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Oct 09, 2008

Two Quotes on Talking with Enemies

If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.

-- Moshe Dayan

Whatever you think of Dayan's actions and policies, I hope you would agree with his statement here.  But if you still doubt the sentiment because of the source, here is another:

It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends.  But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion.  The other is mere business.

-- Mahatma Gandhi

11:37 PM in Editorial, Quotables | Permalink


"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." -- not me

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas | Oct 10, 2008 2:13:38 AM

>Joe -- "Not me" seems a good attribution. My short research (just now, of course) shows that people have struggled to correctly attribute this statement to both Machiavelli and Sun-Tzu, but no one (that I found) has any proof. The only person we KNOW said it was Michael Corleone. He says that his father said it, but we don't have proof of that, either :-)

By the way, I am having trouble accepting "@joe" as a means of indicating that someone is responding to something that Joe said. So I'm trying the arrow. We'll see who bends first: me or the internet. Only in the last five years have I accepted "their" and "them" as neuter references to the third person singular.

Posted by: Phil | Oct 10, 2008 2:35:57 AM

Their and them can be avoided easily by rearranging your sentences.

(What is wrong with, "Joe, ..."?)

Posted by: Valerie | Oct 13, 2008 6:17:44 AM

Re: Valerie's comments --

>Their and them can be avoided easily by rearranging your sentences.

Sometimes, absolutely! But other times, there's a cost. Consider a restaurant manager's instructions to a waiter. "If a customer wants to order off-menu, tell them you'll have to check with the kitchen first." Sure, the manager could have rearranged this sentence as "Ask the kitchen first before confirming a customer's off-order menu." But if they (s/he?) had a reason to preserve an if/then structure, there'd be a challenge.

For a longer discussion on this, check out Michael Bacon's Dec 12 comment and my Dec 14 followup at this post:


Funny how you, he and I are all NCSSM alumni :-)

>(What is wrong with, "Joe, ..."?)

Nothing's wrong with "Joe,..." (or Joe, for that matter, near as I can tell!) if I mean to speak directly to him via the comment. But I do like the idea that we might have some special signs that indicate variations of (a) here's a followup *to what Joe said* (but I want all of you to read it), or (b) here's a response *to Joe*.

In the past, I've done "Re: Name's comment --" when I want to do either. But it, too, has its problems of precision.


Posted by: Phil | Oct 13, 2008 12:48:18 PM

"If a customer wants to order off-menu, check with the kitchen first."

If you can't assume the waiter won't tell the customer on the way to checking, you have a hiring issue. :)

S&Mers, we're so peevy.

Posted by: Valerie | Oct 14, 2008 6:17:42 AM