May 1, 2009

No Safe Havens

“I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens half a world away.”—President Barrack Obama, address to joint session of Congress, Feb. 24.

No-Fly Zone in Sudan

“By taking away the Sudanese government’s freedom to use air power to terrorize its population, the west would finally gain enough leverage with Khartoum to negotiate the entry of a stronger UN ground force. Effective military action in the form of a no-fly zone would not preclude a political resolution, as some suggest, but in fact would make diplomacy more effective by reducing [Sudanese President] Bashir’s options.”—Ret. Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, former USAF Chief of Staff, and Kurt Bassuener, Democratization Policy Council, Washington Post op-ed, March 5.

Bringing a Perspective

“I had not until last August been in the Air Force for about 10 years. I’d been largely in joint service jobs. I think that gave me a perspective about the Air Force [that] perhaps was a bit different from those who labored long and hard with conviction within the Air Force over that period of time. Circumstances allowed me to bring a perspective to the Air Force from the view of the Joint Community.”—Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff,, Feb. 18.

Blaming Osama

“Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers. . . . Ramming America [9/11 attacks] has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people and he kills a thousand of yours? That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11.”—Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, who helped Osama bin Laden create al Qaeda, London Daily Telegraph, Feb. 21.

Return of France

“The time has come. Our strategy cannot remain stuck in the past when the conditions of our security have changed radically.”—President Nicholas Sarkozy, annoncing France’s decision to return to full-fledged NATO membership after 43 years, Washington Post, March 11.Xe, Son of Blackwater

“The idea is to define the company as what it is today and not what it used to be. We’ve taken the company to a place where it can no longer be accurately described as Blackwater.”—Anne Tyrrell, spokeswoman for Xe, formerly the embattled private security firm Blackwater, which lost its license to operate in Iraq, Washington Post, Feb. 14.

UAV Market Boom

“UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] spending will almost double over the next decade from current worldwide UAV expenditures of $4.4 billion annually to $8.7 billion within a decade. … We expect that the sales of UAVs will follow recent patterns of high-tech arms procurement worldwide, with Europe representing the second largest market [after the US], followed very closely by Asia-Pacific. Indeed, the Asia-Pacific region may outpace Europe in UAV development.”—Teal Group 2009 market study, Feb. 17.

Future Flyers

“There will always be a need for manned aviation, but it will be a lesser portion of the fleet than is currently the case.”—Gen. Norton Schwatrz, USAF Chief of Staff, Air Force Print News, Feb. 20.

Simultaneous Conflicts

“Our military planning for a number of years has—and I would say going back at least 20 years —has been to have the ability to fight two major combat operations simultaneously. One where it would be an aggressive effort and another where you might have to hold for a while and then finish the job. I think one of the central questions that this department will face in the Quadrennial Defense Review, which will begin shortly, is whether that model makes any sense in the 21st century and whether what may have fit in a Cold War environment or an immediately post-Cold War environment really has application to today’s world.”—Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, unaired portion of interview with NPR, March 10.

Pelosi’s Ride

“It is my understanding that there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable. . . .The speaker will want to know where the planes are. … This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset speaker.”—E-mail to military officials from Kay King, aide to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, complaining about a C-40 (USAF variant of Boeing 737 business jet) as a substitute for the desired Gulfstream V (C-37A in Air Force service), in documents revealed by Judicial Watch, March 10.

What It Takes

“We can send more troops. We can kill or capture all of the Taliban and al Qaeda leaders we can find—and we should. We can clear out havens and shut down the narcotics trade. But until we prove capable, with the help of our allies and Afghan partners, or safeguarding the population, we will never know a peaceful, prosperous Afghanistan.”—Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington Post op-ed, Feb. 15.

Deployed in Garrison

“We consider ourselves deployed in garrison, which means every day when they come into work, they’ve got to shift their focus from family, from living in a civilian environment, to arriving here at Creech and focusing on combat operations.”—Lt. Col. Rob Kiebler, commander of 15th Reconnaissance Squadron, which controls remotely-piloted Predators on combat missions in Iraq from Creech AFB, Nev., Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 6.