Feb. 1, 2000

Eye of Knute

“A ‘W’ is a ‘W.’ In sports, a win is a win. Even a close win is preferable to losing. For instance, if a college football team like Notre Dame beats Slippery Rock 70-0, that is exactly the sort of lopsided victory one would expect from such a mismatch. But if Notre Dame beats Slippery Rock by a score of only 7-6, about all ‘Fighting Irish’ fans would be able to say is, ‘Well, it’s a W and not an L.’ That is the kind of victory airpower delivered in Operation Allied Force.”-Retired USAF Maj. Earl H. “Butch” Tilford Jr., former editor of Air University Review, now director of research at the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, in winter 1999-2000 issue of Parameters.

Gore’s Litmus Test….

“I would insist, before appointing anybody to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that that individual support my policy [to let gay and lesbian Americans serve openly in the US armed forces]. And yes, I would make that a requirement.”-Vice President Al Gore, in remarks at Jan. 5 campaign debate in New Hampshire.

McPeak‘s View …

“I regard that as a ridiculous assertion–that that should be a qualification for office. I suppose winning the nation’s wars should be the primary qualification.”-Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, USAF (Ret.), former Chief of Staff, quoted in Jan. 7 New York Times.

… and Krulak’s …

“To demand a litmus test regarding gays in the military, a social issue, instead of concentrating on what is really important, which is sound military advice, misses the mark. I personally don’t understand why he made a comment like that, because I can’t imagine a commander in chief having a litmus test for a military officer that would reduce the number of candidates you can pick from. I, for one, would be unable to compete.”-Gen. Charles C. Krulak, USMC (Ret.), former Commandant, in Jan. 7 Washington Times.

… And a Backpedal

“I did not mean to imply that there should ever be any kind of inquiry into the personal political opinions of officers in the US military, nor would I ever tolerate such inquiries.”-Gore, to reporters in West Des Moines, Iowa, the evening of Jan. 7, as reported in Jan. 8 Washington Post.

Democratic Russia

“Russia, for objective reasons, is forced to lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons, extend the nuclear deterrent to smaller-scale conflicts, and openly warn potential opponents about this.”-Col. Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev, chief of Russian strategic missile forces, quoted in Dec. 18 Washington Times.

Hands Off the Guard

“[The DoD] commitment towards the National Guard has been found wanting year after year, with great gaps between the need and what is proposed. Historically, we in Congress then must act to fill in the gaping holes. It’s time for the Pentagon to get it right the first time. And to be clear, what a strong majority of the Senate is saying is–no further cuts in the Army National Guard.”-Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.), quoted in Dec. 13 issue of Inside the Army.

Is it Major Major …

“Fighting and winning major theater wars is the ultimate test of our armed forces-a test at which they must always succeed. … For the foreseeable future, the United States, preferably in concert with allies, must have the capability to deter and, if deterrence fails, defeat large-scale, cross-border aggression in two distant theaters in overlapping time frames.”-From the White House’s “A National Security Strategy for a New Century,” dated December 1999.

… or Major Minor

“I think [the strategy’s] probably unrealistic, and [the strategic requirement] ought to be a major and a minor [war], rather than two majors. I just don’t think it’s realistic, even with the ‘nearly simultaneous’ qualification.”-Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee, in Dec. 6 issue of Defense Week.

Next: May Day Parades!

“Yesterday, Clinton took the liberty of putting pressure on Russia. He obviously must have forgotten for a few seconds, a minute, or a half a minute, what Russia is and that Russia possesses a full arsenal of nuclear weapons. He’s forgotten it, and that’s why he’s decided to flex his muscles, as they say.”-Boris N. Yeltsin, then Russian president, in Dec. 9 interview with reporters in Beijing.

The Space-Money Continuum

“If you look at where we’re spending our money, the single largest increase has been in space. Now a lot of people say we’ve ignored space. Space is the only element of my budget that has gone up proportionately every year at the same time that the Air Force budget has gone down by 40 percent. We have an upgrade for every single space system we have, from launchers through satellites, on the books, being fielded, in work right now. I don’t know what else people want to do in space. We are funding it to meet all current requirements that are Air Force requirements. … [C]ould I use more money in space? Sure. I’ve got a DSP [Defense Support Program, an early-warning satellite constellation] that I could replace. I’ve got a Milstar [communications satellite system] that I could replace. If they wanted to give me the money, I would replace those.”-Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters, quoted in Dec. 13 issue of Defense Week.