Holy Warriors
And Just Folks
Bill Garrett

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Bill Garrett"
Subject: Re: Bush's "Holy War"?
Date: September 22, 2001 6:36 PM

Most who ended up being "called of God" started out as "just folks."

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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For Bush, a Mission and a Defining Moment
by Frank Bruni

September 22, 2001

Washington, September 21 -- When President Bush first sat down with his full cabinet after last week's terrorist attacks, he told them that nothing about their roles or charges as federal officials would ever be the same.

"I expect you to work hard on our agenda," Mr. Bush said, an almost obligatory nod to the various initiatives, like education reform and prescription drug coverage, that had consumed their attention before September 11.

Then, a senior administration official said, Mr. Bush made it clear that all of that paled beside the war on terrorism that he planned to wage.

"This," he told them, "is the purpose of this administration."

That statement, which echoed and amplified others in the days after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, was apparently more than a succinct bit of White House cheerleading.

It was a window into what some of Mr. Bush's friends and advisers say is his own wholly transformed sense of himself and his presidency. He believes, they say, that he has come face to face with his life's mission, the task by which he will be defined and judged.


One of the president's close acquaintances outside the White House said Mr. Bush clearly feels he has encountered his reason for being, a conviction informed and shaped by the president's own strain of Christianity.

"I think, in his frame, this is what God has asked him to do," the acquaintance said. "It offers him enormous clarity."

That is not something that Mr. Bush has always had. He often meandered through his life, occasionally ambled toward the presidency and exhibited a palpable ambivalence about his good political fortune along the way.


But many of the people around him say that now, facing an extraordinary crisis in his first year in office, he has acquired a kind of certainty that perhaps eluded him before. He is sure, they say, about what he should be doing. He is sure he cannot turn back.


"There's no question of what Bush's legacy will or won't be," he said. "He either beats this back -- or we lose."

Copyright ©2001 The New York Times Company

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