Churchill on waging wars

Having just finished reading Michael Crichton’s Prey (might post about that later on), I went to wikiquote to see if I could confirm a quote from Winston Churchill there mentioned. While at it, I found another one, dating back to the 30’s, and that yet remains so sadly up to date.

  • Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. Antiquated War Offices, weak, incompetent, or arrogant Commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant Fortune, ugly surprises, awful miscalculations — all take their seats at the Council Board on the morrow of a declaration of war. Always remember, however sure you are that you could easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think he also had a chance.
    • Roving Commission: My Early Life (1930)

It’s curious to note that this was written in between both World Wars. But still, how different the world be if Americans (or even just GW Bush!) actually bother to learn from history (if from nowhere else). Keeps getting ever stronger, my belief that those who forget (or that don’t even bother to learn) their history, are truly doomed to repeat it.

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