April 1, 2002

Pigs and Pork

“But Washington is a capital overrun by vested interests whose livelihoods depend on extracting ever-increasing quantities of taxpayer dollars for their narrow causes. It is not clear that they will subordinate their interests even to the needs of wartime.”-Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., director, Office of Management and Budget, in Feb. 3 Washington Post op-ed column.

XV Minutes Is Plenty

“I remember when I was nine years old. I was in fourth grade, and I was reading a rather remarkable book, and the book was about Julius Caesar. It said, ‘Julius Caesar was a general. Julius Caesar made long speeches. They killed him.'”-Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander in chief, Central Command, on Feb. 15 at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla.

Gore Backs Bush on Iraq

“I also support the President’s stated goals in the next phases of the war against terrorism as he laid them out in the State of the Union. … Even if we give first priority to the destruction of terrorist networks, and even if we succeed, there are still governments that could bring us great harm. And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq. As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table.”-Al Gore, in Feb. 12 speech to Council on Foreign Relations.

Great To Be an American

“What happened on September 11 was horrific, but this patriotic fever can go too far. America has an almost obscene infatuation with itself. Has there ever been a big, powerful country that is as patriotic as America? And patriotic in the tinniest way, with so much flag waving? … The right wing benefited so much from September 11 that, if I were still a conspiratorialist, I would believe they’d done it.”-Novelist Norman Mailer, in Feb. 6 London Daily Telegraph.

Not Deep, Just Low

“I had not the slightest emotional reaction [to watching one of the World Trade Center Towers collapse]. I thought: ‘This is really a strange art project.’… It was a most amazing sight in terms of sheer elegance. It fell like water. It just slid, like a turtleneck going over someone’s head. … It was just beautiful. You can’t tell people this. I’m talking to you because you’re Canadian. … I just felt, like, everyone was overreacting. People were going on about it. That part really annoyed me.”-Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation and Bitch, in a Feb. 16 interview in Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, as cited in The New Republic’s “Idiocy Watch.”

Don’t Generalize

“The CNO [Chief of Naval Operations], Admiral Vern Clark, puts it best. This war is like this war. It ain’t like the last one, and it ain’t like the next one. It is like this one.”-Gen. John P. Jumper, US Air Force Chief of Staff, Feb. 14 at the AFA Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando.

Continental Living

“It is not uncommon for a unit to deploy from its permanent installation in the heart of Europe for a tour of duty in the Balkans and have better working conditions in the temporary facilities. … This dichotomy is unacceptable.”-Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, commander in chief, European Command, to House Appropriations military construction subcommittee, Feb. 14.

Selling the Sea Services

“When America is threatened, the response must be quick and decisive. That can be a real challenge, especially when the danger is halfway around the world. Just being there can be half the battle. That is when the nation looks to the team–the Navy/Marine Corps Team. Sailors and Marines are on watch, 24/7, ready to respond. And when a crisis erupts, this team strikes from the sea, with precise Naval power and tough, well-trained Marines. From the sea to the fight–whether that fight’s along the coast or 600 miles inland–that’s the ‘Power of Teamwork.'”-Full page advertisement in Feb. 11 Washington Post, placed by US Navy and US Marine Corps.

We Shoot Back

“The one mistake that I know was made was when people shot at American forces doing their job on the ground in Afghanistan.”-Franks, shortly after being asked, at Feb. 25 news conference, if US forces were “trigger happy” in killing 16 Afghans at Hazar Qadam.

Ripe Target

“Ten billion dollars just sitting there is a pretty ripe target.”-Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House appropriations defense subcommittee, in Feb. 11 Defense Week, referring to the $10 billion contingency fund proposed for the war on terror in the 2003 defense budget.

Al Qaeda Still Here

“The estimate is that there are 100 or more al Qaeda operatives inside the United States, some who have been here for a considerable period of time, all of whom went through a training program to prepare them to carry out terrorist plots when they are called upon to do so.”-Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), on CNN’s Feb. 23 “Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields.”

How Many Should We Leave

“If we expect to kill every terrorist in the world, that’s going to keep us going beyond doomsday. How long can we afford this?”-Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, at Feb. 27 hearing on the defense budget and the war on terrorism.