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War

  • Rolfe was one of those men who were, to all intents and purposes, slain in the war; but most unhappily the flesh had survived.

  • What would happen if all the populations on the planet simply refused to fight human beings they did not even know?

  • Perhaps a reign of powerful women is necessary to make, or unmake when need be, powerful men. Women would not waste so readily and uselessly the lives they had such care and pain in bearing. Why should they submit to the massacre of the innocent, one generation after another ... and allow them to be brought up as live-stock for the inevitable killing?

  • Wars may be fought by decent men, but they're not won by them.

  • ... war makes strangers bedfellows ...

  • ... man's oldest and least reputable occupation — war.

  • When a new post-war generation has grown to puberty and to youth and to manhood and womanhood, it should read, and it should be realistically told, of the futility, the idiocy, the utter depravity of war. For that matter, this instruction could begin at the age of six with the taking of those toy guns out of those toy holsters and throwing them in the ash-cans where they belong.

  • ... war is a man's game ... the killing machine has a gender and it is male.

  • ... scarcely a human being in the course of history has fallen to a woman's rifle; the vast majority of birds and beasts have been killed by you, not by us. Obviously there is for you some glory, some necessity, some satisfaction in fighting which we have never felt or enjoyed.

  • ... fighting is a game where everybody is the loser.

  • Borders are scratched across the hearts of men / By strangers with a calm, judicial pen, / And when the borders bleed we watch with dread / The lines of ink along the map turn red.

    • Marya Mannes,
    • "Gaza Strip," Subverse: Rhymes for Our Times ()
  • Artists never make wars. They are too busy making life out of the matter of their visions.

  • All wars derive from lack of empathy: the incapacity of one to understand and accept the likeness or difference of another. Whether in nations or the encounters of race and sex, competition then replaces compassion, subjection excludes mutuality.

  • I look upon the whole world as my fatherland, and every war has to me the horror of a family feud.

    • Helen Keller,
    • "Menace of the Militarist Program," in New York Call ()
  • ... the best preparation [for war] is the one that disarms the hostility of other nations and makes friends of them.

    • Helen Keller,
    • "Menace of the Militarist Program," in New York Call ()
  • Every modern war has had its roots in exploitation.

    • Helen Keller,
    • "Menace of the Militarist Program," in New York Call ()
  • I believe war is the inevitable fruit of our economic system ...

  • ... primitiveness and civilization are degrees of the same thing. If civilization has an opposite, it is war. Of those two things, you have either one, or the other. Not both.

  • He had grown up in a country run by politicians who sent the pilots to man the bombers to kill the babies to make the world safe for children to grow up in.

  • War, for any cause, is inexcusable. There is nothing which excuses us for the beastly ingenuity of our wars. Only fools, only the diseased, think that we are served by killing the strong young men with machines.

  • The least stupid question a man asks in his lifetime is not: Is there a God and is He a god or a devil? But: Brother, why are you killing me?

  • ... war is a thug's game. The thug strikes first and harder. He doesn't go by rules and he isn't afraid of hurting people.

  • ... the issue of war or peace is an issue that concerns not only experts on Foreign Affairs but every citizen of the United States.

  • ... one is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one!

  • People care so much in war and forget so fast in peace!

  • War is wicked, beause it is murder and hate. And it is foolish, because hate and murder can only destroy people's bodies, not change their minds.

  • ... there couldn't be war, unless lies were believed. War has to be nourished by lies.

  • We have thought of peace as a letting go and war as a girding up. We have thought of peace as the passive and war as the active way of living. The opposite is true. War is not the most strenuous life. It is a kind of rest-cure compared to the task of reconciling our differences.

  • All wars are crusades, or we're made to feel they are. That's just what's so wicked about them. We're made to feel — not think — and people can't think when they feel.

  • The martial spirit is never dead. It sleeps through fortunate generations, but it wakes up very quickly to the toot of a fife. There's that roistering spirit in men which leads them to think a good fight is a lark — until they've been in one. And the impulse to fight for your own incarnation of an ideal.

  • It is you men who make war! ... We, who have children, would never make it! Why should a woman be broken up in pain, to give her child life, only to see him carried away from her, to make food for guns?

  • If a quick glance back over world history shows us anything, it shows us that war was one of our most universal joys from our earliest beginnings, savored at every possible opportunity and even some quite incomprehensible ones ...

  • Smiting enemies has always been so admired that, unlike medicine or archaeology, it entitled its successful practitioners to become kings, emperors, and presidents ...

  • Success in war was the only success that counted; failure was a disgrace to be wiped out only by starting another war and winning it.

  • War was ... the chief or maybe the only source of patriotism, and many a politician, from prehistory up to this morning, unified a discontented citizenry by pointing out a national danger and declaring war on it.

  • It seems to me that the only thing for a pacifist to do is to find a substitute for war: mountains and seafaring are the only ones I know. But it must be something sufficiently serious not to be a game and sufficiently dangerous to exercise those virtues which otherwise get no chance.

  • ... only wars can produce . One war leads to the next, in part because each war incubates the warriors who will fight the next, or, I should say, create, the next.

    • Barbara Ehrenreich,
    • "Iranscam: Oliver North and the Warrior Caste," The Worst Years of Our Lives ()
  • America is addicted to wars of distraction.

  • However and wherever war begins, it persists, it spreads, it propagates itself through time and across space with the terrifying tenacity of a beast attached to the neck of living prey. This is not an idly chosen figure of speech. War spreads and perpetuates itself through a dynamic that often seems independent of human will. It has, as we like to say of things we do not fully understand, 'a life of its own.'

  • Ineluctably, the insults inflicted in one war call forth new wars of retaliation, which may be waged within months of the original conflict or generations later.

  • Warriors make wars, but it is also true that, in what has so far been an endless reproductive cycle, war makes warriors.

  • ... war is, in some not yet entirely defined sense, a self-replicating pattern of behavior, possessed of a dynamism not unlike that of living things.

  • ... war has dug itself into economic systems, where it offers a livelihood to millions ... It has lodged in our souls as a kind of religion, a quick tonic for political malaise and a bracing antidote to the moral torpor of consumerist, market-driven cultures.

  • The war with Iraq ... had to be one of the greatest non sequiturs in military history. Attacked by a gang composed largely of Islamic militants from Saudi Arabia, the United States countered by invading an unrelated country, and one of the most secular in the Middle East at that.

  • Society is like the guardian of a child who has squandered his patrimony. Adults spend money on themselves and build what they want, when it is obvious that a great share of their wealth should be destined for their children. ... Nature furnishes no examples of adults who devour everything themselves and abandon their own offspring to misery. ... When, because of its wastefulness, society has an urgent need of money, it takes this from schools, and especially from the lower schools that shelter the seeds of life. It takes it from these schools since there are no voices to defend them. This is one of humanity's worst crimes and errors. Society does not even perceive that it causes double destruction when it uses this money to build instruments of war. It destroys by preventing life and bringing death, but the two are the result of a single error.

  • ... war and the 'war of the sexes' are neither divinely nor biologically ordained.

  • My attitude toward peace does not depend on which war we are discussing. I think that words should do the work of bombs.

  • I have just come up with a wonderful solution to end all wars. Let me give directions on how to get there.

  • It is exciting to have a real crisis on your hands, when you have spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment.

  • They leave the genitals off Barbie and Ken, but they manufacture every kind of war toy. Because sex is more threatening to us than aggression.

  • Those who prepare for war get it.

  • There's never been a lack of men willing to die bravely. The trouble is to find a few able to live sensibly.

  • Never think that wars are irrational catastrophes: they happen when wrong ways of thinking and living bring about intolerable situations ... the root causes of conflict are usually to be found in some wrong way of life in which all parties have acquiesced, and for which everybody must, to some extent, bear the blame.

  • You truly point out that war is only a symptom of the whole horrid business of human behavior, and cannot be isolated, and that we shall not, even if we abolish war, abolish hate and greed. So might it have been argued about slave emancipation, that slavery was but one apsect of human disgustingness, and that to abolish it would not end the barbarity that causes it. But did the abolitionists therefore waste their breath? And do we waste ours now in protesting against war?

    • Rose Macaulay,
    • "An Open Letter" (1937), in Jane Emery, Rose Macaulay: A Writer's Life ()
  • How can we be such fools as to go on senselessly taking human life in this way? Why the women in every nation do not rise up and refuse to bring children into a world of this kind is beyond my understanding.

  • I think that if the atomic bomb did nothing more, it scared the people to the point where they realized that either they must do something about preventing war or there is a chance that there might be a morning when we would not wake up.

  • ... I kept praying that I might be able to prevent a repetition of this stupidity called war. I have tried to keep the promise I made to myself, but the progress that the world is making toward peace seems like the crawling of a little child, very halting and slow.

  • I can not believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.

    • Eleanor Roosevelt,
    • letter to Harry S. Truman (1948), in Joseph P. Lash, Eleanor: The Years Alone ()
  • ... the insight that peace is the end of war, and that therefore a war is the preparation for peace, is at least as old as Aristotle, and the pretense that the aim of an armament race is to guard the peace is even older, namely as old as the discovery of propaganda lies.

  • Beware of the man who denounces war / through clenched teeth.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Seventeen Warnings in Search of a Feminist Poem," Half-Lives ()
  • Young people never believe in the possibility of their own deaths. That's one reason old men can send them to war.

  • All Policy's allow'd in War and Love.

  • There is one thing no people have ever done; that is, to oppose a threatening war with intelligent and vigorous purpose some years before it was due to arrive.

    • Carrie Chapman Catt,
    • in Carrie Chapman Catt, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt et al., Why Wars Must Cease ()
  • What most people don't seem to realize is that there is just as much money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from the upbuilding of one.

  • All wars are sacred to those who have to fight them. If the people who started wars didn't make them sacred, who would be foolish enough to fight?

  • ... no matter what rallying cries the orators give to the idiots who fight, no matter what noble purposes they assign to wars, there is never but one reason for a war. And that is money. All wars are in reality money squabbles.

  • Fighting is like champagne. It goes to the heads of cowards as quickly as of heroes. Any fool can be brave on a battle field when it's be brave or else be killed.

  • They have not wanted Peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war — as though the absence of war was the same as peace.

  • Belligerents always abolish war after a war.

  • ... the worst wars are religious wars between sects of the same religion or civil wars between brothers of the same race.

  • The moral absolute should be: if and when, in any dispute, one side initiates the use of physical force, that side is wrong — and no consideration or discussion of the issues is necessary or appropriate.

  • ... I have little faith in the theory that organized killing is the best prelude to peace.

  • The worst thing about war is that so many people enjoy it.

  • War is the supreme form of prestige.

  • War, which perpetuates itself under the form of preparation for war, has once and for all given the State an important role in production.

  • What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war; petrol is much more likely than wheat to be a cause of international conflict.

    • Simone Weil,
    • "The Power of Words," The Simone Weil Reader ()
  • What is called national prestige consists in behaving always in such a way as to demoralize other nations by giving them the impression that, if it comes to war, one would certainly defeat them. What is called national security is an imaginary state of affairs in which one would retain the capacity to make war while depriving all other countries of it. It amounts to this, that a self-respecting nation is ready for anything, including war, except for a renunciation of its option to make war. But why is it so essential to be able to make war? No one knows, any more than the Trojans knew why it was necessary for them to keep Helen.

    • Simone Weil,
    • "The Power of Words," The Simone Weil Reader ()
  • War ... is elective. It's not an inevitable state of affairs. War is not the weather.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "Susan Sontag -- A Bill Moyers Interview," PBS ()
  • [Warfare is] maleness in its absurdest extremes. Here is to be studied the whole gamut of basic masculinity, from the initial instinct of combat, through every form of glorious ostentation, with the loudest accompaniment of noise.

  • There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled; cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense, for war is the slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale as possible.

    • Jeannette Rankin,
    • speech before the National Council for the Prevention of War ()
  • As a woman I can't go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.

    • Jeannette Rankin,
    • 1941, in Hannah Josephson, Jeannette Rankin: First Lady in Congress ()
  • I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war. I vote no.

    • Jeannette Rankin,
    • casting her vote against declaration of war (1917), in Hannah Geffen Josephson, Jeannette Rankin: First Lady in Congress ()
  • You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.

    • Jeannette Rankin,
    • in Hannah Josephson, Jeannette Rankin: First Lady in Congress ()
  • If you are required to kill someone today, on the promise of a political leader that someone else shall live in peace tomorrow, believe me, you are not only a double murderer, you are a suicide, too.

  • ... I have noticed that the people who are doing the work and the fighting and the dying, and those who are doing the talking, are not at all the same people.

  • War is a thing of fearful and curious anomalies ... It has shown that government by men only is not an appeal to reason, but an appeal to arms; that on women, without a voice to protest, must fall the burden. It is easier to die than to send a son to death.

  • Only very coarse persons wanted wars.

  • The greatest problem that war leaves, in a man, is how to recapture reality. That's because war is unreal.

  • Before a war, military science seems a real science, like astronomy. After a war it seems more like astrology.

    • Rebecca West,
    • in Jonathon Green, Morrow's International Dictionary of Contemporary Quotations ()

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  • ... war is madness.

    • ,
    • 1939, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • ... there will have to be a terrible justice, blowing over the world, to avenge all the needless suffering. Thus far, she had seen the innocent punished and insulted, pursued and destroyed; and when they tried to protect themselves, their enemies were swift, unanimous and relentless.

  • It would be impossible to explain the last war to these children, let alone preparations for another. They really know about war and what it does to life. ... Adults could not persuade these small survivors that it is always necessary to make the world safe for democracy, but never safe for children.

  • After a lifetime of war-watching, I see war as an endemic human disease, and governments are the carriers.

  • From the earliest wars of men to our last heart-breaking worldwide effort, all we could do was kill ourselves. Now we are able to kill the future.

  • There never was a war that was / not inward; I must / fight till I have conquered in myself what / causes war ...

  • The [Vietnam War Memorial] Wall became a magnet for citizens of every generation, class, race, and relationship to the war perhaps because it is the only great public monument that allows the anesthetized holes in the heart to fill with a truly national grief.

  • War is bestowed like electroshock on the depressive nation: thousands of volts jolting the system, an artificial galvanizing, one effect of which is loss of memory. War comes at the end of the twentieth century as absolute failure of imagination, scientific and political. That a war can be represented as helping a people to 'feel good' about themselves, their country, is a measure of that failure.

  • You are all a lost generation.

  • It was this hotel keeper who said what it is said I said that the war generation was a lost generation. And he said it this way. He said that every man becomes civilized between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. If he does not go through a civilizing experience at that time in his life he will not be a civilized man. And men who went to the war at eighteen missed the period of civilizing, and they could never be civilized. They were a lost generation.

  • War is never fatal but always lost.

  • ... I understood why war zones are called 'theaters' because they frame a kind of play acting or, worse, deceit, that can stain a human life forever: the deceit of hate on hearsay — hating an enemy one doesn't know ...

  • The contention that a standing army and navy is the best security of peace is about as logical as the claim that the most peaceful citizen is he who goes about heavily armed.

  • The pathos of it all is that the America which is to be protected by a huge military force is not the America of the people, but that of the privileged class ...

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter," in Mother Earth ()
  • ... so few people realize that preparedness never leads to peace, but that it is indeed the road to universal slaughter.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter," in Mother Earth ()
  • You cannot build up a standing army and then throw it back into a box like tin soldiers. Armies equipped to the teeth with weapons, with highly developed instruments of murder and backed by their military interests, have their own dynamic functions.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter," in Mother Earth ()
  • All wars are wars among thieves who are too cowardly to fight and who therefore induce the young manhood of the whole world to do the fighting for them.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • in "The Trial and Conviction of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman," in Mother Earth ()
  • ... 'readiness,' far far from assuring peace, has at all times and in all countries been instrumental in precipitating armed conflicts.

  • We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "Address to the Jury" (1917), in Alix Kates Shulman, ed., Red Emma Speaks ()
  • ... greater even than his repugnance to the 'great war game' as a whole; greater even than his revolt against the senselessness of it, and the pity of it; greater than any personal physical fear of death or wounds was his fear of being sent out to inflict death or wounds on others ...

  • War is killing the individual in it unless he has learned livingness — if he had it he wouldn't be a good soldier.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • 1917, in Jack Cowart and Juan Hamilton, eds., Georgia O'Keeffe: Art and Letters ()
  • Technology has allowed the world of men in our society to separate itself from the sight and the sounds of killing; from the horror of it, but not from the killing. It must be easy to kill from a roomful of fluorescent lights and wash-and-wear shirts.

  • [On the Barbie doll:] Her values, while somewhat Yuppified, are not so bad. Look at GI Joe. His only wardrobe is fatigues, he spends all his time trying to kill people, or getting his own innards splashed across the landscape. His big hobby is death.

  • Dead battles, like dead generals, hold the military mind in their dead grip ...

  • Nothing so comforts the military mind as the maxim of a great but dead general.

  • War is the unfolding of miscalculations.

  • The conduct of war was so much more interesting than its prevention.

  • The belief that a woman is against war simply because she is a woman and not a man cannot of course be substantiated. In every country there are women who believe that war is inevitable and righteous; the majority of women as well as men in the nations at war doubtless hold that conviction. On the other hand, quite as an artist in an artillery corps commanded to fire upon a beautiful building like the duomo at Florence would be deterred by a compunction unknown to the man who had never given himself to creating beauty and did not know the intimate cost of it, so women, who have brought men into the world and nurtured them until they reach the age for fighting, must experience a peculiar revulsion when they see them destroyed, irrespective of the country in which these men may have been born.

    • Jane Addams,
    • 1915, in Margaret R. Higonnet, ed., Lines of Fire: Women Writers of World War I ()
  • As a mother trying to raise kids with some kind of a code, an honorable way to solve problems without using violence, I find it interesting to live in a country where your government is allowed to kill, whether it's war or execution. What interests me is not who deserves to die but who deserves to kill.

  • Seems nothing draws men together like killing other men.

  • Oppression does not know the meaning of provincial boundaries. Aren't our energies better spent fighting the common enemy instead of each other?

  • Formerly, a nation that broke the peace, did not trouble to try and prove to the world that it was done solely from higher motives. ... Now war has a bad conscience. Now every nation assures us that it is bleeding for a human cause, the fate of which hangs in the balance of its victory ... No nation dares to admit the guilt of blood before the world.

  • Everything, everything in war is barbaric. ... But the worst barbarity of war is that it forces men collectively to commit acts against which individually they would revolt with their whole being.

  • The belief that we some day shall be able to prevent war is to me one with the belief in the possibility of making humanity really human.

  • It has been claimed that the aim of the present war is to end war. But war cannot end war, neither can militarism destroy militarism.

  • There are only two forces that can withstand the force of the war's spirit when it seizes upon the world. The one is the force of an independently thinking, free, and articulate democracy. The other is the force of an instructed and enlightened public opinion.

  • Warfare ... is just an invention, older and more widespread than the jury system, but none the less an invention.

    • Margaret Mead,
    • Warfare Is Only an Invention -- Not a Biological Necessity
    • ()
  • Our first and most pressing problem is how to do away with warfare as a method of solving conflicts between national groups or between groups within a society who have different views about how the society is to be run. If you look back, you will see that warfare was an invention, just as ways of handling government or taxes are inventions. You will see, too, that once people use an invention they go on using it until they find another which they think is superior.

  • ... war often breaks out when there is the most talk of peace.

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1673, Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 2 ()
  • ... while all the pomp and circumstance of war animated others, it only saddened me; and all of past reflection, all of future dread, made the whole grandeur of the martial scene, and all the delusive seduction of martial music, fill my eyes frequently with tears ...

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1802, in Charlotte Barrett, ed., Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, vol. 6 ()
  • Not till the end of the war will there be any time for art or love or magic again. Perhaps never again.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1916, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • Men's bodies are our women's works of art. Given to us power of control, we will never carelessly throw them in to fill up the gaps in human relationships made by international ambitions and greeds ... War will pass when intellectual culture and activity have made possible to the female an equal share in the governance of modern national life; it will probably not pass away much sooner; its extinction will not be delayed much longer.

  • We have always borne part of the weight of war, and the major part ... Men have made boomerangs, bows, swords, or guns with which to destroy one another; we have made the men who destroyed and were destroyed! ... We pay the first cost on all human life.

  • To me war is something to be outgrown, recognized as immature, wasteful, and so destructive to life that human beings should shun it ... as they once shunned bubonic plague.

  • War is a dead end, literally. And, what is more, we simply can't afford it. Not morally, and not financially. How long will it take the citizens of the United States, one wonders, to recognize that the house their country bombed in Iraq is the same one they were living in until it was foreclosed?

  • [On the 'war on terror':] We've created a more dangerous world. We've created more violence. We've unraveled the fabric of our own society. We've watched everything get worse. We've watched countries be destroyed, and we've watched war become the answer to every question.

    • Jodi Evans,
    • in Daniel Barsamian, "Jodi Evans," The Progressive ()
  • ... it was the mental injuries that I was least able to treat. In the worst cases women had lost their entire families — husbands, children, and parents all dead. Many of these women had also lost their minds. They sat and muttered and cried and laughed aloud. They hugged themselves and rocked back and forth, gazing at nothing for hours on end. They refused to eat and had no idea of day or night. And I could do nothing to help them.

    • Halima Bashir,
    • in Halima Bashir with Damien Lewis, Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur ()
  • It is the people who have no say in making wars who suffer most from the consequences of them ...

  • All war is insane.

  • More die in flight than in battle.

  • One grows strangely apprehensive / When one comtemplates the sense of / peace offensive, / Which, aggressively commanding / That which passeth understanding / Turns the sentiment it rouses / To: 'A pax on both your houses.'

  • War will hit you hard / coming at you like lions raging.

    • Hind bint Utba,
    • "Fury Against the Moslems at Uhud," in Joanna Bankier and Deirdre Lashgari, eds., Women Poets of the World ()
  • It takes one hundred times more intelligence to make love well than to command armies.

  • It requires infinitely a greater genius to make love, than to make war.

    • Ninon de Lenclos,
    • in Mrs. Griffith, trans., The Memoirs of Ninon de L'Enclos, vol. 2 ()
  • ... though some men did not make war as others did, if they sold their goods for profit to the war-makers, did it make them better because the weapon was not in their own hands, if they had made the weapon and sold it and so put it into the hands of those used it upon the innocent?

  • ... day by day they were learning to live in resistance to the enemy, and this is a greater thing than to die in resistance.

  • For war to man, like childbirth to women, is simplifying in its emotions and activities. All the real problems of life can be put aside while the one thing is done and little thought is needed to do it. ... His hatreds can be expressed without censure, he can let his emotions run free, he can behave as dramatically, as heroically as he likes, and no one laughs at him. It is almost impossible for a man to behave heroically in the cool and ordinary times of peace. But in war anything is allowed him, he is praised and applauded and made much of, as women are excused and allowed for in pregnancy.

  • War is the most devastating endemic and epidemic disease the human race has to endure, and yet too little has been done to discover and eliminate its cause by intelligent early control.

  • [During the Revolutionary War:] How many have fallen, we know not. The constant roar of the cannon is so distressing that we cannot eat, drink, or sleep. ... The spirit of the people are very good; the loss of Charlestown affects them no more than a drop in the bucket.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • 1775, in Frank Shuffelton, ed., The Letters of John and Abigail Adams ()
  • ... I was to find my cause, to hate war with a deadly loathing, to feel a murderous instinct to kill those men who, having lived their youth, would send into war other youth, not lived, unfulfilled, to fight and die for them; to hate the pride and cowardice of these old men, making their wars that boys must die.

  • All of the promises of politicians, generals, madmen, and crusaders that war can create peace have yet to be borne out.

  • No nation has the right to bring about a revolution, even though such a change may be most urgently needed, if the price is the blood of one single innocent individual ...

  • Patriotism is understood to be that virtue which consists in serving one's country; but in what way is this 'Patria' or country served by slaying its able bodied men in thousands?

  • We seem always ready to pay the price for war. Almost gladly we give our time and our treasure — our limbs and even our lives — for war. But we expect to get peace for nothing.

  • America zips down prayers / and buttons up wars / with battalions of / impoverished youngsters / duped into dying for dreams. ... 'Opportunity,' she sings, / hiding our dead from view.

  • O I know they make war because they want peace; they hate so that they may live; and they destroy the present to make the world safe for the future. When have they not done and said they did it for that?

    • Elizabeth Smart,
    • 1941, in Alice Van Wart, ed., Necessary Secrets : The Journals of Elizabeth Smart ()
  • It is not the physical part of war that sickens me as it is what is happening to our minds and feelings.

    • Lillian Smith,
    • 1940, in Margaret Rose Gladney, ed., How Am I to Be Heard? Letters of Lillian Smith ()
  • No war can end war except a total war which leaves no human creature on earth. Each war creates the causes of war: hate, desire for revenge and have-nots, desperate with need.

  • We can remind the world that all the dead on both sides have not settled our differences, so now it is time for the living to renounce violence as a means of solving this conflict.

  • Force, punishment, and violence are patriarchy's answer to conflicts and social problems. Patriarchy finds its ultimate expression in war.

    • Starhawk,
    • "Feminist Voices for Peace," in Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, Stop the Next War Now ()
  • It's frustrating sometimes to see the mismatch in resources between the pointless and the urgent, isn't it. Like the gap between the vast resources poured into military technological research to make war more sophisticated, and the trickle that goes into developing techniques that might prevent war instead.

  • ... if it has to be that wars and battles are begun for many reasons and quarrels, then they should also be avoided and shunned by better and more valid reasons ...

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • "Lament on the Evils of the Civil War" (1410), in Josette A. Wisman, trans., The Epistle of the Prison of Human Life ()
  • Oh, would that men, since it would indeed please God, had not, on either side, the courage to bear arms!

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • "Lament on the Evils of the Civil War" (1410), in Josette A. Wisman, trans., The Epistle of the Prison of Human Life ()
  • War was no solution, but until that realization was universal, war would go on.

  • About the crowds on the eve of the declaration of World War I:] From the happy expression on their faces you might have supposed that they welcomed the war. I have met with men who loved stamps, and stones, and snakes, but I could not imagine any man loving war.

  • I am sure that you will never end war with wars.

  • We don't want wars even when we win.

    • Golda Meir,
    • in Israel and Mary Shenker, eds., As Good as Golda ()
  • A leader who doesn't hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.

    • Golda Meir,
    • in Israel and Mary Shenker, eds., As Good as Golda ()
  • War seems a perfectly impossible thing, even when it can be seen coming nearer and nearer.

  • ... there's no difference between one's killing and making decisions that will send others to kill. It's exactly the same thing, or even worse.

  • When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.

    • Golda Meir,
    • 1969, in Marie Syrkin, ed., A Land of Our Own ()
  • Surely there is not a capitalist or well-informed person in this world today who believes that [World War I] is being fought to make the world safe for democracy. It is being fought to make the world safe for capital.

  • It occurred to me that we live in a lunatic world where the only way to maintain peace is to have an enormous war-making machine.

  • How many are dying / from the taxes I've paid / with my tired hands?

  • War is what happens when language fails.

  • Wherever my son is, I do not know. / This is the womb that carried him, / like a stone cave / lived in by a tiger and now abandoned. / It is on the battlefield that you will find him.

    • Auvaiyar,
    • c. 3rd cent., in Joanna Bankier and Deirdre Lashri, eds., Women Poets of the World ()
  • A war is a huge fire; the ashes from it drift far, and settle slowly.

  • War makes its own morals.

  • [Response to an invitation from Alliant Techsystems, manufacturer of land mines and cluster bombs, to perform at a corporate event:] OK, but it will cost you an arm and a leg.

    • Merrilyn Belgum,
    • reporting that the company never called her to schedule an appearance, in Minnesota Women's Press ()
  • It would seem that in history it's never a tooth for a tooth, but a thousand, a hundred thousand for one.

  • Modern war, they argued, as it was plain for everyone to see, had become so diabolical, so destructive, so incompatible with ethics, Christian teaching, nineteenth-century thought or mere common sense as to be as unthinkable for men to use against one another as putting one another into a pot to boil and eat. They also saw, being honest men, that very few people anywhere saw anything of the kind.

  • When men talk about defense, they always claim to be protecting the women and children, but they never ask the women and children what they think.

  • And looking into the face of ... one dead man we see two dead, the man and the life of the woman who gave him birth; the life she wrought into his life! And looking into his dead face someone asks a woman, what does a woman know about war? What, what, friends in the face of a crime like that, what does man know about war?

  • Go to a nearby military cemetery and look at the American flags stuck on each grave and think of the person buried there who was killed for global domination or for the blunders and egomania of our leadership. And remember, for every person buried there, 10 more loved that person and were shattered by the loss. Instead of saluting, softly say: 'I'm sorry.' ... We need to make Memorial Day a relic of the past.

    • Cindy Sheehan,
    • "Double the Pain on Memorial Day," The Denver Post ()
  • Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son? / The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done / They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but / Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?

    • Carly Sheehan,
    • "A Nation Rocked to Sleep," in Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, Stop the Next War Now ()
  • War is the antithesis of all our teaching. It breaks all the commandments; it makes rich men poor, and strong men weak. It makes well men sick, and by it living men are changed to dead men.

  • Everything you do in a war is crime in peace.

  • War proves nothing. To kill a man does not prove that he was in the wrong. Bloodletting cannot change men's spirits, neither can the evil of men's thoughts be driven out by blows. If I go to my neighbor's house, and break her furniture, and smash her pictures, and bind her children captive, it does not prove that I am fitter to live than she — yet according to ethics of nations it does. I have conquered her and she must pay me for my trouble; and her house and all that is left in it belongs to my heirs and successors, forever. That is war!

  • War is a crime committed by men and, therefore, when enough people say it shall not be, it cannot be.

  • If we keep asking questions maybe, just maybe, we will be able to find out why there is poverty ... and why we now are on the verge of world war.

  • ... war is a ferocious form of insanity. Nothing can justify it.

    • Corra Harris,
    • 1914, in Margaret R. Higonnet, ed., Lines of Fire: Women Writers of World War I ()
  • What is bravery in a victorious nation, is contemptible courage and barbarism in the conquered.

    • Svarnakumari Devi,
    • in Margaret R. Higonnet, ed., Lines of Fire: Women Writers of World War I ()
  • If we justify war, it is because all peoples always justify the traits of which they find themselves possessed, not because war will bear an objective examination of its merits.

  • War is an old, old plant on this earth, and a natural history of it would have to tell us under what soil conditions it grows, where it plays havoc, and how it is eliminated.

    • Ruth Benedict,
    • 1939, in Margaret Mead, An Anthropologist at Work: Writings of Ruth Benedict ()
  • Wars results in immediate deaths and destruction, but the environmental consequences can last hundreds, often thousands of years. And it is not just war itself that undermines our life support system, but also the research and development, military exercises and general preparations for battle that are carried out on a daily basis in most parts of the world. The majority of this pre-war activity takes place without the benefit of civilian scrutiny and therefore we are unaware of some of what is being done to our environment in the name of 'security.'

  • I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone, are guilty of the war. Oh no, the little man is just as guilty, otherwise the peoples of the world would have risen in revolt long ago!

  • ... a victor's peace is usually vindictive and stirs up a passion for revenge a generation or so later.

  • The first casualty in every war is truth.

  • Bombs know no ism but barbarism. The laws that successfully govern a peaceful and democratic society do not interfere with the only law bombs know, which is the law of gravity.

  • The high stage of world-industrial development in capitalistic production finds expression in the extraordinary technical development and destructiveness of the instruments of war ...

  • No wars are more bitter than those undertaken in the name of religion.

  • War may claim for itself the power to destroy and to clear the ground. It can never construct or create. It is not the means by which ideals are imposed. There is ultimately no way of combating a wrong idea but the setting forth of a right one.

    • A. Maude Royden,
    • "War and the Woman's Movement," in Charles Roden Buxton, ed., Towards a Lasting Settlement ()
  • The importance of fear as a factor in war-making cannot be overlooked, and can hardly be overestimated. Any politician can play on panic when he wishes to stampede a people into war.

    • A. Maude Royden,
    • "War and the Woman's Movement," in Charles Roden Buxton, ed., Towards a Lasting Settlement ()
  • Making bombs will only destroy us. It doesn't matter whether we use them or not. They will destroy us either way.

  • The only good thing about nuclear war is that it is the single most egalitarian idea that man has ever had. On the day of reckoning, you will not be asked to present your credentials. The devastation will be indiscriminate.

  • Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and when people boycott the economic outposts of empire that are strung across the globe.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • speech to American Sociological Association ()
  • Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century.

  • [In the early stages of a war] the greater the expenditure of life and funds, the greater the public expectation of significant accomplishment. This provokes an escalation of military effort, and the vicious cycle continues as the pressure of domestic expectations and domestic critics limit the President's willingness to withdraw without 'victory.'

  • War is not declared any more, / but simply continued. The terrible / is an every day thing.

    • Ingeborg Bachmann,
    • "Every Day," in Aliki Barnstone and Willis Barnstone, eds., A Book of Women Poets From Antiquity to Now ()
  • ... if death becomes cheap it is the watcher, not the dying, who is poisoned.

  • If it's natural to kill, why do men have to go into training to learn how?

  • There's a consensus out that it's OK to kill when your government decides who to kill. If you kill inside the country you get in trouble. If you kill outside the country, right time, right season, latest enemy, you get a medal.

  • The beginning of the war will be secret.

  • Let's wind back the privatization of war and the military's dependence on contractors for what used to be military functions. Our troops need to peel their own potatoes again, drive their own supply trucks, build their own barracks, guard their own generals. ... Private contractors are not cheaper, and they are certainly not indispensable. We operated without them for a long, long time, and did just fine, thank you very much.

  • ... the American public has been delicately insulated from the actuality of our ongoing wars. While a tiny fraction of men and women fighting our wars are deploying again and again, civilian life remains pretty much isolated in cost-free complacency.

  • ... after a generation or two of shedding the deliberate political encumbrances to war ... of dropping Congress from the equation altogether, of super-empowering the presidency with total war-making power and with secret new war-making resources that answer to no one but him, of insulating the public from not only the cost of war but sometimes even the knowledge that it's happened — war making has become almost an autonomous function of the American state. It never stops.

  • ... war is three-quarters waiting and boredom and tiresomeness, and it is one quarter of the hardest work you ever heard of in your life or ever dreamed of.

  • Old men make wars. Young men fight them, and the lines of the young dead reach from earth to the gates of hell.

  • ... no war really comes unexpectedly. The drums are beating long before a single shot is fired.

  • Our society is monstrously disjunctive, at once so efficient in war and so inefficient in caring for the welfare of its members. It is frightening to see people rooting in garbage pails on streets, living in cardboard crates under bridges, while their government wages war. Even when there is an emergency in a household, decent parents do not forget to feed the children.

  • ... war is not just a victory or loss ... People die.

    • Maya Lin,
    • in New York Times Magazine ()
  • Wars are fought by children. Conceived by their mad demonic elders, and fought by boys.

  • And he's fighting for Canada, he's fighting for France, / He's fighting for the U.S.A. / And he's fighting for the Russians, and he's fighting for Japan, / And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way ... / Without him Caesar would have stood alone. / He's the one who gives his body as a weapon of the war: / And without him all this killin' can't go on.

  • Our national fondness for celebrating the physical heroism of soldiers — the apparent readiness with which they sacrifice their lives to larger causes — eclipses the far less romantic displays of moral and intellectual fortitude that also distinguish so many of them. In turning them all into heroes, we have lost a sense of the individuality they also fight to preserve.

  • The allure of military life and its heroic promise seem indestructible, but nothing threatens the romance of war more effectively than war itself.

  • I vividly remember an early May morning in 1968. As I was feeding my month-old son, there was knock on the door. Two uniformed Army officers had come to tell me that my husband had been killed in Vietnam. 'Hostile ground action' they called it ... With tears streaming down my face, I bundled up my son and drove to tell my mother-in-law that her only child was dead. I didn't want two strangers telling her the news that would surely break her heart. She collapsed in my arms, and we cried and hugged for hours. The pain I felt cannot be described in words. I would never wish this devastation on anyone ... It has been 35 years now, and I can still hear the last words my husband ever spoke to me. As he was leaving for Vietnam he said, 'Remember, this is for just a short time. We have the rest of our lives together.' One month later, he was dead.

  • War is the admission of defeat in the face of conflicting interests: by war the issue is left to chance, and the tacit assumption that the best man will win is not at all justified. It might equally be argued that the worst, the most unscrupulous man will win, although history will continue the absurd game by finding him after all the best man.

  • The term 'clean bombs' provides the perfect metaphor for defense analysts and arms controllers. This sort of language shields us from the emotional reaction that would result if it were clear that one was talking about plans for mass murder, for mangled bodies. Defense analysts don't talk about incinerating cities; they talk about 'countervalue attacks.' Human death, in nuclear parlance, is most often referred to as 'collateral damage' ...

    • Carol Cohn,
    • "'Clean Bombs' and Clean Language," in Jean Bethke Elshtain and Sheila Tobias, eds., Women, Militarism, and War ()
  • Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it.

  • I have always believed that we cannot have peace in the world until all of us understand how wars start.

  • I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, 'Mother, what was war?'

  • Remember, men of guns and rhymes, / And kings who kill so fast, / That men you kill too many times / May be too dead at last.

    • Rose O'Neill,
    • "When the Dead Men Die," The Master-Mistress ()
  • Preparedness never caused a war and unpreparedness never prevented one.

  • War has crossed out the day and replaced it with horror, and now horrors are unfolding instead of days.

  • Boredom!!! Shooting!!! Shelling!!! People being killed!!! Despair!!! Hunger!!! Misery!!! Fear!!! That's my life! The life of an innocent eleven-year-old schoolgirl!! A schoolgirl without a school, without the fun and excitement of school. A child without games, without friends, without the sun, without birds, without nature, without fruit, without chocolate or sweets, with just a little powdered milk. In short, a child without a childhood.

  • The maimed bodies aren't the worst. That's the easy way to hate war. The safe way. I — hate it just as much for the maimed souls that stay at home ...

  • I loathe all this blind rushing pell-mell into a struggle arranged by the mighty minority and paid for with the lives of young men who are drugged on trumped-up ideals.

  • If it means loathing war sufficiently to bear the unpleasant brunt of being branded a coward, I suppose I am a pacifist.

  • Art transcends war. Art is the language of God and war is the barking of men. Beethoven is bigger than war.

  • Great oxygen tanks of patriotism, generated in a hurry, gushed out volatile and inflammable from coast to coast. ... Envoys crossed word-swords and all the little men began to run, and the red threads of high-sounding idealisms and patriotism to come out in eyeballs. The inflamed voodoo dance around the cauldron brewed on the table of paternal governments began to grow ... That was the way the men went off to war, riveted with that paternal eye and inflamed with the generated oxygen, the generated phrases, and the generated idealism.

  • In the name of peace / They waged the wars / ain't they got no shame.

  • To try to stop war by placing before men's eyes the terrible suffering involved will never succeed, because men are willing (in their thoughts and imaginations at least) to face any kind of suffering when motivated by noble aims like the vague and tremendous concept of freedom ... Or, in their humility (or sloth — who knows?) men are quite willing to leave decisions to others 'who know more about it than we do.'

  • No one can claim to be Christian who gives money for the building of warships and arsenals.

  • For the man who should loose me is dead, / Fighting with the Duke in Flanders, / In a pattern called a war. / Christ! What are patterns for?

    • Amy Lowell,
    • "Patterns," Men, Women and Ghosts ()
  • Waging war is not a primary physical need.

    • Susan Griffin,
    • "The Mind Can Be a Prison Door," in Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, eds., Stop the Next War Now ()
  • War starts in the mind, not in the body.

    • Susan Griffin,
    • "The Mind Can Be a Prison Door," in Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, eds., Stop the Next War Now ()
  • He well knew the difference between a defender of his own country and the invader of another's.

  • As even a democracy like the United States has shown, waging war can benefit a leader in several ways: it can rally citizens around the flag, it can distract them from bleak economic times, and it can enrich a country's elites.

  • In WWI, the ratio of military personnel killed to civilians was 8:1. In WWII, it was 1:1. In the many smaller wars since 1945, the ratio has been 1:8. This means that the victims of wars have changed: the great majority being civilian; they are mainly women, children, and the elderly.

  • A patriarchal state is one rehabilitating from war, presently at war, or preparing for war.

    • Berit As,
    • in Robin Morgan, The Word of a Woman ()
  • Of course, if there should be war, it wouldn't last long — not in the twentieth century; and no one wants it. There would be, perhaps, a few skirmishes on the frontiers, and then everything would be arranged diplomatically.

  • The bloody Wolf, the Wolf does not pursue; / The Boar, though fierce, his Tusk will not embrue / In his own kind, Bears, not on Bears do prey: / Thou art then, Man, more savage far than they.

    • Anne Killigrew,
    • "The Miseries of Man," Poems by Mrs. Anne Killigrew ()
  • Isn't it strange how the leaders of nations can talk so eloquently about peace while they prepare for war? ... There is no way to make peace while preparing for war.

  • We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace.

  • Vietnam presumably taught us that the United States could not serve as the world's policeman; it should also have taught us the dangers of trying to be the world's midwife to democracy when the birth is scheduled to take place under conditions of guerrilla war.

  • ... pacifists lead a lonely life. Not even gathering together can take the place of that vast, warm sun of approval that is shed on motherhood, on law-abiding, on killing, and on making money. Someday will we come into our own? Well, motherhood may move into the shade. Law-abiding is going through a trauma. But killing and making money are good for a long, long time.

  • The Pentagon is the greatest power on earth today. ... There it sits, a terrible mass of concrete, on our minds, on our hearts, squat on top of our lives. Its power penetrates into every single life. It is in the very air we breathe. The water we drink. Because of its insatiable demands we are drained and we are polluted.

  • I am sick of war. Every woman of my generation is sick of war. Fifty years of war. Wars rumored, wars beginning, wars fought, wars ending, wars paid for, wars endured.

  • Men say that, their goal being peace, naturally they are going to have to bomb and bomb and massacre and rape and pillage and torture and lay waste and then — this is the place at which I used to feel as if I were the only person on earth who hadn't caught on — suddenly, miraculously, there will come a magical moment, a moment when some sort of alchemy takes place, and — voilà! — peace!

  • I am not fighting for my kingdom and wealth now. I am fighting as an ordinary person for my lost freedom, my bruised body, and my outraged daughters.

    • Boudica,
    • 61 CE, in Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome ()
  • History more often records the brilliant successes and spectacular defeats of contending forces than the effect of war on the common people.

  • The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.

  • Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: / He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored ...

  • Injury is the thing every exhausting piece of strategy and every single weapon is designed to bring into being: it is not something inadvertently produced on the way to producing something else but is the relentless object of all military activity.

  • Women's rights, men's rights — human rights — all are threatened by the ever-present specter of war so destructive now of human material and moral values as to render victory indistinguishable from defeat.

  • ... war to win peace is at best a dangerously illogical method.

  • ... if we pursue the arms race no other problem will be solved.

  • [On the war on Iraq:] Why is all this a surprise again? I know our hawks avoided serving in Vietnam, but didn't they, like, read about it?

    • Maureen Dowd,
    • "Back Off, Syria And Iran!" in The New York Times ()
  • ... war made by age and fought by youth while age looked on and applauded and encored.

  • ... all the ideals and beliefs you ever had have crashed about your gun-deafened ears — you don't believe in God or them or the infallibility of England or anything but bloody war and wounds and foul smells and smutty stories and smoke and bombs and lice and filth and noise, noise, noise — you live in a world of cold sick fear, a dirty world of darkness and despair — you want to crawl ignominiously home away from these painful writhing things that once were men, these shattered, tortured faces that dumbly demand what it's all about in Christ's name ...

  • If the submarines, the aerial torpedoes, the poison gas, the liquid fire, the long-distance guns, the hand grenades, the trench mortars, and all the other things injure without killing them, they are sent back again and again after being patched up until they are killed.

  • Nowhere have women been more excluded from decision-making than in the military and foreign affairs. When it comes to the military and questions of nuclear disarmament, the gender gap becomes the gender gulf.

  • All of the horror of the twentieth century should surely teach us that war feeds on itself and that armed violence reflects, not an extension of politics by other means, but the failure of politics; not the defense of civilization, but the breakdown of civilization.

  • In Vietnam, some of us lost control of our lives. I want my life back. I almost feel like I've been missing in action for twenty-two years.

  • There is a real split today between those who push the button and those who do the dying.

    • Dale Spender,
    • 1982, in Dale and Lynne Spender, Scribbling Sisters ()
  • ... the sky of Beirut rained down missles and shells and the horror isolated us in shelters and underground vaults where we spent our nights waiting for death, until morning came and then we would start to check on each other and to feel our limbs to see if they were still there.

    • Emily Nasrallah,
    • "Those Memories," in Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, ed., Women and the Family in the Middle East ()
  • What do I actually mean when I say 'delusion'? I mean the absurdity of the claim that the excessive atomic armament of both sides creates a 'balance of terror' that reduces the danger of war; that in the long run it even offers a minimum of security. ... Hence the cynical saying: He who strikes first will die second.

  • To prevent wars, people must criticize, in their own country, the abuses that occur in their own country. The role taboos play in the preparation for war. The number of shameful secrets keeps growing incessantly, boundlessly. How meaningless all censorship taboos become, and how meaningless the consequences for overstepping them, when your life is in danger.

  • A war, or any wild-goose chase is, as the vulgar use the phrase, a lucky turn-up of patronage for the minister, whose chief merit is the art of keeping himself in place.

  • Today's wars are about oil. But alternate energies exist now — solar, wind — for every important energy-using activity in our lives. The only human work that cannot be done without oil is war.

    • Grace Paley,
    • "Why Peace Is (More Than Ever) a Feminist Issue," in Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Forever ()
  • War is predicted / in five years / ten years / any day now / I always thought / it was already happening.

    • Jessica Hagedorn,
    • "The Song of Bullets," in Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Mayumi Tsutakawa, and Margarita Donnelly, eds., The Forbidden Stitch: An Asian American Women's Anthology ()
  • Great wars will be followed by great discontents — the pruning knife has been laid to the tree, and the urge to grow throbs through its mutilated branches.

  • No more bloody wars, no more bloody medals.

    • Queen Mary,
    • 1918, in Ronald Mann, The Amazing Adventures of Professor John Hudson, Books 1-3 ()
  • Although it is tempting to imagine an ancient era innocent of biochemical weaponry, in fact this Pandora's box of horrors was opened thousands of years ago. The history of making war with biological weapons begins in mythology, in ancient oral traditions that preserved records of actual events and ideas of the era before the invention of written histories.

  • Once created, toxic weapons take on a life of their own, resistant to destruction and threatening harm over generations. Tons of still-active chemical weapons from World Wars I and II lurk in long-forgotten dumping areas, releasing toxins and posing grave risks to unwitting finders. These weapons, and the countless vials of smallpox, anthrax, and other super-pathogens stored in laboratories around the world, ripe for weaponization, have their antecedents in the 'plague demons' imprisoned in jars buried under the temple in Jersualem, and the pestilence locked inside the golden casket in Babylon. Centuries later, those containers were broken open during wartime, and plague spread over the land.

  • America began this battle unprepared. And today many hastily dug graves bear witness to the shocking price of underestimating the enemy.

  • ... war with poison and chemicals was not so rare in the ancient world ... An astounding panoply of toxic substances, venomous creatures, poison plants, animals and insects, deleterious environments, virulent pathogens, infectious agents, noxious gases, and combustible chemicals were marshalled to defeat foes — and panoply is an apt term here, because it is the ancient Greek word for 'all weapons.'

  • Is war perhaps nothing else but a need to face death, to conquer and master it, to come out of it alive — a peculiar form of denial of our own mortality?

  • ... every war already carries within it the war which will answer it. Every war is answered by a new war, until everything, everything is smashed.

    • Käthe Kollwitz,
    • letter (1944), in Hans Kollwitz, ed., The Diaries and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz ()
  • Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought! Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder! Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings! Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction! Be heroes in an army of construction!

  • If every soldier refused to take arms ... there would be no wars; but no one has the courage to be the first to live according to Christ and Socrates, because in a world of opportunists they would be martyred.

    • Sylvia Plath,
    • 1956, in Aurelia Schober Plath, ed., Letters Home ()
  • The calamity of war, wherever, whenever and upon whomever it descends, is a tragedy for the whole of humanity.

  • ... no war, not even to punish an aggressor, is a good thing. Today people must learn to take into account each others' interests, if only for the sake of their own survival. I do not believe that, in this system of coordinates, the point where politics and simple human morality intersect is only idealism.

  • ... if none of the mothers let their sons go, wouldn't that stop things, wouldn't it always have?

  • Going to war is not too much for a woman. ... Once at the front, I forgot whether I was a man or a woman. I was just a soldier. ... In the burning battle I was never hampered for an instant on account of my sex. The soldiers — the real brave soldiers — treated me like a comrade. Only the cowards jeered.

  • Try to reject war and give peace a chance. Question the powers that be and find out why they make the dubious decisions they do that send young people to war.

  • My wife once said that if men had to worry about who was going to clean up the mess, there'd be a lot less violence in the world.

  • Certain misfortunes / were never to happen again / such as war and hunger and so forth.

    • Wisława Szymborska,
    • "The Turn of the Century," in Joanna Trzeciak, trans., Selected Poems ()
  • Since war is a convulsion that occurs when political processes fail to settle disputes among or within nations, the aftermath of war includes an upheaval of the status quo.

  • ... war brutalizes all whom it touches; if it did not do so it could not be endured.

  • It costs about the same to arm and train one soldier as it does to educate eighty children for a lifetime career; to build one modern bomber as it did to wipe out smallpox over a ten-year period; to launch the latest nuclear missile submarine as it does to build 450,000 homes for the poor.

    • Betty G. Lall,
    • in Daniela Gioseffi, ed., Women on War: An International Anthology of Writings From Antiquity to the Present ()
  • [To the House of Representatives before casting the only vote against allowing George W. Bush to use 'all necesary and appropriate force' in response to 9/11:] We must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target. We cannot repeat past mistakes.

  • What arrogance, what stupidity led us to this desolation, to this madness, to this wickedness, to this war, to this death? When this cruel war was over, there will be no more war. It will not happen again, never again. Never again, never again.

  • All wars, whether just or unjust, disastrous or victorious, are waged against the child.

    • Eglantyne Jebb,
    • 1919, in Doris Mary Gill and Alice Muriel Pullen, Victories of Peace ()
  • Good morning, friends. The housewives of Oak Ridge are speaking to the outside world from behind the barbed-wire fence. Yes, we're still here. Did you forget about us? We just wondered, because we didn't find ourselves mentioned in the Smyth Report. We are the ones who do the chores for the men who make atomic bombs, and we bring up their children, bomb or no bomb. The kids are two years older now, and we are at least ten. That's the way you grow old — fast, when the going is tough.

    • Vi Warren,
    • radio address (1945), in Denise Kiernan, The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II ()
  • ... in this great war [WWI] ... they had, all of them, on all sides, lost their freedom. The freedom to think hopefully of the future.

  • If our husbands were drafted, or our brothers, we hated the term theater to describe parts of a war. If we did not have anyone in battle, or if we had generations of men in our families who had been in battle, we loved the term theater, and we thought it conjured both the drama and the artifice.

  • My opposition to war was not because of the horrors of war, not because war demands that the race offer up its very best in their full vigor, not because war means economic bankruptcy, domination of races by famine and disease, but because war is so completely ineffective, so stupid. It settles nothing.

  • Despite all the videos you see from the Ministry of Defence or the Pentagon, and all the sanitised language describing smart bombs and pinpoint strikes, the scene on the ground has remained remarkably the same for hundreds of years. Craters. Burned houses. Mutilated bodies. Women weeping for children and husbands. Men for their wives, mothers children.

  • We go to remote war zones to report what is happening. The public have a right to know what our government, and our armed forces, are doing in our name. Our mission is to speak the truth to power. We send home that first rough draft of history.

  • The West has funded the war against itself by buying Arab oil. It is as simple and as tragic as that.

  • The parties with the most to gain never show up on the battlefield.

  • No ruler in the world has ever been able to afford a war. They’re not affordable things. No prince ever says, 'This is my budget, so this is the kind of war I can have.' You enter into one and it uses up all the money you’ve got, and then it breaks you and bankrupts you.

  • What the horrors of war are, no one can imagine. They are not wounds and blood and fever, spotted and low, or dysentery, chronic and acute, cold and heat and famine. They are intoxication, drunken brutality, demoralization and disorder on the part of the inferior … jealousies, meanness, indifference, selfish brutality on the part of the superior.

  • As long as military men control the country you are always going to have a war.

  • There's a war going on, they said, and they dressed him in olive drab and set him down in the freshly dug trench on the edge of Belleau Wood west-northwest of Chateau Thierry. Theirs not to reason why, neither were they scholars or historians or thinkers. There's a war going on, they said, send us your handsomest young men.

  • ... that is what war is about: the reason for war is to take the enemies' women. ... At no matter what cost, incest must be avoided. Of course the army doesn't know or the navy or the airforce or the President of the United States, but the fear of incest has placed sixty-five million men under arms, and the army and the navy and the air force have seen to it that they are unblemished, physically fit and passionate. ... Eustace and his community of cousins have been conscripted out of the hills and hamlets for fear of incest and consequent loss of virility. Closely bred, they favor each other, look-alikes from propinquity ...

  • Everywhere beneath the surface are tears and bleeding wounds. And yet the war goes on and cannot stop. It follows other laws.

    • Käthe Kollwitz,
    • in Hans Kollwitz, ed., The Diaries and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz ()
  • In war, civilians are cheap things at best.

  • Could the war-book of children be written no eyes could read it for tears.

  • [On war:] It's not a woman's place. There's no question about it. There's only one other species on earth for whom a war zone is no place, and that's men.

  • don't ask why I / have bad dreams / ask why if I don't.

  • [On the Department of Defense:] The Orwellian label 'defense' is, for the most part, delusional as the department has continued the function of waging war and flexing military might around the world.

    • Mary Beaudoin,
    • in Women Against Military Madness Newsletter ()
  • Men have worshiped war till it has cost a million times more than the whole world is worth, poured out the best blood and crushed the fairest forms the good God has ever created. — Deck it as you will, war is — 'Hell.'

    • Clara Barton,
    • in Percy Harold Epler, The Life of Clara Barton ()