May 1, 2008

Just Some German Dude

“Nearly a quarter cannot identify Adolf Hitler, with 10 percent thinking Hitler was a munitions manufacturer.”—Survey of 1,200 high school students by Common Core, a nonprofit educational research organization, Feb. 26.

Losing in Afghanistan

“Make no mistake. NATO is not winning in Afghanistan. Unless this reality is understood and action is taken promptly, the future of Afghanistan is bleak. … If NATO cannot provide new forces to fight in the south, its credibility will be dealt a powerful blow, throwing into doubt its future cohesion and, hence, viability.”—”Saving Afghanistan,” Atlantic Council report, January.

Second Opinion

“No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won. They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States.”—Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, op-ed column, Washington Post, Feb. 24.

Hands Across the Ocean

“China’s limited armed forces are totally for the purpose of safeguarding independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. China will not pose a threat to any country.”—Jiang Enzhu, spokesman for the Chinese Parliament, announcing a 17.6 percent increase in China’s military budget for 2008, International Herald Tribune, March 4.

Capability Missing

“Although our conventional forces are second to none, we no longer have these forces forward deployed permanently throughout the world. Therefore, it is prudent to have the ability to defeat attacks and eliminate high value targets at global ranges on short notice. We have a prompt global strike delivery capability on alert today, but it is configured only with nuclear weapons, which limits the options available to the President and may in some cases reduce the credibility of our deterrence. The capability we lack is the means to deliver prompt, precise, conventional kinetic effects at intercontinental ranges.”—Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander, US Strategic Command, House Armed Services Committee, Feb. 27.

On Course for More Trouble

“This past November, one of our 666 F-15s literally fell out of the sky from structural failure. Last week we lost another one. Only 73 percent of those fighters have been returned to flight and we do not know how many of the remaining 182 aircraft will fly again. Beginning in 2008, 764 aircraft—nearly 14 percent of the Air Force—are grounded or operating under restricted flying conditions. The Air Force that prevented death to any American soldier from enemy aircraft for over half a century may not be up to the task in the years ahead due to lack of adequate investment.”—Col. Mace Carpenter and Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, op-ed column, Washington Times, Feb. 21.

Jammed Up in Space

“During Operation Iraqi Freedom, we experienced GPS jamming and since then we have witnessed a worldwide proliferation of technology that can be used against our space systems. Our space capabilities face a wide range of threats including radio frequency jamming, laser blinding, and anti-satellite systems. The emergence of these threats requires a broad range of capabilities, from diplomatic to military, to protect our interest in space.”—Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command, Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, March 4.

Can’t Fool Her

“Did a man really walk on the moon? I saw plenty of documentaries on it, and I really wondered. And in any case I don’t believe all they tell me, that’s for sure.”—Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard of France, London Sunday Telegraph, March 2.


“It cost almost 50 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) to pay for World War II. Fighting the Korean War consumed about 14 percent of GDP, Vietnam about nine percent. Even with the supplemental spending to fight radical Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, the President’s defense budget is about four percent of GDP. America is engaged in a Long War. We should be prepared to pay for it.”—James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation, op-ed column, Washington Times, Feb. 21.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

“Some of our partners can’t wait to see me stop fulfilling my duties so that they could deal with another man. But [newly elected Russian President Dimitry Medvedev] is no less of a Russian nationalist—in a positive way—than me. And I don’t think it will be easier for our partners to deal with him.”—Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, Associated Press, March 9.

The Gentrifying of Terror

“The al Qaeda men who are coming today are not farmers, illiterate people. They are Ph.D.s, professors.”—Qari Mohammed Yusuf, cameraman for al-Sahab, a multimedia production company affiliated with the terror movement in Afghanistan, Associated Press, March 9.

Into “Recallable Storage”

“I’m happy to hear they are putting it in a place where they could bring it back if they ever needed it.”—Brig. Gen. Gregory A. Feest, first person to fly an F-117 in combat (in Panama in 1989), as the Nighthawk moves from active duty into “recallable storage,” Associated Press, March 11.

Lego Force

“If someone can shoot me down, and I can say, ‘Not a problem,’ and be back up in a matter of days or a matter of hours, it kind of removes their incentive to shoot our stuff down.“—Air Force Chief Scientist Mark J. Lewis, looking ahead to satellites that could be built from off-the-shelf parts and launched within days, New York Daily News, March 6.