“I’d have gone for the head of the snake on the first night. I’d have turned the lights out the first night. I’d have dropped the bridges across the Danube. I’d [have] hit five or six political and military headquarters in downtown Belgrade. [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic and his cronies would have waked up the first morning asking what the hell was going on.” –USAF Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, Operation Allied Force’s air boss, in Oct. 21 remarks to Senate Armed Services Committee.
“The reason Slobodan Milosevic finally caved in–a primary reason–was the presence of US Army ground forces in Albania.” –Lt. Gen. John W. Hendrix, commander, US Army V Corps in Europe, quoted in the Sept. 11 European Stars and Stripes.
Shelton Speaketh …
“Although we’ve done much in the past year to improve our readiness, there’s still much more that needs to be done in order to sustain the momentum. … Readiness is a very fragile thing, and, if lost, it takes considerable time and resources to regain. [Across-the-board reductions in all federal programs proposed by some members of Congress would be] “devastating. … This would strip away the gains that we have made … to start readiness moving back in the right direction.” –Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, JCS Chairman, in Oct. 26 remarks to the SASC, criticizing a Republicansponsored proposal to trim all federal programs by about 1 percent.
… Republicans Respondeth
“The fact of the matter is that the national security budgets submitted year after year by this Administration–and which you have testified in support of before our committee the past two years–would have been ‘devastating’ to our nation’s military. In fact, the ‘gains’ you referred to in your testimony yesterday ‘to start readiness moving back in the right direction’ were initiatives of our committee, not the Administration. …
“You know that in Fiscal Year 1999, we provided $17.8 billion in emergency appropriations … to address shortfalls caused by our record number of peacetime deployments, including major operations in Iraq and the Balkan region. You also know that we and our colleagues in Congress were severely criticized by the President and this Administration for doing so.
“In Fiscal Year 2000, we added another $4.5 billion to the President’s request for our national security. Again, we were criticized by the President for the priority we placed on our nation’s defense. In fact, up until the hour he signed the defense appropriations bill into law on Monday, the President’s spokesman and advisors were expressing concerns about the bill and the possibility the President might veto it.
“Yet yesterday, you say that it is Congress that threatens the ‘gains’ we have made in strengthening our national security.” –Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young (R-Fla.), chairmen of Senate and House appropriations committees, in an Oct. 27 joint letter of response to Shelton.
Tell It to the French
“Once the threshold is crossed and you’re going to use force, that force has to be as decisive as possible in attaining your military objectives. … [In Operation Allied Force], every single [NATO] nation had a domestic political constituency, and every single nation had a different set of political problems.” –Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, in an Oct. 21 SASC hearing on the conduct of Operation Allied Force.
Actually, Tell This to the French
“Since last week, when the Senate voted overwhelmingly to reject the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, condemnation bordering on hysteria has rung out from the capitals of the world. … “French President Jacques Chirac (who, with his German and British counterparts, penned a New York Times oped before the vote, lecturing the Senate on its responsibility to ratify the test ban) declared that, by rejecting his advice, the Senate had launched ‘an attack on the process of nonproliferation and disarmament, which is one of the priorities of the European Union.’
“With all due respect to Mr. Chirac, the last time I checked, no nation was counting on the safety and reliability of the French nuclear arsenal to guarantee its security. Many do, however, depend on the US for nuclear guarantees.” –Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in the Oct. 18 Wall Street Journal.
“As President, I will begin an immediate, comprehensive review of our military-the structure of its forces, the state of its strategy, the priorities of its procurement–conducted by a leadership team under the Secretary of Defense. I will give the Secretary a broad mandate–to challenge the status quo and envision a new architecture of American defense for decades to come. We will modernize some existing weapons and equipment, necessary for current tasks, but our relative peace allows us to do this selectively. The real goal is to move beyond marginal improvements-to replace existing programs with new technologies and strategies, to use this window of opportunity to skip a generation of technology.” –Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Republican Presidential front-runner, in a Sept. 23 speech at The Citadel.
The Hazards of Duke
“Troops are supposed to be willing to die so that civilians do not have to.” –Peter D. Feaver, Duke University associate professor, in a Nov. 7 Washington Post article co-authored with Christopher Gelpi, also of Duke.