" . . . all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily (and) adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
- H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920.
"After all, if a country with relatively few public opinion concerns or moral compunctions about its tactics cannot beat a bunch of ill-equipped Afghan tribesmen, what does that say about the ability of the United States - with its domestic constraints, statutory limitations, moral inhibitions, and zealous investigative reporters - to carry out a successful action against a guerrilla force?"
- David Petraeus, doctoral dissertation, Princeton University, 1987
"A democracy cannot fight a Seven Years War"
- General George C. Marshall