The “Supporting Arm”
“The future of the Air Force is in the service to the mission on the ground. It is in support of our young corporals and sergeants engaged in the real fight. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the senior leaders are reluctant to recognize that waves of Russian fighters will not be coming over the horizon any time soon. The future of the Air Force is not the main effort of the fight, but it is that of a supporting arm.”—Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, March 29.
Supporting Arm’s Contributions
“Within the joint force, our Total Force—active, Guard, and Reserve airmen—grounded the Iraqi Air Force, destroyed the combat effectiveness of the Iraqi ground forces, blinded the Hussein leadership, and paved the way for a series of ground battles that saw Baghdad fall in 22 days.”—Gen. T. Michael Moseley, USAF Chief of Staff, letter to airmen on third anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom, March 20.
Pave PAWS Goes to the Snakes
“I always look for snakes. This is a rattlesnake haven. I’ve seen them hanging out the door.”—County Sheriff David Doran, making a security check at the old Pave PAWS strategic radar facility near Eldorado, Tex., closed since 1995, Houston Chronicle, March 26.
Keep the Missiles
“What has changed since January 2002 to necessitate a further reduction in our ICBM force? Am I correct in concluding that this is simply a budget decision driving strategy? The proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the world requires that we maintain these missiles as part of our strategic defense capability.”—Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), on proposal to reduce the US ICBM fleet from 500 to 450, Great Falls Tribune, March 30.
“And what if a bomb the size of the Hiroshima bomb was set off around here? Well, we’d all be dead, so we wouldn’t have to worry about a mass evacuation.”—Terrance Gainer, departing chief of the US Capitol police, Washington Post Magazine, April 9.
Most Serious Threat
“We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.”—National Security Strategy, March 16.
“I read the articles in the newspapers this weekend. It was just wild speculation, by the way. What you’re reading is wild speculation, which … happens quite frequently here in the nation’s capital.”—President Bush on news reports of intensified US planning for an attack on Iran, speech at Johns Hopkins University, April 10.
No Gulf War Syndrome
“An enormous amount of money and effort have been expended on understanding Gulf War illnesses worldwide. These reviews make it clear that there is no single cause.”—Simon Wessely, co-director of King’s College Centre for Military Health Research, London Times, March 25.
The Danger in Withdrawing
“If we should withdraw from Iraq and simply wash our hands of the situation there, we risk creating a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, a situation that would enable terrorists to train and plan attacks against the United States with impunity. We saw just such a situation develop in Afghanistan after international disengagement from that country, and it resulted in 9/11. We must not make that mistake again.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Arizona Republic (Phoenix), March 19.
Iraq Was Peripheral
“I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat—al Qaeda.”—Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory S. Newbold, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, October 2000 to October 2002, signed column, Time magazine, April 17 issue, published April 9.
Opportunity to Speak
“We had then and have now every opportunity to speak our minds, and if we do not, shame on us because the opportunity is there. … The plan that was executed was developed by military officers, presented by military officers, questioned by civilians as they should, revamped by military officers, and blessed by the senior military leadership.”—Marine Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on war in Iraq, Pentagon news briefing, April 11.
No Discouraging Words
“In the five years Mr. Rumsfeld has presided over the Pentagon, I have seen a climate of groupthink become dominant and a growing reluctance by experienced military men and civilians to challenge the notions of senior leadership.”—Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, the US general in charge of training new Iraqi military members after the fall of Baghdad, New York Times op-ed, March 19.
9/11 in Perspective
“Before Sept. 11, 2001, there was somewhat of a misunderstanding in America about terrorists and in some circles I suppose there still is today. Even today, some folks view terrorists as criminals, not as combatants—some even consider them victims. Some seem to think that the years before September 11th were decades of peace, but that is not so. Though we think of September 11th as the first day in the Global War on Terror, it wasn’t the first day for the enemy. Extremists had declared war on free people decades ago. In 20 years, terrorists attacked and killed Americans more than 20 times.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, speech at Army War College, March 27.