Unless they’re out of a novel by writers like Leo Tolstoy or Norman Mailer, or from the herculean efforts of scholars like Barbara Tuchman or Margaret MacMillan, military commanders aren’t often known for their mellifluous oratory skills. Nor, for the most part, are they known for their prose.
That made Dwight D. Eisenhower all the more unique. He remains one of only a handful of five-star American generals and was supreme commander of Allied Forces on D-Day for the largest seaborne invasion in history.
In freaking history!
As if that weren’t enough, he went la de dah into the White House and served two terms as president.
No bigs. Just a walk in the park.
Ike was so much more than just the sum total of his accolades and battlefield victories, though. He was a gifted speaker, respected as much by his servicemen as he was by statesmen around the world.
Now, on the eve of the second presidential debate, I feel that General Eisenhower not only had his finger on the pulse of society at the time, but was far more prescient than perhaps we give him credit for today.
“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 clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”