May 26, 2008
Memorial Day links and thoughts
Angry Black Bitch has a touching post up to mark the day: A Memorial Day memory…
Three of my four grandparents served in the military, and I’m grateful to them and to other veterans who have given their time, energy, and even lives to the service. Even as I respect and appreciate their service, though, I can’t condone war. My thoughts go to the words of President Eisenhower in 1953 (excerpted from a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors):
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 in [sic] not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Given what I know about politics and the history of the Cold War, I’m not sure whether Eisenhower was truly in earnest or if the speech was mostly rhetoric (in spite of his assertion that he “care[s] nothing for mere rhetoric”) to get the Soviets, etc. to stand down. Nevertheless, I believe that what he says is true.