Nov. 1, 2007

Weinberger-Powell OBE

“The Weinberger-Powell Doctrine is a nostalgic yearning for the days when wars were wars (and men were men); when states fought each other force-on-force in open battle; when progress could be measured by divisions destroyed, factories bombed, and territory taken; and when the enemy’s unconditional surrender could be sought and obtained. It has very little relevance in a world in which intrastate wars and transnational terrorism have replaced interstate warfare as the primary threat to US security.”—Jeffrey Record, Air War College, Strategic Studies Quarterly, fall issue.

Rumsfeld’s Grasp

“I’m not saying Donald Rumsfeld is stupid, far from it. But the intellectual grasp of the complexity and breadth of what this campaign was going to be about—it seems to me it wasn’t there.”—Retired Gen. Mike Jackson, head of the British Army during the invasion of Iraq, Washington Post, Sept. 8.

Regress to the (Hollywood) Mean

“Anti-war movies are coming out now because public opinion has crystallized against the war. It’s safe for Hollywood to make these kind of movies without risking much of a backlash. There’s always a risk when you make an anti-war movie in the middle of the war that people are going to be ticked off.”—Darrell West, expert in politics and the mass media, Brown University, Agence France-Presse, Aug. 21.

The Airman’s Perspective

“An airman’s perspective is, by definition, multidimensional, global, and strategic. We instinctively address problems in a comprehensive, three-dimensional, nonlinear manner, and we intuitively factor in the fourth dimension: time. Our way of thinking starts at the top, with the first-order, overarching determination of desired effects. We systematically work our way through the ensuing tasks and second- and third-order consequences. We size up situations, integrate seemingly disparate data points, seize on opportunities, and act decisively.”—Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff, Strategic Studies Quarterly, fall issue.

The All-Recruited Force

“This is the first time since the Civil War the United States has fought an extended conflict with an entirely volunteer force. The test for the volunteer force is, can the United States sustain a significant volunteer force over a long conflict? It’s more accurately called an all recruited force because we aim at high-quality entrants.”—David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, Washington Examiner, Sept. 1.

A Blast From the Past

“The F-16A, as it was in 1986, can whip today’s F-22. You’d think the F-22 would be able to whip some antique.”—Pierre Sprey, one of the original members of the “Military Reform” movement in the 1970s and 1980s, Cybercast News Service, Aug. 31.

Nunn Urges Talking

“I think the Russians see the danger from Iran, but they have, of course, different tactical considerations, and they want the United States to talk bilaterally to the Iranians, as well as multilaterally, and I think on that point the Russians are right. I’ve said for a long time that we need to be talking to the Iranians. I don’t think you have very much success by refusing to talk to people whose behavior you want to change, and certainly you want to change it without a war if that’s at all possible.”—Former Sen. Sam Nunn during visit to Russia, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sept. 2.

Headline of the Month

“USAF Gets Far Too Little Credit for Role in Iraq.”—Toronto Sun, Aug. 26.

Victims of Withdrawal

“One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like ‘boat people,’ ‘re-education camps,’ and ‘killing fields.’—President Bush to Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention, Aug. 22.

Long-Range Russians

“In 1992, the Russian Federation unilaterally ended the flights of its strategic aviation in faraway areas patrolled by the military. Unfortunately, not everyone followed our example, and strategic aviation flights by other states continue. This causes certain problems for guaranteeing the safety of the Russian Federation.”—Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, announcing resumption of regular long-range air patrols, Washington Post, Aug. 18.


“It’s willy-waving. They are out to make a point, that they are still here, and that they can’t be forgotten about or ignored. But it isn’t something anyone has to worry about.”—Robert Hewson, editor of Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, on largely “symbolic threat” of Russia’s aging Tu-95 bombers, Guardian Unlimited, Sept. 7.

Springboards for Cyber-war

“Most Americans would be surprised to learn that many Islamist hacker sites are hosted in the United States. Consider it an unmistakable and intended irony that these cyber jihadists are using our own domestic Internet resources against us.”—Jim Melnick, senior threat analyst at VeriSign Inc., Boston Globe, Aug. 19.

Different Difficulty

“I mentioned mutually assured destruction in the Cold War. If that war ever came, the Soviet Union’s most deadly forces—ICBMs, tank armies—they were actually relatively easy to find, but they were very hard to kill. Intelligence was important, don’t get me wrong, but intelligence was overshadowed by the need for raw, sheer firepower. Today, the situation is reversed. We’re now in an age in which our primary adversary is easy to kill, he’s just very hard to find. So you can understand why so much emphasis in the last five years has been placed on intelligence.”—CIA Director Gen. Michael V. Hayden, Council on Foreign Relations, Sept. 7.