Sunbeams  January 2013 | issue 445

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.

David Friedman

A wrong war brings wrong; so does a right war.

Ignazio Silone

Every victory of man over man has in itself a taste of defeat. . . . There is no essential difference between the various human groups, creatures whose bones and brains and members are the same; and every damage we do there is a form of mutilation, as if the fingers of the left hand were to be cut off by the right.

Freya Stark

The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure.

Lyndon B. Johnson

J. Robert Oppenheimer, witnessing the first test of a nuclear weapon, confessed to tasting sin. But he and all his colleagues knew from the beginning what lay waiting at the end of the project. And which was the stronger flavor, the sin, or the satisfaction of having stolen fire from the gods?

Theodore Roszak

What is the only provocation that could bring about the use of nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the priority target for nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the only established defense against nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening to use nuclear weapons. And we can’t get rid of nuclear weapons, because of nuclear weapons.

Martin Amis

My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

President Ronald Reagan, joking before a radio broadcast, unaware that the microphone was on

Weapons of mass destruction are always in the wrong hands.

Deepak Chopra

It’s odd how those who dismiss the peace movement as utopian don’t hesitate to proffer the most absurdly dreamy reasons for going to war: to stamp out terrorism, install democracy, eliminate fascism, and, most entertainingly, to “rid the world of evildoers.”

Arundhati Roy

Everyone speaks of peace; no one knows what peace is. We know at best a poisoned peace. No one has lived on an earth without weapons, without war and the threat of war on a large and small scale.

Christina Thürmer-Rohr

Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam, President Johnson talks eloquently about peace. . . . But one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. . . . In the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and, ultimately, destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The chief reason warfare is still with us is neither a secret death wish of the human species, nor an irrepressible instinct of aggression, nor, finally and more plausibly, the serious economic and social dangers inherent in disarmament, but the simple fact that no substitute for this final arbiter in inter­national affairs has yet appeared on the political scene.

Hannah Arendt

The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil from the spirit of man.

Albert Einstein

The situation of the world is still like this. People completely identify with one side, one ideology. . . . Reconciliation is to understand both sides, to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side, and then to go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side. Doing only that will be a great help for peace.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The struggle to maintain peace is immeasurably more difficult than any military operation.

Anne O’Hare McCormick

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky.

Solomon Short