War Quotes (20)

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War had become nothing more than slaughtering soldiers from a safe distance. When this failed to produce victory, civilians too became targeted for annihilation. It took more than a century, two world wars and the invention of the ultimate weapon, the atomic bomb, before the impact of this change started to become fully realized: war had become 'total war'. Warfare in the twentieth century is now an industry. It is bureaucratized, to the extent that its main decisions are being taken anonymously and committed to paper by people far removed from the actual killing zones. HYLKE

TROMP, "On the Nature of War and the Nature of Militarism"

War never takes a wicked man by chance, the good man always. SOPHOCLES, Philoctetes

The line, broken into moving fragments by the ground, went calmly on through fields and woods. The youth looked at the men nearest him, and saw, for the most part, expressions of deep interest, as if they were investigating something that had fascinated them. One or two stepped with overvaliant airs as if they were already plunged into war. Others walked as upon thin ice. The greater part of the untested men appeared quiet and absorbed. They were going to look at war, the red animal--war, the blood-swollen god. And they were deeply engrossed in this march. STEPHEN CRANE, The Red Badge of Courage

War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means. CARL VON CLAUSEWITZ, On War

War is a fevered god
who takes alike
maiden and king and clod.
HILDA DOOLITTLE, "Telesila"

The moral reality of war is divided into two parts. War is always judged twice, first with reference to the reasons states have for fighting, secondly with reference to the means they adopt.... The two sorts of judgment are logically independent. It is perfectly possible for a just war to be fought unjustly and for an unjust war to be fought in strict accordance with the rules. But this independence, though our views of particular wars often conform to its terms, is nevertheless puzzling. It is a crime to commit aggression, but aggressive war is a rule-governed activity. It is right to resist aggression, but the resistance is subject to moral (and legal) restraint. [This] dualism ... is at the heart of all that is most problematic in the moral reality of war. MICHAEL WALZER, Just and Unjust Wars

As horrible as the death toll was in World War I, the millions who died were, by and large, killed on the battlefield--soldiers killed by soldiers, not civilians killed by lawless or random or planned savagery. The rough proportion of military to civilian casualties was ninety to ten. In World War II, the proportions were roughly even. Today, for every ten military casualties there are on the order of ninety civilian deaths. The reality of our era, as demonstrated in Angola, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Chechnya, is that torture is rampant, murdering civilians commonplace, and driving the survivors from their homes often the main goal of a particular military offensive. RON GUTMAN & DAVID RIEFF, preface, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know

What mother, with long-watching eyes
And white lips cold and dumb,
Waits with appalling patience for
Her darling boy to come?
Her boy! whose mountain grave swells up
But one of many a scar
Cut on the face of our fair land
By gory-handed war.
MARY ASHLEY TOWNSEND, A Georgia Volunteer

War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it. BENITO MUSSOLINI, "The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism" (Spoken by a psychopath.)

We are now in the midst of our first television war ... the television environment [is] total and therefore invisible. Along with the computer, it has altered every phase of the American vision and identity. The television war has meant the end of the dichotomy between civilian and military. The public is now a participant in every phase of the war, and the main actions of the war are now being fought in the American home itself. MARSHALL MCLUHAN, War and Peace in the Global Villagear being the greatest of evils, all its accessories necessarily partake of the same character. HERMAN MELVILLE, Omoo

It is idle to say that we are still able to carry on the war, if we cannot carry it on without renouncing, for the sake of revenue, the means of making war with effect. It is like a soldier selling his arms, to enable him to continue his march. JAMES STEPHEN, War in Disguise

Weary war with the bated breath,
Skeleton boy against skeleton Death.
FRANCIS O. TICKNOR, "Little Giffen of Tennessee"

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, Die Fackel, Oct. 19, 1917

A war undertaken without sufficient monies has but a wisp of force. Coins are the very sinews of battles. FRANÇOIS RABELAIS, Gargantua

A “just war” is hospitable to every self-deception on the part of those waging it, none more than the certainty of virtue, under whose shelter every abomination can be committed with a clear conscience. ALEXANDER COCKBURN, New Statesman, Feb. 8, 1991

There has been no war without atrocity. War is atrocity, pure and simple: only greed, nationalism and faith help us pretend otherwise. MICHAEL MARSHALL, Blood of Angels

The nation having the strongest war footing can easily find an excuse for going to war. LEWIS F. KORNS, Thoughts

Man kills without ceasing, to nourish himself; but since in addition he needs to kill for pleasure, he has invented the chase! The child kills the insects he finds, the little birds, all the little animals that come in his way. But this does not suffice for the irresistible need of massacre that is in us. It is not enough to kill beasts; we must kill man too. Long ago this need was satisfied by human sacrifice. Now, the necessity of living in society has made murder a crime. We condemn and punish the assassin! But as we cannot live without yielding to this natural and imperious instinct of death, we relieve ourselves from time to time, by wars. Then a whole nation slaughters another nation. It is a feast of blood, a feast that maddens armies and intoxicates the civilians, women and children, who read, by lamplight at night, the feverish story of massacre. GUY DE MAUPASSANT, "The Diary of a Madman

War is a mind-set, and all action that comes out of such a mind-set will either strengthen the enemy, the perceived evil, or, if the war is won, will create a new enemy, a new evil equal to and often worse than the one that was defeated. There is a deep interrelatedness between your state of consciousness and external reality. When you are in the grip of a mind-set such as "war," your perceptions become extremely selective as well as distorted. In other words, you will see only what you want to see and then misinterpret it. You can imagine what kind of action comes out of such a delusional system. Or instead of imagining it, watch the news on TV tonight. ECKHART TOLLE, A New Earth

More War Quotes:
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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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