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Jan 5, 2009 9:18 am

Quotes of the Day

For the record, I do not necessarily condone my quotes of the day; I post them simply because they catch my eye.

1."The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. Life is plentiful. Life is cheap in the Orient."

—Gen. William Westmoreland, who died Monday at the age of 91, as quoted in the 1974 Vietnam documentary Hearts and Minds.

From the Boston Globe's Derrick Jackson (via the Light of Reason):

The quote so stunned director Peter Davis that he gave Westmoreland a chance to clean it up. In a 1997 guest letter to the Washington Post in response to criticism that he cherry-picked the quote to push his antiwar agenda, Davis said,"When we filmed the interview, Westmoreland paused after making that statement, yelled 'Cut!' and said he wanted a retake because that wasn't how he meant to express himself.

"In the second take, the general began saying exactly the same thing but we ran out of film. We then gave him a third chance to amend his remarks—much the way Ted Koppel gave Al Campanis of the Los Angeles Dodgers a chance to change what he was saying about nonwhite baseball players lacking the 'necessities' to be managers—and Westmoreland repeated the statement about the 'Oriental.' I used the third take, since the statement was most complete.

2. "This is not altruistic. This is good business."

—Jim Cinegal, the chief executive of Costco, explaining why it's in his company's self-interest to give its employees significantly higher wages and benefits than its competitors.

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