A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Modified Quote for the Day

The following has been modified by me to read as a response by the commander of the Israeli forces to pleas for mercy from those who felt that Israel's response to Hezbollah's actions was disproportionate. It was originally written well before that. Can you figure out what I changed, and do you know who is responsible for the original draft? Answers below:

Gentleman: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders targeting Hezbollah forces secreted amongst the inhabitants of Nagoura and other southern Lebanese cities. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the cause, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of good people outside of Nagoura have a deep interest. We must have peace, not only in Nagoura, but in all of the Middle East. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies which are arrayed against the laws that all must respect and obey. To defeat those terrorists, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose. Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter; and, therefore, deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Nagoura for warlike purposes in inconsistent with its character as a home for families.

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices today than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a terrorist presence bombing our country. If Israel submits to that presence now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. Israel does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling.
This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Right of Existence. Once admit that Right, once more acknowledge the authority of the international governing body that granted our existence, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the south of Lebanon into terrorist furor, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.

You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Beirut can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

We don't want your horses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have a just obedience to the laws of the United Nations. That we will have, and if it involved the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it.

You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better. I repeat then that, by the original resolutions of international government, Israel had certain rights in Lebanon, which have never been relinquished and never will be; that Hezbollah began the war by seizing our soldiers. I myself have seen in Safad and Nahariyya and Haifa, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your rockets and suicide bombers, hungry and with bleeding feet. Now that war comes to you, you feel very different. You deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car bombs and suicide bombers, rocket shells and RPGs, to carry war into Northern Israel and beyond, to desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the Government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect an early success.

Know who wrote that?

William Tecumseh Sherman, to the Mayor and Councilmen of Atlanta in 1864. Said Mayor and Councilmen had begged Sherman to reconsider his resolution to evacuate Atlanta and burn it to the ground, citing the misery this would surely visit on the children, the weak and the elderly.

The full statement may be read here. I merely tweaked what Sherman said to fit the recent Israel/Hezbollah war.


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