In Their Own Words

Record success

“... fiscal year 2011 was a record-setting year at just over 30 billion [dollars]. This fiscal year will be at least 70 percent greater.” — Andrew J. Shapiro, a US assistant secretary of state, on US government arms sales.

Diplomacy

“We have seen tremendous growth and sales with developing countries and emerging powers such as Brazil and India, and this speaks volumes about our diplomatic efforts.” — Shapiro on arms sales again.

Opportunity knocks

“We were getting quality goods, technological gadgets and American flags at very reasonable prices … Lower-middle-class people like me will be happy with the reopening of NATO supply lines.” — A Pakistani trader in Peshawar, looking forward to the renewed supply of looted US supplies after the reopening of NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.

Multiple knocks

“Even the Taliban is the beneficiary.?.?. They get weapons and ammunition when they attack the containers.” — Another Pakistani merchant commenting on the uses of the US shipments.

Ethics

“Thirty-three members of Congress have directed more than $300 million... to dozens of public projects that are next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ own property, according to a Washington Post investigation. Under the ethics rules Congress has written for itself, this is both legal and undisclosed.” — Washington Post, February 7.

Who are they?

“It's not within who we are as marines.” — Major Gabrielle Chapin, a US marines spokeswoman, on a marine sniper unit photographed in Afghanistan posing with a flag of the Nazi SS.

Education

“Pornography is now our most prominent sex educator.” — Maree Crabbe, co-author of a study that interviewed Australian teenagers about their sexual knowledge and experience.

Dress for the occasion

“[I]t is strongly recommended that a fire-retardant Nomex flight suit, gloves, and hood or helmet be worn by all occupants.” — Warning issued by a US helicopter manufacturer in 2006, three months after a fatal crash. Modifications to the helicopter design were not made until four years later. In February, two people were killed when one of the helicopters crashed in NSW.

Principled

“I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it’s doable, I’m going to do it.” — Multimillionaire Sheldon Adelson, one of a handful of the super-rich pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the US presidential campaign.

Oh, the non-lethal tasers

“We’ve always supported the use of tasers as a non-lethal alternative.” — NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, after a student from Brazil was tasered and died.