Aug. 1, 2012

Good for the Goose

“Risk is part of our lives as members of the military. I’m asking these airmen [F-22 pilots] to assume some risk that exceeds the norm in day-to-day training, and I have to be willing to do it myself and experience firsthand what they do. Flying the airplane allows me to understand exactly what our airmen are dealing with. … I’m confident we’re on the right track, ensuring the safety of our crews and maintaining the F-22’s combat readiness.”—Gen. G. Michael Hostage III, head of Air Combat Command, on qualifying to fly the F-22 despite problems with its oxygen system, Air Force News Service dispatch, July 5.

Reaching Across the Aisle

“It seems like the biggest bipartisanship accomplishment we’ve had in recent memory is to destroy the Defense Department.”—Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), remarks on sequestration at a Senate Appropriations Committee defense panel hearing, June 13.

The Real Deal Speaks Out

“There are lots of things people do that revolt me, but I’m happy that I fought for this country—not to give them the right to do something stupid, but for the majority of the people to do the right thing. I’m a free-speech guy.”—Jack Jacobs, Vietnam War-era Medal of Honor recipient, on a recent Supreme Court’s ruling that lying about military honors is protected under the First Amendment, Washington Post, July 2.

Air Defense, Assad-Style

“The plane was using the same corridor used by Israeli planes three times in the past. Soldiers shot it down, since we did not see it on our radars and we were not informed about it. I say 100 percent, I wish we did not shoot it down. … We are in a state of war, so every unidentified plane is an enemy plane. Let me state it again: We did not have the slightest idea about its identity when we shot it down.”—Syrian President Bashar Assad, discussing Syria’s June 22 shootdown of a Turkish RF-4 reconnaissance aircraft, interview with Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, July 3.

God and Man in USAF

“In recent months, the USAF has made various changes regarding the religious freedom of individuals bravely serving in the military. Most of these changes occurred following a Sept. 1, 2011, memorandum issued by Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the USAF, imposing a stringent policy with regards to religion. The memo stated that General Schwartz expected ‘chaplains, not commanders, to notify airmen of Chaplain Corps programs,’ suggesting that the mere mention of these programs is impermissible. We believe this statement exemplifies the troubling ‘complete separation’ approach that is creating a chilling effect down the chain of command as airmen attempt to comply. … The USAF repeatedly has succumbed to demands from organizations that seek to remove all references to God and faith in our military. … The changes lend credence to the notion that the Air Force will remove any reference to God or faith that an outside organization brings to its attention.”—Letter from 66 members of Congress to Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, June 19.

A Family Resemblance

“While cyber [weaponry] may not look or smell exactly like a fighter aircraft or a bomber aircraft, the relevancy in any potential conflict in 2012 is the same. We have to be able to succeed against an enemy that wants to attack us in any way.”—Col. Robert Garland, commandant of USAF’s Weapons School, Wall Street Journal, July 6.

The McCain Mutiny

“It’s outrageous, it’s a national disgrace. They try all these experiments and all these different ideas that they have in the new class of carrier and obviously disregard the cost.”—Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), remarks on the Navy’s new $12.3 billion aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, interview with Bloomberg News, June 19.

Some Way To Save Money

“It [biofuel] costs too much money. Buying fuel at $27 a gallon versus $4 a gallon is just something that no one would do in all circumstances.”—Rep. Mike Conway (R-Tex.), National Public Radio broadcast on the Navy’s move to expensive “green” biofuels, July 5.


“Amid lingering tensions in Northeast Asia, people cannot help but ask what is the real intention behind such brazen [US] showboating of military muscle in the region. … With the US displaying its war machines and firing its missiles in the region with increasing frequency, it is impossible to believe that Washington means to play a positive and constructive role in the Asia-Pacific.”—Commentary in China Daily, which often reflects Beijing’s official thinking, on a recent spate of US military exercises in the Pacific, July 6.

Blowback Assured

“Don’t throw the first punch unless you’re willing to take that fight all the way to the end. I’d be very cautious about using any offensive capability until our networks in America are better protected. Ninety-five percent of those networks out there are private networks. That’s part of the problem. If you’re going to offensively do something, you’d better be darn careful that those networks can protect themselves. … I would argue today that that’s probably not a good idea.”—Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, remarks on American use of cyber attacks against Iran, Federal News Radio, June 22.

Preposterous Notion

“I just want to go on record as saying that there are many of us that are going to do everything we possibly can to make sure that this preposterous notion does not gain any real traction.”—Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), House Armed Services Committee, on Obama Administration plan to shrink US strategic nuclear arsenal to a level of about 1,000 weapons, Associated Press dispatch, July 3.

There You Go Again

“The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.”—Former President Jimmy Carter, op-ed titled “A Cruel and Unusual Record,” New York Times, June 24.