Retired General (and North Carolina native) Hugh Shelton told a great story during his appearance at The Regulator back in October. I've been repeating his little vignette ever since, so I thought I'd write it down here.
Shelton was the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the end of the Clinton administration and the beginning of Bush's term. His position gave him a seat on the National Security Council, and these events transpired at one of the first meetings of the Security Council that he attended, during the Clinton administration.
The meetings were held around a long table, and Shelton was sitting at one end of the table, next to an (unnamed) cabinet member. During a period when a lot of side conversations were going on, the cabinet member leaned over to Shelton and asked if it were true that U-2 reconnaissance planes were flying over Iraq on a regular basis, and that these planes flew too high for the Iraqis to be able to shoot them down.
Yes, that was true, Shelton replied.
The cabinet member than asked if could be arranged for one of these flights to fly lower, so the Iraqis could shoot it down, giving the U.S. an excuse to "do something about Saddam."
Shelton thought for a moment, and then said that yes, he thought it could probably be arranged.
Really? The cabinet member asked.
Yes, said Shelton. "Just as soon as we teach your sorry a** how to fly one of those planes."
You can read the full version of this story in Shelton's memoir, Without Hesitation; The Odyssey of An American Warrior.