FIRST-PERSON: Stabbed in the back
EDITORS' NOTE: Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, one of the Bush administration's top officials in the war on terror as the new deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, has been the focus of various media reports recently for comments he has made about his faith in various religious settings in recent years. An evangelical Christian, Boykin has been in the Army since 1971, serving in such key operations as the 1980 rescue attempt of U.S. hostages in Iran and in 1993 in Somalia. From 2000 until June of this year Boykin was the commanding general at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, N.C. He has earned such honors as the Defense Superior Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters; Bronze Star Medal; and Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster. Following is a column by Bobby H. Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., where Boykin has been a guest speaker.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (BP)--For 32 years Lt. Gen. "Jerry" Boykin has voluntarily placed his life and body between Americans and their enemies. In defending America he has almost been killed numerous times. His arm was almost blown off his body in one battle. From other battles his body still carries metal from mortars and gunshot wounds. His impeccable heroic leadership has made him practically a legend among his peers.
For such distinguished leadership and do-or-die devotion to America, and to those of us who call America "home," he has received numerous awards and decorations. Likely, Boykin is one of the most combat-decorated soldiers on active duty today. Without question, he is an all-American hero of the first and finest order. He is exactly the kind of man a father and mother would want their son and daughter to meet. To borrow a quote from the cover of Charles Beckwith's book "Delta Force," "nations without men like this simply don't survive."
History is on Boykin's side.
All throughout American military history, from before the Civil War until now, it is replete with illustrations of great military commanders verbalizing their spirituality. Gen. MacArthur and Gen. Patton and multiple others called on God, prayed to God, gave God praise and glory for victories and called upon God to defeat their enemies. Not a single one of those military leaders ever was belittled, harassed or chastised for speaking out about their spirituality.
Heroism is on Boykin's side.
Who do these so-called "watchdogs" think they are "barking" at anyway? He is not a politician, commentator or comedian. This is one of the most outstanding men this country has produced, a hero fully worthy of honor.
Help is on Boykin's side.
General Boykin is one of the very few uniquely equipped and experienced men who are absolutely essential to America having victory over terrorism. America needs to thank God for sparing this brave, good man who can help our nation at such a time as this.
Boykin has been, as they say, "To hell and back" for the citizens of this nation. Everything imaginable has happened to General Boykin as he has again and again tried to give his life for this country -- yes, everything except one thing: He has never been stabbed in the back by an American. Not until recently.
Now this all-American hero is doing as men and women of his character and stature always do in times like these. He is standing tall and brave as a quiet professional warrior ... bleeding -- bleeding real, red American blood for the sake of our nation. General Boykin has spilled enough blood for this great country in battles against its enemies and he should not have to spill one more drop from a stab in the back by a few political operatives.
We should applaud Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for their good sense in supporting General Boykin. We should be ashamed of those who so foolishly attacked him.
Every God-fearing American should pray, pray, pray for General Boykin and his family. Someone said, "We all sleep better when men like General Boykin guard America!" I agree with that and I despise the unthinkable and asinine fact that some take cheap backstabbing shots at a real God-fearing American hero who continually risks his life to protect all of us.
God bless America, General Boykin and all those brave warriors like him.