeopardy and undermine our efforts." The same could be said regarding Lieutenant General William Boykin (Ret.).

It has come to the attention of our organization that LTG Boykin has been invited to speak at the USMA prayer breakfast on February 8, 2012. You may not be aware of Lieutenant General Boykin's history of extremist and hateful comments towards Islam. LTG Boykin has repeatedly characterized our war against al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, a war that we are both Veterans of, as a religious war pitting Christianity against Islam. Boykin claims to have captured terrorists in Somalia solely because the god of Muslims is "an idol." The Pentagon Office of the Inspector General later found that LTG Boykin's remarks were improper for a military officer. LTG Boykin, since his retirement, has also stated that "there is no greater threat to America than Islam." LTG Boykin also co-authored a study from the Center for Security Policy that claimed that "most mosques in the United States already have been radicalized, that most Muslim social organizations are fronts for violent jihadists."

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.

 

Sincerely,

Jon Soltz                            
Iraq War Veteran                 
Chairman, VoteVets.org

Richard Allen Smith
Afghanistan War Veteran
Vice Chairman, VoteVets.org

 

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