“Over the years, these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence: Israeli presence on the West Bank or the US military presence in Saudi Arabia or the defeat of the Taliban or the crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we’re not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We’re facing a radical ideology with unalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of the killers, and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder.”—President Bush, speech to National Endowment for Democracy, Oct. 6.
The Problem Is Airpower
“America’s fondness for airpower puts our ground forces at a disadvantage.”—Headline on article by retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales in The American Legion Magazine, October 2005.
International Industrial Base OK
“Our job is to get the best for the warfighter. Innovation is not always bounded by borders. We want the best capability at the most cost-effective price and from the best suppliers we can find.”—Kenneth J. Krieg, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, defending Pentagon’s increasing reliance on foreign contractors, International Herald Tribune, Sept. 23.
US Industrial Base Not Seen
“Rumsfeld hasn’t met with any senior executives from the defense industry during his tenure as Defense Secretary. The heads of some of the biggest military contractors have never talked to him. … Rumsfeld thinks the sector is populated by plutocrats rather than patriots, people who don’t care about the nation’s real defense needs. Obviously, this view is more easily sustained when you never deal with any of them.”—Loren B. Thompson, Lexington Institute, Sept. 23.
“I love the image of me doing pushups.”—Lucie Wood Saunders, 77, of Upper Nyack, N.Y., who received a Marine Corps recruiting mail out promising to push her “physical and mental limits beyond anything” she has known, Boston Globe, Sept. 24.
Keep the ICBMs
“The strategic forces that deterred Soviet aggression and kept the limited conflicts of the Cold War from escalating to global annihilation continue to play a critical role in deterring aggression and dissuading near-peer competitors. We do not believe our ICBM fleet should be a strong candidate for paring back.”—Bipartisan Senate ICBM Coalition, letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Sept. 21.
A Flaw in the Evidence
“I have evidence that there are plans to invade Venezuela. Nobody can deny it, because it, Plan Balboa, exists.”—Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, accusing US of plans to invade his country. Although Plan Balboa did exist, it was a wargame involving a “Venezuela-like” country and was organized by Spain’s armed forces, not by the United States, Miami Herald, Oct. 2.
“It feels like a funeral [but] we’re here to celebrate rather than be real sad about it.”— Retired Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, 85, the Berlin Airlift “Candy Bomber,” in Frankfurt for ceremonies at which US returned Rhein-Main Air Base to Germany, Stars and Stripes, Oct. 11.
A Matter of Will
“This is a battle of wills, and they’re out to break the will of the Iraqi people and the wills of the coalition publics. They’re not succeeding in Iraq. They can only beat us if we lose our will.”—US Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., commander of the Multinational Force in Iraq, The Hill, Oct. 4.
“The odds are not great of our prevailing there. Since the end of World War II, the only major foreign power that succeeded in putting down an insurgency was the British putting down the Malay insurgency, but the British stayed 15 years. So you can say for historical reasons, the odds are not great of our prevailing there, it’s a quagmire, and it could go wrong.”—Former President Clinton, Ladies Home Journal, November.
Where the Quagmire Is
“On the subject of Iraq, it’s Washington that looks more like a quagmire. That was true in Vietnam, too. By the mid-1970s, America was winning in Vietnam, but support in Washington and the country had plummeted. Now we’re winning in Iraq and beginning to lose at home.”—Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard, Oct. 17.
The Annals of Airmanship
“We, of course, hadn’t planned to probe NATO defenses, but they turned out to be good for nothing. The much-praised German pilots were on duty there, drinking beer or doing I don’t know what, but when they were scrambled, the plane had already hit the ground.”—Russian Air Force Chief Vladimir Mikhailov on slow NATO response to Russian Su-27 that violated Lithuanian airspace and crashed there, Associated Press/Moscow Times, Sept. 27.
McCain on Torture
“Many of my comrades were subjected to very cruel, very inhumane, and degrading treatment, a few of them even unto death. But every one of us—every single one of us—knew and took great strength from the belief that we were different from our enemies.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was tortured as a POW in the Vietnam War, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 6.
“It doesn’t bother me to spray paint ‘US Navy’ down the side of a Global Hawk.”—Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff, on willingness to share operation of USAF systems with other services, Defense Daily, Oct. 12.
“Our fellow citizens are right to expect our military will act during a disaster.”—Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Parade magazine, Oct. 2.