America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.
"The United States of America Has Gone Mad" (2003)
Every writer wants to be believed. But every writer knows he is spurious; every fiction writer would rather be credible than authentic.
I use the furniture of espionage to amuse the reader, to make the reader listen to me, because most people like to read about intrigue and spies. I hope to provide a metaphor for the average reader's daily life. Most of us live in a slightly conspiratorial relationship with our employer and perhaps with our marriage. I think what gives my works whatever universality they have is that they use the metaphysical secretworld to describe some realities of the overt world.
As quoted in "Master of the Secret World: John le Carré on Deception, Storytelling and American Hubris" by Andrew Ross, in Salon (21 October 1996); also in Conversations with John le Carré (2004) edited by Matthew Joseph Bruccoli and Judith Baughman, p. 141
"This is a war," Leamas replied. "It's graphic and unpleasant because it's fought on a tiny scale, at close range; fought with a wastage of innocentlife sometimes, I admit. But it's nothing, nothing at all beside other wars – the last or the next."
[She] reports that [the company] recently donated fifty million dollars to a major U.S. teaching hospital, plus salaries and expenses for three top clinicians and six research assistants. Corruption of university Common Room affiliations is even easier: professorial chairs, biotech labs, research foundations, etc. 'Unbought scientific opinion is increasingly hard to find.'
Interview with Ramona Koval. The Book Show, Australian Broadcasting Commission Radio National. (19 November 2008)
There are some Arabs who think that the Germans did the right thing by the Jews. This makes it easy to recruit Arab terrorist.
There is a big difference between fighting the cold war and fighting radical Islam. The rules have changed and we haven't.
We were not faced (in the cold war) in a conflict with people who are prepared to die for their cause. We weren't in conflict with people whose idea is to kill as many as they could.
In the war on terror we did everything wrong that we could have done.
You can't make war against terror. Terror is a technique of battle. It's a tactic that has been employed since time immemorial. You can conduct clandestine action against terrorists, and that must be done.
To operate an intelligence network against the Islamist terror is terribly difficult because they don't have a central command and control center such as we would understand. Therefore you cannot penetrate at the top and find out what will happen on the ground.
Because we are so unfamiliar with the motivation of the people we are dealing with, we are more afraid of them than we need to be.
On one hand we go like hell for every terror cell we can find, we penetrate it, we destroy it. On the other hand, there is a much bigger need for a political solution.