exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
War & Peace
"In 1966, when Charles de Gaulle ordered France out of NATO and American troops off French soil, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk asked de Gaulle if that included the thousands of American soldiers lying dead in the cemeteries at Normandy and throughout the rest of France." Charles Krauthammer
Sun Tzu, The Art Of War
THE PALE BLUE DOT
An apparently unremarkable photo, this tiny speck of light is the Earth 4 billion miles away - a mere pixel on one of the world's early digital images (courtesy of Voyager 1, 1991)
In his 1994 book, Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan employed this photograph as metaphor of the insignificance of our world in comparison to the fathomless cosmos:
"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light." Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
William Tecumseh Sherman, August 11, 1880: "There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory - but, boys, it is all hell. You can bear this warning voice to generations yet to come. I look upon war with horror."
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (attributed): "Take my word for it, if you had seen but one day of war you would pray to Almighty God that you had never seen such a thing again."
Voltaire: "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
Celine and Elvis sing, ‘why, oh why, can't my dream come true?’ - why is world peace so elusive?
Celine “travels back in time” to 1968, the year she was born, to sing “If I Can Dream” with Elvis – an amazing digital construction, and what a fantastic performance!
READ MORE and see the video.
Mark Twain: "The higher animals engage in individual fights, but never in organized masses. Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War."
James Anthony Froude: "Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself."
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, Letter to Mayor Calhoun of Atlanta and others, September 12, 1864: "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out."
John Keegan, Sir Winston Churchill: "The decision by Japan, Hitler's ally, to attack the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, justified [Churchill's] hopes. That evening he confided to himself, So, we had won after all."
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences, on his philosophy regarding the military occupation of Japan: "History clearly showed that no modern military occupation of a conquered nation had been a success... If any occupation lasts too long ... one party becomes slaves and the other masters... almost every military occupation breeds new wars of the future... [I set about] restoring a sense of dignity and purpose in their people."
Tatanka Yotanka (Sitting Bull) (1831-1890): "When I was a boy, the Lakota owned the world. The sun rose and set on their land. They sent ten thousand men to battle. Where are the warriors today? Who slew them? Where are our lands? Who owns them? What white man can say I ever stole his land or a penny of his money? Yet they say I am a thief. What white woman, however lonely, was ever captive or insulted by me? Yet they say I am a bad Indian. What white man has ever seen me drunk? Who has ever come to me hungry and left me unfed? Who has ever seen me beat my wives or abuse my children? What law have I broken? Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am a Lakota? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country?"
the essence of ‘violence’ is ‘violation’ - not gross physical contact
To construe the definition of “violence” narrowly, limiting it to gross physical contact, would suggest that one’s right to defend oneself is also something immoral. And, of course, this is what some people believe – but this is absolute nonsense.
The word “violence,” itself, reveals its nature and underpinnings. “Violence” is part of the concept “to violate.” Those upon whom “violence” is inflicted have been “violated” in terms of human rights and sacred dignity.
And when defense is mustered to stop an attack of “violation” of human rights, this resistance is not “violence” because there is no “violation.” In fact, far from "violation," it is our duty to push back against evil. The form of this reaction becomes a matter of judgment and wisdom, but to allow evil and “violence,” the attacks of “violators,” to proceed unchallenged is grossly immoral.
There are many forms of “violence” which have nothing to do with gross physical contact. Your rights and dignity, as a human being, might be "violated" in numerous ways. But all of it is "violence."
One’s response to “violence” will, of course, be measured against the degree of “violation.” Some issues are small, mere slightings, and the response should be small; but some “violations” are egregious and life-threatening and, in such cases, all necessary force is an appropriate answer.
There are many “Hitlers” in life and in history, big and small, and when they come on the scene to "violate" you or the ones you love, you are well within your rights to resist, in some commensurate manner; and sometimes, if the "violation" threatens human life, then resistance might take the form of deadly force.
To do otherwise is to allow monsters to rule the Earth, as the "utterly shameless" will not stop gathering power to themselves until they are stopped. This is the lesson of history. These "violators" are run by the dysfunctional ego. The "Course In Miracles" explains this pathology to us.
Special note: In these few paragraphs, I have emphasized the morality, one’s right, of defending oneself as counter-balance to foolish people who say that self-defense is immoral. However, allow me to take back some of my polemic, not to side with radical pacifists but to appeal to a higher law. Some of the most famous, and possibly most misunderstood, phrases in the entire Bible are those of “turn the other cheek” and “resist not evil.” These statements by Jesus from the “sermon on the mount” have technical, very specific definitions, linked to particular antecedent accounts in the Old Testament. These terms have nothing to do with becoming doormat or sacrificial lamb to the world and its ego-insanity. All this acknowledged, however, Jesus meant to say that there are situations and times in life when the enlightened, spiritual person will agree, with him or herself, to lay down personal rights to self-defense, will decide to suffer wrong and injustice, if such harmlessness serves the greater good. How to know when to “turn the other cheek” or to put up a fight? There’s no catechism or pat answer to help you with that, you’ll have to consult with God directly via the inner whisperings of your own sacred soul. See more discussion of “turn the other cheek” on the "Forgiveness" page.
Mao Tse-Tung: "Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed."
Omar Nelson Bradley (1893-1981): "In war there is no second place for the runner-up."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955): "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
my Uncle Joe
PFC Joseph Becker
Fifth Army, Korea
1950 - 1952
George Smith Patton (1885-1945): "No one ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
Eric Hoffer: "To our real, naked selves there is not a thing on earth or in heaven worth dying for. It is only when we see ourselves as actors in a staged (and therefore unreal) performance that death loses its frightfulness and finality and becomes an act of make-believe and a theatrical gesture. It is one of the main tasks of a real leader to mask the grim reality of dying and killing by evoking in his followers the illusion that they are participating in a grandiose spectacle, a solemn or lighthearted dramatic performance."
John Stuart Mill: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself... A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their own free choice -- is often the means of their regeneration."
Oliver Wendall Holmes, Supreme Court Justice, twice-wounded Union soldier: "We have shared the incommunicable experience of war. We have felt -- we still feel -- the passion of life to its top. In our youths, our hearts were touched by fire."
William Nugent, New Orleans, 1861: "I feel that I would like to shoot a Yankee -- and yet I know that this would not be in harmony with the spirit of Christianity."
Ken Burns, The Civil War: "By the summer of 1861 Wilbur McClean had had enough. Two great armies were converging on his farm in what would be the first major battle of the Civil War, Bull Run - or Manasses, as the Confederates called it - would soon rage across the aging Virginian's farm, a Union shell going so far as to explode in the summer kitchen. Now, McClean moved his family away from Manasses, far south and west of Richmond, out of harm's way, he prayed, to a dusty little crossroads called Appomatox Courthouse. And it was there in his living room, 3 1/2 years later, that Lee surrendered to Grant - and Wilbur McClean could rightfully say, The War began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor."
Ken Burns, The Civil War: "The Civil War was fought in 10,000 places ... More than 3 million Americans fought in it and over 600,000 men - 2 1/2 per cent of the population - died in it. American homes became headquarters; American churches and schoolhouses sheltered the dying, and huge foraging armies swept across American farms and burned American towns. Americans slaughtered one another wholesale -- here! -- in America, in their own cornfields and peach orchards, along familiar roads and by waters with old American names. In two days at Shiloh, on the banks of the Tennessee, more American men fell than in all previous American wars combined. At Cold Harbor 7,000 Americans fell in 20 minutes. Men who had never strayed 20 miles from their own front doors now found themselves soldiers in great armies, fighting epic battles."
Simon Schama, History of Britain: "If you look long enough and hard enough at almost any culture, you're going to find something good to say about it, and historians of the Vikings, understandably distressed at the 'rape and pillage' stereotype, would have us lately to think of things others than 'burn and plunder' to say about the Vikings - 'look at their ships and metalwork; look at their great poetic sagas.' So now we know that the Vikings did come bearing other than a nasty attitude; they came bearing amber, fur and walrus ivory. But somehow, though, this vision of the Vikings as rapid-transit, long-distance, commuter-travelers, singing there sagas as they sailed to a new market-opening - I don't think would have cut much ice with the [Britons] ... a burial dated from A.D. 879 contains a Viking warrior and his sword, two ritually-murdered slave-girls, and the bones of hundreds of men, women and children , his very own body [guard], to take with him to Valhalla."
William the Conqueror, September 9, 1087, on his deathbed, 21 years after the subduing of England: "I appoint no one my heir to the Crown of England for I did not attain that honour by hereditary right but wrestled it from [King] Harold in a desperate battle with much effusion of human blood. I have persecuted its native inhabitants beyond all reason -- whether gentle or simple, I cruelly oppressed them, many I unjustly disinherited. Innumerable multitudes, especially in the county of York, perished through me by famine or the sword. Having made my way to the throne of that Kingdom by so many crimes, I dare not leave it to anyone, but God alone, lest after my death worse should happen by my means."
Winston Churchill in a letter to Lord Moyne, 1938: "Owing to the neglect of our defences and the mishandling of the German problem in the last five years, we seem to be very near the bleak choice between War and Shame. My feeling is that we shall choose Shame, and then have War thrown in a little later, on even more adverse terms than at present."
Winston Churchill, comments after the escape of the British and much of the French Army from France, one step ahead of Hitler's army: "Wars are not won by evacuations."
Pope John Paul II: "The pillars of true peace are justice and that form of love which is forgiveness."
Dalai Lama, the Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989: "Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously."
RFK, Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968: "What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason. Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily -- whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence -- whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded."
Winston Churchill: "If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be even a worse fate. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
Ulysses S. Grant: "The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on."
Abraham Lincoln: "Military glory - the attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood... Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object."
Richard Nixon: "The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature. [If a president is successful in bypassing the Congress] it is evident that the people are cheated out of the best ingredients in the government, the safeguards of peace which is the greatest of their blessings."
General Matthew Ridgway, writing about parachuting into France during "Operation Overlord," The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway (1956): "I was lucky. There was no wind and I came down straight, into a nice, soft, grassy field. I recognized in the dim moonlight the bulky outline of a cow. I could have kissed her. The presence of a cow meant the field was not mined."
General George Patton: "It is certain that the two World Wars in which I have participated would not have occurred had we been prepared. It is my belief that adequate preparation on our part would have prevented or materially shortened all our other wars beginning with that of 1812. Yet, after each of our wars, there has always been a great hue and cry to the effect that there will be no more wars, that disarmament is the sure road to health, happiness, and peace; and that by removing the fire department, we will remove fires. These ideas spring from wishful thinking and from the erroneous belief that wars result from logical processes. There is no logic in wars. They are produced by madmen. No man can say when future madmen will reappear. I do not say that there will be no more wars; I devoutly hope that there will not, but I do say that the chances of avoiding future wars will be greatly enhanced if we are ready."
Nixon: "They can't get me for bombing Cambodia! The President can bomb whoever the hell he likes!"
Bruce Porter, War and the Rise of the State: "Throughout the history of the United States, war has been the primary impetus behind the growth and development of the central state. It has been the lever by which presidents and other national officials have bolstered the power of the state in the face of tenacious popular resistance."
Sun Tzu, The Art of War: "Those who excel in war first cultivate their own humanity and justice and maintain their laws and institutions. By these means they make their governments invincible... Know your enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle... In all history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Only one who knows the disastrous effects of a long war can realize the supreme importance of rapidity in bringing it to a close... All warfare is based on deception. There is no place where espionage is not used. Offer the enemy bait to lure him."
George Orwell: "Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
Martin Luther King, Jr.: "I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved."
General Matthew Ridgeway, Korean War General: In January 1951, Seoul was evacuated for a second time, and Ridgeway's UNC forces were demoralized. In reply to his men's oft-repeated question, "What are we fighting for?" Ridgeway replied: "Real estate is here incidental.... The real issues are whether the power of Western civilization.... shall defy and defeat Communism; whether the rule of men who shoot their prisoners, enslave their citizens, and deride the dignity of man, shall displace the rule of those to whom the individual and his individual rights are sacred.... The sacrifices we have made, and those we shall yet support, are not offered vicariously for others, but in our own direct defense. In the final analysis, the issue now joined right here in Korea is whether communism or individual freedom shall prevail."
Dr. Stanley L. Sandler, military historian: Sandler believes that "the Korean War, for all of its destruction, waste and human cost, was not fought in vain. Whatever the failings of the Rhee regime and its immediate successors, South Korea was spared the worst of the Stalinist regimes and eventually emerged with something far better." And he concludes that the fall of the Soviet Union and its "Potemkin Village empire" can be traced to President Truman's decision, with the support of the United Nations, to send troops to the defense of South Korea.
Major General Edward M. Almond, Korean War, Nov. 28, 1950: Rations were gone, ammunition and gasoline supplies were low and the men were numbed by the cold. Even those few who had managed to retain their bedrolls did not dare fall asleep for fear of freezing. General Almond, on one of his frequent inspections of his front lines, stepped out of his helicopter, and prepared to offer three medals, one of which was given to Col. Donald Faith, the battalion's commander. Before departing, Almond demoralized his men with the comment: "The enemy who is delaying you for the moment is no more than remnants of Chinese divisions fleeing north. We're still attacking, and we're going all the way to the Yalu. Don't let a bunch of Chinese laundrymen stop you." When General Almond had departed, Col. Faith ripped the medal from his parka and threw it down in the snow.
General Walton Walker, words to 25th Division staff, July 29, 1950: Initially the North seemed invincible. In early August 1950, UN and American forces dug in for a "last stand" behind the natural boundary of the Naktong River near the most southern part of the Korean peninsula. This defensive action became known as the "Pusan Perimeter." Here, General "Johnny" Walker issued the famous so-called "stand or die" order:
"General MacArthur was over here two days ago; he is thoroughly conversant with the situation. He knows where we are and what we have to fight with. He knows our needs and where the enemy is hitting the hardest. General MacArthur is doing everything possible to send reinforcements. A Marine unit and two regiments are expected in the next few days to reinforce us. Additional units are being sent over as quickly as possible. We are fighting a battle against time. There will be no more retreating, withdrawal, or readjustment of the lines or any other term you choose. There is no line behind us to which we can retreat. Every unit must counterattack to keep the enemy in a state of confusion and off balance. There will be no Dunkirk, there will be no Bataan. A retreat to Pusan would be one of the greatest butcheries in history. We must fight until the end. Capture by these people is worse than death itself. We will fight as a team. If some of us must die, we will die fighting together. Any man who gives ground may be responsible for the death of thousands of his comrades. I want you to put this out to all the men in the Division. I want everybody to understand we are going to hold this line. We are going to win."
General Matthew Ridgeway, July 10, 1951: Ridgeway commented on the near-impossibility of negotiating with the Chinese to end the Korean War: "To sit down with these men and deal with them as a representative of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride one's own dignity and to invite the disaster their treachery will bring upon us." Ridgeway was severely criticized by doves at home for these bellicose words, but his critics would have to eat their own words as the war dragged on for another bloody two years of fighting while "peace talks" continued.
General James Alward Van Fleet, Commander, 8th Army, Korea: The A&E Korean War documentary, Fire and Ice, reports that, after the stalemate which began in July of 1951, General Van Fleet, who had replaced the promoted Ridgeway, believed that the morale of his soldiers would decline unless they were actively engaged in regular operations; for this reason, Van Fleet encouraged the taking and retaking of strategically unimportant hills. These "moral builders," bloody, never-decisive firefights, lasting the better part of two years, claimed 60,000 Allied casualties as peace-talks wore on.
President Ronald Reagan: "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
Max Lerner, The Gifts of the Magi (1949): "You may call for peace as loudly as you wish, but where there is no brotherhood there can, in the end, be no peace."
Bob Howard, GySgt USMC, Oct. 6, 2002, How not to prepare for war: Views of an active duty Marine: "If the enemy's Fog (the unknown) is reduced via the leaking of classified information and the blabbing by former senior military experts, or a schizophrenic political leadership, we give him a reason to believe that he can win the fight. WE GIVE HIM THE WILL TO FIGHT. This is especially true if the enemy is backed into a corner. Why tell him our probable courses of action and give him the opportunity to put up the best and hardest defense for the sake of martyrdom and enlarging the conflict? Why break Sun Tzu's dictum on maintaining the State of Formlessness by telling the enemy what we are going to do and how?"
Condoleezza Rice, October 6, 2002: "Pre-emption is not a new concept. There has never been a moral or legal requirement that a country wait to be attacked before it can address existential threats. As George Shultz recently wrote, 'If there is a rattlesnake in the yard, you don't wait for it to strike before you take action in self-defense.' The United States has long affirmed the right to anticipatory self-defense -- from the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula in 1994."
Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, March 5, 2003: "Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff... said the [Iraq] war plan will employ a concept dubbed shock and awe to finish a conflict quickly."
President George W. Bush, March 6, 2003: "The American people understand that, when it comes to our security ... we really don't need UN approval ... we really don't need anybody's permission."
Dick Morris, 4-14-03: "This has been a rough war for tyrants and those who try to control the thoughts of their people. In Baghdad - but also in Manhattan, at the headquarters of the Times, NBC, CBS and ABC."
Osama Bin Laden: Speaking to ABC's John Miller about Clinton's pullout from Somalia: "Our people realize more than before that the American soldier is a paper tiger that runs in defeat after a few blows. America forgot all about the hoopla and media propaganda, and left dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat."
Winston Churchill: "Never turn your back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!"
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, c. 413 BC: "War is an evil thing; but to submit to the dictation of other states is worse... Freedom, if we hold fast to it, will ultimately restore our losses, but submission will mean permanent loss of all that we value... To you who call yourselves men of peace, I say: You are not safe unless you have men of action on your side."
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835: "The Revolution of the United States was the result of a mature and reflecting preference for freedom, not of a vague or ill-defined craving for independence. It did not contract an alliance with the turbulent passions of anarchy, but its course was marked, on the contrary, by a love of order and law."
Hugh Dalton, Minister of Economic Warfare, notes (reported in Forbes, 6-7-04): shows that Winston Churchill led the entire Cabinet to understand that if Britain were to seek peace the first thing "the Germans would demand [would be] our fleet -- that would be called 'disarmament' ... We should become a slave state, though a British government which would be Hitler's puppet would be set up -- 'under [Sir Oswald] Mosley [a prominent British Fascist] or some such person.'" Churchill reminded his opponents that Britain still had immense strengths. He closed with what was to become one of his most famous sentences: "We shall go on and we shall fight it out, here or elsewhere, and if at last the long story is to end, it were better it should end, not through surrender, but only when we are rolling senseless on the ground." There was no further talk of negotiations.
Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, 20th Maine, at the end of the first day's fighting at Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862: "But out of that silence [of the day's battle's end] rose new sounds more appalling still; a strange ventriloquism, of which you could not locate the source, a smothered moan, as if a thousand discords were flowing together into a key-note weird, unearthly, terrible to hear and bear, yet startling with its nearness; the writhing concord broken by cries for help, some begging for a drop of water, some calling on God for pity; and some on friendly hands to finish what the enemy had so horribly begun; some with delirious, dreamy voices murmuring loved names, as if the dearest were bending over them; and underneath, all the time, the deep bass note from closed lips too hopeless, or too heroic to articulate their agony...It seemed best to bestow myself between two dead men among the many left there by earlier assaults, and to draw another crosswise for a pillow out of the trampled, blood-soaked sod, pulling the flap of his coat over my face to fend off the chilling winds, and still more chilling, the deep, many voiced moan that overspread the field."
Rush Limbaugh, November 1, 2004: "You can't purchase peace with appeasement. I heard over the weekend, 'You can only rent it for a while,' but eventually you're going to have to make the buy. You're going to have to purchase peace. You don't get it because you want it. You don't get it because you bury your head in the sand and ignore it... You have to back it up and you have to defend it...You have to fight, even for the people who are wrong. The people are too blind or too uninformed or too uneducated or too ignorant or too whatever to see the threat that faces them because they refuse to take a look at it. That's the job that we all have. That's what you do when you fight for your country: You fight for everybody in it."
Major Dick Winters, June 6, 1944, D-Day - the evening of that first incredible day of the liberation of Europe: as depecited in the HBO movie series, Band of Brothers, and based on his own writings: "That night I took time to thank God for seeing me through the Day of Days; and I prayed that I would make it through 'D+1' - and if somehow I managed to get home again I promised God and myself that I would find a quiet piece of land someplace and spend the rest of my life in peace."
Abigail Adams, 1777: John Adams wrote to his wife, urging upon the invading British troops, "Contempt, Derision, Hatred and Abhorence"; moreover, for his part, he favored a national motto, "Conquer or die." Abigail, while not naive regarding the war's harsh necessities, responded by focusing on Christian duty: "Let them reproach us ever so much for our kindness and tenderness to those who have fallen into our Hands, I hope it will never provoke us to retaliate their cruelties; let us put it as much as possible out of their power to injure us, but let us keep in mind the precepts of him who hath commanded us to Love our Enemies; and to exercise towards them acts of Humanity, Benevolence and Kindness, even when they despitefully use us." Editor's note: As I read the words of Abigail Adams, forged, so often, within the context of all manner of human suffering, I clearly sense that I am in the presence of an advanced human spirit. Always clear-eyed and pragmatic, she believed that we must remove an enemy's "power to injure us," but, in so doing, we must never partake of and reflect their dark spirit of hatred.
Thoreau, Civil Disobedience: "Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right... A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences... Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts — a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniments… The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies... In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens."
Thomas Paine: "War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end."
Rocky V: "I don't see the harm in teaching the kid to throw a few, ah, deadly punches."
Thomas Aquinas: "In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign... Secondly, a just cause... Thirdly ... a rightful intention."