May 1, 2002

Osama and His Mama

“He loves his family and friends, but he especially adores our mother. First comes God, then our mother.”Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed, about his half-brother, Osama bin Laden, on CNN’s “Newsnight With Aaron Brown,” March 18.

Weapons in Space

“I do believe the time has come for very serious discussions on the whole subject of space control and the projection of force in space. … I believe that weapons will go into space. It’s a question of time. And we need to be at the forefront of that.”Peter B. Teets, undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, in Aerospace Daily, March 7.

Don’t Blame Poor Saddam

“We calculate that there might be a problem in Iraq with weapons of mass destruction … [but] the problem is not with Saddam Hussein. The problem is with weapons of mass destruction.”Sergei Ivanov, Russian Defense Minister, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” March 17.

Terrorists Can Be Beaten

“The brief Afghan campaign revealed that terrorists are as dependent as regular armies on bases and training facilities, on regular lines of supply, and on infusions of manpower to replace casualties. Terrorist organizations are as susceptible to defeat as regular armies; indeed, they are even more susceptible, if hit at their weak spots.”John Keegan, in London’s Daily Telegraph, March 1.

Scribbulus Vomitus

“Whether it is an ill-specified axis of evil, or a decision to make tactical nuclear war thinkable, or a domestic ‘shadow government,’ or deliberately leaked plans to attack Iraq, George W. Bush in his own way is as frightening as al Qaeda.”Columnist Robert Kuttner, in Boston Globe, March 13.


“She engaged in these activities because of her belief that US policy does not afford Cubans respect, tolerance, and understanding.”-Plato Cacheris, lawyer for Ana Belen Montes, Defense Intelligence Agency senior analyst for Cuban issues, who pleaded guilty to spying for Cuba for 16 years, quoted in Washington Post, March 20.

This Sounds Familiar

“Complain of mistreatment while in prison.”From terrorist manual found by police at the home in England (where he had been granted political asylum) of al Qaeda official Abu Anas Liby, quoted in Washington Post, March 19.

Parity for Civil Servants

“Each day our nation’s civil servants and uniformed military [personnel] perform invaluable work for our nation. Both our federal employees and our military personnel are working side by side to fight the war on terrorism and strengthen homeland security, and there is no reason that these groups should not be compensated equitably.”Rep. James P. Moran (D­Va.), proposing equal pay increases for military and civil service next year, quoted on, March 13.

Watch Out, Omar

“If I were an al Qaeda guy, I wouldn’t go out for a pizza. I’d stay home and dig deep. I wouldn’t walk down the middle of the valley.”-Maj. Bryan Hilferty, spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, quoted in New York Times, March 11.

Lieberman for Victory

“I disagree with those of my colleagues, including some Democrats, who are already pressing for a plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan. We need a victory strategy, not an exit strategy.”Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D­Conn.), Wall Street Journal, March 7.

Transatlantic Gap

“The choice for the Europeans is modernization or marginalization. … Otherwise, the gap between American forces on the one hand and European-and Canadian-forces on the other will be unbridgeable. For Washington, the choice could become: Act alone or not at all. And that is no choice at all.”George Robertson, NATO secretary general, at Potsdam Center for Transatlantic Security and Military Affairs, March 4.

Bring on the Good Stuff

“Where’s the dad-gum air? Push the air!”Army Maj. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, commander of US and coalition forces in Afghanistan, just before F-16s arrived to take out the moving target Hagenbeck was tracking on a video feed from a Predator reconnaissance drone, quoted by Newhouse News Service, March 8.

The New Bolsheviks

“Islamic extremism today, like bolshevism in the past, is an armed doctrine. It is an aggressive ideology, promoted by fanatical, well-armed devotees. And, like communism, it requires an all-embracing long-term strategy to defeat it.”-Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister, in The Guardian, Feb. 12.

Homeward Bound

“When the Taliban fell, 95 percent of this movement went from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Pakistan is the one who gave birth to the [Taliban] movement, and when they were defeated, they went back to their masters.”-Saranwal Mir Jan, spokesman for the Afghanistan Defense Ministry, Associated Press, March 18.

Salem I …

“I support bin Laden because he is standing up to America.”-Salem, engineering student at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, quoted in Boston Globe, March 4.

… And Salem II

“No, my brother studied there. But I’d love to go. It’s a great country. Do you think it’s still possible for us to get visas?”Salem, when asked if he had been to the United States.