“I see the mission of the Air Force as: Deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests—in air, space, and cyberspace.”—Michael W. Wynne, in a “Letter to Airmen” during his first days as Secretary of the Air Force, Nov. 3.
Air and Ground
“The US Army is incapable of surviving, much less prevailing, without overhead cover provided by the Air Force. It is myopic to think that money spent to control airspace somehow detracts from Army effectiveness. It makes Army effectiveness possible.”—Loren B. Thompson, Lexington Institute, House Armed Services Committee, Oct. 26.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
“Odds of a big change coming from the QDR is about eight-to-one against.”—Andrew F. Krepinevich, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, on the forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, Defense News, Nov. 7.
The Final Solution
“The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world. The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land. As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.” —President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Aljazeera.net, Oct. 26.
“Terrorism is a sick and cross-border phenomenon. Therefore, eradicating it is the whole world’s responsibility.”—King Abdullah II of Jordan after al Qaeda bombings in Amman, Reuters, Nov. 13.
Torture in Vietnam
“For me, the alleged prison scandals reported to have occurred in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay have been a disturbing reminder of the mistreatment of our own POWs by North Vietnam. The conditions in our current prison camps are nowhere near as horrific as they were at the ‘Hanoi Hilton,’ but that is no reason to pat ourselves on the back. The minute we begin to deport prisoners to other nations where they can legally be tortured, when we hold people without charges or trial, when we move prisoners around to avoid the prying inspections of the Red Cross, when prisoners die inexplicably on our watch, we are on a slippery slope toward the inhumanity that we deplore.”—Melvin Laird, Secretary of Defense 1969-73, Foreign Affairs, November/December.
Speak No Evil
“I didn’t think that calling the Soviet Union the ‘evil empire’ got anybody anywhere.”—Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to President George H. W. Bush, The New Yorker, Oct 31.
Notions of Democracy
“I believe that you cannot with one sweep of the hand or the mind cast off thousands of years of history. This notion that inside every human being is the burning desire for freedom and liberty, much less democracy, is probably not the case.”—Scowcroft, The New Yorker, Oct. 31.
US Misled Itself
“I’ve never maintained that the [Bush] Administration deliberately misled [the public]. I think they misled themselves, that we can see. And then they misled the world.”—Hans Blix, former UN weapons inspector, Boston Globe, Oct. 22.
“More than a hundred Democrats in the House and Senate—who had access to the same intelligence—voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.”—President Bush on allegations that the White House manipulated intelligence prior to war in Iraq, speech at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Nov. 11.
US Would Lose
“Suppose the US and China engage in a war. The US would be defeated because the Chinese do not care about the loss of human life. There is no other country in history that has killed so many of its own people.”—Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo, Washington Post, Nov. 13.
“With the infrared sensor, the pilot can see the bad guys, day or night, in all types of weather. That includes people, trucks, anything. It’s almost like looking through a pair of binoculars.”—Jim Barrow, program manager for the extended-range advanced targeting pod, called the “sniper pod,” Robins AFB, Ga., Macon Telegraph, Oct. 22.
Settle and Withdraw
“The way forward in Iraq is not to pull out precipitously or merely promise to stay ‘as long as it takes.’ We must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces.”—Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Washington Post, Oct. 27.
After the Cold War
“Russia tests Topol-M missile to subdue USA’s $50 billion air defense; The unpredictable flight trajectory of the Russian missile makes it immune to destruction.”—Pravda headline, Nov. 2.
Audit the Pentagon
“Those who argue that the Department of Defense, because of its enormity and complexity, is incapable of establishing sound internal financial controls are guilty of using inverted logic. Indeed, the opposite is true: It is because the Department of Defense’s budget is so big—and its mission to our national security so critical—that it can no longer forgo an independent financial audit.”—Dan L. Crippen, director of Congressional Budget Office, 1999-2003, citing 15-year-old Congressional requirement for audit of federal agencies, Washington Times, Nov. 3.