Not Real Volunteers“These young people are not ‘volunteers.’ They’re not there because they’re patriotic. They’re there [because] they need the money.”—Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), advocate of a return to the military draft, on the all-volunteer force, Boston Globe, Nov. 29.
Diversions in Iraq and Vietnam“The parallels between Iraq and Vietnam have been overblown, because we were in Vietnam for a decade and it cost us 58,000 troops. We’ve been in Iraq for 19 months and we’re still under 1,200 killed. But there is one sense in which the parallel with Vietnam is valid. The American people were told that to win the Cold War we had to win Vietnam. But we now know that Vietnam was not only a diversion from winning the Cold War but probably delayed our winning it and made it cost more to win. Iraq is a diversion to the war on terror in exactly the same way Vietnam was a diversion to the Cold War.”—Retired Gen. Merrill A. McPeak, former Air Force Chief of Staff, Rolling Stone, Nov. 25.
Low Appeal“The federal government is no longer seen as the secure, lifetime employer it once was and often cannot match private sector employers with respect to competitive salaries for many occupations, rapid job offers, and sometimes work benefits.”—Merit Systems Protection Board survey, cited by Washington Post, Dec. 1.
Russian Nuclear Security“At some of these facilities, guards keep their weapons unloaded (to prevent misfiring, they say); intrusion detectors are turned off (because false alarms are ‘annoying,’ guards say); and supposedly secured doors are propped open (to ease passage, guards say). Drunken fights and shootings among security personnel are not uncommon.”—Report on Russian facilities housing plutonium and weapons-grade uranium, Atlantic Monthly, December.
The Army You Have“I [asked] about the pace at which the [Army’s Humvees] are being armored. ... I think it’s something like 400 a month are being done. And it’s essentially a matter of physics. It isn’t a matter of money. It isn’t a matter, on the part of the Army, of desire. It’s a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe ... is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, town hall meeting in Kuwait, answering a soldier’s question about the lack of armor on Humvees used in Iraq, Dec. 8.
War and Obligation“When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently told American troops that ‘You go to war with the Army you have, ... not the Army you might want or wish to have,’ he got it exactly wrong. When an administration chooses war, its primary obligation is to provide forces adequate to the task.”—Military analyst Andrew J. Bacevich, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 10.
Stormin’ Norman Takes Issue“I was very, very disappointed—let me put it stronger—I was angry about the words of the Secretary of Defense when he laid it all on the Army. I mean, as if he, as the Secretary of Defense, didn’t have anything to do with the Army, [as] if the Army was over there doing it themselves screwing up.”—Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, USA (Ret.), commander in Desert Storm, on Rumsfeld’s “Army you have” statement, MSNBC “Hardball,” Dec. 13.
Security Council Knows Best“If there are good arguments for preventive military action, with good evidence to support them, they should be put to the Security Council. [But] in a world full of perceived potential threats, the risk of the global order ... is simply too great for the legality of unilateral preventive action ... to be accepted.”—Report of special panel appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, released Nov. 29.
Canadian Commitment“We must defend this continent, secure its borders, guard its ports, and Canada is absolutely committed to doing whatever needs to be done.”—Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, Washington Post, Dec. 2.
Hope“Let’s say I hope it’s true.”—President Bush on Iran’s claim to have halted its uranium enrichment program, USA Today, Nov. 23.
Future Wars“If we’ve ever learned the truth of the 21st century, we should have learned that back in the ’90s, but seemed not to, and that is that we’re likely to be engaged, not with these large armies, navies, and air forces and long multiyear long conventional conflicts. We’re more likely to be involved in the kinds of things we’ve been involved in now for the past 15 years, ... things that don’t last a year; they last maybe a matter of months, like Kosovo or Bosnia, in terms of the conflict part. And then there’s a post-stabilization part that lasts a longer period.”—Rumsfeld, news briefing en route to Kuwait, Dec. 6.
Underwhelming“The primary reason for getting the CIA out of the paramilitary business is that it isn’t very good at it. The secret war in Laos didn’t work out so well. Neither did the Bay of Pigs. CIA paramilitary operatives in Afghanistan performed well, but no better than Special Forces, from whose ranks most of the CIA operatives had come.”—Jack Kelly, newspaper columnist and former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 5.
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