May 1, 2011

Operation Skedaddle

“The Obama Administration achieved one of the President’s principal goals in Libya: withdrawing US warplanes from the fight. … Mr. Obama said that … because of his grounding of US planes, ‘the risk and the cost of the operation … will be reduced significantly.’ “—Washington Post editorial, April 6.

No-Fly Zone, Redefined

“Your timing is exquisite. At a time when the Qaddafi forces have literally, tragically, routed the anti-Qaddafi forces, that’s when we announced that the United States is abdicating its leadership role and removing some of the most valuable assets.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, March 31.

Road Not (Yet) Taken

“Airpower in support of rebel ground forces can defeat Qaddafi’s fielded forces. … It may not be sporting to take out tanks with precision munitions dropped from a stealth bomber above 25,000 feet, but it is effective.”—Retired Gen. Charles A. Horner, Desert Storm air boss, Wall Street Journal, March 24.

The April Fool

“[I met] this morning with Fidel Castro … and we welcomed each other like old friends.”—Former President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, televised remarks in Havana after visit with the Stalinist regime in Cuba, April 1.

Rip Van Weatherman

“The US armed forces are a blight on the planet. I don’t support soldiers. I think they’re war criminals. So obviously, I’m against ROTC coming back.”—Weatherman Brian Flanagan, age 63, commenting on return of Reserve Officer Training Corps to Columbia University after 42 years, New York Times, April 2.

US at Kinetic Military Action

“We are … enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone. Obviously that involves kinetic military action.”—Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, comments to reporters, March 23.

Mortal Kombat

“The Russians … still have a very formidable nuclear arsenal, which does pose potentially a mortal threat to us. … Certainly, China is growing in its military capabilities. … So they, too, pose—potentially, from a capabilities standpoint—a threat to us, … a mortal threat.”—Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper in remarks to the Senate Armed Services Committee, March 10.

Secretary of Gullibility

“There is a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”—Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, referring to murderous Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, on CBS News program “Face the Nation,” March 27.

Cyber Inadequacies

“We are finding that we do not have the capacity to do everything we need to accomplish. To put it bluntly, we are very thin, and a crisis would quickly stress our cyber forces. … This is not a hypothetical danger.”—Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, head of the National Security Agency and US Cyber Command, in March 16 remarks to the House Armed Services Committee.

As Reported in “Duh” Magazine

“It’s [a nuclear strike on a US city] a spectacular and unthinkable situation, but the time to prepare is now and not … after the fact.”—Alexander G. Garza, Department of Homeland Security’s chief medical officer, in USA Today, March 15.

Danger of Debtzkrieg

“I actually think the biggest threat to our national security is our national debt. … As that debt increases, … our national security budget will continue to get compressed.”—Adm. Michael G. Mullen, JCS Chairman, remarks at US Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Tex., March 10.

And the Horse You Rode In On

“There is too much talk about leaving [Afghanistan] and not enough talk about getting the job done right; too much discussion of exit and not enough discussion about continuing the fight; too much concern about when and how many troops might redeploy and not enough about what needs to be done before they leave.”—Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, rebuking US allies in an address to the NATO ministerial in Brussels, Belgium, March 11.

Slow Learners

“It’s unfortunate that it took the Obama Administration more than two years to figure out what the majority of Americans already know: that 9/11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is not a common criminal. He’s a war criminal.”—Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), House Judiciary Committee chairman, statement on Obama’s decision to change course and try KSM in a military court, April 4.

No Boss Hoss

“General Cartwright has led Marine aircraft squadrons and headed the US Strategic Command. … He is highly decorated, but, unusually among current senior brass, hasn’t served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and in his career never deployed in combat. That fact alone would make him a startling choice given the last decade’s sacrifices by US soldiers.”—Wall Street Journal editorial opposing elevation of USMC Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the post of Chairman, March 9.

What Does a Woman Want

“I didn’t hear, ‘Rah, rah, we want to be in combat.’ But I also didn’t hear, ‘We don’t want to be in combat.’ What they want is an equal opportunity to serve where their skills allow them to serve.”—Retired USAF Gen. Lester L. Lyles, chairman of Military Leadership Diversity Commission, on proposal to allow military women to enter the ground combat arms, American Forces Press Service, April 7.