UN Leaders “ Iraq To Chair UN Disarmament Conference.”—CNN.com headline, Jan. 29. Iraq was chosen by an automatic rotation process. Iraq’s co-chair for the conference is Iran.
Germany Is Convinced “ Iraq has complied fully with all relevant resolutions and cooperated very closely with the UN team on the ground. We think things are moving in the right direction.”—German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Washington Post, Jan. 21.
Debating Societies and Backbone
“ I believe when it’s all said and done, free nations will not allow the United Nations to fade into history as an ineffective, irrelevant debating society. I’m optimistic that free nations will show backbone and courage in the face of true threats to peace and freedom.”—President George W. Bush, in remarks at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Feb. 13.
European Support ” We in Europe have a relationship with the US which has stood the test of time. … The transatlantic relationship must not become a casualty of the current Iraqi regime’s persistent attempts to threaten world security. … Our governments have a common responsibility to face this threat. Failure to do so would be nothing less than negligent to our own citizens and to the wider world.”—Op–ed article, signed by Prime Ministers of Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and UK and the President of the Czech Republic, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 30.
“ It is not really responsible behavior. It is not well-brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet. … If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe, they could not have found a better way.”—French President Jacques Chirac, lashing out at nations (especially European Union membership candidates) who signed the op–ed article and a later letter backing US on Iraq, quoted by Associated Press, Feb. 17.
Some of My Best Friends Are Americans ” I’ve known the US for a long time. I visit often, I’ve studied there, worked as a forklift operator for Anheuser–Busch in St. Louis and as a soda jerk at Howard Johnson’s. I’ve hitchhiked across the whole United States; I even worked as a journalist and wrote a story for the New Orleans Times–Picayune on the front page. I know the US perhaps better than most French people, and I really like the United States. I’ve made many excellent friends there; I feel good there. I love junk food, and I always come home with a few extra pounds. I’ve always worked and supported trans–Atlantic solidarity. When I hear people say that I’m anti–American, I’m sad—not angry but really sad.”—French President Jacques Chirac, Time, Feb. 24.
“ France, Germany, and, to a degree, Russia, are opposed to military action in Iraq mainly because they maintain lucrative trade deals with Baghdad, many of which are arms-related.”—Khidhir Hamza, former director of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11.
The Credibility of Iraq
“ Of course they have no credibility. If they had any, they certainly lost it in 1991. I don’t see that they have acquired any credibility.”—Hans Blix, UN weapons inspector, on Iraq, Time, March 3.
Holes in NATO
“ A map of NATO with a hole where Germany had been would look odd; but the map has looked odd for 40 years since the French went their separate way. Now that the Soviet threat is no more, NATO does not really need Germany, except for purposes of internal communication. Germany’s armed forces are in disarray, as are those of France.”—John Keegan, British military historian, London Daily Telegraph, Feb. 11.
Japan Warns of First Strike
“ It’s too late if [a missile] flies towards Japan. Our nation will use military force as a self-defense measure if [North Korea] starts to resort to arms against Japan. … We differentiate this from the concept of a ‘pre-emptive strike.’ ”—Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, quoted by Reuters, Feb. 14.
“ Russia, China, and several European governments have been insisting that the United States cannot take action against Iraq without the full involvement of the United Nations. So it’s curious to hear those same countries argue that in the case of North Korea, another rogue state that threatens its neighbors with weapons of mass destruction, the only solution is unilateral steps by the Bush Administration.”—Washington Post editorial, Feb. 14.
“ Look, if I have X number of F-15s today, and I buy Y number of F-22s, and there’s a delta, and the delta is downward, you tell me I’ve got a bow wave. But if I have X number of F-15s, Y number of F-22s, and Z number of unmanned aerial vehicles, I’m arguing I won’t have a bow wave. I don’t reduce my Y, but my Y plus my Z probably does better than my X.”—“Senior defense official” briefing reporters on Fiscal 2004 defense budget, Jan. 31.
Moron on the March
“ I hope we are all in agreeance that this war should go away—as soon as possible.”—Antiwar statement by Fred Durst, member of the band Limp Bizkit, uttered onstage at the Feb. 23 Grammy awards program, quoted by MSNBC.com.