Crises and Power
U.S. Foreign Policy

Quotes on Power

About the book Crisis and Leviathan

Center on Peace & Liberty “B” Quotes
On Power


Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
1st Baron Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, Lord Chancellor
Solicitor General, Attorney General, Philosopher, Author

“It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty.”

Joan Baez (1941-)
Folksinger, Songwriter and Antiwar Activist

“If it’s natural to kill, how come men have to go into training to learn how?”

“The only thing that’s been a worse flop than the organization of non-violence has been the organization of violence.”

“That’s all nonviolence is--organized love.”

Walter Bagehot (1826-1877)
English Economist and Journalist

“The notion of a farseeing and despotic statesman, who can lay down plans for ages yet unborn, is a fancy generated by the pride of the human intellect to which facts give no support.”

“The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions.”

“A Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more or less idle people.”

“An influential member of parliament has not only to pay much money to become such, and to give time and labour, he has also to sacrifice his mind too--at least all the characteristics part of it that which is original and most his own.”

“Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions. A Republic is a government in which that attention is divided between many, who are all doing uninteresting actions. Accordingly, so long as the human heart is strong and the human reason weak, Royalty will be strong because it appeals to diffused feeling, and Republics weak because they appeal to the understanding.”

“The cure for admiring the House of Lords is to go and look at it.”

F. Lee Bailey (1933-)
Defense Attorney

“Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn’t even get out of committee.”

Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876)
Russian Revolutionary and Author

“Where the State begins, individual liberty ceases, and vice versa.”

“Man is only truly free only among equally free men.”

“The State is the organized authority, domination, and power of the possessing classes over the masses the most flagrant, the most cynical, and the most complete negation of humanity. It shatters the universal solidarity of all men on the earth, and brings some of them into association only for the purpose of destroying, conquering, and enslaving all the rest. This flagrant negation of humanity which constitutes the very essence of the State is, from the standpoint of the State, its supreme duty and its greatest virtue. Thus, to offend, to oppress, to despoil, to plunder, to assassinate or enslave one’s fellowman is ordinarily regarded as a crime. In public life, on the other hand, from the standpoint of patriotism, when these things are done for the greater glory of the State, for the preservation or the extension of its power, it is all transformed into duty and virtue. This explains why the entire history of ancient and modern states is merely a series of revolting crimes; why kings and ministers, past and present, of all times and all countries--statesmen, diplomats, bureaucrats, and warriors--if judged from the standpoint of simply morality and human justice, have a hundred, a thousand times over earned their sentence to hard labor or to the gallows. There is no horror, no cruelty, sacrilege, or perjury, no imposture, no infamous transaction, no cynical robbery, no bold plunder or shabby betrayal that has not been or is not daily being perpetrated by the representatives of the states, under no other pretext than those elastic words, so convenient and yet so terrible: ‘for reasons of state.’”

“The liberty of man consists solely in this: that he obeys natural laws because he has himself recognized them as such, and not because they have been externally imposed upon him by any extrinsic will whatever, divine or human, collective or individual.”

“To do away with this reciprocal influence is tantamount to death. And in demanding the freedom of the masses we do not intend to do away with natural influences to which man is subjected by individuals and groups. All we want is to do away with is factitious. legitimized influences. to do away with the privileges in exerting influence.”

“And in this day and age what is it that constitutes the principle underlying the power of the State? Why, it is science. Yes, science--Science of government, science of administration and financial science; the science of fleecing the flocks of the people without their bleating too loudly and, when they start to bleat, the science of urging silence, patience and obedience upon them by means of a scientifically organised force: the science of deceiving and dividing the masses of the people and keeping them allays in a salutary ignorance lest they ever become able, by helping one another and pooling their efforts, to conjure up a power capable of overturning States.”

“It clearly follows that to make men moral it is necessary to make their social environment moral. And that can be done in only one way; by assuring the triumph of justice, that is, the complete liberty of everyone in the most perfect equality for all. Inequality of conditions and rights, and the resulting lack of liberty for all, is the great collective iniquity begetting all individual iniquities.”

“Man does not become man, nor does he achieve awareness or realization of his humanity, other than in society and in the collective movement of the whole society; he only shakes off the yoke of internal nature through collective or social labor. . . and without his material emancipation there can be no intellectual or moral emancipation for anyone. . . man in isolation can have no awareness of his liberty. Being free for man means being acknowledged, considered and treated as such by another man, and by all the men around him. Liberty is therefore a feature not of isolation but of interaction, not of exclusion but rather of connection. . . I myself am human and free only to the extent that I acknowledge the humanity and liberty of all my fellows. . . I am properly free when all the men and women about me are equally free. Far from being a limitation or a denial of my liberty, the liberty of another is its necessary condition and confirmation.”

“Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.”

“The state is a force incarnate. Worse, it is the silly parading of force. It never seeks to prevail by persuasion. Whenever it thrusts its finger into anything it does so in the most unfriendly way. Its essence is command and compulsion.”

“In every State, the government is nothing but a permanent conspiracy on the part of the minority against the majority, which it enslaves and fleeces.”

Honore de Balzac (1800-1850)
French Novelist

“Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.”

“Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.”

Stanley Baldwin (1864-1947)
British Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Member of Parliament

“War would end if the dead could return.”

“Let us never forget this: since the day of the air, the old frontiers are gone. When you think of the defense of England you no longer think of the chalk cliffs of Dover; you think of the Rhine. That is where our frontier lies.”

“The only defense is offense, which means that you have to kill more women and children more quickly than the enemy if you wish to save yourselves.”

“[Politicians] rather resemble Alice in Wonderland, who tried to play croquet with a flamingo instead of a mallet.”

Harry Elmer Barnes (1889-1968)
American Historian and Author

“In his devastatingly prophetic book, Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell points out that one reason why it is possible for those in authority to maintain the barbarities of the police state is that nobody is able to recall the many blessings of the period which preceded. . . The great majority of [Western people today] have known only a world ravaged by war, depressions, international intrigues and meddling, vast debts and crushing taxation, the encroachments of the police state, and the control of public opinion by ruthless and irresponsible propaganda. . . . Military state capitalism is engulfing both democracy and liberty in countries which have not succumbed to Communism. . . . During the years since 1937, the older pacific internationalism has been virtually extinguished, and internationalism has itself been conquered by militarism and aggressive globaloney. Militarism was, formerly, closely linked to national arrogance. Today, it stalks behind the semantic disguise of internationalism, which has become a cloak for national aggrandizement and imperialism. . . . The obvious slogan of the internationalists of our day, who dominate the historical profession as well as the political scene, is ‘perpetual war for perpetual peace.’ This, it may be noted, is also the ideological core of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ society. . . . The security measures alleged to be necessary to promote and execute global crusades are rapidly bringing about the police state in hitherto free nations, including our own. Any amount of arbitrary control over political and economic life, the most extensive invasions of civil liberties, the most extreme witch-hunting, and the most lavish expenditures, can al be demanded and justified on the basis of alleged ‘defense’ requirements. . . . This is precisely the psychological attitude and procedural policy which dominate ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ society.” [from “Revisionism and the Historical Blackout,” Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace]

“Today, partisan political strategy overrides business independence and sagacity, and the manner in which we shall utilize our technology is keyed more to vote-getting and the associated military program than to producing goods and services and assuring human well-being. . . . [In this program, the politicians] are aided and abetted by military leaders [who seek] . . . to put the Pentagon group in a position of greater prestige and power than was ever enjoyed by the Prussian military caste in Imperial Germany. . . . [The oil interests wished] to protect their far-flung interests and possessions. . . . [W]ars must be . . . made perpetual . . . so as to assure full employment and facilitate the propaganda of fear and terrorism upon which the maintenance of the regime depends.” [from “How ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ Trends Threaten American Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity,” in Revisionism: A Key to Peace and Other Essays]

“[The Smith Act] repudiated the fundamental principles on which our nation was founded. . . . Though the Smith Act is now being used to suppress the vending of unpopular Communist opinions, it could readily be turned against thevery conservative groups that have sponsored the law. . .”

“[If maximum murder of the enemy is the sole aim of a war, then a call for unconditional surrender is only the logical conclusion of a conflict in which] there were no actual peace aims or programs. . . . The Allies won just exactly what they fought for--and all they fought for: an astronomical number of enemy scalps and incredible physical destruction of enemy property and homes . . . . In the second World War, it was only a matter of killing Germans and Japanese; today, we are confronted with the threat of killing everybody on the planet with no basic plans or motives other than a 'massive surprise attack,' to be followed by the mopping up of survivors through a ‘massive retaliation.’ The origins and motives of the Cold War were as sordid and ethically bankrupt as those of the Second World War: Stalin’s determination to hold his illicit gains, the British effort to regain their balance of power position which they had lost in the war which was designed to preserve it, and the effort of Truman and Clark Clifford to pull [up] Democratic political prospects. . . in late February 1947. . . . The world was soon consigned to the Orwellian pattern of linking up bogus economic prosperity and political tenure with cold and phony war, from which the only relief may well be devastating nuclear warfare, set off by design or accident. . . . ” [from “Revisionism Revisited,” Liberation, Summer 1959]

“As a result [of abandoning neutrality and embracing hysterical anti-communism], the conservatives overlook entirely the fact that this very globalism and spatial fantasy, with the astronomical expenditures involved, are the main cause of the growing statism, debt burden, inflation . . . which are destroying the free economy that they abstractly worship. . . . The building of a public dam costing some millions is denounced as ‘pure socialism,’ while a rigidly State-controlled armament economy costing forty or more [now over seventy] billions each year is hailed as the chief bulwark of free enterprise.”

“They [liberals and progressives] pretend intense devotion to a welfare state, but at the same time warmly uphold the allocation of over three-fourths of our national budget to armament and to war. . . . The liberals exhibit great agitation concerning alleged threats to our civil liberties, but most of them support the ‘Cold War,’ which is far and away the chief cause of the more serious invasions of civil liberties and intellectual freedom.”

“After 1945, we ran into a period of intellectual conformity perhaps unsurpassed since the supreme power and unity of the Catholic Church at the height of the Middle Ages. Between the pressures exerted by the military aspects of the Orwellian cold-war system and those which were equally powerful in the civilian or commercial world, intellectual individuality and independence all but disappeared.” [from “Revisionism: A Key to Peace,” in Rampart Journal, Spring 1966]

“In this era of Nineteen Eighty-Four, ‘The Organization Men,’ ‘The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit,’ the ‘Hidden Persuaders,’ and ‘Madison Avenue,’ even the average American college graduate became little more inclined to independent thinking than was a Catholic peasant during the papacy of Innocent III. As Irving Howell pointed out in the Atlantic of November, 1965, American higher education conformed to the Orwellian cold-war system about as conveniently as the Pentagon or American business. When, in the mid-1960’s, a small minority of students began to show signs of restlessness, this caused widespread surprise and alarm, and public leaders like Senator Thomas J. Dodd of Connecticut suggested procedures which would have won them kudos from Hitler.” [from "Revisionism: A Key to Peace," in Rampart Journal, Spring 1966]

“[The] series of lesser tactical or revolutionary ‘hot wars’ in Korea, South Vietnam, the Congo, and elsewhere, which are so needed to stoke the fires of our military state capitalist economy. Indeed, in Time of September 25, 1965, it was suggested in a lengthy and factual editorial that we might as well get adjusted to this situation of worldwide non-nuclear war as permanent until the final nuclear overkill comes along.” [from "Revisionism: A Key to Peace," in Rampart Journal, Spring 1966]

“Stalin and his successors were content with the Cold War because war scares and the alleged threat of capitalistic attack enabled the Politburo to maintain unity and prevent any threat of civil war in Soviet Russia, despite much slave labor and low living standards. . . . The antagonism of the Western Powers and the Korean War aided [the Chinese Communists] in instituting a reign of terror at home and eliminating their enemies under the guise of the needs of defense and national security.” [from “How ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ Trends Threaten American Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity,” in Revisionism: A Key to Peace and Other Essays]

“[The perpetual war system] could only work if the masses are always kept at a fever heat of fear and excitement and are effectively prevented from learning that the wars are actually phony. To bring about this indispensable deception of the people requires a tremendous development of propaganda, thought-policing, regimentation, and mental terrorism. . . . when it becomes impossible to keep the people any longer at a white heat in their hatred of one enemy group of nations, the war is shifted against another bloc and new, violent hate campaigns are planned and set in motion.” [from “How ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ Trends Threaten American Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity,” in Revisionism: A Key to Peace and Other Essays, pp. 142–43]

“[A f]ather . . . had every assurance that he could raise his family with his sons free from the shadow of the draft and butchery in behalf of politicians. The threat of war did not hang over him. There are some forms of tyranny worse than that of an arbitrary boss in a nonunion shop.” [from “Revisionism and the Historical Blackout,” in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, pp. 5-6]

“[W]e are now passing into a period in which wars--hot, cold, or phony, but mainly cold and phony--are being used to an increasing extent as the basic instrument of domestic political strategy in order to consolidate the power of the class or party in office, to extend and retain tenure of office, to maintain prosperity and full employment and to avert depressions. The real enemy is not nations or forces outside the borders, but parties and classes within the country that are antagonistic to the party and class which hold power.” [from “A Glimpse at the Future,” An Intellectual and Cultural History of the Western World, vol. 3, p. 1326]

Dave Barry (1947-)
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author, Journalist,and Humorist

“Look at what the government does: it takes money from some people, keeps a bunch of it, and gives the rest to other people.”

“As a taxpayer, you are required to be fully in compliance with the United States Tax Code, which is currently the size and weight of the Budweiser Clydesdales.”

Claude-Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)
French Economist, Legislator, and Writer

“Open at random any book on philosophy, politics, or history . . . In all of them, you will probably find this idea that mankind is merely inert matter, receiving life, organization, morality, and prosperity from the power of the state. And even worse, it will be stated that mankind tends toward degeneration, and is stopped from this downward course only by the mysterious hand of the legislator. Conventional classical thought everywhere says that behind passive society there is a concealed power called law or legislator (or called by some other terminology that designates some unnamed person or persons of undisputed influence and authority) which moves, controls, benefits, and improves mankind.”

“People are beginning to realize that the apparatus of government is costly. But what they do not know is that the burden falls inevitably on them.”

“The plans differ; the planners are all alike. . . ”

“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.”

“The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.”

“What then, is the common denominator to which all forms of socialism are reducible, and what is the bond that unites them against natural society, or society as planned by Providence? There is none except this: They do not want natural society. What they want is an artificial society, which has come forth full-grown from the brain of its inventor. . . They quarrel over who will mould the human clay, but they agree that there is human clay to mould. Mankind is not in their eyes a living and harmonious being endowed by God Himself with the power to progress and to survive, but an inert mass that has been waiting for them to give it feeling and life; human nature is not a subject to be studied, but matter on which to perform experiments.”

“We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life ó physical, intellectual, and moral life. But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course. Life, faculties, production ó in other words, individuality, liberty, property ó this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

“But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

“In war, the stronger overcomes the weaker. In business, the stronger imparts strength to the weaker.”

“Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

“When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.”

“Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve. . . But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn’t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay . . . No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.”

“The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.”

“When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

“It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”

“By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.”

“No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).”

“The politician attempts to remedy the evil by increasing the very thing that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder.”

“Each of us has a natural right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property.”

“When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”

“When plunder has become a way of life for a group of people living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it.”

Lord Peter T. Bauer (1915-2002)
English Economist and Author

“Once the moral and political case for egalitarian policies is taken for granted, the movement for egalitarianism feeds on itself. If the results of egalitarian policies are deemed favorable, it is evident that still more could be achieved by further and sterner measures; if on the other hand the policies are deemed to have failed, it is evidence that they were not drastic enough. Such reactions are fostered when it is widely assumed that the economic positions of people are properly the concern of official policy.”

“Foreign aid is a phenomenon whereby poor people in rich countries are taxed to support the life-styles of rich people in poor countries.”

“The central issue in population policy is whether the number of children people have should be decided by the parents or by the agents of the state.”

“[T]he notion that comprehensive [government] planning is indispensable for material progress is plainly unfounded. . . . Economic development requires modernization of the mind. . . . Comprehensive planning does not promote favorable changes in these attitudes and mores. It reinforces the authoritarian tradition of many underdeveloped societies . . . Comprehensive planning means close economic controls. Such controls restrict the movement of resources to directions where they would be most productive. They inhibit the establishment of new enterprises and the expansion of efficient producers. . . . Restrictions on occupational and geographical mobility inhibit the establishment of new contacts, the spirit of experimentation and the opportunities to set up new enterprises. . . . These controls necessarily extend to external economic relations. Indeed the control of foreign trade is usually a pivot of comprehensive planning. . . . The controls under comprehensive planning generally have nothing to do with raising popular living standards. Indeed, they usually depress them. . . . Comprehensive planning is apt to provoke and exacerbate political tension at least until all political opposition is supressed. . . . [Yet, t]he salient aspects of the consensus on [Third World economic development] policy are: insistence on comprehensive central planning . . .; on compulsory saving . . .; and on large-scale foreign aid . . . . These domestic and international policies the consensus regards as indispensible for the material progress of poor countries. Other widely advocated policies include close control of external economic relations, large-scale state sponsored or operated development of manufacturing, and partial or total expropriation of landowners.” [from Dissent on Development, p. 84-87, 309]

“[I]t is plainly untrue that poverty is self-perpetuating, that poor persons and societies cannot emerge from it without external alms. If it were true, countless individuals, groups and societies both in the West and elsewhere could never have emerged from poverty as they did. Indeed, since ther world is a closed system, development could never have sprung up from the once-universal ur-poverty.” [from Equality, the Third World and Economic Delusion, p. 98]

Charles A. Beard (1874-1948)
Historian and Author

“One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.”

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power.”

“The lines of the Wilsonian creed of world interventionism and adventurism are in substance: Imperialism is bad (well, partly); every nation must have a nice constitutional government, more or less like ours; if any government dislikes the settlement made at Versailles it must put up its guns and sit down with its well-armed neighbors for a 'friendly' conference; trade barriers are to be lowered and that will make everybody round the globe prosperous (almost, if not entirely); backward peoples are to be kept in order but otherwise treated nicely, as wards; the old history, full of troubles, is to be closed; brethren, and presumably sisters, are to dwell together in unity; everything in the world is to be managed as decorously as a Baptist convention presided over by the Honorable Cordell Hull; if not, we propose to fight disturbers everywhere (well, nearly everywhere).” [from Giddy Minds and Foreign Quarrels, pp. 24-25]

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
Abolitionist and Clergyman

“The worst thing in this world, next to anarchy, is government.”

“Law represents the effort of man to organize society; governments, the efforts of selfishness to overthrow liberty.”

“It is not merely cruelty that leads men to love war, it is excitement.”

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)
Member of Parliament, Journalist and Author

“The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself.”

Saul Bellow (1915-)
Novelist and 1976 Nobel Prize-Winner in Literature

“Take our politicians: they’re a bunch of yo-yos. The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of cliches the first prize.”

Bruce L. Benson (1949-)
Economist and Author

“Without legislative interference by non-judges, the ‘common law’ would grow gradually. It would grow and develop in the same way that all customary law grows and develops, particularly as a consequence of the mutual consent of parties entering into reciprocal arrangements. For example, two parties may enter into a contract, but something then occurs that the contract did not clearly account for. The parties agree to call upon an arbitrator or mediator to help lead them to a solution. The solution affects only those parties in the dispute, but if it turns out to be effective and the same potential conflict arises again, it may be voluntarily adopted by others. In this way, the solution becomes part of customary law.”

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
Philosopher, Economist, and Author

“As to the evil which results from a censorship, it is impossible to measure it, for it is impossible to tell where it ends.”

“Every law is an infraction of liberty.”

“Lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished.”

“The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but rather, ‘Can they suffer?’”

“Among the several cloudy appellatives which have been commonly employed as cloaks for misgovernment, there is none more conspicuous in this atmosphere of illusion than the word Order.”

Alexander Berkman (1870?-1936)
Political Theorist and Author

“The cure for evil and disorder is more liberty, not suppression.”

“The man who can face vilification and disgrace, who can stand up against the popular current, even against his friends and his country when he know he is right, who can defy those in authority over him, who can take punishment and prison and remain steadfast--that is a man of courage. The fellow whom you taunt as a ‘slacker’ because he refuses to turn murderer--he needs courage. But do you need much courage just to obey orders, to do as you are told and to fall in line with thousands of others to the tune of general approval and the Star Spangled Banner?“

“War paralyzes your courage and deadens the spirit of true manhood. It degrades and stupefies with the sense that you are not responsible, that ‘’tis not yours to think and reason why, but to do and die,’ like the hundred thousand others doomed like yourself. War means blind obedience, unthinking stupidity, brutish callousness, wanton destruction, and irresponsible murder.”

Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997)
Historian, Philosopher and Author

“Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not.”

“All forms of tampering with human beings, getting at them, shaping them against their will to your own pattern, all thought control and conditioning is, therefore, a denialof that in men which makes them men and their values ultimate.”

“The essence of liberty has always lain in the ability to choose as you wish to choose, because you wish so to choose, uncoerced, unbullied, not swallowed up in some vast system; and in the right to resist, to be unpopular, to stand up for your convictions merely because they are your convictions. That is true freedom, and without it there is neither freedom of any kind, nor even the illusion of it.” [from Freedom and Its Betrayal: Six Enemies of Human Freedom, 1952]

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)
Journalist, Humorist, Short-Story Writer, Essayist, and Novelist

“CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.”

“HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.”

“PATRIOT, n. One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.”

“PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect.”

“POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”

“It seems that ‘we have never gone to war for conquest, for exploitation, nor for territory‘; we have the word of a president [McKinley] for that. Observe, now, how Providence overrules the intentions of the truly good for their advantage. We went to war with Mexico for peace, humanity and honor, yet emerged from the contest with an extension of territory beyond the dreams of political avarice. We went to war with Spain for relief of an oppressed people [the Cubans], and at the close found ourselves in possession of vast and rich insular dependencies [primarily the Philippines] and with a pretty tight grasp upon the country for relief of whose oppressed people we took up arms. We could hardly have profited more had ‘territorial aggrandizement’ been the spirit of our purpose and heart of our hope. The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.”

“Every patriot believes his country better than any other country . . . In its active manifestation--it is fond of killing--patriotism would be well enough if it were simply defensive, but it is also aggressive . . . Patriotism deliberately and with folly aforethought subordinates the interests of a whole to the interests of a part . . . Patriotism is fierce as a fever, pitiless as the grave and blind as a stone.”

“No country is so wild and difficult but men will make it a theater of war.”

Otto von Bismarck (1862-1890)
Chancellor of Germany

“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”

“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.”

“The great questions of the day will be decided not by speeches and majority votes. . . but by blood and iron.” [from a speech, September 29, 1862]

Hugo L. Black (1886-1971)
Associate Justice, U. S. Supreme Court

“The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have [to] bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”

“I cannot agree with those who think of the Bill of Rights as an 18th century straitjacket, unsuited for this age. The evils it guards against are not only old, they are with us now, they exist today. Experience all over the world has demonstrated, I fear, that the distance between stable, orderly government and one that has been taken over by force is not so great as we have assumed.”

“The very reason for the First Amendment is to make the people of this country free to think, speak, write and worship as they wish, not as the Government commands.”

“The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”

“A union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.”

“Today most Americans seem to have forgotten the ancient evils which forced their ancestors to flee to this new country and to form a government stripped of old powers used to oppress them. But the Americans who supported the Revolution and the adoption of our Constitution knew firsthand the dangers of tyrannical governments. They were familiar with the long existing practice of English persecutions of people wholly because of their religious or political beliefs. They knew that many accused of such offenses had stood, helpless to defend themselves, before biased legislators and judges.” [from “The Bill of Rights,” 35 New York University Law Review 865, 1960]

“Misuse of government power, particularly in times of stress, has brought suffering to humanity in all ages about which we have authentic history. Some of the world's noblest and finest men have suffered ignominy and death for no crime--unless unorthodoxy is a crime. Even enlightened Athens had its victims such as Socrates. Because of the same kind of bigotry, Jesus, the great Dissenter, was put to death on a wooden cross. The flames of inquisitions all over the world have warned that men endowed with unlimited government power, even earnest men, consecrated to a cause, are dangerous.” [from “The Bill of Rights,” 35 New York University Law Review 865, 1960]

“For my own part, I believe that our Constitution, with its absolute guarantees of individual rights, is the best hope for the aspirations of freedom which men share everywhere. I cannot agree with those who think of the Bill of Rights as an 18th Century straitjacket, unsuited for this age. It is old but not all old things are bad. The evils it guards against are not only old, they are with us now, they exist today . . . .” [from “The Bill of Rights,” 35 New York University Law Review 865, 1960]

Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780)
English Jurist, Legal Scholar, and Author

“It is better that ten guilty escape than one innocent suffer.”

“And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defense.”

“The public good is in nothing more essentially interested than in the protection of every individual’s private rights.”

“But in vain would these rights be declared, ascertained, and protected by the dead letter of the laws, if the constitution had provided no other method to secure their actual enjoyment. It has therefore established certain other auxiliary rights of the subject, which serve principally as outworks or barriers, to protect and maintain inviolate the three great and primary rights of personal security, personal liberty, and private property.”

“The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law . . . and is, indeed, a publick allowance under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”

William Blum
Journalist and Author

“A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.”

Napoleon Bonaparte (1768-1821)
French General and Emperor

“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.”

“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”

“A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights.”

“He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.”

“History is a set of lies agreed upon.”

“I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.”

“If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.”

“Men are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues.”

“The act of policing is, in order to punish less often, to punish more severely.”

“The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.”

“There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.”

“Women are nothing but machines for producing children.”

“You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.”

“Nothing can be designed better to disorganise and destroy an army than pillage.”

“No rule of war is so absolute as to allow no exceptions.”

“Soldiers usually win the battles and generals get the credit for them.”

“Treaties are observed as long as they are in harmony with interests.”

“War justifies everything.”

“The price of victory is blood!”

David G. Borenstein

“One cannot subdue a man by holding back his hands. Lasting peace comes not from force.”

“Bush Sr. was a jerk, Quayle an idiot, Clinton was atrocious and disgusting, most of those who persecuted him were hypocritical, Gore is shallow and weak, Bradley is an idealist, Bush Jr. a fool, and all of the independent candidates act like they’re on drugs.”

“’Tis nobler to lose honor to save the lives of men than it is to gain honor by taking them.”

Randolph S. Bourne (1886–1918)
Journalist and Author

“Wartime brings the ideal of the State out into very clear relief, and reveals attitudes and tendencies that were hidden. In times of peace the sense of the State flags in a Republic that is not militarized.”

“War is the health of the state.”

“In your reaction to an imagined attack on your country or an insult to its government, you draw closer to the herd for protection, you conform in word and deed, and you insist vehemently that everybody else shall think, speak, and act together. And you fix your adoring gaze upon the State, with a truly filial look, as upon the Father of the flock.”

“There is, of course, in the feeling toward the State a large element of pure filial mysticism. The sense of insecurity, the desire for protection, sends one’s desire back to the father and mother, with whom is associated the earliest feeling of protection. It is not for nothing that one’s State is still thought of as Fatherland or Motherland, that one’s relations towards it is conceived in terms of family affection. The war [World War I] has shown that nowhere under the shock of danger have these primitive childlike attitudes failed to assert themselves again, as much in this country as anywhere. If we have not the intense father-sense of the German who worships his Vaterland, at least in Uncle Sam we have a symbol of protecting, kindly authority . . . A people at war have become in the most literal sense obedient, respectful, trustful children again, full of that naive faith in the all-wisdom and all-power of the adult who takes care of them, imposes his mild but necessary rule upon them and to whom they lose their responsibility and anxieties. In this recrudescence of the child, there is great comfort, and a certain influx of power. On most people the strain of being an independent adult weighs heavily . . .”

“The liberals felt a naive faith in the sagacity of the President to make their strategy prevail. They looked to him single-handedly to liberalize the liberal nations. They trusted him to use a war technique which should consist of an olive-branch in one hand and a sword in the other. They have had to see their strategy collapse under the very weight of that war-technique.” [1917]

“The formality by which Parliamentd and Congresses declare war is the merest technicality. Before such a declaration can take place, the country will have been brought to the very brink of war by the foreign policy of the Executive. A long series of steps on the downward path, each one more fatally committing the unsuspecting country to a warlike course of action, will have been taken without either the people or its representatives being consulted or expressing its feelings . . . . To repudiate an Executive at that time would be to publish to the entire world the evidence that the country had been grossly deceived by its own Government . . . . In such a crisis, even a Parliament which in the most democratic States represents the common man and not the significant classes who most strongly cherish the State ideal, will cheerfully sustain the foreign policy which it understands even less than it would care for if understood . . .” [from War and the Intellectuals: Collected Essays, 1915-1919]

“Country is a concept of peace, of tolerance, of living and letting live. But State is essentially a concept of power . . . it signifies a group in its aggressive aspects. . . . The history of America as a country is quite different from that of America as a State. In one case it is the drama of the pioneering conquest of the land, of the growth of wealth, and the carrying out of spiritual ideals. . . . But as a State, its history is that of playing a part in the world, making war, obstructing international trade. . . punishing those citizens who society agrees are offensive, and collecting money to pay for all.” [from “Unfinished Fragment on the State,” Untimely Papers, pp. 229–230]

James Bovard (1956-)
Author and Journalist

“America needs fewer laws, not more prisons.”

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”

Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891)
English Reformer and Author

“Without free speech no search for truth is possible. . . no discovery of truth is useful. . . . Better a thousand-fold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race.”

Omar N. Bradley (1893-1965)
First Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General of the Army;
First Chairman of the Military Staff Committee
North Atlantic Treaty Organization

“The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. 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.”

“War: a wretched debasement of all the pretenses of civilization.”

“The way to win an atomic war is to make certain it never starts.”

Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941)
Associate Justice, U. S. Supreme Court

“Our government. . . teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

“The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”

“Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the State was to make men free to develop their faculties; and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.”

“Only an emergency can justify repression.”

“If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means--to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal--would bring terrible retributions.”

“The right most valued by all civilized men is the right to be left alone.”

John Bright (1811-1889)
English Orator and Member of Parliament

“Force is not a remedy.”

“I am for Peace, for Reform and for Retrenchment--thirty years agothe great watch words of the Liberal Party.”

“If this phrase of the ‘balance of power’ is to be always an argument for war, the pretext for war will never be wanting, and peace can never be secure.”

Louis Bromfield (1896-1956)
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist and Essayist

“America’s attempt to dominate and direct the whole course, not only of Asia, but of the world, is a policy of insanity which can only cause war after war and the eventual ruin of this nation.”

“The arrogant assertion that Korea, lying in the very midst of the Russo-Chinese-Japanese orbit, is our frontier is an idiotic assumption which cannot be maintained save at huge expense or the prospect of a third World War and economic ruin. If Korea is our frontier, so then is every nation in the world, and we are tempted to ask whether our future policy will be one of maintaining military installations and conscripted armies in every nation of the world.”

“It [Vietnam War] is an intervention and a battle which in the long run can never be won by either France or the U.S. even though we pour more millions and more lives into the debacle for years to come.”

William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-)
Author and Journalist

“[T]o beat the Soviet Union we must, to an extent, imitate the Soviet Union. . . . we shall totalitarianize ourselves to a point where life in the United States would be indistinguishable from life in the Soviet Union, save possibly for an enduring folkway or two.” [“A Dilemma of Conservatives,” The Freeman, August 1954, pp. 51-52]

Siddhartha Buddha (563-483 B.C.)
Religious Leader and Philosopher

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”

Howard H. Buffett (1903-1964)
U.S. Congressman and Stock Broker

“I would rather put a fully loaded machine gun in the hands of a delinquent than more opportunities for international destruction in the hands of our State Department.”

James Burgh (1714-1775)
English Philosopher

“No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion. And though for a while, those, who have the sword in their power, abstain from doing him injury, yet by degrees he will be awed.”

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
Member of Parliament, Philosopher, and Author

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

“The people will never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”

“People crushed by law have no hopes but power.”

“The true danger is when Liberty is nibbled away, for expedients.”

“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.”

“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.”

“In all forms of Government the people is the true legislator.”

“And having looked to government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them.”

“To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men.”

“It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tells me I ought to do.”

“Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though for but one year, can never willingly abandon it.”

“Liberty too must be limited in order to be possessed.”

“Our patience will achieve more than our force.”

“Power is a very corrupting thing, especially low and jobbish power.”

“They appointed governors over them for this reason (to defend themselves)! but a worse and more perplexing difficulty arises, how to be defended against the governors? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

"The greatest part of the governments on earth must be concluded tyrannies, impostures, violations of the natural rights of mankind, and worse than the most disorderly anarchies.”

“The law is wiser than cabal or interest.”

“The cause of humanity would be far more benefited by the continuance of the trade.”

“A populace never rebels from passion for attack, but from impatience of suffering.”

“They who make a man an idol, when he is off his pedestal will treat him with all the contempt with which blind and angry worshippers treat an idol that is fallen.”

“It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.”

“The government is a juggling confederacy of a few to cheat the prince and enslave the people.”

“I am at full liberty to defend myself, or make reprisal by surprise or by cunning, or by any other way in which I may be superior to him.”

“Despotism of the multitude . . . [however] democracy is the only tolerable form into which human society can be thrown, that a man is not permitted to hesitate about its merits, without the suspicion of being a friend to tyranny, that is, of being a foe to mankind?”

“The cause of artificial society is more defenceless even than that of artificial religion . . . the design [of this work] was to show that, without the exertion of any considerable forces, the same engines which were employed for the destruction of religion might be employed with equal success for the subversion of government. . . . If you say that natural religion is a sufficient guide without the foreign aid or revelation, on what principle should political laws become necessary? Is not the same reason available in theology and in politics? If the laws of nature are the laws of God, is it consistent with the divine wisdom to prescribe rules to us, and leave the enforcement of them to the folly of human institutions? Will you follow truth but to a certain point?”

“I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.”

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)

“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”

George H. W. Bush (1924-)
41st President of the United States; U.S. Vice President;
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;
U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations; U. S. Congressman

“When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world and we knew exactly who the they were. It was us versus them and it was clear who them was. Today, we’re not so sure who the they are, but we know they’re there.”

“I never apologize for the United States of America, I don’t care what the facts are.”

“I can’t think of any existing law that’s in force that wasn’t before.”

“I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don‘t always agree with them.”

“Read my lips: No new taxes.”

“[The war in Iraq is] a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times . . . a new world order can emerge.”

George W. Bush (1946-)
43rd President of the United States, Governor of Texas

“There ought to be limits to freedom.”

“Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enablers to keep the peace from peacekeepers is going to be an assignment.”

“They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it’s some kind of federal program.”

“I do know I’m ready for the job. And, if not, that’s just the way it goes.”

“It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it.” [Reuters, May 5, 2000]

“When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they’re there.” [at Iowa Western Community College, January 21, 2000]

“Keep good relations with the Grecians.” [The Economist, June 12, 1999]

“The mission  must be to fight and win war and therefore to prevent war from happening in the first place.”

“A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.”

“We’re going to have the best educated American people in the world.”

“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”

“I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.”

“We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.” [Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001]

“I think war is a dangerous place.” [Washington, D.C., May 7, 2003]

“This administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We’re making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end.” [Washington, D.C., April 10, 2001]

“It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas.” [Beaverton, Ore., Sep. 25, 2000]

“We cannot let terriers and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.” [Des Moines, IA, August 21, 2000]

“The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned first-hand from your foreign minister, who came to Texas.” [To a Slovak journalist, quoted by Knight Ridder News Service, June 22, 1999. Bush’s meeting was with Janez Drnovsek, the prime minister of Slovenia]

“And, most importantly, Alma Powell, secretary of Colin Powell, is with us.” [Washington, D.C., Jan. 30, 2003]

“I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well.” [Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2001]

“The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself.” [Grand Rapids, Mich., Jan. 29, 2003]

“The suicide bombings have increased. There's too many of them.” [Albuquerque, N.M., Aug. 15, 2001]

Despite the following claims by George W. Bush for the 2003 war in Iraq, no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons have been found, nor any documentation of their existence, nor any sign they were deployed in the field, nor any indication that any threat from weapons of mass destruction existed:

“Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” [September 12, 2002]

“I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied, finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic—the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency]—that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evident we need.” [September 12, 2002]

“We have also discovered through intellligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We are concened that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions targeting the United States.” [October 7, 2002]

“The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program . . . Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment need for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uraninum for nuclear weapons.” [in Cincinnati, October 7, 2002]

“The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons.” [from speech in Cincinnati, October 7, 2002]

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uraninum from Africa.” [from State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003]

“We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons--the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.” [from national radio address, February 8, 2003]

“We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they’re weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established.” [from national radio address, February 8, 2003]

“[I]ntelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. The regime has already used weapons of mass destruction . . . .” [March 17, 2003]

“[T]he Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised . . . Under [UN] Resolutions 678 and 687—both still in effect—the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. . . . In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over.” [March 17, 2003]

“We’ve found the weapons of mass destruction. You know, we found biological laboratories . . . . And we’ll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong. We found them.” [from a statement during his trip to Poland, May 2003]

Samuel Butler (1835-1902)
English Composer, Novelist and Satiric Author

“Authority intoxicates, And makes mere sots of magistrates; The fumes of it invade the brain, And make men giddy, proud and vain.”

“Man is the only animal that laughs and has a state legislature.”

Major General Smedley D. Butler, U.S.M.C. (1881-1940)
Two-time Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor

“I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.”

“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service in the country’s most agile military force, the Marines. I served in all ranks from second lieutenant to major general. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

“Thus I helped make Mexico, and especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the raping of half-a-dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers and Co. in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras ‘right’ for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.”

“During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel that I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three city districts. The Marines operated on three continents.”

Robert C. Byrd (1917-2010)
U.S. Senator

“Regarding the situation in Iraq, it appears to this Senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing international law, under false premises. . . . What has become painfully clear in the aftermath of war is that Iraq was no immediate threat to the U.S. Ravaged by years of sanctions, Iraq did not even lift an airplane against us. Iraq’s threatening death-dealing fleet on unmanned drones about which we heard so much morphed into one protype made of plywood and string. Their missions proved to be outdated and of limited range. Their army quickly overwhelmed by our technology and our well trained troops. . . . But the Bush team’s extensive hype of WMD in Iraq as justification for a preemptive invasion has become more than embarrassing. It has raised serious questions about prevarications and the reckless use of power. Were our troops needlessly put at risk? Were countless Iraqi civilians killed and maimed when war was not really necessary? Was the American people deliberately misled? Was the world? . . . And in what may be the most damaging develoment, the U.S. appears to be pushing off Iraq’s clamor for self-government. . . . The image of the boot on the throat has replaced the beckoning hand of freedom. . . ‘Regime change’ in Iraq has so far meant anarchy, curbed only by an occuying military force and a U.S. administrative presence that is evasive about if and when it intends to depart. . . . Democracy and freedom cannot be force fed at the point of an occupier’s gun. To think otherwise is folly. . . . As so many warned this Administration before it launched its misguided war on Iraq, there is evidence that our crackdown in Iraq is likely to convince 1,000 new Bin Ladens to plan other horrors of the type we have seen in the past several days. Instead of damaging the terrorists, we have given them new fuel for their fury. . . . We may have sparked a new international arms race as countries move ahead to develop WMD as a last ditch attempt to ward off a possible preemptive strike from a newly belligerent U.S. which claims the right to hit where it wants. . . . And mark my words, the calculated intimidation which we see so often of late by the ‘powers that be’ will only keep the loyal opposition quiet for just so long. Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall.”

“If the situation in Iraq is the result of liberation, we ma have set the cause of freedom back 200 years.”

“There is ample evidence that the horrific events of Sept. 11 have been carefully manipulated to switch public focus from Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, who mastermined the Sept. 11th attacks, to Saddam Hussein who did not.”

The Perception of Deception: Where Are the Iraqi Weapons? [June 5, 2003]

    “With each passing day, the questions surrounding Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction take on added urgency. Where are the massive stockpiles of VX, mustard, and other nerve agents that we were told Iraq was hoarding? Where are the thousands of liters of botulinim toxin? Wasn't it the looming threat to America posed by these weapons that propelled the United States into war with Iraq? Isn't this the reason American military personnel were called upon to risk their lives in combat?

    “. . . Now, nearly two months after the fall of Baghdad, the United States has yet to find any physical evidence of those lethal weapons. Could they be buried underground or are they somehow camouflaged in plain sight? Were they destroyed before the war? Have they been shipped out of the country? Do they actually exist? The questions are mounting. What started weeks ago as a restless murmur throughout Iraq has intensified into a worldwide cacophony of confusion.

    “The fundamental question that is nagging at many is this: How reliable were the claims of this President and key members of his Administration that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed a clear and imminent threat to the United States, such a grave threat that immediate war was the only recourse?

    “Lawmakers, who were assured before the war that weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, and many of whom voted to give this Administration a sweeping grant of authority to wage war based upon those assurances, have been placed in the uncomfortable position of wondering if they were misled. The media is ratcheting up the demand for answers: Could it be that the intelligence was wrong, or could it be that the facts were manipulated? These are very serious and grave questions, and they require immediate answers. We cannot--and must not--brush such questions aside. We owe the people of this country an answer. Every member of this body ought to be demanding answers. . . .

    “What amazes me is that the President himself is not clamoring for an investigation. It is his integrity that is on the line. It is his truthfulness that is being questioned. It is his leadership that has come under scrutiny. And yet he has raised no question, expressed no curiosity about the strange turn of events in Iraq, expressed no anger at the possibility that he might have been misled. How is it that the President, who was so adamant about the dangers of WMD, has expressed no concern over the where-abouts of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? . . .

    “And yet...and yet...the questions continue to grow, and the doubts are beginning to drown out the assurances. For every insistence from Washington that the weapons of mass destruction case against Iraq is sound comes a counterpoint from the field--another dry hole, another dead end.

    “Who are the American people to believe? What are we to think? Even though I opposed the war against Iraq because I believe that the doctrine of preemption is a flawed and dangerous instrument of foreign policy, I did believe that Saddam Hussein possessed some chemical and biological weapons capability. But I did not believe that he presented an imminent threat to the United States--as indeed he did not.

    “Such weapons may eventually turn up. But my greater fear is that the belligerent stance of the United States may have convinced Saddam Hussein to sell or disperse his weapons to dark forces outside of Iraq. Shouldn't this Administration be equally alarmed if they really believed that Saddam had such dangerous capabilities?

    ”Saddam Hussein is missing. Osama bin Laden is missing. Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are missing. And the President's mild claims that we are ‘on the look’ do not comfort me. There ought to be an army of U.N. inspectors combing the countryside in Iraq or searching for evidence of disbursement of these weapons right now. Why are we waiting? Is there fear of the unknown? Or fear of the truth?

    “This nation and, indeed, the world were led into war with Iraq on the grounds that Iraq, possessed weapons of mass destruction, and posed an imminent threat to the United States and to the global community. As the President said in his March 17 address to the nation, ‘The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.’

    ”That fear may still be valid, but I wonder how the war with Iraq has really mitigated the threat from terrorists. As the recent attack in Saudi Arabia proved, terrorism is alive and well and unaffected by the situation in Iraq.

    ”Meanwhile, the President seems oblivious to the controversy swirling about the justification for the invasion of Iraq. Our nation's credibility before the world is at stake. While his Administration digs in to defend the status quo, Members of Congress are questioning the credibility of the intelligence and the public case made by this Administration on which the war with Iraq was based. Members of the media are openly challenging whether America’s intelligence agencies were simply wrong or were callously manipulated. Vice President Cheney‘s numerous visits to the CIA are being portrayed by some intelligence professionals as ‘pressure.’ And the American people are wondering, once again, what is going on in the dark shadows of Washington.

    ”It is time that we had some answers. It is time that the Administration stepped up its acts to reassure the American people that the horrific weapons that they told us threatened the world's safety have not fallen into terrorist hands. It is time that the President leveled with the American people. It is time that we got to the bottom of this matter.

    ”We have waged a costly war against Iraq. We have prevailed. But, we are still losing American lives in that nation. And the troubled situation there is far from settled. American troops will likely be needed there for years. Billions of American tax dollars will continue to be needed to rebuild. I only hope that we have not won the war only to lose the peace. Until we have determined the fate of Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction, or determined that they, in fact, did not exist, we cannot rest, we cannot claim victory.

    ”Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction remain a mystery and a conundrum. What are they, where are they, how dangerous are they? Or were they a manufactured excuse by an Administration eager to seize a country? It is time to answer these questions. It is time--past time--for the Administration to level with the American people, and it is time for the President to demand an accounting from his own Administration as to exactly how our nation was led down such a twisted path to war.”

Lord Byron [George Gordon Noel] (1788-1824)
English Poet

“War’s a brain spattering windpipe splitting art.”

“Let there be light! said God, and there was light!
Let there be blood! says man, and theres a sea!” [from the poem, “Don Juan,” cto. 7, st. 41]