War Quotes (21)

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A true warrior does not fight because he wishes to but because he has to. A man who yearns for war, a man who enjoys his killing, he is a brute and a monster. No matter how much glory he wins on the battlefield, that cannot erase the fact that he is no better than a rabid wolf who will turn on his friends and family as soon as his foes. CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI, Brisingr

Let's face it--if mothers ruled the world, there wouldn't be any goddamn wars in the first place. SALLY FIELD, acceptance speech, 2007 Emmy Awards

The war does not end when you come home. It lives on in memories of your fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who gave their lives. It endures in the wound that is slow to heal, the disability that isn’t going away, the dream that wakes you at night, or the stiffening in your spine when a car backfires down the street. BARACK OBAMA, speech, Feb. 27, 2009

I cannot now, as I once did, talk lightly, thoughtlessly, of fighting with this or that nation. That nation is no longer an abstraction to me. It is no longer a vague mass. It spreads out before me into individuals, in a thousand interesting forms and relations. It consists of husbands and wives, parents and children, who love one another as I love my own home. It consists of affectionate women and sweet children. It consists of Christians united with me to the common Savior, and in whose spirit I recognize the likeness of his divine virtue. It consists of a vast multitude of laborers at the plough and in the workshop, whose toils I sympathize with, whose burden I should rejoice to lighten, and for whose elevation I have pleaded. It consists of men of science, taste, genius, whose writings have beguiled my solitary hours, and given life to my intellect and best affections. Here is the nation which I am called to fight with, into whose families I must send mourning, whose fall or humiliation I must seek through blood. I cannot do it without a clear commission from God. WILLIAM E. CHANNING, Thoughts

War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease -- the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences. And over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers and clerics and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a "just war" emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when certain conditions were met: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence. Of course, we know that for most of history, this concept of "just war" was rarely observed. The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God. BARACK OBAMA, Nobel Lecture, Dec. 10, 2009

There comes a terrible moment to many souls when the great movements of the world, the larger destinies of mankind, which have lain aloof in newspapers and other neglected reading, enter like an earthquake into their own lives--when the slow urgency of growing generations turns into the tread of an invading army or the dire clash of civil war, and grey fathers know nothing to seek for but the corpses of their blooming sons, and girls forget all vanity to make lint and bandages which may serve for the shattered limbs of their betrothed husbands. GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

What small account
The All-living seems to take of this thin flame
Which we call life. He sends a moment's blast
Out of war's nostrils, and a myriad
Of these our puny tapers are blown out
Forever.
DINAH CRAIK, "Looking Death in the Face"

All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys,
The champions and enthusiasts of the state:
Turbid ardors and vain joys
Not barrenly abate--
Stimulants to the power mature,
Preparatives of fate.
HERMAN MELVILLE, "The March Into Virginia"

War is the sure result of the existence of armed men. That country which maintains a large standing army will sooner or later have a war. The man who prides himself on fisticuffs is going, some day, to meet a man who considers himself the better man, and they will test the issue. ELBERT HUBBARD, The American Bible

The abolition of war is no longer to be set down as a creation of fancy, a dream of enthusiastic philanthropy. War rests on opinion; and opinion is more and more withdrawing its support. War rests on contempt of human nature; on the long mournful habit of regarding the mass of human beings as machines, or as animals; having no higher use than to be shot at and murdered for the glory of a chief, for the seating of this or that family on a throne, for the petty interests and selfish rivalries which have inflamed states to conflict. Let the worth of a human being be felt, and a main pillar of war will fall. WILLIAM E. CHANNING, Thoughts

In every trade save war men of talent and vigor prosper. In war they die. CORMAC MCCARTHY, The Crossing

A preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility today. How could you have one if one of its features would be several cities lying in ruins, several cities where many, many thousands of people would be dead and injured and mangled, the transportation systems destroyed, sanitation implements and systems all gone? That isn't preventive war; that is war. DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, news conference, Aug. 11, 1954

War is a game, in which princes seldom win, the people never. To be defended, is almost as great an evil as to be attacked; and the peasant has often found the shield of a protector, no less oppressive than the sword of an invader. Wars of opinion, as they have been the most destructive, are also the most disgraceful of conflicts; being appeals from right to might, and from argument to artillery; the fomenters of them have considered the raw materials, man, to have been formed for no worthier purposes than to fill up gazettes at home with their names, and ditches abroad with their bodies. Let us hope that true philosophy, the joint offspring of a religion that is pure, and of a reason that is enlightened, will gradually prepare a better order of things, when mankind will no longer be insulted, by seeing bad pens mended by good swords, and weak heads exalted by strong hands. CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon

War may be the game of kings, but, like the games at ancient Rome, it is generally exhibited to please and pacify the people. ARTHUR HELPS, Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd

Want is both parent and child of war. EDWARD COUNSEL, Maxims

Armies are not bad things in themselves; it's war that's evil. JUAN GOMEZ-JURADO, God's Spy

Short of changing human nature ... the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war. RICHARD NIXON, Real Peace

In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate.

Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people. JAMES MADISON, speech at Constitutional Convention, Jun. 29, 1787

All wars of interference, arising from an officious intrusion into the concerns of other states; all wars of ambition, carried on for the purposes of aggrandizement; and all wars of aggression, undertaken for the purpose of forcing an assent to this or that set of religious opinions; all such wars are criminal in their very outset, and have hypocrisy for their common base. CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon

We could make no more tragic mistake than merely to concentrate on military strength. For if we did only this, the future would hold nothing for the world but an Age of Terror. DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, State of the Union Address, Jan. 9, 1958

NIXON: The only place where you and I disagree ... is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about civilians and I don't give a damn. I don't care.

KISSINGER: I'm concerned about the civilians because I don't want the world to be mobilized against you as a butcher. RICHARD NIXON and HENRY KISSINGER, as quoted in Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (Dialogue between two butchers.)

Even a successful war is a loss to most families. EDWARD COUNSEL, Maxims

There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous. NEIL GAIMAN, American Gods

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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