see "WAR & PEACE" for related links

We make war that we may live in peace.
--Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
Greek philosopher.
_Nicomachean Ethics_

A just fear of an imminent danger, though there
be no blow given, is a lawful cause of war.
--Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
English philosopher and essayist.
_Essays_ [1625], "Of Empire"

Youth is the first victim of war; the first fruit of
peace. It takes 20 years or more of peace to make a
man; it takes only 20 seconds of war to destroy him.
--King Baudouin I (1930-1993)
King of the Belgians [1951-1993].
Address to U.S. Congress [11 May 1959]

The weak are strong because they are
reckless. The strong are weak because
they have scruples.
--Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Prussia 1862-1890.
He unified Germany with a series of successful wars and
became the first Chancellor 1871-1890 of the German Empire.
Quoted by Henry Kissinger to James Callaghan in
1975. In James Callaghan _Time and Chance_ [1987]

No more wars for me at any price! Except against
the French. If there's ever a war with them, I'll go
like a shot.
--Edmund Blunden (1896-1974)
English poet, critic, and scholar.
In Robert Graves _Goodbye to All That_ [1929] p.240.

Courage enlarges, cowardice diminishes resources.
In desperate straits the fears of the timid aggravate
the dangers that imperil the brave. For cowards the
road of desertion should be left open. They will carry
over to the enemy nothing but their fears. The poltroon,
like the scabbard, is an encumbrance when once the
sword is drawn.
--Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904)
American writer.

Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?
Why, then the war would come to you.
He who stays home when the fight begins
And lets others fight for his cause
should take care:
He who does not take part
in the battle will share in the defeat
Even avoiding battle does not avoid
Battle, since not to fight for your own cause
really means
Fighting on behalf of your enemy's cause.
--Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)
German dramatist.


I didn't raise my son to be a soldier
I raised him up to be my pride and joy
Why should he put a musket to his shoulder
To kill another mother's darling boy
Why should he fight in someone else's quarrels
It's time to throw the sword and gun away
There would be no war today
If the nations all would say
No I didn't raise my son to be a soldier

I didn't raise my son to be a soldier
To go fighting in some far-off foreign land
He may get killed before he's any older
For a cause that he will never understand
Why should he fight another rich man's battle
While they stay at home and while their time away
Let those with most to lose
Fight each other if they choose
For I didn't raise my son to be a soldier

I didn't raise my son to be a soldier
To go fighting heathens round the Horn
If God required to prove that boys are bolder
They'd have uniforms and guns when they were born
Why should we have wars about religion
When Jesus came to teach us not to kill
Do Zulus and Hindoos
Not have the right to choose
For I didn't raise my son to be a soldier

I didn't raise my son to be a soldier
I raised him up to be a gentleman
To find a sweet young girl and love and hold her
Bring me some grandchildren when they can
Why can't we decide that the Empire
Is just as large as it requires to be
And I'd rather lose it all
Than to see my laddie fall
For I didn't raise my son to be a soldier

--Alfred Bryan, 'I Didn’t Raise My Son to Be a Soldier’
Sung by Cecilia John (1877-1955) in Australian Women’s Peace Army
anti-war demos until banned by the Australian Government under the
Australian War Precautions Act of 1915


I venture to say no war can be long carried on
against the will of the people.
--Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
Irish-born Whig politician and man of letters.

Then as to the reactionary effect of warfare on the
participants, -- in the first place we cannot accept
General Sherman's synonym as a complete connotation
or definition of war. Fighting and destruction are
terrible; but are sometimes agencies of heavenly
rather than hellish powers. In the privations and
sufferings endured as well as in the strenuous action
of battle, some of the highest qualities of manhood
are called forth,-- courage, self-command, sacrifice
of self for the sake of something held higher,--wherein
we take it chivalry finds its value; and on another
side, fortitude, patience, warmth of comradeship, and
in the darkest hours tenderness of caring for the
wounded and stricken -- exhaustless and unceasing as
that of gentlest womanhood which allies us to the
highest personality. Such things belong to something
far different from the place or sphere assigned in
the remark of the eminent exemplar of the aphorism.
He was doubtless speaking of war in its immediate and
proximate effects as destruction. He did not mean to
imply that its participants are demons. As to that,
we may say that war is for the participants a test of
character; it makes bad men worse and good men better.
--Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914),
Major General, Union Army, then four-term
governor of Maine and twelve years as President
of Bowdoin College, _The Passing of the Armies_ [1915]

In war, whichever side may call itself the victor,
there are no victors, but all are losers.
--Neville Chamberlain, (1869-1940)
British Conservative politician, Prime Minister [1937-1940];
speech at Kettering [3 July 1938]


Silent till you see the whites of their eyes.
--Prince Charles of Prussia
at Jagerndorf [23 May 1745]

& note:

By push of bayonets, no firing till you see
the whites of their eyes.
--Frederick the Great (1712-1786)
at Prague [6 May 1757] {in Bartlett's}

see also: General Prescott in "AMERICAN REVOLUTION"


The true soldier fights not because he hates what
is in front of him, but because he loves what is
behind him.
--G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton (1874-1936)
English essayist, novelist, and poet.
Illustrated London News [14 January 1911]

War is not the best way of settling differences; it
is the only way of preventing their being settled
for you.
--G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton (1874-1936)
English essayist, novelist, and poet.
Illustrated London News [24 July 1915]


A war with Japan! But why should there be a war
with Japan? I do not think there is the slightest
chance of it in our lifetime.
--Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
British Conservative statesman and
Prime Minister [1940-1945, 1951-1955],
[letter of 15 December 1924] in
K. Middlemass and J. Barnes _Baldwin: A Biography_ [1969] p.327.

Nothing is more dangerous in wartime than to live in the
temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup Poll, always feeling
one's pulse and taking one's temperature.
--Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
British Conservative statesman and
Prime Minister [1940-1945, 1951-1955].
(Report on the war, House of Commons
[30 September 1941])

In wartime. . . truth is so precious that she should
always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
--Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
British Conservative statesman,
Prime Minister [1940-1945, 1951-1955],
_The Second World War_ vol. 5 [1951]

In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In
victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.
--Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
British Conservative statesman,
Prime Minister [1940-1945, 1951-1955],
_The Second World War_ vol. 1 [1948]

The difficulty is not winning the war; it is in
persuading people to let you win it -
persuading fools.
--Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
British Conservative statesman and
Prime Minister [1940-1945, 1951-1955],
to Marian Holmes, [7 October 1943]

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and
easy, or that anyone who embarks on that 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 seat at the Council Board on the morrow
of a declaration of war.
--Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
British Conservative statesman and
Prime Minister [1940-1945, 1951-1955],
_My Early Life_ [1930]


Laws are silent in times of war.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)
Roman orator and statesman,
_Pro Milone_

Now, philanthropists may easily imagine there is a skillful method of disarming
and overcoming an enemy without great bloodshed, and that this is the proper
tendency of the Art of War. However plausible this may appear, still it is an
error which must be extirpated; for in such dangerous things as War, the errors
which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.
--Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831)
Prussian soldier and military theorist,
_On War_ [1832]


Your Majesty knows that his finances were
reduced to 23 million livres in 1661 ... [but] within
two years increased to 58 and then 70 million livres.
During those nine years of abundance, administration
and expenditure were based on this ... This year I
find that abundance has disappeared because of
the increased expenditure and problems in getting
money out of the provinces ...

Your Majesty thinks of war ten times more than he
thinks of his finances ... [but if war occurs] it will
oblige us to begin using the revenues of coming

--Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683)
Controller general of finance and secretary of state
for the navy under Louis XIV of France,
(Memorandum to the King) [1670]


No nation ever had an army large enough
to guarantee it against attack in time of
peace or insure a victory in time of war.
--Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)
American Republican statesman and President [1923-1929],
in a speech [6 October 1925]

In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war
the fathers bury their sons.
--Croesus (? - c. 560 BC) Lydian king

There are no atheists in the foxholes.
--William Thomas Cummings (1903-1945)
American priest,
field sermon, Bataan [1942]

Britain will not be involved in a European war
this year, or next year either.
--Front page headline _Daily Express_
(London newspaper) [30 September 1938]

It is better to have a lion at the head of an army of
sheep, than a sheep at the head of an army of lions.
--Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)
English novelist and journalist.

"To me, the spectacle of demagogues sending millions
of people to their deaths, wrecking the world with
holy wars and bloodshed, tearing down nations to
put over some religious or political 'truth' is -" He
shrugged. "Obscene. Filthy - they're the opinions
of absolutist individuals forced on whole continents.
And it has nothing to do with the sincerity of the
leader. Or the followers. The fact that they believe
it makes it even more obscene. The fact that they
could kill each other and die voluntarily over
meaningless verbalisms..."
--Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)
American science fiction writer,
_The World Jones Made_ [1956]

Ol' Hick'ry said we could take 'em by surprise
If we didn't fire a musket 'til we looked 'em in the eyes.
We held our fire till we seed their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave 'em
Well....we fired our guns and the British kept a' comin'.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
--"The Battle of New Orleans" by Jimmy Driftwood
as sung by Johnny Horton


Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre, et nous y
serons emmerdes.
(We are in a chamber-pot, and we are going to be
shat on.)
--Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot (1817-1882)
French general. [31 August 1870], on the eve of
the French defeat at Sedan.

Franco-Prussian War


I do not know with what weapons World War III will
be fought, but World War IV will be fought with
sticks and stones.
--Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
German-American physicist who developed the
special and general theories of relativity


I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has
seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
American Army General, supreme Allied commander WWII,
NATO commander, US President [1953-1961],
speech in Ottawa, Canada [10 January 1946]

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century
that has witnessed four major wars among great nations.
Three of these involved our own country. Despite these
holocausts America is today the strongest, the most
influential and most productive nation in the world.
Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet
realize that America's leadership and prestige depend,
not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches
and military strength, but on how we use our power in
the interests of world peace and human betterment.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969),
American Army General, supreme Allied commander WWII,
NATO commander, US President [1953-1961].
Farewell address [17 January 1961]

In the councils of government, we must guard against
the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether
sought or unsought, by the military-industrial
complex. The potential for a disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist. We must
never let the weight of this combination endanger
our liberties and democratic process.
--President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
American Army General, supreme Allied commander WWII,
NATO commander, US President [1953-1961].
Farewell address [17 January 1961]

When people speak to you about a preventive war, you
tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I
have come to hate war. War settles nothing.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969),
American Army General, supreme Allied commander WWII,
NATO commander, US President [1953-1961]

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket
fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger
and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This
world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the
sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of
its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense.
Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross
of iron.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969),
American Army General, supreme Allied commander WWII,
NATO commander, US President [1953-1961],
speech in Washington DC [16 April 1953]


Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
American philosopher and poet

War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.
--Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536)
Dutch humanist and theologian

The essence of war is violence. Moderation in war is
imbecility. Hit first, hit hard, and hit everywhere.
--Sir John Fisher (1841-1920)
British Admiral who introduced oil fuel and
submarines into the British navy,
letter to Lord Esher, quoted in "Fisher of Kilverstone" [1973]

There will, in the near future, be a revolt, both of the reason and
the conscience of the civilized world, from the state of armed
peace which at present prevails, with its ever-multiplying fleets of
Dreadnoughts and its universal training for war. The appliances
for war have grown to such a scale that war itself will be
recognized as impossible.
--William Henry Fitchett,
English clergyman [1911]


There never was a good war, or a bad peace.
--Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
American politician, inventor, and scientist,
letter to Josiah Quincy [11 September 1783]

Five thousand balloons, capable of raising two
men each, could not cost more than five ships
of the line; and where is the prince who can
afford so to cover his country with troops for
its defense as that 10,000 men descending
from the clouds might not in many places do
an infinite deal of mischief before a force
could be brought together to repel them?
--Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
American politician, inventor, and scientist,
in a letter to Jan Ingenhousz [16 January 1784]


Frederick II [Frederick the Great]
(1712-1786), king of Prussia [1740-1786].

After the disastrous defeat suffered by
Frederick's forces at Kunersdorf, many men
deserted from the Prussian army. One was
caught and taken before the king, who
asked him why he had deserted. "Because
things were going badly for your Majesty."
Frederick reflected for a moment, then said
mildly, "I suggest that you wait a week.
Then, if things are still going badly, we'll
desert together."

--_Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes_
edited by Clifton Fadiman and André Bernard [2000 ed.]

There are no laurels for the lazy ... If by bad luck I
am ever captured I command you - and you will
answer for it with your head - that in my absence
you will disregard my orders, that you will advise my
brother, and that the state will stoop to no unworthy
act to achieve my liberation. On the contrary, in
such an event I order that even greater energy shall
be displayed.
--Frederick II [Frederick the Great] (1712-1786)
King of Prussia [1740-1786],
(to Podewils [7 March 1741])

Rascals, do you want to live forever?
--attributed to Frederick II [Frederick the Great] (1712-1786)
King of Prussia [1740-1786],
(to the hesitant guards at the Battle of Kolin [18 June 1757])

War is like the other arts: helpful when used well and pernicious
when abused; the prince who goes to war because he is
worried, frivolous, disorganized, or ambitious is as damnable
as a judge who uses the sword of justice to stab an innocent.
--Frederick II [Frederick the Great] (1712-1786)
King of Prussia [1740-1786],
in M.J. Cohan and John Major {eds.}
_History in Quotations_ [2004] p. 473


What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and
the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under
the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or
--Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)
Indian statesman and leader of the nationalistic
movement against British rule,
_Non-Violence in Peace and War_ [1942]


Gilbert: We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to
his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders
who bring them war and destruction.

Goering: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor
slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out
of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people
don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that
matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the
country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the
people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a
Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say
in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States
only Congress can declare wars.

Goering: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can
always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to
do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any

--Hermann Goering (1893-1946)
German Nazi leader interviewed [18 April 1946] by Gustave
M. Gilbert (1911-1977) during the Nuremberg trials. Quoted
in Gilbert's book _Nuremberg Diary_ [1947]


I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the
United States on Mexico. I thought so at the time, when I was a youngster,
only I had not moral courage enough to resign.
--Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)
American Unionist general and 18th President
of the United States [1869-1877],
{Grant participated in the Mexican War as an army supply officer several years
after graduating from the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. - Q}

The lamps are going out all over Europe;
we shall not see them lit again in our
--Sir Edward Grey (1862-1933)
British Liberal politician

If any man says he hates war more than I do, he
better have a knife, that's all I have to say.
--Jack Handey (1949- )
American comedian and comedy writer

The three greatest scourges of the 20th century - Nazism, Japanese
militarism, and Soviet Communism - were defeated through war or
continued military resistance. More were killed by Hitler, Stalin,
and Mao outside of combat than died in World Wars I and II. War,
as Sherman said, is all hell, but as Heraclitus admitted it is
also "the father of us all." Wickedness - whether chattel slavery,
the gas chambers, or concentration camps - has rarely passed quietly
into the night on its own. The present evil isn't going to, either.
--Victor Davis Hanson (1953- )
American military historian and senior
fellow at the Hoover Institution

You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish
the war.
--William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951)
American newspaper publisher,
in a cable to Frederic Remington, "New York
Journal" artist in Havana, Cuba, [March 1898]


War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I began covering
insurgencies in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then went on to
Guatemala and Nicaragua and Columbia, through the first _intifada_ in
the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the
uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator
Nicolae Ceausecu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast
Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally to Kosovo.
I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of Central American
roads, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the
Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and
Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi Republican Guard during
the Shiite rebellion following the Gulf War, strafed by Russian Mig-21s
in Bosnia, fired upon by Bosnian snipers, and shelled for days in
Sarajevo with deafening rounds of heavy artillery that threw out
thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments.

I have seen too much of violent death. I have tasted too much of
my own fear. I have painful memories that lie buried and untouched
most of the time. It is never easy when they surface. I learned early
on that war forms its own culture. The rush of battle is a potent and
often lethal addiction, for war is a drug, one I ingested for many years.
It is peddled by mythmakers -- historians, war correspondents, film
makers, novelists, and the state -- all of whom endow it with qualities
it often does possess: excitement, exoticism, power, chances to rise
above our small stations in life, and a bizarre and fantastic universe
that has a grotesque and dark beauty. It dominates culture, distorts
memory, corrupts language, and infects everything around it, even
humor, which becomes preoccupied with the grim perversities of smut
and death. Fundamental questions about the meaning, or meaninglessness,
of our place on the planet are laid bare when we watch those around us
sink to the lowest depths. War exposes the capacity for evil that lurks
not far below the surface within all of us. And this is why for many war
is so hard to discuss once it is over.

The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction
and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us
purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst
of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of our lives become
apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our
airwaves. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a

[ . . . ]

And yet, despite all this, I am not a pacifist. I respect and
admire the qualities of professional soldiers. [. . . ] Even as I
detest the pestilence that is war and fear its deadly addiction,
even as I see it lead states and groups toward self-immolation,
even as I concede that it is war that has left millions of dead
and maimed across the planet, I, like most reporters in Sarajevo
and Kosovo, desperately hoped for intervention. The poison that
is war does not free us from the ethics of responsibility.

There are times when we must take this poison -- just as a person
with cancer accepts chemotherapy to live. We cannot succumb to
despair. Force is and I suspect always will be part of the human
condition. There are times when the force wielded by one immoral
faction must be countered by a faction that, while never moral,
is perhaps less immoral.

--Chris Hedges, Introduction,
_War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning_ [2002]


Neither a man nor his country can always pick the ideal
quarrel, and not every war can be fought with moral
surety or immediacy of effect. It would be nice if that
were so, but it isn't. Any great struggle, while it
remains undecided and sometimes even afterward, unfolds
not in certainties but in doubts. It cannot be any other
way. It never has been.
--Mark Helprin (1947- )
American novelist and journalist,
"I Dodged the Draft, and I Was Wrong"

Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight
and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation,
the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.
--Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)
American Republican statesman, President 1929-1933;
speeech at the Republican National Convention,
Chicago [27 June 1944]

In peace, as a wise man, he should
make suitable preparation for war.
--Horace [Quintus Horatius Flaccus] (65-8 BC)
Roman poet

A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern,
scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country
can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by
a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient
--Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
English novelist {grandson of T.H. Huxley},
_Ends and Means_ [1937], ch. 7


Mr. Chairman, I think it is a fact of modern history
that declarations of war are gone. I think they are
anachronistic. I do not think they will happen.
Clearly the Constitution assigns the declarations of
war function to Congress and only to Congress. But
declaring war has consequences in a technologically
advanced world that nobody wants to face.... We
have the untrammeled authority to unappropriate,
disappropriate funds. That is the key; and that
makes us the king of the hill.
--Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL)
Congressional Record [7 June 1995]

& see:

The Constitution is explicit. The founders took great
pains to debate one issue: No one person could ever
place America and our troops at war.... I am going to
support the Dornan amendment [to defund the Bosnian
occupation] … and I will probably vote for every one
of these nonbinding, after-the-fact, feel-good, kiss-
your-sister types of votes here tonight. But it is not
good policy, and the Congress of the United States
should govern and the American people should govern,
and right now, ladies and gentlemen, the American
people do not govern anymore; governance comes
from the White House.
--Representative James Traficant (D-OH)
Congressional Record [13 December 1995]


I love peace, and I am anxious that we should
give the world another useful lesson, by showing
to them other modes of punishing injuries than
by war, which is as much a punishment to the
punisher as to the sufferer.
--Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
American statesman and president [1801-1809],
in a letter to Tench Coxe [1 May 1794]

War is evil. It should be avoided even as a last resort to
restore justice between countries, because it may result in
even greater evil and injustice than it combats.
--Pope John Paul II [Karol Wojtyla] (1920-2005)
The first non-Italian Pope since the 16th century.
In Jonathan Kwitny's _Man of the Century:
The Life and Times of Pope John Paul II_ [1997]

Since the first century, 149 million people have died in major
wars; 111 million of those deaths occured in the twentieth
century. War deaths per population soared from 3.2 deaths
per 1,000 in the sixteenth century to 44.4 per thousand in
the twentieth.
--Haynes Johnson (1931- )
American journalist; winner of the 1966 Pulitzer Prize
for National Reporting.
_The Best of Times: America in the Clinton Years_ [2001]

The first casualty when war comes is truth.
--Hiram W. Johnson (1866-1945)
American politician - governor of California [1911-1917]
and U.S. senator [1917-1945],
speech in [1917]

Our chiefs are killed. . . The old men are all dead. . .
The little children are freezing to death. My people,
some of them have run away to the hills and have
no blankets, no food. No one knows where they
are, perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time
to look for my children and see how many of them
I can find. Hear me, my chiefs. My heart is sick and
sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight
no more forever.
--Chief Joseph (c. 1840-1904)
Nez Percé leader, to the Nez Percé tribe after
surrendering to U.S. forces [October 1877]


I miss you so much, I've said it probably a thousand
times, but I want things to be different, and I know
they will be. I love you so much! I can't say it
stronger. I want you to love me with all your heart.
I think you already do, but just in case I want to
prove it to you that I am worth it...I'm going to
make you the most important person in my life. I'm
not going to lose sight of this ever again. I want
you to know that I want to grow old with you. I want
you to realize this because I can't do it all by
myself...Anyways, I can't say it enough...I can't do
anything until I get home.... By the time you get
this letter I might be on my way home, or real
close to it.

--A letter from Sergeant Casey Joyce to his wife DeAnna
Joyce. His body was returned to the States after the
events of Sunday [3 October 1993] - when a US Army
Blackhawk helicopter was shot down in Somalia.


Even our schools teach the globalist message that there is
"nothing more horrible than war." This is a lie, as people who
live under dictators well know. Consider the killing fields of
Cambodia, or Mao's murderous reign. Consider the Soviet
starvation of Ukraine. Consider the death camps of the
Nazis, or China's destruction of Tibet, or just read the
newspapers about Saddam's Iraq where parents were
controlled through the torture of their children. Do this,
and you will know we are teaching a deadly lie. For if
we teach only the horrors of war, and not also the
horrors of tyranny, we teach cowardice. And cowards
can never stay free.
--Bob Just, "Why the U.N. can never bring peace"


The United States continues to elude me. If I understand
it at all, it is through the strange profession that has
shaped my life, the study of war. War is repugnant to the
people of United States; yet it is war that has made their
nation, and it is through their power to wage war that they
dominate the world. Americans are proficient at war in the
same way that they are proficient at work. It is a task,
sometimes a duty.

Americans have worked at war since the seventeenth
century, to protect themselves from the Indians, to win
their independence from George III, to make themselves
one country, to win the whole of their continent, to
extinguish autocracy and dictatorship in the world outside.
It is not their favoured form of work. Left to themselves,
Americans build, cultivate, bridge, dam, canalise, invent,
teach, manufacture, think, write, lock themselves in struggle
with the eternal challenges that man has chosen to confront,
and with an intensity not known elsewhere on the globe.
Bidden to make war their work, Americans shoulder the
burden with intimidating purpose. There is, I have said,
an American mystery, the nature of which I only begin to
perceive. If I were obliged to define it, I would say it
is the ethos of work as an end in itself. War is a form
of work, and America makes war, however reluctantly,
however unwillingly, in a particularly workmanlike way.

I do not love war; but I love America.

--John Keegan (1934- )
English military historian


Today every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the
day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man,
woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles,
hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut
at any moment by accident or miscalculation or madness. . .
Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
American Democratic statesman, President of the U.S. [1961-1963]
_United Nations Address_ [25 September 1961]

It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace
only by preparing for war.
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
American Democratic statesman, President of the U.S. [1961-1963]
Campaign address at Seattle, Washington [6 September 1960]

There is always inequity in life. Some men are
killed in a war and some are wounded, and
some men never leave the country. . . . Life
is unfair.
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
American Democratic statesman, President of the U.S. [1961-1963],
press conference [21 March 1962]

There is another type of warfare - new in its
intensity, ancient in its origin - war by guerrillas,
subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush
instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of by
aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting
the enemy instead of engaging him. It is a form of
warfare uniquely adapted to what have been strangely
called 'wars of liberation', to undermine the efforts
of new and poor countries to maintain the freedom
they have finally achieved.
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
American Democratic statesman, President of the U.S. [1961-1963]
[6 June 1962];
in M.J. Cohan and John Major {eds.}
_History in Quotations_ [2004] p. 886
Cohan & Major note:
Kennedy was seeking to move U.S. strategy away from
absolute reliance on the nuclear deterrent and to
strengthen America's capacity to make a conventional
response to a conventional threat. The classic instance
of such a threat appeared to be the continuing bid by
communist North Vietnam to incorporate South Vietnam.
Thus began the counter-insurgency program in Vietnam,
first with a limited number of U.S. military advisers and
ultimately with a full-scale commitment to war after
Kennedy's death in Nov. 1963.


Everything, everything in war is barbaric..but the worse
barbarity of war is that it forces men collectively to
commit acts against which individually they would revolt
with their whole being.
--Ellen Key (1849-1926)
Swedish writer and feminist,
"War, Peace and the Future" [1916]


To-day, across our fathers' graves,
The astonished years reveal
The remnant of that desperate host
Which cleansed our East with steel.

Hail and farewell! We greet you here,
With tears that none will scorn--
O Keepers of the House of old,
Or ever we were born!

One service more we dare to ask--
Pray for us, heroes, pray,
That when Fate lays on us our task
We do not shame the Day!

--Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
English writer and poet,
"The Veterans" Written for the Gathering of
Survivors of the Indian Mutiny, Albert Hall [1907]


The conventional army loses if it does not
win. The guerilla wins if he does not lose.
--Henry Alfred Kissinger (1923- )
German born American diplomat,
"Foreign Affairs" [January 1969]


Tell the men to fire faster and not to give
up the ship; fight her till she sinks.
--Captain James Lawrence USN (1781-1813)
American naval hero.
[1 June 1813]

The War of 1812


It is well that war is so terrible.
We should grow too fond of it.
--Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)
American Confederate general,
after the battle of Fredricksburg [13 December 1962]
in John Esten Cook _A Life of Gen. Robert E. Lee_ [1871]

Thus do we poor humans attain our ends, striving
through carnage and destruction to bring lasting
peace and happiness upon the earth.
--Jack London [John Griffith Chaney] (1876-1916)
American novelist and short-story writer,
_The Iron Heel_

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
American poet

I have never met anyone who wasn't against war.
Even Hitler and Mussolini were, according to
--Sir David Low (1891-1963)
British political cartoonist,
in "New York Time Magazine" [10 February 1946]

I know war as few other men now living know it,
and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long
advocated its complete abolition, as its very
destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered
it useless as a method of settling international
--Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)
American general
[Congressional address, 19 April 1951]


He knew that the essence of war is violence,
and that moderation in war is imbecility.
--Lord Macauley (1800-1859)
English politician and historian.
Writing about John Hampden, an English
statesman killed in battle.

To carry the spirit of peace into war is a weak and cruel policy.
When an extreme case calls for that remedy which is in its own
nature most violent, and which, in such cases, is a remedy only
because it is violent, it is idle to think of mitigating and diluting.
Languid war can do nothing which negotiation or submission will
not do better; and to act on any other principle is, not to save
blood and money, but to squander them.
--Lord Macauley (1800-1859)
English politician and historian,
_Hallem_ [1828]


Wars begin when you will, but they
do not end when you please.
--Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Florentine statesman and political philosopher,
_History of Florence_ [1521-1524]

It should be noted that when he seizes a state the new ruler ought
to determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He should
inflict them once and for all, and not have to renew them every day.
Whoever acts otherwise, either through timidity or bad advice, is
always forced to have the knife ready in his hand.... Violence
should be inflicted once and for all; people will then forget what
it tastes like and so be less resentful.
--Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Florentine statesman and political philosopher,
_The Prince_ [written 1513], ch. 8

Although deceit is detestable in all other things, yet in the conduct
of war it is laudable and honorable; and a commander who vanquishes
an enemy by stratagem is equally praised with one who gains victory
by force.
--Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Florentine statesman and political philosopher,
_Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius_ [1531], bk. III, ch. 40


There are not fifty ways of fighting, there's only one,
and that's to win. Neither revolution nor war consists
in doing what one pleases.
--André Malraux (1901-1976)
French novelist, essayist, and art critic,
_L'Espoir_ [1937]

Weapons are an important factor in war, but not the
decisive one; it is man and not materials that counts.
--Mao Zedong (1893-1976)
Chinese statesman,
_Lecture_ [1938]

Television brought the brutality of war into the
comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost
in the living rooms of America--not the
battlefields of Vietnam.
--H. (Herbert) Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)
Canadian author and professor of literature and culture,
in the "Montreal Gazette" [16 May 1975]


Once Were Warriors
January 21,2004
The Wall Street Journal

[. . . ]

Historically, the Democrats have been America's war party. Bob Dole got
into trouble during his 1976 vice presidential campaign when he denounced
World War I and World War II, along with Vietnam and Korea, as "Democrat
Wars," but most of America's foreign wars began with Democrats in the
White House: add the Mexican War, the Cold War and the War of 1812
to the Democrats' count. Republicans, even including the Federalist and
Whig predecessors to the GOP, could only claim the Spanish American
War and the Gulf War before the War on Terror and George W. Bush.

"Vote for a Republican," people used to say, "and you get a Depression.
Vote for a Democrat, and you get a war."

Most of the Democrats' wars were, to use what is becoming a popular
phrase today, "wars of choice." The War of 1812 was, strictly speaking,
unnecessary; unbeknownst to Congress, Britain had already revoked the
Orders in Council before war was declared. In the Mexican War, James
Knox Polk sent U.S. forces into disputed territory well before exhausting
all diplomatic avenues. More recently, the Vietnamese and Korean
conflicts were, if not quite wars of choice, wars whose primary purpose
was not to safeguard either the territory or the citizens of the U.S., but
its broad strategic interests. U.S. interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo
were also wars of choice; the United States faced no direct military
threat as a result of Serbian madness and misrule. The Cold War was
preventative; the Soviet Union did not pose an imminent threat to the
U.S. in 1947. Of all the wars of all the Democrats, only the two world
wars were clearly wars of necessity -- and some historians argue that
a more even handed policy by President Wilson could have kept the
U.S. out of World War I as well. [. . . ]


There is no record in history of a nation that
ever gained anything valuable by being unable
to defend itself.
--H.L. (Henry Louis) Mencken (1880-1956)
American journalist and literary critic,
_Prejudices: Fifth Series_ [1926]

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed
and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks
nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere
human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in
the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war
degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against
tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of
right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an
honest purpose by their own free choice--is often the means
of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he cares
about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable
creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept
so by the existing of better men than himself. As long as justice
and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for
ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be
willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.
--John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
English philosopher and social reformer.
"The Contest in America," pp. 208-09,
in John Stuart Mill, _Dissertations and Discussions_ [1859]

Preparation for war is a constant stimulus
to suspicion and ill will.
--James Monroe (1758-1831)
Fifth President of the United States [1817-1825],
{on the signing of the Rush-Bagot Convention [4 April 1818]
The agreement called for the mutual demilitarization of the
Great Lakes by the U.S. and Great Britain - GBAQ}

War hath no fury like a non-combatant.
--C.E. Montague (1867-1928)
British writer,
"Disenchantment" [1922]

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