Oct. 1, 2004
In Space, Our Lead Narrows

“I believe the seeming invincibility of the United States in space will not last much longer.”—Air Force Maj. Gen. William L. Shelton, director of policy, resources, and requirements at US Strategic Command, Inside the Air Force newsletter, July 23.

Tanker Holes

“I’m not some muscle man, but I’ve stuck my finger through significant pieces of metal because there wasn’t anything there. I’ve just been able to poke a hole in corroded areas of that airplane.”—Gen. John W. Handy, commander, Air Mobility Command, on deterioration of KC-135 tanker fleet, Defense Writers Group, July 28.

Opinion From a Real Expert

“The case on corrosion is cut out of whole cloth.”—“Key Senate staffer,” disputing deterioration of KC-135s, US News & World Report, Aug. 9.

Heavy User

“There isn’t anyone who I’ve talked to who doesn’t recognize that the principal user of intelligence is the Department of Defense. It’s not an accident that the principal intelligence collectors are there. I don’t think anybody would suggest that an arrangement be fashioned that would in any way reduce the ability of a warfighter to have access to the information that they’ve got to have to be successful.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 7.

The Non-Needy

“I just have a hard time going back to South Carolina and telling people who are losing their jobs that we need to give $20 billion of their money to the Iraqi people who are sitting on a sea of oil.”—Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) ,Washington Post, July 25.

F/A-22 Hard To Catch

“I had the opportunity to fly against the F-22. The only way I could catch it in my F-15, even in full afterburner, was in a turn. The F-22 is an amazingly capable fighter that is going to insure America’s air superiority in the years ahead.”—Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-Calif.), Navy ace in the Vietnam War, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 13.

Clear and Present Danger

“America faces its gravest threat in a generation: An organized global movement—assisted by rogue regimes—has adopted mass terror as a weapon to achieve political goals. And the prospect that this deadly collusion will involve weapons of mass murder is at hand. When faced with a clear and present danger, Americans have always set aside partisan politics to secure this nation and to affirm our common values. The war on terrorism requires no less.”—Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.), announcing the reconstitution from the 1950s and 1970s of the bipartisan Committee on the Present Danger, Washington Post newspaper ad, July 21.

Strength in the Knees

“Democracy is hard. Democracy is dangerous. And this is the time for us to be steadfast, not get weak in the knees. We must not allow insurgents, those who will use bombs and kidnappings and beheadings, to triumph.”—Secretary of State Colin Powell on Hungarian television, about nations dropping out of the war on terrorism because of terrorist threats, Washington Post, July 28.

Slim Chance

“There’s no likelihood of there being a draft. There’s no indication whatsoever, not even a hint, not even a clue.”—Dan Amon, spokesman for the Selective Service system, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 19.

Decision Wouldn’t Change

“Even though we did not find the stockpiles that we thought we would find, Saddam Hussein had the capability to make weapons of mass destruction, and he could have passed that capability on to the enemy, to the terrorists. It is not a risk, after September the 11th, that we could afford to take. Knowing what I know today, I would have taken the same action.”—President Bush, speech at VFW Convention, Aug. 16.

Tooting for Victory

“I knew there was a shortage over there. I didn’t know there was a shortage of musicians.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), on news that 15 musicians, including four clarinet players and one electric bass player, would be recalled from the Individual Ready Reserve as critical to the war on terrorism, USA Today, July 22.


“Donald Rumsfeld has gone from being the most popular spokesperson for the Bush Administration policies to something of a pariah. Whereas before the White House was happy to see him speaking in public whenever he chose, now it kind of cringes for fear of what the results might be.”—Loren B. Thompson, Lexington Institute,, July 15.

Don’t Hurry Back

“Put it another way. If things are too tough, if standards are too rigorous, then leave. And don’t let the door hit you in the rump.”—George P. Nanos, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, on complaints that his remarks about security were “insulting” after the latest episode in a series of losses of classified material at the lab, New York Times, July 22.

Get On With BRAC

“Delay is tantamount to appeal. Let’s get it over with. Let’s figure out what’s right for the taxpayer. Let’s figure out what’s right for the military.”—Raymond F. DuBois, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, opposing Congressional efforts to delay the next base realignment and closure round, Newark Star-Ledger, July 28.