July 1, 2003

No Pork, No Promotions

“This is a problem created by the Air Force that can easily be solved by the Air Force.”—Will Hart, spokesman for Republican Sen. Larry E. Craig of Idaho, who put a hold on promotions of 850 USAF officers because the Air Force did not station four more C-130 aircraft at the Air National Guard base in Boise, Idaho, New York Times, June 9.

No Freedom Fries for Him

“I doubt he’ll be coming to the ranch any time soon. There are some strains in the relationship, obviously, because it appeared to some in our Administration and our country that the French position was anti-American.”—President George Bush, about French President Jacques Chirac, interview with NBC’s Tom Brokaw, April 25.

The Airhead and the Arrogant

“It was clear that we hadn’t hit it off. He thought I was some kind of airhead academic, and I thought he was rather an arrogant young member of Congress. Probably we were both right.”—Vice President Dick Cheney on his first meeting (in 1968) with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Hudson Institute, May 13.

Bizarro History

“I see no difference between the invasion of Iraq and the invasion of Poland in 1939.”—Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector, to Berliner Zeitung newspaper, cited in London’s Daily Telegraph, May 7.

Our Fault, Of Course

“Thanks to President Bush’s decision to ignore the United Nations and go it alone in Iraq, the world body suffered a huge loss of political credibility.”—Reporter Helen Thomas, Hearst Newspapers, May 16.

Booed Off the Stage

“We have forfeited the goodwill, the empathy the world felt for us after 9/11. … As we revel in our military prowess—the sophistication of our military hardware and technology, for this is what most of the press coverage consisted of in Iraq—we lose sight of the fact that just because we have the capacity to wage war it does not give us the right to wage war.”—New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, in a May 17 graduation speech at Rockford College (Ill.), before his microphone was unplugged and the audience booed him off the stage, Rockford Register Star, May 20.

Advice for the Leader

“Most, if not all, Europeans have absolutely no problem with accepting US leadership—we have accepted it for 50 years—but please give us enlightened leadership.”—Wolfgang Ischinger, German ambassador to US, UPI, May 4.

Red, White, and Brutal

“What has become painfully clear is that Iraq was no immediate threat to the United States, and many of us here said so before the war. Ravaged by years of sanctions, Iraq did not even lift an airplane against us. … It’s becoming all too clear that the smiling face of the United States as liberator is quickly assuming the scowl of occupier. The image of the boot on the throat has replaced the beckoning hand of freedom.”—Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), Washington Times, May 22.

White House Defers

“The configuration of our force and who ought to be fighting where—that’s going to be up to the generals. That’s how we run our business here in the White House. We set the strategy and we rely on our military to make the judgments necessary to achieve the strategy.”—President Bush, deferring to the Pentagon on the question of women in combat, in remarks to the press, May 8.

McGovernism Made Clear

“The best way to support our troops is to keep them out of needless wars such as Iraq and Vietnam. The best way for America to play a constructive role internationally is to support the United Nations and to work toward expanding international trade, aid, and investment while protecting our workers and the environment. An internationalist would also support the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the International Criminal Court, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and an international ban on land mines.”—George S. McGovern, 1972 Presidential candidate, on commentary that the Democratic Party “is moving away from McGovernism and back to its international roots,” Washington Post, May 12.

Badness Not All Bad

“The high commissioner thinks it is not a bad thing in itself if a country that violates human rights sits on the commission. It’s the best way to catch their attention and make them aware of the issues.”—Spokeswoman for Sergio Vieria de Mello, UN high commissioner for human rights, on UN Commission on Human Rights, which includes Libya (as chair), China, Congo, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, Christian Science Monitor, May 7.

Union Warning

“Fight the Rumsfeld Plan or Say Goodbye to Your Job as You Know It!”—American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, on Pentagon’s proposed National Security Personnel System, www.

Weak on Terrorism

“We have let al Qaeda off the hook. We had them on the ropes and close to dismantlement, and then we moved resources out of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight the war in Iraq. We let them regenerate.”—Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Presidential candidate and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, New York Times, May 18.

Rebalancing the Total Force

“We’ve got to be careful not to overuse the Guard and Reserve, and we haven’t, but what we might be doing is overusing certain key capabilities. … In certain specialties, we have called on them time and time again. So probably what we need to do is rebalance.”—Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, New London (Conn.) Day, May 16.