It was noted here once before that US military fighter pilots sanitize their uniforms prior to combat missions, so if they are captured they have little on their person to provide information to the enemy. However, intel officers occasionally encouraged pilots to carry family photos, thinking the “personalizing” aspect of the photo might positively influence their captors’ perspectives. Similarly, some encouraged carrying a religious item like a cross that would be found on them if they were captured.
Why carry an obviously Christian item on a combat sortie into a predominantly Islamic country?
Simple: Adversaries, primarily of the Islamic faith, respected Christians as “people of the book.” Many have misunderstood Muslims’ use of the term “infidels,” which refers to those “without faith.” In short, hostile Islamic adversaries viewed a Christian in the US military far more positively than an atheist in uniform.
The US Marines recently capitalized on that knowledge, using the faith of an American soldier as a positive message of religious respect to counter the Taliban propaganda of American “infidels” — militant atheists trying to get rid of religion in Afghanistan: Continue reading