July 1, 2011

Off the Rails

“Belatedly, the President and his allies are trying to establish congressional endorsement for the war through a nonbinding Senate resolution approving ‘the limited use of military force by the United States in Libya.’ … These ‘sense of the Senate’ resolutions are most often used to commemorate noncontroversial events such as … National Train Day, not to authorize a war.”—Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in the Washington Post, June 5.

Ships in the Night

“If the military drifts away from its people in this country, that is a catastrophic outcome we as a country can’t tolerate, can’t afford, in no way. It’s a different lash-up, which I think would be very bad for us as a nation.”—Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, remarks to Defense Writers Group, Washington, D.C., June 2.

Why They Blabbed

“Let the record show that, when I was first briefed in 2007 about the brightening prospect of pursuing bin Laden through his courier network, a crucial component of the briefing was information provided by three CIA detainees, all of whom had been subjected to some form of enhanced interrogation.”—Gen. Michael V. Hayden, USAF (Ret.), former CIA director, writing in the Wall Street Journal, June 2.

Small, Superb, but Limited

“I’ve said repeatedly that I’d rather have a smaller, superbly capable military than a larger, hollow, less capable one. However, we need to be honest … about what those consequences are: That a smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things.”—Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates in lecture at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., May 24.

Track Record

“The first three drawdowns came at the end of wars—World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. … The end of the Cold War then accelerated defense reductions. What these transitions in defense spending have in common is that DOD suffered a disproportionate loss of capability as a result. Each time, we had to rebuild much of the capability we lost, often at great expense and under urgent circumstances. Each time, our industrial base struggled to rapidly reverse course. In other words, we have gone zero-for-four in managing the drawdowns to date.”—Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III in remarks in New York, May 11.

Willie Sutton in Washington

“We have to put [budget-saving] initiatives in place over the midterm that will then start to generate cash in the out-years. Part of this is understanding where the money is. Two of the big places the money is is in health care, and it’s in pay and benefits.”—Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, session of the Defense Writers Group, in Washington, D.C., June 2.

The Critical Link

“We … depend on the Reserve component to keep the Air Force connected to local communities. … At a time when only about one percent of Americans serve in the US military, the impact you have on your local communities is even more significant. In many cases, you are the only military members the community sees and knows.”—Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, remarks to Air Force Reserve Command conference, Washington, D.C., May 16.

Maybe Not Immediately …

“I think that there may be a false perception that there are a whole bunch of secret super-effective air assets that are in a warehouse somewhere that could just be pulled out and that would somehow immediately solve the situation in Libya. That’s not the case.”

—President Obama, remarks at press conference at Lancaster House in London, May 25.

This Law Is Optional

“No President has ever recognized the constitutionality of the War Powers Act and neither do I. So I don’t feel bound by any deadline.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), remarks during Washington, D.C., news conference about the deadline for pulling US forces from Libya, May 11.

Father Knows Best

“India doesn’t need more than five weapons to hurt us badly, and we wouldn’t need more than 10 to return the favor. … India and Pakistan understand the old principle that ensured peace in the Cold War: mutually assured destruction. The two can’t afford a nuclear war, and despite our saber rattling, there is no chance of a nuclear war.”—Abdul Qadeer Khan, so-called “father” of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, writing in Newsweek, May 23.

Club Dead

“One thing we’re hoping is that more tourists will come to visit now. They are already there, in fact. Even if we don’t make it into a museum, people will still come. This could be a blessing in disguise for us.”—Mohammed Azfar Nisar, regional official in Abbottabad, site of Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan. Quoted in Wall Street Journal, May 7.

Brer Rabbit Comes to DOD

“I am surprised by the sophistication of the US military, including its weapons and doctrines. … I can tell you that China does not have the capability to challenge the United States.”—Gen. Chen Bingde, PLA chief of the general staff, news conference at the Pentagon, May 18.

Sen. Straight Talk, Now …

“Over [about 15 years], Congress has authorized and appropriated funds for 113 F-35 jets. Lockheed has, however, delivered just 11. … Some of us saw this train wreck coming.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), remarks at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, May 19.

… And Then

“We want to increase funding for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft and weapon system that in the view of many experts—including my view—would be far more capable [than the F-22] of meeting the emerging threats of the future.”—Same senator, Senate floor speech praising the F-35 when his immediate objective was to kill the F-22, July 13, 2009.