“If at the end of the First World War we had done what we promised the Arabs, which was to let them be free and have their own governments, and kept out of Arab affairs, and just bought their oil rather than feeling we had to control the flow of oil, I suspect this wouldn’t have arisen.”—London Lord Mayor Ken Livingstone after terror bombings in London, to BBC as quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency, July 23.
Phony Purple Hearts
“Print your own Purple Heart. To get one of these babies, some dudes have to prove their physical, mental, and spiritual strength with great feats of bravery on the battlefield. All you need to do is press the button below.”—Web site promotion gimmick by producers of movie “Wedding Crashers,” July.
Then What Did They Intend?
“We understand the sensitivity regarding the medals and did not intend to make light of their significance in any way.”—Richard Socarides, spokesman for movie “Wedding Crashers,” after Purple Heart gimmick was withdrawn following public and Congressional outrage, Associated Press, July 25.
“The truth is, Admiral Keating, you are the last number called. This is America. Civilians are in charge—always. Northern Command is not even the first military responder. The National Guard, under the command of a governor, is the first military responder.”—Robert M. Walker, former acting Secretary of the Army (January to July 1998) and former National Guardsman, responding to a statement by Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of US Northern Command, that the Department of Defense should lead the response to a WMD terror attack on the United States, op-ed column, Washington Times, Aug. 10.
“Of course we need naval, air, and space power, too. But constabulary missions of the sort our current strategy requires depend on robust ground forces which, before the war in Iraq, were seen by many defense analysts as not very useful. This is especially true of those enamored of a ‘revolution in military affairs’ based on emerging information technologies.”—Mackubin Thomas Owens, Marine Corps officer in Vietnam, now a professor at the Naval War College, New York Post, July 19.
Percentages, Then and Now
“Thanks to something that policy-makers and academic experts grandly call the ‘revolution in military affairs,’ which has wedded the newest electronic and information technologies to the destructive purposes of the second-oldest profession, we now have an active duty military establishment that is, proportionate to the population, about four percent the size of the force that won World War II. And today’s military budget is about four percent of gross domestic product, as opposed to nearly 40 percent during World War II.”—David M. Kennedy, op-ed column, New York Times, July 25.
China, China, China
“You look at the Air Force’s briefings, and they are all China, China, China.”—A “defense official” working on the Quadrennial Defense Review, Los Angeles Times, July 20.
Where the Ducks Are
“When you look at where you’re going to save the most money, obviously the most money is in the biggest programs. When you’re faced with all those budgetary constraints, you sometimes make Draconian decisions.”—Marvin R. Sambur, former assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 28.
China and Japan
“The reality is that they must accept the idea of China as a rising military power, and we must accept the idea of Japan becoming a normal nation, whether we like it or not.”—Pang Zhongying, professor at Nankai University in northeast China, New York Times, Aug. 3.
“We face enemies that have no territory to defend. They have no treaties to bind; they’re unencumbered by laws, by bureaucracy, by regulations. They have a significant advantage—they need to succeed only occasionally.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, speech to Air Force Sergeants Association, Aug. 2.
Jane Fonda’s Baggage
“I’ve decided I’m coming out. I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam. I carry a lot of baggage from that.”—Jane Fonda, announcing her cross-country tour (on a bus that runs on “vegetable oil”) to oppose US military operations in Iraq, Associated Press, July 25.
Nukes for the North
“Our position is that North Korea has a general right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes such as for agriculture, hospitals, and electricity generating. We have a different view to the United States.”—Chung Dong-young, South Korean unification minister and National Security Council chairman, Washington Times, Aug. 12.
Not the Plan
“We’re not talking about weaponizing space.”—Gen. Lance W. Lord, commander of Air Force Space Command, to Fort Worth Airpower Council, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 28.
“Why should the US ambassador to Japan have to spell out how much Japan benefits from its alliance with the United States? The reason is that Japan’s leaders remain incompetent in explaining vital security issues to the Japanese public and so take the easy way out by bleating about the so-called burden of hosting US bases here.”—Robyn Lim, professor of international relations at Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan Times, July 28.
“To send a man to Mars we have a generously funded, well-integrated project; but to detect a smuggled nuclear bomb on its way to a US city, we allocate a puny fraction of those funds and scatter it among a multitude of disjointed studies that feed Congressional pork.”—Fred C. Iklé, undersecretary of defense for policy in the Reagan Administration, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 5.