Lingua publica

The good and the bad...

web posted April 21, 2003

"When you wake up in the morning and drink that first cup of coffee, you pay a sales tax. When you start your car, you pay an automobile tax. Drive to work, you pay a gas tax. At work, you pay an income tax -- and a payroll tax. You get home at night, and you pay a property tax. Flip on the light -- you're paying an electricity tax. Turn on the TV -- you pay a cable tax. Make a telephone call, you pay a utility tax. Brush your teeth, you'll pay a water tax. Even when you die, you pay a death tax. We are an overtaxed nation and hard-working Americans deserve a break."-- Sen. Trent Lott

"It's tax time. I know this because I'm staring at documents that make no sense to me, no matter how many beers I drink. ...I'm not the only taxpayer who has no idea what he's sending to the IRS. This year, only 28 percent of all Americans will prepare their own tax returns, according to a voice in my head that invents accurate-sounding statistics. Why can't Americans do their own taxes? Because the federal Tax Code is out of control, that's why. It's gigantic and insanely complex, and it gets worse all the time. Nobody has ever read the whole thing. IRS workers are afraid to go into the same ROOM with it. They keep it locked in the basement, and once a day, they open the door, heave in a live taxpayer ... then slam the door shut, before the screams start. As a result, we have reached the point where even the IRS doesn't know what the Tax Code says. Last year, the Treasury Department discovered -- I am still not making this up -- that the IRS paid out more than $30 million to people who filed for the slavery tax credit. Yes! Thirty million dollars! Only guess what? It turns out there IS no slavery tax credit! Whoops! ...The question is: What can we, as citizens, do to reform our tax system? As you know, under our three-branch system of government, the tax laws are created by: Satan. But he works through the Congress, so that's where we must focus our efforts. Here's my proposal, which is based on the TV show Survivor: We put the entire Congress on an island. All the food on this island is locked inside a vault, which can be opened only by an ordinary American taxpayer named Bob. Every day, the congresspersons are given a section of the Tax Code, which they must rewrite so that Bob can understand it. If he can, he lets them eat that day; if he can't, he doesn't. Or, he can give them food either way. It doesn't matter. The main thing is, we never let them off the island." -- Dave Barry

"Our military no longer is just a fighting force per se, but is asked to preserve oil fields, clear waterways, organize oppressed peoples like the Kurds, feed those without food and water, and under fire distinguish killers from innocents. When it clears Iraq of Saddam Hussein, it will have been done more to feed and help the Iraqi people than all the efforts of the UN of the last two decades." -- Victor Hanson

"How many more thousands of Iraqis dancing in the streets as Saddam's statues are pulled down would it take for the naysayers to admit that they were mistaken?" -- David Stolinsky

"Every Iraqi atrocity has confirmed the justice and the urgency of our cause." -- U.S. President George W. Bush

"I want to thank you on behalf of every other Marine for letting us do our job." -- A wounded Marine to President Bush

"Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed, brutal dictators." -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

"Rest assured that while pretend-patriots talk of supporting you, even as they condemn your noble cause, an unwavering vast majority of Americans share and take pride in your mission. You represent all that is good and right about America and are the true face of American patriotism." -- Charlton Heston

"The French have behaved in ways...that have been very damaging to NATO. I think France is going to have to pay some consequences." -- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz

"In fact, if any organization has forfeited whatever legitimacy it once might have held on political and economic matters in post-Saddam Iraq, it has to be the United Nations, and in particular, the Security Council. . . . In its role as promoter of international security and safety, the United Nations has demonstrated itself to be a dysfunctional, counterproductive organization that must be radically reformed. One indisputable conclusion is that the United States cannot rely upon the Security Council for the protection of its national-security interests." -- The Washington Times

CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "Are you surprised that almost a month into this war you haven't come across some really hard evidence, what the inspectors used to call the smoking gun?"
Gen. Tommy Franks: "Not surprised at all. Let me ask you a question, are you surprised that this regime, after everything that was said about it, has no army, has no navy, and has no air force today?"
Blitzer: "I'll ask the questions. You give the answers."

"Freedom of speech isn't working out so well for liberals now that they aren't the only ones with a microphone. It's not so much fun when the rabbit's got the gun." -- Ann Coulter

"That's why it's so great to be a journalist. You don't have to adhere to any fixed principles of any kind." -- Brit Hume

"The daily drumbeat on the front pages of The Washington Post and the New York Times, picked up by some of the major networks each night, would have us believe we are losing the war. 'It's a Vietnam quagmire,' we are told. ... Utter nonsense. The only major group embedded in a Vietnam-like quagmire is the Democratic Party." -- Larry Kudlow

"I salute those in the streets who are protesting the war." -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

"It's becoming very apparent why [House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi] is the minority leader -- it's because her views represent the vast minority of the country." -- Rep. Mark Foley

"I suppose that's a good thing." --Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean, on Saddam Hussein's fall

"If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care for human beings." -- Nelson Mandela

"Our business is notorious for being almost lunatic liberal. There's sort of a loony fringe that's way over the top and out of step with mainstream America." -- actor James Woods

"There's no finer sight -- no finer sight -- than to see 12,000 United States Marines and corpsmen. Unless you happen to be a member of the Iraqi Republican Guard." -- U.S. President George W. Bush

"In the early days of the war, the plan was criticized by some retired military officers embedded in TV studios." -- Vice President Dick Cheney

"I grew up in Texas, and I'm amused by the way [media experts] criticize [our campaign in Iraq]. In the end it's a whole lot like listening to a cow pee on a flat rock -- it just doesn't matter." -- USAF Lt. Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley

"...[L]ooting is the first stage of shopping." -- P.J. O'Rourke calming fears that Iraqis taking the fallen regime's property portend long-term lawlessness

"In the United States, the Left calls the U.S. tax code, 'redistribution of income.' In Iraq, the Left calls the redistribution of income, 'looting.' This is an example of a difference without a distinction." -- Rich Galen

"[There were] Dom Perignon, French wines...some 30 to 40 years old -- a lot of very good brandy, a lot of good whiskey. There were boxes of Cuban cigars with his name on them, hundreds of them. My guys smoked them." -- USA O-3 Ed Ballanco on the cache of goodies his unit discovered in Uday Hussein's house

"By the way, did we keep Kuwait's oil after the 1991 Gulf War? If we did, I wouldn't be paying $1.67 a gallon for gas." -- Don Feder

"The leaders of Russia, France and Germany -- or, as I call them, the 'axis of envy'-- gathered for a summit on what their part in the rebuilding of Iraq should be. You know something? I think France should participate in rebuilding Iraq. When it comes to having experience about what to do after losing a war, nobody does it better than the French." -- Jay Leno

web posted April 7, 2003

"In the long run, the greatest weapon of mass destruction is stupidity. In an age of artificial intelligence, too many of our schools are producing artificial stupidity, in the sense of ideas and attitudes far more foolish than young people would have arrived at on their own. ...Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of an avowed enemy can destroy many Americans, but they cannot destroy America, because we are too strong and too capable of counterattack. Only Americans can destroy America. But too many of our schools have for years been quietly undermining the values and abilities that are needed to preserve any society -- and especially a free society." -- Thomas Sowell

"...[U.S. foreign policy should] use the ... war against Iraq to persuade Arab governments that they themselves have a compelling interest in putting Islamic radicals out of business. ... What we should demand of Arab leaders is not ideological fealty, but simply responsible behavior. ... A foreign policy based on authentically conservative principles begins by accepting the fact that the world is not infinitely malleable. It recognizes that our own resources, although great, are limited. And it never loses sight of the fact that the freedom that U.S. officials are sworn to protect is our own. Defending that freedom in these difficult times demands courage and resolve. But it also demands modesty and self-restraint -- qualities seldom in evidence in Washington since the end of the Cold War. Now is the time, and Iraq is the place, for this administration to begin exhibiting those virtues." -- Andrew Bacevich

"We knew nothing. We were told only that America was trying to take over Iraq. But we are not so stupid. We know how Saddam rules the country. We know in our hearts we'd be better off without him." -- "Ali", an Iraqi soldier who surrendered to U.S. allied Kurds on March 31

"We have the power to be patient." -- Gen. Tommy Franks

"The best way to honor the dead is to press on to victory." -- Mark Steyn

"It is both morally right and politically liberating for Iraqis to participate and share in their own liberation. Iraqis are prepared and are willing to give their lives in this liberation." -- Kanan Makiya

"We are learning what happens when a principled nation goes up against an utterly unprincipled one." -- Lt. Col. Peter Bayer, operations officer, 3rd Infantry Division

"There is no future for the regime and anyone who supports it. Where the regime is, we're coming." -- U.S. Central Command spokesman Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks

"What evidence would the detractors point to that we are failing after a week and a half or that we are short on troops? ... That we've suffered so few casualties? That Saddam and his sons may be dead? That we've traversed over 300 miles into enemy territory to surround Baghdad? That we've degraded the Republican Guard by half through air attacks in preparation for our entry into the city? That we've taken over the oil fields? That our Patriot missiles have shot down all but one of the enemy's missiles? That Israel hasn't been attacked? That we've captured over [10,000] prisoners? That we have air dominance over 95 percent of Iraq? That we've taken over Iraqi airfields from which we can launch continuous sorties from close range? That our precision-guided weapons are hitting their targets with minimal civilian casualties? That we have no refugee problem like with Gulf War I as a direct result of astute military planning? That we've avoided a humanitarian crisis?" -- David Limbaugh

"Actually, though, it seems to us that it's time for America to extend an olive branch to the world body [United Nations]. ...[Secretary of State Colin] Powell and President Bush should both pledge that the allies will withdraw from Iraq the moment the Security Council passes a resolution demanding it." -- James Taranto

"Now conservatives should explain why conservatism, with its wariness about uncontrollable contingencies and unintended consequences, suggests that the coming triumphs will be more difficult and less complete than we wish." -- George Will

"Two rules of thumb for protest rallies: Always claim a crowd is 200,000 or so larger than any reasonable estimate, and always insist your demonstrators are all ordinary, stable middle-class folks." -- John Leo

"So there are no Iraqi nationalists -- not Saddam loyalists, not terrorists, but no ordinary Iraqi nationalists who are fighting for their nation. It's only, in the President's judgment, fanatics, dead-enders, as Secretary Rumsfeld said, fighting solely for Saddam Hussein." -- ABC's Terry Moran in verbal sparring with White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

"In referring to the suicide bombing yesterday, you referred to it as terrorism. I'd just like a definition, because usually when you think of terrorism you think of attacks against civilians. The intended target was clearly military. You are in Iraq, they are resisting. ...Are these kind of attacks not legitimate resistance?" -- AP's Nicole Enfield

"[T]he Arab League has appealed to the United Nations Security Council to stop the war. One can only hope the Security Council will agree to intervene. How would they stop us? Would France threaten us with war? Young men across America would have to enlist as a matter of honor. The Army could use as its recruiting slogan: 'Are you afraid to fight the French?' Even liberals would enlist as a way to pick up glorious service with no risk of injury." -- Ann Coulter

"If Saddam Hussein listens to the BBC World Service, he might think he is winning." -- Cal Thomas

"I have not read the article. I don't know how I can be any clearer. I saw the headline, and I tend over the years to have developed a certain hesitancy about believing that headlines tell the whole story." -- Donald Rumsfeld

"We have missiles named Hellfire. They have missiles named Seersucker. You tell me who's going to win this war." -- Fox News war correspondent Rick Leventhal "embedded" with 1st Marine, 3rd LAR

"Recycling has its place, but reporters who are trying to conserve the English language by bringing back the Vietnam War expression 'quagmire' are also premature. (Besides, calling a desert a quagmire would seem to be a literary gaffe.)" -- Marvin Olasky

"There's no beer, no prostitutes, and people are shooting at us. It's more like Portsmouth." -- British soldier's response to British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon's comment that "Umm Qasr is a town similar to Southampton."

"Baghdad released footage on Thursday of Saddam Hussein speaking to a roomful of his advisers. CIA officials say they think the tape might be old. It's black-and-white, it's grainy, and the dictator is introduced to the audience by Ed Sullivan." -- Argus Hamilton

web posted March 31, 2003

"The last few decades have not been so kind to our nation's culture and its moral values as they have been to our wallets. Many of us have forgotten what our nation is about and how we should act as individuals and who we are as families. We all have good reason to hope that things work out well in Iraq and that medical professionals can quickly subdue the new illness so things can get back to normal. But we should also hope that more families will come to realize what should matter most in our lives." -- Paul M. Weyrich

"There seems scant idealism among either the American and European demonstrators, no cries for 'a better world.' There's mostly a continual dump on Israel for not creating a Palestinian state, which has become an acceptable form of anti-Semitism. But if Saddam Hussein is nobody's friend, expecting him to change his ways is as nave as it would have been to expect Hitler to have changed his in the 1930s. It didn't happen then and it won't happen now; war made the difference then and war will make the difference now." -- Suzanne Fields

"I think we need to start calling the Democrats 'the domestic French.' That would be the best way to identify these people. ...This whole notion that this is failed diplomacy is going to end up being just the exact opposite. When all is said and done this is going to have been one of America's finest hours." -- Rush Limbaugh

"The terrorists will not reward France for its pandering; on the contrary, I expect we shall see a major terrorist strike in France this year. The French do not merely live in a bad neighborhood -- the bad neighborhoods live within France. The French are bribing their executioners in the expectation of mercy. We may hope -- and pray -- that the war against Iraq will be swift, with low casualties. But every American who dies in this war will have a French diplomatic bullet in his or her body." -- Ralph Peters

"OK, if nobody else will do it, I'm going to patch up this spat between the United States and France. As you know, our two nations are not getting along, as evidenced by the high-level meeting in Paris last week, during which French President Jacques Chirac and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, in what aides described as 'a frank exchange of views,' bit each other. Yes, relations are at an all-time low. The French view us as a bunch of fat, simplistic, SUV-driving, gum-chewing, gun-shooting, mall-dwelling, John Wayne cowboys who put ketchup on everything we eat, including breath mints. Whereas we view the French as a bunch of snotty, hygiene-impaired, pseudo-intellectual, snail-slurping weenies whose sole military accomplishment in the past 100 years was inventing the tasseled combat boot. Sadly -- as is so often the case when people resort to vicious stereotypes -- both sides in this dispute are 100 percent correct. But the fact that we hate each other, with good reason, does NOT mean we can't be friends! After all, the United States and France have a close relationship that dates back to the Revolutionary War, when we were helped in our struggle for independence by a French person whose name we will never, ever forget, as long as we have Internet access to the Encyclopedia Britannica." -- Dave Barry

"Wars are unpredictable. There are still a large number of the difficulties and things that can go wrong that are still ahead of us. The young men and women that are out there are doing a superb job, and the outcome is clear: it will end, and Saddam Hussein's regime will be gone, and the United States will be a safer place for it." -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

"We're fighting an enemy that knows no rules of law, that will wear civilian uniforms, that is willing to kill in order to continue the reign of fear of Saddam Hussein. But we're fighting with bravery and courage." -- U.S. President George W. Bush

"If moving the Marines and the 101st Airborne to the gates of Baghdad in less than a week is a quagmire, then press treatment of total victory will sound like Iraq's Republican Guard just seized Philadelphia." -- Jonah Goldberg

"...[M]y heart and the prayers of this coalition go out to the families of those who have already made the ultimate sacrifice. Because of the courage and the dedication of these heroes, the mission of Operation Iraqi Freedom will be achieved." -- Gen. Tommy Franks

"We are all anti-war -- and American troops in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf represent the kind of protest that terrorists can understand." -- Thomas Sowell

"I do not believe in vile acquittals, phony appeasements, easy forgiveness. Even less, in the exploitation or the blackmail of the word Peace. When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It is suicide." -- Oriana Fallaci

"America's critics cannot truthfully charge that rage or any other passion fuels America's remarkably measured and patently reluctant resumption of the war against Iraq -- the 12-year war, the war of 17 UN resolutions." -- George Will

"We will not solve the world's problems by might." -- Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, the hero of Waco

"If you weren't already scared by the Korean crisis, listening to Democrats will terrify you." -- Rich Lowry

"I did note that the Iraqis were searching for what they thought to be a downed American pilot, and you can see by their actions, shooting into the water, that their search-and-rescue techniques leave a lot to be desired." -- Lt. Gen. John Abizaid

"Can we refer to those who do not go overseas for peace as chicken doves?" -- James S. Robbins

"The old Lefties in America are running on Viagra, prune juice and stale rhetoric left over from the Vietnam War." -- Wesley Pruden

"In the 19 months since the 9-11 attack, the [New York] Times has used the phrase 'American arrogance' nearly as many times (17) as in the entire 96 months of the Clinton presidency (24). Instead of American arrogance, the Times yearns for Clintonian flatulence." -- Ann Coulter

"I heard a story that 10,000 French protesters showed up at the American embassy in Paris -- the two Marine guards on duty frowned at them, so they left." -- Rush Limbaugh

"But she is, to some extent, the nutty aunt in the attic of the Washington press corps and has been for years." -- Brit Hume on Helen Thomas



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