a desiderative pastiche
The word experience is like a shrapnel shell, and bursts into a
George Santayana (1920, 1956)
In the next terrorist attack on America, the streets will run
with blood, and America will mourn in silence because they will
be unable to count the number of the dead. America has brought
this on itself.
paraphrase of threat by Assam the American [Adam Gadhan
(aka: Adam Pearlman); purported al-Qaida spokesman (Oct
There is no "secret plan" for victory by any politician, and
never has been; because the only way to win a war is to kill the
enemy, to destroy his will to resist and to humiliate his cause
through defeat. Anything less is just an interlude; and anything
more is uncivilized.
We [terrorists] are the weak ones. They [Coalition allies] make
demands on us that don't exist in international law. There must
be reciprocity. If your city is being bombed .... Those who bomb
Fallujah cannot prevent me from bombing Los Angeles. ... If we
had missiles we should have bombed Los Angeles or any other city
until they stopped bombing Fallujah, Samarra, and Ramadi.
Magdi Ahmad Hussein
I've learned that the countless paths one traverses in one's life
are all equal — oppressors and oppressed meet at the end,
and the only thing that prevails is that life was altogether too
short for both.
don Juan Matus (as interpreted by Carlos Castaneda)
The truth is that war remains the same the more it changes. For
all the technological gadgetry, foreign landscapes, baffling
global communications, and endemic pacifism of the present age,
war is still a struggle of the human spirit. In short, the more
sophisticated, the more technological, the more hyped and
televised war becomes, the more pundits and strategists warn us
about "fourth-generational", "asymmetrical", "irregular", and
"new dimensional" conflict, the more we simply forget the
unchanging requisite of the will to win that trumps all other
It is necessary to turn political crisis into armed crisis by
performing violent actions that will force those in power to
transform the military situation into a political situation. That
will alienate the masses, who, from then on, will revolt against
the army and the police and blame them for this state of things.
Carlos Marighella [Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla
If we were to promise people nothing better than only
revolution, they would scratch their heads and say: "Is it not
better to have good goulash?"
Nikita Khrushchev (12 Sep 1971)
The gods mercifully gave mankind this little moment of peace
between the religious fanaticisms of the past and the fanaticisms
of class and race that were speedily to arise and dominate time
If the sword ever needs to be drawn, then the scabbard needs to
be cast away.
paraphrase of an English proverb: "When the sword of
rebellion is drawn, the sheath should be thrown away." attributed
to John Singleton Copley
But above all, what this Congress can be remembered for is
opening the way to a new American revolution — a peaceful
revolution in which power was turned back to the people —
in which government at all levels was refreshed and renewed and
made truly responsive. This can be a revolution as profound, as
far-reaching, as exciting as that first revolution almost two
hundred years ago — and it can mean that just five years
from now America will enter its third century as a young nation
new in spirit, with all the vigor and the freshness with which it
began its first century.
Richard Milhous Nixon [State of the Union address (22 Jan
There cannot be peaceful coexistence in the ideological realm.
Peaceful coexistence corrupts.
Jiang Qing (Apr 1967)
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (13 Mar 1962)
Revolution: In politics, an abrupt change in the form of
misgovernment. Specifically, in American history, the
substitution of the rule of an Administration for that of a
Ministry, whereby the welfare and happiness of the people were
advanced a full half-inch. Revolutions are usually accompanied by
a considerable effusion of blood, but are accounted worth it
— this appraisement being made by beneficiaries whose blood
had not the mischance to be shed. The French revolution is of
incalculable value to the Socialist of to-day; when he pulls the
string actuating its bones its gestures are inexpressibly
terrifying to gory tyrants suspected of fomenting law and order.
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce
Well, one parallel [with fighting in Iraq] is that the
Revolutionary War more than any other war until recently has been
the most bloody war we've fought. I think another parallel is
that in some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided.
It was an unnecessary war. Had the British Parliament been a
little more sensitive to the colonial's really legitimate
complaints and requests, the war could have been avoided
completely, and of course now we would have been a free country
now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our
independence in a non-violent way.
James Earl Carter Jr
Peoples, once accustomed to masters, are not in a condition to
do without them. If they attempt to shake off the yoke, they
estrange themselves even more from freedom. By mistaking for it
an unbridled license to which it is diametrically opposed, they
nearly always manage, by their revolutions, to hand themselves
over to seducers, who only make their chains heavier than
Jean Jacques Rousseau
He'd always prided himself on his tolerance, but there's a limit
to all good things. He regretted the occasional necessity of
giving one man authority over another, because some people
enjoyed that authority too much to be entrusted with it. They
tended to be easily misled into a gross over-appraisal of their
importance. It seemed to him that when a man was too thick-headed
and too low-down trifling to hold an honest job, he was usually
able to find some other damned fool willing to hand him a measure
of jurisdiction over the lives of his betters.
And then someone heard of the mongoose, how it kills snakes with
joy, and they sent a man to Africa, and he brought a brood of
mongooses, and they let them loose on the island. There were so
many snakes that it was like a paradise for them. You could walk
for miles and hear nothing but the hissing of snakes, and the
shrieks of mongooses, and the bustle and rustle in the thicket.
But then the mongooses killed all the snakes, and bred so much
that the island became too small for them. Chickens started
disappearing. Cats also. There were rumors of rabid mongooses,
and some even talked about monster mongooses that were the result
of paradisiacal inbreeding. Now they're trying to figure out how
to get rid of mongooses. So that's how it is ... it's all one
pest after another, like revolution. Life is nothing if not a
succession of evils.
The scientific observer of the realm of nature is in a
sense naturally and inevitably disinterested. At least, nothing
in the natural scene can arouse his bias. Furthermore, he stands
completely outside of the natural so that his mind, whatever his
limitations, approximates pure mind. The observer of the realm of
history cannot be disinterested in the same way, for two reasons:
first, he must look at history from some locus in history;
secondly, he is to a certain degree engaged in its ideological
The warning given to Louis XVI: "No, sire, this is not
a rebellion, it is a revolution", accents the essential
difference. It means precisely that it is the absolute certainty
of a new form of government. Rebellion is, by nature, limited in
scope. It is no more than an incoherent pronouncement.
Revolution, on the contrary, originates in the realm of ideas.
Specifically, it is the injection of ideas into historical
experience, while rebellion is only the movement that leads from
individual experience into the realm of ideas. While even the
collective history of a movement of rebellion is always that of a
fruitless struggle with facts, of an obscure protest which
involves neither methods nor reasons, a revolution is an attempt
to shape action to ideas, to fit the world into a theoretic
frame. That is why rebellion kills men while revolution destroys
both men and principles.
Albert Camus ["Historical Rebellion" The Rebel
War is a simple matter compared with revolution. War is an
applied science with well defined principles tested in history;
analogous situations may be found from ballista to H-bombs. But
every revolution is a freak, a mutant, a monstrosity; its
conditions never to be repeated. And its operations carried out
by amateurs and individualists.
Robert A. Heinlein
Every time you play the game by the rules, someone changes the
Joseph W. "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell
Where you stand on any particular issue depends on where you sit
relative to that issue.
My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has
possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid
reflux, that fashionable American sickness. I now loathe the
United States and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the
helpless world. I can hardly bear to see the faces of Bush and
Rumsfeld, or to watch their posturing body language, or to hear
their self-satisfied and incoherent platitudes.
If you are going to accept the protections of your fellow man and
the privileges of the benign society wrought by them, then you
must honor those brave souls and respect their shelter, even if
you disagree with them ... anything less is cowardly, and
anything else is traitorous.
anonymous Army nurse
Affection, indulgence, and humor alike are powerless
against the instinct of children to rebel. It is essential to
their minds and their wills as exercise is to their bodies. If
they have no reasons, they will invent them, like nations bound
on war. It is hard to imagine families limp enough always to be
at peace. Wherever there is character there will be conflict. The
best that children and parents can hope for is that the wounds of
their conflict may not be too deep or too lasting.
New York State Division of Youth Newsletter (1975)
If a man hits the right nail on the head nobody cares where he
hits it to or what it does. They care about the noise of the
hammer, not about the silent grip of the nail. These nails were
always being knocked in with ringing decisiveness, but what have
these nails held together? What is the objective of such
paraphrase of Gilbert K. Chesterton in "The Mildness of the
Yellow Press" Heretics
If you put Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad in the same room together,
they will embrace each other. If you put their followers
together, they may kill each other!
Truth is strong enough to stand alone ... only lies need a
government to support them.
Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than
any man in all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid
in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find
them, and when you have them, they are not worth the search.
William Shakespeare [act 1 sc 1 ln 115-8 The Merchant of
An empty bag cannot stand upright.
Benjamin Franklin ["Poor Richard's Almanac" (Jan
A fact is like a sack-it won't stand up if it's empty.
To make it stand up, first you have to put in it all the reasons
and feelings that caused it in the first place.
Luigi Pirandello [act 1 Six Characters in Search of an
All these statistics cannot hide the fact that ultimately the
current War, like all others, is about the lives and deaths of
individual human beings. And although war, as a human phenomenon,
has essential elements that have repeated themselves from the
dawn of recorded history, every war is unique unto itself.
paraphrase of Allan R. Millett
Facts are mere accessories to the truth, and we do not invite to
our hearth the guest who can only remind us that on such a day we
suffered calamity. Still less welcome is he who would make a
Roman holiday of our misfortunes. Exaggeration of what was
monstrous is quickly recognised as a sign of egotism, and that
contrarious symptom of the same disease which pretends that what
is accepted as monstrous was really little more than normal is
Max Plowman ["Subaltern on the Somme"]
Pandemonium: Literally, the Place of All the Demons. Most of them
have escaped into politics and finance, and the place is now used
as a lecture hall by the Audible Reformer. When disturbed by his
voice the ancient echoes clamor appropriate responses most
gratifying to his pride of distinction.
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce
The fact which the politician faces is merely that there is less
honor among thieves than was supposed, and not the fact that they
Henry David Thoreau ["Slavery in Massachusetts"
When it comes to integrity, there are no extenuating
It recognizes no morality but a sham morality meant for deceit,
no honor even among thieves and of a thievish sort, no force but
physical force, no intellectual power but cunning, no disgrace
but failure, no crime but stupidity.
R. Woodrow Wilson (6 Feb 1887)
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he think himself wise
in his own conceit. He that sendeth a message by the hand of a
fool cutteth off the feet and drinketh [in] violence.
Proverbs 26:5-6 21KJV Bible
Who combats bravely is not therefore brave,
He dreads a death-bed like the meanest slave:
Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise,
His pride in reasoning, not in acting lies.
You know, doing what is right is easy. The problem is knowing
what is right.
Lyndon Baines Johnson
[These] words mean killing is wrong. And since war is nothing but
organized killing, war is wrong.
Bob Fertik (12 Sept 2002)
If we who served and those who were otherwise involved do not,
through our words and deeds, challenge the revisionist history, a
generation of young American fighting men will be forever
denigrated and a vital chapter in our national history will be
J. Eldon Yates
Alas, how many have been persecuted for the wrong of having been
Jean-Baptiste Say [p154 An Economist in Troubled
War is when opposing forces fight each other as hard and long as
they can ... and then lie about it as loud and long as they can!
The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.
Joseph A. Schumpeter [p43n History of Economic
Never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any
circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing ....
The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the
world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas
— a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the
beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.
Ronald Wilson Reagan
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy
Abraham Lincoln [1 Dec 1862 message to Congress]
What people believe is philosophy, and what people will do
because of what they believe is politics. Philosophy is the art
of the ideal, while politics is the craft of the possible.
paraphrase of Otto von Bismarck
The more one analyzes people, the more all reasons for
analysis disappear. Sooner or later one comes to that dreadful
universal thing called human nature.
Oscar Wilde [Fingal O'Flahertie Wills] ["The Decay of
Lying" Intentions (1891)]
For assassination was political, even as diplomacy and war were
political; after all, politics was little more than the short
circuiting of violence. An election was held, rather than a
revolution, but at all times, the partition between politics and
violence was a thin and flimsy thing.
Clifford D. Simak
A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his
Niccol di Bernardo Machiavelli [ch 18 The Prince
They had been strong, as those are strong who know neither doubt
Joseph Conrad [Teodor Jozef Konrad Korzeniowski]
For undemocratic reasons and for motives not of State,
They arrive at their conclusions — largely
Being void of self-expression they confide their views to
But sometimes in a smoking room, one learns why things were
Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing
between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
John Kenneth Galbraith [2 Mar 1962 letter to President John
F. Kennedy while serving as ambassador to India]
Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with
Mao Tse-Tung / Mao Zedong
War is politics by other means.
paraphrase of Karl von Clausewitz
Politics is war by other means.
The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla
wins if he does not lose.
Henry Alfred Kissinger [Foreign Affairs
compiled by Ed Staff