Aug. 1, 2002

Taking the Offensive

“If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. … [We] must be ready to strike at a moment’s notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward looking and resolute, to be ready for pre-emptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives.”—President Bush, speech at West Point graduation, June 1.

Hot Pre-emption

“We are calling on states to step up to their internal responsibilities to end any terrorist presence, while saying also that we reserve, within the framework of our right to self-defense, the right to pre-empt terrorist threats within a state’s borders. Not just hot pursuit: hot pre-emption.”—Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, at the dedication of the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, Arlington, Va., May 29.

Either Way

“I don’t know if he is dead or alive, for starters—so I’m going to answer your question with a hypothetical. Osama bin Laden, he may be alive. If he is, we’ll get him. If he’s not alive, we got him.”—Bush, in a July 8 press conference at the White House.

Thank God for the Navy

“When America struck its initial blows in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it was Navy fighter–attack jets flying from two carriers in the region, not the Air Force, that struck the first blows. The long-distance missions into landlocked Afghanistan were necessary because Air Force fighters based in Saudi Arabia could not participate without host-nation consent.”—Marine Corps Times editorial, May 27.

The Demise of NATO

“Why should we be greater advocates of European power than the Europeans themselves? They have practiced international affairs long enough to know that diminished power means diminished influence—and a radically diminished NATO, their place at the decision-making table. NATO may still have a role in peacekeeping but not in war-making. As a serious military alliance it is finished.”—Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May 24.

These Few Concessions

“President Bush has perhaps inadvertently made our security fight more difficult by rejecting instead of improving arrangements that Europeans care about on missile defense, biological weapons, international justice, and climate change and by an embarrassing unwillingness to use the European military capacities that are relevant.”—Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Washington Post, May 22.

Decisions Lag Capability

“My contention is the first few weeks in Afghanistan, because of a lack of understanding of what we could do, we lost opportunities that have kept us in Afghanistan overtime, longer than we would have had to be. And that’s a tragedy. I think some day that will all come out.”—Lt. Gen. Charles F. Wald, USAF deputy chief of staff for air and space operations, Aerospace Daily, May 24.

On the Other Hand

“Hold your hand as high as you can above your head to indicate how much data our present system collects. Then drop your hand to your knee—that’s how much gets translated into English. Then point to your ankle: That’s how much goes to our intelligence analysts at the CIA in time to be useful. As far as FBI counterintelligence in the US is concerned, that’s in your little toe.”—William Safire, New York Times, June 13.

Too Long in the Depot

“In the last several years, we have doubled the amount of time—from about 180 days to more than 300 days—it takes to take one of these airplanes apart, fix all the corrosion and things that are wrong with them, … and put them back together again, and it’s too long.”—Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force Chief of Staff, talking about depot maintenance of KC-135 tanker aircraft in testimony to the Senate appropriations defense subcommittee, May 15.

Too Bad

“I am alive. My friend, Mullah Omar, is alive, and it is the duty of all Muslims to wage a war on non–Muslims.”—Posters placed in areas along the Afghanistan–Pakistan border, allegedly quoting Osama bin Laden, Washington Times, June 6.

The Food Supply

“Terrorists aim to strike terror among civilians in their everyday lives. With our food supply, the target is the very heart of many homes: the family dinner table. … Food security is homeland security, and if we fail to take steps to bolster these safeguards, we will leave behind a gaping hole in America’s homeland defense.”—Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D–N.Y.), Newsday, June 10.

300 of the Best

“If you take any of our ships today, I would contend that our 300-ship Navy is far, far more potent than our 600-ship Navy was. Just count the number of [missile launch] tubes, count the number of strikes, count the number of targets we can service on any given day, and it’s vastly more than we could do back in the ’80s, when we had twice the number of ships.”—Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, quoted in Defense Weekly Daily Update, June 11.

Pat Garrett, Front and Center

“They were under intense propaganda, and for them bin Laden is a kind of Billy the Kid.”—Najeeb Al-Nauimi, lawyer for 60 Muslim prisoners from Afghanistan held at Guantanamo Bay, Washington Post, June 2.