Nov. 1, 2008

New Mission Statement

“The enduring responsibility of the United States Air Force is to provide strategic deterrence for the nation and [to] fly, fight, and win as an integral part of the joint team.”—Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, Sept. 3.

The Real Aggressors

“The suspicion would arise that someone in the United States created this conflict on purpose to stir up the situation and to create an advantage for one of the candidates in the competitive race for the presidency in the United States.”—Russian Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, explaining the events leading up to the Russian invasion of Georgia, CNN, Aug. 28.

The Post Spots a Trend

“Mr. Putin is turning Russia into something very like a fascist state, and its natural inclination will be to replicate itself abroad.”—Washington Post editorial, Sept. 2.

Now’s Your Chance

“If you are an Air Force critic, the world is your oyster.”—Richard Aboulafia, Teal Group aerospace research firm, Government Executive, Aug. 15.

Remember To Talk Big

“My preference is to go carefully on concrete actions but to be sufficiently tough on the language. Whether we like it or not, Russia and Europe are mutually interdependent.”—Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb of Finland, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 29.

Indication for Raptors

“Given Russia’s invasion of Georgia on behalf of the breakaway region of South Ossetia on 8 Aug., some of the lost emphasis on preparing to fight potential future conventional war is likely to have been rediscovered. Jane’s believes the case for extending the procurement of the F-22 has seemingly been strengthened by events in the Caucasus. While the conflict in Georgia will not establish a firm requirement for additional Raptors, it will give more credence to those voices that advocate the potential for future conflict with advanced states.”—Jane’s Defence Business News, Sept. 5.

Déjà Baloney

“Washington officials probably will use the same excuses they did after Vietnam to justify reneging on their obligation to ‘provide for the common defense.’ They will argue that they can spend less on defense because they’re so smart. They know exactly what the future holds, what the threats will be, how to handle them—and miraculously, the cost of this defense will be exactly the paltry amount of money they’re willing to spend.”—James J. Carafano, Heritage Foundation, Tampa Tribune, Sept. 8.

Wynne’s Prescription

“We could have flown Global Hawks or U-2s on the Russian-Georgian border to signal our watchfulness to the Russians. We could have escorted these assets with the F-22s, which fly at high enough altitude to operate as a defense of unmanned assets, or can operate to defend key assets in Georgia. If the Russians determined to invade, we could have strengthened air defenses of key Georgian positions, provided fighter reinforcements, and placed Special Forces or marines on the ground in the national capital.”—Former Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne, commentary,, Sept. 8.

US Dominance Diminishing

“The US will remain the pre-eminent power, but that American dominance will be much diminished.”—Thomas Fingar, leading analyst of the US Intelligence Community, forecasting global trends for 2025, Washington Post, Sept. 10.

Where It Must End

“We do face committed enemies, which brings me to the challenge of the tribal areas of Pakistan. As in Iraq, until the insurgency is deprived of safe havens, insecurity and violence will persist. … During this time of political turmoil in Pakistan, it is especially crucial that we maintain a strong and positive relationship with the government—since any deterioration would be a setback for both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The War on Terror started in this region. It must end there.”—Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, House Armed Services Committee, Sept. 10.

Not a Suggestion

“In the past few years, we’ve witnessed reduced situational awareness and a lack of focus when it comes to complying with policies and procedures and the fundamental principles of accountability. Air Force instructions are not a suggestion. We should begin by critically examining our internal processes, identify weaknesses, restore discipline, and instill a willingness to enforce policies.”—Maj. Gen. Gary T. McCoy, Air Force director of logistics readiness, Air Force Print News, Sept. 5.

Nuclear Limbo

“Despite the continuing desire on the part of many to see a nuclear free world, I believe that such a vision is a dangerous pipe dream. We can no more disestablish the reality of nuclear weapons than we can plan for the end of history. The current strategy and posture places us in limbo. While there is virtual unanimity that the security environment has changed, the US strategic posture looks remarkably similar to what it was more than a decade ago. It is important to recognize that by not taking steps to modernize the existing elements of the posture, we are making a choice with respect to our future military strategy and deterrent policy.”—Daniel Goure, Lexington Institute, remarks to Strategic Posture Commission, Aug. 15.

Return on Success

“Here’s the bottom line: While the enemy in Iraq is dangerous, we have seized the offensive. Iraqi forces are becoming increasingly capable of leading and winning the fight. As a result, we’ve been able to carry out a policy of ‘return on success’—reducing American combat forces in Iraq as conditions on the ground continue to improve.”—President Bush, speech at National Defense University, Sept. 9.