War Quotes (19)
The power of making war often prevents it. THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to General Washington, Dec. 4, 1788
Preventing war is much better than protesting against the war. Protesting the war is too late. THICH NHAT HANH, Being Peace
There would be an end of war and preparations for war if the cost were borne by those responsible for war. There would be an end of armaments and preparedness if incomes and inheritances and the landed estates of the feudal classes paid for the protection which their privileges enjoy. War and preparations for war are possible only because the ruling classes are able to shift a great part of the cost onto the poor by indirect taxation and loans. War expenditures are tolerated only because the burdens are concealed in the increased cost of the things people consume. "The art of plucking the goose without making it cry out" has been developed to a high state of perfection at the hands of the war makers. FREDERIC CLEMSON HOWE, Why War
A nice war is a war where everybody who is heroic is a hero, and everybody more or less is a hero in a nice war. Now this war is not at all a nice war. GERTRUDE STEIN, Wars I Have Seen
We shall not enter into any of the abstruse definitions of war used by publicists. We shall keep to the element of the thing itself, to a duel. War is nothing but a duel on an extensive scale. CARL VON CLAUSEWITZ, On War
War is bestowed like electroshock on the depressive nation; thousands of volts jolting the system, an artificial galvanizing, one effect of which is loss of memory. War comes at the end of the twentieth century as absolute failure of imagination, scientific and political. That a war can be represented as helping a people to “feel good” about themselves, their country, is a measure of that failure. ADRIENNE RICH, What is Found There
For most of history, war has been a more or less functional institution, providing benefits for those societies that were good at it, although the cost in money, in lives, and in suffering was always significant. Only in the past century have large numbers of people begun to question the basic assumption of civilized societies that war is inevitable and often useful. GWYNNE DYER, War: The Lethal Custom
War-making is one of the few activities that people are not supposed to view “realistically”; that is, with an eye to expense and practical outcome. In all-out war, expenditure is all-out, unprudent—war being defined as an emergency in which no sacrifice is excessive. SUSAN SONTAG, AIDS and Its Metaphors
War was return of earth to ugly earth,
War was foundering of sublimities,
Extinction of each happy art and faith
By which the world had still kept head in air.
ROBERT GRAVES, Recalling War
War can only be abolished through war ... in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun. MAO ZEDONG, "Problems of War and Strategy" (Spoken by a mass murderer.)
People do not want war. War springs from causes wholly outside the lives, interests, and feelings of the people. FREDERIC CLEMSON HOWE, Why War
War is a contagion. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech, Oct. 5, 1937
We don't call war hell because it is fought without restraint. It is more nearly right to say that, when certain restraints are passed, the hellishness of war drives us to break with every remaining restraint in order to win. Here is the ultimate tyranny: those who resist aggression are forced to imitate, and perhaps even to exceed, the brutality of the aggressor. MICHAEL WALZER, Just and Unjust Wars
War demands sacrifice of the people. It gives only suffering in return. FREDERIC CLEMSON HOWE, Why War
Is war necessary? Can some conflicts only be solved by violence? Human history is indeed often presented as primarily a history of wars and battles, conquests and defeats. While that is only one perspective amongst many possible ones, violence of one sort or another has certainly been, if not centre-stage, at least lurking in the wings throughout the human story. Man (especially Man, but also Woman) clearly has the propensity not only to behave aggressively to other humans but also to do so in an organized way and not infrequently with calculated cruelty. ROBERT AUBREY HINDE, War: The Bases of Institutionalized Violence
In the days of peace every precaution should be taken to insure that there are no forces making for war. Just as we now forbid the trafficking in certain drugs, in the sale of poisons, just as we forbid the making of any imprint that suggests a coin or currency, just as experience has demonstrated that men may not make profit out of certain things because of the danger of abuse, so in the gravest of all dangers laws should be passed taking from those who might gain from war or preparations for war every hope that advantage could come to them by such a calamity. FREDERIC CLEMSON HOWE, Why War
This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games. WILLIAM BURROUGHS, "The War Universe"
For as long as men and women have talked about war, they have talked about it in terms of right and wrong. And for almost as long, some among them have derided such talk, called it a charade, insisted that war lies beyond (or beneath) moral judgment. War is a world apart, where life itself is at stake, where human nature is reduced to its elemental forms, where self-interest and necessity prevail. Here men and women do what they must to save themselves and their communities, and morality and law have no place. Inter arma silent leges: in time of war the law is silent. MICHAEL WALZER, Just and Unjust Wars
It is only through an abandonment of the idea that those intrusted with power have an exclusive right to decide upon war, and the substitution of a public opinion equipped with all the facts and taken into the confidence of the ruling classes, that peace can be assured to the world. FREDERIC CLEMSON HOWE, Why War
War is a most uneconomical, foolish, poor arrangement, a bloody enrichment of that soil which bears the sweet flower of peace. M. E. W. SHERWOOD, An Epistle to Posterity War is not a life: it is a situation, One which may neither be ignored nor accepted.
T.S. ELIOT, A Note on War Poetry
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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See also Power, Justice and Mercy Quotes