Aug. 1, 1997
The Missing Link

“Many . . . postwar claims about weapon system performance . . . were overstated, misleading, inconsistent with the best available data, or unverifiable. . . . There was no apparent link between the cost of aircraft and munitions, whether high or low, and their performance in Desert Storm.”–From “Operation Desert Storm: Evaluation of the Air Campaign,” a June 1997 report prepared by the General Accounting Office.

Otherwise, It’s Fine

“The report strikes me as the analytical equivalent of a dumb bomb–it’s off target and loud. It really makes a series of very strange comparisons and takes the sort of lead-eyed view that there doesn’t seem to be much difference between precision guided munitions and less-precise munitions or unguided munitions. …

“They made no allowance for the inherent differences in targets . . . and therefore assume that they could be hit equally with precision or nonprecision bombs. . . . It’s like comparing a .350 hitter in the National League with a .350 hitter in high school and saying they’re both the same because they both hit .350, without taking account of the different pitching conditions they encounter. …

“We have moved to a new generation of weaponry, and nobody denies that. We are not going to turn the clock back to an increased reliance on dumb bombs. We are going to continue to build an Air Force and a military based on precision guided munitions.”

DoD spokesman Kenneth Bacon, in July 1, 1997, press briefing during which he commented on the conclusions of the GAO report.

From the Foxhole

First US Grunt: “I don’t understand why we’re talking about expanding NATO! Why can’t we just go home

Second US Grunt: “If we went home, who would help our friends in eastern Europe defend themselves against our friends in Russia?”–From political cartoon panel drawn by syndicated cartoonist Chuck Asay, carried in the June 15, 1997, Washington Times.

Absolutely Key

“It’s important to reflect that over half of our sensors that provide us information about the battlefield are sensors that ride on air-breathers, not satellites. And so air dominance for us is absolutely key if we’re going to maintain dominance on the battlefield. UAVs, other [systems]–from AWACS to Joint STARS to whatnot–over half of our sensors depend on having the ability to operate in the air. And so something like the F-22–that will be the premier aircraft to provide us air dominance–is absolutely key.”–Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a May 20, 1997, Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the F-22 fighter and the Quadrennial Defense Review.


“This is a legitimate military issue. This is not [the idea of] a bunch of trendy ‘greenies.’ “–Timothy Wirth, undersecretary of state for global affairs, as quoted in June 5, 1997, Associated Press coverage of the Western Hemisphere Defense Environmental Conference. He referred to training Latin American troops to guard rain forests and endangered species.

It’s Come to This

“It became increasingly evident during our travels that military personnel need to be informed what is not harassment as well as what is. . . . The [current antiharassment] training scared the men from interacting on any level with the women. Men reported that they were told, ‘Don’t talk to them, don’t sit near them in the mess, don’t breathe near them.’ Not surprisingly, the women reported that the men seemed ‘scared to death of us.’ “–From a draft of a Rand Corp. study for DoD, “Recent Gender Integration in the Military: Effects on Readiness, Cohesion, and Morale,” as excerpted in the July 7, 1997, Washington Times.

Separation of Powers

“The United States is moving with unparalleled velocity toward the kind of high-tech military equipment that has no match in Europe. I am beginning to worry that, one day, we will wake up and find that our armies [those of the US and of European nations] can no longer work well together.”–German Army Gen. Klaus Naumann, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, as quoted in the July 6, 1997, Washington Post.

Our Two New Friends

“During the last half of 1996, China was the most significant supplier of WMD [weapons of mass destruction]­related goods and technology to foreign countries. The Chinese provided a tremendous variety of assistance to both Iran’s and Pakistan’s ballistic missile programs. China also was the primary source of nuclear-related equipment and technology to Pakistan and a key supplier to Iran. . . . Iran also obtained considerable CW [chemical weapon]­related assistance from China in the form of production equipment and technology.

“Russia supplied a variety of ballistic missile-related goods to foreign countries, . . . especially to Iran. Russia was an important source for nuclear programs in Iran and, to a lesser extent, India and Pakistan.”–From CIA report, “The Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions,” released in June 1997.