Century Marks: “Genius . . . sometimes consists of knowing when to stop.” —Columnist George Will, citing a Charles de Gaulle maxim in making a case forthe U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan

December 29, 2009
© Peter C. Vey/Condé Nast Publications/www.cartoonbank.com

“We all pray that our Lord, in His grace, may spare us from the devastation of a pandemic. Considering the implications, however, it would be prudent to prepare.”
     —Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, in a letter to Christian Reformed churches on the global H1N1 flu pandemic

“I take the ones I can afford and then trust in the Lord.”
     —Robert Brown, 60, from North Carolina, who has heart disease and emphysema, on coping with the rising cost of prescription drugs

“People wanted bigger weddings, newer carriages. . . . They were buying things they didn’t need.”
     —Mervin Lehman on why his Indiana Amish community is struggling financially

“Our folks in the field are feeling a little overwhelmed because they can’t see the end, and all they see are more and more people and fewer resources coming their way. And yet we don’t have the luxury to say, ‘You know what? We’re going to have to close our doors for a while.’”
     —Larry Snyder, chief executive of Catholic Charities USA, on the effects of the economic recession

“The enduring faith of a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few.”
     —President Barack Obama, speaking of Islam in his address to the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt

“Even if he delivers hundreds of speeches and talks very sweetly, there will not be a change in how the Islamic countries perceive the United States.”
     —Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, on President Obama’s Cairo speech

“I’m burning, I’m burning.”
     —Reportedly the last words of Neda Agha-Soltan, whose death became a symbol of the resistance to Iran’s allegedly rigged elections

“Every single Iranian is valuable. The government is at everyone’s service. We like everyone.”
     —Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defending his reelection despite charges of election fraud

“Madoff will not only stand in the courts to be judged and sentenced; one day he will stand before God.”
     —Rabbi Judith Schindler, about financier Bernard Madoff, found guilty of massive fraud that devastated major Jewish charities

“Unless somebody can find a way to change human nature, we will have more crises.”
     —Former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan on the economic crisis

“It’s going to be a holy war.”
     —Senator Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) on the health-care reform debate in Congress

“Are you aware that if you take out gun accidents and auto accidents, that the United States actually is better than those other countries?”
     —Senator John Ensign (R., Nev.), comparing the U.S. health-care system with that of other industrialized countries

“How about, in honor of the American soldier, you quit makin’ things
      Sarah Palin at the time of her resignation as governor of Alaska, advising the press on how to treat her successor

“The special-forces guys, they hunt men. Basically, we do the same things as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus.”
     —Unnamed U.S. military chaplain in a video posted by al-Jazeera from Afghanistan, which shows soldiers with stacks of Bibles in local languages

“Fixing Afghanistan is not only unnecessary, it’s also likely to prove impossible. Not for nothing has the place acquired the nickname Graveyard of Empires.”
     —Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston University professor of history and retired army colonel, arguing that the war on terror in Afghanistan is misguided

“Genius . . . sometimes consists of knowing when to stop.”
     —Columnist George Will, citing a Charles de Gaulle maxim in making a case for the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan