Quote for the Day

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"I say, therefore, that the arms with which a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you.

I wish to demonstrate further the infelicity of these arms. The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others contrary to your intentions; but if the captain is not skilful, you are ruined in the usual way," Niccolo Machiavelli, smart guy, "The Prince."

(Photo: A security officer sits at the open door of a helicopter belonging to the US security firm Blackwater flies close to black smoke billowing from a fire in an area in central Baghdad 03 March 2005. There was not immediate confirmation for what caused the fire which engulfed hundreds of meters of junk areas in the war-torn capital. By Marwan Namaani/AFP/Getty.)