Useful Quotations on World War 2

Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.

Many Japanese believed the United States to be a hollow shell, it’s people divided politically, softened by luxurious living and decadent morals, no match for the tough, disciplined men of Japan. Gordon Prange, author of At Dawn We Slept

Japan has faced many worthy opponents in her glorious history – Mongols, Chinese, Russians – but in this operation we will meet the strongest and most resourceful opponent of all. Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

It is the custom of bushido to select an equal or stronger opponent.  On this score you have nothing to complain about – the American navy is a good match for the Japanese navy. Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

What a strange position I find myself in – having to pursue with full determination a course of action which is diametrically opposed to my best judgement and firmest conviction. That too, perhaps, is fate.  Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

Since even one or two reshuffles in the high ranking posts would influence the morale of the whole fleet, I do not want to see any change at this moment.  Isoroku Yamamoto, CINC of Japanese combined fleet prior to Pearl Harbor

Too many steersmen will send the ship climbing the mountain. Japanese proverb

Even a rabbit will bite if it is fooled three times. Japanese proverb

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The Dance of the Headquarters

Individual units of large organizations and higher headquarters always misunderstand each other. Front line personnel feel like their leaders are detached and sometimes incompetent, while higher level leaders have pressures that small unit personnel do not understand. How do we bring them together?

In Iraq in late 2003 a draft recommendation came to the Task Force 1st Armored Division Headquarters from our higher headquarters, the Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters. It referenced tuberculosis in Iraq and proposed aggressive use of preventive measures against the disease, citing huge numbers of new cases per year. As the Task Force Preventive Medicine Officer and Deputy Division Surgeon, I was responsible to review all public health and other medical recommendations coming from outside. The math didn’t seem right and I went to the World Health Organization website to check the incidence and prevalence of tuberculosis in Iraq. Suddenly I realized that whoever had made the recommendation had badly overestimated the incidence of new tuberculosis cases. To our medical team it was just another example of trouble from our higher headquarters.

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