[Letter excerpt, June, 1943]
For the past months I have been engaged in work of so confidential a nature as to make any kind of communication about myself an object of suspicion to my superiors. But this week I am on leave and traveling about. Yesterday I spent the morning in the Senate at Washington. You may not believe it, but the whole time was spent in eager discussion of the next war! Senator Lodge has it all figured out; it seems that we are exhausting our resources so rapidly in the present war, that there will be nothing for us to do in a few years but to grab all the oil, tin, rubber, copper, and what-not that we can find elsewhere, no matter who owns it or what they think of our actions. While those obscene old men pricked up their ears and licked their lips the speaker described how this country as a “have-not” nation would with the justice of necessity, throw itself in all directions in wars of undisguised conquest and aggression. Though it was poorly organized and badly delivered this monstrous discourse met with nothing but enthusiastic acclaim. “That does it,” I thought, “These men will not be diverted from their course until they have fulfilled the prophecy and made a ‘full end of all the nations’”.
The particular nature of my own activities shows me much more of the actual workings of war than the average soldier or officer ever gets to see. In this there is one constant and recurring moral, namely that military force is a poor solution to any problem: at best the triumph of negation. More significant is the accumulating evidence that actual battle is but one expression of a greater conflict, a conflict that is emerging more clearly in every sphere of our life. From a vague, half-defined unpleasantness the consciousness of this conflict will grow to be the one great reality of our times. At certain periods in the past, notably in times of world transition, men have come to conceive of the whole universe and every department of life as a murderous and uncompromising struggle. With some people, such as the Persians and ancient Indians, the idea became a positively pathological obsession; at the time of Christ and again in the fourth and fifth centuries the whole world was seized by the idea to the extent which we cannot conceive of. That is which we cannot yet conceive of.