Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Top Nazi official Hermann Göring in an interview during the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.


Darf Ferrara said...

Do you believe Göring? If so it almost seems as if war is inevitable. L.F. Richardson had some interesting quotes about whether it was inevitable that I'll try to dig up when I get the chance.

Jon said...

It seems it is unless you can figure out a way to resist fear mongering.

In light of Reagan's birthday I stumbled across something related to Team B. Have you heard of this? They were unhappy that the CIA was basically saying that the Soviet Union was quite weak and not as much of a threat. So an independent analysis group was formed within the CIA to reach independent conclusions. All made up of hawks of course.

So you can imagine the conclusions, all which appear to have been wrong in retrospect. They have subs that are undetectable. Know how we know? We can't detect them. So Reagan rode the fear mongering to victory and used their analysis to justify death squads in El Salvador. Must be a KGB plot. They're so powerful they control everything, so we must resist with violence. They were behind the papal assassination attempt, etc.

Then they started punishing the remainder of the analysts for coddling the Soviet Union, for what we later learned was correct analysis. Huge pressure to come to the most scary conclusions. This lead directly to the Iraqi intelligence failures.

Darf Ferrara said...

I don't think that war is always inevitable. The Swiss seem to be able to avoid war pretty well. It could be geography, or it could be the government, or it could be the chocalate, but they seem to avoid it.

I hadn't heard about code b before, but one thing that stands out is that the CIA saying that the USSR was weak seems to contradict Chomsky's claims that US documents claimed that the USSR was frightening because people would see how well communism worked. It's not really a contradiction, because the government is not monolithic.

Jon said...

Chomsky says that they are threatening in one sense (the threat of a good example) and non-threatening in another (militarily).

Here's an interesting discussion from 1985 from Chomsky related to the Soviet threat.

HispanicPundit said...

You gotta love the irony of the quote: it was by a person the world fought against in probably the most justified war in human history, WWII.