“The only way to win the next world war is to prevent it.”
“War is mankind’s most tragic and stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate
provocation is a black crime against all men. Though you follow the trade of
the warrior, you do so in the spirit of Washington — not of Genghis Khan.
For Americans, only threat to our way of life justifies resort to conflict.”
“Arms alone can give the world no permanent peace, no confident security.
Arms are solely for defense — to protect from violent assault what we already have. They are only a costly insurance. They cannot add to human progress.”
Think not of Dwight D. Eisenhower as a great general but as an outstanding president for grasping the madness of war. A 2019 survey of 200 political science scholars ranked “Ike” as the nation’s 6th best president. Those who ranked higher, from fifth to first place, are Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Eisenhower recognized what seems to be increasingly lost on today’s leaders whose aim is inducing strife – that war brings out the worst in both the ultimate losers and victors.
It’s warfare itself that puts on vivid display the worst we humans can be to our fellow man and woman. As the past has proven, we’ve no qualms flouting expressly banned practices. The prohibitions set forth in the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases and the 1907 Hague Convention of Land Warfare may as well have not been inked given the widespread usage of poison gases in World War I.
The most noxious and lethal of the gases were also the least detectable. Developed by the Germans, Diphosgene debuted on the Western Front in May 1916. This colorless and odorless choking and blistering agent was feared not only for its stealth but also because its vapors could pass through the filters of many of the gas masks of the era. And then there was America’s top-secret weapon lewsite, a.k.a. the “dew of death.” This lethal gas was also colorless but deceptively carried a hint of the sweet smell of geraniums. Lucky for the world, lewsite went into production just 10 days before the Armistice and was never used in World War I.