“The B-1 is a great piece of equipment. It carries the largest conventional weapons load of any of my bombers. It has the capability of being a ‘Burger King’ jet. You can have it your way and load it however you want. It can stay airborne for a long time and provides the precision and persistence we need.”—Gen. Ronald E. Keys, Air Combat Command commander, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Desert Eagle, May 6.
The New Strategy
“I ordered major changes to our strategy in Iraq. … This new strategy is fundamentally different from the previous strategy. It recognizes that our top priority must be to help Iraq’s elected leaders secure their population. … There are still horrific attacks in Iraq, such as the bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday—but the direction of the fight is beginning to shift.”—President Bush, speech in East Grand Rapids, Mich., April 20.
Lack of Strategy
“The very fundamental issue is, they don’t know where the hell they’re going. So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, ‘No, thanks.’ ”—Retired Marine Corps Gen. John J. Sheehan, declining White House appointment to be “war czar” in Iraq, Washington Post, April 11.
The Force That Flies
“The association between Air Force and flying is universal, inherent, and undeniable. Yet over the years, we have become so technically proficient and specialized that we have sometimes drifted from our core essence and let our functions override our mission focus and warfighting orientation.”—Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Force Print News, April 18.
News From the Fringe
“This House regrets the founding of the United States of America.”—Motion debated April 26 by the Oxford Union and declared “silly” by The Economist, April 28.
“These guys, frankly, look like thugs, some of them. They’ve got tattoos; they’ve got earrings. They don’t wear a uniform. And for those Iraqis or the people of Afghanistan, it is not clear who is United States military and who is a contractor. And frankly, it blemishes our reputation.”—Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), on contract security forces overseas, Inside the Pentagon, April 26.
Dump the “Long War”
“The change in vernacular is a product of our ongoing effort to use language that describes the conflict for our Western audience while understanding the cultural implications of how that language is construed in the Middle East. In this case, the idea that we are going to be involved in a ‘Long War’ at the current level of operations is not likely and unhelpful.”—US Central Command spokesman explaining why Adm. William J. Fallon, new CENTCOM commander, discarded the term “Long War,” which was cited conspicuously in the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, Tampa Tribune, April 19.
Long War Objective
“Our principal objective is to enable our partners in this Long War to be able to provide their own security. It’s very clear to us that in most instances, regional or indigenous forces not only will be able to do the job cheaper, but will be able to do the job more effectively. They understand the cultural terrain, they understand the local conditions, they speak the language, they’re familiar with the citizenry, and they present a friendlier face.”—Ryan Henry, principal undersecretary of defense for policy and senior official of the 2005 QDR, Defense News, May 7.
The Airman’s Creed
“ … I am an American airman. My mission is to fly, fight, and win. I am faithful to a proud heritage,a tradition of honor, and a legacy of valor. …”—From “The Airman’s Creed,” adopted by the Air Force April 18.
“I think there’s a temptation to forget that we’re not alone in this fight. In Afghanistan there are 42 countries and 12 non-governmental organizations involved in working with us, or we are involved in working with them. We have 36 countries working with us in Iraq. Obviously we have the overwhelming percentage of the forces. But when small countries like Estonia and Macedonia and others are willing to commit some of their relatively small number of troops to fight alongside us, I think it is an important message.”—Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, speech to Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, May 3.
Outcome of War Not Apparent
“Americans have gotten into a bad habit of believing that the outcome of every war is predictable—that wars are either short, decisive, and victorious, like Desert Storm, or long, painful, and futile like Vietnam. The truth is that the outcome of most wars remains in doubt until they are very nearly over. Until late 1864, it looked as though the Union might well lose the Civil War. Within a year, Lincoln had triumphed.”—Frederick W. Kagan, neoconservative author and analyst, Weekly Standard, April 23.
“I’m proudest of helping the WAPS [Weighted Airman Promotion System] program get going. One of the biggest problems I faced as CMSAF was promotions. When I came in, we had a terrible promotions system. It was so bad we had thousands of airmen writing their Congressmen about it. The WAPS program cleared up the problem.”—Retired CMSAF Paul Airey, first Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Air Force Print News, April 30.
“We can never sink to the level of the enemy. We have done that at times in theater and it has cost us enormously.”—Gen. David H. Petraeus, US commander in Iraq, calling for “redoubling of our education efforts” after survey in which more than half of the Marine Corps and Army troops in Iraq said they would not report a member of their unit for killing or injuring an innocent civilian, Associated Press, May 8.
“Just as Billy Mitchell endeavored to prove the potential of airpower to a skeptical nation, we must now prove the critical importance of cyberspace as a warfighting domain.”—Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne, letter to airmen, May 7.