Text by Henrylito D. Tacio
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” – Sun Tzu in The Art of War
Right now, war is raging between Russia and Ukraine. Let’s travel in time and take a closer look at what some famous men have said about war:
In his article titled “The War That Will End War,” published in The Daily News on August 14, 1914, H.G. Wells predicted World War I would be the last war the world will ever experience.
In 1917, American President Woodrow Wilson said that the war “will make the world safe for democracy” to justify his call for a declaration of war on Germany. Quoting the words of Wells, he said, “This is a war to end all wars.” He was convinced that America’s involvement in the war was “essential to protect human freedom.”
Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana disagreed with the words of Wilson. “Only the dead have seen the end of war,” he wrote in his book Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies.
British journalist Lord Rothermere, while talking with his colleague J.L. Gavin, said these words: “We’re telling lies; we know we’re telling lies; we don’t tell the public the truth, that we’re losing more officers than the Germans, and that it’s impossible to get through on the Western front.”
In her 1933 memoir, Testament of Youth, Vera Brittain, an English voluntary aid detachment nurse – who was also a writer, feminist, and pacifist, wrote: “I wish those people who talk about going on with this war whatever it costs could see the soldiers suffering from mustard gas poisoning. Great mustard-colored blisters, blind eyes, all sticky and stuck together, always fighting for breath, with voices a mere whisper, saying that their throats are closing and they know they will choke.”
When he was only 18 years old, American author Ernest Hemingway volunteered to be an ambulance driver for World War II. He suffered physically and mentally from the horrors of war. The good thing is that as a novelist, he used his experience to show the criminality of the war.
“Never think that war,” Hemingway wrote, “no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”
American President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said these words: “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
American President Herbert Hoover said it succinctly: “Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.” To which George S. Patton seemed to reply: “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”
In The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote: “War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only those which they defend.”
Now, what did Adolf Hitler say? “If you win, you need not have to explain,” he said. “If you lose, you should not be there to explain.”
War is a serious matter; it should not be taken lightly. But some Filipinos are making fun of it. Why, oh why, are some Filipinos doing so?
“Obviously speaking, they are not in the situation,” said Alexi Fernandez. “They are not sensitive enough to understand the feelings of the people.” Juanito Dy, Jr. agreed: “There are indeed Filipinos who are just simply insensitive and plain idiots.”
“If only they knew how our parents suffered during World War II,” said Dr. Enrico de Guzman. “I wish they will be drafted first in the frontlines,” commented journalist Nef Lucson.
Tek Ocampo, who’s running for the city council in Davao City this coming election, said it all: “In war, the true enemy is war itself.”
War involves lives. And once that life is taken, it can never be returned.
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” asked Mahatma Gandhi.
Will there still be war in the future? “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones,” said Albert Einstein.
Sources: USA Today, Brainy Quote, and Good Reads