June 1, 2008

Major Strategic Victory

“The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around—it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror.”—President Bush, speech at Pentagon, March 19.

Rockefeller’s Spitball

“McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.”—Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Vietnam War pilot, POW, and Presidential candidate, Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette, April 8.

Good Question

“What do we consider to be an act of war in cyberspace?”—Lt. Gen. Robert J. Elder Jr., commander, 8th Air Force, Association for Intelligence Officers, April 4.

Epic Threat

“Terrorism in the 21st century is the kind of threat our country hasn’t faced in a very long time. The individual safety of Americans is at risk like at no time since probably our own Civil War, and we’re trying to deal with the challenge in a way that doesn’t change our nation’s DNA.”—Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the CIA, Washington Times, April 6.

Ranked With the Worst

“As a Republican, I would never have believed that President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would waste so many opportunities and so much of America’s reputation that they would rival Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, and McGeorge Bundy for the worst wartime national security team in United States history.”—Anthony D. Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies, New York Times op-ed column, March 16.

What Divides the Atlantic

“It will become apparent soon after the change of Administrations that the principal difference between the two sides of the Atlantic is that America is still a traditional nation-state whose people respond to calls for sacrifices on behalf of a much wider definition of the national interest than Europe’s definition.”—Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, op-ed column, Washington Post, April 7.

Casus Belli

“People will fight over oil and water, and not necessarily in that order.”—Marine Lt. Gen. James F. Amos, Baltimore Sun, March 17.

Taking Risks at DARPA

“DARPA will take a chance on an idea with no data. We’ll put up the money to go get the data and see if the idea holds.”—Anthony J. Tether, director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, celebrating its 50th anniversary, Washington Post, April 7.

Shovel on a Little More Coal

“We’re going to be burning fossil fuels for a long time, and there’s three times as much coal in the ground as there are oil reserves. Guess what? We’re going to burn coal.”—William C. Anderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment, and logistics, on plans to convert domestic coal to a cleaner burning synthetic fuel, Associated Press, March 22.

Old But Good

“Despite its age, the B-52 has the highest mission capable rate of the three heavy bombers currently in the Air Force. It is still effective in many roles and it’s capable of performing missions that otherwise would go unfilled.”—Lt. Col. Grey L. Morgan, Air Combat Command B-52 program element monitor, Air Force Print News, March 31.

The New Insurgents

“There are sanctuaries just out of reach of the security forces and those sanctuaries breed radicalized people, so you would expect that no matter what happens on the battlefield there will be a repopulation of the enemy. Can they replace leaders who learnt their trade fighting against the Soviets, and who were very good at it? The younger leaders are a lot more radicalized, but maybe not as effective on the battlefield. These types will try asymmetrical tactics—we are likely to see more IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and more suicide bombers.”—US Army Gen. Dan K. McNeill, commander of NATO force in Afghanistan, London Times, April 8.

Adversary Is “Family”

“We are dealing with our own people. We will deal with them very sensibly. And when you have a problem in your own family, you don’t kill your own family. You sit and talk. After all, Britain also got the solution of the problem of Ireland. So what’s the harm in conducting negotiations?”—Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and one of the leaders of the new government coalition, New York Times, March 22.

Demand for Space Services

“We are entering an age when warfighters want more of what space has to offer. And I think demand will continuously outstrip supply for the foreseeable future.”—Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne, Reuters, April 9.

Inevitable Reduction

“Whichever one of them becomes President on Jan. 1, 2009, they will face a military force that cannot continue to sustain 140,000 people deployed in Iraq and the 20 [thousand] odd or 25,000 people we have deployed in Afghanistan and our other deployments.”—Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Associated Press, April 11.

Asked About Don’t Ask

“I would never make this a litmus test for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. … My paramount obligation is to get the best possible people to keep America safe. But I think there’s increasing recognition within the armed forces that this is a counterproductive strategy—you know, we’re spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like Arab language capabilities that we desperately need.”—Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Democratic Presidential contender, on military’s “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” policy, The Advocate, April 10.