"Since September 2001, the United States has been involved in a War on Terror that has, to date, cost the same number of American civilian lives that are lost every two and a half weeks in road accidents on American highways. It is the same number of lives that the soviet Union lost every six hours, for four agonizing years, during World War II. Our opponents in this new conflict, for all their stated desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction, have so far demonstrated no ability to wield anything more powerful than knives, guns, and conventional explosives. A war it may be, but does it really deserve comparison to World War II and its 50 million dead? Not every adversary is an apocalyptic threat. Yet the languages in which we speak are used to discussing war and peace make it difficult for this point to emerge."
"I started to work on Star Wars rather than continue on Apocalypse Now. I had worked on Apocalypse Now for about four years and I had very strong feelings about it. I wanted to do it, but could not get it off the ground... A lot of my interest in Apocalypse Now was carried over into Star Wars. I figured I couldn't make that film because it was about the Vietnam War, so I would essentially deal with some of the same interesting concepts that I was going to use and convert them into space fantasy, so you'd have essentially a large technological empire going after a small group of freedom fighters or human beings... a small independent country like North Vietnam threatened by a neighbor or provincial rebellion, instigated by gangsters aided by empire... The empire is like America ten years from now, after Nixonian gangsters assassinated the Emperor and were elevated to power in a rigged election; created civil disorder by instigating race riots aiding rebel groups and allowing the crime rate to rise to the point where a 'total control' police state was welcomed by the people. Then the people were exploited with high taxes, utility and transport costs" The Making of Star Wars: 7-8,17.
“When I first started making the film [the first Star Wars], it was during the Vietnam War, and it was during a period when Nixon was going for a third term - or trying to get the Constitution changed to could go for a third term - and it got me to thinking about how democracies turn into dictatorships. Not how they’re taken over where there’s a coup or anything like that, but how the democracy turns itself over to a tyrant."