Friday, January 05, 2007

Today's Quotes

Some quotes for today which relate to our contemporary situation:

Carolyn Dewald, writing about a theme of Herodotus' Histories (5th century B.C.E.), explaining how the mighty Persian empire was defeated by the tiny Greek states:

...although Greek valour was necessary to resist the Persians, what really undid the Persians at the end were certain habits of thought that their long experience in imperial conquest had ingrained in them. Kings and other powerful people in the Histories tend to assume that their power is more far-reaching than it is, and the Persian kings exemplify this trait particularly clearly. Information was available to Xerxes from his Greek advisors that could have made his invasion of Greece much more successful than it was, but, insulated by his ambitious courtiers and his own assumptions, he did not take advantage of it. (Carolyn Dewald, Introduction to Herodotus’ Histories, 1998, pp. xv-xvi).

Marcus Annaeus Seneca:

Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.

One more, quoted perhaps too often, but deserving to be remembered:

Excerpt from "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam" by George Bush [Sr.] and Brent Scowcroft, Time (2 March 1998):

While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome.

We could also quote Jesus on counting the cost of going to war in Luke 14:31-32.

No comments:

Post a Comment