I am retired and take educated guesses on all things financial.

February 25, 2007

February 25, 2007: Gen. George Patton, a pertinent companion

I recently finished two books on General George Patton, of World War 2 fame. Many of us know him only through the award-winning portrayal by the late George C. Scott. Who can forget the opening scene, with Patton in his splendid uniform in front of a massive United States flag?

I believe that for Sunday reading a few of his quotes are both entertaining and timely:

"It is very easy for ignorant people to think that success in war may be gained by the use of some wonderful invention rather than by hard fighting and superior leadership."

"War is the culmination of convergent commercial and political interests. Wars are fought by soldiers, but they are produced by businessmen and politicians."

"Fires are not put out by disbanding the fire department and wars are not prevented by destroying a country's armed forces."

"I am firmly convinced that we must have a universal system of training. The only hope for a peaceful world is a powerful America with the adequate means to instantly check aggressors. Unless we are so armed and prepared, the next war will probably destroy us."

"May God deliver us from our friends. We can handle the enemy."

"It is too bad that the highest levels of command have no personal knowledge of war."

"If we have to fight them, now is the time. From now on, we will get weaker and they will get stronger."

"Politicians are the lowest form of life. Liberal Democrats are the lowest form of politician."

"Any politician should be put in jail who votes for an appropriation bill and then fails to vote the tax to pay for it."

"The too often repeated remark that "the country owes me a living" is nothing short of treason. The nation owes all of its citizens an equal chance, but it is not responsible for the faults and follies of those who fail to avail themselves of these opportunities."

"The pacifist actually refuses to defend what defends him;his country. In the final analysis this is the most basic immoral position."

"To be a successful leader, you must know history."

"Genius is the immense capacity for taking pains."

"Always do more than is required of you."

"Everything is a 'final heat'".

"There is but one international law; the best Army."

"As long as you attack them, they cannot find the time to attack you."

"There is nothing more pathetic and futile than a general who lives long enough to explain a defeat."

"Success in war depends on the 'golden virtues of war': speed, simplicity, and boldness."

"It always made me mad to beg for opportunities to win battles."

"War is not run on sentiment."

"It took me a long time to realize just how much a student of medieval history could gain from observing the Arab."

The day will come when we may need another Patton to step forward.

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