Iraq War Quotes

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One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.
George W. Bush
The number of people killed by the sanctions in Iraq is greater than the total number of people killed by all weapons of mass destruction in all of history.
Noam Chomsky
To the people who are upset about their hard-earned tax money going to things they don’t like: welcome to the f*cking club. Reimburse me for the Iraq war and oil subsidies, and diaphragms are on me!
Jon Stewart
The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitations services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us.
John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man)
Here’s how bizarre the war is that we’re in in Iraq, and we should have known this right from the get-go: When we first went into Iraq, Germany didn’t want to go. Germany. The Michael Jordan of war took a pass.
Jon Stewart
We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or where will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for war seem to know who did it or where to look for them. This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed--for anyone, and certainly not for a baffled little creep like George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it off.
Hunter S. Thompson
Thomas Jefferson once said: 'Of course the people don't want war. But the people can be brought to the bidding of their leader. All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for somehow a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.' I think that was Jefferson. Oh wait. That was Hermann Goering. Shoot." [Hosting the Peabody Awards for broadcasting excellence at the New York Waldorf-Astoria, June 6, 2006]
Jon Stewart
Sadism dominates the culture. It runs like an electric current through reality television and trash-talk programs, is at the core of pornography, and fuels the compliant, corporate collective. Corporatism is about crushing the capacity for moral choice and diminishing the individual to force him or her into an ostensibly harmonious collective. This hypermasculinity has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our lack of compassion for our homeless, our poor, the mentally ill, the unemployed, and the sick. ... We accept the system handed to us and seek to find a comfortable place within it. We retreat into the narrow, confined ghettos created for us and shut our eyes to the deadly superstructure of the corporate state.
Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)
It's a pity both sides can't lose (commenting on Iran-Iraq war, 1980 – 1988)
Henry Kissinger
The war to preserve the privilege of mythmaking
Marvin Bell (Mars Being Red)
How ironic is it to see a bumper sticker that says 'Jesus is the answer' next to a bumper sticker supporting the war in Iraq, as if to says 'Jesus is the answer - but not in the real world.
Shane Claiborne
In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appalling powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed. In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazi's once were. And with good reason. In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want. Piece of cake. In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanize our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class. Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything. Piece of cake. The O'Reilly Factor. So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called "In These Times." Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic "New York Times" guaranteed there were weapons of destruction there. Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun. Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you? Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is the not the first time I surrendered to a pitiless war machine. My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse." Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas! Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations and made it all their own?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
..when a war ends, what does that look like exactly? do the cells in the body stop detonating themselves? does the orphanage stop screaming for its mother? when the sand in the desert has been melted down to glass and our reflection is not something we can stand to look at does the white flag make for a perfect blindfold? yesterday i was told a story about this little girl in Iraq, six-years-old, who cannot fall asleep because when she does she dreams of nothing but the day she watched her dog eat her neighbor's corpse. if you told her war is over do you think she can sleep?
Andrea Gibson (The Madness Vase)
Genocide is the responsibility of the entire world.
Ann Clwyd (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
Am I awake or dreaming? It doesn’t matter anymore. When I close my eyes I dream of death and war. When I open my eyes I see death and war.
Michael Anthony (Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq)
The fact that war is the word we use for almost everything—on terrorism, drugs, even poverty—has certainly helped to desensitize us to its invocation; if we wage wars on everything, how bad can they be?
Glenn Greenwald (A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency)
We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attacks on the twin towers and the pentagon and the American struggle in Iraq. These events swung American public opinion in our favor
Benjamin Netanyahu
I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq.
Sarah Palin
We know about bad guys, what they do, and often, who they are. The politicians have chosen to send us into battle, and that's our trade. We do what's necessary. And in my view, once those politicians have elected to send us out to do what 99.9 percent of the country would be terrified to undertake, they should get the hell out of the way and stay there. This entire business of modern war crimes, as identified by the liberal wings of politics and the media, began in Iraq and has been running downhill ever since. Everyone's got to have his little hands in it, blathering on about the public's right to know. Well, the view of most Navy SEALs, the public does not have that right to know, not if it means placing our lives in unnecessary peril because someone in Washington is driving himself mad worrying about the human rights of some cold-hearted terrorist fanatic who would kill us as soon as look at us, as well as any other American at whom he could point that wonky old AK of his.
Marcus Luttrell (Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10)
In the time that we're here today, more women and children will die violently in the Darfur region than in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel or Lebanon. So, after September 30, you won't need the UN - you will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones.
George Clooney
And for once, Donald Rumsfeld, in the news at the time over the Iraq war made sense to me: "As we know," he said, famously, "there are known knowns-things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns-things we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns- things we don't know we don't know.
Benjamin Mee (We Bought a Zoo)
Destroying Iraq was the greatest strategic blunder this country has made in its history. Unless we change course, there's every reason to believe the Iraq War will end up changing the United States more than it will ever change Iraq.
Robert B. Baer
protected businesses never, never become competitive ... Halliburton, Bechtel, Parsons, KPMG, RTI, Blackwater and all other U.S. corporations that were in Iraq to take advantage of the reconstruction were part of a vast protectionist racket whereby the U.S. government had created their markets with war, barred their competitors from even entering the race, then paid them to do the work, while guaranteeing them a profit to boot - all at taxpayer expense.
Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism)
[T]hose who are in a position of strength have a responsibility to protect the weak.
Thomas Cushman (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
I want to follow your orders, but, I…I still work for military intelligence, and I need permission to travel out of my stationed area.
Karl Braungart (Counter Identity (Remmich/Miller #2))
Paul, tell him you need to talk to international security advisors. Briefly explain the army asked you to act as a temporary diplomat. You don’t have to give the details. Now, what are your calendar plans?
Karl Braungart (Counter Identity (Remmich/Miller #2))
Imagining an alternate reality where there was no Iraq War, for example, or where the terrifying new swine flu in the Republic of Georgia hadn’t been swiftly contained; an alternate world where the Georgia flu blossomed into an unstoppable pandemic and civilization collapsed.
Emily St. John Mandel (The Glass Hotel)
Anti-Americanism may indeed have grown fiercer than it was during the cold war. It is a common phenomenon that when the angels fail to deliver, the demons become more fearsome.
Ian Buruma (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: "C-Students from Yale." George W. Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences. To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete's foot . . . PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose! . . . So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation. They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin' day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reasons that they don't give a fuck what happens next. Simply can't. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody's telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass! There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
Believe it or not the war on Iraq is based on a sound scientific principle, The bee hive principle. Which clearly states that if you are stung by a bee, you should follow it back to its nest and then proceed to beat nest to a pulp with a baseball bat until the stripey little turd has learned its lesson.
John Oliver
Death wins nothing here, gnawing wings that amputate–– then spread, lift up, fly.
Aberjhani (Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry)
Who supports the troops? The troops support the troops.
Clint Van Winkle (Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Well, here’s the shocker,” said Kirby. “Majors Miller and McKinsey believe our former Captain Paul Remmich is acting as a spy for the Iraqi government.
Karl Braungart (Counter Identity (Remmich/Miller #2))
Wait a minute. What was that name you mentioned? Something about Allah?
Karl Braungart (Counter Identity (Remmich/Miller #2))
Arabs and other Muslims generally agreed that Saddam Hussein might be a bloody tyrant, but, paralleling FDR's thinking, "he is our bloody tyrant." In their view, the invasion was a family affair to be settled within the family and those who intervened in the name of some grand theory of international justice were doing so to protect their own selfish interests and to maintain Arab subordination to the west.
Samuel P. Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order)
I will always hate war, but will be forever proud of mine.
David Bellavia (House to House: An Epic Memoir of War)
You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --George W. Bush, interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006
George W. Bush
Either greed belongs in a war zone, or it doesn't. You can't unleash it in the name of sparking an economic boom and then be shocked when Halliburton overcharges for everything from towels to gas, when Parsons' sub, sub, sub-contractor builds a police academy where the pipes drip raw sewage on the heads of army cadets and where Blackwater investigates itself and finds it acted honorably. That's just corporations doing what they do and Iraq is a privatized war zone so that's what you get. Build a frontier, you get cowboys and robber barons.
Naomi Klein
September 11, 2001: Citizens of the U.S., besieged by terror’s sting, rose up, weeping glory, as if on eagles’ wings.--from the poem Angel of Remembrance: Candles for September 11, 2001
Aberjhani (The River of Winged Dreams)
There's an old, frequently-used definition of insanity, which is "performing the same action over and over, expecting different results."... Now, I'm no doctor, but I am on TV. And in my professional opinion, George Bush is a paranoid schizophrenic. ... ...Other symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia are: Do you see things that aren't there? Such as a link between 9/11 and Iraq? Do you - do you feel things that you shouldn't be feeling, like a sense of accomplishment? Do you have trouble organizing words into a coherent sentence? Do you hear voices that aren't really there? Like, oh, I don't know, your imaginary friend, Jesus? Telling you to start a war in the Middle East. Well, guess what? There are a large number of people out there also suffering from the same delusions, because there are Republicans, there are conservatives, and then there are the Bushies. This is the 29 percent of Americans who still think he's doing "a heck of a job, Whitey." And I don't believe that it's coincidence that almost the same number of Americans - 25 percent - told a recent pollster that they believe that this year - this year, 2007 - would bring the Second Coming of Christ! I have a hunch these are the same people. Because, if you think that you're going to meet Jesus before they cancel "Ugly Betty," then you're used to doing things by faith. And if you have so much blind faith that you think this war is winnable, you're nuts and you shouldn't be allowed near a voting booth.
Bill Maher
I agree with all of you. I believe Remmich and Miller are still being hunted. As you know, we interrogated the two men who worked for the cleaning company hired by INSCOM. The officers are being watched. You know the rest of the story.
Karl Braungart (Fatal Identity (Remmich/Miller #3))
We found an American soldier. He is with us right now. I performed the steps of initial drugging. Minutes ago, I gave him an injection to calm him and reverse the drowsy state of mind. He is doing better.
Karl Braungart (Lost Identity (The Remmich/Miller Series Book 1))
Peace is not so much a political mandate as it is a shared state of consciousness that remains elevated and intact only to the degree that those who value it volunteer their existence as living examples of the same... Peace ends with the unraveling of individual hope and the emergence of the will to worship violence as a healer of private and social dis-ease.
Aberjhani (The American Poet Who Went Home Again)
You got used to running things on your own." "What could he do about it when he's in Iraq and the car breaks down in Kansas?" Beckett gave her a long, quiet look. "I'm not in Iraq." "No, and it has to be said, I'm not in Kansas anymore." She lifted her hands, then let them fall. "It's not that I've forgotten how to be a couple, but that my experience in being part of one is different from yours. Maybe from most people's. And I've been on my own a long time." "Now you're not. I'm not fighting a war, and I'm right here." Needed to be here, he realized, with her.
Nora Roberts (The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy, #1))
Let’s not forget—we already have a highly ranked officer secretly working for us at Patch Barracks, V Corps headquarters.
Karl Braungart (Lost Identity (The Remmich/Miller Series Book 1))
I saw a banner hanging next to city hall in downtown Philadelphia that read, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." A bumper sticker read, "God will judge evildoers; we just have to get them to him." I saw a T-shirt on a soldier that said, "US Air Force... we don't die; we just go to hell to regroup." Others were less dramatic- red, white, and blue billboards saying, "God bless our troops." "God Bless America" became a marketing strategy. One store hung an ad in their window that said, "God bless America--$1 burgers." Patriotism was everywhere, including in our altars and church buildings. In the aftermath of September 11th, most Christian bookstores had a section with books on the event, calendars, devotionals, buttons, all decorated in the colors of America, draped in stars and stripes, and sprinkled with golden eagles. This burst of nationalism reveals the deep longing we all have for community, a natural thirst for intimacy... September 11th shattered the self-sufficient, autonomous individual, and we saw a country of broken fragile people who longed for community- for people to cry with, be angry with, to suffer with. People did not want to be alone in their sorrow, rage, and fear. But what happened after September 11th broke my heart. Conservative Christians rallies around the drums of war. Liberal Christian took to the streets. The cross was smothered by the flag and trampled under the feet of angry protesters. The church community was lost, so the many hungry seekers found community in the civic religion of American patriotism. People were hurting and crying out for healing, for salvation in the best sense of the word, as in the salve with which you dress a wound. A people longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down. They have always fallen short of the glory of God. ...The tragedy of the church's reaction to September 11th is not that we rallied around the families in New York and D.C. but that our love simply reflected the borders and allegiances of the world. We mourned the deaths of each soldier, as we should, but we did not feel the same anger and pain for each Iraqi death, or for the folks abused in the Abu Ghraib prison incident. We got farther and farther from Jesus' vision, which extends beyond our rational love and the boundaries we have established. There is no doubt that we must mourn those lives on September 11th. We must mourn the lives of the soldiers. But with the same passion and outrage, we must mourn the lives of every Iraqi who is lost. They are just as precious, no more, no less. In our rebirth, every life lost in Iraq is just as tragic as a life lost in New York or D.C. And the lives of the thirty thousand children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.
Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)
I am sorry for those who have never had the experience of seeing the victory of a national liberation movement, and I feel cold contempt for those who jeer at it.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
The budgetary cost to the UK of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through 2010 will total more than £18 billion. If we include the social costs the total impact will exceed £20 billion.
Joseph E. Stiglitz (The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost Of The Iraq Conflict)
The term propaganda rings melodramatic and exaggerated, but a press that—whether from fear, careerism, or conviction—uncritically recites false government claims and reports them as fact, or treats elected officials with a reverence reserved for royalty, cannot be accurately described as engaged in any other function.
Glenn Greenwald (A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency)
First Afghanistan, now Iraq. So who's next? Syria? North Korea? Iran? Where will it all end?' If these illegal interventions are permitted to continue, the implication seems to be, pretty soon, horror of horrors, no murderously repressive regimes might remain.
Daniel Kofman (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
 “We think a spy scheme could be brewing with one or more of the Middle East scientists going to Los Alamos.
Karl Braungart (Fatal Identity (Remmich/Miller #3))
A president who is burdened with a failed and unpopular war, and who has lost the trust of the country, simply can no longer govern. He is destined to become as much a failure as his war.
Glenn Greenwald (A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency)
There is a noticeable element of the pathological in some current leftist critiques, which I tend to attribute to feelings of guilt allied to feelings of impotence. Not an attractive combination, because it results in self-hatred.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
If the counsel of the peaceniks had been followed, Kuwait would today be the nineteenth province of Iraq. Bosnia would be a trampled and cleansed province of Greater Serbia, Kosovo would have been emptied of most of its inhabitants, and the Taliban would still be in power in Afghanistan. Yet nothing seems to disturb the contented air of moral superiority of those that intone the "peace movement".
Christopher Hitchens (The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens)
Authoritarian Communism is, and should be, forever tainted by those real-world laboratories. But what of the contemporary crusade to liberate world markets? The coups, wars and slaughters to instill and maintain pro-corporate regimes have never been treated as capitalist crimes but have instead been written off as the excess of overzealous dictators, as hot fronts in the Cold War, and now of the War on Terror. If the most committed opponents of the corporatist economic model are systematically eliminated, whether in Argentina in the seventies or in Iraq today, that suppression is explained as part of the dirty fight against Communism or terrorism - almost never as the fight for the advancement of pure capitalism.
Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism)
The groundswell of outrage over the invasion of Iraq often cited the preemptive war as a betrayal of American ideals. The subtext of the dissent was: 'This is not who we are.' But not if you were standing where I was. It was hard to see the look in that palace tour guide's eyes when she talked about the American flag flying over the palace and not realize that ever since 1898, from time to time, this is exactly who we are.
Sarah Vowell (Unfamiliar Fishes)
I am calling to tell you that Colonel Yildiz has made travel arrangements for you, Tara, and me. We are flying to Istanbul tomorrow. I’ll call you back and with the departure time. Do you understand?
Karl Braungart (Counter Identity (Remmich/Miller #2))
It struck me that such analyses had it backward. It’s the American public for whom the Iraq War is often no more real than a video game. Five years into this war, I am not always confident most Americans fully appreciate the caliber of the people fighting for them, the sacrifices they have made, and the sacrifices they continue to make. After the Vietnam War ended, the onus of shame largely fell on the veterans. This time around, if shame is to be had when the Iraq conflict ends - and all indications are there will be plenty of it - the veterans are the last people in America to deserve it. When it comes to apportioning shame my vote goes to the American people who sent them to war in a surge of emotion but quickly lost the will to either win it or end it. The young troops I profiled in Generation Kill, as well as the other men and women in uniform I’ve encountered in combat zones throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, are among the finest people of their generation. We misuse them at our own peril.
Evan Wright (Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War)
At the evident risk of seeming ridiculous, I want to begin by saying that I have tried for much of my life to write as if I was composing my sentences to be read posthumously. I hope this isn't too melodramatic or self-centred a way of saying that I attempt to write as if I did not care what reviewers said, what peers thought, or what prevailing opinions may be.
Christopher Hitchens (A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq)
He is a true casualty of battle. There's not a physical scar, but look at the man's heart, and his head, and there are scars galore.
David Finkel (The Good Soldiers)
The most basic barrier was language itself, very few Americans in Iraq whether soldiers or diplomats or news paper reporters could speak more than a few words of Arabic. A remarkable number of them didn't even have translators. That meant for many Iraqis the typical 19 year old army corporal from South Dakota was not a youthful innocent carrying Americas good will, he was a terrifying combination of firepower and ignorance.
Dexter Filkins (The Forever War)
One half of the table was arguing with the other half about the rights and wrongs of the Iraq war, in that semi-detached, earnest way that moneyed people do, always safe in the knowledge no political outcome will really affect them.
Elizabeth Day (The Party)
I absolutely refuse to associate myself with anyone who cannot discern the essential night-and-day difference between theocratic fascism and liberal secular democracy, even less do I want to engage with those who are incapable of recognizing the basic moral distinction between premeditated mass murder and unintentional killing.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
I wish you fair winds and following sea." And I explain that this is our way of wishing a person the best of luck and a long, good journey through life.
Nick Popaditch (Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery)
The arrogance and brutality of empire are not repealed when they temporarily get deployed in a just cause.
Michael Kazin (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
War is politics for everyone but the warrior.
Tiffany Madison
Here in Iraq...we found a country of good people looking after their kids, starting schools, improving their prospects in spite of terrible obstacles.
Marcus Luttrell (Service: A Navy SEAL at War)
I became amazed at how much my men would tolerate if someone just took the time to explain the why of it all to them.
Donovan Campbell (Joker One: A Marine Platoon's Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood)
The other day, we went somewhere, and did something.
Colby Buzzell (My War: Killing Time in Iraq)
I've had people tell me to get over it. I politely tell them, 'How about if I chop off your finger and see if it grows back?
Jim Sheeler (Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives)
History will judge the war against Iraq not by the brilliance of its military execution, but by the effectiveness of the post-hostilities activities.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran (Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone)
The problem is that you cannot prove yourself against someone who is much weaker than yourself. They are in a lose/lose situation. If you are strong and fighting the weak, then if you kill your opponent then you are a scoundrel... if you let him kill you, then you are an idiot. So here is a dilemma which others have suffered before us, and for which as far as I can see there is simply no escape.
Martin van Creveld (The Changing Face of War: Lessons of Combat, from the Marne to Iraq)
He said his friend Victor called it a lucky charm, and that it kept him safe in Iraq." She felt her pulse pick up tempo, and she brought her face close to Ben's. "Did you say Victor called it a lucky charm?" "Uh-huh." Ben nodded. "That's what he said." "Are you sure?" "Of course I'm sure." Beth stared at her son, feeling at war with herself.
Nicholas Sparks (The Lucky One)
The debacle in Iraq has reinforced the realist dictum, disparaged by idealists in the 1990s, that the legacies of geography, history and culture really do set limits on what can be accomplished in any given place. But the experience in the Balkans reinforced an idealist dictum that is equally true: One should always work near the limits of what is possible rather than cynically give up on any place. In this decade idealists went too far; in the previous one, it was realists who did not go far enough.
Robert D. Kaplan
I grabbed the closest box of books and heaved it onto my bed. It contained all the books I had read in Iraq. Dog-eared, with broken spines, speckled with dirt, food, and even a little blood, most of the copies were marked up with notes in the margins. The better the book, the worse it looked--that's the way it should be. As I saw it, they were almost more like diaries than books.
Michael Anthony (Civilianized: A Young Veteran's Memoir)
War becomes a part of you. It is a feeling just as much as an experience. If you can’t feel it, you weren’t paying attention. And if you weren’t paying attention, you are probably dead anyway.
Clint Van Winkle (Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don't show her enough appreciation, and after all she's done for us, she may cry.
Christopher Hitchens
I had covered wars in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and elsewhere, but the work had started to feel routine. I wanted to leave the journalistic herd, to find a project that would both daunt and inspire me. Facing down the Congo was just such a project.
Tim Butcher (Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart)
Dread of returning to Iraq equals the direst poverty, and that's how he feels right now, poor, like a shabby homeless kid suddenly thrust into the company of millionaires. Mortal fear is the ghetto of the human soul, to be free of it something like the psychic equivalent of inheriting a hundred million dollars. This is what he truly envies of these people, the luxury of terror as a talking point, and at this moment he feels so sorry for himself that he could break right down and cry.
Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)
1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times.... 3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.
Christopher Hitchens
It (politician) wants to separate them. And to do so it has chosen the worst, blackest pencil of all - the pencil of war, which spells only misery and death.
Zlata Filipović (Stolen Voices: Young People's War Diaries, from World War I to Iraq)
Sometimes, a war saves people.
José Ramos-Horta (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
Sanctions make a substantial contribution to power based on privation, and they have never hurt a single despot in the whole history of their use.
Roger Scruton (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
Appearances can be misleading. You just never know what’s inside someone until he’s tested.
Daniel Rodriguez (Rise: A Soldier, a Dream, and a Promise Kept)
Worry only about what you control. The rest is war.
Matthew J. Hefti (A Hard And Heavy Thing)
The participation if women in some armies in the world is in reality only symbolic. The talk about the role of Zionist women in fighting with the combat units of the enemy in the war of 5 June 1967 was intended more as propaganda than anything real or substantial. It was calculated to intensify and compound the adverse psychological effects of the war by exploiting the backward outlook of large sections of Arab society and their role in the community. The intention was to achieve adverse psychological effects by saying to Arabs that they were defeated, in 1967, by women.
Saddam Hussein (The Revolution and Woman in Iraq)
It is no accident, then, that each of our major wars has served to enhance the power of government in Washington: the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Edward S. Greenberg (The Struggle for Democracy)
I wanted people to know that we fired rounds into moving trucks and open windows to survive, not for anyone else’s freedom. Not for the Democrats. Not for Republicans. Just to survive.
Clint Van Winkle (Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
I am a Christian, but my time in Iraq has convinced me that God doesn't want to hear from me anymore. I've done things that He can never forgive. I've done them consciously. I've made decisions I must live with for years to come. I am not a victim. In each instance, I heard my conscience call for restraint, I told it to shut the fuck up and let me handle my business. All the sins I've committed, I've done with one objective: to keep my men alive.
David Bellavia (House to House: An Epic Memoir of War)
As a Nobel Peace laureate, I, like most people, agonize over the use of force. But when it comes to rescuing an innocent people from tyranny or genocide, I've never questioned the justification for resorting to force. That's why I supported Vietnam's 1978 invasion of Cambodia, which ended Pol Pot's regime, and Tanzania's invasion of Uganda in 1979, to oust Idi Amin. In both cases, those countries acted without U.N. or international approval—and in both cases they were right to do so.
José Ramos-Horta (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
Why the conservatives, who controlled all three branches of the federal government, were still so enraged--at respectful skeptics of the Iraq War, at gay couples who wanted to get married, at bland Al Gore and cautious Hillary Clinton, at endangered species and their advocates, at taxes and gas prices that were among the lowest of any industrialized nation, at a mainstream media whose corporate owners were themselves conservatives, at the Mexicans who cut their grass and washed their dishes--was somewhat mysterious to Walter.
Jonathan Franzen (Freedom)
For most of my life, I would have automatically said that I would opt for conscientious objector status, and in general, I still would. But the spirit of the question is would I ever, and there are instances where I might. If immediate intervention would have circumvented the genocide in Rwanda or stopped the Janjaweed in Darfur, would I choose pacifism? Of course not. Scott Simon, the reporter for National Public Radio and a committed lifelong Quaker, has written that it took looking into mass graves in former Yugoslavia to convince him that force is sometimes the only option to deter our species' murderous impulses. While we're on the subject of the horrors of war, and humanity's most poisonous and least charitable attributes, let me not forget to mention Barbara Bush (that would be former First Lady and presidential mother as opposed to W's liquor-swilling, Girl Gone Wild, human ashtray of a daughter. I'm sorry, that's not fair. I've no idea if she smokes.) When the administration censored images of the flag-draped coffins of the young men and women being killed in Iraq - purportedly to respect "the privacy of the families" and not to minimize and cover up the true nature and consequences of the war - the family matriarch expressed her support for what was ultimately her son's decision by saying on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? I mean it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Mrs. Bush is not getting any younger. When she eventually ceases to walk among us we will undoubtedly see photographs of her flag-draped coffin. Whatever obituaries that run will admiringly mention those wizened, dynastic loins of hers and praise her staunch refusal to color her hair or glamorize her image. But will they remember this particular statement of hers, this "Let them eat cake" for the twenty-first century? Unlikely, since it received far too little play and definitely insufficient outrage when she said it. So let us promise herewith to never forget her callous disregard for other parents' children while her own son was sending them to make the ultimate sacrifice, while asking of the rest of us little more than to promise to go shopping. Commit the quote to memory and say it whenever her name comes up. Remind others how she lacked even the bare minimum of human integrity, the most basic requirement of decency that says if you support a war, you should be willing, if not to join those nineteen-year-olds yourself, then at least, at the very least, to acknowledge that said war was actually going on. Stupid fucking cow.
David Rakoff (Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems)
Most people, when directly confronted by evidence that they are wrong, do not change their point of view or course of action but justify it even more tenaciously. Even irrefutable evidence is rarely enough to pierce the mental armor of self-justification. When we began working on this book, the poster boy for "tenacious clinging to a discredited belief" was George W. Bush. Bush was wrong in his claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, he was wrong in claiming that Saddam was linked with Al Qaeda, he was wrong in predicting that Iraqis would be dancing joyfully in the streets to receive the American soldiers, he was wrong in predicting that the conflict would be over quickly, he was wrong in his gross underestimate of the financial cost of the war, and he was most famously wrong in his photo-op speech six weeks after the invasion began, when he announced (under a banner reading MISSION ACCOMPLISHED) that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended.
Carol Tavris (Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts)
Anyone who has ever studied the history of American diplomacy, especially military diplomacy, knows that you might start in a war with certain things on your mind as a purpose of what you are doing, but in the end, you found yourself fighting for entirely different things that you had never thought of before ... In other words, war has a momentum of its own and it carries you away from all thoughtful intentions when you get into it. Today, if we went into Iraq, like the president would like us to do, you know where you begin. You never know where you are going to end.
George F. Kennan
It's a thin line between what we're calling acceptable and not acceptable. As a leader, you're supposed to know when not to cross it. But how do you know? Does the army teach us how to control our emotions? Does the army teach us how to deal with a friend bleeding out in front of you? No.
David Finkel (The Good Soldiers)
I have this thought, it’s horrible, and it makes me sick, but it’s true: one day these students will grow up and have their own kids, and they’re going to name them for men and women who will die in this war.
Tucker Elliot (The Day Before 9/11)
He showed the world what can be done against the odds, against a superpower. He showed -- and this is where Vietnam and Iraq come in, that in a war between an imperialist occupier and the people who actually live there, the people will eventually prevail. They know the terrain. They have more at stake. They have nowhere else to go.
John Updike (Terrorist)
And so this is where the post Cold War has brought us: to the recognition that the very totalitarism that we fought against in the decades following WWII might, in quite a few circumstances, be preferable to a situation where nobody is in charge. There are things worse than communism, it turned out, and in Iraq we brought them about ourselves.
Robert D. Kaplan (The Revenge Of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate)
I just didn't believe Bush.
Saddam Hussein
I left a piece of my soul that will always rightfully belong in the desert.
M.B. Dallocchio (The Desert Warrior)
The United States finds itself with forces of reaction. Do I have to demonstrate this? The Taliban's annihilation of music and culture? The enslavement of women?
Christopher Hitchens (A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq)
We would send them all to hell! And hell they would go!
Thomas Ferreolus (Sounds of War: Iraq Attack of Thomas Edington)
God works through people by stirring their hearts and sometimes people never know how they are helping others.
Colby Buzzell (My War: Killing Time in Iraq)
And that was my homecoming. It was fine, I guess. Getting back feels like your first breath after nearly drowning. Even if it hurts, it's good.
Phil Klay
Republican or Democrat, this nation's affluent urban and suburban classes understand their bread is buttered on the corporate side. The primary difference between the two parties is that the Republicans pretty much admit that they grasp and even endorse some of the nastiest facts of life in America. Republicans honestly tell the world: "Listen in on my phone calls, piss-test me until I'm blind, kill and eat all of my neighbors right in front of my eyes, but show me the money! Let me escape with every cent I can kick out of the suckers, the taxpayers, and anybody else I can get a headlock on, legally or otherwise." Democrats, in contrast, seem content to catalog the GOP's outrages against the Republic, showing proper indignation while laughing at episodes of The Daily Show. But they stand behind the American brand: imperialism. They "support our troops," though you will be hard put to find any of them who have served alongside them or who would send one of their own kids off to lose an eye or an arm in Iraq. They play the imperial game, maintain their credit ratings, and plan to keep the beach house and the retirement investments if it means sacrificing every damned Lynndie England in West Virginia.
Joe Bageant (Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War)
In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the Neo-Con-Artists seized the economy and added $4 trillion of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defence, three times more for gasoline and home-heating oil and twice what we payed for health-care. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their health-care, their pensions; trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war payed for with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis, while all the President's oil men are maneuvering on Iraq's oil. Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No money to rebuild bridges in America. Borrowed money to start a hot war with Iran, now we have another cold war with Russia and the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.
Dennis Kucinich
Every year far more people kill themselves in Japan than die through war or terrorism in Iraq. We go on and on about other countries, but I think Japanese society is pretty cruel too.
Fuminori Nakamura (Evil and the Mask)
On Rachel's show for November 7, 2012: We're not going to have a supreme court that will overturn Roe versus Wade. There will be no more Antonio Scalias and Samuel Aleatos added to this court. We're not going to repeal health reform. Nobody is going to kill medicare and make old people in this generation or any other generation fight it out on the open market to try to get health insurance. We are not going to do that. We are not going to give a 20% tax cut to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kid's insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut. We'll not make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth control under the insurance plan that you're on. We are not going to redefine rape. We are not going to amend the United States constitution to stop gay people from getting married. We are not going to double Guantanamo. We are not eliminating the Department of Energy or the Department of Education or Housing at the federal level. We are not going to spend $2 trillion on the military that the military does not want. We are not scaling back on student loans because the country's new plan is that you should borrow money from your parents. We are not vetoing the Dream Act. We are not self-deporting. We are not letting Detroit go bankrupt. We are not starting a trade war with China on Inauguration Day in January. We are not going to have, as a president, a man who once led a mob of friends to run down a scared, gay kid, to hold him down and forcibly cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed for help and there was no apology, not ever. We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton. We are not bringing Dick Cheney back. We are not going to have a foreign policy shop stocked with architects of the Iraq War. We are not going to do it. We had the chance to do that if we wanted to do that, as a country. and we said no, last night, loudly.
Rachel Maddow
I thought of To Kill a Mockingbird. I had finished reading it one night in a bunker, my knees bent and hunched together while mortars hit the ground, the glow of a cigarette and the moon as my only light. Standing there now, chain-smoking, I felt like I finally understood the ending.
Michael Anthony (Civilianized: A Young Veteran's Memoir)
Ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. That was the whole idea, right? That‘s why we went. I am reluctant to let that fact disappear down the memory hole, because if— as the war ends, or at least starts to end— if, at this time, the history of the war is written as us going there to topple the regime of a bad man when that frankly isn‘t why were told that we were going there— Aren‘t we still at risk of making this horrific mistake again? And, aren‘t we letting the people who foisted the WMD idea on us, not many years ago, aren‘t we sort of letting them get away with it?
Rachel Maddow
During the darkest years of the Iraq war, between 2004 and 2008, there were at least thirty-five convictions in the United States and more than $17 million in fines, forfeitures, and restitution payments made in fraud cases in connection with the American reconstruction of Iraq. But the midlevel officers, enlisted personnel, contractors, and others who have been caught account for only a tiny slice of the billions that have gone missing in Iraq. The biggest thieves have been far more elusive.
James Risen (Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War)
Too often in the post-9/11 world, when the time has come to translate the moral, and essentially progressive, roots of foreign policy idealism into plans for American action, liberals have said, 'Duck.
Richard Just (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
For America, Britain, and the Western powers, the rise of ISIS and the caliphate is the ultimate disaster. Whatever they intended by their invasion of Iraq in 2003 and their efforts to unseat Assad in Syria since 2011, it was not to see the creation of a jihadi state spanning northern Iraq and Syria, run by a movement a hundred times bigger and much better organized than the al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden. The war on terror for which civil liberties have been curtailed and hundreds of billions of dollars spent has failed miserably.
Patrick Cockburn (The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution)
George Bush made a mistake when he referred to the Saddam Hussein regime as 'evil.' Every liberal and leftist knows how to titter at such black-and-white moral absolutism. What the president should have done, in the unlikely event that he wanted the support of America's peace-mongers, was to describe a confrontation with Saddam as the 'lesser evil.' This is a term the Left can appreciate. Indeed, 'lesser evil' is part of the essential tactical rhetoric of today's Left, and has been deployed to excuse or overlook the sins of liberal Democrats, from President Clinton's bombing of Sudan to Madeleine Albright's veto of an international rescue for Rwanda when she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Among those longing for nuance, moral relativism—the willingness to use the term evil, when combined with a willingness to make accommodations with it—is the smart thing: so much more sophisticated than 'cowboy' language.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
It's very painful... I see a lot of poverty. I see a lot of spiritual poverty. This is a nation that has been deceived and abused. And you can't be a happy people when your reality is based on deception... we're causing incredible harm to countries like Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan... but the other side of the sword is cutting us.
Christopher Lee Bollyn
In pursuit of counterrevolution and in the name of freedom, U.S. forces or U.S.-supported surrogate forces slaughtered 2,000,000 North Koreans in a three-year war; 3,000,000 Vietnamese; over 500,000 in aerial wars over Laos and Cambodia; over 1,500,000 in Angola; over 1,000,000 in Mozambique; over 500,000 in Afghanistan; 500,000 to 1,000,000 in Indonesia; 200,000 in East Timor; 100,000 in Nicaragua (combining the Somoza and Reagan eras); over 100,000 in Guatemala (plus an additional 40,000 disappeared); over 700,000 in Iraq;3 over 60,000 in El Salvador; 30,000 in the “dirty war” of Argentina (though the government admits to only 9,000); 35,000 in Taiwan, when the Kuomintang military arrived from China; 20,000 in Chile; and many thousands in Haiti, Panama, Grenada, Brazil, South Africa, Western Sahara, Zaire, Turkey, and dozens of other countries, in what amounts to a free-market world holocaust.
Michael Parenti (Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism)
The sepia tone of November has become blood-soaked with paper poppies festooning the lapels of our politicians, newsreaders and business leaders … I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one’s right to privacy.
Harry Leslie Smith
New Rule: Stop pretending your drugs are morally superior to my drugs because you get yours at a store. This week, they released the autopsy report on Anna Nicole Smith, and the cause of death was what I always thought it was: mad cow. No, it turns out she had nine different prescription drugs in her—which, in the medical field, is known as the “full Limbaugh.” They opened her up, and a Walgreens jumped out. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, sleeping pills, sedatives, Valium, methadone—this woman was killed by her doctor, who is a glorified bartender. I’m not going to say his name, but only because (a) I don’t want to get sued, and (b) my back is killing me. This month marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of a famous government report. I was sixteen in 1972, and I remember how excited we were when Nixon’s much ballyhooed National Commission on Drug Abuse came out and said pot should be legalized. It was a moment of great hope for common sense—and then, just like Bush did with the Iraq Study Group, Nixon took the report and threw it in the garbage, and from there the ’70s went right into disco and colored underpants. This week in American Scientist, a magazine George Bush wouldn’t read if he got food poisoning in Mexico and it was the only thing he could reach from the toilet, described a study done in England that measured the lethality of various drugs, and found tobacco and alcohol far worse than pot, LSD, or Ecstasy—which pretty much mirrors my own experiments in this same area. The Beatles took LSD and wrote Sgt. Pepper—Anna Nicole Smith took legal drugs and couldn’t remember the number for nine-one-one. I wish I had more time to go into the fact that the drug war has always been about keeping black men from voting by finding out what they’re addicted to and making it illegal—it’s a miracle our government hasn’t outlawed fat white women yet—but I leave with one request: Would someone please just make a bumper sticker that says, “I’m a stoner, and I vote.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Revolution from above, in some states and cases, is [...] often preferable to the status quo, or to no revolution at all.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
Some peaceniks clear their throats by saying that, of course, they oppose Saddam Hussein as much as anybody, though not enough to support doing anything about him.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
The evidence is overwhelming that George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have engaged in deceit and deception over going to war in Iraq. This is an impeachable offense.
John W. Dean
Since leaving Kocho, I had begged for death, I had willed Salman to kill me or asked God to let me die or refused to eat or drink in the hopes I would fade away. I had thought many times that the man who raped and beat me would kill me. But death had never come. In the checkpoint bathroom, I began to cry. For the first time since I left Kocho, I thought I actually might die. And I also knew for sure that I didn't want to.
Nadia Murad (The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State)
The deadline is at midnight in America; dawn, 5 A.M., in England, and 8:00 A.M., early morning, in Iraq. The Americans tie yellow ribbons around oak trees, hoping for their sons' safe return home. The Iraqis tie green ribbons around the Shrine of the Imam al-Hussain, praying for God's protection. In the coldest month, the coldest war of the modern age is declared.
Betool Khedairi (A Sky So Close)
New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country. A couple of weeks ago, I was asked on CNN if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected president, and I said I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country. Well, the station was flooded with emails, and the twits hit the fan. And you could tell that these people were really mad, because they wrote entirely in CAPITAL LETTERS!!! Worst of all, Bill O'Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a pinhead, which (a) proves my point, and (b) is really funny coming from a doody-face like him. Now, before I go about demonstration how, sadly, easy it is to prove the dumbness that's dragging us down, let me just say that ignorance has life-and-death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq War, seventy percent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Six years later, thirty-four percent still do. Or look at the health-care debate: At a recent town hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare," which is kind of like driving cross-country to protest highways. This country is like a college chick after two Long Island iced teas: We can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget the town halls, and replace them with study halls. Listen to some of these stats: A majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. Twenty-four percent could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket. Not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators, and more than half can't name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only three got their wife's name right on the first try. People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes more twenty-four percent of our budget. It's actually less than one percent. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen ad a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence, because it contains the words "Bush" and "knowledge." Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll say eighteen percent of us think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid. They're interplanetary mavericks. And I haven't even brought up religion. But here's one fun fact I'll leave you with: Did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which came first. I rest my case.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Though it was undeclared, there was a new world war being waged, where fundamental decency and respect for human rights were under assault by forces of intolerance, despotism, and blind fervor. And while its battles were sometimes waged in plain sight-- in New York City, in Iraq-- its greater struggle was carried on invisibly, fought in secret, its heroes unknown, its villains hidden.
James Rollins (Sandstorm (Sigma Force, #1))
But I didn’t risk my life to bring democracy to Iraq. I risked my life for my buddies, to protect my friends and fellow countrymen. I went to war for my country, not Iraq. My country sent me out there so that bullshit wouldn’t make its way back to our shores.
Chris Kyle (American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History)
I guess I was always looking for something. What it was, I didn’t know. I wanted help from the VA, but didn’t want to go back, didn’t want to be subjected to that second-rate treatment any longer. I wanted to find peace within myself, but didn’t know how or where to locate it. I wanted to be a sergeant again, a writer, less angry, a better husband, and to ward off the constant bombardment of war-related thoughts. Most of all, I didn’t want any more Americans coming home from Iraq in boxes or with jingle-jangled minds.
Clint Van Winkle (Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith: Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished. I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single. He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower. If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful. Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little. As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud. She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt. Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. “You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!” He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq. She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare! If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity. He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal. Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends? Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad. The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans. Silence filled the room like tear gas. The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time. Happiness is the best cosmetic, He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait. Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang, Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect. During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading. Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over. His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah. The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free. Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus. The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo. Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus. When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy. Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace. Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’ Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost. Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply. Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris. America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won. Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel. Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious. So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks. If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded. It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither. In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay. Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon. In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans. With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Brent Reilly
He begins to sing to her, very softly, almost not singing at all, just a whisper of a tune. He spins out the tune like it is a tale he is telling her, until he feels her body relax, until he feels her falling into sleep. He sings to let her know he’s there, to stay anchored to the earth, to keep from laughing or crying in amazement that he is lying with Alice in his arms, he sings as if music could keep her alive, as if music could feed her soul, as if music could weave a protective spell around her to survive these days and these weeks and these months and these years, he sings as if he could give her a piece of himself, which will ring inside of her like a bell, like a promise, like hope whenever she needs him; and in his singing, he promises her every single thing he can think of, and more.
Laura Harrington (Alice Bliss)
The greatest victory in living memory – of the United States over the Soviet Union – was achieved without any major military confrontation. The United States then got a fleeting taste of old-fashioned military glory in the First Gulf War, but this only tempted it to waste trillions on humiliating military fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan. China, the rising power of the early twenty-first century, has assiduously avoided all armed conflicts since its failed invasion of Vietnam in 1979, and it owes its ascent strictly to economic factors. In this it has emulated not the Japanese, German and Italian empires of the pre-1914 era, but rather the Japanese, German and Italian economic miracles of the post-1945 era. In all these cases economic prosperity and geopolitical clout were achieved without firing a shot.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
There are people who come home from war and want to talk about the pain, but no one wants to listen; there are others who want to keep silent and repress the memories, and all their family and friends want is to talk about it. I call this the war veteran reintegration paradox.
M.B. Dallocchio (The Desert Warrior)
But I think that this apparent desire to be a victim cloaks an opposing dread: that Americans are in truth profoundly, neurotically terrified of being victims, ever, in any way. This fear is conceivably one reason we initiated the particularly vicious and gratuitous Iraq war―because Americans can't tolerate feeling like victims, even briefly. I think it is the reason that every boob with a hangnail has been clogging the courts and haunting talk shows across the land for the last twenty years, telling his/her "story" and trying to get redress. Whatever the suffering is, it's not to be endured, for God's sake, not felt and never, ever accepted. It's to be triumphed over. And because some things cannot be triumphed over unless they are first accepted and endured, because, indeed, some things cannot be triumphed over at all, the "story" must be told again and again in endless pursuit of a happy ending. To be human is finally to be a loser, for we are all fated to lose our carefully constructed sense of self, our physical strength, our health, our precious dignity, and finally our lives. A refusal to tolerate this reality is a refusal to tolerate life, and art based on the empowering message and positive image is just such a refusal.
Mary Gaitskill (Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays)
So, whenever the subject of Iraq came up, as it did keep on doing through the Clinton years, I had no excuse for not knowing the following things: I knew that its one-party, one-leader state machine was modeled on the precedents of both National Socialism and Stalinism, to say nothing of Al Capone. I knew that its police force was searching for psychopathic killers and sadistic serial murderers, not in order to arrest them but to employ them. I knew that its vast patrimony of oil wealth, far from being 'nationalized,' had been privatized for the use of one family, and was being squandered on hideous ostentation at home and militarism abroad. (Post-Kuwait inspections by the United Nations had uncovered a huge nuclear-reactor site that had not even been known about by the international community.) I had seen with my own eyes the evidence of a serious breach of the Genocide Convention on Iraqi soil, and I had also seen with my own eyes the evidence that it had been carried out in part with the use of weapons of mass destruction. I was, if you like, the prisoner of this knowledge. I certainly did not have the option of un-knowing it.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
If the Bahreini royal family can have an embassy, a state, and a seat at the UN, why should the twenty-five million Kurds not have a claim to autonomy? The alleviation of their suffering and the assertion of their self-government is one of the few unarguable benefits of regime change in Iraq. It is not a position from which any moral retreat would be allowable.
Christopher Hitchens (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
the shooting and killing weren’t as black-and-white as most people think. The actions live in that hazy area of blown-apart stone walls and hesitations. Sometimes I shot when I shouldn’t have; other times I didn’t shoot when I should have. There was no way to explain why I did either. Everything happened so fast. Decisions had to be made. After I got home I began to see things in slow motion, see the actions that might’ve been mistakes.
Clint Van Winkle (Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
All those who prefer peace to power, and happiness to glory should thank the colonized people for their civilizing mission. By liberating themselves, they made Europeans more modest, less racist, and more human. Let us hope that the process continues and that the Americans are obliged to follow the same course. When one’s own cause is unjust, defeat can be liberating.
Jean Bricmont (Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War)
All my life my dad felt this need to protect his kids from a war he fought, a war I believed could never reach out and touch us, could never hurt us—and yet he fed us lies with his answers, shielding us from the truth about what he did there, about what he saw, about who he was before the war, and about what he became because of it. He lied to protect us from his memories, from his nightmares. Standing with my dad at The Wall, I knew the truth—no one could know so many names engraved in granite if he 'never was in danger.
Tucker Elliot (The Day Before 9/11)
Some say that because the United States was wrong before, it cannot possibly be right now, or has not the right to be right. (The British Empire sent a fleet to Africa and the Caribbean to maintain the slave trade while the very same empire later sent another fleet to enforce abolition. I would not have opposed the second policy because of my objections to the first; rather it seems to me that the second policy was morally necessitated by its predecessor.)
Christopher Hitchens (A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq)
Should a professor of accounting or chemistry be fired for using up class time to sound off about homelessness or the war in Iraq? Yes! There is no high moral principle that prevents it. What prevents it are tenure rules that have saddled so many colleges with so many self-indulgent prima donnas who seem to think that they are philosopher kings, when in fact they are often grossly ignorant or misinformed outside the narrow confines of their particular specialty.
Thomas Sowell
I missed the war and the freedom that came with it. When you are that close to death, you feel free. Every breath you take could be your last. So you inhale and savor each breath, try not to think about your death even though signs of it are all around you. The freedom comes from knowing that if anybody gives you crap, you can eliminate them and the situation. Just shoot and get it over with.
Clint Van Winkle (Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
A few days later, Tuesday quietly crossed our apartment as I read a book and, after a nudge against my arm, put his head on my lap. As always, I immediately checked my mental state, trying to assess what was wrong. I knew a change in my biorhythms had brought Tuesday over, because he was always monitoring me, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Breathing? Okay. Pulse? Normal. Was I glazed or distracted? Was I lost in Iraq? Was a dark period descending? I didn't think so, but I knew something must be wrong, and I was starting to worry...until I looked into Tuesday's eyes. They were staring at me softly from under those big eyebrows, and there was nothing in them but love.
Luis Carlos Montalván (Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him)
People back home, people who haven’t been in war, or at least not that war, sometimes don’t seem to understand how the troops in Iraq acted. They’re surprised—shocked—to discover we often joked about death, about things we saw. Maybe it seems cruel or inappropriate. Maybe it would be, under different circumstances. But in the context of where we were, it made a lot of sense. We saw terrible things, and lived through terrible things. Part of it was letting off pressure or steam, I’m sure. A way to cope. If you can’t make sense of things, you start to look for some other way to deal with them. You laugh because you have to have some emotion, you have to express yourself somehow.
Chris Kyle (American Sniper)
McChrystal had organized a jaw-dropping counterterrorism campaign inside Iraq, but the tactical successes did not translate into a strategic victory. This was why counterinsurgency - blanketing the population in safety and winning them over - was necessary.
Bob Woodward (Obama's Wars)
The Shah stayed on the throne until 1979, when he fled Iran to escape the Islamic revolution. Since then, this old and great civilization has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism. As an Iranian who has lived more than half of my life in Iran, I know that this image is far from the truth. This is why writing "Persepolis" was so important to me. I believe that an entire nation should not be judged by the wrongdoings of a few extremists. I also don't want those Iranians who lost their lives in prisons defending freedom, who died in the war against Iraq, who suffered under various repressive regimes, or who were forced to leave their families and flee their homeland to be forgotten. One can forgive but one should never forget.
Marjane Satrapi (The Complete Persepolis)
The CIA has a great reputation and a terrible record. It relies on machines, not men, to understand the other side. They counted Soviet weapons with spy satellites but never figured that in the meantime communism was crumbling. They poured billions into Afghanistan to give the Russians their Vietnam – which they did, only by ending up breeding an entirely new menace, the Islamic jihadis. They claimed the existence of WMD in Iraq and provided a war-mongering President with a pretext for war. Want me to go on?’ Harry snorted.
Manreet Sodhi Someshwar (The Hunt for Kohinoor (Mehrunisa Trilogy, #2))
Watching the towers fall in New York, with civilians incinerated on the planes and in the buildings, I felt something that I couldn’t analyze at first and didn't fully grasp (partly because I was far from my family in Washington, who had a very grueling day) until the day itself was nearly over. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of exhilaration. Here we are then, I was thinking, in a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate. Fine. We will win and they will lose. A pity that we let them pick the time and place of the challenge, but we can and we will make up for that.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
We are following with great concern the preparations of the crusaders to launch war on the former capital of Muslims...and to install a puppet government... Fight these despots. I remind you that victory comes only from God. The fighting should be in the name of God only, not in the name of national ideologies nor to seek victory for the ignorant governments that rule all Arab states, including Iraq. [bin Laden's message: fight the 'crusaders']
Osama bin Laden
This country has not seen and probably will never know the true level of sacrifice of our veterans. As a civilian I owe an unpayable debt to all our military. Going forward let’s not send our servicemen and women off to war or conflict zones unless it is overwhelmingly justifiable and on moral high ground. The men of WWII were the greatest generation, perhaps Korea the forgotten, Vietnam the trampled, Cold War unsung and Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan vets underestimated. Every generation has proved itself to be worthy to stand up to the precedent of the greatest generation. Going back to the Revolution American soldiers have been the best in the world. Let’s all take a remembrance for all veterans who served or are serving, peace time or wartime and gone or still with us. 11/11/16 May God Bless America and All Veterans.
Thomas M. Smith
A common strand appeared to unite these conflicts, and that was the advancement of a small coterie’s concept of American interests in the guise of the fight against terrorism, which was defined to refer only to the organized and politically motivated killing of civilians by killers not wearing the uniforms of soldiers. I recognized that if this was to be the single most important priority of our species, then the lives of those of us who lived in lands in which such killers also lived had no meaning except as collateral damage. This, I reasoned, was why America felt justified in bringing so many deaths to Afghanistan and Iraq, and why America felt justified in risking so many more deaths by tacitly using India to pressure Pakistan.
Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist)
New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private, for-profit health care "soulless vampire bastards making money off human pain." Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, Bill, the profit motive is what sustains capitalism." Yes, and our sex drive is what sustains the human species, but we don't try to fuck everything. It wasn't that long ago when a kid in America broke his leg, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun stuck a thermometer in his ass, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle, and you were done. The bill was $1.50; plus, you got to keep the thermometer. But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some bean counter decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. The more people who get sick, and stay sick, the higher their profit margins, which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O. Did you know that the United States is ranked fiftieth in the world in life expectancy? And the forty-nine loser countries were they live longer than us? Oh, it's hardly worth it, they may live longer, but they live shackled to the tyranny of nonprofit health care. Here in America, you're not coughing up blood, little Bobby, you're coughing up freedom. The problem with President Obama's health-care plan isn't socialism. It's capitalism. When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what's in it for Blue Cross Blue Shield. And it's not just medicine--prisons also used to be a nonprofit business, and for good reason--who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition, you're going to have trouble with the tenants. It's not a coincidence that we outsourced running prisons to private corporations and then the number of prisoners in America skyrocketed. There used to be some things we just didn't do for money. Did you know, for example, there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? FDR said he didn't want World War II to create one millionaire, but I'm guessing Iraq has made more than a few executives at Halliburton into millionaires. Halliburton sold soldiers soda for $7.50 a can. They were honoring 9/11 by charging like 7-Eleven. Which is wrong. We're Americans; we don't fight wars for money. We fight them for oil. And my final example of the profit motive screwing something up that used to be good when it was nonprofit: TV news. I heard all the news anchors this week talk about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day. And I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Evan stares at me. I try to hug him. He takes a step back. I pause, my heart in my throat. I’ve got to reach out to him, let myself be vulnerable. I find the courage, but he backs up again. “You can’t go to Iraq anymore.” “I know.” He looks up at Deanna, then back to me. “Did you fight bad guys? You told me you weren’t.” His voice is suspicious, full of accusation. He doesn’t trust me, and I don’t blame him for that. “No, Evan. I didn’t fight bad guys.” I can’t bring myself to tell him the complete truth. I want so desperately to go back into this fight. I miss it every day. I always felt I could change the world with a rifle in my hands and our flag on my shoulder. “Did you get shot?” he looks me over, apparently searching for bullet wounds. I grin a little. “No, Bud, I didn’t get shot.” “People get shot in Iraq.” “Yes, they do.” It strikes me then that Evan for the first time has a grasp on the dangers that are faced over there. He’s six now, and the world is coming into focus for him. “People get shot, Daddy. They die. Bad guys kill them.” I think of Edward Iwan and Sean Sims. “Yeah, I know they do, Evan.
David Bellavia (House to House: An Epic Memoir of War)
Athens’s disastrous 415 B.C. expedition against Sicily, the largest democracy in the Greek world, may not prefigure our war in Iraq. (A hypothetical parallel to democratic Athens’s preemptive attack on the neutral, distant, far larger, and equally democratic Syracuse in the midst of an ongoing though dormant war with Sparta would be America’s dropping its struggle with al-Qaeda to invade India).
Victor Davis Hanson (The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern)
But even though nobody from the government ever says anything out loud about a lack of evidence being the real reason nobody from these companies goes to jail, we’re all—including reporters who cover this stuff—still supposed to accept that as the real explanation. It’s a particular feature of modern American government officials, particularly Democratic Party types, that they often expect the press and the public to give them credit for their unspoken excuses. They’ll vote yea on the Iraq war and the Patriot Act and nay for a public option or an end to torture or a bill to break up the banks. Then they’ll cozy up to you privately and whisper that of course they’re with you in spirit on those issues, but politically it just wasn’t possible to vote that way. And then they start giving you their reasons.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
I can see the little girl, the face of the little girl. And as much as people say that they don't care about these people and all that, I don't care about these people - but I do, at the same time, if that makes any sense. They don't want to help themselves, they're blowing us up, yeah, that hurts, but it also hurts to know that I've seen a girl that's as old as my little brother watch me shoot somebody in the head. And I don't care if she's Iraqi, Korean, African, white - she's still a little girl. And she watched me shoot somebody.
David Finkel (The Good Soldiers)
DB: There's a lot of talk about terrorism. In fact, it's become almost an obsession for the media in the United States. But it's a very narrow definition of terrorism. AR: Yes. It completely ignores the economic terrorism unleashed by neoliberalism, which devastates the lives of millions of people, depriving them of water, food, electricity. Denying them medicine. Denying them education. Terrorism is the logical extension of this business of the free market. Terrorism is the privatization of war. Terrorists are the free marketeers of war - people who believe that it isn't only the state that can wage war, but private parties as well. If you look at the logic underlying an act of terrorism and the logic underlying a retaliatory war against terrorism, they are the same. Both terrorists and governments make ordinary people pay for the actions of their governments. Osama bin Laden is making people pay for the actions of the US state, whether it's in Saudi Arabia, Palestine, or Afghanistan. The US government is making the people of Iraq pay for the actions of Saddam Hussein. The people of Afghanistan pay for the crimes of the Taliban. The logic is the same. Osama bin Laden and George Bush are both terrorists. They are both building international networks that perpetrate terror and devastate people's lives. Bush, with the Pentagon, the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank. Bin Laden with Al Qaeda.
Arundhati Roy (The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile: Conversations with Arundhati Roy)
You can walk around this culture now, as a proud supporter of the so called anti-war movement and it's made up of a lot of people I used to know … I'd like for them to be asked more often than they are, if your advice had been taken over the last 15 or so years; Slobodan Milosevic would still be the dictator of not just Serbia but also of a cleansed and ruined Bosnia and Kosovo. Saddam Hussein would still be the owner of Kuwait as well as Iraq, he would of nearly have doubled his holding of the worlds oil. The Taliban would still be in charge of Afghanistan. Don't you feel a little reproach to your so called high principle anti-war policy? Would that really have led to less violence, less cruelty?
Christopher Hitchens
Michael Ledeen—a contributing editor of National Review and a Freedom Scholar at the influential neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute—wrote on the National Review blog in November 2006: 'I had and have no involvement with our Iraq policy'. I opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place.' Ledeen, however, wrote in August 2002 of 'the desperately-needed and long overdue war against Saddam Hussein' and when he was interviewed for Front Page Magazine the same month and asked, 'Okay, well if we are all so certain about the dire need to invade Iraq, then when do we do so?' Ledeen replied: 'Yesterday.' There is obvious, substantial risk in falsely claiming that one opposed the Iraq War notwithstanding a public record of support. But that war has come to be viewed as such a profound failure that that risk, at least in the eyes of some, is outweighed by the prospect of being associated with Bush's invasion.
Glenn Greenwald (A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency)
So before and during the war, the Bush administration had to build up an image in people's minds of Iraq as a monstrous military superpower, in order to mobilize enough popular hysteria so that people here would go along with their policies. And again, the media did their job 100 percent. So I don't know how well you remember what was going on around the country back then, but people were literally quaking in their boots about the extraordinary might of Iraq―it was a superpower with artillery we'd never dreamt of, all this kind of stuff.93 I mean, this was a defenseless Third World country that was so weak it had been unable to defeat post-revolutionary Iran in eight years of warfare [from 1980 to '88]―and that was with the support of the United States, the Soviet Union, all of Europe, the Arab oil countries: not an inconsiderable segment of world power. Yet with all those allies, Iraq had been unable to defeat post-revolutionary Iran, which had killed off its own officers' corps and barely had an army left: all of a sudden this was the superpower that was going to conquer the world? You really had to be a deeply brainwashed Western intellectual even to look at this image―a defenseless Third World country threatening the two most advanced military forces in the world, the United States and Britain―and not completely collapse in ridicule. But as you recall, that's what all of them were saying―and people here really believed it.
Noam Chomsky (Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky)
I resolutely refuse to believe that the state of Edward's health had anything to do with this, and I don't say this only because I was once later accused of attacking him 'on his deathbed.' He was entirely lucid to the end, and the positions he took were easily recognizable by me as extensions or outgrowths of views he had expressed (and also declined to express) in the past. Alas, it is true that he was closer to the end than anybody knew when the thirtieth anniversary reissue of his Orientalism was published, but his long-precarious condition would hardly argue for giving him a lenient review, let alone denying him one altogether, which would have been the only alternatives. In the introduction he wrote for the new edition, he generally declined the opportunity to answer his scholarly critics, and instead gave the recent American arrival in Baghdad as a grand example of 'Orientalism' in action. The looting and destruction of the exhibits in the Iraq National Museum had, he wrote, been a deliberate piece of United States vandalism, perpetrated in order to shear the Iraqi people of their cultural patrimony and demonstrate to them their new servitude. Even at a time when anything at all could be said and believed so long as it was sufficiently and hysterically anti-Bush, this could be described as exceptionally mendacious. So when the Atlantic invited me to review Edward's revised edition, I decided I'd suspect myself more if I declined than if I agreed, and I wrote what I felt I had to. Not long afterward, an Iraqi comrade sent me without comment an article Edward had contributed to a magazine in London that was published by a princeling of the Saudi royal family. In it, Edward quoted some sentences about the Iraq war that he off-handedly described as 'racist.' The sentences in question had been written by me. I felt myself assailed by a reaction that was at once hot-eyed and frigidly cold. He had cited the words without naming their author, and this I briefly thought could be construed as a friendly hesitance. Or as cowardice... I can never quite act the stern role of Mr. Darcy with any conviction, but privately I sometimes resolve that that's 'it' as it were. I didn't say anything to Edward but then, I never said anything to him again, either. I believe that one or two charges simply must retain their face value and not become debauched or devalued. 'Racist' is one such. It is an accusation that must either be made good upon, or fully retracted. I would not have as a friend somebody whom I suspected of that prejudice, and I decided to presume that Edward was honest and serious enough to feel the same way. I feel misery stealing over me again as I set this down: I wrote the best tribute I could manage when he died not long afterward (and there was no strain in that, as I was relieved to find), but I didn't go to, and wasn't invited to, his funeral.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Ensuring that our home planet is healthy and life sustaining is an overwhelming priority that undercuts all other human activities. The ship must first float. Our failure to grasp these fundamental tenants of existence will be our undoing. And one thing is for certain. No calvary is going to come charging to our rescue. We are going to have to rescue ourselves or die trying. Workable solutions are urgently needed. Saving seals and tigers or fighting yet another oil pipeline through a wilderness area, while laudable, is merely shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. The real issue is our elementary accord with Earth and the plant and animal kingdoms has to be revitalized and re-understood. The burning question is, How?
Lawrence Anthony (Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo)
We routinely and rightly condemn the terrorism that kills civilians in the name of God but we cannot claim the high moral ground if we dismiss the suffering and death of the many thousands of civilians who die in our wars as ‘collateral damage’. Ancient religious mythologies helped people to face up to the dilemma of state violence, but our current nationalist ideologies seem by contrast to promote a retreat into denial or hardening of our hearts. Nothing shows this more clearly than a remark of Madeleine Albright when she was still Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the United Nations. Later she retracted it, but among people around the world it has never been forgotten. In 1996, in CBS’s 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl asked her whether the cost of international sanctions against Iraq was justified: 'We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean that’s more children than died in Hiroshima … Is the price worth it?’ 'I think this is a very hard choice,’ Albright replied 'but the price, we think the price is worth it.
Karen Armstrong (Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence)
But it would be a mistake to assume that the liberal class was simply seduced by the Utopian promises of globalism. It was also seduced by careerism. Those who mouthed the right words, who did not challenge the structures being cemented into place by the corporate state, who assured the working class that the suffering was temporary and would be rectified in the new world order, were rewarded. They were given public platforms on television and in the political arena. They were held up to the wider society as experts, sages, and specialists. They became the class of wise men and women who were permitted to explain in public forums what was happening to us at home and abroad. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a cheer leader for the Iraq war and globalization, became the poster child for the new class of corporate mandarins. And although Friedman was disastrously wrong about the outcome of the occupation, as he was about the effects of globalization, he continues, with a handful of other apologists, to dominate the airwaves.
Chris Hedges (The Death of the Liberal Class)
Don't let it get to you, mom! The Western media also fights against us. That's where our reputation as fundamentalists and terrorists comes from." "You're right. Between one's fanaticism and the other's disdain, it's hard to know which side to choose. Personally, I hate Saddam and I have no sympathy for the Kuwaitism but I hate just as much the cynicism of the allies who call themselves "liberators" while they're there for the oil." "Exactly. Just look at Afghanistan! They fought there for ten years. There were 900,000 dead and today the country is still in chaos. No one lifted a finger! Because Afghanistan is poor! The worst is that the intervention in Kuwait is done in the name of the human rights! Which rights? Which humans?" At the time, this kind of analysis wasn't commonplace. After our own war, we were happy that Iraq got itself attacked and delighted that it wasn't happening in our country. We were finally able to sleep peacefully without fear of missiles... We no longed needed to line up with our food ration coupon...the rest mattered little. And then, there wasn't any more opposition. The protesters had been executed. Or had fled the country any way possible. The regime had absolute power...and most people , in search of a cloud of happiness, had forgotten their political conscience.
Marjane Satrapi (The Complete Persepolis)
after the war, historian Marilyn Young warned: The U.S. can destroy Iraq’s highways, but not build its own; create the conditions for epidemic in Iraq, but not offer health care to millions of Americans. It can excoriate Iraqi treatment of the Kurdish minority, but not deal with domestic race relations; create homelessness abroad but not solve it here; keep a half million troops drug free as part of a war, but refuse to fund the treatment of millions of drug addicts at home. . . . We shall lose the war after we have won it.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present)
My personal position on counterinsurgency in general, and on Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, could therefore be summarized as "Never again, but..." That is, we should avoid any future large-scale, unilateral military intervention in the Islamic world, for all the reasons already discussed. But, recognizing that while our conventional war-fighting superiority endures, any sensible enemy will choose to fight us in this manner, we should hold on to the knowledge and corporate memory so painfully acquired, across all the agencies of all the Coalition partners, in Afghanistan and Iraq. And should we find ourselves (by error or necessity) in a similar position once again, then the best practices we have rediscovered in current campaigns represent an effective approach: effective, but not recommended.
David Kilcullen (Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One)
The Crucified is the One most traumatized. He has borne the World Trade Center. He has carried the Iraq war, the destruction in Syria, the Rwandan massacres, the AIDS crisis, the poverty of our inner cities, and the abused and trafficked children. He was wounded for the sins of those who perpetrated such horrors. He has carried the griefs and sorrows of the multitudes who have suffered the natural disasters of this world--the earthquakes, cyclones, and tsunamis. And he has borne our selfishness, our complacency, our love of success, and our pride. He has been in the darkness. He has known the loss of all things. He has been abandoned by his Father. He has been to hell. There is no part of any tragedy that he has not known or carried. He has done this so that none of us need face tragedy alone because he has been there before us and will go with us. and what he has done for us in Gethsemane and at Calvary he ask us to do as well. We are called to enter into relationships centered on suffering so that we might reveal in flesh and blood the nature of the Crucified One.
Diane Langberg (Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores)
What happened? Stan repeats. To us? To the country? What happened when childhood ends in Dealey Plaza, in Memphis, in the kitchen of the Ambassador, your belief your hope your trust lying in a pool of blood again? Fifty-five thousand of your brothers dead in Vietnam, a million Vietnamese, photos of naked napalmed children running down a dirt road, Kent State, Soviet tanks roll into Prague so you turn on drop out you know you can't reinvent the country but maybe you reimagine yourself you believe you really believe that you can that you can create a world of your own and then you lower that expectation to just a piece of ground to make a stand on but then you learn that piece of ground costs money that you don't have. What happened? Altamont, Charlie Manson, Sharon Tate, Son of Sam, Mark Chapman we saw a dream turn into a nightmare we saw love and peace turn into endless war and violence our idealism into realism our realism into cynicism our cynicism into apathy our apathy into selfishness our selfishness into greed and then greed was good and we Had babies, Ben, we had you and we had hopes but we also had fears we created nests that became bunkers we made our houses baby-safe and we bought car seats and organic apple juice and hired multilingual nannies and paid tuition to private schools out of love but also out of fear. What happened? You start by trying to create a new world and then you find yourself just wanting to add a bottle to your cellar, a few extra feet to the sunroom, you see yourself aging and wonder if you've put enough away for that and suddenly you realize that you're frightened of the years ahead of you what Happened? Watergate Irangate Contragate scandals and corruption all around you and you never think you'll become corrupt but time corrupts you, corrupts as surely as gravity and erosion, wears you down wears you out I think, son, that the country was like that, just tired, just worn out by assassinations, wars, scandals, by Ronald Reagan, Bush the First selling cocaine to fund terrorists, a war to protect cheap gas, Bill Clinton and realpolitik and jism on dresses while insane fanatics plotted and Bush the Second and his handlers, a frat boy run by evil old men and then you turn on the TV one morning and those towers are coming down and the war has come home what Happened? Afghanistan and Iraq the sheer madness the killing the bombing the missiles the death you are back in Vietnam again and I could blame it all on that but at the end of the day at the end of the day we are responsible for ourselves. We got tired, we got old we gave up our dreams we taught ourselves to scorn ourselves to despise our youthful idealism we sold ourselves cheap we aren't Who we wanted to be.
Don Winslow (The Kings of Cool (Savages, #1))
David Abrams’s Fobbit, Giorgio Agamben’s The Open, Omnia Amin and Rick London’s translations of Ahmed Abdel Muti Hijazi’s poetry, Peter Van Buren’s We Meant Well, Donovan Campbell’s Joker One, C. J. Chivers’s The Gun, Seth Connor’s Boredom by Day, Death by Night, Daniel Danelo’s Blood Stripes, Kimberly Dozier’s Breathing the Fire, Nathan Englander’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Siobhan Fallon’s You Know When the Men Are Gone, Nathaniel Fick’s One Bullet Away, Dexter Filkins’s The Forever War, David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers, Jim Frederick’s Black Hearts, Matt Gallagher’s Kaboom, Jessica Goodell’s Shade It Black, J. Glenn Gray’s The Warriors, Dave Grossman’s On Killing and On Combat, Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery, Kirsten Holmstedt’s Band of Sisters, Karl Marlantes’s Matterhorn, Colum McCann’s Dancer, Patrick McGrath’s Trauma, Jonathan Shay’s Odysseus in America and Achilles in Vietnam, Roy Scranton’s essays and fiction, the Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction Report Hard Lessons, Bing West’s The Strongest Tribe and No True Glory, Kayla Williams’s Love My Rifle More Than You.
Phil Klay (Redeployment)
No one has expressed what is needed better than Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of the London-based al-Arabiya news channel. One of the best-known and most respected Arab journalists working today, he wrote the following, in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (September 6, 2004), after a series of violent incidents involving Muslim extremist groups from Chechnya to Saudi Arabia to Iraq: "Self-cure starts with self-realization and confession. We should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture... The mosque used to be a haven, and the voice of religion used to be that of peace and reconciliation. Religious sermons were warm behests for a moral order and an ethical life. Then came the neo-Muslims. An innocent and benevolent religion, whose verses prohibit the felling of trees in the absence of urgent necessity, that calls murder the most heinous of crimes, that says explicitly that if you kill one person you have killed humanity as a whole, has been turned into a global message of hate and a universal war cry... We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women. We cannot redeem our extremist youth, who commit all these heinous crimes, without confronting the Sheikhs who thought it ennobling to reinvent themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and daughters to certain death, while sending their own children to European and American schools and colleges.
Thomas L. Friedman (The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century)
Not one of our political spokespeople—the same is true of the Arabs since Abdel Nasser’s time—ever speaks with self-respect and dignity of what we are, what we want, what we have done, and where we want to go. In the 1956 Suez War, the French colonial war against Algeria, the Israeli wars of occupation and dispossession, and the campaign against Iraq, a war whose stated purpose was to topple a specific regime but whose real goal was the devastation of the most powerful Arab country. And just as the French, British, Israeli, and American campaign against Gamal Abdel Nasser was designed to bring down a force that openly stated as its ambition the unification of the Arabs into a very powerful independent political force.
Edward W. Said (From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map: Essays)
When my grandfather went to war against Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Kuwait, he wrote a heartfelt letter to my dad about his worries and his fears. I remember the yellow ribbons tied around the trees throughout our suburban Texas neighborhood, and my dad remembers the gravity of the words his father penned: “I guess what I want you to know as a father is this: Every Human life is precious. When the question is asked ‘How many lives are you willing to sacrifice’—it tears at my heart. The answer, of course, is none—none at all.” When my dad was weighing whether to go to war against Iraq, when intelligence reports were telling him that Iraq had chemical weapons and when Saddam Hussein refused to allow weapons inspectors into his country, he wrote his own heartfelt letter to Barbara and me: “Yesterday I made the hardest decision a president has to make. I ordered young Americans into combat. It was an emotional moment for me because I fully understand the risks of war. More than once, I have hugged and wept with the loved ones of a soldier lost in combat in Afghanistan.” His words spoke of how much he didn’t want to go to war, how he had hoped the battle could be averted.
Jenna Bush Hager (Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life)
It’s crucial to understand that ordinarily the FBI applies for a wiretap separately from the National Security Agency. The NSA had tapped my phones for years, going back to the 1993 World Trade Center attack. But those wire taps would not automatically get shared with the FBI, unless the Intelligence Community referred my activities for a criminal investigation. The FBI took no such action. Instead—by coincidence I’m sure, the FBI started its phone taps exactly when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee planned a series of hearings on Iraq in late July, 2002.212 That timing suggests the FBI wanted to monitor what Congress would learn about the realities of Pre-War Intelligence, which contradicted everything the White House was preaching on FOX News and CNN. In which case, the Justice Department discovered that I told Congress a lot—and Congress rewarded the White House by pretending that I had not said a word. But phone taps don’t lie. Numerous phone conversations with Congressional offices show that I identified myself as one of the few Assets covering Iraq.213 Some of my calls described the peace framework, assuring Congressional staffers that diplomacy could achieve the full scope of results sought by U.S policymakers.
Susan Lindauer (EXTREME PREJUDICE: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq)
It is hard to determine what is most disturbing about this book—the devious and immoral tactics used by leaders and recruiters to get women to join the military, the terrible poverty and personal violence women were escaping that lead them to be vulnerable to such manipulation, the raping and harassing of women soldiers by their superiors and comrades once they got to Iraq, or the untreated homelessness, illnesses and madness that have haunted women since they came home. The Lonely Soldier is an important book, a crucial accounting of the shameful war on women who gave their bodies, lives and souls for their country.
Eve Ensler
As he grew older, which was mostly in my absence, my firstborn son, Alexander, became ever more humorous and courageous. There came a time, as the confrontation with the enemies of our civilization became more acute, when he sent off various applications to enlist in the armed forces. I didn't want to be involved in this decision either way, especially since I was being regularly taunted for not having 'sent' any of my children to fight in the wars of resistance that I supported. (As if I could 'send' anybody, let alone a grown-up and tough and smart young man: what moral imbeciles the 'anti-war' people have become.)
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
So the insurgency was born in a perfect storm of American errors--not establishing order; not providing the semblance of any government; confirming to the Sunnis who had once lorded it over Iraq's Shia majority that they were officially the underdogs; and throwing hundreds of thousands of soldiers onto the streets in an economy where the jobless rate was around 50 percent, while simultaneously ensuring that there was an unlimited supply of weaponry at hand for those angry young men.
Peter L. Bergen (The Longest War: A History of the War on Terror and the Battles with Al Qaeda Since 9/11)
Yet isn't it all—all of it, every single episode and detail of the Clinton saga—exactly like that? And isn't some of it a little bit more serious? For Sen. Clinton, something is true if it validates the myth of her striving and her 'greatness' (her overweening ambition in other words) and only ceases to be true when it no longer serves that limitless purpose. And we are all supposed to applaud the skill and the bare-faced bravado with which this is done. In the New Hampshire primary in 1992, she knowingly lied about her husband's uncontainable sex life and put him eternally in her debt. This is now thought of, and referred to in print, purely as a smart move on her part. In the Iowa caucuses of 2008, he returns the favor by telling a huge lie about his own record on the war in Iraq, falsely asserting that he was opposed to the intervention from the very start. This is thought of, and referred to in print, as purely a tactical mistake on his part: trying too hard to help the spouse. The happy couple has now united on an equally mendacious account of what they thought about Iraq and when they thought it. What would it take to break this cheap little spell and make us wake up and inquire what on earth we are doing when we make the Clinton family drama—yet again—a central part of our own politics?
Christopher Hitchens
Maybe PTSD really is triggered by a single incident, a stressor, as it's known in the psychiatric community, and maybe the attack at Al-Waleed was that stressor for me, but as I have learned in the intervening years, I was not damaged by that moment alone. In fact, while there are specific memories that resurface with some frequency, like the suicide bomber in Sinjar or the order riot at Al-Waleed, I find myself most traumatized by the overall experience of being in a combat zone like Iraq, where you are always surrounded by war but rarely aware of when or how violence will arrive. Like so many of my fellow veterans, I understand now how that it is the daily adrenaline rush of a war without front lines or uniforms, rather than the infrequent bursts of bloody violence, that ultimately damages the modern warrior's mind.
Luis Carlos Montalván (Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him)
They did not overthrow the elected government of Mossadegh in Iran; support the genocide of eight hundred thousand leftists in Indonesia; intervene on behalf of the fascist Phalange against the Palestinians in Lebanon; fight a dirty war against Dhofarian insurgents; underwrite absolute monarchies like Saudi Arabia, the shah of Iran, Morocco, and the Gulf Emirates; build with billions of U.S. tax dollars the golden throne upon which Mubarak sits like a modern-day pharaoh; arm Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and turn a blind eye to his genocide against the communists and Kurds; then kill seventeen thousand Iraqi civilians in bombing raids during the Gulf War, including more than four hundred women and children incinerated in the Amariyah bomb shelter. Nor did they stir the Shias of southern Iraq into revolt, then abandon them to Saddam Hussein’s executioners because George Bush senior calculated that the total destruction of the regime would create an impermissible power vacuum that Iran might rush to fill.
Mike Davis (In Praise of Barbarians: Essays against Empire)
It is America (or Israel) at war, not just any war, that disturbs the Left. That is why there have been few demonstrations, and none of any size, against the mass murder of Sudan’s blacks; the genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, or Congo; China’s crushing of Tibet; or Saddam Hussein’s wars against Iran, Kuwait, and Iraq’s own Kurds. Though there are always admirable individual exceptions, the Left has not been nearly as vocal about these large scale atrocities as it is about America’s wars. One additional reason is that, in general, atrocities committed by non-whites rarely interest the Left—and therefore ‘world opinion,’ which is essentially the same thing as Leftist opinion.
Dennis Prager (Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph)
I am leaving this tower and returning home. When I speak with family, and comments are always the same, 'Won't you be glad to get back to the real world?' This is my question after two weeks of time, only two weeks, spent with prairie dogs, 'What is real?' What is real? These prairie dogs and the lives they live and have adapted to in grassland communities over time, deep time? What is real? A gravel pit adjacent to one of the last remaining protected prairie dog colonies in the world? A corral where cowboys in an honest day's work saddle up horses with prairie dogs under hoof for visitors to ride in Bryce Canyon National Park? What is real? Two planes slamming into the World Trade Center and the wake of fear that has never stopped in this endless war of terror? What is real? Forgiveness or revenge and the mounting deaths of thousands of human beings as America wages war in Afghanistan and Iraq? What is real? Steve's recurrence of lymphoma? A closet full of shoes? Making love? Making money? Making right with the world with the smallest of unseen gestures? How do we wish to live And with whom? What is real to me are these prairie dogs facing the sun each morning and evening in the midst of man-made chaos. What is real to me are the consequences of cruelty. What is real to me are the concentric circles of compassion and its capacity to bring about change. What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conundrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy. Can we imagine, witness, and ultimately feel the suffering of another.
Terry Tempest Williams
More than any other nation, the United States has been almost constantly involved in armed conflict and, through military alliances, has used war as a means of resolving international and local disputes. Since the birth of the United Nations, we have seen American forces involved in combat in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Grenada, Haiti, Iraq, Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Somalia, and Vietnam, and more recently with lethal attacks in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and other sovereign nations. There were no “boots on the ground” in some of these countries; instead we have used high-altitude bombers or remote-control drones. In these cases we rarely acknowledge the tremendous loss of life and prolonged suffering among people in the combat zones, even after our involvement in the conflict is ended.
Jimmy Carter (A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power)
EVERY WEDNESDAY, I teach an introductory fiction workshop at Harvard University, and on the first day of class I pass out a bullet-pointed list of things the students should try hard to avoid. Don’t start a story with an alarm clock going off. Don’t end a story with the whole shebang having been a suicide note. Don’t use flashy dialogue tags like intoned or queried or, God forbid, ejaculated. Twelve unbearably gifted students are sitting around the table, and they appreciate having such perimeters established. With each variable the list isolates, their imaginations soar higher. They smile and nod. The mood in the room is congenial, almost festive with learning. I feel like a very effective teacher; I can practically hear my course-evaluation scores hitting the roof. Then, when the students reach the last point on the list, the mood shifts. Some of them squint at the words as if their vision has gone blurry; others ask their neighbors for clarification. The neighbor will shake her head, looking pale and dejected, as if the last point confirms that she should have opted for that aseptic-surgery class where you operate on a fetal pig. The last point is: Don’t Write What You Know. The idea panics them for two reasons. First, like all writers, the students have been encouraged, explicitly or implicitly, for as long as they can remember, to write what they know, so the prospect of abandoning that approach now is disorienting. Second, they know an awful lot. In recent workshops, my students have included Iraq War veterans, professional athletes, a minister, a circus clown, a woman with a pet miniature elephant, and gobs of certified geniuses. They are endlessly interesting people, their lives brimming with uniquely compelling experiences, and too often they believe those experiences are what equip them to be writers. Encouraging them not to write what they know sounds as wrongheaded as a football coach telling a quarterback with a bazooka of a right arm to ride the bench. For them, the advice is confusing and heartbreaking, maybe even insulting. For me, it’s the difference between fiction that matters only to those who know the author and fiction that, well, matters.
Bret Anthony Johnston
During the Senate debate on the intervention in Iraq, Sen. Clinton made considerable use of her background and 'experience' to argue that, yes, Saddam Hussein was indeed a threat. She did not argue so much from the position adopted by the Bush administration as she emphasized the stand taken, by both her husband and Al Gore, when they were in office, to the effect that another and final confrontation with the Baathist regime was more or less inevitable. Now, it does not especially matter whether you agree or agreed with her about this (as I, for once, do and did). What does matter is that she has since altered her position and attempted, with her husband’s help, to make people forget that she ever held it. And this, on a grave matter of national honor and security, merely to influence her short-term standing in the Iowa caucuses. Surely that on its own should be sufficient to disqualify her from consideration?
Christopher Hitchens
You don`t have to do anything. Why worry? It`s all god`s plan anyway. Just love everyone and believe. Be a limp-wristed wimp and recruit others to be the same. But, give unto Caesar that which is Caesar`s. When Caesar says drop bombs on christian babies in Berlin, or Muslim babies in Iraq, it`s okay. When Caesar says open your borders to tens of millions of dark immigrants, or to bus your children to jungle neighborhoods, or to accept legalized pornography an the abortion murder of babies, then it is Caesar`s responsibility, not the Christian`s. So don`t concern yourselves.
Frazier Glenn Miller (A White Man Speaks Out)
Many religious fundamentalists around the world would like to see the establishment of theocracies — states where religion and government are closely intertwined. While some just reject separation of [name of place of worship] and state, others go further and insist that one religion’s tenets be made law. The normal arguments for a theocracy are that, for example, it would lend a greater sense of morality to the making and enforcement of laws. Or that as our laws were originally derived from some moral commandments in a particular religion, it makes sense to enthrone this religion as chief in the state. Basically, theocrats can talk until the cows come home about how great it would be if we were ruled by God, how great it would be if our laws followed God’s laws, and so forth. But this vision of theocracy will never come to be, and should never come to be. The fundamental problem with every theocracy is that is innately unfair. Not just unfair to those who do not follow the state religion, but also unfair to those who do not follow the state religion as it is understood and interpreted by the humans who run the state. After all, who really believes that all the Muslims in any of the Islamic theocracies we have today are happy? Those who believe the wrong things about Islam from one particular point of view are mercilessly vilified — the present civil war in Iraq is an excellent example. Why a theocracy would be unfair to those who don’t practice the state religion should be very apparent. Whatever flowery talk there may be of equality, if the laws are derived from one religion, then the laws will favour that religion, like it or not. At this point, supporters of theocracy often get riled up. This is because they can point topassages in their holy book which they argue justify their claims that their religion would be fair to all. On occasion they will also argue that their particular God’s laws are perfect.
John Lee
Fallujah was a Guernica with no Picasso. A city of 300,000 was deprived of water, electricity, and food, emptied of most of its inhabitants who ended up parked in camps. Then came the methodical bombing and recapture of the city block by block. When soldiers occupied the hospital, The New York Times managed to justify this act on grounds that the hospital served as an enemy propaganda center by exaggerating the number of casualties. And by the way, just how many casualties were there? Nobody knows, there is no body count for Iraqis. When estimates are published, even by reputable scientific reviews, they are denounced as exaggerated. Finally, the inhabitants were allowed to return to their devastated city, by way of military checkpoints, and start to sift through the rubble, under the watchful eye of soldiers and biometric controls.
Jean Bricmont (Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War)
I was taken to a villa to meet Sabri al-Banna, known as 'Abu Nidal' ('father of struggle'), who was at the time emerging as one of Yasser Arafat's main enemies. The meeting began inauspiciously when Abu Nidal asked me if I would like to be trained in one of his camps. No thanks, I explained. From this awkward beginning there was a further decline. I was then asked if I knew Said Hammami, the envoy of the PLO in London. I did in fact know him. He was a brave and decent man, who in a series of articles in the London Times had floated the first-ever trial balloon for a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine. 'Well tell him he is a traitor,' barked my host. 'And tell him we have only one way with those who betray us.' The rest of the interview passed as so many Middle Eastern interviews do: too many small cups of coffee served with too much fuss; too many unemployed heavies standing about with nothing to do and nobody to do it with; too much ugly furniture, too many too-bright electric lights; and much too much faux bonhomie. The only political fact I could winnow, from Abu Nidal's vainglorious claims to control X number of 'fighters' in Y number of countries, was that he admired the People's Republic of China for not recognizing the State of Israel. I forget how I got out of his office.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Suppose that we agree that the two atrocities can or may be mentioned in the same breath. Why should we do so? I wrote at the time (The Nation, October 5, 1998) that Osama bin Laden 'hopes to bring a "judgmental" monotheism of his own to bear on these United States.' Chomsky's recent version of this is 'considering the grievances expressed by people of the Middle East region.' In my version, then as now, one confronts an enemy who wishes ill to our society, and also to his own (if impermeable religious despotism is considered an 'ill'). In Chomsky's reading, one must learn to sift through the inevitable propaganda and emotion resulting from the September 11 attacks, and lend an ear to the suppressed and distorted cry for help that comes, not from the victims, but from the perpetrators. I have already said how distasteful I find this attitude. I wonder if even Chomsky would now like to have some of his own words back? Why else should he take such care to quote himself deploring the atrocity? Nobody accused him of not doing so. It's often a bad sign when people defend themselves against charges which haven't been made.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
The Muslim world in general, the Arab world in particular was confirmed in its grievances, particularly that the West was prepared to use its overwhelming military superiority to keep Muslims subordinate. 'Europe', the Europe of the Franco-German plan to create a federal union strong enough to stand on terms of equality with the United States as a world power, had been humiliated by the failure of its efforts to avert the war. Liberal opinion, dominant throughout the European media and academia, strong also in their American equivalents, was outraged by the spectacle of raw military force supplanting reason and legality as the means by which relations between states were ordered. Reality is an uncomfortable companion, particularly to people of good will. George H.W. Bush's proclamation of a new world order had persuaded too many in the West that the world's future could be managed within a legal framework, by discussion and conciliation. The warning uttered by his son that the United States was determined to bring other enemies of nuclear and regional stability to book - Iran, North Korea - was founded by his political opponents profoundly unsettling. The reality of the Iraq campaign of March - April 2003 is, however, a better guide to what needs to be done to secure the safety of our world than any amount of law-making or treaty-writing can offer.
John Keegan (The Iraq War: The Military Offensive, from Victory in 21 Days to the Insurgent Aftermath)
The neo-cons, or some of them, decided that they would back Clinton when he belatedly decided for Bosnia and Kosovo against Milosevic, and this even though they loathed Clinton, because the battle against religious and ethnic dictatorship in the Balkans took precedence. This, by the way, was partly a battle to save Muslims from Catholic and Christian Orthodox killers. That impressed me. The neo-cons also took the view, quite early on, that coexistence with Saddam Hussein was impossible as well as undesirable. They were dead right about that. They had furthermore been thinking about the menace of jihadism when most people were half-asleep. And then I have to say that I was rather struck by the way that the Weekly Standard and its associated voices took the decision to get rid of Trent Lott earlier this year, thus removing an embarrassment as well as a disgrace from the political scene. And their arguments were on points of principle, not 'perception.' I liked their ruthlessness here, and their seriousness, at a time when much of the liberal Left is not even seriously wrong, but frivolously wrong, and babbles without any sense of responsibility. (I mean, have you read their sub-Brechtian stuff on Halliburton....?) And revolution from above, in some states and cases, is—as I wrote in my book A Long Short War—often preferable to the status quo, or to no revolution at all.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
Unlike old-fashioned Britain, where Tony Blair recruited Lord Levy to encourage his 'Friends of Israel' to donate their money to a party that was just about to launch a criminal war, in America Alan Greenspan provided his president with an astonishing economic boom. It seems that the prosperous conditions at home divert the attention from the disastrous war in Iraq. Greenspan is not an amateur economist, he knew what he was doing. He knew very well that as long as Americans were doing well, buying and selling homes, his President would be able to continue implementing the 'Wolfowitz doctrine' and PNAC philosophy, destroying the 'bad Arabs' in the name of 'democracy', 'liberalism', 'ethics', and even 'women's rights'.
Gilad Atzmon (The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics)
People of color in the internal colonies of the US cannot defend themselves against police brutality or expropriate the means of survival to free themselves from economic servitude. They must wait for enough people of color who have attained more economic privilege (the “house slaves” of Malcolm X’s analysis) and conscientious white people to gather together and hold hands and sing songs. Then, they believe, change will surely come. People in Latin America must suffer patiently, like true martyrs, while white activists in the US “bear witness” and write to Congress. People in Iraq must not fight back. Only if they remain civilians will their deaths be counted and mourned by white peace activists who will, one of these days, muster a protest large enough to stop the war. Indigenous people need to wait just a little longer (say, another 500 years) under the shadow of genocide, slowly dying off on marginal lands, until-well, they’re not a priority right now, so perhaps they need to organize a demonstration or two to win the attention and sympathy of the powerful. Or maybe they could go on strike, engage in Gandhian noncooperation? But wait-a majority of them are already unemployed, noncooperating, fully excluded from the functioning of the system. Nonviolence declares that the American Indians could have fought off Columbus, George Washington, and all the other genocidal butchers with sit-ins; that Crazy Horse, by using violent resistance, became part of the cycle of violence, and was “as bad as” Custer. Nonviolence declares that Africans could have stopped the slave trade with hunger strikes and petitions, and that those who mutinied were as bad as their captors; that mutiny, a form of violence, led to more violence, and, thus, resistance led to more enslavement. Nonviolence refuses to recognize that it can only work for privileged people, who have a status protected by violence, as the perpetrators and beneficiaries of a violent hierarchy.
Peter Gelderloos (How Nonviolence Protects the State)
There was a time in my life when I did a fair bit of work for the tempestuous Lucretia Stewart, then editor of the American Express travel magazine, Departures. Together, we evolved a harmless satire of the slightly driveling style employed by the journalists of tourism. 'Land of Contrasts' was our shorthand for it. ('Jerusalem: an enthralling blend of old and new.' 'South Africa: a harmony in black and white.' 'Belfast, where ancient meets modern.') It was as you can see, no difficult task. I began to notice a few weeks ago that my enemies in the 'peace' movement had decided to borrow from this tattered style book. The mantra, especially in the letters to this newspaper, was: 'Afghanistan, where the world's richest country rains bombs on the world's poorest country.' Poor fools. They should never have tried to beat me at this game. What about, 'Afghanistan, where the world's most open society confronts the world's most closed one'? 'Where American women pilots kill the men who enslave women.' 'Where the world's most indiscriminate bombers are bombed by the world's most accurate ones.' 'Where the largest number of poor people applaud the bombing of their own regime.' I could go on. (I think number four may need a little work.) But there are some suggested contrasts for the 'doves' to paste into their scrapbook. Incidentally, when they look at their scrapbooks they will be able to re-read themselves saying things like, 'The bombing of Kosovo is driving the Serbs into the arms of Milosevic.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
In the beginning, there’s a blank mind. Then that mind gets an idea in it, and the trouble begins, because the mind mistakes the idea for the world. Mistaking the idea for the world, the mind formulates a theory and, having formulated a theory, feels inclined to act. Because the idea is always only an approximation of the world, whether that action will be catastrophic or beneficial depends on the distance between the idea and the world. Mass media’s job is to provide this simulacra of the world, upon which we build our ideas. There’s another name for this simulacra-building: storytelling. Megaphone Guy is a storyteller, but his stories are not so good. Or rather, his stories are limited. His stories have not had time to gestate—they go out too fast and to too broad an audience. Storytelling is a language-rich enterprise, but Megaphone Guy does not have time to generate powerful language. The best stories proceed from a mysterious truth-seeking impulse that narrative has when revised extensively; they are complex and baffling and ambiguous; they tend to make us slower to act, rather than quicker. They make us more humble, cause us to empathize with people we don’t know, because they help us imagine these people, and when we imagine them—if the storytelling is good enough—we imagine them as being, essentially, like us. If the story is poor, or has an agenda, if it comes out of a paucity of imagination or is rushed, we imagine those other people as essentially unlike us: unknowable, inscrutable, inconvertible. Our venture in Iraq was a literary failure, by which I mean a failure of imagination. A culture better at imagining richly, three-dimensionally, would have had a greater respect for war than we did, more awareness of the law of unintended consequences, more familiarity with the world’s tendency to throw aggressive energy back at the aggressor in ways he did not expect. A culture capable of imagining complexly is a humble culture. It acts, when it has to act, as late in the game as possible, and as cautiously, because it knows its own girth and the tight confines of the china shop it’s blundering into. And it knows that no matter how well-prepared it is—no matter how ruthlessly it has held its projections up to intelligent scrutiny—the place it is headed for is going to be very different from the place it imagined. The shortfall between the imagined and the real, multiplied by the violence of one’s intent, equals the evil one will do.
George Saunders (The Braindead Megaphone)
Forget bringing the troops home from Iraq. We need to get the troops home from World War II. Can anybody tell me why, in 2009, we still have more than sixty thousand troops in Germany and thirty thousand in Japan? At some point, these people are going to have to learn to rape themselves. Our soldiers have been in Germany so long they now wear shorts with black socks. You know that crazy soldier hiding in the cave on Iwo Jima who doesn’t know the war is over? That’s us. Bush and Cheney used to love to keep Americans all sphinctered-up on the notion that terrorists might follow us home. But actually, we’re the people who go to your home and then never leave. Here’s the facts: The Republic of America has more than five hundred thousand military personnel deployed on more than seven hundred bases, with troops in one hundred fifty countries—we’re like McDonald’s with tanks—including thirty-seven European countries—because you never know when Portugal might invade Euro Disney. And this doesn’t even count our secret torture prisons, which are all over the place, but you never really see them until someone brings you there—kinda like IHOP. Of course, Americans would never stand for this in reverse—we can barely stand letting Mexicans in to do the landscaping. Can you imagine if there were twenty thousand armed Guatemalans on a base in San Ber-nardino right now? Lou Dobbs would become a suicide bomber. And why? How did this country get stuck with an empire? I’m not saying we’re Rome. Rome had good infrastructure. But we are an empire, and the reason is because once America lands in a country, there is no exit strategy. We’re like cellulite, herpes, and Irish relatives: We are not going anywhere. We love you long time!
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
The novel’s merit, then—or its offence, depending where you stood—was not that it was authentic, but that it was credible. The bad dream turned out to be one that a lot of people in the world were sharing, since it asked the same old question that we are asking ourselves fifty years later: How far can we go in the rightful defence of our Western values without abandoning them along the way? My fictional chief of the British Service—I called him Control—had no doubt of the answer: “I mean, you can’t be less ruthless than the opposition simply because your government’s policy is benevolent, can you now?” Today, the same man, with better teeth and hair and a much smarter suit, can be heard explaining away the catastrophic illegal war in Iraq, or justifying medieval torture techniques as the preferred means of interrogation in the twenty-first century, or defending the inalienable right of closet psychopaths to bear semi-automatic weapons, and the use of unmanned drones as a risk-free method of assassinating one’s perceived enemies and anybody who has the bad luck to be standing near them. Or, as a loyal servant of his corporation, assuring us that smoking is harmless to the health of the Third World, and great banks are there to serve the public. What have I learned over the last fifty years? Come to think of it, not much. Just that the morals of the secret world are very like our own.
John le Carré (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (George Smiley Book 3))
You might think that the Left could have a regime-change perspective of its own, based on solidarity with its comrades abroad. After all, Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party consolidated its power by first destroying the Iraqi communist and labor movements, and then turning on the Kurds (whose cause, historically, has been one of the main priorities of the Left in the Middle East). When I first became a socialist, the imperative of international solidarity was the essential if not the defining thing, whether the cause was popular or risky or not. I haven't seen an anti-war meeting all this year at which you could even guess at the existence of the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition to Saddam, an opposition that was fighting for 'regime change' when both Republicans and Democrats were fawning over Baghdad as a profitable client and geopolitical ally. Not only does the 'peace' movement ignore the anti-Saddam civilian opposition, it sends missions to console the Ba'athists in their isolation, and speaks of the invader of Kuwait and Iran and the butcher of Kurdistan as if he were the victim and George W. Bush the aggressor.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
On our particular mission, senior marines met with local school officials while the rest of us provided security or hung out with the schoolkids, playing soccer and passing out candy and school supplies. One very shy boy approached me and held out his hand. When I gave him a small eraser, his face briefly lit up with joy before he ran away to his family, holding his two-cent prize aloft in triumph. I have never seen such excitement on a child’s face. I don’t believe in epiphanies. I don’t believe in transformative moments, as transformation is harder than a moment. I’ve seen far too many people awash in a genuine desire to change only to lose their mettle when they realized just how difficult change actually is. But that moment, with that boy, was pretty close for me. For my entire life, I’d harbored resentment at the world. I was mad at my mother and father, mad that I rode the bus to school while other kids caught rides with friends, mad that my clothes didn’t come from Abercrombie, mad that my grandfather died, mad that we lived in a small house. That resentment didn’t vanish in an instant, but as I stood and surveyed the mass of children of a war-torn nation, their school without running water, and the overjoyed boy, I began to appreciate how lucky I was: born in the greatest country on earth, every modern convenience at my fingertips, supported by two loving hillbillies, and part of a family that, for all its quirks, loved me unconditionally. At that moment, I resolved to be the type of man who would smile when someone gave him an eraser. I haven’t quite made it there, but without that day in Iraq, I wouldn’t be trying. The
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
New Rule: Conservatives have to stop rolling their eyes every time they hear the word "France." Like just calling something French is the ultimate argument winner. As if to say, "What can you say about a country that was too stupid to get on board with our wonderfully conceived and brilliantly executed war in Iraq?" And yet an American politician could not survive if he uttered the simple, true statement: "France has a better health-care system than we do, and we should steal it." Because here, simply dismissing an idea as French passes for an argument. John Kerry? Couldn't vote for him--he looked French. Yeah, as a opposed to the other guy, who just looked stupid. Last week, France had an election, and people over there approach an election differently. They vote. Eighty-five percent turned out. You couldn't get eighty-five percent of Americans to get off the couch if there was an election between tits and bigger tits and they were giving out free samples. Maybe the high turnout has something to do with the fact that the French candidates are never asked where they stand on evolution, prayer in school, abortion, stem cell research, or gay marriage. And if the candidate knows about a character in a book other than Jesus, it's not a drawback. The electorate doesn't vote for the guy they want to have a croissant with. Nor do they care about private lives. In the current race, Madame Royal has four kids, but she never got married. And she's a socialist. In America, if a Democrat even thinks you're calling him "liberal," he grabs an orange vest and a rifle and heads into the woods to kill something. Royal's opponent is married, but they live apart and lead separate lives. And the people are okay with that, for the same reason they're okay with nude beaches: because they're not a nation of six-year-olds who scream and giggle if they see pee-pee parts. They have weird ideas about privacy. They think it should be private. In France, even mistresses have mistresses. To not have a lady on the side says to the voters, "I'm no good at multitasking." Like any country, France has its faults, like all that ridiculous accordion music--but their health care is the best in the industrialized world, as is their poverty rate. And they're completely independent of Mid-East oil. And they're the greenest country. And they're not fat. They have public intellectuals in France. We have Dr. Phil. They invented sex during the day, lingerie, and the tongue. Can't we admit we could learn something from them?
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Rolf Ekeus came round to my apartment one day and showed me the name of the Iraqi diplomat who had visited the little West African country of Niger: a statelet famous only for its production of yellowcake uranium. The name was Wissam Zahawi. He was the brother of my louche gay part-Kurdish friend, the by-now late Mazen. He was also, or had been at the time of his trip to Niger, Saddam Hussein's ambassador to the Vatican. I expressed incomprehension. What was an envoy to the Holy See doing in Niger? Obviously he was not taking a vacation. Rolf then explained two things to me. The first was that Wissam Zahawi had, when Rolf was at the United Nations, been one of Saddam Hussein's chief envoys for discussions on nuclear matters (this at a time when the Iraqis had functioning reactors). The second was that, during the period of sanctions that followed the Kuwait war, no Western European country had full diplomatic relations with Baghdad. TheVatican was the sole exception, so it was sent a very senior Iraqi envoy to act as a listening post. And this man, a specialist in nuclear matters, had made a discreet side trip to Niger. This was to suggest exactly what most right-thinking people were convinced was not the case: namely that British intelligence was on to something when it said that Saddam had not ceased seeking nuclear materials in Africa. I published a few columns on this, drawing at one point an angry email from Ambassador Zahawi that very satisfyingly blustered and bluffed on what he'd really been up to. I also received—this is what sometimes makes journalism worthwhile—a letter from a BBC correspondent named Gordon Correa who had been writing a book about A.Q. Khan. This was the Pakistani proprietor of the nuclear black market that had supplied fissile material to Libya, North Korea, very probably to Syria, and was open for business with any member of the 'rogue states' club. (Saddam's people, we already knew for sure, had been meeting North Korean missile salesmen in Damascus until just before the invasion, when Kim Jong Il's mercenary bargainers took fright and went home.) It turned out, said the highly interested Mr. Correa, that his man Khan had also been in Niger, and at about the same time that Zahawi had. The likelihood of the senior Iraqi diplomat in Europe and the senior Pakistani nuclear black-marketeer both choosing an off-season holiday in chic little uranium-rich Niger… well, you have to admit that it makes an affecting picture. But you must be ready to credit something as ridiculous as that if your touching belief is that Saddam Hussein was already 'contained,' and that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair were acting on panic reports, fabricated in turn by self-interested provocateurs.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)