Endorsed Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
As the leader of the international Human Genome Project, which had labored mightily over more than a decade to reveal this DNA sequence, I stood beside President Bill Clinton in the East Room of the White House... Clinton's speech began by comparing this human sequence map to the map that Meriwether Lewis had unfolded in front of President Thomas Jefferson in that very room nearly two hundred years earlier. Clinton said, "Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by humankind." But the part of his speech that most attracted public attention jumped from the scientific perspective to the spiritual. "Today, " he said, "we are learning the language in which God created life. We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty, and the wonder of God's most divine and sacred gift." Was I, a rigorously trained scientist, taken aback at such a blatantly religious reference by the leader of the free world at a moment such as this? Was I tempted to scowl or look at the floor in embarrassment? No, not at all. In fact I had worked closely with the president's speechwriter in the frantic days just prior to this announcement, and had strongly endorsed the inclusion of this paragraph. When it came time for me to add a few words of my own, I echoed this sentiment: "It's a happy day for the world. It is humbling for me, and awe-inspiring, to realize that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God." What was going on here? Why would a president and a scientist, charged with announcing a milestone in biology and medicine, feel compelled to invoke a connection with God? Aren't the scientific and spiritual worldviews antithetical, or shouldn't they at least avoid appearing in the East Room together? What were the reasons for invoking God in these two speeches? Was this poetry? Hypocrisy? A cynical attempt to curry favor from believers, or to disarm those who might criticize this study of the human genome as reducing humankind to machinery? No. Not for me. Quite the contrary, for me the experience of sequencing the human genome, and uncovering this most remarkable of all texts, was both a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion of worship.

Francis S. Collins
1. Bangladesh... In 1971... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger's undisclosed reason for the 'tilt' was the supposed but never materialised 'brokerage' offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was 'a basket case' before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA's plan to kidnap and murder General Rene Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger's urging and with American financing, just between Allende's election and his confirmation... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him 'Doctor' is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion-'I don't see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible'-suggests he may have been having the best of times... 3. Cyprus... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger's, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. 'Spare me the civics lecture, ' replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with 'deniable' assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created... The apercu of the day was: 'foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.' Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100, 000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States... Monroe Leigh... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: 'The Israelis when they go into Lebanon-when was the last time we protested that?' A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.

Christopher Hitchens
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