May 1, 1999
All the Way with LBJ, Part II

“Our strikes have three objectives: First, to demonstrate the seriousness of NATO’s opposition to aggression and its support for peace. Second, to deter President Milosevic from continuing and escalating his attacks on helpless civilians by imposing a price for those attacks. And, third, if necessary, to damage Serbia’s capacity to wage war against Kosovo in the future by seriously diminishing its military capabilities.”–President Clinton, in March 24, 1999, statement of goals at the start of NATO’s campaign against Yugoslavia.

It’s the War, Stupid

“The task here is to make sure it [NATO’s bombing of targets in Yugoslavia] doesn’t crowd out important domestic issues.”–Joe Lockhart, White House spokesman, quoted in April 12, 1999, issue of US News & World Report.

Just So Long as It Doesn’t Crowd Out Important Domestic Issues…

“It is already clear that the crisis in Kosovo cannot have a happy ending. Even if NATO eventually succeeds in allowing the refugees to go back, well over 1 million people have been displaced. A massive legacy of hatred will exist in the Balkans, spilling over from Serbia and Kosovo into Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. There will be a prolonged problem with Russia, and the need for a whole new exercise in containment to block Serbia from future military action. If NATO does not succeed, nearly 2 million Muslim Kosovars will suffer, the Balkans are up for grabs, and the credibility of NATO and peacekeeping in general will be severely undermined.”–Military analyst Anthony H. Cordesman, in an April 6, 1999, report on Operation Allied Force.

Military Pre-emption by Whom

“Since the end of World War II, Japan has sought to maintain the lowest possible military profile, not only to assuage the fears of its neighbors, but also because the atomic ending of the war turned many Japanese into bona fide peaceniks. The passive defense posture mandated by Japan’s constitution was further abetted by the presence of an American security umbrella. … Japan usually appears on the world stage in the role of conscientious conciliator, a champion of peace at any price.

“So when talk about pre-emptive strikes against North Korea starts emanating from Tokyo, you know that something serious is going on. According to a Japanese newspaper report, Defense Agency chief Hosei Norota believes the threat of missile attack from North Korea is now so great that Tokyo ought to consider that a pre-emptive strike could be a constitutionally permitted form of self-defense.”–Asian Wall Street Journal editorial, March 8, 1999.

Fill ‘er Up With Geritol

“If we do everything we plan to do, if we buy every airplane we have on the books to buy, by the year 2015, the average age of the Air Force airplane will be 30 [years]. We’re going to have to learn to deal with a geriatric set of airplanes by upgrading the ones which are still very viable.”–Gen. Michael E. Ryan, Air Force Chief of Staff, in March 4, 1999, statement during a visit at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

See Statement Above

“I’m not going to be here when the next bomber is built in 2037. I think it is unbelievable that we’re going to talk about flying B-52s when they’re over 80 years old. I think this needs to be rethought.”–Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), in March 3, 1999, remarks concerning a USAF bomber roadmap plan to defer a new bomber for decades.

Dr. Inhofe’s Diagnosis

“Regarding the Fiscal Year 2000 Military Construction Program request, let me be frank. It is ‘dead on arrival.’ Although the total value of the request is $8.4 billion, the Administration is requesting only $5.4 billion this year and deferring the remaining $3.1 billion to next year. Under this proposal, each project would be allocated less than 25 cents out of every dollar required for construction. Such a gimmick may make sense to the comptroller. However, it does not make sense to the civil engineer who has to execute the project nor the contractor who has to bid on a contract for which the money may not be there.”–Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), in March 10, 1999, statement to Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness.

Tunnel Vision

“The tempo of operations for what we call ‘low density/high demand’ forces remains a concern. … One of the reasons for chronic overtasking of these limited capabilities can be traced to military reforms established under [the 1986] Goldwater-Nichols [law]. That legislation effectively removed the services from the process of developing options to deal with contingency situations and tailoring the force packages needed to implement those options. The result is a tendency for the geographic CINCs and their components to place unconstrained demands on scarce resources. …

“There is no way for these regionally oriented staffs to balance their current needs against those of the other regions nor to weigh their current needs against those of Air Combat Command and the other force providers. Force providing commands such as mine are uniquely positioned to maintain awareness of the health of our units and to judge when the cumulative demands of regional requirements put the long term viability of the force at risk. But one unintended consequence of the Goldwater­Nichols reforms has been to exclude this perspective from the process used to task our forces.”–Gen. Richard E. Hawley, ACC commander, in March 22, 1999, statement to House Armed Services Committee.