The Right Stuff: On Iran, Iraq and the Global War on Terror

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Dec 27, 2007 12:00 AM
The Right Stuff: On Iran, Iraq and the Global War on Terror

As we approach the new year, a potpourri of quotations — the right stuff — on Iran, Iraq, and the global war on terror….

President Bush: “Look. Iran was dangerous. Iran is dangerous. And Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

Former U.S. United Nations Ambassador John Bolton: “We really need to get our friends in Europe to get serious about this matter (of Iran’s developing nuclear capacity). We need a dramatic ramp-up of the pressure, and if we can’t get that quickly from the Europeans, unfortunately we’re going to have to do something else – like regime change, or, as a last resort, the use of force by the United States.”

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “(Sunni al-Qaidists and Shiite fundamentalists loyal to Tehran) are now competing with each other on the soil of Lebanon to gain paramountcy — al-Qaida in the north and Hezbollah in the south. But both of them practice suicide attacks, both of them have the cult of death, and both of them are absolutely uninhibited in the use of force against their chosen enemies. Now, is there a difference? Yeah, I suppose. I think one wants to send us (Israelis) back to the Ninth Century and one wants to send us back to the Seventh Century.”

Gen. Barry McCaffrey, commander of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division in the 1991 Gulf War, following a recent weeklong visit to Iraq: “A year ago, sectarian brutality and violence were out of control. . . . But now the facts on the ground are entirely different. Sectarian killings, suicide truck bombings, and attacks on U.S. forces and the Iraqi Army and police are down by an order of magnitude. Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) has been tactically defeated in the streets of Baghdad and in the Sunni stronghold of Anbar Province. Roadside bomb and rocket attacks . . . from Shiite militias are down markedly. Border crossings by suicide jihadists from Syria have plummeted. The intelligence picture has shifted from night to day as Iraqis by the thousands come forward to identify AQI and criminal Shiite extremists in their communities.”

Tawfik Hamid, onetime member of the Islamist terror group Jemaah Islamiya, now a Muslim reformer living in the West: “We must not forget that innocent Muslims, too, are suffering. Indeed, the most common murderers of Muslims are, and have always been, other Muslims. Where is the Muslim outcry over the Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq?”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman: “Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror or to strengthen our democracy-promotion efforts in the Middle East or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush.”

Cpl. Jeffrey Starr of Snohomish, Wash. — killed in 2005 during his third Iraqi tour — in a letter to his girlfriend made public following his death: “I don’t regret going (to Iraq). Everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, (but) it’s not to me. I’m here helping these people so that they can live the way we live. Not to have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom. Now this is my mark.”

The Washington Post’s media critic Howard Kurtz, author of the new book “Reality Show: Inside the Last Great Television News War”: “(The three network evening newscasts) still have the biggest media megaphone — 25 million combined viewers a night. And that becomes very important on the outside game . . . the coverage of the war in Iraq. I believe that these newscasts in 2005 and 2006 played the biggest single role in helping to turn public opinion against the war.”

Former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger: “Whatever you may think about the way in which this nation entered the war in Iraq, we are there. . . . Whatever the outcome, however, this nation will be engaged in an ongoing struggle with the militant Islamist movement probably for decades ahead. So we must strive to again revive the spirit of patriotism. We must battle against the fashions current among our elites. . . .Both (patriotism and courage) will be essential for any country or civilization which is to flourish for the balance of this century.”

President Bush: “Like the communists, the terrorists and radicals who attacked our nation are followers of a murderous ideology that despises freedom, crushes all dissent, has expansionist ambitions and pursues totalitarian aims. Like the communists, our new enemies believe the innocent can be murdered to serve a radical vision. Like the communists, our new enemies are dismissive of free peoples, claiming that those of us who live in liberty are weak and lack the resolve to defend our free way of life.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair: “If what happens is, the harder (the Islamofascists) fight the more our will (to fight back) diminishes, then that’s a fight we’re going to lose. And this is a fight we cannot afford to lose.”