Jan. 1, 2005
Weakness Is Provocative

“It seems that that’s a lesson that needs to be relearned from generation to generation—the lesson that weakness can be provocative, that it can entice others into adventures they otherwise would have avoided, that a refusal to confront gathering dangers can increase rather than reduce future peril.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, annual meeting of the Association of the US Army, Oct. 27.

Bin Laden’s Boast

“All that we have to do is to send two mujaheddin to the farthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written ‘al Qaeda’ in order to make the generals race there, to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses, without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.”—Osama bin Laden on videotape telecast by al Jazeera, Oct. 29, quoted by Washington Post, Nov. 2.

Lehman Sums Up Mitchell

“Much of what he said came to pass, and, as a result, his reputation grew. The realities of Blitzkrieg, Pearl Harbor, and the destruction of entire cities with bombs dropped from aircraft cemented his reputation as a true visionary. … Most [of his theories] were validated, including the decisiveness of air superiority over the battlefield on land and sea and the value of close air support to ground forces. Others proved off the mark, like the inability of surface ships to survive air attack. Still others, like the value of strategic bombing of cities, remain controversial to this day.”—Former Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman Jr., reviewing a new book on Billy Mitchell, Washington Post, Oct. 31.

Tuskegee Legacy

“The Buffalo Soldiers were with Teddy Roosevelt in the late 1800s, but their organization is still living. We’re trying to bring new people in, so as we die there will be someone to keep the Tuskegee Airmen going for the future.”—Hiram E. Little Sr., 85, on new members joining the Tuskegee Airmen, Associated Press, Nov. 7.

Just Asking

“If I knew, why would I tell you?”—Richard L. Armitage, deputy secretary of state, to reporter, from Saudi newspaper al Hayat, who asked when the offensive on Fallujah would begin, Washington Post, Oct. 27.

Missing Coverage

“If you are killed, you get the $250,000 service group life insurance. But if you are just wounded and lose a leg and your wife is spending six months or a year in Washington, traveling back and forth, and not able to work, … what do you do? … We need to try to come up with a proposal that would amend our insurance programs to provide some kind of catastrophic disabling injury type coverage.”—Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi, Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 10.

American Revolution Unnecessary

“The Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war. Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonials’ really legitimate complaints and requests, the war could have been avoided completely, and, of course, now we would have been a free country now, as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way.”—Former President Jimmy Carter, MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Oct. 18.

Le Big Difference

“We would never have won the [American Revolution] without the strong alliance with the French that Benjamin Franklin and others negotiated.”—Carter, Newsweek, Nov. 2.

Lethal Debris

“Europeans could accept the idea that several hundred Europeans would die from debris from a missile shot down over Europe and that this could save the lives of thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of Americans. But the decision to trigger such an event cannot be made only by people at Cheyenne Mountain. There needs to be a common decision-making policy here. The threat of lethal debris is one reason why acceptance of missile defense in Europe is a political issue, not mainly a technical issue.”—Dominique Klein, French Defense Ministry, Space News, Nov. 1.

No Surprise Here

“Into the Wild Blue Yesteryear.”—Headline, on yet another New York Times editorial attacking the F/A-22 Raptor and airpower modernization, Oct. 29.

Go for the Leaders

“In the war on terrorism globally, there’s not going to be a surrender on the battleship Missouri. You’re always going to have some element of terrorism, isolated incidents, attacks against our nation and other free nations. You can’t totally eliminate terrorism any more than you can totally eliminate crime. What you can do is dismember the leadership.”—Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Defense News, Oct. 18.

The Enemy’s Culture

“Even today, knowledge of one’s enemy and his culture and society may be more important than knowledge of his order of battle.”—Transformation director Arthur K. Cebrowski, Inside the Pentagon, Oct. 28.

Rumsfeld in Bronze

“I modeled it on [Rumsfeld] when he was a young man. He was a member of my brother’s class [1950], and I knew him well.”—Bruce Everly, sculptor of a bronze statue of Rumsfeld at the high school where he graduated in Winnetka, Ill., Chicago Tribune, Nov. 14.