“If I’m President of the United States, I’m going to take care of the American people. We are not going to have one of these incidents.”—Presidential candidate retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark on terrorist attacks, Concord Monitor (N.H.), Jan. 9.
Expert on Baloney
“I’ve been accused of using nothing but numbers, which is total baloney. In certain situations, numbers are damned important: developing a budget for the nation, reducing combat losses in war.”—Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, now starring in a new film, “The Fog of War,” Washington Post, Dec. 21.
The D-Day Diversion
“On June 6, 1944, the Allies opened a daring campaign against Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy in northwestern France, finally relieving pressure on Soviet forces battling in the east.”—Description by Reuters, Jan. 2, of D-Day in report on French plans for 60th anniversary commemoration.
“The capture of Saddam Hussein is a good thing which I hope very much will help keep our soldiers safer. But the capture of Saddam has not made America safer.”—Presidential candidate Howard Dean, speech to Pacific Council on International Policy, Dec. 15.
Can’t Fool McDermott
“I’m sure they could have found him a long time ago if they wanted to. I’ve been surprised they waited, but then I thought, well, politically, it probably doesn’t make much sense to find him just yet. There’s too much by happenstance for it to be just a coincidental thing that it happened on this particular day.”—Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) on capture of Saddam Hussein, Seattle radio interview, reported by Seattle Times, Dec. 16.
Can’t Fool Albright, Either
“Do you suppose that the Bush Administration has Osama bin Laden hidden away somewhere and will bring him out before the election?”—Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who later said it was a joke, Washington Times, Dec. 18.
Bring Back the Embeds
“I do not believe we have had very much accurate reporting from Iraq since the embedded journalists left. More embedding right now would satisfy me.”—Retired Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, coalition commander in Gulf War II, Palm Beach Post, Jan. 7.
Imperial But Not Imperialist
“America’s armed forces are becoming imperial without their country’s becoming imperialist. There is an important difference. Empires take many forms. One is that of an entity that exercises power far from its base without assuming political authority. That promises to be the new American way. America has always been and remains profoundly anti-imperialist.”—British military historian John Keegan, Time, Dec. 29-Jan. 5.
Don’t Go There
“The Chinese people are feeling displeased. We do respect Japanese culture and customs, but (Yasukuni) enshrines class-A war criminals. It is an act that neither China nor any other country that suffered during World War II can accept.”—Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong, criticizing visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japanese war dead, Japan Times, Jan. 13.
We’re Amis, Really
“It’s true that we had a disagreement with the United States over Iraq. We sincerely thought that it was not the best way. But that represents such a tiny part of our overall relationship. It is really a pity that it caused some people to overlook the important military actions we conduct side by side to fight such blights as terrorism or drug trafficking, to restore peace or reinforce stability.”—French Defense Minister Michele Alliot–Marie, Washington Post, Jan. 16.
“We do not yet know where this journey will end, yet we know this: Human beings are headed into the cosmos.”—President George W. Bush, announcing space exploration program, Jan. 14.
“The Joint Strike Fighter is going to be the only show in town. We want to be able to use the airplane. We want to operate it without feeling we have to get the approval of the United States.”—Gerald Howarth, British member of Parliament, on desire of allies for bigger role in the program, Washington Post, Jan. 2.
“[The global war on terrorism] may have set the United States on a course of open-ended and gratuitous conflict with states and nonstate entities that pose no serious threat to the United States. … The GWOT’s goals are also politically, fiscally, and militarily unsustainable.” [It] is strategically unfocused, promises much more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate scarce US military and other means over too many ends.”—Jeffrey Record, member of the Air War College faculty, in a study for the Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, December 2003.
The Nazi Standard
“I consider the act absolutely brutal, threatening human rights, violating human dignity, xenophobic, and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis.”—Brazilian judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva, denouncing US fingerprinting of foreigners arriving in the US and ordering similar treatment of Americans in Brazil, Washington Post, Jan. 4.