May 1, 2007

Solutions From Deep Space

“Climate change is the No. 1 problem facing the world today. I’m not discouraging anyone from being green conscious, but I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation … that could be a way to save our planet.”—Paul Hellyer, 83, former Canadian defense minister turned UFO enthusiast, Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 28.

Rating Rumsfeld

“I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst Secretaries of Defense in history.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Associated Press, Feb. 20.

Read My Lips

“For the umpteenth time, we are not looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran. We are not planning a war with Iran.”—Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Pentagon news briefing, Feb. 15.

Elderly Airpower

“We have never flown fighters this old. If you’re driving a 28-year-old car, you can expect some problems. And 28-year-old cars don’t go flying around at 700 miles per hour and pull nine Gs.”—Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, F-15 pilot and Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Feb. 27.

Willing Workers

“Some say it is useful to compare the brothels to college cafeterias run by private companies who recruit their own staff, procure foodstuffs, and set prices. Where there’s demand, businesses crop up, … but to say women were forced by the Japanese military into service is off the mark. This issue must be reconsidered, based on truth, … for the sake of Japanese honor.”—Nariaki Nakayama, speaking for 120 Japanese legislators who deny that Korean and Chinese “comfort women” were forced into brothels in World War II, Associated Press, March 2.

Missile Defense Looks Better

“This is all a result of Iran. Governments see that Iranian missiles can hit Europe, and suddenly they are very worried about the threat from ballistic missiles. They have to look at missile defenses.”—Tim Williams, Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies in London, on changing European attitudes toward US missile defense program, Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 26.

Good Questions

“The budget proposes to add 92,000 active [duty] Army and Marine Corps personnel to the force over the next five years. … An increase of this size will require us to either permanently increase the size of the defense budget or cut back on weapons programs. … Once adopted, such increases are not easily undone. … We all understand the stress on our forces in Iraq, but only some of these additional people would be trained and ready to help relieve that stress in the next year or two. … Do we intend to stay in Iraq for years to come? Does the Administration think the long war with terrorism is going to be won with large ground forces operating in foreign nations?”—Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Feb. 6.

Stalin the Peacemaker

“Stalin was both the greatest military leader of the 20th century and a remarkable politician who sought to avoid the Cold War and establish a long-term detente with the capitalist world.”—Geoffrey Roberts, Irish professor of history, Stalin’s War: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, Yale University Press.

Tin Ear Revisionists

“Today, the Air Force has become so politically correct that nobody can figure out what it’s saying. For instance, in 2005 Air Force leaders issued a revised mission statement, arguing that ‘our mission is our guiding compass, and it must be clearer than ever before.’ The statement began, ‘The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States.’ Sovereign options? Sounds like a mission statement for currency traders rather than warfighters. Whatever happened to Global Reach-Global Power?”—Loren B. Thompson, Lexington Institute, March 6.

Other Side of Proliferation

“I am among those who believe that major war among major countries is on the wane—not because mankind has changed but because of the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”—Military historian Martin van Creveld, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Washington Post, Feb. 18.

Wild Blue Megabytes

“Recently the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and I took steps to focus and accelerate Air Force efforts in cyberspace: updating the service’s mission statement, standing up a Cyberspace Task Force, and asking major commands to develop potential organizational options up to and including an additional major command. The Air Force is particularly dependent upon cyberspace and well postured for the cyber battle. Without dominance in cyberspace, operations in the air and space domains as well as those on land and sea remain at risk.”—Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne, Air & Space Power Journal, spring issue.

Reconsider the Reduction

“The Air Force personnel decreases continue the downward glide-slope of airmen which began in 2004 and are projected to end in 2009 with 65,000 fewer personnel. If we are to expect that the Air Force will provide the same amount of global power and global reach to joint forces, I believe that personnel reductions of this magnitude should be reconsidered in this budget and in future years.”—Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Feb. 28.

Total Force Short

“The equipment readiness of our Guard and Reserve today is totally unacceptable. … For the units that remain here in the continental United States, 88 percent of those units are not ready. If you’re talking about red, yellow, green [readiness ratings], … red would be ‘not ready.’ … In the Air Guard it’s 45 percent red. The National Guard has indicated to me this is worse than the worst readiness days of the hollow force in the late ’70s and early ’80s.”—Arnold L. Punaro, chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, press briefing, March 1.