“When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.”
– Winston Churchill
From the first moment I looked into..that fireball, into that explosion of horror. I knew it. I knew it before anything was said about
those who did it or why. I recognized an old companion. I recognized religion.
– Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, on Sept. 11th
“How much trust or even admiration for the Western peace movement can we expect from a simple yet sensitive citizen of Eastern Europe when he has noticed that this movement has never, at any of its congresses or at demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of participants, got around to protesting the fact that five years ago, one important European country attacked a small neutral neighbor and since that time has been conducting on its territory a war of extermination which has already claimed a million dead and three million refugees? Seriously, what are we to think of a peace movement, a European peace movement, which is virtually unaware of the only war being conducted today by a European state? As for the argument that the victims of aggression and their defenders enjoy the sympathies of Western establishments and so are not worthy of support from the left, such incredible ideological opportunism can provoke only one reaction — utter disgust and a sense of limitless hopelessness.”
(Vaclav Havel, “Anatomy of a Reticence” )
If we’re going to maintain an open society, all we can do is take all reasonable precautions and then suck it up and learn to live with a higher level of risk. That is our fate, so let’s not drive ourselves crazy.
(Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times)
There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.
(Kurt Vonnegut, Sirens of Titan)
How gloriously dispirited would the hate-sweating oil-peddlers be when they realized how irrelevant they are to the story of humanity?
(Jonah Goldberg, NRO Magazine)
There’s nothing in the Constitution that guarantees your right to exercise freedom of speech free from criticism.
Terrorism will be eradicated not when we come to some sort of accomadation with its agents, nor when we physically destroy them, but rather when it is perceived as a strategy and a behavior that yields nothing save eventual defeat for those causes that inspire it.
(Caleb Carr, from his book “The Lessons of Terror”)
No doubt the non-violent way is always the best, but where that does not come naturally the violent way is both necessary and honourable. Inaction here is rank cowardice and unmanly. It must be shunned at all cost.
He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.
(Mahatma Gandhi again)
Firefighters stand apart from the rest of us,
simply by the fact that they are trained to run toward a blaze and not away from it. That impulse, which amounts to
a special vocation, is their greatest tool in protecting their communities.
(Editorial, Heroes Amid the Horror, NY Times)
Let those who say that we must understand the reasons for terrorism, come with me to the thousands of funerals we’re having in New York City–thousands–and explain those insane maniacal reasons to the children who will grow up without fathers and mothers and to the parents who have had their children ripped from them for no reason at all.
(Rudy Giuliani, addressing the United Nations, October 2001)
Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the “ordinary” efforts of a vast majority.
(Stephen Jay Gould, A Time of Gifts, NY Times, September 2001)
..things have changed since Sept. 11. Gone is even an iota of patience
for those who commit deliberate acts of endangerment. Bystanders are no longer just standing by. Onlookers are no longer just looking on.
Carl Hiaasen, Author and Miami Herald Columnist)
The only justification for waging a real war against someone, of course, is that someone is waging a real war against you. And someone is.
(Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect, September 2001)
I survived the Flu of 1918. That killed more than 20 million people. I’ll survive this Anthrax thing.
(My 92 year-old grandmother, during the Anthrax Scare, as she tore up her junk mail)