a desiderative pastiche
The word experience is like a shrapnel shell, and bursts into a
George Santayana (1920, 1956)
A soft answer turneth away wrath.
Proverbs 15:1 Bible
Inconstancy causes misunderstandings, which can cause wars.
George F. Will
An adversary can be paralyzed by inconsistency, but will soon
ignore the unexpected in favor of a more rapid attainment of
goals. It is therefore more efficacious to create persistent
uncertainty, even perturbation, with the careful crafting and sly
insinuation of strategic ambiguity.
Many U.S. actions during the [Vietnam] war ran counter to the
Geneva Convention. I used a pretty harsh word [in description]
and I regret the harshness of it, but the reality is that ...
countless numbers of books have been written that have chronicled
how we went awry over there.
John Forbes Kerry
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ought to be tortured in the
Randi Rhodes [Air America Radio (WLIB NYC)]
President Bush should be taken out and shot.
Al Franken [Air America Radio (WLIB NYC)]
There are Americans whose conduct, if not directly supportive of
the [terrorist] enemy, is indistinguishable from someone who is.
Rush Limbaugh [EIB network (14 May 2004)]
We all have private ails. The troublemakers are they who need
public cures for their private ails.
The White Protestant's ultimate sympathy must be with science,
factology, and committee rather than with sex, birth, heat,
flesh, creation, the sweet and the funky; they must vote,
manipulate, control, and direct, these Protestants who are the
center of power in our land, they must go for what they believe
is reason when it is only the Square logic of the past.
A ruling intelligentsia, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa,
treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on,
processed, and wasted at will.
Its my fondest wish, that some day, every American will get down
on their knees and pray to God that some day they will have the
opportunity to live in a Communist Society.
Jane Fonda [1970 USC speech]
An ass may bray a good while before he shakes the stars down.
George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans]
If you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would
pray on your knees that we would some day become communist. I, a
socialist, think that we should strive toward a socialist
society, all the way to communism.
Jane Fonda [1970 Duke Univ speech]
The intellectuals and the young, booted and spurred, feel
themselves born to ride us.
Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their
country by educated people as in America.
All the reputedly powerful reactionaries are merely paper tigers.
The reason is that they are divorced from the people. Look! Was
not Hitler a paper tiger? Was Hitler not overthrown? ... U.S.
imperialism has not yet been overthrown and it has the atomic
bomb. I believe it also will be overthrown. It, too, is a paper
Mao Tse-Tung / Mao Zedong
It is better to kill ten innocents than let one enemy escape.
Vietnamese political maxim
It is better to free ten criminals than to convict one innocent.
American legal maxim
America's intentions [in liberating Iraq] are honorable. I
believe that, and we must find a way of making the rest of the
world believe it. We want to do the right thing. We care about
the rest of the world.
Andy Rooney (12 April 2004)
The core responsibility of any government is to ensure the safety
and security of its citizens – these are the foundations
for every other right of citizenship, the essential conditions
for every other freedom.
I know that some people question if America is really in a war at
all. They view terrorism more as a crime, a problem to be solved
mainly with law enforcement and indictments. After the World
Trade Center was first attacked in 1993, some of the guilty were
indicted and tried and convicted, and sent to prison. But the
matter was not settled. The terrorists were still training and
plotting in other nations, and drawing up more ambitious plans.
After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it
is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. The
terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United
States, and war is what they got.
George Walker Bush [State of the Union Address (20 Jan 2004)]
Treating soldiers fighting their [politician's] war as brave
heroes is an old civilian trick designed to keep the soldiers at
it. But you can be sure our soldiers in Iraq are not all brave
heroes gladly risking their lives for us sitting comfortably back
here at home. ... We pin medals on their chests to keep them
going. We speak of them as if they volunteered to risk their
lives to save ours, but there isn't much voluntary about what
most of them have done. ... We must support our soldiers in Iraq
because it's our fault they're risking their lives there.
However, we should not bestow the mantle of heroism on all of
them for simply being where we sent them. Most are victims, not
Andy Rooney (12 April 2004)
And, you know, sin is particular and individual. It's not like
crime, where society has to assume everyone equal before the law,
and judge which acts are worse for the social order, and punish
them accordingly. You can damn yourself very thoroughly for acts
that aren't even illegal. And, of course, some acts are made
excusable by situation. Soldiers kill in war, and soldiers can be
honorable ... in fact, we insist that they be. And that's
probably the reason we license them to kill for us, so they have
to be good men.
Robert K. Tanenbaum [True Justice (2000)]
Do you know what the one thing is that they [elite warriors] all
have in common? They all hate politicians. The two professions
couldn't be more fundamentally different. Commandos live by a
warrior's code ... honor and integrity above everything. Do what
you say, and mean what you do. Politicians just say whatever will
keep them in office. Now where you run into a problem is when you
have the unprincipled honorless politician telling the principled
honorable warrior what to do. The way the relationship works,
with the politicians in the position of authority, they're
destined to foster disgust and animosity among the troops.
Vince Flynn (2002)
I don't know what effect these men [generals] will have upon the
enemy, but, by God, they terrify me.
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington [Aug 1810 dispatch]
All leadership can be defined in two words: Follow
Roy Boehm [as both SEAL creedo and infantry motto]
The general must be first in the toils and fatigue of the army.
In the heat of summer he does not spread his parasol nor in the
cold of winter don thick clothing. In dangerous places he must
dismount and walk. He waits until the army's wells have been dug
and only then drinks; until the army's food is cooked before he
eats; until the army's fortifications have been completed, to
Ping Fa [Military Code (fifth century BC)]
To a surprising extent the war-lords in shining armour, the
apostles of the martial virtues, tend not to die fighting when
the time comes. History is full of ignominious getaways by the
great and famous.
George Orwell [Eric Arthur Blair] [Who Are the War
Perfect soldier, perfect gentleman ... never gave offence to
anyone not even the enemy.
A.J.P. Taylor [re: Field Marshal Alexander in 16 March 1973
The Creator has not thought proper to mark those in the
forehead who are of stuff to make good generals. We are first,
therefore, to seek them blindfold, and then let them learn the
trade at the expense of great losses.
Thomas Jefferson [6 Feb 1813 letter]
The man who hires another to forge distinction for him deserves
as little as he gets.
A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his
command make him.
Douglas MacArthur [16 Aug 1962 speech to Congress]
In enterprise of martial kind,
When there was any fighting,
He led his regiment from behind —
He found it less exciting.
W.S. Gilbert [act 1 The Gondoliers]
We have in the [military] service the scum of the earth as common
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington [2 July 1813 dispatch]
He learned the arts of riding, fencing, gunnery,
And how to scale a fortress — or a nunnery.
George Gordon, Lord Byron [cto 1 st 38 Don Juan]
I am convinced that the best service a retired general can
perform is to turn in his tongue along with his suit, and to
mothball his opinions.
Omar Nelson Bradley [17 May 1959 Armed Forces Day address]
You have to understand the mentality of a commando. They've given
everything they have to this country, and in return, they see
those [political] whores selling America down the drain. I don't
mean all of them ... there are some good honest politicians, but
they are a rarity. Most of those guys are lying misdirected
egomaniacs. They think it's just a game. There's alot of hate and
distrust between the military and Washington ... there always has
been. And it's even worse when you start talking about special
Vince Flynn (2002)
On becoming soldiers we have not ceased to be citizens.
address by Oliver Cromwell's soldiers to the English Parliament
[Humble Representation (1647)]
When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen.
George Washington [26 June 1775 address to the New York
No profession or occupation is more pleasing than the military; a
profession or exercise both noble in execution (for the
strongest, most generous and proudest of all virtues is true
valour) and noble in its cause. No utility either more just or
universal than the protection of the repose or defence of the
greatness of one's country. The company and daily conversation of
so many noble, young and active men cannot but be well-pleasing
Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne (1588)
War of all things proceeds least upon definite rules, but draws
principally upon itself for contrivances to meet an emergency;
and in such cases the party who faces the struggle and keeps his
temper best meets with most security, and he who loses his temper
about it with correspondent disaster.
Thucydides [History of the Peloponnesian Wars]
Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the
discipline of the Almighty. For He wounds, but He also binds up;
He injures, but His hands also heal. From six calamities He will
rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you. In famine He will
ransom you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the
sword. You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and
need not fear when destruction comes.
Job 5:17-21 NIV Bible
Courage is, however, by no means an act of the understanding, but
likewise a feeling, like fear; the latter looks to the physical
preservation, courage to the moral preservation. Courage, then,
is a nobler instinct. But because it is so, it will not allow
itself to be used as a lifeless instrument, which produces its
effects exactly according to prescribed measure. Courage is
therefore no mere counterpoise to danger in order to neutralise
the latter in its effects, but a peculiar power in itself.
Karl von Clausewitz
The trials that we have to undergo are sent to us for a good
purpose, and we must think so, and learn to bear up with them in
that spirit. Never despond but be cheerful as possible under all
sufferings — and bless our good fortune, and be thankful
that we are spared worse evils. As it is now we have won the
respect of all the outside world by our valor, our patience, our
endurance, and our trust in the final success of our cause. This
we have gained when at first the opinion of the world was against
us — the north had pursued a systematic course of
vituperation and villification, detracting from us in all things
— but now even those who were our bitterest enemies grant
us the possession of the most noble qualities, and the Yankees
themselves acknowledge our superiority of courage and spirit to
themselves. They wonder how it is that our half clad, half
starved soldiers can fight so well. The idea of anyone fighting
for principle has never for once entered their understanding.
Lafayette McLaws [16 November 1862 letter]
It's only the civilized who are horrified at brutality —
even when the brutes are their own kind, even when the victims
are their sworn enemies.
The courage of a soldier is found to be the cheapest and most
common quality of human nature.
Edward Gibbon [ch 26 vol 3 The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Valor: A soldierly compound of vanity, duty and the gambler's
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce
There is no question what the roll of honor in America is. The
roll of honor consists of the names of men who have squared their
conduct by ideals of duty.
R. Woodrow Wilson
Veterans are often haunted by their memories of war because there
is nothing that any government can say that will make their
experiences of death and destruction seem right and proper and
good. At some fundamental level, no matter how justified, every
combatant knows that killing another person is wrong. It affirms
our deep appreciation for the sanctity of life, and presents us
with the paradoxical recognition that freedom must be
relinquished to be attained, that life must be sacrificed to be
anonymous Army nurse
You're not a man anymore — you are a soldier. Your comfort
is of no importance, and Lieutenant, your life isn't of much
importance. If you live, you will have memories — that's
about all you will have. Meanwhile, you must take orders and
carry them out. Most of the orders will be unpleasant, but that's
not your business. I will not lie to you, Lieutenant — they
should have trained you for this, and not for flower strewn
streets. They should have built your soul with truth, not led
[you] along with lies. But you took the job, Lieutenant —
will you stay with it or quit it? We can't take care of your
John Steinbeck [The Moon is Down (1942)]
I think it's very clear that one of the biggest costs of war is
borne by the men who fight it — and I don't mean the ones
who die — but even more by the ones who
live through it and have to carry the memories and the scars,
both physical and emotional.
Kevin L. Hoffman (2004)
There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an
achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything
permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we
have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But
when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are
fixed, so to speak, for life.
Eric Hoffer [p181 The Passionate State of Mind]
After the second world war, returning veterans often said they
had just been doing their jobs, or didn't talk about their
service at all. Yet they knew the stakes of the fight they had
been in, and the magnitude of what they had achieved.
George Walker Bush [11 Nov 2003 address to Heritage Fdn]
"In regard to your question about medals," he wrote back, "I got
a few, but mostly for the wrong reasons. What I'm most proud of
is just having the honor to have served with my Marines. No
matter what anyone's view of the war was, they would've liked the
men I fought with. They had manners. They took care of each
other, rescued the wounded, suffered with dignity, and accepted
that they would die in Vietnam. The medals don't mean shit.
They're lost in a drawer somewhere. And some fine young men never
came home. My greatest honor is to have known them."
Murry A. Taylor
Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They're just braver
five minutes longer.
Ronald Wilson Reagan (22 Dec 1982)
Military virtue in an Army is a definite moral power which may be
supposed wanting, and the influence of which may therefore be
estimated — like any instrument the power of which may be
Karl von Clausewitz
The feeling about a soldier is, when all is said and done, he
wasn't really going to do very much with his life anyway.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr (11 March 1983)
compiled by Ed Staff