June 1, 2002

Terror Is Relative …

“No one can condone the loss of a single civilian life on either side, but we need to realize that the situation has essentially become asymmetric warfare rather than Palestinian terrorism and Israeli counterterrorism. Each side has escalated the violence using methods available to it. For the Palestinians, this is suicide bombing and smuggled arms. For Israel, it is tanks and attack helicopters.”—Anthony H. Cordesman, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in the New York Times, March 22.

… No, It’s Not

“Murderers are not martyrs. Targeting civilians is immoral, whatever the excuse. Terrorists have declared war on civilization, and states like Iran, Iraq, and Syria are inspiring and financing a culture of political murder and suicide bombing.”—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, at a DOD briefing, April 1.

Rogues Are Relative

“Our leaders frequently speak of ‘rogue nations.’ But what is a rogue nation? Isn’t it simply one we have chosen to boycott because it doesn’t always behave the way we think it should?”—George McGovern, former US senator and one-time Democratic candidate for president, in The Nation, April 22.

Next Target

“If not destroyed, this madness will strike in your buses, in your supermarkets, in your pizza parlors, in your cafes. Eventually, these human bombs will supplement their murderous force with suitcases equipped with devices of mass death that could make the horrors of Sept. 11 pale by comparison. That is why there is no alternative to winning this war. … No part of the terrorist network can be left intact.”—Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli Prime Minister, in a speech to the US Senate, April 10.

Long Live the F-35

“This is not a program that’s going down the drain, I’ll guarantee you that.”—Edward C. Aldridge, Pentagon acquisition chief, at a March 22 DOD briefing, on possible cuts to the Joint Strike Fighter program.

Anti-Liberal Trick

“Sept. 11 and the war on terrorism provided the functional equivalent of the Cold War. It is the Reagan formula all over again: tax cuts, huge increases in military expenditures, deficits, and the consequent exclusion of all the initiatives that liberals might offer.”—Paul Starr, professor of sociology, Princeton University, in The American Prospect, March 28.

Food for Thought

“We ought to remind them that they’re going to have a hard time eating their oil.”—National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on Iraq’s threat of an oil embargo, quoted in The Dallas Morning News, April 9.

Recruiters Not Welcome

“Preliminary data suggest that between 2,000 and 3,000 secondary schools nationwide (about 10 to 15 percent of all high schools) ultimately will be identified as ‘problem’ schools under the definitions set forth in the current law.”—David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, in Feb. 13 testimony to Congress, on schools that deny access to military recruiters.

Almost as Good

“The central message from Operation Enduring Freedom is that it is a celebration of the success of joint operations. Air Force tactical aviation is no less relevant in meeting our nation’s warfighting requirements simply because naval tactical aviation is not as limited by the tyranny of distance, basing, and access. Neither are the Army’s conventional capabilities less relevant because Marine Corps units possess organic mobility, sustainment, and if required, forcible-entry capabilities.”—Gen. James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps, in Armed Forces Journal International, April 2002.

Insufficient Endorsement

“The United States lost the public relations war in the Middle East a long time ago. They could have the Prophet Muhammad doing public relations and it wouldn’t help.”—Osama Siblani, publisher of The Arab American News, quoted in The Village Voice, March 5–11.

From the Grassy Knoll

“We know now there were numerous warnings of the events to come on Sept. 11 … What did this Administration know and when did it know it, about the events of Sept. 11? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? … What do they have to hide?”—Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D–Ga.), in a Berkeley, Calif., radio interview, quoted in the Washington Post, April 12.

Conventional Boots on the Ground

“A great many pundits have taken me to task, saying, ‘Well, gosh, isn’t it true it would have been a helluva lot better operation if we had just put conventional forces in on the ground in Aghanistan?’ I guess we’ll never know that, but we know that when the Soviets did it with 620,000, it didn’t seem to be quite enough.”—Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of Central Command, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, April 7.

The Margin in the Falklands

“Above all, admirals everywhere learnt one cardinal lesson from the Falklands: the difference that correct and incorrect fusing of air-delivered weapons can make. The Argentines penetrated six British ships with bombs that did not explode. As the Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Lord Craig, once put it to me: ‘Six better fuses and we would have lost.’ ”—John Keegan, on the 20th anniversary of the war in the Falkland Islands, in London’s Daily Telegraph, April 2.