Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Wednesday 29 June 2005

Bush Clarifies Iraq Mission

New Contract Issued To Halliburton To Measure Elusive Progress

Speaking before a crowd of uniformed troops, and a national-television audience, at Fort Bragg, N.C., President Bush rebuffed his critics by stating that "our mission in Iraq is clear".

The President, in making it clear, reinforced to the audience the ties between the war in Iraq and September 11th. He went on to say that "We're hunting down the terrorists … we're helping Iraqis build a free nation … we're advancing freedom in the broader Middle East"

"In the past year, we have made significant progress … Our progress has been uneven, but progress is being made".

In the past few weeks, the President has been on the fast-track of dropping polls and persistently bad news from the documentation that he has mislead the nation into war, to the mixed messages from his Vice President and other cabinet members as to having the proper number of troops to fight the war and just how many years the U.S. will be required to maintain its occupation of Iraq.

In fact, there was debate among the President's staff as to giving this speech last night. Right up to a few minutes before he took the stage, the President's daily schedule still had "bicycle ride" penned in for 8:00PM.

The President would have none of it. Reportedly, he told Karl Rove that he had to tell the people that "my greatest responsibility as president is to protect the American people".

Mr. Bush went on to outline an ambitious new program that will, if not end the violence and fighting, give him a greater handle on how to spin what people are seeing, nightly, via television reports from Iraq.

The President indicated that, on top of the $7-Billion contract for rebuilding Iraq, Halliburton will be issued a new contract to measure the progress and freedom taking place in Iraq.

"We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard, and rebuilding while at war is even harder. We are improving roads and schools and health clinics. We're working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity and water.

"But getting the measurements of our progress, complete with those colorful graphs, will be even harder. They've [Halliburton] got the tools, and the will, to carry out this mission".

After the speech, both Halliburton and the White refused comment on the new 'Progress' contract.

"If we will help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens", said Rove, "than the President's poll numbers will go through the roof. He can ride his bicycle off into the history books".

Confusion, Disappointment Follows Graham Crusade

Many Mistook Revival For Justice Sunday Event; Wanted Rhetoric, Not Redemption

For many of the 240,000 who flocked to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the former World's Fair site, to be part of the Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade, this past weekend, it was not what they had come to see.

In what could be the last revival meeting of the legendary Southern Baptist minister, thousands showed up expecting a "Northern" version of a Justice Sunday program, and were not looking for preaching or to be baptized. They wanted to hear heated rhetoric and more of the great Conservative movement's plans to take over the judiciary.

At various times during the three-day crusade, far removed from Graham's 1957 New York Crusade, when he drew nearly 3-million people to Madison Square Garden over 16-weeks, rumors circulated in the crowd that a certain conservative had shown up and would be speaking soon.

"I wanted to see Bill Frist or Tony Perkins" offered a young woman who traveled from Western Pennsylvania for the event.

Others expected to hear Graham offer his thoughts on the late Terri Schiavo, and rain down fire-and-brimstone on the judges and courts involved in her long case.

'Those people will not see the promised land", a young man from New Jersey declared

Graham, who is 86 and has Parkinson's disease, used a walker to get on stage and needed the assistance of his son. Though clear, his voice was weaker than in past years, and he stood during most of his 30-minute sermons each day but sat through the altar call. His pulpit was equipped with a movable seat.

Even though, from the shadow of the Unisphere, Graham preached on the great flood from the book of Genesis, it wasn't enough to satisfy those who came expecting to put the U.S. Justice system on trial.

Officials for the Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade acknowledged after the event that they may have disappointed some of those who came for Justice Sunday. Slightly less than 10,000 of the crowd committed their lives to Christ during the three-days, which officials said was "off-target".

"Typically, we do about 25-to-30% who accept the Reverend's invitation to come forward".

"Perhaps, for the next crusade, we'll see if Reverend Graham is up for bashing some judges".

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