Leslie Aspin

(Leslie Aspin Jr.)

Leslie Aspin
Leslie Aspin
  • Born: July 21, 1938
  • Died: May 21, 1995
  • Nationality:
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Leslie Aspin Jr. was a United States Representative from 1971 to 1993, and the United States Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton from January 21, 1993 to February 3, 1994. In Congress, Aspin had a reputation as an intellectual who took a middle-of-the-road position on controversial issues. He supported the Reagan administration regarding the MX missile and aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, but he opposed the B-2 bomber and the Strategic Defense Initiative. He played a major role in convincing the House to support the January 1991 resolution supporting the use of force by President G.H.W. Bush against Iraq, after it invaded Kuwait. As Secretary of Defense, he faced complex social issues, such as the roles of homosexuals in uniform, and of women in combat. He faced major decisions regarding the use of military force in Somalia, Bosnia, and Haiti. He proposed budget cuts and restructuring of forces as part of the downsizing of the military after the end of the Cold War. The deaths of U.S. soldiers in Somalia because of inadequate military support led to his resignation.

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[Referring to the Pentagon:] It's a mammoth place that makes an incredible number of mistakes. Management & Managing Government
Frankly, we don't have the resources to go everywhere and do everything. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
If peace should break out, what are we going to do with all these weapons. War & Peace
In the long run the security of the United States is protected by economic strength. In the short run, military strength, in the long run economic. Defense & National Security
Only the most politically secure congressmen can afford to offend constituents. Public Opinion & Polling
Politically it is often much safer [for Congress] to let the executive do the leading. Leaders & Leadership ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The difficult thing about the way we do peacekeeping now is that there is no budget for it. War & Peace
The military in all these struggling democracies is an important player. They can take over the leadership or determine the leadership. Military & Veterans
The old world was good guys and bad guys. The new world is gray guys. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The public is schizophrenic. Public Opinion & Polling
The United States can't go in and impose order on chaos every place in the world. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
This is not a fix; it's a prayer. Military & Veterans
You ought to spread campaign contributions around so that you're not beholden to any one contributing group. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
You've got to have a theme if you're going to get Congress to do something difficult. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising

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