Sept. 1, 2001

Once Is Enough

“[A]m I confident we can have a …successful base closing round? The answer is no, I’m not. And no one could be. It is a very difficult thing to do. … After a great deal of consultation on the Hill, the conclusion by the people who were doing that consulting was that a single [base closure] round would be better than two or three or five or 10, the latter being akin to cutting a dog’s tail off one inch at a time, hoping it doesn’t hurt so much.”—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Aug. 3 remarks to Pentagon reporters.

Running on Empty

“If we don’t have $18 billion, we won’t do $18 billion. … There has been a request for additional funds for defense … and in education. I do think we’re going to have to exercise some fiscal discipline. We say not be able to see as much spending as some people would like in a number of areas.”—Sen. Trent Lott (R–Miss.), Senate minority leader, in July 31 Washington Times. He referred to President Bush’s request to increase next year’s Pentagon budget by that amount.

What the Rogues Know

“To those who wonder why so many of the regimes hostile to the United States—many of them desperately poor—are investing such enormous sums of money to acquire ballistic missiles, I suggest this possible answer: They know we don’t have any [anti-missile] defenses.”—Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, July 12 statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

One Way or Another

“These are not going to be traditional arms control negotiations with small armies of negotiators inhabiting the best hotels in Geneva for months and years at a time. … It’s our full intention to engage [with Moscow] as robustly, as expeditiously, and as sincerely as we can. … We hope that the Russians will see this as part of the new strategic frame to the White House to present his Fiscal Year 2002 budget request. After some five months of review, Rumsfeld had concluded that he needed approximately $35 billion in additional funds for FY 2002, with more to come in FY 2003. … Rumsfeld was mauled. The Office of Management and Budget demanded that Defense receive only a $15 billion increase over the Clinton baseline. They ‘compromised’ at $18 billion. President Bush duly approved the halving of his Defense Secretary’s request and moved on to more pressing business.”—Republican political commentators Robert Kagan and William Kristol, in July 23 Weekly Standard.

Third Tablet of Moses

“[A]ny policy that seeks meaningful reductions in nuclear weapons must include the deployment of effective [anti-ballistic missile] defenses. Defenses provide a hedge against cheating or a sudden breakout from a deep-cuts agreement. There is the basis in this logic for a new bipartisan compact on defenses and disarmament. The Bush Administration’s approach has been heavily weighted on the side of the former. Officials should get started on offensive reductions and speak more pragmatically about defense plans and programs. For their part, instead of blindly defending the ABM treaty as if it were the third tablet Moses brought down from the mountain, Democrats should refocus on the real danger: nuclear weapons. … Democrats should not rule out the desirability of supplementing deterrence with effective defenses on ideological grounds or on the basis of a mistaken nostalgia for the misremembered comforts of [Cold War–era] deterrence.”—Barry M. Blechman, assistant director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency 1977–80, in July 25 Los Angeles Times.

Friendly Advice

“Here’s some unsolicited advice for two old friends, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz: Resign. Right now, that may be the best service they could perform for their country, for it may be the only way to focus the attention of the American people—and the Bush Administration—on the impending evisceration of the American military. … [A] few weeks ago, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld went work in a cooperative mode that is in both of our interests, but we will move ahead on our own, if need be.”—Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John R. Bolton, July 24 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on President Bush’s plan for a new Russian–American “framework” that includes deployment of US missile defenses.

In Rumsfeld’s Defense

“I’m not asking for him [Rumsfeld] to resign. He’s trying to do the right thing. He’s just not getting the support he needs from the White House and OMB. It all goes back to the tax cut.”—Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington, senior Democrat on House defense appropriations subcommittee, July 21 Congressional Quarterly Weekly.

Precision Tank Rounds

“Sometimes, when you have a conflicted target, where they have decided to take their warmaking potential and put it into innocent area sanctuary, where your large explosive weights would cause unacceptable damage, in those cases, your most precise instrument may be a tank sabot round [from a distance of about two miles] that can attack a target like that without the collateral damage.”—Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff, in July 30 testimony to the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.

Modest to a Fault

“The Navy is the last outfit that has to be told, ‘Oh, well, you have to transform yourself,’ because they already have, [but] they haven’t been very good at publicizing it.”—Naval analyst Norman Friedman, quoted in July 14 National Journal.