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Petraeus endorses book that slams 'non-believers' in the military
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Friday August 22, 2008

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MSNBC's Keith Olbermann noted on Thursday that "General David Petraeus ... has endorsed a book written by an evangelical Lutheran chaplain in the US Army, in which the chaplain claims non-believers can lead to 'failure' in their military unit."

A dust jacket quote from Petraeus says the book "should be in every rucksack for those times when Soldiers need spiritual energy."

The Petraeus endorsement came to light earlier this week, when Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), noticed an ad in a military paper for the book by Army chaplain Lt. Col. William McCoy, Under Orders: A Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel.

A MRFF representative called Petraeus's endorsement "a slap in the face from the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq to the 21% of the men and women fighting there who define themselves as atheists or having no religious preference ... a reprehensible betrayal of all of the non-theists who are putting their lives on the line for our country with every bit as much bravery and dedication as their religious comrades."

Weinstein himself stated, "General Petraeus has, by his own hand, become a quintessential poster child of this fundamentalist Christian religious predation, via his unadulterated and shocking public endorsement of a book touting both Christian supremacy and exceptionalism."

Olbermann, however, appeared most offended by the violation of military regulations by the man whose name is currently being floated as a possible John McCain vice-presidential pick. "How about army regulations against promoting religion, against proselytizing?" Olbermann asked. "General Petraeus, who never has been troubled by Army regulations, nor Constitutional ones, claims that when McCoy asked him for a recommendation, he didn't give him to publish it, that it was only intended for McCoy personally."

Petraeus has claimed he "never knew" his comments were being his comments were being seen publicly. However, as Olbermann points out, "Petraeus's endorsement has been on that book jacket since the book was published last year."

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast August 21, 2008.

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