adam hochschild quotes

As the First World War made painfully clear, when politicians and generals lead nations into war, they almost invariably assume swift victory, and have a remarkably enduring tendency not to foresee problems that, in hindsight, seem obvious.

For the better part of two centuries, outsiders have been offering explanations that range from racist to learned-sounding - the supposed inferiority of blacks, the heritage of slavery, overpopulation - for why Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Someday, I have no doubt, the dead from today's wars will be seen with a similar sense of sorrow at needless loss and folly as those millions of men who lie in the cemeteries of France and Belgium - and tens of millions of Americans will feel a similar revulsion for the politicians and generals who were so spendthrift with others' lives.

I think that, in almost all human beings, there is buried a profound tribal instinct that makes us very susceptible to being aroused to patriotic fervour.

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