Thursday, December 15, 2011

How many more must we fight?

Today, the Iraq war is technically ended. Our presence in Iraq will never be over.  I'm not speaking metaphorically; this is what America does. We go to war with a country, and when we "leave" we leave behind OUR military bases, thousands of our soldiers and "diplomats." We never really leave a country. In the game of risk, we are a gigantic presence. A presence that generally wasn't welcomed, but forced.

Below, I have quoted one of the greatest Presidents, military leader, and soldier this country has ever seen. A Republican I deeply admire and greatly respect. One I wish was still around to lead us today (though by today's standards I don't think he'd be a Republican).  I've italicized his words that strike me most, and included the year each phrase was spoken.

  • I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity. -- 1943
  • A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. -- Jan 1953
  • No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations. --  "The Chance for Peace,"  April 1953.
  • 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 are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children . . . Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. 
  • Is there no other way the world may live?  --  "The Chance for Peace,"  April 1953.
  • A nation's hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations. --  "The Chance for Peace,"  April 1953.
  • The fruit of success . . . is this: the dedication of the energies, the resources, and the imaginations of all peaceful nations to a new kind of war. This would be a declared total war, not upon any human enemy but upon the brute forces of poverty and need. The peace we seek, founded upon decent trust and cooperative effort among nations, can be fortified, not by weapons of war but by wheat and by cotton, by milk and by wool, by meat and timber and rice. --  "The Chance for Peace,"  April 1953.
  • In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial-complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. -- Farwell Address, 1961
  • I hated to see our country be the first to use such a weapon. -- 1963 (about the atomic bomb)
  • We are so proud of our guarantees of freedom in thought and speech and worship, that, unconsciously, we are guilty of one of the greatest errors that ignorance can make — we assume our standard of values is shared by all other humans in the world. -- I don't have a date for this one, sorry.  
  • (And tho this one has nothing to do with war, I like it):  In the transformation from a rural to an urban society, children are — though they might not agree — robbed of the opportunity to do genuinely responsible work. -- 1967
Ike's words are so refreshing. So prophetic. So profound. They apply to us now, when our very form of democracy is under serious threat, more than they ever have. A vast majority of our Congressional and Jurisdictional leaders completely ignore his warnings, leaving it truly up to US citizens to try and understand and implement them. I recommend everyone read his 1961 Farwell Adress and his speech titled "A Chance for Peace."  You will not regret the time spent doing so.

3 comments:

Scott and Claudia said...

Great post sis! I need to read his farewell speech. Loved his quotes. Great man. Have a good day and see you in just 6 more days! Love you to the moon and back! Mom

Polly Blevins said...

I thought the war officially ended about 2 months ago. I saw it on a special report...hmmm

Scott and Claudia said...

Really liked your post, Bettylou. Ike ran for president as a Republican because the Republican party asked him to. I'm not sure he had ever voted in an election prior to that time -- he was definitely not a politician by today's standards. We have no statesmen today, unfortunately.
Pa

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