News24

Rumsfeld mixed Bible with intel

2009-05-18 22:29

Washington - Former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld routinely used militaristic passages from the Bible on the cover pages of White House intelligence documents, according to startling new revelations by GQ.

The magazine said he displayed the passages over photographs of US forces in Iraq to curry favour with then president George W Bush, despite concerns about the incendiary impact on Islamic opinion if they were ever made public.

One of the images was from March 31 2003, showing a US tank roaring through the desert about 10 days after the US invaded Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein.

'Therefore put on the full armour of God'

Over the image was printed a verse from Ephesians: "Therefore put on the full armour 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."

The report by Robert Draper, who wrote a well-received book about Bush called Dead Certain, also detailed the frustration and occasional fury of former officials who said Rumsfeld constantly undermined the president's goals.

Draper said: "Rumsfeld impaired administration performance on a host of matters extending well beyond Iraq to impact America's relations with other nations, the safety of our troops, and the response to Hurricane Katrina."

Under a passage from Isaiah

The bellicose passages of Scripture appeared on the front page of top-secret intelligence summaries prepared by the Pentagon for Bush, a born-again evangelical Christian, Draper reported. GQ published a slide show of the images at http://men.style.com/gq/features/topsecret.

One showed US troops trudging through the desert under a passage from Isaiah: "Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses' hooves seem like flint, their chariot wheels are like a whirlwind."

Another showed Saddam delivering a speech to camera with these words from the First Epistle of Peter: "It is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men."

Pairing intelligence with religion

"The sheer cunning of pairing unsentimental intelligence with religious righteousness bore the signature of one man: Donald Rumsfeld," Draper's report said.

Bush himself discovered the perils of using Christian terminology when, five days after the September 11 attacks of 2001, he angered many in the Muslim world by describing his "war on terror" as a "crusade".

After months of criticism including an open revolt by several retired generals, Rumsfeld stepped down in November 2006, the day after the Republicans suffered a crushing defeat to the Democrats in congressional elections.