The loud little handful will shout for war.
The pulpit will warily and cautiously protest at first…
The great mass of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes,
and will try to make out why there should be a war,
and they will say earnestly and indignantly:
“It is unjust and dishonorable and there is no need for war.”
Then the few will shout even louder…
Before long you will see a curious thing:
anti-war speakers will be stoned from the platform,
and free speech will be strangled by hordes of furious men
who still agree with the speakers but dare not admit it …
Next, statesmen will invent cheap lies,
putting blame upon the nation that is attacked,
and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities,
and will diligently study them,
and refuse to examine any refutations of them;
and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just,
and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
War remains the decisive human failure.
In any war, the first casualty is common sense, and the second is free and open discussion.
There was never a good war or a bad peace.