07 October 2005

George full of grace....

George Bush: "God Told Me to End the Tyranny in Iraq".... [from the The Guardian UK]

Our president told the Palestinians that God talked to him about Middle East peace.

George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Everyone I am sure remembers those well orchestrated photo ops.

One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it." Mr Bush, who became a born-again Christian at 40, is the most overtly religious leader to occupy the White House.

Soon afterward, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz carried a transcript of the meeting, containing Mr Bush's remarks.

The BBC will air the transcript publicly this Monday in a piece called 'Elusive Peace'.

Religion also surfaced as an issue when Mr Bush and Tony Blair were reported to have prayed together in 2002 at his ranch at Crawford, Texas - the summit at which the invasion of Iraq was agreed upon. Mr Blair has repeatedly refused to admit or deny the claim.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister, who was also part of the delegation at Sharm el-Sheikh, told the BBC programme that Mr Bush had said: "I have a moral and religious obligation. I must get you a Palestinian state. And I will."

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