- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Editor's note: One year ago, it was inconceivable that any event could exceed the drama of the 2000 presidential election. We had just passed uneventfully over the "bridge to the 21st century," as a certain president was fond of saying, but Americans were still deeply divided about the presidency of Republican George W. Bush, who had beat Democrat Al Gore by a whisker.

The year 2001, however, held in store a national trauma that would have been beyond belief had it not happened. It was, as a consequence, really two years. One that lasted nine months and which seems uneventful compared to the three months that followed. Remember how we were diverted by the Clinton furniture-gate and pardon-gate scandals? We had an American EP-3 reconnaissance plane go down over China. And a hitherto little-known congressman from California, Gary Condit, provided the media's salacious summer fodder. A political fight broke out over something called the Social Security lockbox.

Then, in September, radical Islamic terrorists found a way to rip apart the sense of security we used to enjoy, almost as an entitlement. As they turned American passenger planes into flying bombs and crashed into New York's World Trade Towers and into the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, they also blew away all the assumptions and certainties of the first nine months of the year. As we look forward to 2002, we do so in a state of war with an enemy whose face we have only recently begun to know.

Some of this is reflected in the quotations selected by the editorial page staff as particularly memorable and printed below. That the sentiments expressed are memorable, of course, does not make them right. Some the editorial page agrees with and some decidedly not. We hope they will provide our readers with an opportunity to stop and reflect as we all prepare for the challenges ahead. Happy New Year, and may God bless us all.

"I left the White House but I am still here." Outgoing President Bill Clinton in his record-length farewell speech at Andrews Air Force Base, Jan. 20.

"Now we are forever going to be dealing with him at dinner parties…And he's just a terrible dinner guest. In the first place, he isn't interested in any woman over 30. He's got nothing to say to an older woman. He doesn't listen either. He rambles on and on. This is going to be horrible having him in New York." New York hostess, complaining about the prospect of having Bill Clinton reside in New York, February.

"If Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush, Jim Baker and the Supreme Court hadn't tampered with the results, Al Gore would have been president, George Bush would be back in Austin and John Ashcroft would be home reading Southern Partisan." Terrence McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in his acceptance speech, February.

"Look at his ratings. How could such a destructive man be so popular with the American people?" Barbra Streisand on President George W. Bush in her three-page strategy memo to the Democratic Party, April.

"Widespread voter disenfranchisement and not the dead-heat contests … was the extraordinary feature in the Florida election." Report on the 2000 elections by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, headed by Gore supporter Mary Frances Berry, June.

"I don't think there has been anyone in Washington, D.C, who's been more cooperative with this investigation than myself." California Rep. Gary Condit on the investigation into disappearance of intern Chandra Levy, in an interview with ABC's Connie Chung, August.

"Now scientists are discovering very real biological differences that can make boys more impulsive, more vulnerable to benign neglect, less efficient in the classroom in sum, the weaker sex." Cover story in U.S. News & World Report on male vulnerability, September.

"We have some planes." Unidentified hijacker aboard American Airlines flight that crashed into the World Trade Center, conversation monitored by air-traffic controllers, September 11.

"The battle has been moved inside America, and we shall continue until we win this battle or die in the cause and meet our maker." Osama bin Laden, Oct. 20.

"In this world, there are good causes and bad causes, and we may disagree on where the line is drawn. Yet, there is no such thing as a good terrorist. No national aspiration, no remembered wrong can ever justify the the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends will know the consequences." President Bush speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, Nov. 10.

"We're not in a different world. It's the same world as before, except now we understand it better. The threat and the danger were there, but now we recognize it. So it's probably a safer world now." Former New York Rudy Giuliani to Time magazine on the "different world" post-September 11, December.

"The president's policy [on capturing bin Laden] is, 'Dead or alive.' And … I have my preference.' " Donald Rumsfeld, Nov. 21.

"There wasn't a sicker person than I on September 11. I was on the telephone when it happened. The instant that second plane hit, I said to the person with whom I was speaking, 'Bin Laden did this.' I knew immediately. I know what this network can do." Former President Bill Clinton to Cindy Adams, New York Post, Dec. 12.

"I was worried that, with the tax cut, we wouldn't have enough money to repair New York and D.C. and to help the families of the thousands I knew must have died." Chelsea Clinton, writing in Talk magazine, November.

"We should be confident of the superiority of our civilization, which consists of a value system that has given people widespread prosperity in those countries that embrace it, and guarantees respect for human rights and religion. This respect certainly does not exist in Islamic countries." Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, shocking his listeners at a summit of European heads of state in Berlin, September.

"It has now been determined that the attack against the United States on 11 September was directed from abroad and shall therefore be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an armed attack on one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson, October.

"We're not running out of targets. Afghanistan is." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Oct. 9.

"[T]he combat power of the Taliban has been eviscerated." Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, Oct. 16.

"In fact, we were surprised that a Marine even knew what 'eviscerated' meant." Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Meyers, U.S. Air Force, on NBC's "Meet the Press," when asked if he agreed with Gen. Newbold's statement, Nov. 4.

"Your country loves you. I love you. You are so special that it waters my eyes when I have a chance to come out here and see you." Gen. Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, speaking to sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Dec. 25.

"We will go through each of these areas until we satisfy ourselves that he is there and dead." Gen. Franks on the search for Osama bin Laden, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Dec. 25.

"If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in its possession … application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world." Iran's Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani, advocating the use of nuclear weapons against Israel, Dec. 14.

"I'd love to be able to say 'I told you so.' " Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle blaming President Bush's tax cut initiative for rising budget deficits, Nov. 29.

"I'm still for it. But it doesn't work." retiring New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, asked if he has changed his views on socialism, Dec. 16.

"I should have been charged with peace in Bosnia, not war." Slobodan Milosevic, on trial for genocide in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, Dec. 11.

"He always said he was against the idea of privileges, but Russian czars didn't have the kind of privileges that [Boris] Yeltsin had … Yeltsin is a strange man, full of tricks, and he's a liar. You just can't trust him." Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on successor, who replaced him in the Kremlin, Dec. 25.

"What, therefore, should the NATO-Russia relationship be in the future? We occasionally hear the opinion that Russia should be offered membership in the Alliance, and that absence of this offer would be an expression of discrimination. Personally, I find it rather difficult to imagine Russia as a NATO member." Vaclav Havel, NATO conference in Bratislava, May 11.

Quote of the year: "Let's roll." Todd Beamer, aboard Flight 93, September 11.

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