Bill Steigerwald
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The war in Iraq was by far the top interview topic of the year. But there were also Q&A's with the likes of John Stossel, Sean Hannity, Lee Hamilton and Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl on such subjects as media subjectivity, the unraveling of the Republican Party, the 9/11 Commission and the politics of food. Here are some of the year’s best quotes:

IRAQ

I don't think we're going to make it for another three years there. I think there's going to be a civil war in Iraq if the president doesn't change course. The public won't stand for U.S. forces being caught in a civil war. If all hell breaks loose in Iraq, those forces will be coming home much, much sooner -- to the electoral peril of Republicans. I don't think they have another three years to wait.
-- Ivan Eland, director, Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty (March 25)

We should keep the troops there, in the desert, looking after the international boundaries, making sure there are no atrocities, making sure oil and gas goes out, otherwise leaving Iraq to the Iraqis.
--Daniel Pipes, conservative columnist, counterterrorism analyst and author (April 1)

I don’t see anytime soon that we can depart, because we would take an insecure situation and make it even more insecure.
-- Dan Senor, former adviser to Paul Bremer, the administrator of the Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority (June 17)

It’s time to change direction. The public knows this. Some people don’t agree with me, but as a whole most of the people believe it is time to either redirect ourselves or redeploy our troops. I think 25,000 or 30,000 in that region would be plenty.
-- U.S. Congressman Jack Murtha (Jan. 21)

When was the last time you, in a local newspaper, had given to you the press release on the local citations for the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Silver Star, the Distinguished Service Cross or the Navy Cross?... Why should the American people be reminded, regularly, about Haditha, instead of being reminded that we have real, live, walking, talking war heroes living among us?
-- Col. Ollie North, host Fox News’ "War Stories" (July 1)

What is a little surprising to me here in the United States is that Afghanistan seems to be very much the minor military preoccupation here. And yet I believe that what is happening in Afghanistan is of greater strategic importance than what is happening in Iraq.
-- Liam Fox, British Conservative Party “shadow defense minister” (Oct. 21)

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Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald, born and raised in Pittsburgh, is a former L.A. Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood before becoming a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a columnist Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bill Steigerwald recently retired from daily newspaper journalism..