The purported fear is that the general's comments may have ruffled the feathers of our esteemed enemy -- the millions and millions of fanatical Islamists, or that his statement may so inflame the passions of the millions of good Muslims that they will discard their peaceable ways and pick up the bloody sword of jihad. What utter balderdash. Whether or not American officials chose to call this a religious war, it is utterly clear that our enemy, bin Laden and the other terrorists, are motivated by Islamic religious fanaticism. They say so in their founding documents and every day, in every way, around the world. However peaceably we may interpret the Koran or assess the history of Islam, at this time and in these places one would have to be swayed by a spirit of detachment from the facts not to see that a sizable percentage of Muslims believe they are in a religious war with non-Muslims. They are consciously at religious war with the Jews in the Middle East, with Hindus in the subcontinent and with Christians everywhere. It shouldn't be a firing offense for the occasional American general to return the compliment. Indeed, I am heartened by General Boykin's fighting spirit.
Nor is it factually wrong or religiously insensitive to point out that the United States is a Judeo-Christian country. We are. It is an uncontestable historic and cultural fact. We are also a country that strives in both law and habit to be impeccably tolerant and respectful to all other religions and to those who believe in no religion at all. But in rallying our countrymen to the defense of our lives and property at this time of peril, we are entitled to invoke -- as Lincoln once did with such dignity and passion -- the mystic chords of our memory. And it is well to recall that when Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met in Placentia Bay off New Foundland on the heavy cruiser Augusta on August 9, 1941, to rally our nations to our common defense, they sang three songs with the assembled sailors: "O God, Our Help in Ages Past," "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" and "Onward, Christian Soldiers."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.