Quotes on America

Index to Quotes

Quotes on America

...both postive and negative.

Part 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

“The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history. With a country so rich in natural resources, talent and labour power the system can afford to distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit discontent to a troublesome minority. It is a country so powerful, so big, so pleasing to so many of its’ citizens that it can afford to give freedom of dissent to the small number who are not pleased. There is no system of control with more openings, apertures, flexibilities, rewards for the chosen.

[…] There is none that disperses its control more complexly through the voting system, the work situation, the church, the family, the school, the mass media – none more successful in mollifying opposition with reforms, isolating people from one another, creating patriotic loyalty.” Howard Zinn, from “A People’s History of the United States,” first published 1981
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“Until we go through it ourselves, until our people cower in the shelters of New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere while the buildings collapse overhead and burst into flames, and dead bodies hurtle about and, when it is over for the day or the night, emerge in the rubble to find some of their dear ones mangled, their homes gone, their hospitals, churches, schools demolished — only after that gruesome experience will we realize what we are inflicting on the people of Indochina...” William Shirer, author, 1973
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“ ... the United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the other of ends-justify-the-means brutality sponsored by counterinsurgency specialists. Normally the specialists carry out their actions in remote locations with little notice in the national press. That allows the public to sustain its faith in a just America, while hard-nosed security and economic interests are still protected in secret.” Robert Parry, investigative reporter and author
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“Our men have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up.... Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to “make them talk,” and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.” Philadelphia Ledger newspaper in 1901, from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain for the control of the Philippines
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“We never see the smoke and the fire, we never smell the blood, we never see the terror in the eyes of the children, whose nightmares will now feature screaming missiles from unseen terrorists, will be known only as Americans.” Martin Kelly
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“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of today.” President Theodore Roosevelt, 1906
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“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels—men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), 34th US President, WWII General, speech, Columbia University, 1954
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“The United States cannot reshape other countries in its own image and that, with a few exceptions, its efforts to police the world are neither in its interests nor within the scope of its resources. This whole tendency to see ourselves as the center of political enlightenment and as teachers to a great part of the rest of the world strikes me as unthought-through, vainglorious and undesirable.” George F. Kennan (1904-2005), quote from an interview with the New York Review of Books in 1999
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“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)
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“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.” Gore Vidal
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“America may be unique in being a country which has leapt from barbarism to decadence without touching civilization.” John O’Hara
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“A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.” Bill Vaughan
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“A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.” Unknown
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“They know we own their country. We own their airspace... We dictate the way they live and talk. And that’s what’s great about America right now. It’s a good thing, especially when there’s a lot of oil out there we need.” U.S. Brig. General William Looney, Washington Post, August 30, 1999
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“We have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. Our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and maintain social stability for our investments. This tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and Peru. Increasingly the role our nation has taken is the role of those who refuse to give up the privileges and pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.” Martin Luther King, Jr., speech given at Riverside Church, April 4, 1967
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“Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.” Lt Gen William Boykin, speaking of G. W. Bush, New York Times, 17 October 2003
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“If you call yourself an American that means that you have embraced the constitution, because that is what an American is. A citizen of the United States of America is someone who has sworn an oath of allegiance to that document, to the words, to the ideals of that document. Right now we have citizens who don’t even understand what that document is.” Scott Ritter, June 23, 2005, Scott Ritter Traprock Peace Center at the Woolman Hill Meeting House
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“The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments of the dominant political mythology.” Michael Parenti political scientist, author
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“But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts us absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many lifeless bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Author
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“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

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