Quotations About
war

Jessep: You can’t handle the truth. Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.

Posted in: A Few Good Men

We fought a military war; our opponents fought a political one. We sought physical attrition; our opponents aimed for our psychological exhaustion. In the process we lost sight of one of the cardinal maxims of guerrilla war: the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win. The North Vietnamese used their armed forces the way a bull-fighter uses his cape — to keep us lunging in areas of marginal political importance.

"The Vietnam Negotiations", Foreign Affairs, Vol. 48, No. 2 (January 1969), p. 214
Posted in: Henry Kissinger

We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, allover this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861
Posted in: Abraham Lincoln

We cannot afford to be a country of isolationists right now. 9/11 showed us that try as we might to ignore the rest of the world, our enemies will no longer ignore us. And so we need to maintain a strong foreign policy, relentless in pursuing our enemies and hopeful in promoting our values around the world. But to guard against isolationist sentiments in this country, we must change conditions in Iraq and the policy that has characterized our time there – a policy based on blind hope and ideology instead of fact and reality.

Americans called for this more serious policy a few Tuesdays ago. It’s time that we listen to their concerns and win back their trust. I spoke here a year ago and delivered a message about Iraq that was similar to the one I did today. I refuse to accept the possibility that I will have to come back a year from now and say the same thing. There have been too many speeches. There have been too many excuses. There have been too many flag-draped coffins, and there have been too many heartbroken families. The time for waiting in Iraq is over. It is time to change our policy. It is time to give Iraqis their country back. And it is time to refocus America’s efforts on the wider struggle yet to be won.

Posted in: Barack Obama

Ruthless, Relentless, Remorseless

Fisher's 3 R's of war

Harken: You fought with Captain Reynolds in the war?
Zoe: Fought with a lot of people in the war.
Harken: And your husband?
Zoe: Fight with him sometimes, too.

Posted in: Firefly

If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms, never! never! never!

Speech in the House of Lords (18 November, 1777)

Loki: I am Loki of Asgard, and I am burdened with glorious purpose.
Nick Fury: We have no quarrel with your people.
Loki: An ant has no quarrel with a boot.
Nick Fury: You planning to step on us?
Loki: I come with glad tidings, of a world made free.
Nick Fury: Free from what?
Loki: Freedom. Freedom is life’s great lie. Once you accept that, in your heart, you will know peace.
Nick Fury: Yeah, you say peace. I kinda think you mean the other thing.

Isobel: There can be no special cases, because every man at the front is a special case to someone.

Posted in: Downton Abbey

Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided — that was the error of 1848 and 1849 — but by iron and blood.

Speech to the Budget Commission of the Prussian Diet (30 September 1862)

I must protest that I would never seek foreign conflicts just to go over domestic difficulties; that would be frivolous. I was speaking of conflicts that we could not avoid, even though we do not seek them.

A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence.

Speech to North German Reichstag (24 September 1867)

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable.

"Terror Over Tripoli" (1993)
Posted in: Howard Zinn

One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression. Patriotism becomes the order of the day, and those who question the war are seen as traitors, to be silenced and imprisoned.

Howard Zinn on War (2000)
Posted in: Howard Zinn

We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children. War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.

"The Old Way of Thinking", in The Progressive (November 2001)
Posted in: Howard Zinn

The term “just war” contains an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny, and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.

Terrorism and War (2002)
Posted in: Howard Zinn

Take away the sword;
States can be saved without it.

Richelieu. Act iii. Sc. i.

Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’

Speech in the House of Commons, June 18, 1940 "War Situation"

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power.

Speech in the House of Commons (1940)

Eric: Look, Dad, I need my car. Don’t you remember when you were in high school? I bet you had some good times, driving around senior year with your friends.
Red: My senior year, I was driving a gun boat around Okinawa. And, if you count the Japanese snipers as my friends, then yes, I had some good times.

Posted in: That 70's Show

Wars are caused by undefended wealth.

This quote is attributed / unsourced.

It was close; but that’s the way it is in war. You win or lose, live or die — and the difference is just an eyelash.

To Gen. Richard Sutherland (17 March 1942)
This quote is attributed / unsourced.

Our strategy in going after this army is very simple. First we are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it.

Announcing the U.S. gulf war plan against Saddam Hussein's army. Pentagon press briefing (23 January 1991)
Posted in: Colin Powell

Dr Gaius Baltar: I’m going to call my lawyer. He’s the best in the business.
Caprica Six: That wouldn’t be necessary, because in a few hours, no one will be left to charge you with anything.
Baltar: What are you trying to say?
Caprica Six: Humanity’s children are returning home. Today.

Miniseries, Part 1

William Adama: The Cylon War is long over, yet we must not forget the reasons why so many sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. The cost of wearing the uniform can be high … sometimes it’s too high. You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question, why? Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed, spite, jealousy. And we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we’ve done. Like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. When that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn’t our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you’ve created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done anymore.

Miniseries, Part 1

Sherlock Holmes: Try not to start a war before I get home – you know what it does to the traffic.

A Study in Pink (season 1, episode 1)
Posted in: Sherlock

I come from a long line of fighters. My maternal grandfather was the toughest guy I ever knew. World War Two veteran. Killed twenty men then spent the rest of the war in an Allied prison camp. My father… battled blood pressure and obesity all his life. Different kind of fight.

The Fight (season 2, episode 6)

History, contrary to popular theories, is kings and dates and battles.

Small Gods
Posted in: Terry Pratchett

Can one imagine that The Bomb could ever be used “in a good cause”? Do not such means instantly, of themselves, corrupt any cause? The bomb is the natural product of the kind of society we have created. It is as easy, normal, and unforced an expression of the American way of Life as electric ice-boxes, banana splits, and hydro-matic drive automobiles.

"Politics" magazine, (August, 1945)
Posted in: Dwight MacDonald

The warriors that fought for their country, and bled,
Have sunk to their rest; the damp earth is their bed;
No stone tells the place where their ashes repose,
Nor points out the spot from the graves of their foes.

They died in their glory, surrounded by fame,
And Victory’s loud trump their death did proclaim;
They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast,
And their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.

"The Battle of Lovell's Pond" (November 17, 1820)

Holmes: You’re a doctor. In fact, you’re an army doctor.
Watson: Yes.
Holmes: Any good?
Watson: Very good.
Holmes: Seen a lot of injuries, then? Violent deaths?
Watson: Yes.
Holmes: Bit of trouble, too, I bet.
Watson: Of course, yes. Enough for a lifetime… far too much.
Holmes: Want to see some more?
Watson: Oh, God yes.

A Study in Pink (season 1, episode 1)
Posted in: Sherlock

Mycroft: You’re under stress right now and your hand is perfectly steady. You’re not haunted by the war, Dr. Watson. You miss it.

A Study in Pink (season 1, episode 1)
Posted in: Sherlock

Stamford: Last thing I heard you were overseas being shot at. So what happened?
Watson: I got shot.

A Study in Pink (season 1, episode 1)
Posted in: Sherlock

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

This quote is attributed / unsourced.
Posted in: Bertrand Russell

The Romans never allowed a trouble spot to remain simply to avoid going to war over it, because they knew that wars don’t just go away, they are only postponed to someone else’s advantage.

The Prince (1513)