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        Ike Speaks

"Eisenhower liked to extol the virtues of what he called Modern Republicanism. In his case, modern was a synonym for moderate. 'The middle of the road is all the usable surface,' he explained. 'Both extremes – right and left – are in the gutters.'" [Bob Dole, Great Presidential Wit.]

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

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 houses of its children. This is not a way of life…Under the cloud of war, it is humanity hanging itself on a cross of iron

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. . . In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of power exists and will persist.

God help this country when someone sits at this desk who doesn't know as much about the military as I do. 

Ike on Viet Nam: No one could be more bitterly opposed to ever getting the United States involved in a hot war in that region [Indochina] than I am; consequently, every move that I authorize is calculated, so far as humans can do it, to make certain that that does not happen.

Ike on Iraq: Where would it [invading Egypt during the Suez crisis] have led us? We would be an occupying power in a seething Arab world. If so, I'm sure we would regret it.

The problem of defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.   We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than eight thousand people.

A democracy smugly disdainful of new ideas would be a sick democracy. A democracy chronologically fearful of new ideas would be a dying democracy.

Get out there. Don’t look so serious. Smile! [Quoted by Bob Dole.]

McCarthyism is now McCarthywasm. [Quoted by Bob Dole.]

There is a phrase that a man is known by the friends he keeps. The other side of the coin is that a man is known by the enemies he makes. I read the last speech of Senator McCarthy. He said that we should have nothing to do with any nation that trades with the Reds. If he’s against that, I’m for it. [Quoted by Bob Dole.]

Asked why he didn’t take a more vigorous public role in opposing Senator Joseph McCarthy, Eisenhower replied, “I just won’t get into a pissing contest with that skunk.” [Bob Dole.]

Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.

Opposed to the idea of two hostile, embittered worlds in perpetual conflict, we envisage a single world community as yet unrealized but advancing rapidly.

I would use the office which, for the time being, I hold, to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain steadfast in its support of this body [the UN]. This we shall do in the conviction that you will provide a great share of the wisdom, of the courage and the faith which can bring to this world lasting peace for all nations and happiness and well-being for all men.

War in our time has become an anachronism. Whatever the case in the past, war in the future can serve no useful purpose. A war which might become general, any limited action might, would only result in the virtual destruction of mankind.

And we have got to fight it [Communism] with something better.

We seek victory – not over any nation or people – but over ignorance, poverty, disease, and human degradation wherever they may be found.

The supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.

The most powerful weapon we have - indeed the most powerful weapon that any people can have - is truth.  If we ever find ourselves in a position where we cannot tell the truth, or where we feel that the telling will injure us, we will have sacrificed that most powerful weapon.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.


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