Dear Mr. President: Words of Resistance, Reason, and Peace

"There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it." -Havelock Ellis


Words of War
Words of Peace

Words of War

"'We're not inflicting pain on these fuckers,' Clinton said, softly at first. 'When people kill us, they should be killed in greater numbers.' Then, with his face reddening, his voice rising, and his fist pounding his thigh, he leaned into Tony [Lake, then his national security adviser], as if it was his fault. 'I believe in killing people who try to hurt you.. And I can't believe we're being pushed around by these two-bit pricks.'"
-U.S. president Bill Clinton ordering the bombing of civilian targets in Somalia, as quoted in "All Too Human" by George Stephanopoulos.

"We are not romantic people! We are the Sega generation."
-U.S. pilot replying to CNN reporter's question whether he had any qualms about killing innocent civilians.

"If we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war."
-George Washington

"The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his."
-General George S. Patton

"There is no question but that when one is engaged militarily that there are going to be unintended loss of life."
-U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

"We think the price is worth it."
-former Secretary of State Madelaine Albright in response to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children as a result of the US sanctions

"Why of course the people don't want war... Naturally... That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
-Hitler's #2 Man, Hermann Goering

"The people who did this act on America, and who may be planning further acts, are evil people. They don't represent an ideology, they don't represent a legitimate political group of people. They're flat evil. That's all they can think about, is evil. And as a nation of good folks, we're going to hunt them down, and we're going to find them, and we will bring them to justice."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"And this is an administration -- we're not into nation-building, we're focused on justice. And we're going to get justice. It's going to take a while, probably. But I'm a patient man. Nothing will diminish my will and my determination -- nothing."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"And we will win the war, and there will be costs. But the military folks understand that, and so do I, and so does the Secretary of Defense."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"The message is for everybody who wears the uniform: get ready. The United States will do what it takes to win this war... And this is an administration that is going to dedicate ourselves to winning that war."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"Ours is a nation that does not seek revenge."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"Now the Taliban will pay a price."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"I just remember, all I'm doing is remembering when I was a kid I remember that they used to put out there in the old west, a wanted poster. It said: "Wanted, Dead or Alive." All I want and America wants him brought to justice. That's what we want."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."
-U.S. President George W. Bush

"This year will go down in history... Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future."
-Adolf Hitler


Words of Peace

"Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity."

"An optimist says, 'War is impossible.' A pessimist says, 'War is inevitable.' A realist says, 'War is inevitable unless we make it impossible.'"

"And violence is impractical, because the old eye for an eye philosophy ends up leaving everybody blind .. It is immoral because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for everybody. Means and ends are inseparable. The means represent the ideal in the making; in the long run of history destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The road to devastation begins long before war does: it begins when nations and groups equip themselves for war. Preparing for war ensures that it will happen (though it may not be the war that's being prepared for). You might as well try preventing a forest fire by pouring petrol over the trees and then standing by with a box of matches."
-Peace Pledge Union

"In fact aggression and revenge are deliberately incited to fuel war. Every war is backed by political and military propaganda which fires anger, hatred and impulses to attack and retaliate. This serves at least two purposes: it allows armies to believe in what they're doing, and seduces people into supporting their leaders' war policies."
-Peace Pledge Union

"Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men and women."
-From The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King Jr.

"It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy. Power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy... The Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States."
-Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Former UN Secretary General

"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
-Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger"

"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 David Eisenhower

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy

"If it's natural to kill, why do men have to go into training to learn how?"
-Joan Baez

"What if when they called a war, no one went?"
-Abbie Hoffman

"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist."
-Indira Gandhi

"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake."
-Jeanette Rankin

"When men talk about defense, they always claim to be protecting women and children, but they never ask the women and children what they think."
-Pat Schroeder

"Am I not destroying my enemies what I make friends of them?"
-Abraham Lincoln

"Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional."
-Max Lucade

"Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances."
-Mahatma Gandhi

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, 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

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
-Mohandas Gandhi

"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility."
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace."
-Andre Gide

"It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell."
-William Tecumseh Sherman

"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind... War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."
-John F. Kennedy

"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

"There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending."

"War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses."
-Thomas Jefferson

"Wars are not acts of God. They are caused by man, by man-made institutions, by the way in which man has organized his society. What man has made, man can change."
-Frederick Moore Vinson

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."
-Alfred Adler

"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters."
-African Proverb

"When evil is allowed to compete with good, evil has an emotional populist appeal that wins out unless good men and women stand as a vanguard against abuse."
-Hannah Arendt, 20th-century German political philosopher and author

"There have been periods of history in which episodes of terrible violence occurred but for which the word violence was never used...Violence is shrouded in justifying myths that lend it moral legitimacy, and these myths for the most part kept people from recognizing the violence for what it was. The people who burned witches at the stake never for one moment thought of their act as violence; rather they though of it as an act of divinely mandated righteousness. The same can be said of most of the violence we humans have ever committed."
-Gil Bailie

"Youth is the first victim of war; the first fruit of peace.It takes 20 years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only 20 seconds of war to destroy him."
-King Baudouin I, King of Belgium

"Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living."
-General Omar Bradley

"When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist."
-Archbishop Helder Camara, Brazilian liberation theologist

"Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is--whether its victim is human or animal--we cannot expect things to be much better in this world... We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity."
-Rachel Carson

"The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?"
-Pablo Casal

"We are convinced that non-violence is more powerful than violence. We are convinced that non-violence supports you if you have a just and moral cause...If you use violence, you have to sell part of yourself for that violence. Then you are no longer a master of your own struggle."
-Cesar Chavez

"In all of his suffering, as in all of his life and ministry, Jesus refused to defend himself with force or with violence. He endured violence and cruelty so that God's love might be fully manifest and the world might be reconciled to the One from whom it had become estranged. Even at his death, Jesus cried for forgiveness for those who were executioners: 'Father, forgive them.'"
-The Challenge of Peace

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."

"At some ideas you stand perplexed, especially at the sight of human sins, uncertain whether to combat it by force or by human love. Always decide, "I will combat it with human love." If you make up your mind about that once and for all, you can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is a terrible force; it is the strongest of all things and there is nothing like it."
-Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazo

"The pioneers of a warless world are the young men (and women) who refuse military service."
-Albert Einstein

"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."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

"There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it."
-Havelock Ellis

"I hope...that mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable creatures, have reason and sense enough to settle their differences without cutting throats; for in my opinion there never was a good war, or a bad peace."
-Benjamin Franklin

"We must be the change we wish to see."
-Mahatma Gandhi

"In the name of peace
They waged the wars
ain't they got no shame"

-Nikki Giovanni, The Great Pax Whitie, 1979

"Being a pacifist between wars is as easy as being a vegetarian between meals."
-Ammon Hennacy, US Labor leader

"I'm not disturbing the peace. I'm disturbing the war."
-Ammon Hennacy, US Labor leader

"While seeking revenge, dig two graves - one for yourself."
-Doug Horton

"If peace... only had the music and pageantry of war, there'd be no wars."
-Sophie Kerr

"Everything, everything in war is barbaric . . . But the worst barbarity of war is that it forces men collectively to commit acts against which individually they would revolt with their whole being."
-Ellen Key, 1916

"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room."
-Anita Koddick

"War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off."
-Karl Kraus (1874-1936)

"If it were proved to me that in making war, my ideal had a chance of being realized, I would still say "No" to war. For one does not create human society on mounds of corpses."
-Louis Lecoin, French pacifist leader

"The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions."
-Robert Lynd (1879-1949), Anglo-Irish essayist, journalist

"It is clear that the way to heal society of its violence . . . and lack of love is to replace the pyramid of domination with the circle of equality and respect."

"Warmaking doesn't stop warmaking. If it did, our problems would have stopped millennia ago."
-Colman McCarthy

"I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask: 'Mother, what was war?'"
-Eve Merriam

"Nonviolence doesn't always work -- but violence never does."
-Madge Michaels-Cyrus

"We cannot have peace if we are only concerned with peace. War is not an accident. It is the logical outcome of a certain way of life. If we want to attack war, we have to attack that way of life."
-A. J. Muste

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."
-Friedrich Nietzche

"We must have research for peace ... It would embrace the outstanding problems of morality. The time has come for man's intellect, his scientific method, to win over the immoral brutality and irrationality of war and militarism ... Now we are forced to eliminate from the world forever this vestige of prehistoric barbarism, this curse to the human race."
-Linus Pauling

"We are ready to retaliate, rather than forgive or gain by love and information . . . Force may subdue, but love gains. And one that forgives first wins the laurel."
-William Penn

"When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"
-Eleanor Roosevelt

"When the rich make war, it's the poor that die."
-Jean-Paul Sartre

"Men are so accustomed to maintaining external order by violence that they cannot conceive of life being possible without violence."
-Leo Tolstoy

"Violence produces only something resembling justice, but it distances people from the possibility of living justly, without violence."
-Leo Tolstoy

"We challenge the culture of violence when we ourselves act in the certainty that violence is no longer acceptable, that it's tired and outdated no matter how many cling to it in the stubborn belief that it still works and that it's still valid."
-Gerard Vanderhaar

"The story of the human race is characterized by efforts to get along much more than by violent disputes, although it's the latter that make the history books. Violence is actually exceptional. The human race has survived because of cooperation, not aggression."
-Gerard Vanderhaar

"The soul of our country needs to be awakened . . .When leaders act contrary to conscience, we must act contrary to leaders."
-Veterans Fast for Life

"Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more."
-Oscar Wilde

"In 1989, thirteen nations comprising 1,695,000 people experienced nonviolent revolutions that succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations . . . If we add all the countries touched by major nonviolent actions in our century (the Philippines, South Africa . . . the independence movement in India . . .) the figure reaches 3,337,400,000, a staggering 65% of humanity! All this in the teeth of the assertion, endlessly repeated, that nonviolence doesn't work in the 'real' world."
-Walter Wink

"God help those that bear the unfathomable sorrow of battle."
-Unknown (Courtesy of Walt Cronin)

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