March 1, 1996

Did Saddam Slip the Punch

“I think it might have been wise after the war to insist Saddam Hussein come to the tent in Safwan and sign the cease-fire. I don’t know whether that would have worked or not. . . . If he refused to, what could we do about it? . . . Basically, he was able to avoid responsibility for losing the war. He stayed back and made the generals sign the surrender.”–Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.), quoted in a January 16, 1996, Washington Times story on the fifth anniversary of the start of Operation Desert Storm.

The Aerospace Nation

“The United States of America is an aerospace nation. Commercial travel is largely by air. More and more goods are shipped by air these days. The vast majority of our communications are routed through satellites, and the largest segment of US exports comes from the aerospace industry. The United States Air Force is the most respected air and space force in the world. Throughout history, great nations have been defined by the nature of their military forces. Certainly, the strength of Rome lay in its legions. . . . England became a world power as a result of the Royal Navy and its ability to control the seas and project power around the globe for that island nation. I think as we move into the twenty-first century, the United States of America will be defined by the fact that it is an aerospace nation.”–Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman, USAF Chief of Staff, in a December 11, 1995, speech to Business Executives for National Security.

Ask Questions Later

“We’ve got some jerk up there [in a building] pulling a trigger, and he’s got a nightscope. That makes it tough, but boy, let me tell you, if we do see him, he had better be fast and be clad in bulletproof stuff because we will attack without warning. . . . People who snipe at our forces are a great risk to themselves. If we see somebody pointing a weapon at our forces, he will be attacked without warning. No warning shots. No ‘Drop your weapon.’ He will be attacked.”–Adm. Leighton W. Smith, Jr., USN, commander of NATO forces in Bosnia-Hercegovina, in February 1, 1996, remarks to the Defense Writers Group in Washington, D. C. Admiral Smith spoke following several sniper incidents in Sarajevo.

More in Sorrow than Anger, Of Course

“We have consistently encouraged the peaceful reunification of the motherland, but, in the final analysis, we cannot promise to give up the use of force.”–Chinese Premier Li Peng, in a January 30, 1996, speech in which he renewed Beijing’s insistence on reclaiming Taiwan.

There’s a Name for It

“There is absolutely no indication that the Russian legislature will even ratify START II, let alone comply [with its terms]. . . . The Russians are trying to manipulate the START II ratification issue to coerce financial and military concessions from the United States. Specifically, the Russians have stated that, unless we suspend NATO expansion, unless we continue to adhere unconditionally to the ABM Treaty, and unless we increase financial aid to Russia, they will not ratify START II. Where I come from, that is called extortion.”–Sen. Robert C. Smith (R-N. H.), in a January 26, 1996, floor speech opposing Senate ratification of the second Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) Treaty signed by Washington and Moscow in 1993.

Great Expectations

“I don’t expect either the Bosnian Federal Army or the Bosnian Serb Army to be coming out and fighting anybody next spring. I am persuaded that both of those governments and both of those armies really want peace and really are committed to trying to make this work. I do expect that there are individuals and gangs within Bosnia who will not agree with the judgment of their leaders and will, therefore, try to undermine the peace agreement in various ways. One way of undermining it is by harassing or attacking the peace implementation force. That’s what we’re prepared for. We don’t expect, as has happened in previous springs, the two armies to come out and start fighting each other. I don’t expect that to happen. None of our military leaders are looking for that to happen.”–Defense Secretary William J. Perry, in a December 20, 1995, session with Pentagon reporters.

Why US Should Privatize

“When I was in Alaska, we had three remote bases. . . . We had 300 uniformed personnel at Galena. . . . Their mission was to keep the runway clean, keep the barrier up in operation, keep the command post alive, keep the dining hall up, and [keep] the billeting operations up. . . . Today, instead of having 300 uniformed personnel at Galena, we have forty-seven contract employees. That is a tremendous savings for the taxpayer.

“Now, you might ask the question: How could the Air Force [need] 300 people to do what forty-seven contractors do? Well, as we send the magnificent young Americans to Galena, one of the things that you expect us to do is provide them three meals a day when they’re there. You expect us to provide them a place to sleep and live. . . . You would expect me to have some kind of morale, welfare, and recreation activity for them there. And every time I add MWR people, I’ve got to add more cooks, I’ve got to add more billeting personnel. Pretty soon I’m at 300 people. . . .

“So I’m a personal believer that there are functions you can do more economically by contracting out.”–Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, commander of Air Combat Command, in January 26, 1996, Senate testimony on his nomination to become vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.