a Comparison in Quotations of the Policies and Politics
of the Founding Fathers and George W. Bush

    VI. Peace

    When George W. Bush asserts “I want to be the peace president” (July 21, 2004), or “Democracies don't war; democracies are peaceful countries.”

    (December 19, 2005), it is difficult to discern what he means by “peace,” especially in consideration of the fact that a pre-emptive attack on Iraq was on his agenda since his first day in office.

    If he wanted to be “the war president,” what would he do differently?

    In stark contrast, the founders pursued and studied every facet of peace as the surest way of preserving democratic government.

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “. . . A third priority [of mine] is to promote the peace. America must be strong enough and willing to promote peace. One way to do so is to bring certainty into an uncertain world, and I support the development of anti-ballistic missile systems to do so.”

    ---Interview with David Horowitz for, May 6, 1999

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road.”

    ---Presidential Debate in Boston, October 3, 2000

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I know that the human being and the fish can coexist peacefully.”

    ---The Washington Post, October 1, 2000

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

    ---September 20, 2001

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “Americans are asking 'Why do they [terrorists] hate us?' They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”

    ---Address to a Joint Session of Congress, September 21, 2001

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “You are either with us or you are against us in the fight against terror.”

    ---Press conference, November 6, 2001 with President Jacques Chirac of France

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “States like these [Iraq, Iran, North Korea], and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

    ---2002 State of the Union Address

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “The security of our homeland, the need to make sure that America is safe and secure while we chase peace is my number one priority for the country.”

    ---At HUD, June 18, 2002

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “When we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.”

    ---At HUD, June 18, 2002

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “I will seize the opportunity to achieve big goals. There is nothing bigger than to achieve world peace.”

    ---In interview to Bob Woodward at Crawford Ranch, August 20, 2002,

    Bush At War, p. 339

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “The thing I do remember is the mating up of the such- and-such Northern Alliance guy and so-and-so and they’re heading up the valley whatever it was.”

    ---When asked for a “memorable war moment” by Bob Woodward in spring of 2003, Bush At War, p. 302

    GEORGE W. BUSH: "The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth. "

    ---March 17, 2003

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace.”

    ---UN Address, September 21, 2004

    GEORGE W. BUSH: “This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. (Short pause) And having said that, all options are on the table. (Laughter)

    ---February 25, 2005

    DONALD RUMSFELD: "Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.”

    ---Quoted by San Francisco Chronicle, April 16, 2006

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: “I wish to see the discovery of a plan that would induce and oblige nations to settle their disputes without cutting one another’s throats. When will men be convinced that even successful wars at length become misfortunes to those who unjustly commenced them, and who triumphed blindly in their success, not seeing all the consequences.”

    ---Letter to Richard Price, February 6, 1780

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: “I have never known a peace made, even the most advantageous, that was not censured as inadequate and the makers condemned as injudicious or corrupt. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ is, I suppose, to be understood in the other world, for in this one they are frequently cursed.”

    ---Letter to John Adams, October 12, 1781

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: “I join you most cordially in rejoicing the return of peace. I hope it will be lasting and that mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable creatures, have reason to settle their differences without cutting throats; for, in my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace.

    ---Letter to Josiah Quincy, September 11, 1783

    GEORGE WASHINGTON: “Contemplating the internal situation as well as the external relations of the United States, we discover equal cause for contentment and satisfaction. While many of the nations of Europe, with their American dependencies, have been involved in a contest unusually bloody, exhausting, and calamitous in which the evils of foreign war have been aggravated by domestic convulsion and insurrection, in which many of the arts most useful to society have been exposed to discouragement and decay, in which scarcity of subsistence has embittered other sufferings, while even the anticipation of a return of the blessings of peace and repose are alloyed by the sense of heavy and accumulating burdens which press upon all the departments of industry and threaten to clog the future springs of government, our favored country, happy in a striking contrast, has enjoyed tranquillity---a tranquillity the more satisfactory because maintained at the expense of no duty. Faithful to ourselves, we have violated no obligation to others.”

    ---Seventh Message to Congress, 1795

    JOHN ADAMS [Under great pressure to go to war with France]: “While other states are desolated with foreign war or convulsed with intestine divisions, the United States present the pleasing prospect of a nation governed by mild and equal laws, generally satisfied with the possession of their rights, neither envying the advantages nor fearing the power of other nations, solicitous only for the maintenance of order and justice and the preservation of liberty.”

    ---Special Message To Congress, 1797

    JOHN ADAMS: “It is my sincere desire, and in this I presume I concur with you and with our constituents, to preserve peace and friendship with all nations; and believing that neither the honor nor the interest of the United States absolutely forbid the repetition of advances for securing these desirable objects with France, I shall institute a fresh attempt at negotiation.”

    ---Special Message To Congress, 1797

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "[Though there may be] a justifiable cause of war. . . I should hope that war would not be [our] choice. I think it will furnish us a happy opportunity of setting another example to the world by showing that nations may be brought to justice by appeals to their interests as well as by appeals to arms. I should hope that Congress, instead of a denunciation of war, would instantly exclude from our ports all the manufacture, produce, vessels and subjects of the nations committing aggression during the continuance of the aggression and till full satisfaction made for it. This would work well in many ways, safely in all, and introduce between nations another umpire than arms. It would relieve us too from the risks and the horrors of cutting throats."

    ---Letter to James Madison, March 24, 1793

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "Our desire [is] to pursue ourselves the path of peace as the only one leading surely to prosperity, and our wish [is] to preserve the morals of our citizens from being vitiated by courses of lawless plunder and murder."

    ---Letter to British Minister George Hammond, May 15, 1793

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "I do not believe war the most certain means of enforcing principles. Those peaceable coercions which are in the power of every nation, if undertaken in concert and in time of peace, are more likely to produce the desired effect."

    ---Letter to Robert Livingston, 1801

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "Determined as we are to avoid, if possible, wasting the energies of our people in war and destruction, we shall avoid implicating ourselves with the powers of Europe, even in support of principles which we mean to pursue. They have so many other interests different from ours that we must avoid being entangled in them. We believe we can enforce these principles as to ourselves by peaceable means."

    ---Letter to Thomas Paine, March 18, 1801

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "The evils which of necessity encompass the life of man are sufficiently numerous. Why should we add to them by voluntarily distressing and destroying one another? Peace, brothers, is better than war. In a long and bloody war, we lose many friends and gain nothing. Let us then live in peace and friendship together, doing to each other all the good we can."

    ---Address to Indian Nations, 1802

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "We have obtained by a peaceable appeal to justice, in four months, what we should not have obtained under seven years of war, the loss of one hundred thousand lives, an hundred millions of additional debt, many hundred millions worth of produce and property lost for want of market, or in seeking it, and that demoralization which war superinduces on the human mind."

    ---Letter to Hugh Williamson, April 30, 1803

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "To cherish and maintain the rights and liberties of our citizens and to ward from them the burdens, the miseries and the crimes of war, by a just and friendly conduct towards all nations [are] among the most obvious and important duties of those to whom the management of their public interests have been confided."

    ---Reply to John Thomas, et al., November 18, 1807

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "My affections were first for my own country, and then, generally, for all mankind; and nothing but minds placing themselves above the passions, in the functionaries of this country, could have preserved us from the war to which . . . provocations have been constantly urging us."

    --Letter to Thomas Law, January 15, 1811

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "If ever I was gratified with the possession of power, and of the confidence of those who had entrusted me with it, it was on that occasion when I was enabled to use both for the prevention of war towards which the torrent of passion here was directed almost irresistibly, and when not another person in the United States, less supported by authority and favor, could have resisted it."

    ---Letter to James Maury, April 25, 1812

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "The state of peace is that which most improves the manners and morals, the prosperity and happiness of mankind."

    ---Letter to Noah Worcester, 1817

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "Although I dare not promise myself that [peace] can be perpetually maintained, yet if, by the inculcations of reason or religion, the perversities of our nature can be so far corrected as sometimes to prevent the necessity, either supposed or real, of an appeal to the blinder scourges of war, murder, and devastation, the benevolent endeavors of the friends of peace will not be entirely without remuneration."

    ---Letter to Noah Worcester, November 26, 1817

    THOMAS JEFFERSON: "I hope we shall prove how much happier for man the Quaker policy is, and that the life of the feeder is better than that of the fighter."

    ---Letter to John Adams, June 27, 1822

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