Feb. 1, 2002

Lost Minds

“I just think any country in the world that would knowingly harbor [Osama] bin Laden would be out of their minds. … They’ve seen what happened to the Taliban.”-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Dec. 18 news conference.

It Could Be Worse

“Reports that al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners due to be transferred to a US base in Guantanamo, Cuba, may be drugged, hooded, and shackled during the 20-hour transportation flight are worrying.”-Amnesty International news release, Jan. 10.

No Regrets

“In the name of Allah, I do not have anything to plead. I enter no plea. Thank you very much.”-Zacarias Moussaoui, terror defendant, at Jan. 2 hearing in Alexandria, Va., federal court.

No Quarter

“For states that support terror, it’s not enough that the consequences be costly; they must be devastating. The more credible this reality, the more likely that regimes will change their behavior.”-President Bush, in Dec. 11 speech at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.

No Witches

“We want this commission to be nonpartisan and independent. It must be a hunt for the truth, not a witch hunt.”-Sen Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), in Dec. 20 statement calling for a full-scale investigation of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

No Kidding

“God may strike me dead right on this spot if I were offering this amendment for political purposes.”-Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), in Dec. 4 remarks about charges that Democrats had stuffed the 2002 defense bill with pork-barrel projects.

Poor Dears

“They say the bombing was terrible, and when they sleep they talk about hearing aircraft.”-An Afghani translator, referring to 18 wounded al Qaeda terrorists who were captured and hospitalized, quoted in Dec. 23 New York Times.

Workers’ Paradise

“I didn’t want to leave the United States to go to some hellhole like Russia or China.”-David Greenglass, top Soviet atomic spy from the 1940s, on why he didn’t flee the US to avoid arrest. From Dec. 5 broadcast of CBS’s “60 Minutes II.”

Ashcroft’s Retort

“Charges of ‘kangaroo courts’ and ‘shredding the Constitution’ give new meaning to the term, ‘the fog of war.’ … We need honest, reasoned debate, not fear-mongering. To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against noncitizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of goodwill to remain silent in the face of evil.”-Attorney General John Ashcroft, Dec. 6 testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee.


“The Navy and Marine Corps has [sic] served as the backbone of Operation Enduring Freedom. … I want to note the contribution of the sister services, especially the Air Force’s heavy bombers [sic], that dropped most of the strategic ordnance. … They made a vital contribution to this effort. But the key support was provided by tactical aircraft, close air support for our troops, provided overwhelmingly by the Navy.”-Rep. Mark S. Kirk (R­Ill.), a lieutenant commander in the US Naval Reserve, in Dec. 20 floor speech.

“A” For Effort, Anyway

“What the Navy is flying is more Desert Drizzle than Desert Storm, in terms of tonnage being dropped, the amount of firepower being provided. But it’s interesting to see them putting their best foot forward.”-Defense analyst Andrew Krepinevich, quoted in Dec. 17 Defense Week.

Beyond Parody

“What makes the President I’m taking note of his wide-swinging threats in speeches recently what makes him think that he has the right to go into a sovereign country and bomb the people? … Does he think he can go beyond Afghanistan or anywhere else? … What gives him the authority to go into other countries and bomb them, which is what he is threatening to do?”-Questions by reporter Helen Thomas, put to White House spoke-man Ari Fleischer at Dec. 5 news conference.

From the Reptile Cage

“We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. … [D]ue to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for. … We had notification since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that day. We had finished our work that day and had the radio on. It was 5:30 p.m. our time. … We turned the radio station to the news from Washington. The news continued and no mention of the attack until the end. At the end of the newscast, they reported that a plane just hit the World Trade Center. … After a little while, they announced that another plane had hit the World Trade Center. The brothers who heard the news were overjoyed by it.”-bin Laden, transcript of videotaped remarks, released by the Pentagon on Dec. 13.