home > archive > 2001 > this article

Lingua publica

The good and the bad...

web posted December 24, 2001

"We interrupt television's chattering class of pundits and pols who are already celebrating America's stunning, swift victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan for a brief reality check. The story so far: President Bush's war against world terrorism and all nations that 'harbor or support terrorism' is impressive but incomplete. So far, we have sunk the harbor, but not the boats. ... Terrorism is not a labor-intensive occupation. A handful of terrorists can wreak horrendous havoc. As long as any fragment of bin Laden's far-flung and well-financed al Qaida has any means of pulling off any terrorist deeds, no nation is safe and none can rest." -- Martin Schram

"Follow your dreams.... You never know where life's gonna take ya. I never sat and thought, 'Gosh, if I work hard I'll be president of the United States.' It wasn't in my vocabulary. But you never know. You never know. Trust the Lord." -- U.S. President George Bush

"Everybody was doing their traditional dances. Me? I don't know those dances so I did hip-hop and-how you say-break dance?" -- Arat Nasemovich Bakhitov, a 24-year-old Russian man, on his reaction after being liberated from the Kandahar Central Jail where the Taliban had kept him since February 2000

"In a president, character is everything. You can't buy courage and decency, you can't rent a strong moral sense. A president must bring those things with him.... He needs to have a vision of the future he wishes to create. But a vision is worth little if a president doesn't have the character -- the courage and heart -- to see it through." -- Peggy Noonan

"America's unending political argument is about how freedom both depends on government and is threatened by it, and competes with other values." -- George Will

Risk is the inevitable product of liberty -- and it's responsible not only for great tragedy, but also great triumph." -- Tony Snow

"Utopian internationalism has its uses among squabbling equals during peacetime, but only military preparedness and a willingness to use force can stop aggressors from killing the innocent." -- Victor Davis Hanson

"It looks like Santa's come early this year for those of us who know America needs to build a missile-defense system as soon as possible. ...After all, we've seen the death and destruction that fuel-laden commercial airliners can cause. Imagine what a nuclear-armed missile could do." -- Edwin J. Feulner

"What happened on September 11th was that the sheer scale of the atrocity rendered the polite fictions of democratic politics untenable. Pre-emptive surrender -- gun control, the ABM Treaty -- is no longer a virtue." -- Mark Steyn

"When President Bush appointed his Social Security Commission back in May, it was clear just what they were going to recommend. All 16 members of the Commission had expressed support for privatizing Social Security, a plan that puts the system in jeopardy." -- DNC news release

"The Berkeley, Calif., City Council voted Tuesday night to supply workers who answer the city's general information phones with material about the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. The idea is to have information available so staff can refer anyone who calls asking about how to avoid military combat." -- Associated Press

"Great to have you back. Just don't steal the silverware!" -- President Bush greeting Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe on a White House receiving line

"What is it with Republicans that every time they get in a closed-door smoke-filled room negotiation with Democrats, they always emerge having lost their shirts?" -- Stephen Moore

"The nations of Europe ... for the first time in history adopted a common currency, the Euro. And most of the people over there are singing its praises. Kind of a Euro paean." -- Lyn Nofziger

"Geraldo says that if he runs into Osama bin Laden he will kill him himself. Osama has responded by saying, 'Hey, if I run into Geraldo, don't bother, I will kill myself'." -- Conan O'Brien

"And even though Osama may have very well been out of the country a week ago, our forces continue to bomb Afghanistan. Our leaders have said that we will continue to bomb as long as Geraldo is still there." -- Jay Leno

"I was ordering something for Mom and I wanted to get her one of those weed whackers, but I think I mixed it up. Instead, I think I ordered a daisy cutter." -- David Letterman

"President Bush told reporters that he and his family plan to spend Christmas at their ranch near Crawford, Texas. Reporters hate this place. Crawford is so small they only have one stop light, one McDonald's, one Taco Bell and six Starbucks." -- Argus Hamilton

web posted December 17, 2001

"The best news is that even the dimmest children now know they live in an actual country. For the first time in 50 years, kids have been exposed to emotional patriotism and have been confronted with the fact that there are other things of importance besides the mall, the latest rap CD and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.' Will American history actually make a comeback in school? Could happen. The not so good news is the fact that children have learned that their country cannot protect them. Anthrax letters, suicide terrorists and fanatical foreign governments pose a threat that can never be entirely snuffed out. Some adults have learned this lesson too but apparently those adults do not inhabit Congress." -- Bill O'Reilly

"If John Sweeney is right, Osama bin Laden isn't the only one terrorizing ordinary Americans. It turns out that George W. Bush is also 'waging a vicious war on working families.' That, at least, is what the AFL-CIO chief told delegates at their convention this week in Las Vegas. This union jihad launched in Las Vegas comes at a curious political moment. . . . In normal times, accusing an American President of waging a 'vicious war' on workers is politically over the top. But it's fever-swamp-city at a moment when a commander in chief has Americans in Afghanistan risking their lives in a search for a man who really did declare war on the U.S." -- Wall Street Journal

"...[I]f ... [the 9-11 dead] could see how our country is united to preserve freedom from terror, they'd be proud. Proud of our unity, proud of our strength, and proud of the determination to find, root out and deal with the evil of terrorism and those who seek to terrorize. And we will. We will remember their lives, and retell their stories, again and again, so that neither the nation nor the world will ever forget." -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

"Nobody wants to capture Osama bin Laden and have him tried by Judge Ito for two years." --Justice Antonin Scalia

"Real heroes do not seek the applause of others; their reward was found in what they did. They make most of us seem small -- especially that crowd in Washington, D.C." -- Chuck Baldwin

"The average American is always more courageous than the average lawyer, politician or government official." -- Wesley Pruden

"We are all Americans. And as Americans, we have a duty to protect the freedoms that make our union the example and the envy of the world." -- Charlton Heston

"Like our families, our nation gives us an identity and nurtures us. In the case of America, it also offers unparalleled personal freedom and prosperity. To turn against such a nation is an act of ingratitude that must make the angels sigh." -- Don Feder

"Limited-government types worry that wars lead to permanent expansion of government budgets and programs. Civil libertarians fear the fight against terrorism will do irreparable damage to basic freedoms." -- Steve Chapman

"A gun-free world would be much more dangerous for women, and much safer for brutes and tyrants." -- Dave Kopel, Paul Gallant & Joanne Eisen

"John Walker seems to have been only a star-crossed follower of the natives, a kind of aspirant in their midst hoping to overcome some inferiority bred into him by Western life. Still, what a journey for an American boy from Marin County, where all the cliché obsessions of shallow California -- wine, therapy and real estate -- flourish without irony. How does one get from Marin to the Taliban?" -- Shelby Steele

"We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. Due to my experience in this [engineering] field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for." -- Osama bin Laden

"This war is far from over. I have been reading an awful lot of things and seeing on television a great rush to declare it a success and over. And I regret to say that it is not yet. We have yet to achieve our very clear objectives. We know it will take time. It does not end with the fall of Kabul or Kunduz or even Kandahar, or even with the capture of some of the individual Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan. ... They can escape across borders and regroup and then plot to strike again, as they have promised to do." -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

"The truth is that the UN cannot create peace or end terrorism, but it can vastly expand its power over the lives of U.S. citizens. We must resist any attempt by the UN to advance its agenda in the wake of the September 11th tragedy." -- Rep. Ron Paul

"... [W]hat makes the President -- I'm taking note of his wide-swinging threats in speeches recently. What makes him think that he has the right to go into a sovereign country and bomb the people?" -- UPI's Helen Thomas

"I have a great deal of difficulty with the idea of the ideal man. As far as I'm concerned, men are the product of a damaged gene." -- Feminist Germaine Greer

"Never mistake our prosperity for sloth. The zeal with which we peddle Big Macs can be a dreadful thing when turned to the bloody business of war." -- Richard Poe

"How can a craven, punk, 20-year-old kid from a liberal cesspool in San Francisco amble into a terrorist camp with Osama bin Laden strolling around, and the CIA can't get to first base infiltrating these terror rats? The truth is, as John Walker was getting his schooling on how to fire an AK-47 at innocent people, bin Laden's head was being offered on a platter by Sudan, and nobody did anything about it. Walker waltzed into the terror group with as much difficulty as joining the Boy Scouts." -- Steve Dunleavy

"The phoniest story to come out of Afghanistan to date is the claim by Geraldo Rivera that someone took a shot at him and missed. I don't believe it. Why would they miss?" -- Lyn Nofziger

"Remember the Taliban promising they'd fight to the finish? They came through -- they're finished!" -- Jay Leno

"The London Times reports Taliban leader Mullah Omar was captured by the Northern Alliance forces. The newspaper said he was being held in a Taliban-friendly environment. He's teaching a Western Civilization class at UCLA." -- Argus Hamilton

web posted December 10, 2001

"My [major] concern is that the Americans may stop halfway in their battle against the Taliban if the latter surrender bin Laden. If the United States does not finish the Taliban whatever it costs, Taliban leaders and militants will become like a disturbed swarm of bees that will fly out of Afghanistan and create their nests all over the world. This won't eliminate terrorism but just spread it around the globe." -- Retired Russian Col. Gen. Viktor Kot, former commander of the Soviet air force, who served two tours in Afghanistan

"If the government demanded results -- say, no bombs on airplanes -- airports wouldn't have time to engage in man's truly oldest profession, oppressing his fellow man. Instead, this natural monopoly would finally be forced to stop harassing passengers for the fun of it and to adopt safety procedures that would have the novel attribute of making planes safe." -- Ann Coulter

"America's founders, having survived a violent and protracted struggle to break away from England, shared a belief that their fledgling nation should be free from foreign entanglements." -- Rep. Ron Paul

"Sept. 11 was supposed to be a wake-up call to moral seriousness. Let's show it and stop acting like the guilty party." -- Charles Krauthammer

"The president is a generous fellow, but he's also a man whose patience can be drawn very thin. In my estimation, he is feeling, 'Enough already. I have reached out, reached out, reached out, and you guys keep biting the hand that reaches for you.' So I think he's ready to draw some lines. Democrats do not see bipartisanship as a give-and-take proposition. They see it as a take-and-take proposition. ...He's beginning to understand how one-sided their interpretation of bipartisanship is." -- Majority Leader Dick Armey

"We don't owe America anything; America owes us." -- Rev. Al Sharpton to 700 attendees at the State of the Black World Conference in Georgia

"The extreme right wing has seized the government. Tonight, [Attorney General John] Ashcroft and the CIA and the FBI and Homeland Security and the IRS can work together, so look out. Because without a definition of who is a terrorist, anyone can be.... Martin Luther King could have been ... Malcolm X, the Black Panthers. The right-wing media, the FBI, they are targeting our leadership. If we can win in 2002, we can empower 40 of our black leaders. Maxine [Waters] becomes a No. 1 congressional leader ... and we can put on trial the Ashcroft contingent." Jesse Jackson to same audience

"If ... Osama bin Laden is captured, killed or credibly reported to have perished in his upholstered cave, then Americans may conclude that the war on terrorism has been won and that normalcy, shopping, a feckless foreign policy, multiculturalism, insecure borders, and MTV can resume as before." -- John O'Sullivan warning against reverting to a "false sense of invulnerability"

"Democracy doesn't thrive in darkness, and neither does history. Both need sunlight." -- Paul Greenberg

"[I]f they don't surrender, they're going to be killed.... If people will not surrender, then they've made their choice." -- US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

"Have those demanding civilian trials for foreign terrorists thought through the logic of their position? They are saying it is permissible to drop a 15,000 pound daisy-cutter bomb on Osama bin Laden and his extended family in Kandahar, but if he makes it to U.S. soil and blows up the Sears Tower, the families of his victims must pay for his defense and his trial can be carried on Court TV." -- Pat Buchanan

"No nation can be an honest broker between a democracy under attack and a terrorist coalition on the march." -- William Safire

"I'm as serious as I can be. It's put up or shut up time. Either put up the money, write the check and let us see you're serious or quit telling me Arkansans want their taxes raised. Because, I'm convinced that Arkansans would say today, 'my taxes are high enough'." -- Arkansas Gov. Mike
Huckabee announced creation of the "Tax Me More Fund," for voluntary contributions to the state general revenue fund. The fund has received a grand total of $250.

"Once upon a time conservatives professed deep respect for slippery slopes and unintended consequences, and understood that precedents can be fearsome booby traps." -- Wesley Pruden

"Just like the child who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes, the press has a role to carefully observe and point out the 'bare' facts." -- Paul M. Rodriguez

"So far we should be thankful that our military leadership is guided more by Thucydides than by Marx, Freud, or Foucault, and so believes that the more things change in war, the more the fundamentals remain the same." -- Victor Davis Hanson

"Look, Bernie, of course there's a liberal bias in the news. All the networks tilt left.... If you repeat any of this, I'll deny it." -- CBS News President Andrew Heyward to former CBS correspondent Bernie Goldberg, reported in Godlberg's soon-to-be-published book "Bias"

"Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I do deny that we have a bias...." -- Heyward on a C-SPAN Sunday afternoon broadcast from Summer 2000

"We spent all night drinking and smoking cigars. He told me CNN was invaluable to him. And I thought, if Fidel Castro can't live without it, we ought to be able to sell CNN all over the world." --CNN founder Ted Turner on how Cuban tyrant Fidel Castro inspired him, in 1982, to broadcast CNN around the world

"The bottom line is this is George Bush's recession." -- Rep. Nita Lowey, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

"While the rest of the country waves the flag of Americana, we understand we are not part of that. We don't owe America anything -- America owes us." -- Rev. Al Sharpton gearing up for his threatened presidential bid

"Rummy's [Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld's nicknames are "DR" and "Rummy"] like a carpenter. He always measures twice and cuts once." -- Richard Allen, President Ronald Reagan's first national security adviser

"When the Afghan sisters began emerging from their hoods and it looked as if American bombing had liberated more women than every women's studies department put together, the feminists nimbly discovered a whole new set of grievances." -- Mark Steyn

"This cloning story is big. You know what Jesse Jackson said about cloning? "We can't have cloning without the moaning!" Do you know how you can tell if a Michael Jackson clone is real? It looks nothing like him. Why would you clone Osama bin Laden? So he can be killed twice! Do you know why it's so easy to clone Hillary Clinton? Because the eggs are already frozen!" -- Jay Leno

"President Bush watched the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia Saturday. The game was broadcast on Armed Forces Radio all over the world. Whenever either quarterback went for the bomb, CNN reported that 30 more civilians were dead in Kandahar." -- Argus Hamilton

web posted December 3, 2001

"The liberal ruling class still has not shed its visceral dislike of the American military. This tension, which began in the Vietnam era, was still evident during the presidency of Bill Clinton, when mutiny, or at least disrespect for the commander in chief pervaded the military services, and the Clintonites felt a corresponding contempt and disdain for those in uniform. And while the Gulf War certainly displayed the American military to good advantage, it was not crucial enough to our security -- or was not perceived to be -- to engender the kind of reverence that military heroes earn when their exploits really do protect the way of life back home. The idea that serving in the military is an opportunity for honor and heroism, instead of a license to commit crimes against innocent civilians, has returned. And children all over America ... will love and admire American soldiers, airmen and sailors." -- Mona Charen

"Invoking historical inevitability, designed to induce fatalism, is the recourse of movements reluctant to allow their destinations to seem like choices. Marxists always hoped the idea of inevitability would undermine resistance by inducing fatalism, and hence passivity." -- George Will

"While government continues to encroach upon those freedoms supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution we are still the freest people on earth." -- Lyn Nofziger

"We must see this perilous mission through to its ultimate end -- if for no other reason than to ensure that those in the World Trade Center and Pentagon did not die in vain." -- Victor Davis Hanson

"The U.S. can bomb Afghanistan to dust but terrorism will remain. In some bizarre thought process understood only in Washington, D.C., the possibility of tightening up immigration laws paralyzes most politicians." -- Rep. Tom Tancredo

"News-gathering does not have to stop during a war. But news is what has actually happened. Rumors and speculation are not news. Nor are American military plans news. Reporting these plans and jeopardizing Americans' lives is espionage." -- Thomas Sowell

"Speaking of the media, I have but one thing to tell you. Don't trust anything you see on TV.... I witnessed how sensationalistic the media can be during the Florida recount. It's even worse here. We covered a pro-Taliban demonstration last week attended by maybe 5,000 protestors. CNN stated there were 50,000. The BBC estimated 40,000. We're continually hearing of 'violent clashes with police' when the TV stations report on non-violent demonstrations we covered ourselves." -- New York Times photographer Vincent Laforet

"We don't want to know. OK? They're young boys. It's scary enough. Leave 'em alone. Everybody say it: We don't want to know.... No, it's not for us; it's for you and your cocktail chatter at parties in D.C. But we don't want to know. Leave our boys alone over there. All right?" -- Comedian Dennis Miller

"Stick to your positions and fight to the death. We are ready to face these Americans. We are happy that they have landed here and we will teach them a lesson." -- Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar

"We should remember that the image of the United Nations as a benevolent peacemaker is a myth, as evidenced by the sad history of its military actions over the past 30 years. In almost every instance its so-called 'peacekeeping missions' have done nothing but intensify regional conflicts. Kosovo and Somalia are poignant examples of UN policy gone bad, creating lasting resentment and instability rather than peace." -- Rep. Ron Paul on the Nobel Peace Prize award to the UN and Secretary General Kofi Annan

"What is Saddam thinking right now as he sits in Baghdad, perhaps a marked man? The mullahs of Iran, as they sit above a powder keg of domestic unrest? Yasser Arafat, as he watches what a dollop of American power has wrought in Afghanistan?" -- Rich Lowry

"This started out as a documentary on gun violence in America, but the largest mass murder in our history was just committed -- without the use of a single gun! Not a bullet fired! I can't stop thinking about this. A thousand gun control laws would never have prevented this massacre. What am I doing?" -- Leftist Hollywonk Michael Moore rethinking gun control

"Ronald Reagan, ex-President, deserves to experience a horrible death soon, and is getting what he deserves [in contracting Alzheimer's Disease]. ...As President, he couldn't remember to deal with the growing AIDS pandemic, couldn't remember to give some money to the Centers for Disease Control for drug treatment research, couldn't remember to authorize the publication of factual information about how the disease was being spread, etc. -- all because he is a het supremacist, and the suffering and dying were 'only Queers.' Ronald Reagan is personally responsible for the long and torturous deaths of hundreds of thousands of gay men in the U.S.A. from AIDS." -- Web site, which also lists among "het supremacists" deserving a "horrible death": Sen. Jesse Helms

"Actually, you probably don't know this, but there were two turkeys brought to Washington for this occasion. By custom, an alternate is always on hand to fill in if needed. This one right here -- his name is Liberty. And the other turkey, the alternate, his name is Freedom. Now, Freedom is not here because he's in a secure and undisclosed location." -- President George W. Bush

"It's the Rumsfeld transformation." -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pointing to a photo of Special Forces on horseback in Afghanistan

"With his 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' message, today's President Bush showed he has his priorities straight. (Better dead than pled.)" -- William Safire

"I've finally figured out what to do with Osama bin Ladin if we capture him alive. Parachute him into Iraq so we can begin bombing the hell out of the place." -- Lyn Nofziger

"The Taliban's fat holy men banned kite flying, transistor radios, pulchritude in public, and clean-shaven men. ...Had the Taliban remained in power I would not have been surprised to hear of a jihad being declared against the Gillette Corp., whose founder -- an American, naturally -- encouraged the West's shocking facial depilating by inventing the safety razor." -- R. Emmett Tyrrell

"...[W]hat is 'altruism'? A terrible strategy for true-false tests." -- Bob Thaves in the comic strip "Frank & Ernest"

"The CIA said today that the former President of Afghanistan was castrated when the Taliban took over the country. Boy, and you thought Clinton was worried about getting impeached!" -- Jay Leno

"Osama bin Laden is still hiding in a cave with all his buddies. You know it gets tough in that close of space and there's a lot of tension. So over the weekend Osama and the boys got together and watched the 'Jihad Bloopers Reel.'" -- David Letterman

"Boston scientists announced Sunday they have successfully cloned a human embryo for the first time. Congress tried to outlaw the procedure in July. In a vote nobody will forget, 350 white guys in blue suits and red ties voted unanimously to ban cloning." -- Argus Hamilton


Send a link to this page!

Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!






© 1996-2020, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.

You've seen the banner, now order the gear!
Visit ESR's anti-gun control gear web site for T-shirts, mugs and mousepads!