May 1, 2005

They Get Worse

“Pentagon officials had better be careful what they wish for. Although we may characterize the Dear Leader as a nasty piece of work, some of his military men are nastier still.”—Bradley Martin, biographer of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, News­week, Feb. 21


“Well, that was something I wanted to do for a long time.”—Steve Fossett, pilot of the privately sponsored aircraft GlobalFlyer, landing March 3 after the first solo nonstop flight around the world, Washington Post, March 4.

Cut Overseas Bases First

“I understand we have excess facilities, but domestic training bases, which are barely meeting required training volume now, should remain open during war. BRAC 2005 should be about realignment first and closure second, with an emphasis on eliminating excess overseas capacity. During war, domestic base closure should be only a very distant and last resort.”—Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), chairman of Senate Rules and Administration Committee, signed column, USA Today, March 7.

Man for the Ages

“We have to fix it or Rumsfeld may never retire.”—President Bush, referring to Social Security at Gridiron Club dinner, washingtonpost .com, March 12.

Nazi History and Real History

“Today we grieve for the victims of war and the Nazi regime of terror in Dresden, in Germany, and in Europe. We will oppose in every way these attempts to reinterpret history. We will not allow cause and effect to be reversed.”—German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, after march in Dresden by several thousand neo-Nazis and others who depicted the bombing of the city in World War II as a war crime, Washington Post, Feb. 14.

Message for Mischief Makers

“The world has seen, in the last 3.5 years, the capability of the United States of America to go into Afghanistan … and with 20,000, 15,000 troops working with the Afghans do what 200,000 Soviets couldn’t do in a decade. They’ve seen the United States and the coalition forces go into Iraq. … That has to have a deterrent effect on people. … If you put yourself in the shoes of a country that might decide they’d like to make mischief, they have a very recent, vivid example of the fact that the United States has the ability to deal with this.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, House Armed Services Committee, March 10.

Al Qaeda Not Impressed

“If you Western nations believe that these cartoon governments will protect you from our responses, then you are deluded. Your real security lies in cooperating with the Muslim nation on the basis of respect and ending aggression.”—Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda deputy leader, on Arab television network Al Jazeera, New York Times, Feb. 21.

Airdrop by GPS

“I can already look at the Army concept of operations and tell you that we’re going to need to develop a Global Positioning System-guided airdrop capability.”—Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Force Times, March 14.

Go Get ’Em

“The United Nations must show zero tolerance of terrorism of any kind, for any reason.”—UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Associated Press, Feb. 13.

Big Cheaters and Little Cheaters

“You have to think the Iranians are watching how we handle the North Koreans in the next few months. If you won’t do anything with a big cheater, what are the middle and future cheaters to think?”—Nicholas Eberstadt, American Enterprise Institute, New York Times, Feb. 20.

Just Kill Something

“Former deputy CIA director Richard Kerr said the only way for [intelligence director John D.] Negroponte to establish his authority with the Defense Department is to ‘early on make decisions that have a major impact,’ such as changing allocation for a costly satellite collection program run by one of the Pentagon agencies.”—Walter Pincus, Washington Post, March 1.

The Far Reaches of Outsourcing

“It seems we are the preferred bidder to provide supplemental lift for NATO forces. The main requirement is for equipment transport, armored vehicles, helicopters, radar units, anything associated with NATO responding to a crisis.”—Tony Bauckham, managing director of Volga-Dnepr UK, a Russian cargo transport firm, London Times, March 12.

Wrong Focus

“Is it really useful that we spend money in Europe maintaining in service 11,000 main battle tanks? Would it not be better to concentrate on more modern technologies such as communications? Modern warfare depends on intelligence. … We probably have collectively too many fighter aircraft, too many naval hulls, too many battle tanks.”—Nick Witney, British chief executive of the European Defense Agency, London Times, March 2.

All But Won

“It will be some months before the news media recognize it, and a few months more before they acknowledge it, but the war in Iraq is all but won.”—Jack Kelly, former marine, former Green Beret, former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force, now a syndicated columnist, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 27.

Empower the General Assembly

“The so-called UN Security Council is an ugly, forceful, and horrible instrument of dictatorship. It is an executioner’s whip with no appeal against its judgment even if its judgment is unfair, biased, and harmful.”—Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, calling for transfer of power to the UN General Assembly, full page ad, Washington Post, March 9.