July 1, 2002

Noam Is Out Again

“The atrocities of Sept. 11 are quite new in world affairs, not in scale and character, but in target. The United States exterminated its indigenous population, conquered half of Mexico, and carried out depredations all over. Now, for the first time since the British burned the White House in 1812, the guns have been directed the other way.”-Noam Chomsky, noted linguist, author, and social critic, Washington Post, May 5.

Psychiatric Advice 5¢

“One explanation for Bush’s fixation on ousting Saddam Hussein is that he wants to avenge his father, who was victorious against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 but failed to unseat its ruler.”-Helen Thomas, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 8.

Strung Out

“The entire force is facing the adverse results of the high-paced optempo and perstempo. … We are past the point where the department can, without an unbelievably compelling reason, make any additional commitments. … It is time [to] begin to aggressively reduce our current commitments.”

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, March 13 memo, obtained and quoted by Newsweek, May 6.

Pushed From Behind

“Sept. 11 proved one thing above all others: Our enemies are transforming. Will we?”-Rumsfeld, writing in Washington Post, May 16.

Great Moments in Journalism

“We went to help out the Americans with their war–and they used us for target practice.”-Columnist Margaret Wente on accidental bombing of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, in Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, April 19.

Where the Troops Live

“Last August, I and 20 of my colleagues took a tour of 24 military bases. Any American who saw what we saw on that trip would be ashamed that we allow our fighting men and women to live in such conditions. If these problems existed in a public housing authority the Housing and Urban Development department would order immediate improvements.”-Rep. Curt Weldon (R­Pa.), writing in Federal Times, April 22.

Wisdom of the East

“We consider the United States and its current Administration a first-class sponsor of international terrorism, and it along with Israel form an axis of terrorism and evil in the world.”-Letter from 126 Saudi scholars and writers, Washington Post, April 24.


“First, let’s get this straight. No nation enjoys a ‘right to exist.’ Countries are created by people killing other people who used to live in a place; countries continue to exist as long as their citizens are willing to kill other people to keep them the hell out.”-Ted Rall, online columnist, “It’s Time to Cut Israel Loose,”, April 29.

Muslims Targeted, Too

“We need to recognize that the terrorists target not only us but their fellow Muslims, upon whom they aim to impose a medieval, intolerant, and tyrannical way of life.”-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in speech to World Affairs Council, May 3.

Blood and Gigabytes

“You don’t win a war by making PowerPoint slides. You win a war by making the other poor son of a bitch make PowerPoint slides.”-Lt. Gen. Ronald E. Keys, USAF, commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe and 16th Air Force, Inside the Pentagon, April 25.

Saddam Jones, Maybe

“Please quote me. Saddam is a symbol of pure happiness.”-Nihat Mohammed, geography teacher in Baghdad, Wall Street Journal, April 26.

Remembered in His Prayers

“I pray … for the destruction of the Jewish people and state and the liberation of Palestine. … I pray to Allah the powerful for the return of the Islamic emirates of Afghanistan and the destruction of the United States.”-Zacarias Moussaoui, indicted in 9/11 terrorism plotting, speaking in a federal courtroom, quoted in the Washington Post, April 23.

New Face of War

“The percentage of civilians killed and wounded as a result of hostilities has risen from five percent of all casualties at the turn of the last century, to 65 percent during World War II, to 90 percent in more recent conflicts.”-Annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report, Save the Children, May 2002.

Air Force From the Sea

“We will fully integrate the Marine air with Navy air so we will have one integrated air force within the Department of the Navy. One integrated air force consisting of both Navy and Marines.”-Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, Defense Writers Group, May 9.

It Could Be Worse

“Dangerous as he is, Osama bin Laden is still trivial compared to a great powers race, in which the strategic balance is extremely delicate because of the possibility of a catastrophic war with nuclear weapons. We are living in a blessed period of history when there is no great enemy to thrust all other threats out of the limelight.”-Strategic analyst Edward N. Luttwak, Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22.

Good Point

“The country would be better off if military professionals were making military decisions, not [White House budget director] Mitch Daniels.”David Sirota, spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, Reuters, April 30