Feb. 1, 2007
You Could Look It Up

“You have not yet had a situation … where you have two clearly defined and opposing groups vying not only for power but for territory. What you do have is sectarian violence that seems to be less aimed at gaining full control over an area than expressing differences, and also trying to destabilize a democracy—which is different than a civil war, where two sides are clashing for territory and supremacy.”—Press secretary Tony Snow, rejecting assessments of a “civil war” in Iraq, White House news briefing, Nov. 27.

Then and Now

“In World War II, we had the goodwill of nearly all the American people. In Iraq, support is waning. In WWII, we knew who the enemy was. In Iraq, one is never certain.”—Bob Dole, former Senate majority leader and 1996 Republican candidate for President, Washington Post, Nov. 26.

Bean Counters and Pork

“We’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps there was a little too much bean counting and a little less standing back and applying common sense to look at the total picture.”—Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, admitting his department made a mistake last summer by cutting anti-terrorism funds for New York and Washington and giving smaller places in mid-America more access to the pork barrel wealth, New York Post, Nov. 29.

The Greatest Threat

“I don’t think terrorism is the greatest threat. I think that terrorism is a weapon of choice for violent extremists, and violent extremism is, in my view, the threat. It is that conviction that they want to destabilize moderate, mainstream Muslim regimes and establish a caliphate and have a handful of clerics determine what everyone in that country can do, and then spread that across the globe from Indonesia to the Middle East through North Africa and Southern Europe.”—Outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld at his 42nd (and last) “Town Hall” meeting with Pentagon staff, Dec. 8.

Losing in the Postwar

“The problem is that bad guys get smarter, shifting their efforts from a ‘first half’ (war) they cannot win against our world-class forces to a ‘second half’ (postwar) where they can prevail against our rather mediocre nation-builders. Simply put, insurgents avoid our Leviathan force during war, waiting until the follow-on peace can be sabotaged by terrorism and the battered populace co-opted by their superior forms of tribe-building. … As our overdeveloped warfighting force gets stronger, it drives up the resource requirements of our underdeveloped peacemaking force. We write checks with airpower that boots on the ground cannot possibly cash.”—Thomas P.M. Barnett, Capitol Hill Blue, Dec. 9.

Military Victory Not Possible

“If you mean by ‘military victory,’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible.”—Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger to the British Broadcasting Corp., as reported by the Associated Press, Nov. 20.

But What Do They Know

“Not all journalists are idiots. Jonathan Karl of ABC asked why the President should pay more attention to the recommendations of the ISG [Iraq Study Group], a group that spent all of four days in Iraq, than to the recommendations of his commanders in the field.”—Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 10.


“The real answer is to go ‘Iraqi.’ The Iraqi forces are quickly reaching the maturity level required for stability operations. Patrolling streets in Baghdad does not require the capability of the 1st Marine Division or the 101st Airborne.”—Outgoing House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Nov. 20.

The New Vietnam

“History has a long march to it. Societies change and relationships can constantly be altered to the good.”—President Bush in Hanoi on state visit to Vietnam, New York Times, Nov. 18.

Old Story on Unit Cost

“Every time critics succeed in getting it cut, the average cost of the airplane goes up. What is beginning to happen to the F-35 is precisely what happened to the F-22.”—Loren Thompson, Lexington Institute, on the rise in unit cost when the production run of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is reduced, Associated Press, Dec. 3.

Old Story on Force Cuts

“Today, the US Air Force and US Navy can achieve air dominance over any potential enemy. However, the committee believes that such a future capability is not assured, given (1) the expected development by China of sophisticated integrated air defense systems, including fighter aircraft that may meet or exceed the capabilities of all current US fighters except the F-22; (2) the closure of all but one US production line for fixed-wing military fighter aircraft in the next six years; and (3) reduction in the numbers of fielded F-22s and potential reduction in numbers of the Joint Strike Fighter.”—Report of the Committee Defense Review, House Armed Services Committee, December.

Family Force

“We are a family force, and so we have people who serve this nation who need to be able to take care of their families. We’re expeditionary, too, so people are gone a lot or work long hours, and there are dual-military and single-parent families. Things like child care are critically important, and so we must maintain that capability to give confidence to those who serve that their families will be taken care of.”—Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel, Air Force Print News, Nov. 21.

Why He Did It

“The reason I disclosed this classified information was to establish the technological credibility with the potential customers for future business. I wanted to help these countries to further their aircraft self protection systems. My personal gain would be business.”—Former defense contractor Noshir S. Gowadia, indicted for giving China technology for B-2 bomber engines, Washington Times, Nov. 23.