Not Your Father’s NATO
NATO “is no longer the primary venue where trans-Atlantic partners discuss and coordinate strategies.”—German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Reuters, Feb. 12.
Outposts of Tyranny
“To be sure, in our world there remain outposts of tyranny—and America stands with oppressed people on every continent—in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe.”—Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Senate confirmation hearing, Jan. 18.
Technology for the Alleyways
“Information technology is not a bad thing. Technologically advanced sensors are useful even in the most primitive combat zones. But this war clearly shows that the military has evolved a technology culture that all too often fields information systems with scant regard to their utility for saving lives of soldiers and marines. Net-centric technologies give generals and admirals an unprecedented view of the sea and air battle. We need instead to gain ‘culture-centric’ advantages that will give soldiers an unprecedented view of the enemy lying in wait across an alleyway.”—Retired Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales, former commander of the Army War College, Washington Times op-ed, Feb. 3.
“When we’ve talked about precision warfare in the past, it’s been in terms of hitting a tank or an SUV from 15,000 feet in the air with a precision munition. In the future, the talk about precision gets down to the level of using individuals to go after individuals.”—James Thomas, deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans and resources, Washington Post, Jan. 26.
The Trade-off for Troop Strength
“The long-term modernization of American military power is to be delayed to send a few thousand more troops to Iraq, where they would make no perceptible difference. Perhaps the new destroyer, submarine, fighter, and all other major weapons on the lists now circulating should be canceled or delayed anyway, if only to reduce the federal deficit. But it would be foolish to do so in order to send a few more units to drive up and down in Iraqi towns, where they can protect very little, and sometimes not even themselves.”—Edward M. Luttwak, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Wall Street Journal op-ed, Jan. 14.
“There’s no question, we should have attempted … to go after Auschwitz. There was a pretty good chance we could have blasted those rail lines off the face of the Earth, which would have interrupted the flow of people to those death chambers, and we had a pretty good chance of knocking out those gas ovens.”—George S. McGovern, former US Senator, Presidential candidate, and B-24 combat pilot in Europe in World War II, on whether US should have bombed the death camp, Washington Post, Jan. 30.
Not Very Worried
“The possibility of a US attack against Iran is very low. We think America is not in a position to take a lunatic action of attacking Iran. The US is deeply engaged in Iraq.”—President Mohammad Khatami of Iran, Associated Press, Jan. 21.
Others Are Watching
“Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.”—Vice President Dick Cheney, referring to, in his words, Iran’s “fairly robust new nuclear program,” MSNBC, Jan. 20.
Mistake at the Cutting Edge
“It seems we will repeat the mistake made with the F/A-117 stealth fighter and B-2 stealth bomber. Large sums were spent to design the most advanced warplanes in the world, but only a handful were built. Yet American strategy depends on air superiority, which field commanders have taken for granted since World War II. How can the continued decline in air strength be justified? Can America no longer afford cutting-edge programs?”—William R. Hawkins, senior fellow for national security studies at the US Business and Industry Council, Washington Times op-ed column, Jan. 26.
New-Age Air Dominance
“The F-22 is not the focus of air dominance necessarily but, rather, a part of joint air dominance. … The [Quadrennial] Defense Review is intended to complete a holistic view of air dominance.”—Vice Adm. Robert F. Willard, director for force structures, resources, and assessment, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon news briefing, Feb. 7.
“The most significant thing about President Bush’s inaugural address was the word he did not utter: terror. Until now, the war on terrorism has been the Administration’s foreign policy paradigm, giving unity and coherence to disparate and morally contradictory policies: promoting democracy in the Middle East, for instance, while ignoring undemocratic practices in Russia and China. One would have expected Bush to make the war on terrorism the theme of his address.”—Robert Kagan, columnist and neoconservative notable, Washington Post, Jan. 23. (The State of the Union address, Feb. 2, had 26 references to terror and terrorists.)