War, Antiwar Quotes (1)

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"And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3)

War Is A Racket : I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher- ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service: Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.
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When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing: Dwight David Eisenhower : 34th president of the United States, 1890-1969
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A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reforms. It does not haggle over expenditures for armaments and military equipment. It pays without discussion, it ruins itself, and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain: Anatole France, pseudonym for Jacques Anatole Thibault (1844-1924)

Preachers, profiteers and politicians make war appear to be glorious and necessary. It is not. Young person do not waste your life in war. Learn from the Master, Lord Jesus, how to overcome your enemies with love. Matt. 5:38-38, Christian Bible (Gary Amirault)

Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder.... the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish their corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace....They are continually talking about their patriotic duty. It is not their but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. There is a decided difference. Their patriotic duty never takes them to the firing line or chucks them into the trenches. Eugene V. Debs

Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object: Abraham Lincoln

"All of us have heard this term 'preventive war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing: Dwight Eisenhower - Source: Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, Bush and America's Willing Executioners would be Guilty at Nuremberg, The Free Press (Columbus, Ohio), 3/2/03

The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception. Mark Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)


"What kind of victory is it when someone is left defeated? What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy. What is a war criminal? Was not war itself a crime against God and humanity, and, therefore, were not all those who sanctioned, engineered and conducted wars, war criminals? The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty." Gandhi

"A tyrant... is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader." Plato - (429-347 BC) - Source: The Republic

"But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts us absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many lifeless bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922- ) Author

And so, to the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace: George Bernard Shaw - Irish playwright "Caesar and Cleopatra"

“Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it.” Anne O'Hare McCormick: First woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for her work as a foreign correspondent.

It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty. Martin Luther King, Jr: 1929-1968

“Youth is the first victim of war; the first fruit of peace. It takes 20 years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only 20 seconds of war to destroy him.” -King Baudouin I: King of Belgium

"I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. Fortunately, we were on the winning side." US General Curtis LeMay, commander of the 1945 Tokyo fire bombing operation.

“Today's human rights violations are the causes of tomorrow's conflicts.” Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Retired)

In the eyes of empire builders men are not men but instruments : Napoleon Bonaparte : French Emperor (1769-1821)

Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired, signifies a theft from those that are hungry and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. --Dwight D. Eisenhower

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.  --John F. Kennedy

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes...known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few...No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. -- James Madison

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. --Sir Winston Churchill

There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy. --George Washington

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.--Franklin D. Roosevelt

War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children. --Jimmy Carter

The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure.—Lyndon B Johnson

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. --Theodore Roosevelt

I couldn't help but say to [Mr. Gorbachev], just think how easy his task and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from another planet. [We'd] find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this earth together. --Ronald Reagan

Patriotism in its simplest, clearest and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, conscience, and a slavish enthralment to those in power. --Leo Tolstoy

The common excuse for those bringing misfortune on others is that they desire their good. --Luc de Clapiers de Vauvenargues 1717-1747

Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. --John F. Kennedy

All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers.  --François Fénelon

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to live together we have to talk. --Eleanor Roosevelt

We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace. -- Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. --Sun Tzu

Peace talkers are a dime a dozen.  Peacemakers are rare and priceless. --Unknown

All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.  In my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace.  When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?  --Benjamin Franklin

It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passions, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace. --André Gide

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do Evil in return
. --W.H. Auden

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? --Eleanor Roosevelt

When Jesus said, "Love your enemies, He probably meant don't kill them. --Unknown

What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood. --Aldous Huxley

Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarreled with him?—Blaise Pascal

The refuge of the morally, intellectually, artistically and economically bankrupt is war. --Martin H. Fischer

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. --Herman Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder. --Albert Einstein

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear. --Cicero Marcus Tullius

All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it--Alexis de Tocqueville

Throughout the history of the United States , war has been the primary impetus behind the growth and development of the central state. It has been the lever by which presidents and other national officials have bolstered the power of the state in the face of tenacious popular resistance. --Bruce D. Porter

War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.  --Thomas Mann

War is fear cloaked in courage. --William Westmoreland

The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions. --Robert Lynd

War does not determine who is right - only who is left. --Bertrand Russell

It is unpleasant business to eject a skunk, but someone has to do it.--Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

They have not wanted Peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war -- as though the absence of war was the same as peace.-- Dorothy Thompson

I don't know whether war is an interlude during peace, or peace an interlude during war.  --Georges Clemenceau

No one has ever succeeded in keeping nations at war except by lies. --Salvador de Madariaga

The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking... the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker. --Albert Einstein

As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are only doing their duty, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil. —George Orwell

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.  --Ernest Hemingway

Truth is always the first war casualty. The emotional disturbances and distortions in historical writing are greatest in wartime.--Elmer Barnes

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.- Samuel P. Huntington

Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace. --Charles Sumner

It'll be a great day when education gets all the money it wants and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy bombers. --Unknown

Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education. Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both. --Abraham Flexner

Studies by Medical Corps psychiatrists of combat fatigue cases... found that fear of killing, rather than fear of being killed, was the most common cause of battle failure, and that fear of failure ran a strong second.  --S.L.A. Marshall

War is as much a punishment to the punisher as it is to the sufferer.—Thomas Jefferson

Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself. --Francis Meehan

"War paralyzes your courage and deadens the spirit of true manhood. It degrades and stupefies with the sense that you are not responsible, that 'tis not yours to think and reason why, but to do and die,' like the hundred thousand others doomed like yourself. War means blind obedience, unthinking stupidity, brutish callousness, wanton destruction, and irresponsible murder." Alexander Berkman


"It seems that 'we have never gone to war for conquest, for exploitation, nor for territory'; we have the word of a president [McKinley] for that. Observe, now, how Providence overrules the intentions of the truly good for their advantage. We went to war with Mexico for peace, humanity and honor, yet emerged from the contest with an extension of territory beyond the dreams of political avarice. We went to war with Spain for relief of an oppressed people [the Cubans], and at the close found ourselves in possession of vast and rich insular dependencies [primarily the Philippines] and with a pretty tight grasp upon the country for relief of whose oppressed people we took up arms. We could hardly have profited more had 'territorial aggrandizement' been the spirit of our purpose and heart of our hope. The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations." Ambrose Bierce, Warlike America


"COWARDICE, n. A charge often levelled by all-American types against those who stand up for their beliefs by refusing to fight in wars they find unconscionable, and who willingly go to prison or into exile in order to avoid violating their own consciences. These 'cowards' are to be contrasted with red-blooded, 'patriotic' youths who literally bend over, grab their ankles, submit to the government, fight in wars they do not understand (or disapprove of), and blindly obey orders to maim and to kill simply because they are ordered to do so—all to the howling approval of the all-American mob. This type of behavior is commonly termed 'courageous.'" Chaz Bufe

"In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes." Thomas Paine

Our men . . . have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up.... Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to "make them talk," and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later. . . stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.": Philadelphia Ledger newspaper in 1901, from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain for the control of the Philippines


" ... the United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the other of ends-justify-the-means brutality sponsored by counterinsurgency specialists. Normally the specialists carry out their actions in remote locations with little notice in the national press. That allows the public to sustain its faith in a just America, while hard-nosed security and economic interests are still protected in secret. " Robert Parry, investigative reporter and author

They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war. Eugene Debs

War: first, one hopes to win; then one expects the enemy to lose; then, one is satisfied that he too is suffering; in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost. : Karl Kraus (1874–1936)


Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. Haile Selassie


"The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein


There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country - if the people lose their confidence in themselves - and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. Walt Whitman


More Quotes on War, Antiwar:
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World of Wars

A War Prayer by Mark Twain. Preachers, profiteers and politicians make war appear to be glorious. This is the text of Mark Twain's powerful illustration and a link to a youtube video version.

War: Who is responsible? by Lawrence M. Vance. Points out that the American government has created a mindset that when a person puts on a military uniform, they are no longer responsible for their actions on the killing fields. This is wrong.

War is a Racket by Major General Smedley Darlington Butler

The pioneers of a warless world are the youth that refuse military service. - Albert Einstein.

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations. David Friedman

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." -MATTHEW 5:9

"Neither shall they learn war any more." Jewish and Christian Bibles. Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3

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Perhaps the world's largest war antiwar quotes


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