“We don’t know if there were any helicopters, but we do know that there could not have been any helicopters from Russia. Observers have noticed lots of actions of a provocative nature from the Georgian side.”—Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, denying knowledge of helicopter attack, observed by more than 50 witnesses, on settlements across the border in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Wall Street Journal, July 4.
Badgers? What Badgers
“We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.”—British military spokesman Mike Shearer, denying rumors that spread after local farmers killed several aggressive honey badgers near Basra in Iraq, BBC News, July 12.
“We continue to struggle to determine what the appropriate roles and missions are for the Department [of Defense] and what capabilities each of our military services should have in order to fulfill those roles and missions. Since the end of the Cold War, it has become apparent that the department must respond to both the changes in the geopolitical climate and to the adaptation of modern technology, which poses irregular and disruptive threats. These changes require no less than a complete review of the missions of the Department of Defense and a re-evaluation of the capabilities needed to deliver desired effects.”—Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, UPI, June 20.
Secret No More
“It’s something that was a closely guarded secret not that long ago and now everybody’s got access to it.”—Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, USAF deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, on detailed imagery of Earth from space available on line from Google Earth, Defense Writers Group, June 21.
“Ancillary training ‘creep’ is having a negative impact on our Total Force. Over the years it’s expanded to a level that consumes a disproportionate amount of our airmen’s time and jeopardizes mission accomplishment. This is especially true for airmen in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, who have the least time and computer resources available to conduct anything but their primary duties. In today’s smaller yet more capable Air Force, our airmen’s time is at a premium—in fact, your time is critical. I intend to reverse the tide of ancillary training ‘creep’ and give you some of that time back.”—Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff, CSAF’s Scope, June 18.
Speak Fast, Act Slow
“In January, President Bush announced the ‘surge’ but only in June did sufficient troops arrive for the plan to take full effect. We telegraphed the punch, then took six months to deliver it. This gave the enemy ample time to adjust. And that includes the Iranians, initially impressed by the President’s political courage but now much less impressed by the follow-through. So our enemy’s countersurge began before we could even implement our strategy.”—Alexander M. Haig Jr., retired Army four-star general and former Secretary of State, Wall Street Journal, July 10.
The AWACS Gateway
“When the E-3 started, it was purely an additive to our ability to conduct air defense. It would go out and point the fighters in the right direction. Now it can do so much more. The E-3 is becoming a gateway. It’s not only a command and control aircraft but also a gateway to process information and send it to the larger force.”—Gen. Ronald E. Keys, Air Combat Command commander, on 30th anniversary of E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, ACC News Service, July 1.
Tiger and the Troops
“For me, all my life, I’ve been part of the military. I’ve always been around [service members]. I understand the commitment it takes for men and women to do what they do each and every day. That’s a commitment that I don’t think that people truly understand. Especially with what’s going on overseas, we need to say ‘thank you’ somehow, and this is a small way of doing that.”—Golf champion Tiger Woods, host of the AT&T National golf tournament in Washington, named for his father (a retired Army lieutenant colonel), with special honors and 30,000 tournament tickets donated to military members, American Forces Press Service, July 4.
That Sounds Familiar
“We’re working hard on winning the hearts and minds. I don’t know if ‘hearts and minds’ is the right phrase to use for what we’re trying to do. But we’re certainly working hard on the indirect form of warfare.”—Army Gen. Bryan D. Brown, then commander of Special Operations Command, St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times, July 2.
“Right now the experts are saying that Iran will not have an ICBM until the 2010-2015 time frame. But it’s going to take us at least that long, until 2011 or 2012, to get a first capability on the ground.”—Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, director of the Missile Defense Agency, Washington Post, July 5.
Perspective on the Bombs
“My understanding is that it ended the war and that it couldn’t be helped. … I don’t hold a grudge against the United States.”—Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma on use of atomic bombs against Japan, Reuters, July 1.
Protest and Resignation
“I regret that my comments have caused trouble. I am very sorry.”—Kyuma, resigning as Defense Minister, after reprimand from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and waves of protest and criticism in Japan, Reuters, July 3.
Not in India
“Neither the country nor the IAF is ready for women fighter pilots.”—Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, on combat pilot policy of Indian Air Force, NewKerala.com, June 26.