quotations about war
War is what happens when language fails.
MARGARET ATWOOD, The Robber Bride
As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
OSCAR WILDE, The Critic as Artist
War's one of those things, don't you think, where everyone always thinks they're in the right have you noticed that? Nobody ever says we're the bad guys, we're going to beat shit out of the good guys.
CARYL CHURCHILL, A Number
Duelling was abolished because man's conscience told him that to be opposed to a man with less knowledge of how to use his weapon, was so certain of killing him, the odds being so unequal, that in reality it was "murder." What difference is there when a strong nation goes to war with a weak one? And is not this generally the case with wars? The chances are not even; it is only a matter of time; if so, is not war generally wholesale murder? We must in time consider wars as acts of barbarism, the acts of savages. Men will see that war for honour is as foolish between nations as if done between individuals.
JAMES PLATT, Platt's Essays
The tragedy of modern war is not so much that the young men die but that they die fighting each other--instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness
All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.
JOHN STEINBECK, introduction, Once There Was a War
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 realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. Antiquated War Offices, weak, incompetent, or arrogant Commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant Fortune, ugly surprises, awful miscalculations — all take their seats at the Council Board on the morrow of a declaration of war.
WINSTON CHURCHILL, My Early Life: A Roving Commission
Preventing war is much better than protesting against the war. Protesting the war is too late.
THICH NHAT HANH, Being Peace
All the entertainment and talk of history is nothing almost but fighting and killing: and the honour and renown that is bestowed on conquerors (who for the most part are but the great butchers of mankind) farther mislead growing youth, who by this means come to think slaughter the laudable business of mankind, and the most heroic of virtues.
JOHN LOCKE, Some Thoughts Concerning Education
War is an admission of failure.
K. J. PARKER, The Folding Knife
My opposition to war is not based upon pacifist or non-resistant principles. It may be that the present state of civilization is such that certain international questions cannot be discussed; it may be that they have to be fought out. But the fighting never settles the question. It only gets the participants around to a frame of mind where they will agree to discuss what they were fighting about.
HENRY FORD, My Life and Work
Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time be utterly lost,
That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly wash again, and ever again, this soil'd world;
For my enemy is dead, a man as divine as myself is dead,
I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin -- I draw near,
Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in the coffin.
WALT WHITMAN, Reconciliation
Weakness and ambivalence lead to war.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, RNC acceptance speech, August 18, 1988
Those who ignore history's lessons in the ultimate folly of war are forced to do more than relive them ... they may be forced to die by them.
DAN SIMMONS, The Fall of Hyperion
War seldom enters but where wealth allures.
JOHN DRYDEN, The Hind and the Panther
War is behavior with roots in the single cell of the primeval seas. Eat whatever you touch or it will eat you.
FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune
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
War being the greatest of evils, all its accessories necessarily partake of the same character.
HERMAN MELVILLE, Omoo
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 only religion which seems to have a function in time of war is the tribal religion which invokes a God as the exclusive protector of the nation which calls upon him.
JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Nation and the Ethics of War and Preparedness: An Address