quotations about war
War is a severe doctor; but it sometimes heals grievances.
EDWARD COUNSEL, Maxims
The act of war is the last option of a democracy.
JOSEPH C. WILSON, New York Times, July 6, 2003
After a long, hopeless war, people will settle for peace, at almost any price.
SALMAN RUSHDIE, preface, The Jaguar Smile
In order for us human beings to commit ourselves personally to the inhumanity of war, we find it necessary first to dehumanize our opponents, which is in itself a violation of the beliefs of all religions. Once we characterize our adversaries as beyond the scope of God's mercy and grace, their lives lose all value. We deny personal responsibility when we plant landmines and, days or years later, a stranger to us -- often a child -- is crippled or killed. From a great distance, we launch bombs or missiles with almost total impunity, and never want to know the number or identity of the victims.
JIMMY CARTER, Nobel Lecture, December 10, 2002
Truth, it has been said, is the first casualty of war.
PHILIP SNOWDEN, introduction, Truth and the War
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, February 27, 2009
Man has no right to kill his brother, it is no excuse that he does so in uniform. He only adds the infamy of servitude to the crime of murder.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, "Declaration of Rights"
War demands sacrifice of the people. It gives only suffering in return.
FREDERIC CLEMSON HOWE, Why War
Military glory -- that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in opposition to the Mexican-American War, January 12, 1848
Wars have no memory, and nobody has the courage to understand them until there are no voices left to tell what happened, until the moment comes when we no longer recognize them and they return, with another face and another name, to devour what they left behind.
CARLOS RUIZ ZAFON, The Shadow of the Wind
To get through a war, a man needs something bigger than himself to fight for.
RICK REMENDER, Black Science, No. 4, February 2014
Einstein was horrified by World War I. He devoted a lot of time to thinking and worrying about it. He went to this conference in Geneva. He thought they were discussing disarmament, to do away with the weapons of war and therefore to prevent war. Instead, he found these representatives of various countries discussing what kinds of weapons would be suitable and what kind of weapons needed to be prohibited. What were good weapons and bad weapons, just weapons and unjust weapons? Einstein did something which nobody ever expected. He was a very private man. He did something really uncharacteristic: he called a press conference. The whole international press came, because Einstein was, well, he was Einstein. They came, and he told this press conference how horrified he was by what he had heard at the international conference. He said, "One does not make wars less likely by formulating rules of warfare. War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished."
HOWARD ZINN, Failure to Quit: Reflections of an Optimistic Historian
All delays are dangerous in war.
JOHN DRYDEN, Tyrannic Love
You can't say civilization don't advance ... in every war they kill you in a new way.
WILL ROGERS, New York Times, December 23, 1929
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
WINSTON CHURCHILL, The Second World War
They sent forth men to battle,
But no such men return;
And home, to claim their welcome,
Come ashes in an urn.
With the indiscriminate nature of modern military technology (no such thing as a "smart bomb," it turns out) all wars are wars against civilians, and are therefore inherently immoral. This is true even when a war is considered "just," because it is fought against a tyrant, against an aggressor, to correct a stolen boundary.
HOWARD ZINN, Howard Zinn on War
Now, for the moment, we are safe. The only kind of international violence that worries most people in the developed countries is terrorism: from imminent heart attack to a bad case of hangnail in fifteen years flat. We are very lucky people--but we need to use the time we have been granted wisely, because total war is only sleeping. All the major states are still organized for war, and all that is needed for the world to slide back into a nuclear confrontation is a twist of the kaleidoscope that shifts international relations into a new pattern of rival alliances.
GWYNNE DYER, War: The Lethal Custom
The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.
ROBERT WILSON LYND, attributed, The Best Liberal Quotes Ever
Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.
THOMAS HOBBES, Leviathan