In their own words

Notre Dame to be demolished?

“... all believers, regardless of their faith, must refrain from ostentation and provocation and … practise their religion in humble discretion.” — French President Nicolas Sarkozy, writing in Le Monde in defence of the Swiss referendum that banned construction of minarets.

Unconscious intention?

“There was absolutely no conscious intention to manipulate the language or to obfuscate or to create a misunderstanding about what they might refer to.” — Sir John Scarlett, Britain’s former spy chief, admitting that a 2002 intelligence assessment that Saddam Hussein could deploy “weapons” in 45 minutes actually referred to “munitions”, not “weapons of mass destruction”.


“We’re confident that we’ll get other takers.” — Spokesperson Mike Curie, on the hoped-for response to NASA’s cutting of the sale price of each of its three remaining space shuttles from US$42 million to US$28.8 million once they are retired from flying at the end of this year. Each of the shuttles cost about $1.7 billion to build and each shuttle launch has cost half a billion dollars.

Rhetorical question

“This is something we’ve got. Is it worth dismissing it or ignoring it or throwing it away?” — Thomas Flynn, executive director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, on the monarchy.


“We have lift, we have communications, we have some command and control, but we don’t have much relief supplies to offer.” — US Rear Admiral Ted Branch, aboard a US aircraft carrier off Haiti.

Shoot quietly

“We’ve been told not to draw attention to our guns.” — Sergeant David Gurba, one of the US paratroopers occupying the Haitian capital.