Aug. 1, 2006
Bad Force and Its Buddy

“To identify an organization truly unwilling to change, we need to look no further than Rumsfeld’s beloved Air Force. Far from driving ‘transformation’ as he claims, the Defense Secretary has continued to buy hyper-expensive, virtually useless aircraft that were conceived in the 1980s to combat the Soviet Air Force. Rumsfeld’s transformation program boils down to reducing our ground forces—the soldiers and marines who rescued him from a fiasco in Iraq, where progress has been made despite his incompetence—in order to send massive welfare checks to the defense industry.”—Ralph Peters, who bills himself as “a retired Army officer, strategist, columnist, and the author of 21 books,” Washington Monthly, June 2006.

Forward Pass

“The war began on my watch—but it’s going to end on your watch.”—President Bush, West Point commencement address, May 27.

One of Each

“We have one Army, one Air Force, one Marine Corps, one Navy. To divide our Air Force, to divide our Army by having an additional member of the Joint Chiefs who represents a segment of both of those services would do a disservice.”—Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on proposal to make the director of the National Guard a member of the JCS, The Hill, May 18.

Defensive and Peaceful

“China’s military is defensive in nature, and we have no history of invading other countries and do not pose a threat to other countries. The US, as the world’s largest military power, has no reason to criticize China on this issue.”—Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, Associated Press, June 6.

Even More Peaceful

“We have not threatened to use force, nor have we used force against any country or government in the past 250 years. We’ve never done that in the past, and we’ll never do it in the future. We wonder whether Israel or the United States can make the same statement.”—M.A. Mohammadi, press officer, Iranian Mission to the UN, letter to the Washington Post, June 12.

Nix to Hicks

“Terror? What Terror? Feds Slash Our Funds to Boost Hicks in Sticks.”—New York Post headline after 40 percent cut in 2006 counterterrorism funding for New York and Washington while funding was increased for other locations, June 1.

That Airplane Looks Familiar

“During my first tour as Secretary of Defense in the mid-1970s, controversy engulfed the B-1 program. I actually approved the B-1 bomber back in the mid-1970s, and then it was canceled by the next Administration, but it was revived by the Administration after that. And interestingly, during the first months of Operation Eudring Freedom in 2001, that platform—the B-1B—that I had approved in 1976 and was designed for the Cold War nuclear strikes—dropped 40 percent of the weapons and 70 percent of the precision munitions that helped to defeat the Taliban and the al Qaeda in Afghanistan 25 years later.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Air Force Academy commencement, May 31.

Love One Another

“What is most important for our country? The Defense Ministry knows what is most important. Indeed, what I want to talk about is love, women, children.”—Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressing alarm about a drop in the Russian population, offering cash incentives for women having more than one child, to fill the future ranks of the Russian armed forces, State of the Nation address, May 11.

Flippin’ Nightmare

“There would be a flippin’ nightmare there shortly after a precipitous withdrawal.”—Ret. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey on consequences of pulling US troops out of Iraq too quickly, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 31.

NATO’s Global Challenge

“If you look at the threats and challenges coming to NATO, these are of a global nature. Terrorism is of a global nature. Weapons of mass destruction proliferation is a global threat. Failed and failing states are happening on a global scale. … NATO needs global partners to face those challenges.”—NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Wall Street Journal, June 13.

No Scarf, No Goggles

“Military aviation has never been about Top Gun, it’s never been about glamour, it’s never been about looking good at air shows. It’s been about taking that machine and utilizing it as a weapon more effectively than the enemy. People will come around.”—USAF Col. John Harris, combat pilot and former commander of Predator operations, about unmanned aircraft and Air Force culture, London’s Daily Telegraph, June 2.


“There is great concern this could be destabilizing in terms of deterrence and nuclear policy. It would be hard to determine if a missile coming out a Trident submarine is conventional or nuclear.”—Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on proposal for a conventionally armed Trident II missile for fast global strike on time-urgent targets, New York Times, May 29.

Rationale for Conventional Trident

“This really is a small, quick-strike capability. Why would you want it? So that you can respond within 60 minutes or so to something at very long ranges, very precisely, assuming you have very precise knowledge.”—Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on requirement for conventionally armed Trident II, American Forces Press Service, June 8.