Bible quotes in Pentagon papers remind of ‘clash of civilisations’

May 18th, 2009 - 6:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 18 (IANS) Intelligence reports are the last thing one would expect to contain biblical quotations, but in the beginning of the war in Iraq a series of briefs for then US defence secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others quoted from the Bible - giving fodder to the theory of ‘clash of civilisations’.
A series of cover sheets for intelligence reports written for Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials during the early days of the war in Iraq in 2003 were adorned with biblical quotations, the New York Times reported Monday, quoting the material that appeared on the website of the GQ magazine.

The daily briefings, called “Worldwide Intelligence Update”, were compiled overnight and presented in a folder for Rumsfeld and others in the morning.

Some cover sheets, from the selection placed on the GQ website, have photographs of soldiers praying or in action on the sands of Iraq with accompnying quotations.

“Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses’ hoofs seem like flint, their chariot wheels are like a whirlwind,” one cover sheet quotes from Isaiah.

Another, showing a tank at sunset, had this quotation from Ephesians: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Another quote: “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast, O Lord.”

An accompanying article in GQ suggested that Rumsfeld often delivered the briefings “by hand, to the White House”, the Times noted.

But several former officials said Sunday that they doubted if George W. Bush regularly saw the Pentagon briefing, which was considered both less complete and less sensitive than the president’s daily brief.

Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon spokesman when Rumsfeld was defense secretary, was quoted as saying that he had no recollection of the “biblical briefs”, and doubted if Rumsfeld would have “tolerated them for long”.

“The suggestion that Rumsfeld would have used these reports to somehow curry favor over at the White House is pretty laughable,” Di Rita said.

The GQ article reports that the cover sheets were conceived by a general from the Joint Staff and that they replaced humorous covers that had been created in the prelude to the war.

GQ noted that some Pentagon officials, not named in the article, were concerned that, if the ‘Top Secret’ cover sheets were ever leaked, they could be interpreted as a suggestion that the war was religiously driven, a battle against Islam.

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