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The Daily Poetry Movement

War. Here are two excellent poems about "War Boardumb". The first is from the soldiers point of view the second is from the journalist. Inbetween we watch a progression of quotes spliced with George W. Bush famed speeches. Is it just me, or do people wonder why he hasn't fired his speech writers? It occurs to me that he knows that people need to feel superior to him or appreciate the fact that he is as dumb as they are...I digress, howver. I will provide links later. I road my bike all day and dumpsterdived all night. Recycle! Resist!
Bread and a Pension by Louis Johnson

It was not our duty to question but to guard,
maintaining order; see that none escaped
who may be required for questioning by the State.
The price was bread and a pension and not a hard
life on the whole. There was some scraped
enough on the side to build up a fairish estate

for the day of retirement. I never could
understand the complaints of the restless ones
who found the hours long, time dragging:
it always does. The old hands knew how good
the guardroom fire could be, the guns
gleaming against the wall and the nagging

wind like a wife outside. There were cards
for such occasions and good companions
who truly were more than home since they shared
one's working life without difference or hard words,
aimed at much the same thing, and shared opinions
or news they had read. If they cared

much it was for the quiet life. You cannot hold
that against them, since it's roundly human
and any decent man would want it the same.
And these were decent; did as they were told,
fed prisoners, buried the dead, and, on occasion,
loaded the deathcart with those who were sent to the flames.

Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) constitution (1945)

More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars. Yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the differences between Governments. ... But the mere conquest of our enemies is not enough; we must go on to do all in our power to conquer the doubts and the fears, the ignorance and the greed, which made this [wartime] horror possible.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

A thousand men can be swayed by their prejudices faster and easier than one man can be persuaded by reason.
psychological warfare (PSYWAR/PSYOPS) postulate

The United States is not a nation to which peace is a necessity.
S. Grover Cleveland (7 Dec 1896)

... this nation made a pledge, and we renew that pledge tonight: Whatever the duration of this struggle, and whatever the difficulties, we will not permit the triumph of violence in the affairs of men free people will set the course of history.
George Walker Bush [State of the Union address (28 January 2003)]

The threat of force must remain. Force should always be a last resort. I have preached this for most of my professional life, as a soldier and as a diplomat, but it must be a resort.
Colin L. Powell [United Nations Security Council (14 Feb 2003)]

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
George Walker Bush [State of the Union address (28 January 2003)]

History is Philosophy teaching by examples.

History should be written as philosophy.
Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire

History: An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce

Mythology: The body of a primitive people's beliefs concerning its origin, early history, heroes, deities and so forth, as distinguished from the true accounts which it invents later.
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce

Those who weep for the happy periods which they encounter in history acknowledge what they want; not the alleviation but the silencing of misery.
Albert Camus [The Rebel (1951; tr 1953)]

What joy can the years bring half so sweet as the unhappiness they've taken away?
Logan Pearsall Smith

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.
Harry S Truman

Academic wars are so interminably vicious precisely because they are so inherently meaningless.
anonymous scholar

There's no one more self-righteous than an irrelevant politician with a plausible excuse.

A warrior without doubt is a fool; but a determined and devoted politician is supposedly a champion ... even a fool can appear wise with hindsight!

Veterans fear that new soldiers won't understand war in time; and politicians fear that average citizens will understand war too soon.

I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace.
Joseph Conrad [Teodor Jozef Konrad Korzeniowski]

Mankind has grown strong in eternal struggles and it will only perish through eternal peace.
Adolf Hitler

The pursuit of peace resembles the building of a great cathedral. It is the work of a generation. In concept it requires a master-architect; in execution, the labors of many.
Hubert H. Humphrey (17 Feb 1965)

It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (6 Sep 1960)

Peace hath her victories
No less renowned than War.
John Milton [To the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652]

War is pillage versus resistance and if illusions of magnitude could be transmuted into ideals of magnanimity, peace might be realized.
Marianne Moore (Apr 1929)

Man wants to live, but it is useless to hope that this desire will dictate all his actions.
Albert Camus [Resistance, Rebellion and Death (1961)]

To many men ... the miasma of peace seems more suffocating than the bracing air of war.
George Steiner

We grow with years more fragile in body, but morally stouter, and can throw off the chill of a bad conscience almost at once.
Logan Pearsall Smith

Conscience is but a word that cowards use, Devised at first to keep the strong in awe.
William Shakespeare [Richard III act 5 sc 6; King Richard before the Battle of Bosworth]

War is the province of chance.
Karl von Clausewitz

War is the province of danger, and therefore courage above all things is the first quality of a warrior.
Karl von Clausewitz

War is the province of physical exertion and suffering.
Karl von Clausewitz

The soldier is as proud of overcoming toil, as he is of surmounting danger.
Karl von Clausewitz

Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Men have always need of god! A god to defend them against other men.
Francis Picabia (19 Jan 1922)

As you know, God is generally on the side of the big squadrons against the small ones.
Comte De Bussy-Rabutin [16 Oct 1677 letter]

God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.
Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire

Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.
Robert Lee Frost

It cannot be insignificant that the word slaughter contains the word laughter!

How can one better magnify the Almighty than by sniggering with him at his little jokes, particularly the poorer ones.
Samuel Beckett [Happy Days (1961)]

To suggest that war can prevent war is a base play on words and a despicable form of warmongering. The objective of any who sincerely believe in peace clearly must [be] to exhaust every honorable recourse in the efforts to save the peace. The world has had ample evidence that war begets only conditions that beget further war.
Ralph Bunch

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children. The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us a capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes. And we must.
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter [Nobel Peace Prize speech (Dec 2002)]

Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not to go into the water until he had learnt to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever.
Thomas Babington Macaulay (Aug 1825)

Men fight wars the way they must ... not the way they like ... and having made their choice, but not their preferred one, the results are never desirable.

A treaty is just words on paper without men's hearts and hands to enforce it.

It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath.
Aeschylus [Frag 385]

Americans are willing to go to enormous trouble and expense defending their principles with arms, very little trouble and expense advocating them with words. Temperamentally we are ready to die for certain principles (or, in the case of overripe adults, send youngsters to die), but we show little inclination to advertise the reasons for dying.
E.B. White (23 Sep 1950)

The source of Pyrrhonism comes from failing to distinguish between a demonstration, a proof and a probability. A demonstration supposes that the contradictory idea is impossible; a proof of fact is where all the reasons lead to belief, without there being any pretext for doubt; a probability is where the reasons for belief are stronger than those for doubting.
Andrew Michael Ramsay

No matter how much you love your country, it won't love you back. No matter how much you believe in the military, it doesn't believe in you. Your duty is required and your loyalty is expected. If you scorn these traditions, you'll be branded as dishonorable. It is a difficult and thankless, and sometimes perilous, commitment fitted only for a few hard and dangerous men. Any who answer the urgent call of drums, and march toward the sound of distant guns, must be willing to die unsung, unwept, and unknown.
soldier's lament

The American flag stands for more than our power and our interests. Our founders dedicated this country to the cause of human dignity, the rights of every person, and the possibilities of every life. This conviction leads us into the world to help the afflicted, and defend the peace, and confound the designs of evil men.
George Walker Bush [State of the Union address (28 January 2003)]

You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromise with evil.
John Ruskin (1859)

In those [crucial] hours, the success of our cause will depend on you [members of the American Armed Forces]. Your training has prepared you. Your honor will guide you. You believe in America, and America believes in you. Sending Americans into battle is the most profound decision a President can make. The technologies of war have changed; the risks and suffering of war have not. For the brave Americans who bear the risk, no victory is free from sorrow. This nation fights reluctantly, because we know the cost and we dread the days of mourning that always come. We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended. A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all. If war is forced upon us, we will fight in a just cause and by just means sparing, in every way we can, the innocent. And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military and we will prevail.
George Walker Bush [State of the Union address (28 January 2003)]

There are no civilians in Japan. We are making war; and making it in the all-out fashion that saves American lives, shortens the agony which war is, and seeks to bring about an enduring peace. We intend to seek-out and destroy the enemy wherever he or she is; in the greatest possible numbers, in the shortest possible time.
5th U.S. Army Air Force intelligence statement (WWII)

All war represents a failure of diplomacy.
Tony Benn [28 Feb 1991 Gulf War speech to House of Commons]

War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of politics by other means.
Karl von Clausewitz [On War Preface (1832)]

War is an instrument of national policy. Victory in war is not measured by casualties inflicted, battles won or lost, or territory occupied; but whether or not political objectives were achieved.
U.S. Air Force doctrine, document one (Sep 1997)

Americans are a resolute people who have risen to every test of our time. Adversity has revealed the character of our country, to the world and to ourselves. America is a strong nation, and honorable in the use of our strength. We exercise power without conquest, and we sacrifice for the liberty of strangers. Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.
George Walker Bush [State of the Union address (28 January 2003)]

For Katrina
(titled in ironic honor of a former Australian television personality)
By Gig Ryan
The sensitive newsreader cries in Ethiopia
and we admire
Emotion a delicacy that surprises us more than murder
Mrs Thatcher, we're with you
in your blitz pyjamas
We put the effects under a microscope
while the cause gets off
He steps out of his uniform and kills
Capitalism's extended hours reach out and embrace you
in a till of love
We forget his orders that want the country renovated
Recycled 20.Jan.2004 14:28


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