Ross Mackenzie

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?”

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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