Terrorism and Defense: Restraining Evil

By Jerry Boykin   •   September 22, 2016

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters during a military parade in Raqqa province in Syria June 30, 2014 shown in propaganda photos released by the militants.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The New Testament teaches that human government exists to reward good and restrain evil, even militarily when necessary (Romans 13). This truth has direct bearing on the preservation of freedom, including the free exercise of religion and the proclamation of the Gospel.

It should surprise no one that America’s military today is very demoralized. They’ve been in war continuously for 15 years, and the repeated deployments have had an impact on both the military members and their families. And the social experiments that have emanated from the Obama administration—like the June 30 announcement that open transgenderism would be welcomed in our military—have added to the stress on the force because none of these were done with a view toward military readiness. And our Congress has stood by and watched this happen.

Our military today no longer has the resources it used to have. Our planes and ships are in many cases down to pre-World War II levels. This at a time when our enemies are increasing in strength—but we are decreasing!

Finally, the assault on religious liberty in the military is very disheartening to our troops. Good people are leaving, and good people are not coming in to replace them because they don’t want to have to check their faith at the door. They want to be able to live their faith as they defend all the freedoms of our Constitution. When they are denied that opportunity, they find it unacceptable.

When I was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1971, near the end of Vietnam, our military was in very poor shape. We were coming out of a war that America was generally against. Then we went through the Ronald Reagan buildup, and the military absolutely hit its pinnacle because of Reagan’s emphasis on military readiness and winning wars.

What we are suffering with today is a commander in chief with no concept of winning, who has allowed political considerations to override all military, strategic and operational concerns, one who has demonstrated that he is not concerned about military readiness. He’s far more concerned about his social agenda.

And all the while, the threat of terrorism is growing stronger. Right now, ISIS is in probably 34 countries. And it’s going to continue to grow because they are trying to establish a caliphate. America is going to be surrounded and infiltrated. If we don’t take the lead, we’re going to start seeing a lot more countries suffering through major attacks like the June 28 airport attack in Istanbul, Turkey. We’re going to see them start pandering to and making even greater compromises with ISIS and other terrorist groups.

And we’re going to come to a point where we have both external and internal pressures of ISIS, and it portends an absolutely disastrous situation for America. We’re going to lose our culture and our country.

We see what eight years of the Obama administration has done to our military. And honestly the Republicans have been part of it. They have not taken a firm stand on military readiness, on protecting our military, or protecting our veterans and providing them with the things that they are entitled to as a result of their service. But there is at least hope that if we get the right president and a good Congress that we can begin to reverse some of the trends that we have seen.

It is imperative for our next president to be intentional about our need for a strong defense. Several countries pose very serious military threats to America: China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran—once it has nuclear weapons.

China is expanding its military power and is developing the largest aircraft carrier the world has seen. In the short term, probably most disturbing is that they have incredible cyber capabilities.

Russia is re-emerging militarily, and its nuclear arsenal is much bigger than America’s. The North Koreans are dangerously sitting on a nuclear arsenal, and their leader is certifiably crazy. And Iran is going to be a nuclear power—period.

I’d like to ask Christians to pray for strong leadership for our country—and for our military, people who will put their oath to the Constitution above their careers. People who, when destructive policy is handed down, would lay their stars on the table and say, “This policy is destructive. It does not enhance readiness; it degrades readiness, and I will not be part of it.”

I can assure you that’s what I would do. ©2016 BGEA

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin is executive vice president of the Family Research Council and formerly commanded the U.S. Army’s Delta Force.

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