Feb. 1, 1995

Seven For B-2s

“We are writing you to express our concern about the impending termination of the B-2 bomber production line. After spending over $20 billion to develop this revolutionary aircraft, current plans call for closing out the program with a purchase of only twenty bombers. . . . Even after all twenty B-2s are delivered, the inventory of long-range bombers will total barely 200 aircraft. This is not enough to meet future requirements. . . . The logic of continuing low-rate production of the B-2 thus is both fiscal and operational. It is already apparent that the end of the Cold War was neither the end of history nor the end of danger. We hope it also will not be the end of the B-2.”

Open letter to President Bill Clinton, issued January 5, 1995, and signed by seven former Secretaries of Defense-Harold Brown, Frank C. Carlucci, Dick Cheney, Melvin R. Laird, Donald H. Rumsfeld, James R. Schlesinger, and Caspar W. Weinberger.

Operating at High Tempo

“I agree that some [US military] units and some specialties have been overextended. The operating tempo has been too high, either for the unit or for the individuals involved. . . .

Five years ago, when units went over to Europe, they went over there and just hunkered down and stayed there for their tour. Now they go over, and that is a base from which they are forward deployed. They go from there to Provide Promise or Southern Watch or Vigilant Warrior, and some of those units . . . are doing it at a very high risk factor-some of them as high as sixty percent. That’s too high. Not only is there a lot of stress on the people involved because they’re away from their families . . . but it takes them out of their training cycle. . . . So some part of their proficiency is going downhill.”

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, in a December 21, 1994, Pentagon press briefing.

Answer in Haste . . .

“I think that the record shows that the readiness of the forces [is] as high as they have ever been-higher, in my judgment, than they were in . . . 1990, when we were worrying about Iraq the first time.”

John M. Deutch, deputy secretary of Defense, in an October 13, 1994, Pentagon press briefing on US military readiness.

. . . Repent at Leisure

“You know, there are times when you wish you could take a sentence back. That’s one of the sentences I wish I could take back.”

Secretary Deutch in a December 1, 1994, White House press briefing, referring to his October statement about force readiness-a claim that was soon undercut by evidence of readiness problems within the armed services.

No Russian Veto

“We must not allow the Iron Curtain to be replaced by a veil of indifference. We must not consign new [east European] democracies to a gray zone. . . . NATO remains the bedrock of security in Europe, but its role is changing as the continent changes. . . . New members will join, country by country, gradually and openly. Each must be committed to democracy and free markets and be able to contribute to Europe’s security. NATO will not automatically exclude any nation from joining. At the same time, no country outside will be allowed . . . to veto expansion.”

President Clinton, in December 5, 1994, remarks in Budapest, Hungary, to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. His statement was aimed at Russia, which opposed NATO membership for Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or any other former member of the Warsaw Pact.

Moscow’s Zbig Problems

“Nearly half a century ago, the Soviet Union spurned participation in the Marshall Plan and chose to go it alone-until it collapsed from historical fatigue. Tormented by domestic conflict, troubled by the rise of the new Muslim states to the south, and facing a possible future challenge from a powerful China in the east, today’s Russia is in no position to engage in a conflict with the West as well. Moscow can perhaps delay the enlargement of NATO, but it can neither halt Europe’s growth nor prevent the extension of the Euro-Atlantic security umbrella over the wider Europe. It can merely isolate itself again.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former White House special assistant for national security affairs, writing in the December 28, 1994, New York Times.

Noam Chomsky’s America

“True, Japan had committed many horrendous crimes before the US entered the war, but that’s hardly relevant, since the US had little objection to them, as long as it was permitted freely to share in the spoils. . . . Also true, Japan did commit a crime [the surprise attacks on Hawaii and the Philippines] on December 7­8, 1941, bombing military bases in two US colonies that had been stolen from their inhabitants-in one case by deceit and treachery, in another by slaughter of hundreds of thousands of defenseless people in the traditional style. But these Japanese crimes, though real enough, rank so low in the scale of those we [the United States] have regularly committed, before and since, that no honest person could take them very seriously as a justification for [a US] invasion [of Japan].”

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, in a December 12, 1994, letter to AFA member Burr Bennett. Professor Chomsky was one of forty-eight “historians and scholars” who signed a letter demanding a more critical tone to the National Air and Space Museum’s exhibition of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.