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                    COMPASSION IN ACTION

                                  The Twilight Brigade


Statement of Dannion Brinkley

Chairman of the Board, Compassion in Action

To the

White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy

December 6-7, 2001


As we end another year, it is important to see how far we have come Ė to look at the distance traveled.  Being a part of this ongoing process, now since 1989 - literally on a daily basis because of my hospice work and my own personal issues.  It is important to look for that decisive moment that will determine the point of reference this Commission will work from in making its recommendations to the President.  What is that decisive moment or point in time that crystallizes and brings us together in order to make specific recommendations on that multi-faceted, multi-dimensional world we call CAM?


I believe our President and First Lady have given us that point.  In the December 3, 2001, issue of Newsweek, there is an article that I am including at the end of this testimony that I believe identifies this decisive moment.


Iíll quote the most important part Ė it resonates with a statement the CAM community frequently asks Ė ďWhat is the role of prayer in healing?Ē 


ďWhatís the role of prayer and faithÖ?

MRS. BUSH: Thatís very important to us, and thatís where we get our strength. But that was very important to us before September 11th, as well.

THE PRESIDENT: Prayer has meant a lot to me. It meant a lot to me before, it means a heck of a lot now because thereís a lot of people praying for me and I feel it. Truly.

You know, itís something, I have never felt more confident about something in my life. And I believe a lot of it has to do with the prayers of the people.Ē


One of the most important, and least accepted CAM areas is the area of spirituality in medicine Ė of the frontier sciences.  What some people call prayer, Dr. Larry Dossey calls non-local healing, and Dr. Fred Thaled calls willful conscious intent.  It is an area that many of the traditional systems of medicine have accepted for thousands of years and western medicine tends to discount. 


When you look at the definition of these words. 




And then add them into a phrase I think we find what the ďheartĒ of healing really is.   With over 400 studies on how prayer including laboratory research on the effects on yeast cultures and the power of prayer or the use of prayer, including interesting studies from Princeton showing that prayer can have an affect on the success rate of invitro fertilization.  This must become a strong point in what you as a commission bring forth as recommendation to the President. 


I can relate closely to the words of our President because I too have felt the results of peopleís prayers.  Today, I cannot be with you because I am going through a series of cardiovascular and neurological procedures to first look at what is occurring to me from a conventional point of view, so that I can determine how to treat my condition from an integrative perspective.  It seems as though as I am always having an up close and personal reference to modern day medical procedures either in my work or on myself. 


It is the very same situation I was in a few years ago that I learned about the power of prayer first hand.  My friends, the radio personality, Art Bell and his wife Ramona came to be with me as I was hospitalized in critical condition Ėhaving to go through brain surgery and having a grand mal seizure.   They went on the air and on the Internet and asked the world to prayer for me.  I not only felt that love and have been the beneficiary of its healing power, I know that I would  not have made it through that medical crisis without the love and prayers.   


I think that the President and First Lady in their recognition of the importance and power of prayer have brought a defining moment in our discussion about the need to integrate prayer/spirituality into conventional medicine.  Add to this good science which includes the work of Dr. Larry Dossey, Dr. Daniel Benor, Dr. Fred Thaled, Dr. Beverly Rubik, Dr. Wayne Jonas, Marilyn Schlitz and the Noetic Sciences, Institutes, the Templeton Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and many others and we have a point in which this entire discussion crystallizes. 


Sister Charlotte is always reminding us Ė physical, mental, AND spiritual are all components of healing.  She is correct and I think each of you truly knows this in your  hearts - and I hope soon in your minds.


I continue to train my people in Compassion in Action Ė The Twilight Brigade that therapeutic touch and prayer are a very active part of the healing system in VAís.  There is no soldier that does not know the power of prayer. 


As you leave this week, one more meeting under your belt, and you head into the holiday season, please remember that prayer is not only very effective, but also quite cost effective.  It takes only a little of your time to make an enormous difference in the lives of people.  On a personal note, keeping all of this in mind.  I ask you to pray for our servicemen and women who today are in harms way, protecting our freedoms and the responsibilities that come with being free. 


And please pray for our veterans Ė those men and women who have already ďpaid it forward!Ē  They served our country and now they need us to remember them.  And also during this holiday season, think of some of the great men and women who have served this country such as Strom Thurmond, Robert Dole, Daniel Inouye, Tom Harkin, Orrin Hatch, Robert Byrd, Dan Burton, Lindsay Graham, Barbara Mikulski, and their families. 


And please during this holiday season, go visit a veteran and tell them Dannion sent you!


You are all in my prayers.  Happy holidays. 

With Purpose,

Dannion Brinkley

Chairman of the Board

Compassion in Action




1:  We Can Handle It

2:  Pearl Harbor Press Release


PO Box 84013, Los Angeles, CA  90073 Tel:  (310) 473-1941 Fax:  (310) 473-1951

National Headquarters located on the campus of the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center

11301 Wilshire Blvd, Bldg 258, Room 112, Los Angeles, CA  90073

URL:  http://www.twilightbrigade.org   E-Mail:  cianatl@aol.com & CIAChairman@aol.com 



ĎWe Can Handle Ití


In a candid conversation, the President and First Lady talk about bin Laden, prayer, civil liberties, exercise, No. 41 and the war ahead


Dec. 3 issue ó  It was the day before Thanksgiving, and George and Laura Bush were flying west for a morale-boosting visit to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. The news from Afghanistan was good and the president was in a relaxed, expansive mood for this interview. Seated at a conference table aboard Air Force One with NEWSWEEKís Howard Fineman and Martha Brant, the president and First Lady exchanged looks and smiles as they answered questions. She seemed to enjoy listening to him. As he warmed to his subjects, he sometimes raised a finger to underscore a point. Extended excerpts:


NEWSWEEK: Youíve talked a lot about how the country has changed. How do you think the two of you have changed as individuals?

        THE PRESIDENT: Iím not very good at telling you how Iíve changed, because I donít spend a lot of time thinking about myself and how Iíve changed.


        MRS. BUSH: Well, actually, I donít think heís changed that much. I think what people see now is exactly what Iíve always seen and always known how he was. Heís very focused, heís very disciplined. I said that a million times during the campaign and I donít think it ever resonated with the press. And, of course, heís more seriousóeveryone is more serious in our country.

        THE PRESIDENT: I donít think you change. If youíve got the characteristics necessary to deal with a crisis, they will emerge. And Laura has always been a calming influence in my life and is a comfort to me as I dealt with big decisions.

        You know, this is a moment of high drama, needless to say. And she couldnít have been more calm and resolved, almost placid, which was a very reassuring thing to me. I canít imagine what it would be like had Laura been hysterical, highly emotional.


There was a period of time when the threats were significant and real, aimed at me and aimed at the White House and aimed at other major targets. And during that period of time I shared some of those with Laura, never did she say, ďGet me out of here, what have you done this for, why are we here, itís a miserable experience... Itís your war, see you later.Ē
        Laura, may I ask, where does that calm come from?

        MRS. BUSH: Well, George actually steadies me. He acts like I steady him, but the fact is he steadies me. I really am not that afraid. I mean, you know, if something happens, it happens. I think both of us have a little bit of an attitudeóyou know, this is our life right now and we can deal with it, we can handle it.
        Whatís the role of prayer and faith in this?

        MRS. BUSH: Thatís very important to us, and thatís where we get our strength. But that was very important to us before September 11th, as well.

        THE PRESIDENT: Prayer has meant a lot to me. It meant a lot to me before, it means a heck of a lot now because thereís a lot of people praying for me and I feel it. Truly.

        You know, itís something, I have never felt more confident about something in my life. And I believe a lot of it has to do with the prayers of the people.

        My attitude about threats, it is truly: if itís the Lordís will. Thatís what I believe.
        How do you keep the emotion from getting to you too much? You still have to do your job. Are there other things you turn to?

        MRS. BUSH: He works out. Heís really running faster than he has in a long time. Heís always turned to exercise to reduce stress.

        THE PRESIDENT: I exercise about an hour a day; pretty intense these days.
        Back up to a seven-minute mile?

        THE PRESIDENT: Less.

        MRS. BUSH: Iíve been working out, as well. And then the other thing we do at Camp David or at the ranch is go for long walks with our animals. And that certainly makes us feel great.
        As a war leader, do you turn to any models, either in terms of time in history or people?


No question. For example, the military tribunals, you look at history. Before I made the decision to give me the option, I asked, whoís done this? Itís an interesting idea. I do want to have the option, for a lot of reasonsónational-security reasons, security for the jurors, potential jurors.
        Why did you feel it was important for you to have the authority there?

        I asked for the options; I said I wanted to know. And Iím trying to remember who came in, [White House Counsel Alberto] Gonzales and the vice president, they came in to brief me. [Attorney General John] Ashcroft came in. And I said, well, tell me exactly what your recommendation is for me on this executive order. They said, well, we recommend that the secretary of Defense be the person in charge of making decisions. This is a unanimous recommendation. I was, frankly, taken aback. I said, wait a minute. I sign an executive order, I create the executive order, and somebody else is responsible for the court? I said, if I sign the order, I want to be responsible.
        The flip side of that is some people say that maybe you have too much power.

        Iím mindful of the Constitution. Iím also mindful of history. I think about how others have used force... I think the president needs to have the powers necessary to conduct a war. And itís up to me to make sure I provide the right balance.
        Even in the face of war on our home front, we provide incredible protections for people who are not even our citizens. For people who are our citizens, nothing has changed. For people who are not citizens, who come to our country because weíre an open country and a generous country, we are providing them incredible protections.
        Are we going to get Osama bin Laden?

        Weíre going to get him one way or the other.
        Will it be a successful war if we donít get him?

Well, itís going to be very successful in terms of changing the government of the Taliban. Weíve got his number-two guy. Look, it may take three years to get Osama bin Laden, but weíve got him on the run. And Iíve always said that this is a get-him-on-the-run mission.
        But youíre saying it might take three years to get Osama bin Laden.

        It could take 10 years. We will get him. And we will get his organization. The thing America must know is that terrorism is alive and well. And itís our charge, our duty, this generationís historical opportunity, to rid the world of terrorism. And thereís going to be some fantastic consequences from it, in my judgment. A new relationship with Russia. The ability for us to affect peace in the Middle East. Hopefully, a country like Syria will take a hard look at some of the groups in their country. And terror and weapons of mass destruction go hand in hand. To the extent that the free world can convince other nations to join together to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction, weíve done our children and grandchildren a great service.
        Do you think that Saddam Hussein is evil and that we should expand this to Iraq?

        I think Saddam Hussein is up to no good. I think heís got weapons of mass destruction, and I think he needs to open up his country to let us inspect. I think he needs to be held accountable and needs to conform to the agreement he made years ago. Thatís what he ought to do. Itís up to him to prove heís not.

        Heís the one guy in recent history who has used weapons of mass destruction not only against his neighbor, Iran, but against people in his own country. He gassed them.
        Why wouldnít you say heís evil, then?

       He ainít good.
        Why stop short of using the word?

        I think maybe because youíre trying to force me to say it, and Iím stubborn... He is evil. Saddamís evil.
        Have you had a moment of painful reflection? Youíve had to decide, for example, to use B-52 bombers, which are powerful and terrifying and which risk possible civilian casualties, et cetera.

        Fifteen-thousand-pound bombs, pushed out of the back of cargo planes.
        Right. Do you think that was crucial in what happened there, and was it a different level of decision-making?


    I made the decision early. One, that we could win a guerrilla war with conventional means if we were able to use smart intelligence-gathering, and if weíre able to get boots on the ground, to make sure our targeting was more precise.

        The idea of trying to seek justice by using cruise missiles was shallow, as far as Iím concerned. Itís an antiseptic approach to a war that just didnít lend itself for that. I also knew we couldnít bomb our way to achieve our objective. We could bomb our way to help achieve the objective. And, therefore, I knew full well that we would have troops on the ground.
        Iíve been very careful to make it clear to our commanders that youíre running the war, and I expect there to be conscious decisions about collateral damage. I knew full well what collateral damage could mean. I also knew we were fighting liars who would say things in the press that there was no verification for whatsoever, that they would justify their own brutal murder and torture within their country by blaming it on us. But I had no question in my mind [we were] doing the right thing.
        Is there something that you would point to where your wife has been influential? Something where tonally sheís seen something outside the Beltway that maybe you hadnít?

        Iíll tell you this: sheís not a shrinking violet. I mean, if I do something she thinks needs to be toned down or something, sheíll tell me.

        But I do think there was some concern that, you know, I might get carried away, because she understood how angry I was. Look, I was an angry person and I was a sad person, and I was a determined person. I went through a whole range of emotions.
        What emotion did you have when you saw that plane?

        I was angry. I was furious. But I had also realized that I needed to be clearsighted. I needed to understand exactly what was happening, get a feel for who was doing this, and prepare to respond.
        Have you grown in any sense, do you think?
        Of course. I think that Iíve always been the kind of person who has been able to deal with the circumstances in which I find myself. Iím a problem-solver. And I donít spend a lot of time theorizing or agonizing. I was raised in a family where, because of the love of my parents, you know, Iíve got confidence to be able to deal with problems. Iíve got a faith that allows me to be comforted by prayer and my own prayers, and prayers of others. Iíve never been afraid for my life, Iíve never been afraid for my familyís life, Iíve never been afraid to make decisions.
        [Former Bush I adviser] Brent Scowcroft says you talk to your father quite often, but you donít necessarily talk about the war. Can you tell us about that?

        Yes, I talk to him, I check in with him, Iíd say once a week at most. I get to work, get to the office about 6:50 a.m. to 7 a.m., and he likes to get up early. And if Iíve finished my paperwork, I like to give them a call and see how theyíre doing and just check in. He really likes it. He likes to hear from his son.
        Do you talk about the substance of things, or is it just almost a melancholy thing where heís too far away from it to really deal?

        THE PRESIDENT: No, I mean, heís interested as heck. He was fascinated with the Putin visit, for example. There are a lot of things I canít tell him over the phone, because itís not a secure line to his house. He says howís it going, you know, how is the war. He falls prey to theóto the spins.

        MRS. BUSH: He watches every single thing.

        But you guys, youíre not watching TV news anyóyou never have?
Not much.
        Mrs. Bush, are you still reading the papers? During the campaign, you would read them and point things out to your husband.
She does that still.
        Do you get mad, still?

        THE PRESIDENT: No, she doesnít get mad, she gets pointed.

        MRS. BUSH: Do I get mad?
        THE PRESIDENT: She used to get mad. She got mad when she saw the budgeters had axed one of her favorite programs.
        As you run the war, how important are personal relations with world leaders? And do you have nicknames for these guys?

        I had better not tell you. I donít use them to their face. It is important to stay in touch with them. A lot of the leaders are coming here to sit down and visit... I think itís important for them to look me in the eye. I want them to come so they know my determination.         
       © 2001 Newsweek, Inc.


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