WAR QUOTES XVI

quotations about war

The decision to use military hard power is a serious one and never taken lightly. The military establishment does everything in its power to mitigate risk in a battlespace that can only be described as "murky" because, no matter the amount of intelligence or planning, the only certainty is uncertainty.

ROBERT MAKROS, "'Clean war' is the unicorn of armed conflict", The Hill, March 31, 2017

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War is not clean, but it is a lot cleaner than it used to be. Today's wars look drastically different than yesterday's. Gone are the days when uniformed armies opposed each other in the open, using armor and aircraft to expose weakness and overpower. Gone are the days when it was acceptable to launch thousands of bombers against cities in Europe and the Pacific, attacks that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Today, the battlefield has changed, and the United States finds itself immersed in a new type of war, one best described as dynamically confusing, where the enemy plays by a different set of rules -- rules that, among other things, include hiding among civilians, making differentiating between civilian versus combatant and friend versus foe extremely difficult.

ROBERT MAKROS, "'Clean war' is the unicorn of armed conflict", The Hill, March 31, 2017

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When war is perceived to be a win-win economic situation for all parties, the prospect of it occurring increases dramatically.

ROGER ARNOLD, "When War Is a Win-Win Scenario", The Street, April 12, 2017

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Such is the nature of war that, at the top, there is hardly any aspect of human behavior, individual and collective, which does not impinge on its conduct. And which, as a result, those in charge do not have to take into account and act upon.

MARTIN VAN CREVELD, "Why the best teacher of war is war", OUP blog, April 9, 2017

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Scarcely one stone remaineth upon another; but in the midst of sorrow we have abundant cause of thankfulness, that so few of our brethren are numbered with the slain, whilst our enemies were cut down like the grass before the scythe.

ABIGAIL ADAMS, letter to John Adams, June 22, 1775

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Since war has ceased to be the moving force in the world, men have become more tender one to another, and shrink from what they used to inflict without caring; and this is not so much because men are improved (which may or may not be in various cases), but because they have no longer the daily habit of war--have no longer formed their notions upon war, and therefore are guided by thoughts and feelings which soldiers as such--soldiers educated simply by their trade--are too hard to understand.

WALTER BAGEHOT, Physics and Politics

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No one should be surprised at the prominence given to war. We are dealing with early ages: nation-making is the occupation of man in these ages, and it is war that makes nations.

WALTER BAGEHOT, Physics and Politics

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No body can be healthful without exercise, neither natural body nor politic; and certainly to a kingdom or estate, a just and honorable war, is the true exercise. A civil war, indeed, is like the heat of a fever; but a foreign war is like the heat of exercise, and serveth to keep the body in health; for in a slothful peace, both courages will effeminate, and manners corrupt.

FRANCIS BACON, "Of the True Greatness Of Kingdoms And Estates", The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral

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The wars of latter ages seem to be made in the dark, in respect of the glory, and honor, which reflected upon men from the wars, in ancient time. There be now, for martial encouragement, some degrees and orders of chivalry; which nevertheless are conferred promiscuously, upon soldiers and no soldiers; and some remembrance perhaps, upon the scutcheon; and some hospitals for maimed soldiers; and such like things. But in ancient times, the trophies erected upon the place of the victory; the funeral laudatives and monuments for those that died in the wars; the crowns and garlands personal; the style of emperor, which the great kings of the world after borrowed; the triumphs of the generals, upon their return; the great donatives and largesses, upon the disbanding of the armies; were things able to inflame all men's courages. But above all, that of the triumph, amongst the Romans, was not pageants or gaudery, but one of the wisest and noblest institutions, that ever was. For it contained three things: honor to the general; riches to the treasury out of the spoils; and donatives to the army. But that honor, perhaps were not fit for monarchies; except it be in the person of the monarch himself, or his sons; as it came to pass in the times of the Roman emperors, who did impropriate the actual triumphs to themselves, and their sons, for such wars as they did achieve in person; and left only, for wars achieved by subjects, some triumphal garments and ensigns to the general.

FRANCIS BACON, "Of the True Greatness Of Kingdoms And Estates", The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral

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The changes and vicissitude in wars are many; but chiefly in three things; in the seats or stages of the war; in the weapons; and in the manner of the conduct. Wars, in ancient time, seemed more to move from east to west; for the Persians, Assyrians, Arabians, Tartars (which were the invaders) were all eastern people. It is true, the Gauls were western; but we read but of two incursions of theirs: the one to Gallo-Grecia, the other to Rome. But east and west have no certain points of heaven; and no more have the wars, either from the east or west, any certainty of observation. But north and south are fixed; and it hath seldom or never been seen that the far southern people have invaded the northern, but contrariwise. Whereby it is manifest that the northern tract of the world, is in nature the more martial region: be it in respect of the stars of that hemisphere; or of the great continents that are upon the north, whereas the south part, for aught that is known, is almost all sea; or (which is most apparent) of the cold of the northern parts, which is that which, without aid of discipline, doth make the bodies hardest, and the courages warmest.

FRANCIS BACON, "Of Vicissitude Of Things", The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral

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For the conduct of the war: at the first, men rested extremely upon number: they did put the wars likewise upon main force and valor; pointing days for pitched fields, and so trying it out upon an even match and they were more ignorant in ranging and arraying their battles. After, they grew to rest upon number rather competent, than vast; they grew to advantages of place, cunning diversions, and the like: and they grew more skilful in the ordering of their battles.

FRANCIS BACON, "Of Vicissitude Of Things", The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral

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The breed of ancient times was impaired for war by trade and luxury, but the modern breed is not so impaired.

WALTER BAGEHOT, Physics and Politics

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So long as war is the main business of nations, temporary despotism--despotism during the campaign--is indispensable.

WALTER BAGEHOT, Physics and Politics

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No one should be surprised at the prominence given to war. We are dealing with early ages; nation-MAKING is the occupation of man in these ages, and it is war that makes nations. Nation-CHANGING comes afterwards, and is mostly effected by peaceful revolution, though even then war, too, plays its part. The idea of an indestructible nation is a modern idea; in early ages all nations were destructible, and the further we go back, the more incessant was the work of destruction. The internal decoration of nations is a sort of secondary process, which succeeds when the main forces that create nations have principally done their work. We have here been concerned with the political scaffolding; it will be the task of other papers to trace the process of political finishing and building. The nicer play of finer forces may then require more pleasing thoughts than the fierce fights of early ages can ever suggest. It belongs to the idea of progress that beginnings can never seem attractive to those who live far on; the price of improvement is, that the unimproved will always look degraded.

WALTER BAGEHOT, Physics and Politics

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The English have discovered pacific war. We may not be able to kill people as well as the French, or fit out and feed distant armaments as neatly as they do; but we are unrivalled at a quiet armament here at home which never kills anybody, and never wants to be sent anywhere.

WALTER BAGEHOT, Literary Studies

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The modern State is by its very nature a military State; and every military State must of necessity become a conquering, invasive State; to survive it must conquer or be conquered, for the simple reason that accumulated military power will suffocate if it does not find an outlet.

MIKHAIL BAKUNIN, Statism and Anarchy

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I've fought for and against pretty much every cause there is. There will always be war of some kind. At first it was over fertile soil and good water, then precious metal and then the most popular version of human disagreement, "My God is better than your God." Whether you draw your faith from Jeremiah and Jesus, Allah and Muhammad or Brahma and Buddha, it doesn't matter. Someone will tell you you're wrong, and he'll fight you over it. Me, I believe in aliens, and to hell with all earthly gods. In the grand scheme of a trillion planets in the universe we're just not that damn important anyway. And humans are rotten to the core.

DAVID BALDACCI, The Camel Club

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