Verbatim Special: Gulf War II

April 26, 2008
“I can’t tell you if all 10 fingers are off the throat, but finger by finger [Saddam’s grip is] coming off.”—President Bush, press conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 8.

“ We’re dealing with a country in which everybody has a weapon, and when they fire them all into the air at the same time, it’s tough.”—Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, commander of US Army V Corps, March 27, reported in Washington Post, April 12.

“ The Republican Guard is in full control. We have defeated them; in fact, we have crushed them. We have pushed them outside the whole area of the airport.”—Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf, Iraq’s information minister, April 5, reported in New York Times, April 6.

“ Don’t believe these invaders and these liars. There are none of their troops in Baghdad.”—Said al-Sahhaf on Iraqi television, reported in New York Times, April 8.

“ Iraq will not be defeated. … Iraq has now already achieved victory—apart from some technicalities.”—Mohsen Khalil, Iraq’s ambassador to the Arab League, reported by Associated Press in Ha’aretz Daily, Israel, April 7.

“ The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we cannot win. We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad, and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable. Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for 10 years in Vietnam, but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost.”—Scott Ritter, former UN arms inspector, TSF Radio Lisbon, Portugal, March 25, cited by Internet commentator Andrew Sullivan.

“ I believe the Americans have so far been unable to capture a single large locality because the Iraqis organized their defense using the combat experience of the Soviet Army, obtained during World War II.”—Retired Col. Gen. Vladislav Achalov, former Soviet deputy minister of defense (and recent military advisor to Saddam), Interfax-Military News Agency, reported by Associated Press in Moscow Times, April 7.

“ Opinions Vary on Worth of Hussein Dead or Alive”—Headline, Dallas Morning News, April 9.

“ I picked up a newspaper today and I couldn’t believe it. I read eight headlines that talked about chaos, violence, unrest. … And here is a country that’s being liberated, here are people who are going from being repressed and held under the thumb of a vicious dictator, and they’re free. And all this newspaper could do, with eight or 10 headlines, they showed a man bleeding, a civilian, who they claimed we had shot—one thing after another. It’s just unbelievable how people can take that away from what is happening in that country!”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Pentagon news briefing, April 11.

“ I appreciate their efforts, but I’m afraid it’s not working. This feed-and-kill policy—throwing bombs in Baghdad and throwing food at the people—is not winning hearts and minds.”—Khaled Abdelkariem, Middle East News Agency correspondent, reported in New York Times, April 5.

“ Peter Arnett is a professional correspondent and is known for his coverage of the 1991 Gulf War. His presence is a good thing.”—Salah Nejm, news editor of Al Arabiya televison in Dubai, after signing up Arnett, who had been fired by NBC, reported by Reuters, New York Times, April 5.

“ This war is going to prove that, despite precision bombing and technology, there comes a time when you need heavy tank divisions. … The view that heavy tank divisions are antiquated is about as correct as the predictions that machine guns would make foot soldiers irrelevant in World War I.”—Rep. Chet Edwards (D–Tex.), whose district includes the Ft. Hood Army post, reported by Congressional Quarterly Weekly, April 5.

“ I figured the less classified sessions I go to, the better.”—Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D–Ariz.), opponent of the war, saying he preferred to get his information from CNN, reported by New York Times, April 5.

“ Had it been possible to know on March 20 that in just 17 days, US forces would have captured Baghdad’s international airport, destroyed most of the Republican Guard, and secured Iraq’s vital oil infrastructure, all at a cost of fewer than 75 American lives, most people in this country would have been elated at the prospect of seemingly overwhelming military success.”—Editorial, Washington Post, April 6.

“ In particular, my thought goes to Iraq and to all those involved in the war that rages there. I think in a special way about the defenseless civilian population that in various cities is undergoing a hard test. May God want this conflict to finish soon and to make space for a new era of forgiveness, love, and peace.”—Pope John Paul II, reported by Associated Press, Washington Post, April 7.

“ The UK media has lost the plot. You stand for nothing, you support nothing, you criticize, you drip. … If you look at what fills newspapers now, it’s the equivalent of reality TV—it’s superficial, there’s very little news reporting, there’s very little analysis, but there’s a lot of conjecture. The media thought they were going to get a one-hour-45-minute Hollywood blockbuster, and it’s not like that. War is a dirty, disgusting, ugly thing, and I worry about it being dignified as infotainment.”—British Air Marshal Brian Burridge, reported in London’s Daily Telegraph, April 7.

“ Wars are human endeavors. While a person, a political party, or a nation may decide that war is necessary, the animals never do. Like civilians, they often become the victims of war, but now the US military is deliberately putting animals in harm’s way. … There is no need to put innocent animals at risk.”—People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, saying, “The US military is using chickens, dogs, dolphins, pigeons, and sea lions to fight the war against Iraq,” peta.org.

“ I do expect the UN to play an important role [in rebuilding Iraq], and the UN has good experience in this area. … Above all, the UN involvement does bring legitimacy, which is necessary—necessary for the country, for the region, and for the people around the world.”—UN Secretary–General Kofi Annan, press encounter, April 7.

“ America’s New Vietnam”—Cover of French newspaper Le Figaro’s weekly magazine, reported by London Times, April 8.

“ We’ve gotten rid of him—I suppose that’s a good thing.”—Howard Dean about Saddam Hussein, at April 9 Children’s Defense Fund forum for Democratic Presidential candidates, reported by New York Times, April 10.

“ US forces must prove that the incident was not a deliberate attack to dissuade or prevent journalists from continuing to report on what is happening in Baghdad.”—Robert Menard, secretary–general of Paris–based Reporters Without Borders, on journalists killed at Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, reported by New York Times, April 9.

“ There’s nothing sacrosanct about a hotel with a bunch of journalists in it.”—Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor, reported by Washington Post, April 9.

“ I’m a skeptic about the ability to transform Iraq into a democracy in any realistic period of time. What’s going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win? What do you do? We’re surely not going to let them take over. … What’s likely to happen is that the meanest, toughest ones will rise to the top, at least for a couple of generations.”—Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to the first President Bush, speech in Oslo, Norway, April 8, reported by New York Times, April 9.

“ We are no longer in an era where one or two countries can control the fate of another country.”—French President Jacques Chirac, press briefing, after a meeting with UN commission on refugees, April 8.

“ I would say the war in Iraq is illegitimate. Self-defense is how the US rationalizes the war on terror, but there is no connection between that and the Iraq war. … Kosovo was illegitimate as well. It was legitimized in arrears with UN resolutions, but there was no UN authority to commence that campaign.”—Douglas Fraser, UN weapons inspector and retired Canadian colonel, reported in London’s Financial Times, April 9.

“ None of the Old Testament prophets had a majority.”—Rev. Robert Edgar, former Democratic Congressman, now general secretary of the National Council of Churches (which opposed the Iraq war) on polls showing that most churchgoers support the war, reported by Newhouse.com, April 9.

“ Credit Military Success to Clinton’s Policies, Not Bush’s Defense Spending Spree”—Headline, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 10.

“ I agree the French have behaved in ways … that have been very damaging to NATO. I think France is going to pay some consequences, not just with us but with other countries who view it that way, but I don’t think we want to make the Iraqi people the victims of that particular quarrel.”—Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz to Senate Armed Services Committee, April 10.

“ Predicting that the next war in Iraq would be a ‘cw’—for my sake, now think ‘crushing win’—my early 2002 article established the baseline: ‘It was a cakewalk last time,’ during the Gulf War. Granted, I’m an incurable optimist, but even I could never have envisioned the coalition controlling the enemy capital within three weeks—less than half the time, with less than half the US casualties, of the first Gulf War. … Now is not an occasion for gloating.”—Ken Adelman, who had predicted “a cakewalk in Iraq,” Washington Post, April 10.

“ Everyone’s definition of ‘cakewalk’ is different, and if Adelman’s is stretched to include a campaign in which we so far have deployed 300,000 troops, spent $70 billion, lost more than 130 servicemen and -women, suffered hundreds of wounded, and killed many thousands of Iraqis, that is his right.”—Philip H. Gordon and Michael E. O’Hanlon, Washington Post, April 12. (O’Hanlon had predicted as many as 5,000 US military dead and 20,000 wounded, 50,000 Iraqi military killed, 50,000 Iraqi civilian casualties.)

“ I have always disliked that term, and no one in the senior leadership in this Administration, either civilian or military, and certainly not the President, has ever thought that war is anything other than a very dangerous thing.”—Wolfowitz, on “cakewalk” prediction, NBC’s “Meet the Press,” April 6.

“ I have no relationship with Saddam. The game is over, and I hope peace will prevail. I hope the Iraqi people will have a happy life.”—Iraq’s ambassador to the UN, Mohammed Douri, CNN, reported in Washington Post, April 10.

“ France, like all democracies, rejoices in the fall of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.”—Chirac, in an official communiqué issued by his office, April 10.

“ Al-Jazeera’s extended, uncensored, on-the-ground coverage of the invasion has demonstrated, contrary to US and British claims, that this has not been a bloodless, costless, and clean war. … Viewers in the United States would benefit from an English–language television station that followed the al-Jazeera commitment to democracy, debate, and accountability.”—Frances S. Hasso, assistant professor, Gender and Women’s Studies Program, Oberlin College, Long Island Newsday, April 17.

“ I don’t want to speak about the past now. Now we should think about how the military victory can be turned to help the entire region.”—German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, April 11, reported by New York Times, April 12.

“ A searching and independent assessment will be needed to determine whether the defeat of the Iraqi military was a landmark in warfare or simply a lopsided fight.”—Editorial, New York Times, April 12.

“ For France and Germany to announce that they would vote against the United States in the Security Council was unprecedented in itself. But this was dwarfed by their intense diplomatic lobbying against American policy in far-flung capitals, ignoring a half-century of alliance tradition—even going so far as to create the impression among East European leaders that cooperation with the United States in the war might further complicate their entry into the European Union. With an attitude of almost gleeful defiance, the French and German foreign ministers invited their Russian counterpart, the erstwhile NATO adversary, to stand beside them in Paris while they publicly repudiated a top-priority policy of their ally of half a century.”—Henry Kissinger, San Diego Union–Tribune, April 13.

“ Today, France and Germany are like pigeons who want to snatch a bit of the prey killed by hawks. They want contracts in the post–Hussein Iraq and are ready to work hard to get them.”—Andrei A. Piontkovsky, Moscow think tank director, reported by Los Angeles Times, April 13.

“ In no other profession are there so many smug, arrogant people with so little justification for being arrogant as there are in journalism.”—Jack Kelly, former Marine and Green Beret and former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force, Washington Times, April 13.

“ I would anticipate that the major combat engagements are over because the major Iraqi units on the ground cease to show coherence.”—Army Maj. Gen. A. Stanley McChrystal, Joint Staff vice director for operations, Pentagon news briefing, April 14.

“ All the military lessons of Operation Iraqi Freedom hinge on the answer to a single question: How representative is Saddam’s regime of future adversaries?”—Loren B. Thompson, Lexington Institute, reported by Christian Science Monitor, April 16.

“ The key conclusion we must draw from the latest Gulf War is that the obsolete structure of the Russian armed forces has to be urgently changed. The gap between our capabilities and those of the Americans has been revealed, and it is vast. We are very lucky that Russia has no major enemies at the moment, but the future is impossible to predict, and we must be ready.”—Vladimir Dvorkin, head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s official think tank, reported in Christian Science Monitor, April 16.

“ The Republican Guard no longer serves in this country. The Special Republican Guard no longer serves in this country. The regular army in this country no longer functions. In that respect, certainly, the decisive combat portion of the campaign is finished.”—Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander, Central Command, April 16, reported in New York Times, April 17.

“ Saddam is gone and good riddance. … “There are German and French soldiers in Afghanistan today. Does the President want them to come home?”—Former President Bill Clinton, reported in New York Daily News, April 16.

“ We’re not dogs on a leash.”—Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, whose inspectors want to go back to Iraq but say they will not work under the Americans, reported by Associated Press, April 17.

“ We see no immediate role for Dr. Blix and his inspection teams.”—Richard Grenell, spokesman for the US ambassador to the UN, reported by Associated Press, April 22.

“ A soldier would say to me, ‘Sir, excuse me, but I cannot stay here because of the bombing. I fear for my family. I’m sorry, sir.’ I would say, ‘Don’t worry. God go with you. I will be joining you soon.’ ”—Col. A.T. Said, Republican Guard, London’s Daily Telegraph, April 17.

“ I still maintain that the campaign carried some very big risks. I just know that in the 3rd Division commander’s shoes, I would have felt very lonely on occasion, not having a reserve force available to bail me out of trouble.”—Retired Army Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen, reported in Washington Post, April 18.

“ If he is alive, I would suggest he not pop his head up.”—Bush, replying to question about Saddam dead or alive, press conference at Ft. Hood, April 20.

“ The forces of internal security are considered among the important apparatuses in Iraq. They are responsible for protecting the security of the revolution internally; for preserving stability; for protecting citizens and preserving their lives and property from those breaching the law. … They make certain justice and righteousness for all is maintained.”—Textbook for sixth-grade students in Iraq, reported by New York Times, April 20.

“ I think we were thoroughly inside the decision loop and capability of the [Saddam] regime. We started the ground war first, before the air war. So if you’re waiting for the big air war to start, 38 days of air war … didn’t happen that way.”—Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reported by Army Times, April 21.

“ The Defense Secretary should resign—now. Although George W. Bush is ultimately responsible for the catastrophe unfolding in Iraq, it is Donald Rumsfeld who is the Cabinet member directly charged with planning and carrying out the nation’s wars. … [Rumsfeld and his colleagues] have deceived the American people, misled US soldiers whose lives are at risk, scorned the United Nations, and defied international law.”—Editorial, The Nation, April 21.

“ The impression that’s left around the world is that we plan to occupy the country, we plan to use their bases over the long period of time, and it’s flat false. … The people peddling that stuff are wrong, and the people writing it should check things out better.”—Rumsfeld, on press report that US wants permanent bases in Iraq, Pentagon news briefing April 21.

“ The last seven months have involved six months of diplomatic failure and one month of military success. The first days after military victory indicate the pattern of diplomatic failure is beginning once again and threatens to undo the effects of military victory. … Now the State Department is back at work pursuing policies that will clearly throw away all the fruits of hard won victory.”—Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, American Enterprise Institute speech, April 22.

“ It is clear that Mr. Gingrich is off his meds and out of therapy.”—Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage, reported in Washington Post, April 26.

“ [All Secretaries of State] have been criticized at one time or another for being—what—like diplomats, for trying to find peaceful solutions, … to creating alliances. That’s what we do. We do it damn well, and I’m not going to apologize to anybody.”—Secretary of State Colin Powell, Senate testimony, April 30.

“ I don’t know if we are going to understand how significant this effort was until we do more analysis. But when you can destroy over three divisions’ worth of heavy armor in a period of about a week and reduce each of these Iraqi divisions down to even 15, 20 percent of their strength, it’s going to have an effect.”—Col. Michael Longoria, commander of 484th Air Expeditionary Wing, reported by Chicago Tribune, April 22.

“ A lot of people expected an incompetent defense. And we didn’t get that. We got a stunningly incompetent defense.”—Retired Vice Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski, director of Pentagon transformation office, on quality of Iraqi opposition, Defense Writers Group, April 22.

“ It’s a fact that Mexico thought it [the danger from Iraq] could be solved in a different way. But things happened the way they happened, and today we are looking at the future. … We think that we can keep on building the bilateral relationship [with the US] and narrowing these differences of opinion on positions that we had.”—Mexican President Vicente Fox, reported by Washington Post, April 23.

“ The attitude projected by the United States has been a unilateral one—that we know better, that we know best, and the rest of the world should follow us. … We cannot go it alone. We need our allies.”—Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.), reported by San Francisco Chronicle, April 23.

“ There are 600–plus Americans who are dead or wounded in the course of this conflict, and it wasn’t easy for them.”—Army Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, coalition ground force commander, on whether the war was easy, Pentagon video conference from Baghdad, April 2.

“ I hope the coalition will set an example by making clear that they intend to act strictly within the rules set down by the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations regarding the treatment of prisoners of war, and by demonstrating through their actions that they accept the responsibilities of the occupying power for public order and safety, and the well-being of the civilian population.”—Annan, speech to Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, April 24.

“ Quite frankly, we find it odd at best that the secretary– general would feel that he had to bring this to our attention.”—Kevin E. Moley, US ambassador to UN in Geneva, reported by United Press International, April 24.

“ Why can’t reporters report on what’s happening instead of what might happen if all these variables happen to occur?”—Rumsfeld, responding to “what if” questions at Pentagon news briefing, April 25.

“ This affected the morale of the troops. The Iraqi will to fight was broken outside Baghdad.”—Iraqi Colonel Ghassan (first name not given), on air strikes that essentially destroyed three Republican Guard divisions south of Baghdad, reported in Washington Post, April 27.

“ People on TV kept asking, ‘Where is the Republican Guard?’ I can tell you where they are: They’re blowed up. And we blew them up.”—Lieutenant Colonel “Snort,” F-16 pilot at a forward operating base, quoted by Air Force Times, April 28.

“ US military officials had the authority but did nothing to stop these war crimes from occurring.”—Jan Fermon, lawyer for Iraqis preparing to accuse Gen. Tommy R. Franks and other US officials of atrocities and war crimes under Belgium’s “universal jurisdiction” law, reported by Washington Times, April 28.

“ The infrastructure of Iraq is largely intact, and an environmental disaster was averted. The dams were not broken. The villages were not flooded. There were no large masses of refugees fleeing across borders into neighboring countries as the result of a sustained air campaign that affected civilian lives. And there have not been large numbers of civilian casualties because the coalition took such great care to protect the lives of innocent civilians as well as holy sites.”—Rumsfeld, “Town Hall” meeting with troops in Qatar, April 28.

“ In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”—Bush, aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, May 1.

Sanctions, Then and Now

“Now that Iraq is liberated, the United Nations should lift economic sanctions on that country.”—President Bush, speech in St. Louis, April 16.

“ This decision cannot be automatic. For the Security Council to take this decision, we need to be certain whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or not.”—Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, April 17, on lifting sanctions, reported in Washington Post, April 18.

“ During the 1990s, when Hussein was concealing his weapons of mass destruction, the Russians did everything they could to lift sanctions. Indeed, in 1999, Russia refused to support the resolution renewing weapons inspections. … But now that Iraq is run not by a local mass murderer but by an American President, Russia has acquired a sudden concern about Iraq’s WMDs.”—Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, April 21.

“ The question of lifting of sanctions has been raised, and I think sanctions have to be lifted some day.”—UN Secretary–General Kofi Annan, press encounter in Vienna, April 22.

“ I have proposed that the decision should be taken to immediately suspend the civilian sanctions.”—Jean–Marc de La Sabliere, French ambassador to the United Nations, quoted by UPI, April 22.

“ But in proposing merely to suspend, rather than lift, sanctions, the French also suggested leaving the UN in control of Iraqi oil revenues. … At least the French are smoother spin-artists than the Russians, who don’t even bother to conceal their Iraq agenda. … The two countries that did the most to erode sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship are now joined at the pocketbook in attempting to maintain them in some form on a newly free Iraq.”—Editorial, Wall Street Journal, April 23.

“ After the fall of Baghdad, it stretches credulity that the sanctions and the UN–administered oil-for-food program are even being debated. Ending the sanctions should be undertaken as a simple acceptance of the war’s outcome, in preparation for Iraq’s reconstruction. … What Russia and France are trying to do is help the UN maintain legitimacy in Iraqi affairs, so that they might gain a toehold on how the country is run and perhaps a small say in how contracts are awarded and debts paid.”—Editorial, Long Island’s Newsday, April 29.

“ There is no doubt that the sanctions will have to be lifted and the oil-for-food will have to be phased out. The question is, when and how it is done, and this is an issue that the member states are discussing. … I don’t think one can pick an arbitrary date. … [I]t is linked with other issues.”—Annan, press encounter, April 30.

CNN and Saddam

“ Over the last dozen years, I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard—awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff. … I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein’s regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely.”—Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, New York Times, April 11.

“ Doesn’t CNN have a journalistic obligation to report these kinds of details or to make their reporters aware of them? You can bet if CNN made discoveries about, say, a conservative Administration, they would share them.”—Sean Hannity, Fox News channel and ABC radio host, quoted by Washington Times, April 12.

“ For nearly a decade, the network [CNN] gave credulous treatment to orchestrated anti–US protests. When Saddam won his most recent ‘election,’ CNN’s Baghdad reporter Jane Arraf treated the event as meaningful: ‘The point is that this really is a huge show of support’ and ‘a vote of defiance against the United States.’ After Saddam granted amnesty to prisoners in October, she reported this ‘really does diffuse one of the strongest criticisms over the past decades of Iraq’s human rights records.’ ”—Franklin Foer, Wall Street Journal, April 14.

“ The idea that a camera crew could go to Baghdad University, for example, and gather candid opinions from the students is ludicrous. By now, it should be clear that no Iraqi facing a TV camera would speak his mind while Saddam was in power. Yet, just weeks ago, such reports were shown on television and passed off as a genuine reflection of the students’ views.”—Peter Collins, former reporter for CNN, Washington Times, April 16.

Jointness, Yo

“ I don’t want to say that it would be a mistake for the services to engage in service-centric lessons learned. But to some extent I will say it. This was not a war fought by the Army or the Navy or the Air Force … or the Marines. It was a war that’s been fought by joint forces under excellent leadership.”—Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Pentagon news briefing, April 15.

“ At long last, I think the American military has really got its act together in the air–ground battle. No longer is the air battle separate from the ground battle. These two phases of operations are now interdependent and interlocked. And the next time we do this, it is going to be a combined air–ground campaign so that ground forces will have to rely on airpower and airpower will have to rely on ground power.”—Retired Army Gen. Robert Scales, Fox News, April 15.

“ You can’t even take a surrender from 25,000 feet. Yet no soldier or Marine would be foolish—or cynical—enough to insist that their service had won the war by itself. The Air Force, though, delivers such tremendous profits to the defense industry that its partisans will insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that this war really did prove that ground forces are outdated and that airpower trumps all. The defense industry wants to sell $200 million aircraft, not inexpensive rifles, canteens, and boots.”—Ralph Peters, retired Army officer turned columnist, New York Post, April 16.

“ Carefully targeted air strikes left entire army divisions without arms and without organization. Precision guided weapons fatally disrupted the regime’s system of command and control. … Yet more than ever before, the precision of our technology is protecting the lives of our soldiers and the lives of innocent civilians. The overwhelming majority of the munitions dropped in the Iraqi campaign were precision guided. In this era of warfare, we can target a regime, not a nation.”—President Bush, speech in St. Louis, April 16.

“ The military is not yet sure how many Iraqi armored vehicles it destroyed, but the number is likely to reach well into the hundreds, possibly thousands. The carnage happened off screen. While TV viewers were watching American soldiers bogged down by sandstorms and suicide attacks, the Air Force and Navy were obliterating whole Republican Guard divisions.”—Evan Thomas and Martha Brant, Newsweek, April 21.

“ Although air and space power were profound contributors to ousting the Saddam Hussein regime from Iraq, they could be big losers in Washington’s budget wars. Senior Air Force and space leaders appear to be concerned that lawmakers and citizens will not appreciate the important—but relatively low profile—contributions made by airmen and space professionals during Gulf War II, because they were not as visible as ground forces.”—William B. Scott, Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 21.

“ The good news is that our bombing was more accurate than it has ever been before. The bad news is that, dramatically increased bombing accuracy notwithstanding, strategic bombing once again failed to bring Saddam Hussein’s regime to its knees. As was the case 12 years ago, victory required significant fighting on the ground.”—Thomas Houlahan, former Army officer, director of Military Assessment Program, William R. Nelson Institute, James Madison University, UPI.com, April 23.

“ At the end of the day, war must be won on the ground. Those few airmen or sailors who view this assertion as an insult rather than the professional challenge it represents do their services no benefit. As Operation Iraqi Freedom reconfirmed, recognizing the need to win on the ground in no way devalues the contribution of every arm and service to victory.”—Richard Hart Sinnreich, retired Army colonel and columnist, Washington Post, April 24.

“ From this experience, our experience in Afghanistan as well, we’re learning lessons that will affect how the United States of America, how the Department of Defense and the services, will organize, will train and will equip—lessons that will impact budgets and procedures, training and doctrine, and affect the future success of our country for many years to come.”—Rumsfeld, “Town Hall” meeting with troops in Qatar, April 28.

The Museum Looters

“The first thing you have to deal with is loss of life, and that’s what we dealt with. And if you remember, when some of that looting was going on, people were being killed, people were being wounded. … So I think it’s, as much as anything else, a matter of priorities.”—Gen. Richard B. Myers, about looting and destruction at Iraq’s National Museum, Pentagon news briefing, April 15.

“ While our military forces have displayed extraordinary precision and restraint in deploying arms—and apparently in securing the Oil Ministry and oil fields—they have been nothing short of impotent in failing to attend to the protection of [Iraq’s] cultural heritage. … The tragedy was foreseeable and preventable.”—Martin E. Sullivan, chairman (since 1995) of the President’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Property, April 14 resignation letter, reported by Washington Post, April 17.

“ But the rush to condemn Americans for looting and destruction committed by Iraqis obscures fundamental questions about social responsibility and accountability in Iraq and throughout the Arab world. … An important question going unasked in the rush to condemn: If looting was so predictable, what did the Iraqis—and particularly the staff of the museum—do to protect the museum’s valuable antiquities? … Can one of history’s greatest art thefts have been an inside heist by top officials in the organized kleptocracy known as the Saddam Hussein government?”—Jim Hoagland, Washington Post, April 17.

“ Most of the things were removed. We knew a war was coming, so it was our duty to protect everything. We thought there would be some sort of bombing at the museum. We never thought it could be looted.”—Donny George, director–general of restoration, Iraqi Antiquities Department, quoted in Wall Street Journal, April 17.

“ The vaults where the best pieces are kept were opened with keys. Looters coming in off the streets don’t usually have keys, do they? It appears to have been a deliberate, planned action. My feeling is that it was organized abroad.”—McGuire Gibson, president of the American Association for Research in Baghdad, reported by The Telegraph, www.indybay.org, April 22.

“ We know that the break-in at the museum was done by professionals. They came in with tools and glass cutters, and they walked right by a replica of the Code of Hammurabi, which they knew was not real. They started with the best pieces and worked their way down.”—Elizabeth Stone, archaeologist at Stony Brook University, quoted by Long Island’s Newsday, April 27.