Peter van Uhm: Why I chose a gun

TED Talk by Peter van Uhm who is the Netherlands’ chief of defense, but that does not mean he is pro-war.

At TEDxAmsterdam he explains how his career is one shaped by a love of peace, not a desire for bloodshed — and why we need armies if we want peace.

“That is why I took up the gun — not to shoot, not to kill, not to destroy, but to stop those who would do evil, to protect the vulnerable, to defend democratic values, to stand up for the freedom we have to talk … about how we can make the world a better place.”


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  • rouppe

    I remember what the recruiter at the RNZAF recruitment office said to me when I applied for the Air Force.

    Recruiter: “What do you think you are going to be trained to do?”
    Me: “Fly”
    Recruiter: “No. You are going to be trained to kill people”

    • AngryTory

      Sure that wasn’t a MUNZ recruiter?

  • ConwayCaptain

    To speak for 17 mins in a foreign language, no notes, no uhms ahhs or stutters he should be shown to our pollies for the content of his speech and how to speak.

    • Pretty sure he had a teleprompter

      • Mr-Blobby

        He reads , a foreign language, as well he should be shown to our Politicians.

    • johnbronkhorst

      Believe English is still compulsory in their education system!!

      • ConwayCaptain


         English is compulsory in most European countries.  The Netherlands/Belgium have been called the cockpit of Europe owing to the number of armies that have marched through over the centuries.  In that neck of the woods with Germany/France/Holland/Belgium in close proximity many people speak 2 or 3 languages Plus Engklish.  All the Scandinavian countries teach Eng from a v early age.

        Dutch is related to Hoch Deutsch (High German) and remember Engklish is a direct descendant of the language spioke in the area now called the Low Countries.

        English is also the Lingua Franca of NATO much to the disgust of Les Crapauds.

  • Dr E G Dominikovich

    We have been, and are  afflicted with weak governments who have ‘taken the easy way’.sending our industry,and initiatives, followed by a wide spectrum of workers offshore..There is exacerbation by a 3rd world health system and substandard, tired, law and order indiscipline which does not set out to eradicate the drug problem, particularly the scourge of ‘P’which,, like the All Blacks it commands ‘world champion status. Disgustingly. further more we enable  ‘a symbiotic relationship’ with this pestilence, promulgated by ‘untouchable gangs ‘which sees an epidemic of bashings, stabbings ,other mutilations, rape and murder, often involving innocent, defenceless young people.Vehicle and other ‘accidents’ are significant concomitant complications of the ‘P’ problem with insufficient policing, no direct testing  and poor apprehesion. We need more police presence on and off roads, not less and I think that austerity has started already. Penalties, generally are too light, which is why we have ‘returns for a holiday ‘in the often
    embarringly  lavish,accomobation, provided by oppressed victims and other taxpayersis an absollute insult.      
    The impositiion of  ‘400 hours community work’ on two overt habitual non -fine paying crooks  for robbing Treasury of between $10,000 and $40,000   by $million a year judges s an absolute disgrace and  is another example of governments largesse and fiscal irresponsibility.
     Why not take an eqivalent valued possession owned by the ‘creep’ or relatives.What has happened to converted containers and hard labour?. 
    ‘Picking pockets’ of the public occurs, to line their own and those of  the multitude of
    ‘encouraged, not well monitored’ non-workers.

    • WTF has all that waffle got to do with this post. Fuck off. It was bad enough you spammed me with 50 emails yesterday now you are junking up my comments with your tin-foil hat crap.

      •  Agree Cam – related to the video – I’m reminded of an old sayin’ not sure of the origin but it is – “talk softly and carry a big stick…..”

  • johnbronkhorst

    Holland was nuetral in the First World War….They openly stated that they would be nuetral in the Second World War….Didn’t work out too well did it…they were over run by a well trained and vicious enemy, that just wanted their piece of real estate. So you either fight for peace, against the tyrants or be trampled by them…..No matter what guise, they present themselves to you with.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Si Vis Pacem Parabellum

    If you desire peace, prepare for war.

    The Motto of the Royal Navy Gunnery School, Whale Island. 

     Wore a pair of boots out in a week there, never get on theb wrong side of a Whale Island Chief GI (Gunnery Instructor).

    These men are so immaculate they make the Brigade of Guards look SCRUFFY!!!!.

    • George

      I never passed through there, but several mates did.  The main portal to HMS Excellent was known as “The Gates of Hell”. 

      I think the CPO GI’s had a lot to do with it being so named.

  • insider

    A friend was a major in the Dutch Army. He would never wear his uniform travelling through Amsterdam because of the abuse it would draw, such was the ambivalence of a significant number of Dutch to their military.