Dwight D. Eisenhower (on the price we pay for war)

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

Was it politics-as-usual, war-by-other-means, or were his words the earnest thought of a man who really knew the price of war?

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) was the Supreme Allied Commander by the end of World War II, first military head of N.A.T.O., and then a landslide Republican winner of the 1952 U.S. Presidential election. He served two terms as President, during which the Cold War deepened and America prospered mightily. This quotation comes from his widely broadcast and historically notable 1953 “Chance for Peace” address, sometimes known as the “Cross of Iron” speech. Even Wikipedia notes the “debatable” sincerity of his words, and yet they are urgent and fine and no less true today.

He elaborated the purely economic price of the arms race like this:

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Moms Are The Bomb

Beezer finally brought ‘round the new little package. I’d seen it before, usually during lunch, but it was always under wraps. The B plays her cards pretty close to the vest, but this was extreme even for a tough lady like her. She’d asked a lot of Good Consumer questions in advance, she’s bright, and nobody’s going to push her around. You know the kind: knows her job, wants to do it right, sure that her way is good. She also boxes, just for fun and fitness. She loves to laugh, but can stone you at ten paces with a glare.

Yes, and I was so happy when I found out that her belly was rounding for a reason! We got to see more tender silliness at work, and anybody who’s been around pregnant women recognized that distant look in her eye (“Is Squishy on the move?” “Oh, yeah. Friggin’ hyperbean at the moment.”) Well, Squishy turned out to be a pink little human female and is working hard to outgrow her in utero handle. Tarah, she is. And Queen B is the sweetest and goofiest and most dedicated mother. It looks wonderful on her. Never got to be dad to a girl unit, but Tarah felt just fine in the crook of my arm. A thing to remember about men and women: we were all little puddles of cooing goo in the arms of our mother and fathers. (Most of us, anyway, thank goodness.) We all came in blind and hungry, ready to learn and yearning to grow. We were all magnets for love, and everything else has just been the dressing on a splendid human salad.

Hey, Tarah, thanks for letting your Mommy come out to play.