Other speak to the war we are in

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Oct 11, 2001 12:00 AM
Comments by others relating to the Sept. 11 horror, the October retaliation and the war we are in.... Alexander Solzhenitsyn (in 1993): "One can foresee in the 21st century such a time when the U.S. together with Europe will be in dire need of Russia as an ally ... against the new powers that are arising in the world, [notably an expansionist China and a resurgent Islam]." Osama bin Laden (in 1996): "[The battle will] inevitably move ... to American soil." And: "[True Islamic youths ... know that their rewards from fighting the United States will be] double [their rewards from fighting other countries. Their only aim in life is] to enter paradise by killing Americans." President Bush (to Congress): "Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. ... The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. ... We will meet violence with patient justice, assured of the rightness of our cause and confident of the victories to come." Bill Clinton, emphasizing he did his best to get bin Laden: "We missed him by an hour, [but getting rid of him is only a start]. If you took Sammy Sosa off the Cubs, they would still win a lot of games." Gerald Posner, author and longtime Democrat: "I was vocal last year in stating my firm belief that the wrong man was elected president. Now I am compelled to admit I was mistaken. The best man for this incredibly hard campaign is now president. I suspect many of my fellow Democrats feel exactly the same way." 'Wall Street Journal' editor Robert Bartley: "Consensus for a bolder approach to the world may be dawning. What remains is for one of our anti-war leaders to seize the Vandenberg opportunity. Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan had been a leading isolationist, for example opposing extension of the draft only months before Pearl Harbor. He renounced such views to become the Republican leader in forging the bipartisan foreign policy that prevailed from 1941 to 1968. Looking back on his own change of heart, he remarked that the Japanese surprise attack 'drove most of us to the irresistible conclusion that world peace is indivisible. We learned that the oceans are no longer moats around our ramparts. We learned that mass destruction is a progressive science which defiles both time and space and reduces human flesh and blood to cruel impotence.'" 'Time' columnist Lance Morrow: "A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let's have rage. What's needed is a unified, unifying, Pearl Harbor sort of purple American fury - a ruthless indignation that doesn't leak away in a week or two, wandering off into Prozac-induced forgetfulness or into the next media sensation ... or into a corruptly thoughtful relativism. ... A policy of focused brutality does not come easily to a self-conscious, self-indulgent, contradictory, diverse, humane nation with a short attention span. America needs to relearn a lost discipline - self-confident relentlessness - and to relearn why human nature has equipped us all with a weapon (abhorred in decent peacetime societies) called hatred." Sam Adams of Massachusetts (in 1776): "Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then ask yourself, 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices? Are we just to do nothing? To allow the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the Earth?' I detest any submission to a people who have either ceased to be human, or have not virtue enough to feel their own wretchedness. If ye love comfort better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, [then] go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands of your master. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!" The reported words of the captain of an American Airlines flight at Denver, on the Saturday after the terror attacks - as the plane was about to pull away from the gate: "I want to thank you brave folks for coming out today. ... If someone were to stand up, brandish something such as a plastic knife, and say, 'This is a hijacking' - or words to that effect - here is what you should do: Every one of you should stand up and immediately throw things at that person - pillows, books, magazines, eyeglasses, shoes - anything that will throw him off balance and distract his attention. If he has a confederate or two, do the same with them. Most important: Get a blanket over him, then wrestle him to the floor and keep him there. We'll land the plane at the nearest airport and the authorities will take it from there. Remember, there will be one of him and maybe a few confederates, but there are 200 of you. You can overwhelm them. The Declaration of Independence says, 'We, the people,' and that's just what it is when we're up in the air: we, the people, vs. would-be terrorists. I don't think we are going to have any such problem today or tomorrow or for a while, but some time down the road it is going to happen again, and I want you to know what to do. Now, since we're a family for the next few hours, I'll ask you to turn to the person next to you, introduce yourself, tell them a little about yourself, and ask them to do the same." Joseph Conrad, in his 1907 novel 'The Secret Agent' about the archetypal terrorist: "He walked frail, insignificant, shabby, miserable - and terrible in the simplicity of his idea calling madness and despair to the regeneration of the world. Nobody looked at him. He passed on unsuspected and deadly, like a pest in the street full of men." A British vicar addressing a church crowded with English country people who have been devastated by the Blitz - at the conclusion of the World War II movie 'Mrs. Miniver': "We, in this quiet corner of England, have suffered the loss of friends very dear to us. ... The homes of many of us have been destroyed, and the lives of young and old have been taken. There is scarcely a household that hasn't been struck to the heart. And why? Surely you must have asked yourself this question. Why in all conscience should these be the ones to suffer? Children, old people, a young girl at the height of her loveliness. Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed? I shall tell you why. Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefield but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home, and in the heart of every man, woman, and child who loves freedom! Well, we have buried our dead, but we shall not forget them. Instead, they will inspire us with an unbreakable determination to free ourselves and those who come after us from the tyranny and terror that threaten to strike us down. This is the people's war! It is our war! We are the fighters! Fight it then! Fight it with all that is in us, and may God defend the right."