June 1, 1994
The Landlord Speaks

“I have the document to prove that the czar did not sell it to you; he leased it to you for ninety-nine years, the way China leased Hong Kong to the United Kingdom.”

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of Russia’s extremist, ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, in a statement to interviewer Ranan R. Lurie concerning Russia’s legal claim to Alaska, as reported in New York Newsday, April 7, 1994.

From Land, From Sea

“No one will deny that we should have some part of our tactical air force capable of launching from seaborne bases. It’s absolutely invaluable. . . . It’s more expensive, . . . but it’s worth it, for those contingencies where bases are not immediately available or if for some other reason we’re blocked from using bases for a while at the outset. The real question is, How much can we afford? How much of our total tacair capability can we afford to configure this way? I’m a little bit concerned that, as the Air Force tactical fighter force has been cut in half, roughly, since 1988, down to twenty wings, . . . this is too small a fraction of the nation’s total tacair to be configured in this form.”

Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, USAF Chief of Staff, in February 18, 1994, remarks at an AFA symposium in Florida.

To the Eastern Front

“We’re leaving because we’re under orders to leave, but none of us want to go. I won’t have a place to live when I get back home. The Germans killed millions of our people and burned a third of our country [in World War II], and now they’re all rich, and we’re being kicked out like dogs.”

Unnamed Russian Army officer, quoted March 4, 1994, in the New York Times as thousands of Russian troops based at Wünsdorf, Germany-once a huge Soviet garrison-prepared to board trains and return permanently to Russia.

Four Days

“The real issue is, How fast might the north [North Korean troops] move south if they chose to? They’ve got about seventy percent of that sizable force located within sixty miles of the border. It has been estimated that they have more than 4,000 artillery pieces and 2,000 rocket launchers on that border, many of which are within range of the outskirts of Seoul. . . .

Seoul . . . contains about a quarter of the population [of] Korea. I think it’s instructive to look back at what happened in the summer of 1950. Seoul fell in four days.”

Gen. Robert L. Rutherford, commander in chief, Pacific Air Forces, in February 17, 1994, remarks at an AFA symposium in Florida.

One Man’s Luxury . . .

“We’ve got . . . bases today in places like Rhein-Main, Aviano, and Incirlik. What if we didn’t have bases in Europe and the USAFE people that run these bases? Is forward basing really a luxury? If we were to conduct . . . lesser regional conflicts from the United States on a pure[ly] rotational basis, as some have suggested, what would it cost? . . . We conducted a comparative analysis using real-world data from our operations in Bosnia-Hercegovina. . . . It turns out that deploying these Air Force personnel and equipment from within Europe for a Bosnia-sized operation saves about $55 million a year, when compared to rotation from the east coast of the United States. The cost avoidance is even higher-$90 million a year-if we consider an operation from a main operating base with permanently assigned forces.”

Gen. Robert C. Oaks, commander in chief, US Air Forces in Europe, in February 18, 1994, remarks at an AFA symposium in Florida.

Go Ahead, Make My Day

“If the people who were amnestied by the State Duma even begin any sort of activity which threatens the security of the Russian Federation, they will be re-arrested.”

Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin, in March 3, 1994, remarks to the Russian Security Council following release from prison of several ringleaders of the October 1993 parliamentary uprising, which resulted in bloodshed and the arrest of many opposition Russian politicians.

MIA Progress

“We have a permanent office in Hanoi. We have visited every tradition house and museum in [Vietnam]. We have been in the prisons. We have followed up on every live sighting report, with no evidence that any of them are true. We have a full-time archive in Hanoi where Americans and Vietnamese are working side by side to resolve remaining questions. We have received thousands of artifacts, photographs, and documents. We have a formal program of debriefing Vietnamese wartime leaders. We have reduced the list of [unsolved] discrepancy cases. . . . Six months ago, that number was ninety-two. It is now seventy-three. That means we know what happened to another nineteen servicemen. We know they are not languishing in cages, as some suggest. . . . We know where and how they died. We know they did not die after 1973 but earlier. That is progress.”

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), former chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW and MIA Affairs, in a January 27, 1994, floor speech to the Senate.

The Draft Is Dead

“With reduced force levels combined with two decades of successful experience with raising and maintaining a volunteer force, . . . recent victorious wartime experiences, and the quality of active and reserve personnel, it is highly unlikely that we will have to reinstate the draft in the foreseeable future.”

Excerpt from a March 3, 1994, Defense Department report to Congress on the future utility of peacetime draft registration and the Selective Service System.