Dec. 1, 2002

War Is Last Choice

“The use of force is not my first choice, it’s my last. But my first choice, as well, is not to allow the world’s worst leader to blackmail, to harm America with the world’s worst weapons.”—President George W. Bush, speech in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 5.

A Hole in the Criticism

“One striking feature of the criticism of President Bush’s Iraq policy is the absence of suggested alternatives.”—Washington Post editorial, Oct. 2.

The Question Tells Us a Lot

“Russia Wondering What It Gets for Backing US Against Iraq”—Headline, Washington Post, Oct. 4.

Iraqis Impress Bonior

“Well, the Iraqis that we have talked to have said basically that [the UN inspectors] will have that unrestricted ability to go where they want to to inspect. And they will open up their inspections, I suspect, to even you, even to the media, to see.”—Rep. David E. Bonior (D–Mich.), after being toured around Iraq by the Iraqis, along with fellow Reps. Jim McDermott (D–Wash.) and Mike Thompson (D–Calif.),This Week,” ABC TV, Sept. 29.

McDermott’s Choice

“I think you have to take the Iraqis on their face value. … I think the President would mislead the American people.”—McDermott, appearing with Bonior on “This Week.”

Baghdad Jim

“Not since Jane Fonda posed for photographers at a Hanoi anti-aircraft gun has there been anything like Rep. Jim McDermott.”—Columnist George F. Will, Washington Post, Oct. 1.

How To Be More Popular

“The Koreans hate us. Now the Germans—you know that’s one against Germany. You know what? … If we had a foreign policy that tried to get people to like us as opposed to irritating everybody in the damn world, it would be a lot better thing.”—James Carville, Democratic political operative, “Crossfire,” Sept. 23.

Spoiling It for Objective Reporters

“The war correspondent as we know him—as an objective, independent person trying to find out what is going on—is finished. This is a new era in the relationship between government and the military and the media. Do you think they will let CNN show pictures of Iraqi kids being incinerated? They want to portray this as a clean, surgical war.”—Phillip Knightley, former journalist and author of The First Casualty, quoted in International Herald Tribune, Oct. 3.

Problem No. 1

“If you are worried about terrorists getting weapons of mass destruction or their components from countries, the first candidate you must worry about is Iraq.”—House Minority Leader Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D–Mo.), in a statement to Congress Oct. 10.

It Rhymes in New Jersey

“Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed/Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day/Why did Sharon stay away?”—Poem published by Amiri Baraka (formerly the playwright Le Roi Jones), official poet laureate of New Jersey, who refused a demand from the governor that he resign, Associated Press, Oct. 2.

New Principle of World Government

“No member nation has the right to take unilateral military action without the approval of the UN Security Council.”—Jim Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, quoted in Wall Street Journal, Sept. 26.

The March of Justice

“It’s a grand mess-up.”—Justice Department official, after federal prosecutors mistakenly turned over 48 classified FBI reports to Zacarias Moussaoui, accused accomplice in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, New York Times, Sept. 27.

Our Own Fault

“You know, you cannot exercise your powers to the point of humiliation for the others. … That is what the Western world—not only the Americans, the Western world—has to realize. … And I do think the Western world is going to be too rich in relation to the poor world, and necessarily, you know, [we’re looked] upon as being arrogant, self-satisfied, greedy, and with no limits. And Sept. 11 is an occasion for me to realize that it’s even more.”—Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in a July interview with Peter Mansbridge for the documentary “Untold Stories.”

So Why Come Back

“It makes me feel ashamed to come from the United States. … The atmosphere in my country is poisonous, … so thank you for inviting me to this festival and allowing me to get out for a few days.”—Actress Jessica Lange, denouncing US policy on Iraq at a film festival in Spain, quoted in South Africa Cape Times, Sept. 26.

“House Slave” Powell

“In the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master. … [Secretary of State] Colin Powell’s committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture.”—Singer Harry Belafonte, KFMB radio, San Diego, Oct. 8.

One-Shot Ari

“The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less [than going to war.] … Regime change is welcome in whatever form that it takes.”—White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, news briefing, Oct. 1.