Nov. 1, 2004
NORAD Sees All

“On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, there were 3,000 aircraft flying, and NORAD saw less than 20 percent of those because of where our radars were. Now we have the means to cover 100 percent of the airspace.”—Maj. Chuck Thinger, spokesman for North American Aerospace Defense Command, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 26.

Beyond Mass

“Mass and numbers was last century. Sitting around counting up how many troops are here, how many ships are there, how many tanks are here, how many bombs are located there, is not going to be the way that intelligent people who understand these things are going to be measuring capability. … We will be increasing our capability because of speed and deployability and usability and lethality.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, news conference in Huntsville, Ala., Aug. 18.

What the Public Doesn’t Know

“The vast majority of Americans believe that the United States can defend itself against a ballistic missile attack.”—New York Post, Aug. 23.

All-Star Airplane

“As a career mobility pilot, I am convinced that the C-130 is one of the greatest aircraft ever built.”—Gen. John W. Handy, commander of US Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command, on 50th anniversary of service by the C-130 Hercules, Aug. 23.

Iran’s Declared Threat

“The entire Zionist territory, including its nuclear facilities and atomic arsenal, are currently within range of Iran’s advanced missiles.”—Yadollah Javani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard political bureau, Washington Times, Aug. 24.

SWAT Style

“The special operations strategy is essentially a SWAT team approach: Highly trained operators swoop down on the enemy and clean house. It works well for the police, because the bad guys are usually holed up somewhere. You can’t surround a whole city or country, though. By the time we kick in the doors, the bad guys have often scattered. Or they were never at that particular address to begin with; witness the still-futile search for Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammed Omar.”—Defense analyst William M. Arkin, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 5.

OK Is Good Enough

“We can’t afford to demotivate employees who are just OK. OK is OK. We are not like the mythical town of [Lake] Wobegone where all the children are above average.”—Jeffrey Neal, director of human resources at Defense Logistics Agency, Federal Times, Sept. 6.

Parts Make a Difference

“We’ve got better budgets over the last three years than we’ve had in many years. … We’ve got airplane parts, and we’ve got mission capable rates in our airplanes higher than what they’ve been for years. Why? Because we’ve had money to buy the parts for the first time in years and years.”—Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper at Ramstein AB, Germany, Aug. 30.

Act Now

“It has been three years since Sept. 11, and we have already had another intelligence failure—this time in Iraq. We should not wait until another failure takes place, until another commission has a task as somber as ours. We welcome refinements to our recommendations through the legislative process. But the time has come to act.”—Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, chairman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, on the need for intelligence reform, Washington Post op-ed, Sept. 8.

Stay Committed

“When you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, you really need to understand what the consequences of that are going to be and not perhaps vacillate in the middle of something like that. Once you commit, you got to stay committed.”— Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway on decision last April to withdraw US forces from Fallujah after three days, Washington Post, Sept. 13.

Starlifter Flies into History

“Some airplanes are designed to have a short lifespan. … There are also sorts of also-rans and not-quites. But if Consumer Reports rated airplanes, it would get a check-plus in every column. It did everything we ever asked it to do.”—Michael Leister, director of Air Mobility Command Museum, on retirement of active duty C-141 Starlifter, Air Force Times, Sept. 20.

Alliance Not Over

“I am well aware that the ROK-US relationship is not what it used to be, and there are lots of challenges and even problems. However, the two countries will remain a key and strong alliance for another 50 years.”—Christopher Hill, US ambassador to South Korea, Korea Times, Sept. 3.

Dump Pre-emptive Strategy

“Before the Iraq fiasco, American leaders rightly viewed war as a last resort, appropriate only when the nation’s vital interests were actively threatened and reasonable diplomatic efforts had been exhausted. That view always left room for pre-emptive attacks; America is under no obligation to sit and wait, if it is clear that some enemy is actually preparing to strike first. But it correctly drew the line at preventive wars against potential foes who might, or might not, be thinking about doing something dangerous. As the Administration’s disastrous experience in Iraq amply demonstrates, that is still the wisest course and the one that keeps America most secure in an increasingly dangerous era.”—New York Times editorial, Sept. 12.

Whistle-Blowers, Arise

“It’s time for truth-telling. It is a time for unauthorized disclosure.”—Daniel Ellsberg, leaker (in 1971) of the Pentagon Papers, calling on another generation of whistle-blowers to disclose classified information,, Sept. 9.