||Quotes that have touched me (page 6 of 16)
|Disclaimer: Citation of a quote,
below, does not necessarily imply that I agree with what it asserts
(under whatever interpretation); it does mean I feel the text says something
seriously worth thinking about.
|"Every sentence that I utter
should be regarded by you not as an assertion
but as a question." --Niels Bohr|
is more to the surface than meets the eye." --Aaron Beck|
|| Go to
more recent entries
|In Europe, it often seems that it is not only the wisdom of a war
against Iraq that lies at the
heart of trans-Atlantic differences, but the personal style of George W. Bush himself.
To European ears, the president's language is far too blunt, and he has been far too quick to cast the debate about
how to separate Saddam Hussen from his weapons of mass destruction in black-and-white certainties, officials in
Paris and Berlin say. They add that his confrontational approach, his impatience with the inspections and even his
habit of finger pointing as he speaks undermine the possibility of common strategy against Saddam Hussein.
"Much of it is the way he talks, this provocative manner, the jabbing of his finger at you," said Hans-Ulrich Klose,
the vice chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the German Parliament. "It's Texas, a culture that is
unfamiliar to Germans. And it's the religious tenor of his arguments."...
|David E. Sanger, "To Some in Europe, the Major Problem Is Bush the Cowboy", NYT, 24Jan03, p.A1,10.
The article continues by noting Europe's more substantive concerns about
George W Bush: "This sense that many European officials have of dealing with an American president
who makes up his mind and
then will accept no argument is a central element in the current friction....
One senior diplomat predicted the next few weeks 'will be the defining moment on whether the United States
decides to stay within the international system.'"|
|Ed. note: Also offensive and disturbing is how George W Bush personalizes
things (See, e.g., below: Quote #141). Bush's Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld also personalizes things, but
Rumsfeld seems to prefer the "royal we" (See, e.g.:
|"We're not out to beat Interbrew," the big Belgian brewery
that competes with the likes of Anheuser-Busch and Heineken for global dominance. "Quality has to be first -- quality in the product,
and in the working conditions, in relations among people."
John Taglibue, "Monks' Brew Showers Blessings on Belgian Town", NYT, 15Jan03, p.A4.
Quote from Dom Armand Veilleux, monk and Chimay brewery executive.
(I, BMcC, discovered Chimay on my business trip to Belgium, 1985. For years afterwards,
I did not drink any beer because none seemed nearly as good. But memory fades, and 15 years
later I no longer really remember what Chimay in Belgium was like. The Chimay imported into
the U.S. never seemed like I remembered from Belgium -- maybe my memory was wrong?)
|"This business about, you know, more time -- you know, how much time do we need to see
clearly that [Saddam Hussein is] not disarming? As I said, this looks like a rerun of a bad movie and I'm not
interested in watching it."
||George W Bush, "Presidential Remarks to Reporters Following Meeting with Economists",
White House Press Release, 21Jan03, 10:35AM EST.|
it conceivable that
[George W Bush] can do all [these preparations for war with Iraq] and still not fight?
Well, you have to expand the word 'conceivable', for a situation like this. I keep hearing somewhere in my
youth a song based on the Humpety Dumpety theme that ran:
'The king's horses and all the king's men, they marched up the
hill and they marched down again.'"
|Daniel Schorr, NPR Weekend Edition, 04Jan03
Schorr continued: "I don't think a President can put himself in a position of doing that, not without
a political price to pay, in terms of being taken seriously.... And yet, somehow
I don't know about this President."|
|Ed. note, Q: What is it about
George W Bush that causes everybody to let him get away with
(The answer is not likely his winning smile, See left, and below, e.g.)|
|Aside: The computer programmer's creed.|
|"The Bush administration takes the position that...
whatever the courts say, [President Bush] can override the courts...
to protect the American people [in the ongoing war on terror].... All of this [esp. the Bush adminstration's
right to hold persons indefinitely without charging them with a crime and
without granting them access to a lawyer] is now headed toward the Supreme Court. And the question becomes twofold:
What will the Supreme Court say about civil liberties and the extent to
which you have to give up civil liberties? And, secondly, when the Supreme Court has spoken... Will this
administration listen even to the Supreme Court?"
(Daniel Schorr, NPR Weekend Edition, 20Dec03)|
|NYT: "So, how have you managed to stay out of the debate over
the twin-towers site? You're the only architect who's a household name in America,
so naturally people wondered why your name was missing when the Lower
Manhattan Development Corporation presented seven new proposals for the site last month."
"I was invited to be on one of the teams, but I found it
demeaning that the agency paid only $40,000 for all that work.
I can understand why the kids did it, but why would people my age do it?
Norman Foster or Richard Meier or any of those people? When you're only paid $40,000,
you're treated as if that is your worth."
|NYT: "But what about your sense of civic responsibility?
Don't tell me you built the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, simply to earn a buck."
|Gehry: "I refuse to work unless I get paid,
so I don't get a lot of work sometimes."
|NYT: "I can't let you go without asking you what you think of your
colleagues' proposals for downtown. Giuliani has said he doesn't like any of them."
|Gehry: "My only beef with them is that they did it for $40,000.
But maybe there's a positive side. Now that the proposals are there, they open the public's
eyes to the possibilities of architecture."
persons sometimes "volunteer" in a job for no pay, in hopes of being hired to do it for pay. How many would subject themselves to this kind of treatment
if they didn't have to?
(Picture from NYT on the Web homepage, 31Dec03)|
of the British maritime union NUMAST, said the accident [how a second vessel missed hazard
warnings to plow into a car carrier sunken in the North Sea] "beggars belief" given the warnings.
"On every level, this is an accident that couldn't happen -- but to many people
it will not come as a surprise, because there is
Russian roulette being played with shipping safety around the Channel,"
he added, complaining of reduced crew numbers and
excessive working hours.
||"Latest North Sea Crash Sparks Ship Safety Fears",
NYT, by Reuters, 02Jan03, Filed at 6:38 a.m. ET. Linington continued:
"People are the key to shipping safety
and it's time attention was drawn to the people on board
ships and the conditions they work under."(ibid.)
(See also: Quote #102)|
|"...[A]t the Hebrew Home
for the Aged in Riverdale, the Bronx...
all members of the... 2,000-member staff have received comprehensive
training... on residents' sexual rights
and needs.... [/] 'We understand that sex is the outgrowth of intimacy,
affection and caring,' said Daniel Reingold, executive vice
president... 'Our goal is to encourage
those emotions while also being aware of the rights and
safety of others.' [/...] Experts describe the Hebrew Home as one of the very few
nursing homes in the country, if not the only one, to
address the issue of sexuality in this kind of
comprehensive, detailed manner...."
Linda Vallarosa, "At Elders' Home, Each Day Is Valentine's Day", 04Jun02, The New York Times on the Web. The
article continued: "'Sex knows no age limit, but it's very difficult to talk
about as far as the elderly since it gets into so many
stereotypes and taboos,' said Dr. William L. Minnix Jr.,
president... of the American Association
of Homes and Services for the Aging, a 5,600-member
organization of nonprofit centers. [/]
'...[T]hese are 80-year-old adults with needs and feelings, and
they have the right to sexual pleasure late in life when
there are so very few pleasures left,' Mr. Minnix said...."
|J. Royden Stork, a flier in the Doolittle raid over Japan
that thrilled an American home front reeling from the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died on May 2.... He was 85.... "I just
consider myself as a lucky guy," Mr. Stork said in... the National
Geographic television program "Pearl Harbor: Legacy of
Attack." "There were plenty of fellows I graduated with from flying school that ended up in the
major league in England where they'd send out 100 B-17's and they'd get only 30 back. I'm not a hero."
Richard Goldstein, "J. Royden Stork, 85, Crewman in Raid Over Japan, Dies", NYT (Obituary), 12May02.
Some background (loc. cit.):
"On April 18, 1942, crewmen in 16 Army Air Forces bombers commanded by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle flew from the
aircraft carrier Hornet to carry the war to Japan for the first time. [/] The low-level, daylight bombing runs by the twin-engine
B-25's resulted in relatively light damage to military and industrial targets. But in providing a morale boost at a
time of unbridled Japanese conquests, they produced some of the first American heroes of World War II. Colonel
Doolittle received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt a month later. Americans vicariously
experienced the raid's perils in the book and movie 'Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,' an account by Ted W. Lawson, one of
the pilots. [/] But it had been far from certain that Colonel Doolittle's bombers, designed for takeoff from land bases, could make
it safely off the Hornet's deck, let alone penetrate Japanese air defenses."
|Sigal Belot lives a thoroughly modern life in a Tel Aviv
suburb, as a television producer, wife and mother of two,
who says she knows for certain who is responsible for the
biggest single problem in Israel.
"I think the settlers are a cancer in Israel," says Belot.
She blames those families who have so brazenly built
houses and settled in a Palestinian area, on the West Bank,
on land she isn't even sure belongs to Israel in the first
place. "The self-righteousness shames me as a Jew," says
Brian Williams, "Reporter's Notebook Israelis split on settlers", NBC Evening News, 27Feb02.
"Rabbi Seth Mandel, his wife Sheri and their three
children are examples of people who make [Belot] ashamed to
be a Jew. There used to be four children until their eldest
son, Kobe, was murdered by Palestinians last year while
playing near their home. They moved to the West Bank
from Maryland and have no plans to go back.... [T]hey
say they are what Israel should be about.... [T]he Mandels insist their motivation is pure, that it
has to do with the land and their religion.
'We love Israel,' says Sheri Mandel. 'It's the only
place in the world where you can lead a truly Jewish life.'
Seth and Sheri Mandel admit they'd probably be killed
instantly if they so much as walk into the adjoining Arab
town, but say they are here to build a community of Jews.
Meanwhile, Sigal Belot says they're destroying the
nation her parents helped build. Some say the problem is
that real peace in the Middle East may have to originate
among fellow Israelis." (ibid.)
Click here for more about Israeli
|"The digital revolution has multiplied the
volume of information and yet... fragile chains of digital data [have]... made it more ephemeral....
Even before a medium decays, its message may be lost if no reading
devices are available....|
|"Today there must be tens of thousands of people downloading and
sorting material that our descendants will want to see. When it comes
to anticipating future tastes, I put my faith not just in libraries,
companies, and government, but in these freelance selectors and
preservers too. This volunteer corps needs only encouragement and
good technical advice -- for example, how to name and organize files -- to
create invaluable resources for generations to come."||
Edward Tenner, "Taking Bytes From Oblivion: Can we turn fragile digital information into an
enduring record?", U.S. News and World Report, 01Apr02, pp. 66-7.
|Can one tolerate the wholly,
murderously intolerant? Most people would probably say "no." [/] If tolerance is not a perfect vitrue,
suited to every context, that doesn't mean it isn't a critical one. As E.M. Forster
said, tolerance "is just a makeshift, suitable for an overcrowded and
overheated planet. It carries on when love
gives out, and love generally gives out as soon as we move away from our home and our friends."
Serge Schmemann, "Us and Them: The burden of tolerance in a world of division", NYT Week in Review,
|"I don't get ulcers; I give them."
David Sarnoff, Chairman of RCA, quoted in Ken Burns PBS documentary: "Empire of the Air" (a history of the
American radio industry).
Ed. notes: (1) A cellphone[fn.37e]
would not likely be a heart attack trigger for Mr. Sarnoff,
but rather another way for him to give other persons heart attacks. (2) See also something I heard a manager say.
|Life isn't fair. Democracy should be.
John McCreery, personal email correspondence, 03Dec02.
|"[F]ighting maybe the painful
part of war, but sticking around to build the peace also takes courage and
resolution, and is just as important."
Thomas Powers, "Deciding Germany's Fate: Michael Beschloss
looks at the debate over how the Allies should treat their
defeated adversary after World War II", NYT Book Review, 01Dec02, p.11.
(See also: quote #94.)
|"...a coalition of the willing...."
|George W Bush, quoted in
Terence Neilan, "Bush Says U.S. Ready to Disarm Iraq, but Calls War Last Resort", NYT on the Web, 20Nov02:
"[I]f [Saddam] Hussein does not disarm, Mr. Bush said,
'the United States will lead a coalition of the willing to disarm him.'"
(See: Quote #122.) Ed. note: We have some indication what will
happen to the unwilling afterwards (at "payback time"), from Bush's
admonition to the Palestineans (27Jun02).|
quote from Stonewall Jackson
about his boss, Robert E. Lee: "So great is my confidence in
General Lee, that I would follow him anywhere." (Epigraph on dual equestrian statue of Jackson and Lee
across the street from The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore Maryland USA)|
|Aside: The computer programmer's creed.|
|"Some voters may resent being cut out of the decision-making in a year
when... a very small proportion
of the population was in a position to control key races, the outcome of which could decide the Supreme
Court's future makeup, tax policy and even the content of the nation's foreign policy....
We make our largest decisions as a nation in the best way we can,
by the equivalent of a show of hands. Our best hope, as this strange and messy year of decisions ends, is that
the people who have won will always remember the large number of hands that were waving on the other side."
"Election 2002: Mr. Bush's Big Night", NYT unsigned Editorial, 06Nov02. Ed. note: Of course,
even this hope is not simple: Probably George W Bush and his administration
see the hands that today are on the side of workers' rights, a woman's right to choose, U.S.
support for international treaties rather than successionism from the international community on the
environment, Iraq, etc. as being as wrong-headed as a different Republican administration in 1865 looked upon
Southern slave holders.
|[The philosopher] Pyrrho, a contemporary of Diogenes and
Alexander [the Great]... saw his master Anaxarchus, who had fallen into a swamp; [Pyrrho]
continued on his way without helping [Anaxarchus], and Anaxarchus congratulated [Pyrrho] on his
indifference and insensitivity.
Pierre Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy?, Harvard Univ. Press, 2002, p.111.
Ed. note: If parents and other role models tell us we should not look out for our self (aka "be selfish"), shouldn't
we be consistent and not harm others by looking out for their selves
(aka "be altruistic"), either? John F. Kennedy could have said:
"Ask neither what your country can do for you, nor what you can do for your country."
"Iraq and Al Qaeda are not obvious allies....
[T]hey are natural enemies. A central tenet of Al Qaeda's jihadist
ideology is that secular Muslim rulers and their regimes
have oppressed the believers and plunged Islam into a
historic crisis. Hence, a paramount goal of Islamist
revolutionaries for almost half a century has been the
destruction of the regimes of such leaders as Presidents...
Nasser... Sadat and... Mubarak of
Egypt, President Hafez al-Assad of Syria, the military
government in Algeria and even the Saudi royal family....
Saddam Hussein is another in a
line of dangerous secularists, an enemy of the faith who
refuses to rule by Shariah.... What has changed is
the radicals' strategy for toppling these governments.
After decades in which jihadists were defeated by security
services in their home countries, Osama bin Laden and his
followers decided that they would attack the 'far enemy,'
the United States, which they believe is the primary source
of strength for the secularist regimes in the Arab world.
If the United States withdrew its support, the 'near enemy'
that holds power in Muslim capitals would be unable to
defend itself.... [However:] With his regime threatened, Mr.
Hussein might break the taboo on giving terrorists weapons
of mass destruction. Moreover, as images of the United
States attacking another Muslim nation are beamed
throughout the Middle East and South Asia, many will take
it as confirmation of Mr. bin Laden's argument that America
is at war with Islam. [/] The last war against Iraq was a catalytic event for the
Islamists who formed Al Qaeda. We should not be complacent
and believe that the next one will be different, or that
the jihadist violence cannot grow worse.
|Daniel Benjamin, "Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda Are Not Allies",
NYT, OpEd, 30Sep02, page ref. lost.|
|See also: Quote #65.|
|Ed. note: Saddam Hussein wears Western-style suits.
"The White House is right that Iraq is by far the most repressive country in the entire Middle East -- but that's
true only if you're a man.... Iraqi women routinely boss men and serve in non-combat positions in the army....
Iraqi women who work typically get six months' maternity leave at full pay and another six months at half pay.
Subsidized day care is usually available at the workplace. Female circumcision,
still common in American allies like Egypt and Nigeria, is absent in Iraq....
A glance around any Baghdad street also demonstrates that Iraq doesn't have
hang-ups about the female body that neighboring countries
do. A man can travel widely in the Arab world and know about women's legs
only by hearsay, but careful reporting in Iraq confirms that
Arab women do have knees: In Baghdad I saw women volleyball players who
felt uninhibited enough to roll up their sweats." (Nicholas D. Kristof, "Iraq's Little Secret",
NYT, OpEd, 01Oct02, p.A31)|
|"Since Saddam Hussein's fall, more religious liberty has led to some stricter
edicts on what women can wear." (Ilene R. Prusher, "In Freer Iraq, new curbs on women's wear",
Christian Science Monitor, 13Jun03)|
|See: Quote #165,
|"At one point, earlier in , it seemed as if [al Qaeda] had been seriously
and possibly irreparably damaged. Its leaders were routinely arrested or in hiding.
Recruitment had fallen off. It appeared to lack the resources or numerical strength to mount large attacks.
But since the United States invaded Iraq in March, officials said,
the network has experienced a spike in recruitment. 'There is an increase in radical
fundamentalism all over the world,' said a senior counterterrorism official based in Europe.
'But whether that means more young men will leap to Al Qaeda, I don't know if that is clear.'"
(David Johnston and Don Van Natta Jr., "U.S. Officials See Signs of a Revived
Al Qaeda", NYT, 17May03, p.A1,A8) [See also:
"U.S. making good progress in Iraq" (Aug 03).]|
|"DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers",
U.S. Dept of Defense, News Transcript, Thursday,
May 15, 2003 - 11:30 a.m. EDT:
|Q: "[I]n the past, you do have a long
record of saying something about bin Laden one way or the other on various days. Do you still
have any view yourself as to whether or not you think he's alive? I mean --"|
|[U.S. Sec'y of Defense, Donald] Rumsfeld: "I do. I think he's alive or dead -- (Laughter.) -- and I just don't know. I mean, what
can I say? I can just say the same thing over and over again. He's either alive -- he's alive and
injured badly -- or he's dead. And he's -- who knows? He -- if he is alive and functioning and
playing a role, which I don't know -- (Chuckling.) -- it is a much more difficult role than it had
|Q: "And why can't the U.S. find Osama bin Laden?" (Laughter.)|
|Rumsfeld: "Yeah, that's a good question."|
|[General Richard] Myers [Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff]: "No, it is a serious question.
And it goes back to the answer a little bit earlier and that the restricted
freedom of movement of some of the senior al Qaeda leadership is one of the effects we've had. And, you
know, communications, freedom of movement -- they are -- if they're -- our suspicions are they're living in areas
where they can bribe the local -- the tribals that are inclined to support them and protect them, and they're in
very difficult areas on this earth. And that doesn't mean we don't have people out this very minute looking for
them, matter of fact."|
|Rumsfeld: "I'd say two things in additional answer to your question -- Why haven't we found him?
One is, it's very hard to find a single individual in the world. It's a big place. And it isn't easy. And our
government didn't get up one morning, 10, 15, 20 years ago and say, 'Gee, let's organize, train and equip so we
can do manhunts.' We just haven't gotten -- we have not focused our capabilities in doing that until more
recently. The second thing I would say is that there are ungoverned areas in the world, as the general said, and that is a
problem. That makes it easier for people who are trying to evade attention and capture to continue to function,
because -- literally areas that no one is governing. And that makes it more difficult...."|
chief of the C.I.A.'s bin Laden station from 1996 through 1999...
[has been] openly critical of the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, saying
that it inflamed anti-American sentiment in the Arab world and served
as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda...."
(James Risen, "Evolving Nature of Al Qaeda Is Misunderstood, Critic Says", NYT on the Web,
|The war in Iraq could provide an important training ground for terrorists,
according to a government forecast... issued... by the National Intelligence Council...
that also says the key factors behind terrorism show no signs
of abating over the next 15 years....
The discussion of the war in Iraq is limited to two paragraphs in the 119-page report,
and its potential impact on terrorism is described only in general terms.
But the report says that the war, as well as other possible conflicts,
"could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency
for a new class of terrorists who are 'professionalized' and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself."
"Even in the best of scenarios, there is a likelihood that jihadists not killed in Iraq will
dissipate to various countries or sanctuaries," David Low, the National Intelligence Office
for Transnational Threats, said in response to a question during a briefing on Thursday
at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters.
President Bush has described the war in Iraq as the central front in the campaign against terrorism,
and he has said its role in attracting foreign fighters has had the beneficial effect of luring
Islamic militants who might otherwise have plotted attacks against the United States.
The report says "experienced survivors of the war in Iraq" may supersede current leaders of Al Qaeda
to become major players in international terrorism, a possibility neither Mr. Bush nor
his top advisers have given prominence to.
More broadly, the report says, "we expect that by 2020 Al Qaeda will have been superseded by similarly inspired
but more diffuse Islamic extremist groups, all of which will oppose the spread of many aspects
of globalization into traditional Islamic societies."
(Douglas Jehl, "U.S. Panel Sees Iraq as Terror Training Area", NYT on the Web,
|The insurgency in Iraq continues to baffle the U.S.
military and intelligence communities, and the U.S. occupation has become a potent recruiting tool for
al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, top U.S. national security officials told Congress yesterday.
"Islamic extremists are exploiting the Iraqi conflict to recruit new anti-U.S. jihadists,"
CIA Director Porter J. Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
"These jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced and focused on acts of urban terrorism," he said.
"They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks
in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries."
(Dana Priest and Josh White, "War Helps Recruit Terrorists, Hill Told
Intelligence Officials Talk Of Growing Insurgency", The Washington Post,
|A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence
agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of
Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks....
The report "says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,"
said one American intelligence official.
(Mark Mazzetti, "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat", NYT on the Web, 24Sep06)|
||If you've read this far, and it has brought to your
mind some quote which is significant to you, I'd appreciate if you'd share it with me: