— Bao Ninh, a writer who fought for the communist North Vietnamese army
— Law professor Roger Fisher in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists journal
There is a young man, probably a Navy officer, who accompanies the President. This young man has a black attaché case which contains the codes that are needed to fire nuclear weapons. I could see the President at a staff meeting considering nuclear war as an abstract question. He might conclude: “On SIOP Plan One, the decision is affirmative, Communicate the Alpha line XYZ.” Such jargon holds what is involved at a distance.
My suggestion was quite simple: Put that needed code number in a little capsule, and then implant that capsule right next to the heart of a volunteer. The volunteer would carry with him a big, heavy butcher knife as he accompanied the President. If ever the President wanted to fire nuclear weapons, the only way he could do so would be for him first, with his own hands, to kill one human being. The President says, “George, I’m sorry but tens of millions must die.” He has to look at someone and realize what death is – what an innocent death is. Blood on the White House carpet. It’s reality brought home.”
— Murray N. Rothbard from ‘War, Peace, and the State.‘
Let us set aside the more complex problem of the State for awhile and consider simply relations between “private” individuals. Jones finds that he or his property is being invaded, aggressed against, by Smith. It is legitimate for Jones, as we have seen, to repel this invasion by defensive violence of his own. But now we come to a more knotty question: is it within the right of Jones to commit violence against innocent third parties as a corollary to his legitimate defense against Smith? To the libertarian, the answer must be clearly, no. Remember that the rule prohibiting violence against the persons or property of innocent men is absolute: it holds regardless of the subjective motives for the aggression. It is wrong and criminal to violate the property or person of another, even if one is a Robin Hood, or starving, or is doing it to save one’s relatives, or is defending oneself against a third man’s attack. We may understand and sympathize with the motives in many of these cases and extreme situations. We may later mitigate the guilt if the criminal comes to trial for punishment, but we cannot evade the judgment that this aggression is still a criminal act, and one which the victim has every right to repel, by violence if necessary. In short, A aggresses against B because C is threatening, or aggressing against, A. We may understand C’s “higher” culpability in this whole procedure; but we must still label this aggression as a criminal act which B has the right to repel by violence.
To be more concrete, if Jones finds that his property is being stolen by Smith, he has the right to repel him and try to catch him; but he has no right to repel him by bombing a building and murdering innocent people or to catch him by spraying machine gun fire into an innocent crowd. If he does this, he is as much (or more of) a criminal aggressor as Smith is.”
— David Stockman
on the Russian threat to the U.S.
You know that’s a joke. If the Russians were going to land on the shores of New Jersey, they would need vast power-projection capability – aircraft carriers and the capacity to land troops. None of that is even remotely possible. The Russians have got one 50-year-old, smoke-belching aircraft carrier on duty in the Eastern Mediterranean. It probably couldn’t get out of the Strait of Gibraltar if it had to. So, how could Russia threaten the security or the safety of anybody in the U.S.? It couldn’t, unless you believe that Vladimir Putin – the ultimate chess player, the Cool Hand Luke of the global scene today – is foolish enough to risk nuclear retaliation by attacking us and have Russia turned into a parking lot. We have enough nuclear deterrent on our Trident submarines alone. And we’ve had it ever since 1980. Not to mention that the entire Russian economy is not even as big as that of New York City – $1.6 for the New York metro area and just $1.3 trillion for Russia. Russia is mainly a huge hydrocarbon field with a few nickel mines, 100 million acres of wheat, and an aging workforce that has a great fondness for vodka and other distractions.”
— Will Durant From “Fallen Leaves: Last words on Life, Love, War, and God” P. 98
Perhaps, if we can broaden our borders with intelligent study — if we can become conscious of the needs and views and hopes of other peoples, and sensitive to the diverse values and beauties of diverse cultures and lands, we shall not so readily plunge into competitive homicide, but shall find room in our hearts for a wider understanding and an almost universal sympathy. We shall find in all nations qualities and accomplishments from which we may learn and refresh ourselves, and by which we may enrich our inheritance and our prosperity. Someday, let us hope, it will be permitted us to love our country without betraying mankind.”
“The spreads of government and of religion have thus been linked to each other throughout recorded history, whether the spread has been peaceful … or by force. In the latter case it is often government that organizes the conquest, and religion that justifies it.”
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies P. 266
General MacArthur wrote about the United States during the Korean War.
“Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense… Indeed, it is a part of the general patterns of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusionary foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our political leaders almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war.”
“Perhaps one reason for the great appeal of the group-selection theory is that it is thoroughly in tune with the moral and political ideals that most of us share. We may frequently behave selfishly as individuals, but in our more idealistic moments we honour and admire those who put welfare of others first. We get a bit muddled over how widely we want to interpret the word ‘others’, though. Often altruism within a group goes with selfishness between groups. This is a basis of trade unionism. At another level the nation is a major beneficiary of our altruistic self-sacrifice, and young men are expected to die as individuals for the greater glory of their country as a whole. Moreover, they are encouraged to kill other individuals about whom nothing is known except that they belong to a different nation. (Curiously, peace-time appeals for individuals to make some small sacrifice in the rate at which they increase their standard of living seem to be less effective than war-time appeals for individuals to lay down their lives.)”
The Selfish Gene P. 9
“War is like imbibing a drug. Once that drug is kicked, once the war is over, many decisions that are made in warfare — not only what we do to others, but also what we do to ourselves– are exposed for being not only wrong, but stupid. Ultimately, what happens is that you embrace death, because that’s what war is –it is necrophilia. It is the love of death. When war begins, it looks and feels like love. It isn’t love. That’s the chief emotion war destroys.”
The Life of Meaning, P. 21