April 1, 2006
Hold Your Spit

“I’m not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn’t be celebrating people for doing something we don’t think was a good idea. All I’m asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health, and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.”—Columnist Joel Stein, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 24.

Restating the Commitment

“You bet, we’ll defend Israel.”—President Bush on whether US would rise to Israel’s defense militarily, Washington Post, Feb. 2.

Not Broken

“The force is not broken. … I just can’t imagine someone looking at the United States armed forces today and suggesting they’re close to breaking. That’s just not the case.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Pentagon news briefing, Jan. 25.

Fractured, Maybe

“They are stretched thin. Whether they’re broken or not, I think I would say if we don’t change the way we’re doing business, they’re in danger of being fractured and broken.”—Retired Army Gen. George A. Joulwan, former NATO commander, CNN Late Edition, Dec. 4, widely quoted after Rumsfeld statement.

Awaiting the Egress

“Rumsfeld will be gone soon, and Capitol Hill has ceased caring what he wants anyway. Congress will probably add money for the lost brigades and airlifters, just as it will reject other bad proposals like the idea of creating a monopoly for fighter engines. But with the clock ticking down on Donald Rumsfeld’s tenure, it’s a little hard to say what he has achieved in the way of a lasting, positive legacy.”—Loren B. Thompson, Lexington Institute, Jan. 23.

Ralph and His Arithmetic

“Instead of beefing up the forces that do the actual fighting, the Pentagon self-justification process known as the ‘Quadrennial Defense Review,’ or QDR, is about to call for increasing the buy of the F/A-22, a pointless air-to-air fighter with a $280-million-per-copy price tag, while acquiring high-tech destroyers designed to defeat a vanished Soviet Navy.”—Ralph Peters, retired Army officer turned media star and vitriolic critic of the Air Force. The F-22 program was cut—not increased—yet again, New York Post, Feb. 2.

Chirac’s Warning

“The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would envision using … weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and fitting response on our part. This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind.”—French President Jacques Chirac, Washington Post Foreign Service, Jan. 20.

The Alleys of Intelligence

“It is the nature of intelligence that many tips lead nowhere, but you have to go down some blind alleys to find the tips that pay off.”—Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, principal deputy director of national intelligence, National Press Club, Jan. 23.

Endorsed by bin Laden

“If I were the President, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize—very publicly and very sincerely—to all the widows and orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism.”—Sample of content from Freeing the World to Death, a book by left-wing US historian William Blum, who drew an endorsement from Osama bin Laden, Washington Post, Jan. 21. Blum welcomed Osama’s comments.

We’ll Get Him

“In the end, we’ll get bin Laden, just like we’ve gotten his senior leaders. The heads of al Qaeda now are all third- and fourth-tier individuals.”—Retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Contra Costa Times, Jan. 20.

Regulars and Reserves

“This is a simpler way to manage the force. Those on active duty will be regular officers; those in the reserves will be reserve officers. … The change is across all of the Department of Defense, so there’s no option to remain an active duty officer with a reserve-type commission.”—Lt. Col. Leslie Formolo, Air Force chief of promotion and evaluation policy, on switch from traditional difference in types of commissions, Air Force Print News, Jan. 31.

Ready for Dear Leader

“We are fully capable today of defeating any North Korean aggression and we will maintain that capacity.”—Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on US and South Korean military preparedness, New York Times on the Web, Feb. 3.

States’ Rights

“Governors and members of Congress are stakeholders in the defense of America. The Defense Department would be wise to work with them when addressing the states’ Guard and Reserve policies.”—Former Secretary of Defense and nine-term Congressman Melvin R. Laird, op-ed column, Washington Post, Feb. 6.

The Benevolence of Beijing

“We are an important force that promotes the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and the world. We have not, do not, and will not pose a threat.”—Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan, rejecting the Pentagon’s characterization of China as a potential military threat, Associated Press, Feb. 8.

Ground Dominance

“This QDR gives the Army a chance to achieve overwhelming dominance on the ground. It will be expensive. But as one general told me last week: ‘?“Land warfare is no longer the cheap alternative.’?”—Retired Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales, former commander of the Army War College, op-ed column, Washington Times, Feb. 3.

Future of Airpower

“It’s the most requested aircraft in theater—everybody wants Predator. This is the future of airpower.”—Maj. Micah Morgan, former B-1 pilot, now commanding the Predator unmanned aircraft system squadron at Balad AB, Iraq, Washington Post, Feb. 9.