In a recent water-cooler debate about the Middle East, a leftist claimed (among other things) that President Bush invaded Iraq under instructions from god. Prodded for a source, she produced a link to this two-year old post on Candide's Notebook blog.
The page purports to list quotes about god from President Bush. All but the first are unsourced (or, at best, sourced to another unsourced site). This is a waste of hyperlink technology, and seriously diminishes the authority and usefulness of the post. And, in any event, these quotes--if accurate--mostly have the President saying that freedom is every man's God given right. I'm not sure why that would be objectionable, even to atheists.
The first quote, however, is different. It is hyperlinked to a 2005 Guardian (U.K.) story, and reads:
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. 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.If true, this would support my opponent's claim. A few minutes of research revealed that it's bogus--Bush never said it.
The language comes from Nabil Shaath, Palestinian foreign minister at the time of a 2003 Israeli-Palestinian summit -- which Bush attended -- at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. No other delegate heard it, and Shaath didn't report it until two years after the summit, which itself is suspicious.
More importantly, President Bush's spokesman denied saying it. Shaath's then-boss, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, called the supposed quote "completely false." And Shaath himself backed down, saying he "did not believe Mr Bush thought God had given him a personal message."
I've informed my opponent, and urged the host of that blog to delete the first paragraph. Both forget Layne's law: the Internet means "we can fact-check your ass."
As a reminder, President Bush and his Administration repeatedly cited three reasons for toppling Saddam, one of which was (PM Tony Blair said it too) to free the Iraqi people. One may disagree with Bush's rationale. But don't distort it.
The blog owner declined to correct his error, calling me a "clown."