Letters to the Editor

Thoughts on war

This is my last letter for some time to come. I have much work to do. From my recent letters, I am glad to get feedback, but few respond. To make my last letter for the winter count, let’s think about war, which our country has been waging for more than 10 years. There is nothing new to say about this ancient subject, so I will let the sages of the ages speak for me:

“War is profanity, because let’s face it, you’ve got two opposing sides trying to settle their differences by killing as many of each other as they can,” Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it,” Robert E. Lee, 1862. “It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it,” Gen. Douglas McArthur. “Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight it,” Herbert Hoover, 1944. “Frankly, I’d like to see the government get out of the war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry,”  Joseph Heller, Catch-22. “Diplomats are just as essential to starting war as Soldiers are to finishing it,” Will Rogers. “There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare,” Sun-Tzu, The Art of Warfare.

There is no direct warfare quote from Mark Twain, the father of American literature, but he had a few things to say about patriotism. One of these is from an official USPS publication, “Mark Twain: the Mark of Genius”:

“My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or office-holders.”

But my favorite Mark Twain quote on this is a postcard:

“Patriotism means supporting your country all the time and its government when it deserves it.” Amen!

Fred Springsteel


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