Sept. 1, 2006
Serving Suggestion

“They taste better if you haven’t eaten for a few days and you are under extreme stress.”—Jess Soto, Vietnam veteran now working at the Pentagon, on the new Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE), introduced in June, Los Angeles Times, June 15.

Might Be a Connection

“Increased demands on the acquisition workforce have led to vulnerabilities in contract pricing and competition and in the selection of the most appropriate contracting techniques.”—Government Accountability Office on performance of Pentagon acquisition workforce, which was cut by 38 percent between 1989 and 2002, Washington Post, July 11.

The Man Who

“Sadly, America has yet to hold Donald Rumsfeld accountable for his poor judgment and failed decision-making. He alone is responsible for setting America up for the prolonged challenge we now face as we continue to plug away in Iraq and Afghanistan well into our fourth year.”—Retired Army Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste, former commander of 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, also formerly senior military assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, San Diego Union-Tribune, July 6.

Kay’s Take on Tenet

“I think it is true that George Tenet wanted to be a player. And he understood that if you didn’t give the policy-makers what they wanted, he believed, I think wrongly, that you weren’t a player, and therefore your views wouldn’t be taken and you wouldn’t be invited into the closed meetings, etc. He traded integrity for access.”—David Kay, former Iraq weapons inspector on CIA director Tenet’s advice to the President that evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was a “slam dunk,” PBS “Frontline” documentary, June 20.

Green Machine Sees the Light

“It was always about 85-90 percent of hands that showed support for the Army blue uniform.”—Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston on soldiers’ preferences prior to Army decision to eliminate the green uniform worn for more than 100 years and switch to blue, Bloomberg, June 15.

Not His Area

“I don’t do this business. That is not what I do. There are all kinds of senior people in this department who do it. … I have got 50 million things on my desk and that isn’t one of them.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on criticism that he has paid insufficient attention to management of acquisition programs, Washington Post, June 20.

Threat Behind the Threat

“Americans need to stop thinking parochially and selfishly and start thinking strategically. North Korea does not have to be able to hit the United States with meaningful nuclear threats to do much to deter or damage American interests.”—Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, San Diego Union-Tribune, July 9.

More Where Those Came From

“Every time you bring one dead, you will find 20 more volunteers willing to join the fighting.”—Hafiz Ihsanullah, Taliban recruiter in Pakistan, London Sunday Telegraph, July 2.

Antiairpower Artillery

“The Air Force has become a force that is marketing flawed ideas that harm our defense.”—Army Col. H.R. McMaster, respected author of Dereliction of Duty (1997), ending his tour as commander of a regiment in Iraq and joining the “Boots on the Ground” attack on the Air Force, Colorado Springs Gazette, June 29.

Not Center of GWOT

“Iraq is not the center of the Global War on Terrorism, nor is it overwhelmed by foreign terrorist groups, as this Administration would like Americans to believe. Iraqis are fighting Iraqis in sectarian violence, and US troops have become the target.”—Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, top Democrat on House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, signed column, USA Today, June 16.

Radio Games End

“What we found was when our single-channel, local AFN radio station switched from music to a sports event, more than half the audience left. Music is what they’re looking to be entertained with. When they can’t find music, they’ll go to their iPods or CDs or computers.”—Robert Matheson, director of American Forces Network broadcasting in Riverside, Calif., as AFN announces plans to drop play-by-play radio broadcasts of sports events, Baltimore Sun, July 7.

Truth in Labeling

“I am a liar. I am not a marine.”—Sandwich board sign worn by William C. Horvath in Missoula, Mont., on orders of a district judge after Horvath lied to his probation officer about having served in the military, Los Angeles Times, July 8.

It Will Get Worse

“The threat from Iran is only going to grow in the years ahead. We need to take steps now to prepare to deal with that threat.”—Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on need to put interceptor missiles in Europe to defend against potential attacks from Iran, Miami Herald, July 1.

Space Shooters

“Why not pursue space weapons? The most compelling reason is that they would actually make the situation worse. This is due to the technical ease of ground-based antisatellite systems. Adversaries wouldn’t need to go to the trouble of building space-based weapons systems. Simple and inexpensive, ground-based systems could shoot these satellites out of the sky. More than 25 nations already have the missile capability to reach the altitude at which the satellites orbit. More significantly, powerful lasers able to kill a satellite in low orbit through heating are available commercially in more than 50 nations. If the United States deploys ground-based antisatellite technology, or ASATs (which it can do technically now), then others will follow suit. America has the most assets in orbit to lose in such a game.”—William Marshall, Space Policy Institute of George Washington University, Boston Globe, July 5.


“There’s a little thing called the Constitution. It says that Congress shall equip the military, not the Pentagon. The Pentagon proposal is just that.”—Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on Congressional alterations, including earmarks, to the proposed defense budget, Washington Post, July 19.