Friday, September 28, 2007

Quotations on War and Peace

My prayer for peace!
by Charlie Leck

EDIT NOTATION: This blog has been up for less than 24 hours and I have already had several requests for a copy of the document in more useable, printable format. Please go to this page to find a printable copy of the document. [29 September 2007]

“There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance.” Goethe

Would that George W. Bush were a reader! It is a foolish, wasteful wish. He is not. He is the fool and he governs over us. Had he been a reader, he might have stumbled over or upon some of these quotations

I have never published a blog more worth reading than the following quotations nor have I ever spent so much time posting a blog. Today’s posting represents many days work and constitutes my most significant gift ever to my readers; for I do consider today’s blog a gift. I offer them to you as a prayer – a prayer that this war and all war will cease.

Some of these quotes, though many years old, are very prescient about the conduct of the current war. Take, for instance, this comment from the famous Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette: “If there is no sufficient reason for war, the war party will make war on one pretext, then invent another...after the war is on.” Or, consider the remarkable statement of the ancient Greek, Thucydides, in relation to today’s condition in Iraq: “It is useless to attack men who could not be controlled even if conquered, while failure would leave us in an even worse position...”

If you work your way to the end of this litany of quotations, you will find a few from the current occupant of the White House. The absurdity of including his comments with those of such persons as Thomas Jefferson, Plato, Einstein, Ayn Rand and Abraham Lincoln is quite delightfully profane.

“If you love this land of the free, bring 'em home, bring 'em home, Bring 'em back from overseas.” Pete Seeger (from Seeger's song Bring Em Home)

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official...” Theodore Roosevelt

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” Plato

“Force always attracts men of low morality.” Albert Einstein

“Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent.” Issac Asimov

“The war...was an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided if forebearance and wisdom had been practiced on both sides.” Robert E. Lee

“There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” Mahatma Gandhi

“The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more and tolerated by all.” Tacitus

“Imperialism is an institution under which one nation asserts the right to seize the land or at least to control the government or resources of another people.” John T. Flynn

“Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.’ George Orwell

“Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.” William Penn

“The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is being attacked, and every man will be glad of these conscience-soothing falsities.” Mark Twain

“It is frightening how the actions of a single leader can have such drastic effects on the prestige of an entire nation… All it takes is a single act of aggression to permanently wound a nation's reputation.” Ramman Kenoun

“We all have to be concerned about terrorism, but you will never end terrorism by terrorizing others.” Martin Luther King III

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” George Washington

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force...Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” George Washington

“The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.” James Madison

“Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.” John Adams

“How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!” Samuel Adams

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” Thomas Jefferson

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” Thomas Jefferson

“Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions.” Ulysses S. Grant

“War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” John F. Kennedy

“He that is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.” Thomas Paine

“The biggest lesson I learned from Vietnam is not to trust [our own] government statements.” Senator J. William Fulbright

“La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid.”- Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderios de LaClos

‘Before the war is ended, the war party assumes the divine right to denounce and silence all opposition to war as unpatriotic and cowardly.” Senator Robert M. La Follette

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.” Justice Louis D. Brandeis

“One can...never create [freedom] by an invading force.” Maximilien Robespierre

“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small Spot.” Christiaan Huygens (in Humanity)

“In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.” Leo Tolstoy

"To save your world you asked this man to die; Would this man, could he see you now, ask why?" W. H. Auden

“Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.” Victor Hugo

“There were no international terrorists in Iraq until we went in. It was we who gave the perfect conditions in which Al Qaeda could thrive.” Robin Cook (Britain's former foreign secretary who resigned from the British Cabinet over the Iraq War)

“War remains the decisive human failure.” John Kenneth Galbraith

“The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed during war.” Chinese Proverb

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” Walt Kelly (creator of Pogo, 1913-1973)

"One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one." Agatha Christie (Autobiography, 1977)

“Peace hath higher tests of manhood than battle ever knew.” John Greenleaf Whittier

“The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.” Robert Lynd

“Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.” James Bryce

“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders...tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” Herman Goering

“If a war be undertaken...before the resources of peace have been tried and proved vain to secure it, that war has no defense, it is a national crime.” Charles Eliot Norton

“A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn

“Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought!” Helen Keller

“All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.” Alexis de Tocqueville

“Peace is constructed, not fought for.” Brent Davis

“I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.” Edmund Burke

“Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim.” Elias Canetti

“No war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.” Eugene Debs

“I can tell you this: If I’m ever in a position to call the shots, I’m not going to rush to send somebody else’s kids into a war.” George H. W. Bush

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support.” Colin Powell

“I hope....that mankind will at length, as they call themselves responsible creatures, have the reason and sense enough to settle their differences without cutting throats...” Benjamin Franklin

“Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

“There never was a good war or a bad peace.” Benjamin Franklin

“When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?” Benjamin Franklin

“Because I do it with one small ship, I am called a terrorist. You do it with a whole fleet and are called an emperor.” Saint Augustine in the City of God

“Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it.” Anne O'Hare McCormick

“Since the end of the World War II, the United States has fought three "small" wars...we lost all three of them and for the same reason--hubris.” Andrew Greely (Chicago Sun-Times columnist)

“War is mainly a catalog of blunders.” Winston Churchill

“War is the unfolding of miscalculations.” Barbara Tuchman

“The dangerous patriot...drifts into chauvinism and exhibits blind enthusiasm for military actions… The dangerous a defender of militarism and its ideals of war and glory… Chauvinism is a proud and bellicose form of patriotism...which equates the national honor with military victory.” Colonel James A. Donovan, Marine Corps

“Do not ever say that the desire to ‘do good’ by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.” Ayn Rand

“In war, truth is the first casualty.” Aeschylus

“It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.” Albert Camus

“In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it anymore.” Ernest Hemingway in A Different Country

“No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” Barbara Ehrenreich

“Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man has a right to kill me because he lives on the other side of the water, and because his ruler has quarrel with mine, although I have none with him?” Blaise Pascal

“The terrorist is the one with the small bomb.” Brendan Behan

“After each war there is a little less democracy to save.” Brooks Atkinson

“No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic.” A.J.P. Taylor

“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.” Abba Eban

“Military glory--that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood – that serpent's eye that charms to destroy...” Abraham Lincoln

“The world cannot continue to wage war like physical giants and to seek peace like intellectual pygmies.” Basil O'Connor

“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.” Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws (1748)

“The voice of never more needed than when the clamor of fife and bidding all men...obey in silence the tyrannous word of command.” Charles Eliot Norton

“We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“This world of ours...must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“War settles nothing.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“How far can you go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Blind faith in your leaders or in anything will get you killed.” Bruce Springsteen

"The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought. There are therefore two great problems which the Party is concerned to solve. One is how to discover, against his will, what another human being is thinking, and the other is how to kill several hundred million people in a few seconds without giving warning beforehand." George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four)

“A Patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” Ed Abbey

“No nation ever had an army large enough to guarantee it against attack in time of peace, or ensure it of victory in time of war.” Calvin Coolidge

“We...are not really free if we can't control our own government and its policies. And we will never do that if we remain ignorant.” Charley Reese

“You cannot be on one hand dedicated to peace and on the other dedicated to violence. Those two things are irreconcilable.” ~Condoleeza Rice (30 January 2006)

“There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it, and that's just a fact.” Donald Rumsfeld

“In war, we always deform ourselves, our essence.” Chris Hedges

“Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose—and you allow him to make war at pleasure.” Abraham Lincoln

“Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived.” Abraham Lincoln

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” Abraham Lincoln

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln

“O, it is excellent To have a giant’s strength! But it is tyrannous To use it like a giant.” William Shakespeare (Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene ii)

“War is never a solution; it is an aggravation.” Benjamin Disraeli

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” Albert Einstein

“It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own.” Albert J. Nock

“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.” Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn

“War is not the continuation of politics with different means, it is the greatest mass-crime perpetrated on the community of man.” Alfred Adler

“True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.” Clarence Darrow

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” Edward R. Murrow

“For it isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.” Ernest Hemingway ("Notes on the Next War," published in Esquire Magazine, 1935.)

“The 1st panacea of a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the 2nd is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; a permanent ruin.” Ernest Hemingway

“I am a steadfast follower of the doctrine of non-violence which was first preached by Lord Buddha, whose divine wisdom is absolute... All forms of violence, especially war, are totally unacceptable as means to settle disputes between and among nations, groups and persons.” Dalai Lama

“The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.” Frank Kent

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.” Frederick Douglass

“Wars are the hobbies of half-informed children who have somehow come into possession of the levers of power.” Fred Reed

“Our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in...war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.” General Douglas MacArthur

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious… War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” General Smedley Butler

“There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights.” General Smedley Butler

“War is at best barbarism. Its glory is all moonshine...War is hell.” General William Tecumseh Sherman

“The military doesn't start wars. The politicians start wars.” General William Westmoreland

“Every government has as much of a duty to avoid war as a ship's captain has to avoid a shipwreck.” Guy de Maupassant

“The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.” Hannah Arendt

“I hate war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatreds it arouses... “ Harry Emerson Fosdick

“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” H. L. Mencken

“The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature.” James Madison

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” James Madison

“War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement.” James Madison

“We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace.” Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

“A merely fallen enemy may rise again, but the reconciled one is truly vanquished.” Johan Christoph Schiller

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.” John Lennon

“The war on terrorism is akin to the war on drugs…unwinable, unless you kill everyone…or address the root causes.” K. W. Ibrahim

“Phony pretexts repeated often enough become real reasons. Things that...are not true become true in the public mind simply through endless repetition.” Lenny Bloom

“Whether or not patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, national security can be the last refuge of the tyrant.” Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” Louis D. Brandeis

“The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments.” Ludwig von Mises

“The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure.” Lyndon B. Johnson

“The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault.” Major Ralph Peters, US Military

“You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong no matter who does it or who says it.” Malcolm X

“The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.” ~Marcus Aurelius

“Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.” Marcus Aurelius

“The sinews of war are infinite money.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Nelson Mandela

“Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it.” Noam Chomsky

“To some degree it matters who's in office, but it matters more how much pressure they're under from the public.” Noam Chomsky

“You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it.” Noam Chomsky

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignorable war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder." Albert Einstein

“The statesman who yields to war no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” Winston Churchill

“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter...” Winston Churchill

“War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.” Winston Churchill

“During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.” Howard Thurman

“War is a failure of human intelligence… [War] comes from an immature style of thinking where creativity and overview is scarce.” Patricia Sun

“War is the ultimate tool of politics.” R. Buckminster Fuller

“Terror is a tactic. We cannot wage ‘war’ against a tactic.” Ron Paul

“No one has deputized America to play Wyatt Earp to the world.” Patrick J. Buchanan

“A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.” Thomas Jefferson

“They are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the destruction of the labor, property, and lives of their people.” Thomas Jefferson (in a letter to President Monroe, 1823)

“War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.” Thomas Jefferson

“No one has ever succeeded in keeping nations at war except by lies.” Salvador de Madariaga

“The price of empire is America’s soul, and that price is too high.” Sen. J. William Fulbright (Ark.)

“This war is not necessary. We are truly sleepwalking through history.” Sen. Robert Byrd

“Criticism in a time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government.” Sen. Robert Taft,

“We first the name of religion, then Communism, and now in the name of drugs and terrorism. Our excuses for global domination always change.” Serj Tankian

“Petroleum is a more likely cause of international conflict than wheat.” Simone Weil

“All warfare is based on deception.” Sun Tzu

“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.” Thomas Mann

“Most wars are started by well-fed people with time on their hands to dream up half-baked ideologies or grandiose ambitions, and to nurse real or imagined grievances.” Thomas Sowell

“This president failed so miserably in diplomacy that we are now forced to war.” Tom Daschle

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" Mahatma Gandhi

"We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush...And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up." Michael Moore (at the 2003 Oscars®)

“Our enemies...never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” George W. Bush

“Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction.” George W. Bush

“Evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously--and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply.” George W. Bush

“Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths...I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” Barbara Bush
on the Good Morning America show on ABC (18 March 2003)

“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’” Eve Merriam

Many of these quotations, but not all by any means, come from a web site called: Anti-War.Com

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