Saturday, October 15, 2005

White House Denies Bush Claimed Divine Inspiration

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Oct 07 9:14 AM US/Eastern
The White House has denied that US President George W. Bush said God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, as a new BBC documentary is expected to reveal.

"That's absurd. He's never made such comments," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Thursday.

The documentary series set to be broadcast later this month in Britain claims Bush made the claim when he met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and then-foreign minister Nabil Shaath in June 2003.

He also told them he had been ordered by God to create a Palestinian state, the ministers said.

Shaath, now the Palestinian information minister, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God'". 

"'God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan'.

"'And I did. And then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq... ' And I did.

"'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'," said Shaath.

Abbas, who was also at the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, recalled how the president told him: "'I have a moral and religious obligation'".

"'So I will get you a Palestinian state.'"

The three-part series, "Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs", charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from former US president Bill Clinton's talks in 1999-2000 to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza strip.

The series is due to begin airing Monday.


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