Oct. 1, 1996

The Chairman’s View

“I don’t think that Saddam Hussein is any better off than he was when he started [attacking the Kurds in northern Iraq]. I submit to you, Saddam Hussein is worse off today than when he started all of this.”

Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a September 8, 1996, appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

For Fifty B-2s

“I absolutely believe the minimum number of B-2s we should have is fifty. We need to make a commitment and let industry know our intentions.”–Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Speaker of the House, in an August 23, 1996, statement to B-2 workers at Northrop Grumman’s stealth bomber facility in Palmdale, Calif.

Facts of Life

“We have never, from the beginning, sought their permission for establishing the no-fly zone. . . . This is not an issue in which they have a vote.”–Defense Secretary William J. Perry, in a September 3, 1996, response to Iraq’s complaints about US imposition of an enlarged no-fly zone following Iraqi attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq.

Facts of Life (Cont.)

“We have separately warned Iran not to meddle [in the battle in Kurdistan].”–Secretary Perry, same statement.

“Intelligence Failures”

“Intelligence failures left military personnel in Khobar Towers, as well as the 4404th [Composite] Wing’s leaders, largely unaware of the magnitude of the threat they faced. Intelligence support fell short in at least three ways. First, available intelligence was virtually devoid of specific knowledge of terrorist and dissident activity inside Saudi Arabia. . . . Second, there were failures of analysis. . . . Finally, and perhaps most significantly, these intelligence assessments did not acknowledge their own limitations. They did not communicate a level of uncertainty that should have been appropriate, considering the lack of specific knowledge available and the difficulty of understanding the complex currents of Saudi society. Based on such intelligence assessments, commanders in the theater likely had a false sense of confidence [about] the level of threat they faced and the requisite level of security required to protect US forces.”–Rep. Floyd D. Spence (R­S. C.), chairman of the House National Security Committee, in an August 14, 1996, statement accompanying an HNSC report on the June 25 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

Dole and Defense

“If I make a mistake on defense spending, I’m going to err on the side of spending a little too much [rather] than a little too little.”–Presidential candidate and former Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.), in an August 14, 1996, speech at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in San Diego, Calif.

Historically Novel

“The Air Force changed the course of history . . . last September [1995], when we led a precise, vigorous air campaign that finally altered the series of events in Bosnia[-Hercegovina]. Besides breaking the cycle of violence that had fed that [country’s] three-year war, Operation Deliberate Force also gave us a hint of what combat will look like in the twenty-first century. For instance, while only nine percent of all munitions used in [Operation] Desert Storm were precision guided, in Bosnia, ninety-eight percent of munitions dropped by US forces were precision guided. . . . The photos from Bosnia typically show one crater where the target used to be, with virtually no collateral damage.”–Sheila E. Widnall, Secretary of the Air Force, in a June 14, 1996, speech to the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Harassment Declining

“Sexual harassment is declining in the active military. . . . In 1988, sixty-four percent of female respondents reported experiencing one or another form of gender-related [misbehavior]. In 1995, fifty-five percent of female respondents reported such experiences. . . . That decline is pretty consistent across the services. . . . People know the rules, they understand how to report these unwanted incidents, and most aren’t reluctant to report. There’s confidence that their leaders will deal with it. But–and this is a message that leaders throughout the chain of command will be especially attentive to–sexual harassment is occurring. It may be occurring in your organization, on your watch, and some believe that it isn’t being taken seriously enough.”–Edwin Dorn, under secretary of defense for Personnel and Readiness, in a July 2, 1996, Pentagon statement on the release of a massive new DoD study of sexual harassment.

The Big Three Targets

“Let me tell you the kinds of targets that are threatened by information warfare: first, the domestic infrastructure, both the government sector and the private sector–for example, air traffic control, powerplants, and banks. The second category of targets threatened by information warfare involves international commerce–international funds transfer, international transportation, and, of course, international communications. Finally, information warfare threatens our military forces, whether they’re deployed in peacetime or . . . wartime. In some sense, the electron is the ultimate precision guided weapon. . . . It can be directed directly to the command and brain structure of our military systems and our military forces. The electron, in my judgment, is the ultimate precision guided munition.”–John M. Deutch, director of Central Intelligence, in June 25, 1996, testimony to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.