Current and former military and intelligence officials have told me that [Jesus II] remains convinced that it is his personal mission to bring democracy to Iraq, and that he is impervious to political pressure, even from fellow Republicans. They also say that he disparages any information that conflicts with his view of how the war is proceeding.
[Jesus II]’s closest advisers have long been aware of the religious nature of his policy commitments. In recent interviews, one former senior official, who served in [Jesus II]’s first term, spoke extensively about the connection between [Jesus II]’s religious faith and his view of the war in Iraq. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former official said, he was told that [Jesus II] felt that “God put me here” to deal with the war on terror. [Jesus II]’s belief was fortified by the Republican sweep in the 2002 congressional elections; [Jesus II] saw the victory as a purposeful message from God that “he’s the man,” the former official said. Publicly, [Jesus II] depicted his reëlection as a referendum on the war; privately, he spoke of it as another manifestation of divine purpose.…
Speaking at the Osan Air Force base, in South Korea, two days after Murtha’s speech, [Jesus II] said, “The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. . . . If they’re not stopped, the terrorists will be able to advance their agenda to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, and to break our will and blackmail our government into isolation. I’m going to make you this commitment: this is not going to happen on my watch.”
“[Jesus II] is more determined than ever to stay the course,” the former defense official said. “He doesn’t feel any pain. [Jesus II] is a believer in the adage ‘People may suffer and die, but the Church advances.’ ” He said that [Jesus II] had become more detached, leaving more issues to Karl Rove and [Darth Vader]. “They keep him in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway,” the former defense official said. [Jesus II]’s public appearances, for example, are generally scheduled in front of friendly audiences, most often at military bases. Four decades ago, President Lyndon Johnson, who was also confronted with an increasingly unpopular war, was limited to similar public forums. “Johnson knew he was a prisoner in the White House,” the former official said, “but [Jesus II] has no idea.”