"Resolution 1441, painstakingly negotiated syllable by syllable by Mr. Powell and his duplicitous opposite number in the Quai d'Orsay, was never about Saddam. It was about the UN. The choice is: Put Saddam out of business, or put yourselves out of business."
        - Mark Steyn, "The National Post"

"There quite literally has never been a single nation that has exercised such colossal military force to change almost instantly the status quo, and used it under the auspices of a consensual government to free - Grenada, Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq - rather than to enslave peoples. How long it will last, we do not know, but we should at least realize that we are living in one of the most anomalous periods in recorded history."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

"Ace in the Hole."
        - Daily Mirror headline after Saddam "Ace of Spades" is captured

>> Latest quotes from "Occupation" phase of Iraq crisis

At War - Diplomacy - Give War A Chance - In Ireland - The French - Satire


"Baghdad is safe. The battle is still going on. Their infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad. Don't believe those liars."
        - Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister for (mis)Information

"Strip away all the artefacts of modern war and we are left with an undeniable truth: our soldiers are better, braver and deadlier than theirs."
        - Daily Telegraph Editorial

"Somehow the military has married the familiarity and dynamism of crass popular culture to 19th-century notions of heroism, self-sacrifice, patriotism, and audacity."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

"Two years ago nuts in caves talked about Americans who were scared to fight; now the world is worried because we fight too quickly and too well."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

"There has probably never been a war that was so successful on the battlefield and at the same time so criticized in the media. It took years of futility before criticism of the Vietnam War reached the level reached in the first two weeks of success in Iraq.
Nothing can make war anything other than tragic. But comparing this war with other wars - rather than with perfection - it has been a marvel of military accomplishment and humanitarian concerns."
        - Thomas Sowell, "Jewish World Review"

One might almost say, to adapt von Clausewitz, that modern warfare is PR by other means. And war-winning strategies mean that modern armies most stop treating their communications operations as secondary assignments or (as still too often happens) dumping grounds for officers who have failed at everything else - but as missions absolutely essential to success.
        - David Frum, "National Review"

"Anyone watching TV would think we'd lost already. There's nothing but Americans killing Brits, Brits killing Brits, Americans being captured, even a dead reporter. We have helicopters that can't stay in the sky and missiles that don't know whose side they're on."
        - Tony Blair, as quoted in Peter Stothard's "Thirty Days"

"In the cold war, you knew who the enemy was; you knew his kit; you knew his doctrine; you knew his training. All you had to do was to play the music, set down in notation and conducted from the front. Now, there's a constantly moving kaleidoscope, and you have to improvise. War used to be like symphony music, now it's like jazz."
        - Air Marshal Brian Burridge, RAF

"I’d be so proud to be an American, if I was one... This war isn’t the disaster I was under the impression it was... I would hate to be at war with America."
        - Golfer David Feherty, after a USO tour of American bases in Iraq

"Saddam Hussein has killed more Muslim people than any living person on the face of the earth."
        - Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary

"Bookending the liberation of Baghdad are two summits -- Bush and Blair in Belfast on Monday, Chirac and Schroeder and Putin in Moscow on Friday. It's nice to have the choices put so plainly: on the one hand, the Coalition of the Willing; on the other, the Coalition of the Willing To Go On Selling Saddam Nuclear Reactors In Exchange For Oil Concessions For Another Decade Or Three No Matter How Many People He Kills."
        - Mark Steyn, "Welcome to Anglo-Saxon reality", The National Post

"Umm Qasr is a town similar to Southampton."
        - Geoff Hoon, British Defence Secretary

"He's either never been to Southampton, or he's never been to Umm Qasr"
"There's no beer, no prostitutes, and people are shooting at us. It's more like Portsmouth."
        - The response of two unnamed British squaddies to Hoon's comments

There is a temptation to be rather gloomy about contemporary society in general and youth in particular. Many adults are guilty of assuming that youngsters spend all their time hanging about on street corners wearing hooded tops, punctuated only by spells slouched in front of the television. But the performance of the Army in Iraq goes to show that today's young people are just as capable as previous generations were of exhibiting the timeless military virtues: discipline, service, stoicism and, of course, that mischievous mixture of respect for authority and insolence that can be so entertaining in adversity.
        - Editorial in Britain's "The Telegraph"

"Hollywood’s like really messed us up. They should make war movies six hours long with 15 minutes of fighting scenes. And the rest just sitting around, throwing rocks; that’s what war is."
        - US soldier in Kuwait interviewed by Channel 4

"But you know there's some confusion now whether Saddam Hussein is actually alive or dead. They had videotape on Iraqi television earlier today, and it's so confusing. It's Saddam Hussein ... and he's speaking at his own funeral."
        - David Letterman

"I did something that always looks absurd when other people do it, I applauded the television."
        - Richard Perle describes his reaction to the toppling of the Saddam statue

"Apparently they are shouting, 'Saddam, your days are numbered'. We can't confirm that, (a) because I cannot hear what they are saying, and (b) because I do not speak Arabic."
        - Huw Edwards, BBC Newsreader

"As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist, he is neither a strategist nor is he schooled in the operational art nor is he a tactician nor is he a general nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he's a great military man."
        - Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, Commander of Coalition Forces in Operation Desert Storm, 1991


"The moral case against war has a moral answer. It is the moral case for removing Saddam. It is not the reason we act. That must be according to the UN mandate on weapons of mass destruction. But it is the reason, frankly, why if we do have to act, we should do so with a clear conscience.”
Yes, there are consequences of war. If we remove Saddam by force, people will die and some will be innocent. And we must live with the consequences of our actions, even the unintended ones.
But there are also consequences of 'stop the war'.
If I took that advice, and did not insist on disarmament, yes, there would be no war. But there would still be Saddam. Many of the people marching will say they hate Saddam. But the consequences of taking their advice is that he stays in charge of Iraq, ruling the Iraqi people...
This isn't a regime with Weapons of Mass Destruction that is otherwise benign. This is a regime that contravenes every single principle or value anyone of our politics believes in.
There will be no march for the victims of Saddam, no protests about the thousands of children that die needlessly every year under his rule, no righteous anger over the torture chambers which if he is left in power, will be left in being. I rejoice that we live in a country where peaceful protest is a natural part of our democratic process. But I ask the marchers to understand this. I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honour. But sometimes it is the price of leadership. And the cost of conviction. But as you watch your TV pictures of the march, ponder this:
If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for. If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started."
        - Tony Blair, Speech to Labour Party Conference, 15 Feb 2003

"The League (of Nations) failed because it could not create action from its words... At each stage good men said wait; the evil is not big enough to challenge: then before their eyes, the evil became too big to challenge."
        - Jack Straw, UK Foreign Secretary

"Our war against terror is a contest of will in which perseverance is power. In the ruins of two towers, at the western wall of the Pentagon, on a field in Pennsylvania, this nation made a pledge, and we renew that pledge tonight: Whatever the duration of this struggle and whatever the difficulties, we will not permit the triumph of violence in the affairs of men; free people will set the course of history.
Throughout the 20th century, small groups of men seized control of great nations, built armies and arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world. In each case, their ambitions of cruelty and murder had no limit. In each case, the ambitions of Hitlerism, militarism and communism were defeated by the will of free peoples, by the strength of great alliances and by the might of the United States of America.
Now, in this century, the ideology of power and domination has appeared again and seeks to gain the ultimate weapons of terror. Once again, this nation and our friends are all that stand between a world at peace, and a world of chaos and constant alarm. Once again, we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind. And we accept this responsibility.
All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attacks, and we're asking them to join us, and many are doing so. Yet the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others."
        - from State of the Union address by President George W. Bush, Jan 28 2003

"The real bond between the United States and Europe is the values we share: democracy, individual freedom, human rights and the Rule of Law. These values crossed the Atlantic with those who sailed from Europe to help create the USA. Today they are under greater threat than ever.
The attacks of 11 September showed just how far terrorists - the enemies of our common values - are prepared to go to destroy them. Those outrages were an attack on all of us. In standing firm in defence of these principles, the governments and people of the United States and Europe have amply demonstrated the strength of their convictions. Today more than ever, the transatlantic bond is a guarantee of our freedom."
        - letter to The Times newspaper, signed by leaders of 8 European countries, Jan 30 2003

"In the key period between 1973-91 the US exported a mere $5 million of weapons to Iraq; more reprehensibly the UK sold $330 million-worth of arms. Of much greater interest are the arms export totals to Iraq of the four countries most against military action: Germany with $995 million, China $5,500 million, France $9,240 million, and the Russians a massive $31,800 million. So the claim that we armed Saddam has to be treated with a degree of care, particularly by those who would award the moral high ground in this debate to the leaders of nations such as Germany, France and Russia."
        - letter to The Times newspaper, quoting 1998 report for Centre for Strategic Studies

"According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, over the period 1973-2002, Iraq spent 82 times as much on weapons bought from peaceniks Russia/USSR, France and China, compared with weapons from the warmongering US, Britain and Australia."
        - quoted in The Tallrite Blog

"The attack on Yugoslavia was a pre-emptive war to save the lives of Albanian Muslims. There was no other rationale for conducting it, nor did anyone in the United States or Europe ask for one. Yet there was no UN resolution authorizing this attack, nor did liberal critics of the present Bush policy complain about the lack of one. Nor was there a congressional declaration of war or authorization (as there was in Iraq) for the use of force."
        - David Horowitz, "Front Page Magazine"

"Hitler was ruthless in starting a war against Poland. Yet he could have been stopped far earlier in 1936 or so — had the democracies preempted him. Indeed, a failure to preempt is often far worse than the act itself.
Usually the singular action of one democracy is worth more than all the majority votes of dozens of autocracies."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "Words That Don't Matter: pre-emption & unilateralism", NRO

"The UN Charter gives the Security Council a very limited power to authorise the use of force. The Charter prohibits the UN from intervening 'in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state', except where the Security Council sanctions 'enforcement measures under Chapter VII' (article 2(7)) - which empowers the Security Council to decide what measures to take 'to maintain or restore international peace and security' (article 39).
The Charter was drafted after the Second World War, and it is against this background that the phrase about 'maintaining international peace and security' should be understood. Only by interpreting this phrase in an expansive and illegitimate way could the UN Security Council assume the right to sanction war in Iraq. By no stretch of the imagination could Saddam's enfeebled Iraq have been described as posing a threat to international peace and security, and in the absence of such a threat the proviso in article 2(7) did not arise."
        - Jon Holbrook, "Spiked-Online.Com"

The critics are quite right: the UN Security Council is rather absurd. Why, after all, should five more or less arbitrarily chosen countries have the final say on issues of war and peace? But their proposed solution - to grant permanent membership to four more states, Brazil, Germany, India and Japan - misses the point. The objection to the UN system is not to the particular countries that it favours, but to the powers that they now presume to wield. A dangerous and disagreeable idea is abroad, namely that the UN has the right to determine whether the actions of sovereign states are legal. This notion has widespread support, in Britain as elsewhere. Most people, for example, felt that the invasion of Iraq would have been justified only if the UN had approved it - which is to say, if the French, Russian and Chinese governments had voted in favour.
        - editorial in Britain's "Daily Telegraph"

Today, simultaneously, we are seeing the draining of power from the UN, NATO and the EU, and transformation of the residuum. The catalyst to this profound and rapid change has been Iraq. Stirring this volatile mixture in all three cases has been French foreign policy since 1991. Most immediately, the stirring stick has been President Chirac's opportunistic anti-Americanism.... If one interpretation of the French stand on the unprecedented Turkish article IV request for help was that it was intended to kill off Nato so that military functions transfer to the EU - the consistent aim, openly at and since Nice in 2000 - it was unnecessary and too late. This was death by many knives: a murder on the Orient Express.
        - LSE Professor Gwyn Prins, "Farewell to the Old World", "The Guardian"

"Increasingly multilateralism is a synonym for an ineffective and unfocused policy involving internationalism of the lowest common denominator....We are prepared to join coalitions of the willing that can bring focus and purpose to addressing the urgent security and other challenges we face."
        - Alexander Downer, Foreign Minister of Australia

The truth is that the war was probably not legal under international law. Those who believe that is a fact of cardinal moral importance have not yet had the courage to admit the inevitable conclusion of their position. It is that there now needs to be a "coalition of the willing" to restore the legal government of Saddam Hussein to its rightful position as the sovereign authority in Iraq. Tony Blair must be arrested and tried by the ICC, and Saddam should be the primary witness against him. That is the inescapable logic of the champions of international law. It should make every-one realise how unreal is the world in which they live.
        - Editorial in Britain's "Sunday Telegraph", "Free Saddam and jail Blair?"


"It is emphatically not fair minded to say that the Pentagon and the British government 'are being as economical with the truth as the regime they profess to have a moral authority over'. I can't believe you mean this. If you were an Iraqi editor and made such a criticism of your government, you would be dead. Doesn't that fact indicate a radical difference between our government and theirs?"
        - Charles Moore, Telegraph editor, in email to Piers Morgan, Mirror editor

"The prison in question was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children - toddlers up to pre-adolescents - whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace."
        - Scott Ritter, in Time Magazine

"The predictive power of a world view is always a good indicator of how closely it corresponds with reality. The reason the critics of the war were so badly wrong in so many of their predictions is because their world view is so wrong. Many are blinded by anti-Americanism. The rest have a hopelessly utopian view of the world in which all conflicts are just misunderstandings that can be solved through dialogue."
        - David Quinn, The Sunday Times

"A prison above ground and a mass grave beneath it."
        - An anonymous Iraqi University lecturer describes Iraq

"What amazes me is how many people are happy for Saddam to stay. They ask why we don't get rid of Mugabe... I don't because I can't, but when you can, you should."
        - Tony Blair, as quoted in Peter Stothard's "Thirty Days"

"Many of the people who condemn George W. Bush for liberating Iraq once condemned Ronald Reagan for promising to liberate Central and Eastern Europe from communism."
        - David Frum, as Poland prepares to join NATO, "National Review"

"Our leading bishops demand hard evidence of Saddam Hussein's possessions of weapons of mass destruction. If we were to demand the same level of proof from their profession, they would all be out of a job."
        - A letter from Avril Segal to "The Times" on January 21

"When you want to make it perfectly clear to the world that you're not an imperialist, the people you want in your corner are Britain and Spain."
        - Bill Maher

"Do you want the United States to win in Iraq? It’s an easy question."
"It’s not easy for me, because I’m thoughtful."
        - Bill O'Reilly and David Letterman, "The Late Show"

"You don't get to choose whether there is a war. Your enemies choose that. You only get to choose whether and when you will resist. Some dumbass protester said some time back 'It takes two to make a war'. Well, he was partly right. When only one chooses, it's usually called 'massacre'."
        - Ken Summers

"The very fact that we have these anti-Bush protests proves Bush isn't a Nazi or Fascist. If Bush were what these people claim he is, they'd all be dead, starving to death in some gulag, or chained to a wall while a group of guards took turns bouncing nightsticks off their rock hard heads."
        - John Hawkins

"I am supporting a war against Saddam Hussein. It's not a war against Iraq - it is a war against Saddam... march against Saddam Hussein's government? In Baghdad? You couldn't even think about it. You couldn't even dream about it. Saddam Hussein's security men would be after you straight away. You would not be jailed for life, of course not. You would be hanged, shot or executed."
        - Ali al-Ezzawi, Iraqi exile, on the anti-war marches in Britain

"Where were you all while Saddam was killing thousands of Iraqis since the early 70s? Just ask yourselves why, out of 500,000 Iraqis in Britain, you will not find even 1,000 of them participating in the march? I am so frustrated by the appalling views of most of the British people. Your anti-war campaign has become mass hysteria and you are no longer able to see things properly."
        - Dr Khalaf, Iraqi exile, interviewed by "The Telegraph"

"I never thought in the run-up to the (Iraq) war we were discussing the difference between war and peace. We were discussing the difference between war and continued torture and genocide and abuse of human rights by a fascist state... The most breathtaking statement was the one of al-Qaeda claiming responsibility for the London bombings, saying it was in return for the massacre in Iraq. But the massacres in Iraq are now being conducted by al-Qaeda against Muslims."
        - Ian McEwan, interviewed in "Der Spiegel"

The onus is not on civilised countries to justify why they would topple dictatorships: The onus is on dictatorships to justify why they should not be toppled. The suggestion that because America did not invade other tyrannies it therefore couldn't justify invading Iraq is as nonsensical as leaving two children to drown when you could save one.
        - from the Open Republic of Ireland's Policy Watch

"One-eyed scribe: A Texas term for a revolver. Its argument is always persuasive, and sometimes unanswerable."
        - John Farmer's "Americanisms Old And New (1889)"

"The only consolation is that the anti-war crowd are having an even harder time keeping it up than I am. The 'human shields' are leaving Iraq, having given up trying to shield anything but the remaining shreds of their dignity. They got to Baghdad only to find their Iraqi 'co-ordinators' wanted to deploy them not at 'humanitarian' facilities but at military bases. One British teacher said he was used to working with young children and would have preferred to be deployed at an orphanage. Pity the poor Iraqi official who had to explain to the guy that the orphanage has already got all the human shields it needs: they're called 'orphans.'"
        - Mark Steyn, "Bring on the war - for everyone's sake", The National Post

"If we have to have an incoherent, self-loathing 'peace' movement, then women showing off their hooters in support of a culture that would stone them to death for showing off their ankles is about as good as it's gonna get."
        - Mark Steyn, "Bring on the war - for everyone's sake", The National Post

"I wish there was a country called al-Qaedia that we could have invaded, but there wasn't. Saddam was the only one who had a home address."
        - Dennis Miller

"War coverage? I cannot tell you how proud it makes me. I watch the we handle ourselves over there and I've never felt so patriotic in my life. About the war... there are four types of people against the war:
1. Pacifists - sincere but they have Amish tourettes syndrome. But at least they are consistent, you have to respect them.
2. The Hitler crowd: For them everyone is like Hitler. Ashcroft is Hitler, Rumsfeld is Hitler Cheney is Hitler Bush is Hitler...everbody is Hitler except for the one guy with a mustache whose idea of fun is dropping people into the wood chipper...
3. The guys with an agenda ..Tom Daschle...Nancy Pelosi I call them the elite democratic guard.. I'm not sure that Pelosi is going to work out - her eyes say that even she looks surprised that she got the job.
4. The fourth group is the flat out yahoo protestors who will protest anything...they'll kick out a Gap one day, protest the war the next - like the guys who can't get an acting job so they overproduce their answering machince message."
        - Dennis Miller on Jay Leno

"It is that stupid moron's right to be that utterly completely wrong."
        - Dennis Miller gives his opinion of Michael Moore

"Look, I'd much rather put my cards on the table and let people know where I stand in a clear editorial, than insidiously imply it in what's supposed to be a straight news story. And by the way, you sanctimonious twit, no one - no one - tells me what to say. I say it. And I write it. And no one lectures me on it. Save you, you pretentious charlatan."
        - Neil Cavuto, responding to Paul Krugman's accusations about Fox News's lack of objectivity

"There is left but one simple rule for the new upper crust: by all means prefer victims to oppressors, but always prefer oppressors to true liberators... True liberators, as we can now see, would deprive the world of victims, and thus dry up the supply of peons that constitute the new class's constituency. This is why, even though the new class disliked Saddam Hussein, they hate Bush infinitely more."
        - Frederick Turner, TechCentral Station.

"How should I start?" asks Tony Blair about a TV broadcast. "My fellow Americans...?" suggests Alastair Campbell.
        - reported in "30 Days: A Month at the heart of Blair's War" by Peter Stothard

As Bush puts it, ‘In politics, you find people all the time, they say, I’m going to do this with you, and then the heat gets on and they turn and run.’ No names are mentioned. Suffice to say that in early 2003 the French discussed with the Pentagon contributing a division to the invasion force for Iraq before proceeding to denounce the whole exercise. As far as Blair was concerned, it was untenable to say to America, ‘We want you to be engaged in the world — we don’t want you to be isolated — but we are not prepared to be there with you.’ Bush tells Coughlin that he reacted to the possibility of Blair losing the crunch Commons vote in March 2003 by telling him on the telephone to withdraw from the coalition rather than risk being forced to resign. Blair replied, ‘I’m staying, even if it costs me my government.’ It was the sort of attitude the Texan admired.
        - Graham Stewart, from his "Spectator" review of "American Ally" by Con Coughlin

One should never tire of pointing out that all the leaders, in the English-speaking world at least, who supported it — George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard — were re-elected, whereas politicians who opposed it — Chirac, Gerhard Schröder, John Kerry (sort of), not to mention our own Charles Kennedy — got into trouble. Although the Iraq war is unpopular, politicians who denounce it exude smugness, and subliminally seem to have a vested interest in failure.
        - Charles Moore, in the UK "Spectator"

"(Australia has) our anti-US forces. Lots of them. We’ve taken the precaution of rounding them up and keeping them penned in newspaper offices."
        - Tim Blair

"It is not possible to overstate the ominous implications for the Middle East if Saddam were to develop and successfully militarize and deploy potent biological weapons. We can all imagine the consequences. Extremely small quantities of several known biological weapons have the capability to exterminate the entire population of cities the size of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem."
        - Senator John Kerry, Democratic Presidential Contender (more)

Invariably, whenever columnists like myself write in support of the Iraq war without having served in the military there, letters flood in deriding us as “chicken hawks.” How can writers support the war without fighting in it themselves? these letter writers ask, although usually not so politely... The chicken-hawk line is the “Oh, yeah? Your mama!” of antiwar arguments. Its logic, if taken seriously, actually would boost the hawks. If only members of the military — who are overwhelmingly conservative — were considered competent to decide the nation’s posture on matters of war and peace, we would have an even more forward-leaning foreign policy. I’m comfortable letting the 82nd Airborne decide what we do about anti-American rogue states. ..By the same token, we could say to proponents of leaving Saddam Hussein in power: “That’s an illegitimate position unless you yourself are willing to move to Tikrit to live for the duration of Saddam’s regime.” Or to supporters of “containing” Saddam: “You’re a hypocrite until you go help patrol the no-fly zone.” Why should this line of argument be limited to Iraq? “You think we should help fight AIDS in Africa? Well, go work in a clinic in Lavumisa, Swaziland.” “You oppose land mines? Go clear them from the Korean DMZ.”
The chicken-hawk argument is, of course, made in bad faith. If anyone should be — and usually has been — in favor of rigorous civilian control of the military, it is the left. Since when do liberals favor government on the model of Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany, with the military running amok since civilians don’t have the standing to direct it? Maybe Harry Truman was wrong to fire Douglas MacArthur after all. Maybe no one should have contradicted Curtis LeMay when he offered to bomb North Vietnam back into the Stone Age.
        - Rich Lowry, "National Review"


"If RTE was covering the liberation of Paris in 1944 would it have concentrated on French reprisals against Nazi collaborators rather than the liberation itself? The station constantly refused to see the big picture."
        - David Quinn, The Sunday Times

"The choice for Ireland is no longer between Boston and Berlin. It is between Washington and Paris. This is an unenviable dilemma for a country that needs to curry favour with both."
        - David Quinn, The Sunday Times

"When I landed at Shannon a month ago, the airport was ringed with hundreds of gardai to protect US warplanes refuelling for the Gulf from being damaged by enraged Irish peace activists. The alarmed Americans decided to refuel at Prestwick instead — the only retreat recorded by US forces in the entire campaign."
        - Ferdinand Mount, The Sunday Times

"In war, possession is ten tenths of the law."
        - RTE Primetime program on the war


"Axis of Weasel - Germany and France Wimp Out on Iraq."
        - Headline from the New York Post, inspired by France and Germany's opposition to war

"For years, many governments played down the threats of Islamic revolution, turned a blind eye to international terrorism and accepted the development of weaponry of mass destruction. Indeed, some politicians were happy to go further, collaborating with the self-proclaimed enemies of the West for their own short-term gain - but enough about the French. So deep had the rot set in that the UN security council itself was paralysed... There are too many people who imagine that there is something sophisticated about always believing the best of those who hate your country, and the worst of those who defend it."
        - Margaret Thatcher, speech given in New York after the war

"Britain gave its support but I did not see much in return. I am not sure that it is in the nature of our American friends at the moment to return favours systematically."
        - Jacques Chirac

A French leader would never say, "Either you are with us, or you're against us." In French, it translates like this: "Either you give us something, or we are against you."
        - Denis Boyles, "National Review"

"France has never gotten over the fact that it was once a great power and is now just a great nuisance."
        - Thomas Sowell

"France is like someone who’s been given a glimpse of the future, sees himself committing suicide, and resolves to spend his remaining days making it look like murder."
        - Lileks

"Well, it looks like we moved a step closer to war. Not with Iraq: with France and Germany."
       - Jay Leno, US Talk Show Host

"France wants more evidence. The last time France wanted more evidence it rolled right through France with a German flag... What do you expect from a culture and a nation that exerted more of its national will fighting against Disney World and Big Mac's than the Nazis?"
        - David Letterman, US Talk Show Host

"The French are so concerned by the dominance of American power - militarily, economically, culturally, and technologically - that a former French foreign minister felt the need to coin a new word to describe it: hyperpuissance, or 'hyperpower.' Think of it this way: France thinks the United States has so much power that the French language didn't have a word for it."
        - Chris Suellentrop, "The Slate"

"You can’t swing a baguette without hitting a French intellectual who thinks America is imperialistic, and yet I don’t think it was the Peace Corps teaching kids in Djibouti to say 'Our forefathers, the Gauls.' And I don’t seem to remember Vietnam being in 'American Indochina.'"
        - Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"

"Bonjour, you cheese-eatin' surrender-monkeys."
        - Groundskeeper Willie teaches french class in The Simpsons, popularized by Jonah Goldberg

"France — in its old blow-up-Greenpeace mood — claims that it only supports the use of force in extremis, but then almost immediately exploded the tiny air force of the Ivory Coast on news that nine of its soldiers were killed, prompting thousands of Africans to hit the streets in anti-Gallic rage."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "The Ironies Ahead", "National Review"

"British political culture is rooted in Atlanticism, and more generally in a principled attachment to the broad principles of liberty and the rule of law. French political life remains wedded to the realpolitik of Continental pragmatism. At its most simple, the British - and anglophone countries generally - are prepared to fight for other people's freedom: France is not.
The British saved France, not once, but twice. The relationship between the two countries must inevitably be uneasy. The hundreds of acres of headstones in Picardy and Normandy place the French under an unendurable obligation. It is only human to resent such profligate generosity; and this the French most certainly do."
        - Kevin Myers, as the 100th anniversery of the Entente Cordiale approaches, "The Telegraph"


[The Daily Telegraph, 03.03.04]
Bush, Blair Summit in Northern Ireland: Plan to model postwar Baghdad on Belfast
U.S. Winning Iraqis’ Hearts and Minds: Will use them for transplants.
SUV Sales Off in March: But dealers hope for boost when Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles hit showrooms.
        - All from The Ironic Times

U.S. To Give Every Iraqi $3,544.91, Let Free-Market Capitalism Do The Rest
        - The Onion

"Bad man obliterfied."
        - Dubya summarises the Iraq war as only he can, BBC2's "Dead Ringers"

Medium says that soldiers killed in Iraq 'still intend to vote for Bush'.
        - the Fox News news ticker, as seen by BBC2's "Dead Ringers"

"I haven't got the time to sit here arguing with someone whose idea of a coherent foreign policy is what comes up in Google when you type in peace!"
        - Tony Blair, dealing with questions from the public, BBC2's "Dead Ringers"

"Paris: in a stunning reversal of policy, French President Jacques Chirac announced today that the French government will be supporting the war on terror after all. Five hundred soldiers from the elite French Surrender Battalion of the Foreign Legion are in the process of shipping out to Iraq where they will assist the Iraqi Republican Guard in their inevitable surrender to the overwhelming might of the American armed forces. Chirac also announced that his government will send 3,000 advisers from the French Collaboration Force to assist the Iraqis in collaborating with the Americans while pretending to be part of a non-existent resistance movement."
        - Email sent to Andrew Sullivan

"At worst, Sir Mark Thatcher will be found guilty of supporting a coup to overthrow the wealthy, brutal dictator of an oil-rich country and install a different leader in his place. The last chap who tried something like that is currently leader of the Labour Party."
        - Telegraph editorial after Thatcher is charged in relation to a coup in Equatorial Guinea

"In world events, the friendship between America and Britain is stronger than ever. You're like Mini Me to our Doctor Evil, helping out in all our zany schemes to take over the world."
        - Marge Simpson, from the "Alternative Christmas Message" on Britain's "Channel 4"

"People say it was unnecessary for us to get involved in the Iraq war. I disagree! It was essential practice for when one comes along we have got a stake in."
        - Al Murray aka the English Pub Landlord

Almost a year after the cessation of major combat and a month after the nation's first free democratic elections, President Bush unveiled the coalition forces' strategy for exiting Iraq.
"I'm pleased to announce that the Department of Defense and I have formulated a plan for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq," Bush announced Monday morning. "We'll just go through Iran." According to White House officials, coalition air units will leave forward air bases in Iraq and transport munitions to undisclosed locations in Iran. After 72 to 96 hours of aerial-bomb retreats, armored-cavalry units will retreat across the Zagros mountains in tanks, armored personnel carriers, and strike helicopters. The balance of the 120,000 troops will exit into the oil-rich borderlands around the Shatt-al-Arab region within 30 days.
        -  Bush announches Iraq Exist Strategy: Through Iran, "The Onion"

I support the Occupation of Iraq, but I don't support our troops... The U.S. went to war in Iraq to remove an evil and dangerous political adversary from power. Now that we have done that, the American troops must remain in Iraq until the country is a fully functioning democracy, able to spark change throughout the entire Middle East. While I find this obvious, there are still a lot of people in our country who fail to grasp it. I support Bush-administration foreign-policy goals, but I stand firmly against the individual men and women on the ground in the Persian Gulf... Need I remind the reader that it is our flag, not the troops, that we salute? It is our nation-state, not a bunch of 20-year-olds in parachute pants, that deserves our allegiance... I tied a ribbon around my tree for the safe return of our nation's F-16s, because our military aircraft are instrumental to finishing our work in Iraq... I'd like to ask those currently trumpeting their support for the troops a question: Have you ever actually met any of these soldiers in person? Well, I have, and believe me, they are no more impressive than any other low-level functionary of a large institution.
        - James W. Henley, "The Onion"

"No Blood For Oil!"
"Exactly How Much Oil Are We Talking About?"
        - Some alternative views from "The Onion"


"Our very success creates ever increasing expectations of perfection for a postmodern America used to instant gratification. We now look back in awe at World War II, the model of military success, in which within four years an unprepared United States won two global wars, at sea, on the ground, and in the air, in three continents against Japan, Italy, and Germany, and supplied both England and the Soviet Union. But our forefathers experienced disaster after disaster in a tale of heartbreak, almost as inglorious as the Korean mess or Vietnam tragedy. And they did things to win we perhaps claim we would now not: Shoot German prisoners in the Bulge, firebomb Axis cities, drop the bomb — almost anything to stop
fascists from slaughtering even more millions of innocents.
Our armored vehicles were deathtraps and only improved days before the surrender. American torpedoes were often duds. Unescorted daylight bombing proved a disaster, but continued. Amphibious assaults like Anzio and Tarawa were bloodbaths and emblematic of terrible planning and command. The recapture of Manila was clumsy and far too costly. Okinawa was the worst of all operations, and yet was begun just over fourth months before the surrender — without any planning for Kamikazes who were shortly to kill 5,000 American sailors. Admiral King resisted the life-saving convoy system and unnecessarily sacrificed merchant ships.
The war's aftermath seemed worse, to be overseen by an untried president who was considered an abject lightweight. Not-so-quite collateral damage had ruined entire cities. Europe nearly starved in winter 1945-6. Millions were on the road in mass exoduses. After spending billions to destroy Nazi Germany we had to spend billions more to rebuild it — and repair the devastation it had wrought on its neighbors. Our so-called partisan friends in Yugoslavia and Greece turned out to be hard-core Communist killers.
The war started to keep Eastern Europe free of Nazis and ended up ensuring that it was enslaved by Stalinists. Poland was neither free in 1940 nor in 1946. By early 1946 we were already considering putting former Luftwaffe pilots in American jets — improved with ample borrowing from Nazi technology — to protect Europe from the Red Army carried westward on GM trucks. We put Nazis on trials for war crimes even as we invited their scientists to our shores to match their counterparts in the Soviet Union who were building even more lethal weapons to destroy us. Tired of the war and postbellum costs, Americans suddenly were asked to wage a new Cold War to keep a shrinking West and its allies free.
And yet our greatest generation thought by and large they had done pretty well. We in contrast would have given up in despair in 1942."
        - Victor Davis Hanson,"Do We Think Other Wars Were Easy?", "National Review"

The larger implications of the Bush administration's decision to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iraq remain uncertain. As historians, of course, we cannot comment on the potential significance of this latest chapter in the long nation's narrative of war and freedom until events have reached some kind of conclusion, and that cannot possible happen for some years to come. What we can say, however, is that now, as with World War I and World War II, a war fought in the name of freedom created the conditions that led to another; now, as with the Seven Years' War, a decisive military victory failed to produce a definitive peace; and now, as with the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection, substansial numbers of the people American forces believed they were liberating find it impossible to regard their liberators as anything but a new species of oppressor. It seems clear that once again an American war that was fought in the name of freedom and in the hope of stabilizing a situation thought to portend great threat to the nation has produced unpredictable outcomes, created a new set of contingencies, and altered the world in ways that Americans will have to reckon with for years to come.
        - Fred Anderson, "The Dominion of War"


>> Excerpts from an interview in "The Common Review" with Christopher Hitchens:

My criticism of the (first Gulf) war became this: that it had not been a regime-change war, that the slogans of liberty and justice that had been used to mobilize it had not been honored. But if they had been, I would have been in favor of it. It's a narrow but deep crevasse to cross, and once you've crossed it, I'll tell you this, you can't go back over it again... so when people say, well, we should have an inquiry into what went wrong in Iraq, I'm completely in favor of that. I think we should have a full-dress inquest into all the claims made by the government. I think it should be a completely open-ended inquiry. But it should not begin in 2003. It should begin in 1991. It should begin with the question: were Were we right to leave Saddam Hussein in power then, and then subject his people to sanctions in an oil-for-palaces program that benefited him and starved and eviscerated his population? Would it have been better to take him out when we could? I have no doubt what the answer to that would have to be.

Karl Marx was, in Europe, the main recruiter of support for the Union in the American Civil War, and the greatest defender of the Union cause. The London Times was pro-Confederate. The employing class in the cotton mills was mainly pro-Confederate. There were many, many people who wanted revenge for the American Revolution, and wanted to be able to say, see, we told you it would never work! Marx and Engels always believed that America was the great future country of revolution and equality, and Russia was the great future country of despotism and backwardness. If that isn't an irony of history, I don't know what would qualify as being one. In their brilliant essays on the Civil War for Horace Greeley's New York Herald Tribune, Marx said, look, Mr. Lincoln is only going to war to preserve slavery. That's true: Lincoln went to war to discipline the Confederacy and to say to the South, if you'll help me preserve the Union, we'll help you preserve slavery. He thought there would be another hundred years of it, which there could easily have been. But Marx and others said no, the crucial thing is to be at war. Once the war has started, then the argument can really begin. Marx predicted that Lincoln would have to fire General George McClellan. It's almost eerie — he said Lincoln would have to fire McClellan because he's relying on a general who doesn't really believe in the war. Also, the Union will eventually win because it has more industrial capital and it will be able to build ironclad ships, even if Britain continues to build a wooden war navy for the Confederates. And finally, Marx said, as a war-winning measure, Lincoln will have to make an Emancipation Proclamation. He'll have to do it because it will be the only way of subverting the Confederacy. Let the war begin, but above all, let us be at war. That's what I think.
Once the war had been declared against Islamic fascism in the region and against its totalitarian friends, I knew there were many Iraqis who were ready to take advantage of it, who were yearning for the chance, and that the United States would have to take their side. I also said this in my answer to your last question. George Bush the elder, when he went in to rescue the Kuwaiti royal family, had no idea he'd end up guaranteeing a no-fly zone over northern Iraq. It was not part of his plan. It was improvised at the end of the war. But once he'd done it, he was stuck with it. And once they'd done that, Iraq was, to borrow a phrase, half slave and half free. And there was no doubt in the long run which side the United States would have to take on how that would be resolved.

>> Excerpts from the 2003 Ruttenberg lecture at the Centre for Policy Studies, delivered by Lord >> Conrad Black:

Far from the United States being a trigger-happy, hip-shooting country, despite its immense military force, it scarcely responded at all to the killing of dozens of US servicemen at the Khobar Towers and on the U. S. S. Cole. And when two of its embassies in Africa were virtually destroyed, President Clinton’s response consisted of rearranging some rocks in Afghanistan and blowing the roof off a Sudanese aspirin factory in the middle of the night. As the current president has remarked, his predecessor may also have taken out a camel with a $10 million cruise missile. Its policy is one of strength, constantly maintained but sparingly applied.

The United Nations is principally composed of corrupt, failed, despotisms and the suggestion that its opinions can be aggregated into an unappealable world supreme court is bunk.
I do not understand where the idea arose that the armed forces of the United States could only be deployed in response to successive acts of war against the United States, with the permission of France, Russia, and China. Those countries have unsuccessfully plunged into the Ivory Coast, made war on the Chechnyans and Georgians, and virtually eliminated the ethnic Tibetans without consulting the United Nations about it.
These countries can agree on little except their concern about the astounding power and success of the United States. They will not fashion anything durable or geopolitically useful out of mere envy.
Germany owes to the United States, more than to any other power, its liberation from Nazism; the defense of Western Germany from the Russians, including the Berlin Airlift, the subsequent Berlin crises, and the Marshall Plan; the democratization of Germany; its integration into NATO and the West; and its reunification, which was not in fact favoured by Russia, France, or Britain.
The paradox of this is that the Europeans do not see that American power, which they resent, maintains their ability to be weak, to have shrunken defense budgets, minimal military capability beyond the borders of the EU, a relatively stagnant economy, and a general attitude of indulgent but righteous lassitude.

The three greatest strategic errors of modern times were Germany’s recourse to unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917; the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and Stalin’s rejection of Roosevelt’s and Truman’s offer of alliance and economic assistance in exchange for liberality in Eastern Europe. The German Empire, Japanese imperialism, the Soviet Union, and Russian Communism perished because of these mistakes. Good natured country though it is, provoking the United States beyond a certain point can be mortally hazardous. The international terrorists and their supporters have vastly surpassed that point.

There are of course many things about America that may not be pleasing to everyone. I quote the distinguished historian Paul Hollander that American “mass culture enshrines mindlessness, triviality, the cult of violence, a shallow sentimentality and a pervasive entertainment orientation.” Millions of people, and not all of them in what used to be called the Third World, form their opinion of the United States from exposure to such sources, which do not accurately convey the good qualities of the American public. They rather convey the commercial acumen of certain categories of American businessmen.

There are great bodies of opinion that rail against American support of Israel, especially Moslems and their sympathizers. The presence of Israel not only symbolizes the sense of Arab retreat and inferiority that afflicts many Moslems. Since Israel is a small country, the myth was created that only with massive American support could such a little people have inflicted such defeats on its Moslem neighbours. In its more odious permutations, this argument becomes mere anti-Semitism and many anti-Semites are also anti-American.

>> Full text of Lord Black's speech [External Site]

>> Keep track of the latest events in Iraq with the Command Post.

>> Quotes from the Occupation phase of the Iraq conflict

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