May 1, 2004
Fly With the Best

He’s a good pilot. I’m his passenger quite often, and only when I want to tease him do I get a life preserver and a whistle and a flashlight. But he’s a terrific pilot.”—Secretary of the Air Force James G. Roche on riding with Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, C-Span interview Feb. 23, cited by Inside the Air Force.

New Europe and Old Russia

“East Europeans think Western Europeans are completely silly and appeasement minded when it comes to Russia.”—Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former Estonian foreign minister, now member of Parliament, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 18.

Giving In

“We are giving birth to a new world, and it is sad and dangerous and sick. We are giving a signal to the terrorists that they can have their way because we have given in.”—Spain’s departing foreign minister, Ana Palacio, interview with the New York Times, March 16.

Sustain What You’ve Got

“Part of the task for our forces and our planning of the goals that we try to foster through our transformation is to keep strong where we are. Other countries don’t contest the air; we have the oceans.”—Andrew W. Marshall, Pentagon director of net assessment, remarks at Heritage Foundation conference, Inside the Pentagon, March 4.

Rumsfeld’s Spigot

“Think of a barrel of water and the spigot is about a third of the way down from the top. And you open the spigot and you can only access the amount of water that’s above the spigot. … So think of that barrel with 2.6 million [people in the active and reserve forces]. Our task is to sustain, on a rotational basis … what? One hundred fifteen thousand in Iraq, add another 100,000 for the sake of argument. … Out of 2.6 million, we can’t sustain 200,000 people? Why? Because the spigot’s too high. … When you’ve got a spigot that’s one-third of the way down, instead of down at the bottom, I don’t think the taxpayers of the United States want us enlarging that barrel. I think they want us to make better use of what’s in the barrel.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Pentagon news briefing, March 9.

Objective Hasn’t Changed

“My resolve is the same as it was on the day when I walked in the rubble of the Twin Towers. I will not relent until this threat to America is removed. And neither will you.”— President Bush at Ft. Polk, La., to National Guard troops bound for Iraq, Feb. 17.

Support Peacefulness or Else

“The Chinese people love peace, but we will not allow any external force to interfere in our peaceful reunification.”—Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, warning foreigners not to aid activists for Taiwan independence, Washington Post, March 6.

Blitz on Blix

“I learnt that I had been vilified, crucified, and made to look like an imbecile, and I realized that I saved a lot of adrenaline by hardly ever watching TV and by limiting my reading to a few high-quality newspapers.”—Hans Blix, former chief UN weapons inspector, in new book, Disarming Iraq: The Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction, published March 9.

Lobotomy Zone

“Profound Reverence for Kim Jong Il Expressed Worldwide.”—North Korean newspaper headline on the dictator’s birthday, quoted by Wall Street Journal, Feb. 19.

Careful of the Cuts

“The US military requires air dominance to fight future wars the way we did in Iraq. We must expect future adversaries that possess improving air defenses to challenge our military. Only the F/A-22—with its stealthiness, supercruise, maneuverability, and advanced avionics—will be able to gain and maintain our dominance of the air. Even the planned Joint Strike Fighter cannot promise this. Saying no to the F/A-22 means having to buy a lot more nonstealthy, older aircraft. That will not save money and could cost lives. Before we cut more defense programs, let’s really consider the true costs involved.”—Daniel Goure, Lexington Institute, “Opposing View” column in USA Today, March 4.

A Shot From Chu …

“We want to focus attention on those still on active duty, not those who are finished with active duty.”—David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, on burden of paying for military retiree benefits, quoted in Air Force Times, March 15.

… Draws Return Fire

“We are fed up with defense and budget leaders whining about the cost of doing the right thing. It seems like they don’t see retirees as anything other than a line on the debit sheet. The Department of Defense has been more than willing to extract ever-increasing sacrifices from military people for decades. Now, they want to act like they don’t have an obligation to treat them fairly in retirement.”—Steve Strobridge, Military Officers Association of America, Air Force Times, March 15.

Clarity From the Commission

“It is clear that using force is not the answer to resolving the conflict with terrorists.”—European Commission President Romano Prodi, Washington Post, March 16.

New Attacks Threatened

“We remind Bush that he did not crush two-thirds of al Qaeda. … Bush, fortify your defenses and intensify your security measures, because the Muslim nation which sent brigades to New York and Washington has decided to send you one brigade after another, carrying death and seeking paradise.”—Ayman al-Zawahiri, top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden, recording broadcast on al Jazeera, quoted by New York Times, Feb. 25.