The Best Quotes From The Left Since 9/11

by John Hawkins | April 9, 2012 9:12 am

Yesterday, after hearing that 126 of 208 house Democrats voted against protecting American lives by removing Saddam Hussein from power, I was inspired to put together a list of the best quotes from the left since 9/11. Read and enjoy…

Are You Wearing Your Tinfoil Hat?

“Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed;
Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
To stay home that day
Why did Sharon stay away?
Who? Who? Who” — From a now notorious poem by New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Bakara

“Anthrax did not come from a cave in Afghanistan,” but from “[t]he same people who blew up the building in Oklahoma City, Ruby Ridge, the terror attack in Atlanta, Georgia – those same anti-union forces….’Ashcroft is using the FBI as one weapon, the IRS as another weapon, and leaks to the right-wing media as another weapon’ to ‘destroy the leadership’ of organized labor.” — Jesse Jackson at speech to AFL-CIO in Dec, 2001

“This president is trying to bring to himself all the power to become an emperor to create Empire America. If you go along like sheep that is what will happen.” — Jim McDermott (D – WA)

“The government] plays off [Americans’] relative innocence, or ignorance to be more precise. This is probably why geography has not really been taught since World War II — to keep people in the dark as to where we are blowing things up. Because Enron wants to blow them up. Or Unocal, the great pipeline company, wants a war going some place.” — Gore Vidal in the LA Weekly

“The current junta in charge of our affairs, one not legally elected, but put in charge of us by the Supreme Court in the interests of the oil and gas and defense lobbies, have used first Oklahoma City and now September 11 to further erode things.” — Gore Vidal in the LA Weekly

Don’t You Dare Challenge My Patriotism!

“When I see an American flag flying, it’s a joke.” — Robert Altman

“Now [African Americans] are supposed to fight and die for a racist corrupt government in yet another imperialist war, when it is the U.S. which has clearly brought on this attack. We are supposed to fight for a country where we still have limited social, economic and political rights, and where we are still subject to death by any racist cop or citizen, where there is widespread poverty, mass imprisonment of the youth, and massive unemployment concentrated in the Black community. The obvious question is what the hell are we fighting for? To avenge America? To mourn America? Why, we don’t owe this country anything.” — Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, CounterPunch

“Patriotism threatens free speech with death. It is infuriated by thoughtful hesitation, constructive criticism of our leaders and pleas for peace. It despises people of foreign birth. It has specifically blamed homosexuals, feminists and the American Civil Liberties Union. In other words, the American flag stands for intimidation, censorship, violence, bigotry, sexism, homophobia and shoving the Constitution through a paper shredder. Whom are we calling terrorists here?” — Barbara Kingsolver, novelist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 27

“America has an almost obscene infatuation with itself. Has there ever been a big, powerful country that is as patriotic as America? And patriotic in the tinniest way, with so much flag waving? You’d really think we were some poor little republic, and that if one person lost his religion for one hour, the whole thing would crumble. America is the real religion in this country.” — Norman Mailer

“Of course, Mr. Hannity was outraged that any American would not cross her hand over her heart and repeat the hypocritical words, one nation. Whenever we come up on the Fourth of You Lie, I think of Frederick Douglas and his masterful oration, The meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro. Pledge the flag? I think not!” — Julianne Malveaux

“My daughter, who goes to Stuyvesant High School only blocks from the World Trade Center, thinks we should fly an American flag out our window. Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war.” — Katha Pollitt, The Nation, October 8

“While the rest of the country waves the flag of Americana, we understand we are not part of that. We don’t owe America anything – America owes us.” — Al Sharpton at the “State of the Black World Conference” in Atlanta


“The Israelis know that if the Iraqi or Iranian army came across the Jordan River, I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch and fight and die.” — Bill Clinton at a Jewish fundraiser in Toronto this summer.

“Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan. And we’d been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start meeting with them again. They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.” — Bill Clinton explains to a Long Island, N.Y., business group why he turned down Sudan’s offer to extradite Osama Bin Laden to America in 1996 .

“I think the U.S. is terrifying and it saddens me. You only have to look at the state of affairs in America. I do worry about my children. As a parent you are always concerned…I just want them to be in a place where they are going to be strong enough to be able to make the right choices. Unfortunately we’re in a position where people are so irresponsible that human life holds so little value to them.” — Tom Cruise explains why he wants his kids to be raised in Australia instead of America

“Just one last thing. We are always looking for signs that the country is behaving like its old self again. Tonight at the World Series, if the Yankee fans boo the President, it won’t mean necessarily they are unhappy with his leadership, but he did say that he would cheer for anyone but the Yankees in the series. So if New York fans give him the business it just means they’re acting like their old selves. And that’s probably a good sign.” — Peter Jennings on the World Series in 2001

“Lucky though he was, Bill Clinton never had his shot at greatness. He could lower the jobless rate, balance the budget, and console us after the Oklahoma City bomb. But he never got the opportunity George W. Bush was given [on Sept. 11]: the historic chance to lead. — Chris Matthews in the San Francisco Chronicle

“Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes’ destination of California–these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!” –Michael Moore,, September 12

Quagmire, Vietnam, Gah!!!!

(** Note: Bombing Began on Oct 7, 2001, we took Mazar-e-Sharif on Nov. 9, 2001, Khandahar fell on Dec 6, 2001, and the new Afghan government was sworn in on Dec, 21, 2001. **)

“Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam? Is the United States facing another stalemate on the other side of the world? Premature the questions may be, three weeks after the fighting began. Unreasonable they are not, given the scars scoured into the national psyche by defeat in Southeast Asia. For all the differences between the two conflicts, and there are many, echoes of Vietnam are unavoidable.” — R.W. Apple, New York Times, Oct 31, 2001

“The idea of an expanding U.S. commitment, however, is precisely what raises the specter of quagmire for critics, raising ghosts of Vietnam. The Taliban plainly are unlikely to be destroyed from the air, but Afghanistan is a wild and untamable land, and there is little reason to believe that U.S. ground troops would have greater success in subduing it than the Soviets had.” — Tony Karon, Oct 31, 2001

“The administration has bungled the challenge. … The war effort is in deep trouble. The United States is not headed into a quagmire; it’s already in one. The U.S. is not losing the first round against the Taliban; it has already lost it.” — Jacob Heilbrunn, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 4, 2001

“The U.S. road out of the quagmire in Central Asia ultimately passes through the U.N.” — James Hoagland in the Washington Post, Oct 24, 2001

“Americans must face a hard reality: massive military force is not a winning weapon against these enemies. It makes the problem worse. In contrast, a strategy that emphasizes clever diplomacy, intelligence-gathering, and carefully selected military strikes might produce success eventually if we pursue it with patience and tenacity.” — John J. Mearshimer, NYT, Nov 4, 2001

Taking Out The Terrorists “Leftie Style”

If I were the President…I would first apologize to all the widows and orphans, the tortured and the impoverished, and all the millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then…I would announce that America’s global interventions had come to an end. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90 percent and I would use the savings to pay the reparations to our victims and to increase social services.” — William Blum, author of “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” at a UNC Progressive Faculty Network forum entitled, “Understanding the Attack on America: an Alternative View.”

“As has been emphasized vigorously by foreign allies and by responsible leaders of former administrations and incumbent officeholders, there is no current danger to the United States from Baghdad.” — Jimmy Carter

“In a situation like this, of course you identify with everyone who’s suffering. [But we must also think about] the terrorists who are creating such horrible future lives for themselves because of the negativity of this karma. It’s all of our jobs to keep our minds as expansive as possible. If you can see [the terrorists] as a relative who’s dangerously sick and we have to give them medicine, and the medicine is love and compassion. There’s nothing better.” — Richard Gere

“I think it will take years before we can repair the damage done by that statement.” — Jimmy Carter on George Bush’s use of the phrase “Axis of Evil”

“I don’t know how you wage war against one person; it doesn’t make sense. I can imagine a commando-type raid to capture Bin Laden, then a trial, with evidence, before the world court. But that would not address the vast global inequalities in which terrorism is ultimately rooted. What is so heartbreaking to me as a feminist is that the strongest response to corporate globalization and U.S. military domination is based on such a violent and misogynist ideology.” — Barbara Ehrenreich, The Village Voice, October 9, 2001

“They have struck us, and in their strike announced: We’d rather die’and take you with us’than go on living in the world you have forced us to occupy. Force will get us nowhere. It is reparations that are owing, not retribution.” — Vivian Gornick, The Village Voice, October 9, 2001

“Melt their weapons, melt their hearts, melt their anger with love.” — Shirley MacLaine on her anti-terrorism policy

“Well, he (Bush) might as well have been bombing Denmark. Denmark had nothing to do with 9/11. And neither did Afghanistan, at least the Afghanis didn’t.” — Gore Vidal in the LA Weekly

“In a war on Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden will either be left alive, while thousands of impoverished, frightened people are bombed into oblivion around him, or he will be killed in a bombing attack for which he seems quite prepared. But what would happen to his cool armor if he could be reminded of all the good, nonviolent things he has done? Further, what would happen to him if he could be brought to understand the preciousness of the lives he has destroyed? I firmly believe the only punishment that works is love.” — Alice Walker, The Village Voice

Who’s The Real Enemy Here?

“America, America. What did you do–either intentionally or unintentionally–in the world order, in Central America, in Africa where bombs are still blasting? America, what did you do in the global warming conference when you did not embrace the smaller nations? America, what did you do two weeks ago when I stood at the world conference on racism, when you wouldn’t show up? Oh, America, what did you do?” — Former San Francisco Supervisor Amos Brown on September 17.

“We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.” — Bill Maher, Politically Incorrect

“The WTC was not just an architectural monstrosity, but also terrible for people who didn’t work there, for it said to all those people: ‘If you can’t work up here, boy, you’re out of it.’ That’s why I’m sure that if those towers had been destroyed without loss of life, a lot of people would have cheered. Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed. And then came the next shock. We had to realize that the people that did this were brilliant. It showed that the ego we could hold up until September 10 was inadequate.” — Norman Mailer

“Americans can’t admit that you need courage to do such a thing. For that might be misunderstood. The key thing is that we in America are convinced that it was blind, mad fanatics who didn’t know what they were doing. But what if those perpetrators were right and we were not? We have long ago lost the capability to take a calm look at the enormity of our enemy’s position.” — Norman Mailer on 9/11

“Bob Woodward’s assurance that President Bush is religious and resolute does not relieve any of my concerns about his character or intelligence. After all, so is Osama bin Laden.” — Barbara Petzing, Providence Journal, May 10, 2002

“We’ve been treated to some astonishingly vile images over the last two weeks: Office workers hurling themselves into a 100-floor-high abyss. A gaping, smoldering hole in the financial center of our greatest city. George W. Bush passing himself off as a patriot, even as he disassembles the Constitution with the voracious glee of piranha skeletonizing a cow. … It may have seemed meaningless at the time, but now we know why 7,000 people sacrificed their lives: So that we’d all forget how Bush stole a presidential election.” — Cartoonist Ted Rall, Philadelphia City Paper, September 27

“I just think we are a little bit of an arrogant nation and maybe this is a little bit of a humbling experience … what has our government done to provoke this action that we don’t know about?” — Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson

“If the word ‘cowardly’ is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others.” — Susan Sontag in New Yorker magazine

“The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now.” — David Westin, ABC News President, Oct 23

Thanks to Chris from: Something’s Rotten[1]: for helping me to find some of these.

  1. Something’s Rotten:

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