Making sense of why the Americans are in Iraq and Afghanistan

If much of what you’re reading these days on why the Americans are in Iraq and Afghanistan does not make sense to you, these quotations may help.

1. "If we lose this war, oil will be $100 a barrel, and if we win, it will be, like, $25 a barrel." — Donald Rumsfeld, American Defense Secretary

2. "There is no question but that when one is engaged militarily that there are going to be unintended losses of life." — Donald Rumsfeld, American Defense Secretary

3. "It’s really not a number I’m terribly interested in." — Colin Powell, American Secretary of State (responding to the question of how many Iraqi people were slaughtered by the U.S. military in the 1991 Desert Storm campaign)

4. "We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace." — Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick, American diplomat

5. "All wars are popular for the first thirty days." — Arthur Schlesinger Jr., American author

6. "Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime." — Ernest Hemingway, American author

7. "They not only want to go into Iraq and disarm and overthrow this regime. They want to make Iraq a satellite of the U.S., democratize it and use it as a base camp for modernizing the Arab and Islamic world. That is imperialism pure and simple." — Pat Buchanan, American journalist

8. "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose." — Henry Kissinger, in The Vietnam Negotiations

9. "Am I not destroying my enemies while I make friends of them?" — Abraham Lincoln, American President

10. "War-making is one of the few activities that people are not supposed to view ‘realistically’; that is, with an eye to expense and practical outcome. In all-out war, expenditure is all-out, unprudent — war being defined as an emergency in which no sacrifice is excessive." — Susan Sontag, American author

11. "Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education. Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both." — Abraham Flexner, American Author

12. "The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it." — George Orwell, British author

13. "The greatest crime since World War II has been U.S. foreign policy." — Ramsey Clark, American Lawyer and peace activist

14. "We are really appalled by any country, whether a superpower or a small country, that goes outside the United Nations and attacks independent countries." — Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa

15. "When you can whip any man in the world, you never know peace." — Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay), American boxer