“”
“If I had a nickel for every No. 2 and No. 3 they’ve arrested or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’d be a millionaire.”
“”
“Freedom of speech and the press are hard-won rights we sometimes take for granted in the United States. If the American soldiers who are in Iraq to help bring about those freedoms for the Iraqi people cannot themselves be honest, the intent of this war is all but gone.”
Moni Basu, embedded with Ga’s 48th Brigade
“”
“We thank God that the air we breathe is not in the hands of the government. Otherwise they would have cut it off for a few hours each day.”
Nadeem Haki, Baghdad
“”
“Yesterday I read the categorical ‘invading Iraq clearly made us a target’ from someone who continued, ‘it diverted our attention and resources from the very people that we should have been fighting — al-Qaeda’, but who just after 9/11 argued that if the US starts bombing Afghanistan, young Muslims will almost certainly rally behind the Taleban and Osama bin Laden in a new jihad. In other words Iraq diverted our resources away from something they shouldn’t have been dedicated to in the first place, because that first thing would lead to a new jihad.”
“”
“We have a finite number of troops. But if you pull out of an area and don’t leave security forces in it, all you’re going to do is leave the door open for them to come back. This is what our lack of combat power has done to us throughout the country.”
“”
“Conservatives don’t want to talk about it because, with a few exceptions, they think their job is just to applaud whatever the Bush team does. Liberals don’t want to talk about Iraq because, with a few exceptions, they thought the war was wrong and deep down don’t want the Bush team to succeed. As a result, Iraq is drifting sideways and the whole burden is being carried by our military.”
“”
“The death march of homicidal zombies in Iraq is trying to push us toward accepting the idea that acts of unrestrained violence against other human beings is now a normal part of politics. It is not normal. Any civilized person should want to resist the normalization of civilian killing as a political act — whether in Iraq, Spain, Indonesia or Kashmir.”
“”
“Things aren’t getting better; they’re getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along.”
“”
“Once the Americans bombed a bus crossing to Syria. We made a big fuss and said it was full of merchants. But actually, they were fighters.”
“”
“The post-invasion phase of the operation (‘Phase IV’) there has been the most poorly planned U.S. military mission since Somalia in 1993 — if not Lebanon in 1983 — with greater consequences for national security than any use of force since Vietnam.”
“”
“One of the worst scandals in American military history happened on their watch, under their direction, at least partly due to conditions under their control. And yet, the highest-ranking individual to see prosecution so far for these abuses is a Staff Sergeant.”
“”
“I’m thinking we have our most precious resource engaged in combat, and certainly the wealth of our nation can provide young, selfless men with what they need to accomplish their mission. That’s an erudite way of putting it. I have a much more guttural response that I won’t give you.”
“”
“The Bush administration and the military insist that any abuse of detainees is a violation of policy and that abusers are being punished. If so, why does it refuse to allow a genuinely independent commission to investigate without fear or favor? Why do Republican leaders on Capitol Hill refuse to launch a proper congressional investigation? And why do my fellow conservatives — those who support the war for all the right reasons — continue to keep silent about a scandal that should have them up in arms?”
“”
“Whatever you thought about this war, it’s not about Mr. Bush any more. It’s about the aspirations of the Iraqi majority to build an alternative to Saddamism. By voting the way they did, in the face of real danger, Iraqis have earned the right to ask everyone now to put aside their squabbles and focus on what is no longer just a pipe dream but a real opportunity to implant decent, consensual government in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world.”
“”
“You may think that you have felt dumb before, but let me tell you something: until you have stood in front of a man who knows real pain and told him that you are against your country’s alleviation of his country’s state-sponsored murderous suffering, you have not felt truly, deeply, like a total f*cking moron.”
“”
“First, people want to stop this terrorism that’s breeding in this country. Second, the religious leadership wanted people to vote. And third, people have had enough of time wasted. They want to get their permanent government.”
“”
“These are a people who voted at higher rates in the face of death than we do in the face of inconvenience.”
“”
“My friend Mitch and I were discussing this and regardless of who wins in the polls, the Iraqis won here and proved themselves — for a day, at least — stronger than the insurgency. And that’s a very big symbolic victory. A huge one, in fact, and Iraqis should take great pride in themselves. When they had the opportunity, they stood up and were counted.”
“”
“It’s not safe, but they will do it. We spent our life as a number on paper. Now we count as a people, a citizenship. This is worth a lot. This is worth even dying for.”
“”
“I wanted to keep the paper in my hand for long time. First thing I imagined how much the paper cost us as a country and a people. It cost us a million people’s deaths. Now we get the victory, just now when we elect our representatives. I want to touch the victory. I didn’t want to leave it.”
“”
“Although I hope democracy succeeds, the fact that Iraqis have to face being gunned down in large numbers to vote does not strike me as a great achievement for an occupying power.”
“”
“We must live like other people. Let a million of us die. That’s the price of freedom. Have you heard of any society that gained freedom without sacrifices?”
“”
“Look, in my country we have elections that are not perfect, that have been marred by violence and terrible intimidation. But still people go to the polls. And still the results are accepted as legitimate.”
“”
“I don’t believe that he believes this war is lost but I think he’s just too frustrated because he really wants it to work and he can’t see it working this way, meaning the way the American administration is handling it. I couldn’t, however, demand the same as I’m Iraqi and I feel it’s not my right to ask people to sacrifice more so that I can live free.”
“”
“I asked [Colonel] Saul what lessons the Army has learned in Iraq, and he said, ‘Not much, because lessons learned, in past tense, means you’ve modified behavior. Until you demonstrate changed behavior, you haven’t learned a lesson.’”
“”
“Don’t cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?”
Guy Womack, lawyer for Spc. Charles Graner
“”
“It’s consensual behavior, you moron. And if there are frequent pyramids of naked cheerleaders anywhere, my cable access is grossly inadequate.”
Sam at Asymmetrical Information
“”
“Bin Laden knows nothing about Iraq; he is an extremist who lives in caves. He lost 75 percent of his support in Iraq by making everyone who votes in elections an infidel.”
“”
“We were very aware of the fact that it wasn’t the Iraqi agenda that motivated our kidnappers, but the internationalist jihadist agenda. I think this is the real challenge for the next 10 years — the clash of cultures that these people are advocating, are seeking.”
“”
“In April 2003, as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was ending, the Pentagon projected in a formal planning effort that the U.S. military occupation of the country would end this month.”
Thomas Ricks, 12/22/04
“”
“When are both sides going to realize that it’s not only about them! That there are millions of Iraqis, Afghanis, Iranians Etc who are suffering daily and who are trying to find a solution and a way to achieve their dreams (with the help they are getting from America) and who do not have the slightest interest in supporting any party in America. The world is bigger than you and your partisan conflicts and frankly I’m getting sick of it.”
“”
“Some of us are going to die there, and some of us are going to die unnecessarily because of the lack of training. So I don’t care. Let them court-martial me. I want the American public to know what is going on. My men are guilty of one thing: volunteering to serve their country. And we are at the end of our rope.”
“”
“Taking in this scene I had very mixed feelings: a fervent hope that victory in Falluja will start to tip Iraq in the right direction, and utter scorn at the fact that we are now, once again, fighting a full-scale war in central Iraq, without an ounce of self-reflection by an administration that long ago declared ‘mission accomplished.’ But don’t worry. Rummy has it all under control. He hasn’t made any mistakes. Everything is going as planned. The plan was always to fight running street battles in Falluja 20 months after Saddam’s fall.”
“”
“In 2003 I went to tell Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz what I had seen in Baghdad in the days following Saddam Hussein’s overthrow. For nearly an hour, I described the catastrophic aftermath of the invasion — the unchecked looting of every public institution in Baghdad, the devastation of Iraq’s cultural heritage, the anger of ordinary Iraqis who couldn’t understand why the world’s only superpower was letting this happen.”
“”
“Had conservatives spoken up loudly a year ago and said what both of Mr. Bush’s senior Iraq envoys, Jay Garner and Paul Bremer, have now said (and what many of us who believed in the importance of Iraq were saying) — that we never had enough troops to control Iraq’s borders, keep the terrorists out, prevent looting and establish authority — the president might have changed course. Instead, they served as a Greek chorus, applauding Mr. Bush’s missteps and mocking anyone who challenged them.”
“”
“First, we did not have enough troops to conduct combat patrols in sufficient numbers to gain solid intelligence and paint a good picture of the enemy on the ground. Secondly, we needed more troops to act on the intelligence we generated. They took advantage of our limited numbers.”
“”
“They just keep on recruiting. And I don’t mind saying it: we don’t have enough people for what we’re doing.”
Sgt. Jose L. Carillo, outside Ramadi
“”
“The Bush doctrine died on the outskirts of Baghdad.”
“”
“We paid a big price for not stopping (the looting) because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness”
“”
“The reality right now is that the most dangerous opinion in the world is the opinion of a U.S. serviceman.”
“”
“We don’t give a crap. What are they going to do, send us to Iraq?”
“”
“Just as I have had to accept that the evidence now is that there were not stockpiles of actual weapons ready to be deployed, I hope others have the honesty to accept that the report also shows that sanctions weren’t working.”
“”
“Washington forgot historical rule number one about getting enemies to surrender and acquiesce: You must first beat them. They must see clearly that they have no hope. In a Middle Eastern context, your hayba, the awe that comes with indomitable power, must overwhelm them. This has not happened in Iraq since the fall of Saddam.”
“”
“This is a hard war and we, frankly, inside the Army Reserve have been not properly prepared for it.”
Lt. Gen. James Helmly, chief of the U.S. Army Reserve
“”
“I think that anybody that thinks that you can hold elections in the Sunni Triangle by the end of January is really smoking something.”
“”
“…in a building that served as Mr Sadr’s Sharia court, just behind the shrine, police stumbled upon some of his army’s apparent victims. The Guardian counted 20 corpses — stinking, blackened and disfigured, on the floor beneath a judicial clock. It appeared they had been tortured. Given the state of the bodies, nobody could be sure.”
“”
“The real metaphor for the terrorist war on civilization is not wide-bodied aircraft crashing into the twin towers. It is mortars firing from the courtyard of the Imam Ali Shrine by men who don’t even sandbag their positions, secure in the knowledge that they can slay men too decent to fire back.”
“”
“We can still be optimistic about Iraq — thanks to the incredible job done by our military — but it’s striking how the Bush administration’s dithering, make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach to the occupation in Iraq resembles the previous administration’s amateur-hour performance in Somalia. Our troops end up paying the bills. No matter which party is booking the Lincoln bedroom. Doesn’t anyone take strategy seriously?”
“”
“We did not see it coming. And we were not properly prepared and organized to deal with it ... Many of us got seduced by the Iraqi exiles in terms of what the outcome would be.”
Gen. John Keane, on the Iraqi insurgency
“”
“I have a feeling that if we left, Iraqis would cling to democracy for about as long as J. Lo clings to a husband.”
“”
“Iraq is now so dangerous to foreigners outside of American military bases that journalists are failing to go out and report on all the good things that are happening there.”
“”
“The war itself has led to, rightly or wrongly, the feeling among many in the military that they’re not receiving competent direction, that it is too ideological, and that a lot of their military efforts have been wasted by what they regard as poor, inept planning for the stability phase.”
“”
“If we muddle through in Iraq and some semidemocratic nation slowly emerges, it won’t be because of American skill. It will be because the democratic creed is so strong it can withstand the highest incompetence.”
“”
“This steadily wavering image is at the core of the decline in your approval ratings. Americans stop supporting wars not because of body counts alone but because they become convinced their leaders do not know what they are doing.”
“”
“We’re not just talking about stress positions or even a little ‘smacky face’ ... This conduct includes murder (albeit probably not 1st degree), and it’s clearly prohibited under international and domestic law. The time has come for the Army to clean house.”
“”
“In my time at CENTCOM, we actually looked at a plan for reconstruction, and actually developed one at CENTCOM because I though that we, the military, would get stuck with it. In my mind, we needed formidable teams at every provincial level. 18 teams. The size of the CPA was about the size we felt we needed for one province, let alone the entire country”
“”
“There is a useful article on Islam Online about what Islam teaches about treatment of Prisoners of War. The invocation of the murderers of Peter Berg of the Prophet SAW as justification of their acts was particularly obscene and they will pay a price in hellfire - American first, afterlife second.”
“”
“[The Geneva Convention] basically states you gotta treat all war prisoners with a shred of humanitarian dignity or you can’t call yourself a fair and civilized Christian superpower, and if you don’t follow those basic rules you are, in essence, no different from the terrorists and the dictators you claim to abhor and you are bombing the crap out of.”
“”
“Normally we can draw some comfort in looking at distressing photographs because, as viewer, we are receiving the message communicated by the photographer - that what he or she is witnessing is unacceptable and upsetting ... The pictures from Abu Ghraib are fundamentally different.”
“”
“But remember, if we post about the latest news, we hate America, and we are helping the enemy, and we want America to lose, and why aren’t we posting the latest news about Nick Berg?. It’s because we don’t care about Nick Berg because we want America to lose. It’s not the soldiers, and those who gave the orders, who have hurt America. It’s people who talk about it.”
“”
“My sense is that there’s a big backlash building against the media for flogging the Abu Ghraib photos, but being so delicate with the Berg images. People sense that there’s an agenda afoot here”
“”
“What started as a carefully thought-out, if aggressive, policy of interrogation in a covert war - designed mainly for use by a handful of CIA professionals - evolved into ever-more ungoverned tactics that ended up in the hands of untrained MPs in a big, hot war.”
“”
“Failure in leadership, sir, from the brigade commander on down; lack of discipline; no training whatsoever; and no supervision. Supervisory omission was rampant.”
Gen. Antonio Taguba, on causes of abuse
“”
“This was a unit that had issues with just adhering to the Army’s standards. They didn’t have standardized uniforms. They were allowed to carry guns in their civilian clothes when they were off duty. They had things written on their cap. They didn’t particularly want to salute”
Gen. Richard Myers, on the 320th Military Police Battalion
“”
“One-stripe soldiers could zip the disastrous images through the ether, but the Pentagon could not get them onto Rumsfeld’s radar screen at even an 18th-century pace.”
“”
“My desire is to die a martyr in this country.”
“”
“One could not have designed a more symbolic representation of the Islamist warning about where Western freedom ultimately leads than yesterday’s Washington Post photo of a uniformed American woman holding a naked Arab man on a leash.”
“”
“That had an affect on me, captive the last few days. I hate that happened. They asked me about it. My treatment had changed and I was afraid it was going to get a lot worse.”
Thomas Hamill, on the Abu Ghraib pictures
“”
“A picture used to be worth a thousand words. With the inflation of global electronic media, it’s now worth about 100 million words.”
“”
“I was there and I kept saying the interrogation process is broken. The prison process is broken. And no one wanted to deal with it. It was too, too distasteful.”
“”
“If the Pentagon leadership ran any U.S. company with the kind of abysmal planning in this war, it would have been fired by shareholders months ago.”
“”
“Some may worry that a change of defence secretary now would further endanger the effort in Iraq. The opposite is the case, for although Mr Rumsfeld is rightly credited with a successful steering of the conventional war a little over a year ago, he and his team have also been responsible for many of the blunders since then: appalling post-war planning, inadequate troop numbers, excessive deBaathification, and more.”
“”
“The real question is: Will the Coalition keep its end of the bargain? Or will U.S. and British leaders, for reasons of domestic politics, lose their nerve, throw Iraq to the United Nations or some other ineffectual custodian and sacrifice the strategic goal of a democratic Middle East to tactical electoral considerations?”
“”
“Bush himself is the great mystery in this mounting debacle. His commitment to stay the course in Iraq seems utterly genuine. Yet he continues to tolerate policymakers, military advisers and a dysfunctional policymaking apparatus that are making the achievement of his goals less and less likely.”
“”
“In a letter published last week, 52 former British diplomats condemned the invasion of Iraq and the Government’s support for Israel. The letter failed to disclose, however, that several of the key signatories, including Oliver Miles, the former British ambassador to Libya who instigated the letter, are paid by pro-Arab organisations.”
“”
“When the little kid who hung out at our C-MOC pointed out the two people who’d paid him to run up and down the street waving pictures of Saddam, those two people were identified as the local Al Jazeera Correspondants by our boss. Those same two people then later paid people to incite a riot - intended to cause American Soldiers to shoot up civilians - during a demonstration at our gate.”
“Mike” on Al Jazeera
“”
“They brought in the television cameras the other day to film the execution of an Italian hostage, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, but something went wrong. After forcing him to dig his own grave, they put a hood over his head and ordered him to kneel so he could be killed. He wouldn’t go for it. He tried to remove the hood, and defiantly yelled at them ‘I will show you how an Italian dies.’ The scene was a propaganda disaster for them, and good old al Jazeera, the modern mother of lies, announced that they had the tape but wouldn’t release it because it was too terrible to witness. It was terrible, but not in the way al Jazeera wanted us to think. It showed Western bravery, not Arab domination, so they couldn’t show it.”
“”
“This pretty much confirms my perception of the Administration as having a fundamentally correct worldview, married to a chronic inability to thoroughly and properly execute.”
“”
“It’s worth saying here what we now know the president got wrong - badly wrong. There were never enough troops to occupy Iraq. The war-plan might have been brilliant, but the post-war plan has obviously been a failure. We needed more force and we needed more money sooner. The president has no excuses for not adjusting more quickly to this fact: he was told beforehand; he was told afterward; but he and the Defense Secretary were too pig-headed to change course. I still favor the war; but I cannot excuse the lapses and failures of the administration in the post-war.”
“”
“My heart never wanted us in Iraq, and wants us out as soon as possible. But my gut tells me otherwise, mostly because, American that I am, I feel a sense of obligation to a people we set out to rescue and cannot abandon.”
“”
“The abrupt transition to anarchy was a disaster not only for Iraq but also for the United States. Pentagon planners in early May [2003] had predicted that U.S. troop levels would be down to 30,000 by late summer; instead, at Christmas the figure was 130,000 American soldiers in Iraq, with another 30,000 in Kuwait.”
Rick Atkinson, “In The Company Of Soldiers”
“”
“I am the striking arm for Hizbullah and Hamas in Iraq because the fate of Iraq and Palestine is the same.”
“”
“In our postwar paranoia about being too brutal in Iraq, we were too lenient - and thus ultimately will probably be more brutal than we would otherwise have had to be.”
“”
“[Richard Clarke] is wrong because most if not all of the terrorism since 9/11 has occurred because al Qaeda and other radical Islamists have an even dimmer view of a free and independent Iraq than they do a free and independent United States. A democracy in Iraq that embraces modernism, pluralism, tolerance and the plebiscite is a greater sacrilege than anything we are doing here at home.”
“”
“The people that defiled the dead bodies were not technically terrorists, Ba’athists, or insurgents, they were common folk which makes it even more depressing. All respect for humanity has long been lost in a large section of Iraqis. I admit this concept is difficult, if not impossible, to explain to a western audience.”
“”
“They have planned and paved the ways for a long time, but it is God who is the real planner -- and the proof of this is the fall of the American twin towers.”
“”
“We denounce the mutilation of the American corpses. Islam prohibits that. This is childish behavior committed by ignorants who don’t know the meaning of life and death ... This is a grave mistake that destroys the reputation of Islam and Muslims.”
“”
“Statements like ‘No Iraqi would commit such an atrocity’ or ‘No Muslim would do that’ are stupid, as if all Iraqis were saints and haven’t committed atrocities before. One GC member even went far as to say ‘No human being did that’. Of course not, dude, they were Greys from the Zeta Reticuli system [...] The shameful silence must end. Where are the cries of outrage from the Arab and Islamic world? Where is the condemnation and denunciation? Where are the fatwas? Where is the seething and shaking fists? Or are these preserved for other people?”
“”
“We should feel humiliated that some of our intellectuals, supposedly the representatives of our nations’ consciences and the defenders of their liberty and dignity, not only dealt with Saddam, but also supported him ... The Arabs should have been the ones to bring down Saddam, in defense of their own dignity and their own true interests.”
“”
“We can pack up and leave and look for another land, just like what has happened in so many lands of jihad. Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases. By God, this is suffocation!”
“”
“If you want the antidote to all the creeps in that Super Bowl show, spend a day at Centcom. I promise you, you will walk away with one overriding feeling: We do not deserve these people. They are so much better than the country and the administration they are fighting for. We owe them so much more respect, so much more sacrifice of our own and so much better leadership from a Bush team whose real sin is not hyping Saddam’s threat, but sending Americans to remove him without a plan for the morning after.”
“”
“I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.”
“”
“I hear that one of Saddam’s main torture techniques involved giving the victim a standard medical exam and then showing it on TV.”
“”
“When I saw Saddam’s long beard, how he looked like a defeated man, it reminded me of the two years I spent in jail, how his agents tortured me in every way you could imagine.”
“”
“I am very proud of what [Operation Iraqi Freedom commander Gen.] Tommy Franks did -- up to the moment of deciding how to transfer power to the Iraqis. Then, we go off a cliff.”
“”
“Some argue that Mr. Rumsfeld has ill served the president. We claimed victory in the initial war intervention. Our adversaries, however, haven’t seen themselves as defeated. Mr. Rumsfeld’s critics feel that he dug in his heels and inadequately resourced the campaign’s opening phase. In my judgment, the manner in which we intervened, and ended the regime, has been a major source of our subsequent problems. It’s not enough to achieve victory -- which we did; you’ve got to achieve a situation in which your adversary recognizes that he’s been defeated, and that violent resistance is futile -- which we didn’t.”
“”
“You ask me not to feel gratitude to those who set me free, ask for what is more realistic. I say it with all my heart: may Allah bless America, UK, Italy, Spain, Australia, Poland and Ukraine. For through the sacrifices of their sons and daughters on this land, smile has found it’s way to our faces.”
“”
“To accomplish the simplest tasks, we first must build the policies and procedures, within both the Iraqi Ministries and the CPA, from scratch. There is no baseline or framework from which to start as the old regime made up rules as they went along, and those rules were made to benefit them, not to establish policy or procedures. So our requirements are do the Harder Right, not the Easier Wrong.”
“”
“If you walk away from Iraq, the jihadis will follow you wherever you go. You may think you’ve left them behind, but they will pursue you.”
Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew
“”
“I’m definitely torn, because I obviously don’t want any more of our soldiers getting killed, but I also wouldn’t mind the quagmire going on just long enough to ruin Bush’s re-election chances.”
“”
“The double standards here are obvious but worth a reminder. During the week anti-Bush protesters will, we’re told, be splashing red paint to symbolise the spilled blood of the people of Iraq. No such red paint was splashed around London after Halabja, after the 1991 Shia and Kurdish uprisings or during the Iran-Iraq war, almost as if that were not real Iraqi blood. Blood, after all, is only blood if Americans spill it.”
“”
“Can anyone tell me why the world let Saddam remain and stood against America’s will to topple him? ... You all owe the Iraqi people an apology.”
“”
“For people here outside the old hierarchy, the issue that the United States and Britain used to justify the war was never a prime concern. Despite the use of chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds, the weapons that terrified Iraqis most were the pistol, the garrote and the gallows.”
“”
“So, when Election Day 2004 rolls around, who will I vote for? Answer: I don’t know. But what if things stay as they are now, with the Democratic candidates half-heartedly promising to rebuild Iraq while the Bush Administration says all the right things but only does half of them?”
“”
“Look at what 9/11 did to you. It shocked you, and you can’t get over it to this day. Well let me invite you to Iraq where 9/11 is an everyday reality. How would you live your life? Stop comparing your ‘perfect’ society with mine. It isn’t the same. People don’t think the same. We don’t put flags and stickers on our cars to show how patriotic we are. We don’t go out in a ‘dentists against terrorism’ demonstration ... There are paintings on the walls all over Baghdad warning Arab foreigners from a bloody revenge if they keep messing with our affairs. Iraqis are openly calling the GC to quit the Arab League.”
“”
“I don’t honestly know if the war was a good idea, and I don’t know how you add it up, because the results are still coming in. I’d appreciate a little less grandstanding from both quarters about how immoral the other side is, and, as a reward, I promise to reduce my frequency of opaque and bitter postings by up to 50%.”
“”
“Washington may not succeed in turning Iraq into a ‘beacon of democracy’ but it will succeed, after all is said and done, in turning it into a society of laws and institutions where citizens, along with high-school kids, are protected against arbitrary arrest, incarceration, torture and execution.”
“”
“What the people who blew up the Red Cross and the Iraqi police fear is not that we’re going to permanently occupy Iraq. They fear that we’re going to permanently change Iraq. The great irony is that the Baathists and Arab dictators are opposing the U.S. in Iraq because -- unlike many leftists -- they understand exactly what this war is about.”
“”
“When the media showed pictures of Palestinians dancing in the street on September 11, 2001, we were admonished by the politically correct left to remember that those revelers shown only represented a small faction of all Palestinians and/or Muslims and that we should not judge an entire area by a small handful of zealots. But when the media shows members of the Iraqi resistance dancing in the streets after 15 American soldiers were killed, we are told by the left that they are a represention of all Iraqis.”
“”
“Suicide attacks are carried out by you-know-who. This is Bin Ladens gift to his fellow Iraqi Muslims. Didn’t he say it himself a while ago? I demand that all Iraqi diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and Syria cease immediately. I demand that we expel all foreign Arabs from Iraq until further notice. A little firmness is necessary.”
“”
“There remain exponentially more questions than answers concerning Saddam Hussein’s relationship to al Qaeda. Among them, it is a mere matter of detail to know why a native Iraqi, thanks to a contact in the Iraqi embassy, was in a position to escort two September 11 hijackers to a critical planning meeting, or why he possessed contact information for Osama bin Laden’s ‘best friend.’ But the overarching fact -- that Saddam and al Qaeda had a relationship -- can no longer be seriously disputed.”
“”
“Iraqi Police kick major ass. Much respect. Wherever you go now and open up that subject you will see a lot of sympathy with those brave men and women and a total incomprehension to what this so called resistance is doing. They are killing Iraqis now. They say Jihad against the Infidel Occupier and they go kill those Iraqi police men.”
“”
“I’d like a mudheef and the Internet. I don’t want to live entirely in the past.”
Salim Sherif Kerkush, sheik of Zayad, Iraq
“”
“Because international issues trump all others in this dangerous age, many of us have given Bush a pass on his greedy, polarizing domestic agenda as long as his foreign policy appeared effective, courageous and wise. But selling out the Kurds would cancel every one of Bush’s promises and successes. If the Democrats want traction against Bush’s achievements abroad - which the president appears all too ready to sacrifice - the administration’s abrupt, opportunistic disregard of Kurdish interests would be a good place to start. And then the Dems can take on the Bush regime’s love for Saudi Arabia.”
“”
“The occupation was chaotic, the American soldiers were hated and they were facing threats from the surviving supporters of the dictator, whose whereabouts were uncertain. Washington seemed unwilling to pay the enormous bill for reconstruction, and the president didn’t appear to have any kind of workable plan to manage the transition to democracy. European allies, distrustful of the arrogant American outlook, were wary of cooperating.”
Doug Saunders, on Germany in Nov. 1945
“”
“This is only one example of the rifts that divide the military from the CPA, led by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer. It was apparent during our visit that the CPA has done little to help the men and women in uniform; some joked that the agency’s initials stand for ‘Can’t Provide Anything.’”
“”
“It’s stunning to me that the E.U., misled by France, could let itself be written out of the most important political development project in modern Middle East history. The whole tone and direction of the Arab-Muslim world, which is right on Europe’s doorstep, will be affected by the outcome in Iraq. It would be as if America said it did not care what happened in Mexico because it was mad at Spain.”
“”
“The same people who accuse America of coddling dictators are sputtering with bilious fury because we actually deposed one.”
“”
“We are very interested in American deaths in Iraq. If we were as passionate about our own elderly, we would have had fewer victims. If the Americans are as moved by our deaths as we are by their deaths, they’ll soon make a landing in France to stop the massacre. It’s just that, and we will never admit it, every American soldier killed in Iraq causes, if not happiness, at least a certain satisfaction.”
“”
“It is not the American war machine that should be of the utmost concern to Muslims. What threatens the future of Islam, in fact its very survival, is American democracy.”
“”
“Whoever did this is pure evil. The UN, an assassination in front of Imam Ali’s shrine. You wonder what will come next. If you ask me I think it will be media.”
“”
“At the end of the day it’s of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words.”
“”
“We are a civilized country. We know who wants to help us stand on our feet and who are the enemies of humanity. They want to kill our scientists, our intellectuals and our foreign friends. But they have no future in Iraq.”
“”
“To be perfectly frank, we were less concerned with the suffering of the Iraqi people than we were in maintaining our moral challenge to U.S. foreign policy. We did not agitate for an end to sanctions for purely humanitarian reasons; it was more important to us to maintain our moral challenge to ‘violent’ U.S. foreign policy, regardless of what happened in Iraq.”
“”
“After we have aired our grievances we remember the essential point: Saddam is gone. A man who is cured of cancer does not complain about a common cold.”
“”
“Iraq today is the only Muslim country where all shades of opinion - from the extremist Islamists of the Hezbollah to Stalinists, and passing by liberals, socialists, Arab nationalists and moderate Islamists - have full freedom to compete in an open market of ideas. Better still, all are now represented in the newly created Governing Assembly (Majlis al-Hukum). Iraq is also the only Muslim country where more than 100 newspapers and weeklies, representing all shades of opinion, appear without a police permit and are subjected to no censorship.”
“”
“You call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building.”
Pfc. Matthew C. O’Dell,
after 1 year in Kuwait/Iraq
“”
“...all I can do is tell you what is going on in the streets and if you think journalists are doing a better job of that then maybe you should go read them. One day, like in Afghanistan, those journalists will get bored and go write about Syria or Iran; Iraq will be off your media radar. Out of sight, out of mind. Lucky you, you have that option. I have to live it.”
“”
“I had a generator and a freezer full of meat. I grilled, I drank alcohol and watched the entire war secretly on satellite.”
“”
“Never have so many been so wrong about so much.”
Donald Rumsfeld
“”
“American consumers, whose spending generates two-thirds of the nation’s growth, didn’t curl into a cocoon as they were glued to their televisions, mesmerized by scenes of the bombing of Bagdad. They filled up their gas-guzzling SUVs’ gas tanks and went shopping, driving March retail sales up a whopping 2.1 percent -- the biggest increase since October 2001.”
“”
“’You were a bit flat there, Peter,’ he said. Again, I was astonished. The president of CNN was telling me I seemed less-than-enthusiastic reading Saddam Hussein’s propaganda.”
“”
“But as Iraq’s cities burn and its patrimony is hustled off into the black market and its women wail and the rape gangs rule the night, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that we’ve lost this war as well.”
“”
“My father wants to go down in history. There is nothing in my heart towards my father, not any love or kindness. In the end I ask God to keep this house safe.”
“”
“Of course troubles may come tomorrow, and of course there are still dangers. But anyone whose heart does not lift from seeing the jubilation of the Iraqis at the overthrow of a hated tyrant is a cold, cold person.”
“”
“Stay home. You are safe. I am here, the U.S. forces are here.”
Khuder Al-Emeri, to his son Ali, whom he’d not seen in 12 years
“”
“They can scream and shout about the Great Satan, the big cowboy and his pal the Yankee Poodle. They can sit on their spreading bottoms in the coffee shops of the Middle East, vowing to get up quite soon - really quite soon, honest - and embrace martyrdom to help their Iraqi brothers defeat the Western dogs. But this fact remains - the British and American troops are not slaughtering the Iraqi people, they are setting them free. Saddam Hussein is going down in history as one of the greatest tormentors of his own people that the world has ever seen.”
“”
“Iraq will not be defeated. Iraq has now already achieved victory - apart from some technicalities.”
“”
“I do believe this city is freakin’ ours.”
“”
“To Westerners here who have kept abreast of the military situation by satellite telephone links to the outside world, the situation appeared to confirm, ever more strongly, that the rigidities of the system built by Saddam Hussein have become a debilitating handicap to Iraq’s ability to confront American power. After years of unquestioning fealty, senior Iraqi officials seemed unwilling to provide any interpretation of military events that might prejudice Mr. Hussein’s claim to invincibility.”
“”
“When the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told the United Nations that Iraq posed a threat in part because of its links to terrorist groups he was ridiculed. It was just a desperate ploy, said the cynics, to draw a link between Saddam and September 11. So much for the cynics. It is clear now that militant Islamic terrorist mercenaries have been pouring into Iraq for some time, ready for a showdown.”
“”
“The mystery is why the Iraqis left the RG [Republican Guard] in defensive positions so far south of Baghdad. They must have known from Desert Storm what our air power could do. I can only assume that Saddam Hussein was worried about the loyalty of the RG if he pulled them back into the city. His priority has always been the survival of his own regime rather than the survival of his troops.”
“”
“There is something inherently unsettling about a news organization that will hire a contract employee to take risks it will not let its own employees face, as ABC did when it took out its correspondents and drew up a contract with a young freelance reporter, Richard Engel. NBC’s ambiguous relationship with Mr. Arnett was even more disturbing.”
“”
“What will the Europeans say as the tormented people of Iraq begin to awake and tell their tales? The Europeans will sigh, briefly, then have a pleasant lunch.”
“”
“It might seem perverse to seek to spread peace at the barrel of a gun; but the peace we enjoy here in Europe exists only because we (along with the Americans) acted with weaponry to banish tyrants. The Iraqi people want and deserve the same.”
“”
“For the first time a lot of people are amazed at how human war is. They see people in Iraq are like people in Tuscaloosa. People are becoming more highly educated without even trying to. If you’re alive today, you’re automatically brought into this global society. You don’t have a choice.”
“”
“One lesson of the ferocity of the Saddamite resistance is surely this: who now could possibly, conceivably believe that this brutal police state would ever, ever have voluntarily disarmed? Would a regime that is forcing conscripts to fight at gun-point have caved to the terrifying figure of Hans Blix, supported by the even more itimidating vision of Dominique de Villepin? I’d say that one clear lesson of the first week is that war was and is the only mechanism that could have effectively disarmed Saddam. If true disarmament was your goal, it seems to me that the inspections regime has been revealed, however well-intentioned, as hopelessly unsuited to staring down a vicious totalitarian system.”
“”
“All these people need to calm down, take a deep breath, and read their history ó computing the logistics of fighting 7,000 miles away and considering the hurdles of vast space, unpredictable weather, and enemies without uniforms. And? In just a week, the United States military has surrounded one of historyís most sadistic and nasty regimes. It has overrun 80 percent of the countryside and has daily pulverized the Republican Guard, achieving more in five days than the Iranians did in eight years.”
“”
“I think that a lot of us -- me included, sometimes -- are spending a lot of time reading minute-by-minute reports that are fragmentary and often wrong, and not enough time thinking about the big picture.”
“”
“Hell, 15 dead: that’s a quiet day in the Arab world. Even imagining the United States was targeting civilians, its efforts are laughable compared with Saddam -- 5,000 dead in the chemical attack on Halabja in one day -- or Assad -- 30,000 shelled to death in Hama -- or pretty much any other Arab ruler. Arab governments -- and their press and public -- should first practice moral judgment on themselves and each other, before turning their outrage on the United States.”
“”
“If truth is the first casualty of war, then CNN and BBC were having trouble in providing it whole, their reporters tossing up shards of the seen-and-heard into an informational whirlwind difficult to piece into a single sheet of reality. But French and German television were having an even harder time in underpinning their inclinations to describe things in a way that neatly fit their governments’ insistence that all this would not end well.”
“”
“The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win ... We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable.”
“”
“Well, that’s it. War’s lost. Itís amazing how fast things change; in Afghanistan, it took three weeks before someone whispered ‘Quagmire’ and all was forsaken; this time it took but five days before an intrepid reporter stood up at a briefing and asked the military spokesman whether the specter of Vietnam loomed again over the swaggering, clay-footed giant of American power.”
“”
“Saddam’s hardcore thugs were able to round up their POWs, get out the camcorder, murder them, defile their corpses and get the footage from a relatively remote part of the country to the studio while the blood was still warm on the dungeon floor. As with the Daniel Pearl execution tape vis-ŗ-vis Osama, it invites the question: If they can do this, where’s the boss? The speed of this revolting production suggests that, if the Iraqi leadership aren’t making video appearances, it’s not because of technical difficulties, it’s because they’re not in a condition to be filmed.”
“”
“If the Republican Guard divisions are offering themselves outside the city, draw the diehards out, the better to destroy them. If the US is to demonstrate its ruthlessness, in a region which respects only power, let’s have the demonstration now, rather than during an extended occupation. And, if there is to be killing, let it be a slaughter of the regime’s shock troops, well away from the city, and civilians. With the Republican Guard and Baathist party forces destroyed, rather than slipping back into bitter anonymity, reform of Iraq might actually stand a chance.”
“”
“Tactical surprise was lost long ago. In fact, never in the history of military operations have so many troops had to invade so exposed from such a narrow front. Patton yelled to ‘@#!&! the flanks’ and plunge ahead; but even he would have never been so audacious to send thousands barreling nonstop ahead in a narrow motorized column. It took Sherman three months to slice through the Carolinas; Patton romped his 400 miles in two months; we are impatient that it might take us five days to cover the same distance to Saddam Husseinís bunker.”
“”
“Just a minute there, Herr Professor. Calm down, Dr. Think Tank. I’m just a former career soldier, so I don’t understand military operations the way academics and pundits do. Explain something to me, slowly and clearly: Why on earth would Gen. Tommy Franks do exactly what Saddam wants, and send our forces charging into the streets of Baghdad? We’re not stupid - or Russian - for God’s sake. We’re not going to slug down a couple of bottles of vodka apiece and drive straight into Grozniy while Chechens pick off our tanks and troops at their leisure. We are going to make the rules in Baghdad, not Saddam.”
“”
“A highly motivated, all-volunteer force of men and women raised in a democracy and armed with the finest equipment the world, are about to square off with equally motivated men raised in a brutal dictatorship and armed with legacy equipment.”
“”
“The Iraqis knew that a devastating attack was on the cards. Early in the afternoon shortwave news bulletins had reported the departure from the US air base at Fairford, in Britain, of a fleet of heavily armed B52 bombers. But such was their confidence in the promised accuracy of the strikes, that small groups of Iraqis gathered in the street and on rooftops to watch on a cool, perfectly still spring night, as the buildings that spoke the oppressive power of the state became sitting ducks on the expansive flood plain of the Tigris.”
“”
“If Europe were to apply as much pressure on Saddam Hussein as (it) does on the United States and Britain, I think we could prevent war.”
Elie Wiesel
“”
“The French care so much about the Palestinians, but they don’t give a damn about the Iraqis.”
Sen. Joe Biden
“”
“The last time the French asked for ‘more proof’ it came marching into Paris under a German flag.”
David Letterman
“”
“And my question for the French and British is this: If the Security Council fails to constrain Saddam Hussein, what makes you think that it will constrain America? And how long can you demonize America as an imperialist power that doesn’t give a damn what other people think before it comes true? And do you want to live in that world?”
“”
“Power corrupts, but so does weakness. And absolute weakness corrupts absolutely. We are now living through the most critical watershed of the postwar period, with enormous moral and strategic issues at stake, and the only answer many Europeans offer is to constrain and contain American power. So by default they end up on the side of Saddam, in an intellectually corrupt position.”
“”
“Those unconvinced by the existing evidence [against Iraq] will be convinced by nothing less than their actual use against our military or civilians. To hell with those people.”
“”
“The irony is that although most of the Muslim world will probably welcome regime change in Iraq, it will also probably resent the fact that it was the Americans who did it.”
“”
“The histories, interests and attitudes of the war skeptics are as relevant as whatever psychodrama President Bush may be playing out by finishing off his father’s archenemy, or whether the drive against Iraq represents some dubious alignment of American interests with Israel’s.”
“”
“It is useful to remember the character of Saddam Hussein. He is the man who ordered that Kuwait be set on fire, with the expectation that it would burn for decades. There was no military value to this act. It was done out of vengeance, out of hatred, out of a viciousness that even today is hard to believe.”
“”
“If people are looking for an excuse for inaction, they can say, ‘We must have positive proof that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons or even nuclear weapons.’ But the only real proof that we can really expect under this terminology is if we are attacked.”
Caspar Weinberger


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