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24 June, 2007

War, What Is It Good For?

Today, I offer you a few quotes on the subject of war. Let's start with one of my favourite thinkers.

"He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble 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)

“What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war. Petrol is much more likely than wheat to be a cause of international conflict.” (Simone Weil)

“It is well that war is so terrible - otherwise we would grow too fond of it.” (General Robert E. Lee)

“I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.” (Jack Handy)

“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” (Jeannette Rankin)

“Our first and most pressing problem is how to do away with warfare as a method of solving conflicts between national groups within a society who have different views about how the society is to run.” (Margaret Mead)

“I'm glad I didn't have to fight in any war. I'm glad I didn't have to pick up a gun. I'm glad I didn't get killed or kill somebody. I hope my kids enjoy the same lack of manhood.” (Tom Hanks)

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

“War is delightful to those who have never experienced it.” (Erasmus)

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

“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 Eisenhower)

Fun, eh? The penultimate word goes to Kevin Rudd. Why he took so many years to come to see what was blindingly obvious to many of us before the invasion of Iraq ever began, is between him and his political ambitions.

“[The war in Iraq] has been the greatest single misfire and miscalculation of Australia's national security interests since Vietnam.” (Kevin Rudd, leader of the Australian Labor Party)

And for the last word – and my all-time favourite war quote – let's go back to Albert Einstein:

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." (Albert Einstein)

1 comment:

Timothy Carter said...

I think the Jack Handy quote is my favourite. And it's so true, isn't it?

One you could include is from Monty Python's Meaning of Life, where Graham Chapman (as an officer) explains the purpose of warfare to a very small audience.

"That is why we shall always need a military. And may God strike me down, were it to be otherwise."

So saying, God strikes him down.

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