Saturday Quote-a-thon: War

>> Saturday, February 6, 2010

All this discussion of bad guys and villains and Hitler, it seems like a valid subject. So, here we go...

No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country.
--George Patton

Nothing is so exhilarating in life as to be shot at with no result.
--Winston Churchill

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
- Julius Caesar

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
--George Orwell

I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.
- Desmond Tutu

Strange that we all defend our wrongs with more vigor than we do our rights.
- Kahlil Gibran, 1883 - 1931

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
- Sun Tzu

The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
- Winston Churchill, 1874 - 1965

There has never been a just one, never an honorable one - on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit will - warily and cautiously - object - at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and here is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will out shout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers - as earlier - but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation - pulpit and all - will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
-Mark Twain in “The Mysterious Stranger”

The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not to dominate the world.
-Harry S. Truman

Let us not forget that violence does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: it is necessarily interwoven with falsehood. Between them lies the most intimate, the deepest of natural bonds. Violence finds its only refuge in falsehood, falsehood its only support in violence. Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose falsehood as his PRINCIPLE.
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions.

When war is not just it is subsequently justified; so it becomes many things. In reality, an unjust war is merely piracy. It consists of piracy, ego, and, more than anything, money. War is our century’s prostitution.
-T.S. Elliot

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.
-John F. Kennedy

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get.
- Frederick Douglass

The first casualty when war comes is truth.
- Hiram Johnson

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.
- Gore Vidal

When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called "the People's Stick."
-Mikhail Bakunin


  • Roy

    Nice collection!

    Two of my favorite quotes about war come from the late Anthony Minghella's movie Cold Mountain:

    "I imagine God is weary of being called down on both sides of an argument."
    ~ Inman in Cold Mountain (Anthony Minghella, screenwriter)

    "Every piece of this is man's bullshit. They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Shit, it's raining!'"
    ~ Ruby Thewes in Cold Mountain (Anthony Minghella, screenwriter)

    And you can always rely on Ursula K. LeGuin for a good anti-war quote:

    "If civilization has an opposite, it is war. Of those two things,you can have either one or the other. Not both."
    -- Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness

  • Stephanie B

    Excellent additions, Roy. Thank you.

  • Jeff King

    This is right up my alley, I love military leaders... Gen. Patton most of all.

    "Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!"
    - General George S. Patton, Jr

    "An army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team.
    This individuality stuff is a bunch of bullshit."
    - General George Patton Jr

  • The Mother

    Nice collection. Julius Caesar really was good at speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

  • Coach Purses

    i hate war

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