Dispatches > Quotables


Issue: "2012: The Year Ahead," Jan. 14, 2012

"Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical."

Vice President Joe Biden, saying the United States would support reconciliation between the current Afghan government and its Taliban enemies as long as terrorists who want to attack the United States don't gain a foothold in Afghanistan. The Reuters news service reports that U.S. officials have been in secret negotiations with the Taliban for 10 months.

"It's like a set menu of abusive practices: forced labor, torture and the destruction of property and livelihoods."

David Mathieson of Human Rights Watch on the brutality of Burmese troops during a six-month campaign last year against minorities, including Kachin Christians.

"We haven't found one yet that the vaccine isn't able to stop."

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Simon Draper of Oxford's Jenner Institute, on an experimental vaccine that researchers hope will neutralize even the most deadly strains of malaria.

"All the efforts that have been exerted to reach national reconciliation and to unite Iraq are now gone."

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, accused (he says falsely) of running Sunni death squads, on the crisis in Iraq that quickly followed the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Last month Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stationed armored personnel carriers outside the homes of his Sunni political opponents and took other aggressive steps.

"I just want you to be humble ...I think you're great! I just get nervous."

Newt Gingrich supporter Jenny Turner at a Dec. 20 Iowa campaign event, speaking to Gingrich about his claim that he would be the GOP nominee. Gingrich responded by saying he is "assertive," but "sometimes when you're a little too assertive, it's not too smart."


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