"War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men."
Georges Clemenceau
(1841-1929) French Prime Minister
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Can be added to military men: non-lovers of original Constitutional intent liberty; carrier, immoral, and socialist/fascist politicians (to name a few)
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Clemenceau was right -- who could entrust France's military men when it comes to the seriousness of war? But the French certainly entrusted America's military men when it came to liberating them, didn't they?
     -- Robert, Los Angeles     
     -- Me Again     
    Anyone who entrusts the war advice of France's Georges Clemenceau and Britain's Neville Chamberlain should read General MacArthur's famed West Point speech in 1962, "Duty, Honor, Country." In it, the General reminded the graduating Cadets: “Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory; that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed; that the very obsession of your public service must be: Duty, Honor, Country.”
     -- Robert ... again, Los Angeles     
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    In his later years and after much reflection MacArthur also said about war, "If you lose you are annihilated. If you win, you stand only to lose. No longer does it possess the chance of the winner of a duel---it contains rather the germs of double suicide."
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    War is better left to militart men, if it must be conducted at all, than to a bunch of witless civilians with no military experience at all . The military men may be better at staying out of war.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
    General MacArthur was 82 when he gave the West Point speech in 1962, and he died two years later. In fact, the speech that you refer to (In his later years and after much reflection) was actually given in a speech to a joint session of the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines on July 5, 1961. But let's get back to Clemenceau's "War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men." The military men do not start wars, they only fight where they are told to defend their country. So-called leaders of countries start the wars. Nevertheless, I'll bet on the U.S. Armed Forces any day, so long as they are entrusted to fight and win, as only they know how. We never lost a battle in Vietnam, but we lost the war at home in the United States. In his West Point speech, General MacArthur went on to say: "Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds; but serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war-guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded, and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice. Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country. The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: 'Only the dead have seen the end of war.' "
     -- Robert, Los Angeles     
    As I remember, it is the People that declare war through their Congress, not the President/King invading sovereign nations (rogue or otherwise) at his own whim. It is the People that bear the burden of war with their lives and taxes. Better that the People maintain their control over their servant government than the Commander-in-Chief treating the People as his subjects for his personal gain.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    We, the people, have elections to elect congress, and there has been a change. So now it is up to this new congress to withdraw, go forward with more Troops, or whatever they think is the right solution. If you consider yourself a subject of a "president/king," then revolt, declare war, and overthrow him just as the Revolutionaries did. Nobody is stopping you. As Plato said: 'Only the dead have seen the end of war.' "
     -- Robert, Los Angeles     
    Jack, I believe this quote addresses the decision to declare war, not the war itself. Once war is declared let the generals decide how to win. Congress (the witless civilians you must be referring to) leads us into war without the approval of the people, then tells the military how to win, resulting in the loss of lives, money, and eventually the war.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    This quote is often attributed to Clemenceau who did in fact say it. It should be noted, however, that Talleyrand (the famous French Foreign Minister during part of the French Revolution, then under Napoleon and then again during the Restoration) is also credited with a similar remark - with which the well-educated Clemenceau would almost certainly have been familiar. In the original French, the quotation runs as follows: "La guerre est une chose trop sérieuse pour être laissée à des militaires." Clemenceau made it in 1886 when he was informal leader of the Radicals in the Assemblée Nationale. Clemenceau had a life-long and unswerving conviction that ultimate control of the army should be in the hands of elected politicians. Clemenceau was also scarred throughout his life by France's defeat in the 1870-1 Franco-Prussian war - a war in which France's generals did not distinguish themselves. The French Minister of War in 1870 (a general) assured Napoleon III that the French army was ready to go to war. MacMahon and Bazaine were largely responsible for the humiliations at Sedan and Metz. Bazaine was later prosecuted for his early surrender at Metz - which freed up a substantial section of the Prussian army to tighten the siege of Paris. Later, Clemenceau displayed his determination to maintain civilian control over the army during the First World War. As a newspaper editor, he campaigned to expose military incompetence during the early years of the war (as a physician he particularly focused on poor treatment of the wounded) and as chairman of the French Senate's war (I can't remember the exact title) committee he insisted on proper scrutiny of the conduct of the war and regular inspections by elected politicians to the Front. He also played a large part in securing the transfer of the French C-in-C Joffre away from active day-to-day control of the French armies. Later, when President of the Council (i.e. Prime Minister) in 1917-8, Clemenceau was determined to maintain ultimate control of the French war effort in civilian (i.e. his) hands. It is in this context that Aristide Briand repeated Clemenceau's already famous 1886 remark to the British Prime Minister David Lloyd-George. If anyone wants to know more (I can recommend several good biographies of Clemenceau), please feel free to drop me a line on jdc3579@hotmail.com. If I don't answer, please assume that your mail has gone into junk mail, that I haven't had the chance to check the hotmail account within seven days and that it's been automatically deleted (!)
     -- Jack, Brussels, Belgium (but I'm British)     
    By the way, here's another related quote by Clemenceau: "It suffices to add 'military' to a word to make it lose its meaning. So 'military justice' is not justice, and 'military music' is not music. [ "Il suffit d'ajouter 'militaire' á un mot pour lui faire perdre sa signification. Ainsi la justice militaire n'est pas la justice, la musique militaire n'est pas la musique" ]
     -- Jack, Brussels     
    Robert from LA: "France's Georges Clemenceau and Britain's Neville Chamberlain" ? Chamberlain was an appeaser, and Clemenceau was the French version of Churchill in WWI -- a war in which the French military had losses unlike ANYTHING in US history. French KIA in WWI would be statistically equivalent of the US today losing 30 million men KIA. 1. Trying to link Clemenceau to Chamberlain is simply inane. Different era, different philosophy. 2. Denigrating the French military is a habit of people who don't know the basic facts of early twentieth century history. The idea that the US could suffer that level of casualties and be ready for more twenty years later is, to put it mildly, optimistic speculation. But don't let actual facts interfere with your jingoism. [I'd say chauvinism, but that would be French. :)]
     -- CC, Army lieutenant colonel, Arlington VA     
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