McClellan Refutes Palestinian Claim That Bush Said God Directed Him To Invade Iraq, Afghanistan
The White House is denying that President Bush ever told Palestinian leaders that God told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and to create a Palestinian State.
Responding to comments made by Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen and Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath in a BBC series scheduled to air this month, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush "never made such comments."
But McClellan also admitted he "didn't travel on that trip," when Bush allegedly made the comments. (This point was skipped by most mainstream media.)
In other words, we should trust McClellan on his word, rather than any first-hand knowledge he has. Presumably, McClellan was passing along information he received from someone in Bush's inner circle, who may or may not have been in the meeting.
If this were a court case, wouldn't this be considered "hearsay?"
Meanwhile, Shaath stood behind his recollection of the comments. In an interview yesterday with the Times of London, Shaath said he considered the comments "a figure of speech."
"We felt he was saying that he had a mission, a commitment, his faith in God would inspire him ... rather than a metaphysical whisper in his ear," he told the newspaper.
The Bush Administration wants to quickly put an end to the controversy. But newspapers throughout the Arab region have already reacted negatively.
Editorial in Al-Quds Al-Arabi: "Had those statements come from an ordinary person, he would have been arrested straight away and taken to a lunatic asylum for treatment... Such statements cannot be made by someone who is mentally sound."
Surprisingly, the administration apparently missed an opportunity to be proactive -- rather than wait until a controversy erupted.
A BBC spokesman told the Times of London that the program's content had been provided to the White House in advance, but the Bush Administration failed to respond.