“I like peanuts as much as the next guy, but I believe the security of our troops should come before the security of the peanut crop.”—President Bush on $74 million proposal for secure peanut storage, one of numerous unrelated riders attached by members of Congress to emergency war funding bills, weekly radio address, March 31.
“There is no way this nation can properly atone for the shabby and disrespectful way that we treated those World War II heroes known as the Tuskegee Airmen, but at long last we have begun to try.”—Contra Costa (Calif.) Times, April 3, on Congressional Gold Medal awarded March 29 to the Tuskegee Airmen.
In It Together
“The overwhelming military advantage of the US lies not in our ground forces, although they are without peer; not in our naval forces, although they are the best in the world; and not even in our Air Force, although we are the most dominant air force in history. Instead, America’s true military advantage lies in our ability to fight as an interdependent team, capitalizing on the independent strengths each brings to the fight.”—Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, AFMC Online Commentary, March 9.
“We should have no illusions about the nature of this regime or about their designs for their nuclear program, their intentions for Iraq, or their ambitions in the Gulf region. … In dealing with a regime like Iran, one has to be realistic. The American search for elusive Iranian moderates is a recurring and mostly fruitless theme since the revolution in 1979.”—Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, American-Turkish Council, Washington, D.C., March 27.
“The wars are not fought in Missouri or Michigan. They’re fought abroad. And if that’s the case, somebody or some craft, air or naval, will have to ship them over.”—Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, on further procurement of C-17 airlifters, National Journal’s CongressDaily AM, March 28.
“The budget hearings are an annual opportunity for us to highlight the long-term programs we’ve put in place to fund our priorities over the next five to six years, including our top five acquisition priorities—the KC-X; CSAR-X; space communications, situational awareness, and early warning; F-35A; and next generation long-range strike—a new bomber by 2018.”—Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Chief’s Scope, Air Force Link, March 9.
Battle for Spectrum
“Just like we conquer airspace, as we go into some place, we also conquer spectrum.”—Lt. Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, USAF acquisition deputy, on operations in areas where the US doesn’t “own” the radar frequency it needs, House Armed Services Committee air-land panel, March 22.
Britain Stays Nuclear
“There is absolutely no evidence whatever that if Britain now renounced its independent nuclear deterrent that would improve the prospects of getting multilateral disarmament. I think the reverse is the case.”—Prime Minister Tony Blair after winning a vote in Parliament to renew Britain’s nuclear deterrent, New York Times, March 15.
Consuming the Army
“We have increased the capacity of the Army but it is being consumed as we build it.”—Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker at end of his tour as Army Chief of Staff, US News & World Report, March 26.
Terrorized by Mantra
“The ‘war on terror’ has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush Administration’s elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America’s psyche, and on US standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.”—Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor in the Carter Administration, Washington Post, March 25.
A Ban on GWOT
“There was no political intent in doing this. We were just trying to avoid catch phrases.”—Democratic staffer, House Armed Services Committee, responding to criticism of a memo directing that “Global War on Terror” and “Long War” not be used in the 2008 defense budget, Military Times, April 4.
Apology at Walter Reed
“I apologize for what they went through, and we’re going to fix the problem.”—President Bush, touring Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where neglect and bureaucratic ordeals of battle casualties had become a national scandal, Washington Post, March 31.
“He had meant his legacy to be transformation of the military and preparation for future combat. His assumption was that Iraq was going to be a brief excursion and not the defining struggle of our time. It’s not at all what he wanted or intended to be judged by. But it is what he will be judged by in the end.”—Neoconservative author Frederick W. Kagan on departed Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, US News & World Report, April 16.
Fifth Generation Replacements
“We in fact have lost 50 fighters since 2001. We have not replaced those 50 fighters because we don’t have an F-16 line or an F-15 line that we want fighters from. Currently, F-15s are being produced for Korea. We don’t want that. Currently, F-16s are being produced for the United Arab Emirates. We don’t want that. … We do want to replace the combat capability that we lost. And so we ask for fifth generation fighters. … We are finished with the fourth generation and do not want to go back in technology and pick those up.”—Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne, explaining requirement for F-22s and F-35s, USAF Defense Strategy Seminar, March 19.