Ralph Peters (born 1952) is a United States Army officer, novelist and commentator.
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- Here I must inject a personal note—I never shed blood upon the field of Sidwell Friends, nor did I fight the battles of Yale Law. I am a miner's son, and my father was a self-made man who unmade himself during my youth. Education was not a family legacy, and my kin belonged to the United Mine Workers of America, not to Skull and Bones. My forebears fought this country's wars from the bottom ranks, and I began my own military career as a private. I have felt the full arrogance of those to whom much was given, and personally, wish that I might come to bury the elite, not to praise them. Yet, those who would rise need examples to emulate. It grates on me to write it, but our military needs a return of the nation's elite to the officer corps, to the extent that a traditional elite, with its spotty but essential ideals of service, still exists.
- autobiographical aside from Beyond Terror, p. 319. Originally part of an essay entitled "Hucksters in Uniform" which appeared in the May 1999 edition of The Washington Monthly.
- At our worst in the Middle East, we unreservedly supported—or enthroned—medieval despots who supressed popular liberation efforts, thus driving moderate dissidents into the arms of fanatics. From our diplomatic personnel held hostage in Iran a generation ago, to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, we have suffered for our support of repressive "stable" regimes that radicalized their own impoverished citizens. In the interests of stability, we looked the other way while secret police tortured and shabby armies massacred their own people, from Iran to Guatemala. But the shah always falls. Would that we could tattoo that on the back of every diplomat's hand: The shah always falls.
- Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World, p. 174: originally published as "Stability, America's Enemy" in Parameters, Winter 2001-02
- If there is a single power the West underestimates, it is the power of collective hatred.
- Fighting for the Future: Will America Triumph?, p. 13
- We [Americans] choose not to understand the world on terms other than our own.
- Fighting for the Future: Will America Triumph?, p. 51
- We [the U.S.] think nothing…of attempting to inflict upon other peoples forms of government ill-tailored to their needs.
- Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World, p. 218
- The message of Vietnam is not that Americans will not take casualties; it is that the American people do not want the lives of their sons and daughters wasted.
- Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World, p. 287
- We have moved from an age in which government leaders sought to do what was best for the people to one in which the political leadership is convinced it knows what is best for the people, whether they like it or not.
- Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World, p. 133
- There is no lack of bravery in the ranks of our armed forces, but bureaucratic cowardice rules in our intelligence establishment (as well as at the higher levels of military command).
- Beyond Terror: Strategy in a Changing World, p. 196