It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I've talked to old men who were on the battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veteran's Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veteran's Day is not…Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things."
Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
"November 11 is a cause for mixed emotions among those former members of the military who wish to permanently halt the horror of war.
A holiday in our name is indeed an honor, as was our service itself, but “Armistice” somehow still sounds more suitable. That word refers to the end of a conflict, the end of the killing, the maiming, the destruction, the inhumanity, the erosion of civilized personal behaviors that have taken centuries to mold. While “Armistice” does not connote lasting peace, at least it does connote a chance for societies to grasp hold of themselves and, if able, to pull back from the abyss.
Veterans For Peace, while grateful for the parades recognizing our duty and the ultimate sacrifice of our fallen comrades, would prefer a time of reexamination of the jaded justifications and obscene outcomes of the military causes we served. All too frequently those justifications have been morally insufficient to vindicate the malevolent international conflicts to which they gave such ignoble birth.
For these reasons Veterans For Peace gratefully acknowledges the heartfelt recognition which our nation solemnly offers us today. But we fervently urge that tomorrow our great nation devote its equally heartfelt and solemn attention and talents to the cessation of existing wars and to the prevention of similar calamities in the decades to come."
Members of Veterans For Peace, an anti-war veteran group, stand around 2000 candles in Oakland, California, October 25, 2005 in memory of the 2,000 US soldiers killed in Iraq.
WAR IS A RACKET
Smedley Darlington Butler, 1881-1940
Major General, U.S. Marine Corps.
"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.
I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket."
Watson Institute for International Studies
"November 04, 2010. In a new video, Brown Vice President for International Affairs Matthew Gutmann and Institute Professor Catherine Lutz describe their experience interviewing dozens of anti-war veterans and compiling the results into their book, Breaking Ranks: Iraq Veterans Speak Out against the War (University of California Press, 2010). “As anthropologists, we approached these veterans as people who were American, who grew up in the late 20th and early 21st century, and are really products of that society and its values about masculinity, nation, and the individual — and we focused on how they think about their experience from that perspective,” said Lutz. “These are not universal, natural, inevitable kinds of soldiers. They are very much American soldiers.”
Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen
"When Pete Seeger originally wrote this song, he was singing for the soldiers in Vietnam ("If you love your Uncle Sam, bring em home. Bring em home...") Lately, however, Seeger and others have resurrected the tune as a tribute to the soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. This version was reprised by rock icon Bruce Springsteen in his tribute to Seeger in 2006."