Gaining A Critical Perspective...
In Consideration Of NATO's Unprecedented Attack On Yugoslavia, A Collection
Of Quotes And Musings From Previous Times, Philosophies And Conflicts.

(Links occasionally updated)

David Hume | James Madison | John Stuart Mill | Philadelphia Ledger | Winston Churchill | Theodore Roosevelt | Hermann Goering | Gertrude Scholtz-Klink | George Kennan | Senator Arthur Vandenburg | John Swinton | John Foster Dulles | General Douglas MacArthur | Thomas Huxley | Director MK-ULTRA (CIA) | John Stockwell (CIA) | C.P. Snow | William O. Douglas | Thomas Jefferson | Elba Vergara | Newsweek Magazine | Archbishop Helda Camara General David Sharp | Major Joseph Blair (School of the Americas) | President Ronald Reagan | Henry Cabot Lodge | Vice President George Bush | U. Alexis Johnson | General Colin Powell | Ruth Rosen | Marilyn Young | Defense Secretary William Cohen | Harold Pinter | Thomas Huxley | Eugene V. Debs | Author Unknown |Frances Moore Lappe', Rachel Shuman, and Kevin Danaher | Voltaire

"Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, and the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we inquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find that, as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion only that government is founded, and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments as well as to the most free and most popular."

David Hume, 1758
In his "Of the First Principles of Government"

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."

 James Madison

"Was there ever any domination that did not appear natural to those who possessed it?"

John Stuart Mill
19th century philosopher


“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

"Our men . . . have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up.... Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to "make them talk," and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later. . . stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses."

Philadelphia Ledger newspaper
1901, a dispatch from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain

"I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes. The moral effect should be good... and it would spread a lively terror.... "

Winston Churchill
Commenting on the British use of poison gas against the Iraqis after World War I

"No triumph of peace can equal the armed triumph of war. In strict confidence ...I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one."

Theodore Roosevelt

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the 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."

Nazi leader, Hermann Goering,
At the Nuremberg Trials before he was sentenced to death

"We always obeyed the law. Isn't that what you do in America? Even if you don't agree with a law personally, you still obey it. Otherwise life would be chaos."

Gertrude Scholtz-Klink
Chief of the Women's Bureau under Hitler explaining the Jewish policy of the Nazis

"We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction.... We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."

George Kennan
Head of U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff, 1948

" Scare the hell out of the American people."

Senator Arthur Vandenburg

Telling President Truman what the he needed to do in order to tax the American people to pay for the weapons and covert activities of the US National Security State that was being planned, to destroy the Russian Communist State

"There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

John Swinton
Chief of Staff New York Times at New York Press Club, 1953

"... Somehow we find it hard to sell our values, namely that the rich should plunder the poor."

John Foster Dulles
Former U.S. Secretary of State

"Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear - kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor - with the cry of grave national emergency.  Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it ..."

General Douglas MacArthur, 1957

"One of the great attractions of patriotism -- it fulfills our worst wishes.  In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what's more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous."

Aldous Huxley

" I toiled whole-heartedly ... because it was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, steal, cheat, rape, and pillage with the blessings of the all-highest."

Retired Colonel and Director of the MK-ULTRA program
(in the 1950s, 60s and 70s), in which innocent Americans were unknowingly the victims of drug-testing, mind-control, and germ warfare experiments

"It is the function of the CIA to keep the world unstable, and to propagandize and teach the American people to hate,  so we will let the Establishment spend any amount of money on arms."

John Stockwell
Former CIA official and author

"When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion."

C.P. Snow
British novelist and scientist

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.... There is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we must be most aware of change in the air - however slight- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." "The great and invigorating influences in American life have been the unorthodox: the people who challenge an existing institution of way of life, or say and so things that make people think." "Restriction on free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."


William O. Douglas
Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all."

Thomas Jefferson

 " It was 27-year-old "El Gordo" Toledo, with whom she had been 20 days before. He could hardly speak, or scream, any more. They pulled out his nails, cut off his remaining ear, cut out his tongue, gouged out his eyes, and killed him slowly as she watched, thinking, 'He could be my son.'"


Elba Vergara
Secretary to Chilean President Salvadore Allende (murdered by the Chilean generals), was made to witness repeated torture by the Chilean military -- trained and financed by the United States.

"Democracy was being saved from Communism by getting rid of democracy."

Newsweek magazine
About the Dominican Republic prior to the overthrow of elected President Juan Bosch
in 1963 in a US-supported coup

"When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist."

Archbishop Helder Camara
Brazilian liberation theologist

"... the only way to fully comprehend U.S. policies toward the third world is to posit ... "the threat of a good example." Insurgencies in the third world do not challenge U.S. military security or even, ultimately, investments by U.S.  corporations.... What they represent is the possibility that emerging nations may demonstrate by example that the United States may not be the last word in democracy, freedom, and opportunity. That threat is much greater if weighed from the perspective of those who see it in their interest to preserve unchanged the present U.S. economic and political order."

Frances Moore Lappe', Rachel Shuman, and Kevin Danaher

"I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these [Third World] nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own.... And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots" by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed
down their throats by Americans."

General David Sharp
Former US Marine Commandant, 1966

 " We routinely had Latin American students at the School of the Americas (SOA) who were known human rights abusers, and it didn't make any difference to us."

Major Joseph Blair
Instructor at the School of the Americas in Columbus, Georgia

"President Rios Montt [is] a man of great personal integrity and commitment who wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans, and [is] getting a "bum rap" on human rights."

President Ronald Reagan
Praising Guatemala's military dictator in 1982; during the 17 months of Rios Montt's "Christian" campaign (1982-83), 400 villages were destroyed, 10,000-20,000 Indians were killed, and over 100,000 were forced to flee to Mexico

"If justice requires the consent of the governed, then our [U.S.] whole past record of expansion is a crime."

Henry Cabot Lodge

"We love your adherence to democratic principle."

Vice President George Bush
To Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos

"[The Laos operation] is something of which we can be proud as Americans. It has involved virtually no American casualties. What we are getting for our money there ... is, I think, to use the old phrase, very cost effective."

U. Alexis Johnson
US Under-Secretary of State in 1971, about American carpet-bombing of Laos which killed hundreds-of-thousands of civilians

 "I want to scare the hell out of the rest of the world."

General Colin Powell
Talking about US military power before the Gulf War in 1991

 "The agony and moral anguish that ought to accompany an act of mass killing -- yes, even in a war [the Gulf War against Iraq in 1991]-- seemed wholly absent from American culture."

Ruth Rosen
History professor

"The U.S. can destroy Iraq's highways, but not build its own; create the conditions for epidemic in Iraq, but not offer healthcare to millions of Americans. It can excoriate Iraqi treatment of the Kurdish minority, but not deal with domestic race relations; create homelessness abroad but not solve it here; keep a half million troops drug free as part of a war, but refuse to fund the treatment of millions of drug addicts at home.... We shall lose the war after we have won it."

Marilyn Young
Historian, talking about US government values and priorities

"Indonesia plays a key role in maintaining regional stability. It is a leader in ASEAN and is a fundamental force for peace and prosperity ...  We did not have a discussion about East Timor."

 Defense Secretary William Cohen
January 1998, talking about President Suharto who is responsible for the deaths of 500,00 Indonesians following his US-sanctioned coup against President Sukarno in 1965, as well as the deaths of 200,000 East Timorese during Indonesia's US-sanctioned invasion and occupation of East Timor in 1975

"The crimes of the U.S. throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical, remorseless, and fully documented but nobody talks about them. "

Harold Pinter
British Playwright

"Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority."

Thomas Huxley

"When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are always wrong."

Eugene V. Debs
1908 Socialist Candidate for U.S. President

" Foreign aid is when the poor people of a rich country give money to the rich people of a poor country."

Author Unknown