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George Soros Quotes on War: 8 Memorable Statements by Billionaire

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:24 AM

George Soros is a controversial figure, never more so than when he talks about war.

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The 85-year-old billionaire, a native of Hungary, was a young, Jewish teen during World War II. To save his life, 13-year-old György had to go into hiding under a false identity, according to Soros’ website. He’d been moved four times before the Battle of Budapest, when German, Hungarian, and Russian troops fought through the streets of the city, and some 38,000 civilians died in the crossfire or from starvation.

This profound experience of war left Soros impatient with use of the word as a metaphor in such phrases as “war on terrorism.” Here are some of his thoughts about war:

1. “The formative experience of my life was the German occupation of Hungary in 1944. I was Jewish and not yet fourteen years old. I could have easily perished in the Holocaust or suffered lasting psychological damage had it not been for my father, who understood the dangers and coped with them better than most others.”
—from Soros’ book My Philanthropy quoted in The New York Review of Books.

2. “In World War II, America fought for the survival of democracy and human rights, although the expression human rights was not as popular then as it has become since.”
from his book The Bubble of American Supremacy.

3. “War is a false and misleading metaphor in the context of combating terrorism. Treating the attacks of September 11 as crimes against humanity would have been more appropriate. Crimes require police work, not military action.”
—The Bubble of American Supremacy.

4. “You cannot wage war against an abstraction; yet the war on terror remains a widely accepted metaphor even today.”
—My Philanthropy.

5. “I am particularly sensitive to the deliberate distortions of such expressions as ‘the war on terrorism’ and ‘weapons of mass destruction’ — not to mention the more tendentious ones like ‘partial birth abortion’ and the ‘death tax.’ But even when such manipulative distortions are successfully employed, there are bound to be unintentional diversions between outcomes and expectations. For instance, the invasion of Iraq was brought about through deliberate deception, but the results diverged significantly from those envisioned and intended by the campaign’s planners.”
—The Bubble of American Supremacy

6. “It was a horrendous naivete, actually, to think that you can ... introduce democracy by military force.”
PBS interviews with David Brancaccio

7. “Declaring war on terrorism was understandable, perhaps even appropriate, as a figure of speech. But the President meant it literally and that is when things started going seriously wrong.... It is the war on terror that has led to the torture scenes in Iraq. What happened in Abu Ghraib was not a case of a few bad apples but a pattern tolerated and even encouraged by the authorities.”
—Commencement address to the Columbia School of International & Public Affairs in 2004

8. “War and occupation create innocent victims. We count the body bags of American soldiers – over 1,000 in Iraq. The wider world also counts the Iraqis who get killed daily, perhaps 20 times more.”
—“Why America Must Not Re-elect President Bush” by George Soros, Project Syndicate.

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George Soros is a controversial figure, never more so than when he talks about war.
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Thursday, 14 May 2015 11:24 AM
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