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An Islamic philosopher, Sayyid Qutb, set the stage counterpoint to the Neocons. It was in prison that Sayyid Qutb created a philosophical vision where death, piety, wisdom, and immortality are one and the same. Qutb's vision guides radical Islam today by providing life-everlasting to martyrs. Of course the crusading popes made the same promise.

There are many perspectives as the following quotes indicate.

"The tricky part of empire isn't amassing it, but making it hum."
Irshad Manji - author, TV personality, entrepreneur, Canadian Muslim

Manji hits the nail on the head. War is the easy part. The aftermath is what is impossible. Manji has more wisdom than most people twice her age.

The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men.
John F Kennedy

The Neocons are doing their best to overturn this wisdom from a past Democratic president. They have now created a headache for themselves, not to mention for America as a whole.

The lesson of Vietnam is that once you make the initial mistake, little you do afterward is right.
Richard Cohen - Washington Post

Have we learned anything, anything at all?

There is no worse mistake in public leadership than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away. Winston Churchill

A Tory and savior, Churchill exemplifies the spirit within all of us. He is the opposite of the Neocons. He knew how to inspire. He realized how awful war is, having experienced it firsthand.

The war in Iraq is not the disease. Iraq is a symptom. The disease is arrogance. Bill Richardson

Richardson on the merits of his experience and record, is our preferred choice among those seeking to right the ship in 2008. Well not immediately, although the ship is listing nearly 90 degrees toward sinking into the abyss of totalitarianism.

There never was a good war or bad peace.
Ben Franklin

In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons. Croseus

Franklin had it right; Croseus explains why, in part.

Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarreled with him?
Blaise Pascal

Being a great mathematician does not dull this man's great powers of observation.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
Dwight Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

Another home-grown gem from the conservative side of the street. Ike's worst fears have come to pass, to use a biblical phrase. Special interests have indeed co-opted a great nation. Things may have to get a lot worse before they get better; in fact they already are.

I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes.
Douglas MacArthur

Along with Ike, another warrior chimes in. Are we listening reflectively, or are we laughing these things off?

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

A plaintive question with a so-far vague answer. The sociopathic tendencies in a small fraction all too often get enough clout to add to the litany of conquerors who subjugate only to lose the peace.

Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.
George Bernard Shaw

Unfortunately Shaw is right. It is far harder to walk the road of peace than it is to draw daggers and have at it. The latter has not worked in all recorded history. Do you suppose war is just human nature? To the extent we engage in it, we are not a whit better than animals who do likewise. That is because humanity has not looked in the mirror for the culprit in violence.

I hate war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatreds it arouses, for the dictatorships it puts in the place of democracies, and for the starvation that stalks after it. I hate war, and never again will I sanction or support another.
Harry Emerson Fosdick

This is another message from the past. How does a society find a similar conversion to an aversion.

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine 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 to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Georing

Hitler's secret was made possible by the Authoritarian Personality.

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

What a metaphor. So how do we avoid war?

Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes. It can no longer be of concern to great powers alone. For a nuclear disaster, spread by winds and waters and fear, could well engulf the great and the small, the rich and the poor, the committed and the uncommitted alike. Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.
John F Kennedy

Along with woman and child-kind! An end to humankind is no longer unthinkable as an eventuality in an era of widening disparities among people and societies.

War is a malignant disease, an idiocy, a prison, and the pain it causes is beyond telling or meaning; but war was our condition and our history, the place we had to live in.
Martha Gelhorn

It happens because it satisfies the sociopaths, those with no conscience, in their lust for power and/or unbridled pleasure in their otherwise barren existence. Education of these matters at the grass-roots level seems educated.

Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.
Omar Bradley

Why do you suppose military people hate war so? Because they have experienced it, seen what it does to the humans fighting it. And a few even see how power within the military can corrupt the soul. See the story of Major General Antonio Taguba

There are no warlike people, just warlike leaders.
Ralph Bunche

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Victories of the kind Gandhi and Mandela achieved, may be worth fighting for, rather, WORKING for.

Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice.

And Spinoza, one of the three major rationalist philosophers, believed that God is identified with nature itself, not a transcendent creator in human image. See: Spinoza for more on this complex man.

From a comment below:

War is not just armies, and battles, and clever campaigns laid out on the map and then ratified in blood. It is a resort to force, to be sure, which is to say that men have temporarily abandoned the effort to exert a reasoned control over events; but it creates forces of its own as it goes along and then itself becomes subject to them, and goes where they drive it. From the moment of its beginning war contains, cruelly invisible, the shape of its unimaginable end product, much as a block of marble contains a statue before a chisel ever touches it.
Bruce Catton - “Terrible Swift Sword”

Churchill said much the same thing. Napoleon had the experience of plans gone awry. Vietnam and Iraq in our era followed the same recipe.

So why do modern leaders igore history to focus on the here and now?
"Don't bother me."
"I know best."
"This is different."

Could it be that they are over-exuberant Authoritarians if not outright Sociopaths?

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
Theodore Roosevelt (1918)

Would that this could be true in our day.

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
Thomas Jefferson


You can't say civilization doesn't advance -- for in every war, they kill you in a new way.
Will Rogers

Rogers was as insightful as he was humorous and memorable.

See Quotes on War for what a number of influential people have said or are saying. Links for the curious follow:

Amnesty International
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Human Rights
  • Human Rights Concerns
  • Human Rights Forum
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