June 1, 2011

Panetta’s Prayer

“It’s in your hands, friend. I wish you the best. All I can do is pray a hell of a lot.”—CIA Director Leon E. Panetta to Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, just before the latter initiated the SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Wall Street Journal, May 3.

Obvious Signs of Heat Stroke

“We insist on only one thing—that we’re an equal part of it. In practical terms, that means our office will sit, for example, in Brussels and agrees on a red-button push to start an anti-missile [defense launch], regardless of whether it starts from Poland, Russia, or the UK.”—Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, in an interview in Miami with Bloomberg News, revealing Moscow’s wish to join in a planned missile shield for Europe, April 7.

Sure, Why Not

“Over the last two years, [Defense] Secretary [Robert M.] Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again.”—President Obama, speech at George Washington University focusing on spending cuts, April 13.

Fast Track

“It’s my sense that White House defense decisions are putting this great republic on the fast track for decline. … The logic has been simply baffling to me: Expand our military commitments while cutting our armed forces.”—Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, remarks to the Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C., May 5.

Oh, Please Shut Up

“There are human rights issues that relate to the policies of the North Korean government, which I don’t think any of us on the outside can change. But one of the most important human rights is to have food to eat. For the South Koreans and the Americans and others to deliberately withhold food aid to the North Korean people because of political or military issues not related is really a human rights violation.”—Former President James Earl Carter, remarks at a news conference after visit to North Korea, April 28.

Discovered: Atheists in Foxholes!

“Atheists Seek Chaplain Role in The Military”—Actual headline in New York Times, April 26.

Gold Standard

“[The F-35] is our highest priority program. Air superiority is something we absolutely have to have, operationally, forever. And so, we’re going to get that program delivered.”—Frank Kendall, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, in a meeting with the Defense Writers Group, Washington, D.C., April 20.

Entangling Alliances

“A big part of what’s going on is our British and French allies want to get out of what looks to be a stalemate that they now own, so they are busy pressuring us to escalate, and we don’t want to escalate.”—Military analyst Stephen Biddle, Council on Foreign Relations, in Associated Press dispatch on US decision to use Predator aircraft in Libya, April 30.

Brave Words of a Moonbat

“I’m not leaving my country. No one can force me to leave my country and no one can tell me not to fight for my country.”—Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, in a televised address to the nation, April 30.

Weapons of the Weak

“[Libya] has not been a very big war. If [the Europeans] would run out of these munitions this early in such a small operation, you have to wonder what kind of war they were planning on fighting. Maybe they were just planning on using their air force for air shows.”—John Pike, director of, commenting on reports that NATO forces were running out of bombs, Washington Post, April 16.

All They Need Is Weapons

“If the Lord Almighty extricated the US out of NATO and dropped it on the planet of Mars so we were no longer participating, it is bizarre to suggest that NATO and the rest of the world lacks the capacity to deal with Libya. It does not.”—Vice President Joseph Biden, interview with the Financial Times, April 19.

The Terrible Ifs Accumulate

“If we had declared a no-fly zone early on, three or four weeks ago, Qaddafi would not be in power today. So now the Libyan people are paying a very high price in blood because of our failure to act, and because of this overwhelming priority of having to act multilaterally.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), quoted in New York Times, April 12.

Gates Takes a Guess

“My guess is you won’t see much change at all, because the whole thrust … is you’re supposed to go on treating everybody like you’re supposed to be treating everybody now—with dignity, respect, and discipline.”—Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, in remarks to troops in Iraq about the forthcoming end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, April 7.


“On space programs, we’re paying too much, and you will see us doing a lot with the management of space programs coming up. … You can look into the future, and it’s apparent that at the cost projected, these [space programs] are not affordable.”—Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technoligy, and Logistics Ashton B. Carter, remarks at the Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C., April 20.

Incoming II

“Many [budget] efficiencies will have to be found in the fastest growing element of our spending— … the cost of personnel. Not unique to DOD, but the … cost of manpower is growing faster than our other spend lines. Don’t just look at pay checks, but consider health care, education, retirement and the like.”—Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, in address in Dayton, Ohio, April 26.