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Quotes of the week

20 August 2021


Whatever we achieved . . . washed away, just within 24 hours

“Ali”, a former Afghan interpreter, BBC interview, 17 August

We must be clear about this: this is a humiliating moment for the West. Afghan citizens are fearful; extremists everywhere will be emboldened — they have been quieter since the ending of Islamic State — they will be emboldened; and, of course, our authoritarian opponents will undoubtedly be saying already that they have the strategic patience that we lack. So it’s a very bad day

Lord Sedwill, former ambassador to Afghanistan, BBC Radio 4 Today programme, 16 August

We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future. . . It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not. . . If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision

President Joe Biden on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, 17 August

Biden’s confession that he sees the unfolding chaos in Afghanistan as validating our retreat is outrageous. This is not an Afghan civil war. We ceded control to a terrorist threat that now endangers innocent US citizens, as before 9/11. This is a huge, potentially fatal, mistake

John Bolton, former national security adviser appointed (and sacked) by Donald Trump, Twitter, 17 August

Cut loose in a post-modern present — with no centre, no truth and no direction — we have not become independent-minded, responsible, democratic citizens in a human republic. We have become slaves to the self and to the power of money; broken worshippers before the monstrous idol of Progress.

Paul Kingsnorth, UnHerd, 17 August

We must keep reminding ourselves of the reason for ensuring the mass vaccination of the entire world: no one is safe anywhere until everyone is safe everywhere, and everyone will live in fear until nobody does.

Gordon Brown, The Guardian, 16 August

It is said that we have too many churches and that many congregations are too small to be viable. . . But we are a Church and we never abandon any area, because our motivation and theology is that people are spiritual and we must be there for them. If you close some, here and there, at what point do you find that you have reduced the Church to the point that it is no longer the Church of the nation?

Lord Carey, writing in support of the Save the Parish campaign, Daily Telegraph, 14 August

We invite readers’ contributions. Quotations have to be from the past few days (or quoted therein), and we need author, source, and date. Please send promptly to:



Thu 11 Aug @ 06:36
"We can’t just abandon a whole portion of the world because it doesn’t fit in with our own political agendas, or wi… https://t.co/o90HPLIese

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