September 1, 2012

“We have met the enemy…”



FAMOUS WAR OF 1812 QUOTE:

“We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
       Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819)
       American Navy officer
       The immortal message Perry sent
on September 10, 1813 to U.S. General William Henry Harrison about the Battle of Lake Erie. That day, American ships under Perry’s command defeated a British naval squadron and captured all of the British ships. After the battle, Perry scrawled a brief report to Harrison on the back of an envelope. It said: “Dear General: We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem, O.H. Perry.” The first sentence became one of the most famous U.S. Navy quotations in history.



WORLD WAR II VERSION:

“We have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have, however, learned some things about myself. There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square it with yourself.”
       American PFC Robert Leckie (played by actor James Badge Dale
       Comment in a letter written to his stateside girlfriend 
       In the
HBO miniseries The Pacific (2010)



WAR BETWEEN THE SEXES VERSION:

“We have met the enemy and he’s our friend...the friends, brothers, lovers in the counterfeit male-dominated Left. The good guys who think they know what ‘Women’s Lib,’ as they so chummily call it, is all about.” 
       Robin Morgan 
       American author, journalist and pioneering feminist
       In a 1970 editorial piece titled
“Goodbye to All That”
       Published in the January 1970 issue of the underground newspaper Rat: Subterranean News 
 



WAR IN AFGHANISTAN VERSION:

“We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint”
       Title of an article about a Pentagon PowerPoint diagram meant to portray the complexity of America’s strategy in Afghanistan. Published
in the New York Times on April 26, 2010. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal commented: “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”



WAR ON NATURE VERSION:

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
       Walt Kelly (1913-1973)
       American cartoonist
       First used for
his famous 1970 Earth Day poster



VIETNAM WAR VERSION:

“I was stumbling around in a beautiful haze
When I met a little cat in black P.J.’s,
Rifle, ammo belt, B.F. Goodrich sandals...

He said, ‘We’re campin’ down the pass
And smelled you people blowin’ grass,
And since by the smell you’re smokin’ trash
I brought you a taste of a special stash
Straight from Uncle Ho’s victory garden.
We call it Hanoi gold.’

So his squad and my squad settled down
And passed some lovely stuff around.
All too soon it was time to go.
The captain got on the radio, said: 
‘Hello, headquarters. Hello, headquarters?

We have met the enemy
And he has been smashed!’”
 
       Tom Paxton
       American singer/songwriter 
       From his song "Talking Vietnam Potluck Blues"
       Originally released on his 1968 album Morning Again. (Also on
The Best Of Tom Paxton.)

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