Fallujah3roslanrahmanafpgetty

"Men, do not rest content with parrying the attacks of a superior, but often strike the first blow to prevent the attack being made. And we cannot fix the exact point at which our empire shall stop; we have reached a position in which we must not be content with retaining but must scheme to extend it, for, if we cease to rule others, we are in danger of being ruled ourselves. Nor can you look at inaction from the same point of view as others, unless you are prepared to change your habits and make them like theirs," - Alcibiades' Oration before the Sicilian expedition, Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War.

(Photo: Fallujah by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.