Friday, December 14, 2007

Quotes: War.

Each month in a war seems like forever.
War 3 Forty months passed, each month forever. WWII. Blum, V Was for Victory.

Most get through war by looking at it as a job to be done; not much concern for goals and purposes of the war.
War 67 “Most regard the war as a job to be done and there is not much willingness to discuss what we are fighting for.” Blum, V Was for Victory

From the worm’s eye-view, soldiers are tired, don’t want to die and shocked as they emerge from battle.
War 68 Ernie Pyle: We see [the war] from the worm’s eye view, and our segment of the picture consists only of tired soldiers who are alive and don’t want to die…of shocked men wandering back down the hill from battle… Blum, V Was for Victory

If you don’t kill him, he will kill you.
War 69 “You shoot him in the back, you blow him apart with mines, you kill or maim him…with the least danger to yourself [and] he does the same to you…and if you don’t beat him at his own game, you don’t live to appreciate your own nobleness.” Blum, V Was for Victory

The general was worse than the enemy.
War 87 John Hersey on General Marvin modeled on Patton in Bell for Adano: “But…General Marvin showed himself during the invasion to be a bad man, something worse than what our troops were trying to throw out.” Blum, V Was for Victory

They didn’t come back and we miss them still.
War 1 For all those who did not come back, and those who miss them still. Childers, Wings of Morning.

The true story of war is not war but love, memory and sorrow.
War And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war…[but] about love and memory…[and] sorrow. Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried in Childers, Wings of Morning.

They were all thinking the same thing: will I come back from this mission and eat at this mess hall.
War 72 …they were all thinking the same thing: When the weary crews straggle back to this mess hall this afternoon, another mission behind them, will I be among them? Childers, Wings of Morning

It was on the first missions that they saw flak and fighters and understood their own fragility.
War 135 The first five missions were typically the worst in a combat tour, when men saw flak and fighters and the tight formations for the first time, when they came to understand the brutal fragility of their existence. Childers, Wings of Morning

The medals cannot replace my husband.
War 218 “Poor exchange, all these meaningless medals in place of my husband.” [war] Childers, Wings of Morning

The families of those who did not come back were all alike—snapshots, scrapbooks, V-mails and the heartbreaking telegram.
War 246 Everywhere I saw reflected back at me the same tableau of love and pain that I had known in my own family—the same snapshots from the last visit home, the scrapbooks full of yellowing newspaper clippings and curling photographs, the boxes of V-mails, the same heartbreaking telegrams, kept neatly in their torn envelopes. Childers, Wings of Morning

War will exist until the conscientious objector is honored as the warrior is today.
War 89 JFK: War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

War provides the President with an opportunity for greatness.
War 619 JFK: War, he pointed out, made it easier for a President to achieve greatness. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

There is always a war somewhere.
War 39 I haven’t seen a paper lately but I suppose there’s a war—there always is. Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night.

This land cost twenty lives.
War 67 This land here [battlefield] cost twenty lives that summer. Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night.

No one knows exactly why WWI happened.
War 578 In 1963 he [Kennedy] would cite the 1914 conversation between two German leaders on the origins and expansion of that war [WWI], a former chancellor asking, ‘How did it all happen?’ and his successor saying, ‘Ah, if only one knew.’ Sorenson, Kennedy

JFK did not want the victims of a nuclear war asking, “How did it happen?” and receive the reply, “If only one knew.”
War 578 JFK: “If this planet is ever ravaged by nuclear war—if the survivors of that devastation can then endure the fire, poison, chaos, and catastrophe—I do not want one of those survivors to ask another, ‘How did it all happen?’ and receive the incredible reply: ‘Ah, if only one knew.’” Sorenson, Kennedy

Those who win wars gain recognition, not those who prevent them.
War 853 JFK: Customarily [history and posterity] reserve the mantle of greatness for those who win wars, not those who prevent them. Sorenson, Kennedy

Death will be the fate of a thousand men before nightfall.
War 243 “Poor fellow!” said Fergus in a momentary fit of compassion; then instantly added, “But it will be a thousand men’s fate before night; so come along.” Sir Walter Scott, Waverley.

These brave fellows will sleep the sleep of death before tomorrow night.
War 249 “How many of these brave fellows will sleep more soundly before to-morrow night….’ Sir Walter Scott, Waverley.

The ground is covered with carcasses.
War 255 “The ground is cumbered with carcasses,” said the old mountaineer….. Sir Walter Scott, Waverley.

The next best thing to victory is honorable death.
War 263 Waverley: “I am sorry for poor Colonel Gardner’s death: he was once very kind to me”...[Mac-Ivor]: ...Then be sorry for five minutes, and then be glad again; his chance today may be ours tomorrow...what does it signify?--the next best thing to victory is honorable death....” . Sir Walter Scott, Waverley.

Mostly the poor die in battle.
War 225 …your reign will be an endless series of petty battles…in which the poor man will be the only one who dies. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

Why do men fight? Leaders who lead their innocent populations to slaughter or the populations who reflect their own desires and choose and want leaders who lead their populations to slaughter.
War 622 Why did men fight? Was it the wicked leaders who led innocent populations to slaughter, or was it wicked populations who chose leaders after their own hearts? T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

Most wars are fought about nothing.
War 630 The fantastic thing about war was that it was fought about nothing—literally nothing. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

The old clock ticked away the life of a little boy who grew up and never returned to tell time by its ticking.
War 414 The New York Herald: In many a country cottage over the land, a tall old clock in a quiet corner told time in a tick-tock deliberation…face and dial of the clock had known the eyes of a boy who listened to its tick-tock and learned to read its minute and hour hands…the boy had seen years measured off by the swinging pendulum, had grown to man size, had gone away…the people in the cottage knew that the clock would stand there and the boy would never again come into the room and look at the clock with the query, “What is the time?” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Why did he win? He was there first with the most men.
War 519 Confederate Major Nathan Bedford Forrest…fifteen horses had been killed under him…his answer to a woman who asked him the secret of his success was, “Ma’am, I got thar fust with the most men.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Jefferson Davis: We are fighting for independence and we will have that or extermination.
War 565 Jefferson Davis: I worked night and day for twelve years to prevent it [war], but I could not…North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came; now it must go on until the last man of this generation falls in his tracks and his children seize his musket and fight our battles, unless you acknowledge our right to self-government…not fighting for slavery…fighting for independence, and that, or extermination, we will have. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

At the foot of a tree a pile of amputated arms and legs.
War 636 Of a large brick mansion on the banks of the Rappahannock, used as a hospital during a battle, Whitman had noted, “Out doors, at the foot of a tree, within ten yards of the front of the house, I notice a heap of amputated feet, legs, arms, hands, etc., a full load for a one-horse cart.'’ Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

The Light Brigade’s sacrifice: brilliant, grand but not war.
War 756 …the Light Brigade at Balaklava and the Frenchman who summarized its useless sacrifice: “It is brilliant; it is grand; but it is not war.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Lincoln on the battlefield saw a man with a hole in his head and another with both arms shot off, with their eyes accusing him.
War 789 Wrote the guard…of this day, “I saw him [Lincoln] ride over the battlefields at Petersburg, the man with the hole in his forehead and the man with both arms shot away lying, accusing, before his eyes.” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

A hundred thousand men wearing hats are killing an equal number who are wearing turbans. [The “Little Endians” vs. the “Big Endians”: where to break an egg. Jonathan Swift.]
War 212 Voltaire’s Philosopher in Micromégas: …while I am speaking, there are 100,000 animals of our own species, covered with hats, slaying an equal number of their fellow creatures, who wear turbans….. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire.

The people who order the slaughter of millions and thank God for their success.
War 212 Voltaire’s Philosopher in Micromégas: Besides the punishment should…be inflicted upon…those sedentary and slothful barbarians who, from their palaces, give orders for murdering a million of men, and then solemnly thank God for their success. . Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire.

The Seven Years’ War to decide whether France or Britain should win a few acres of snow—Canada.
War 226 Voltaire on the Seven Years’ War: …madness and suicide, the devastation of Europe to settle whether England or France should win “a few acres of snow” in Canada. . Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire.

It takes twenty years to mature a man and only a moment to kill him.
War 245 Voltaire on war: Twenty years are required to bring man from the state of a plant in which he exists in the womb of his mother, and from the state of an animal, which is his condition in infancy, to a state in which the maturity of reason begins to make itself felt…but one moment suffices in which to kill him. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire.

The ruler does not suffer the consequences of war and therefore can choose to start one for insignificant reasons.
War 285 Kant: …the ruler, who, as such, is not a mere citizen, but the owner of the state, need not in the least suffer personally by war, nor has he to sacrifice his pleasures of the table or the chase, or his pleasant palaces, court festivals, or the like…can therefore resolve for war from insignificant reasons, as if it were but a hunting expedition. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Kant.

Perhaps sports and finance can become the “moral equivalent of war” and thus avoid war in the future.
War 503 Santayana: Perhaps the development of international sports may give some outlet to the spirit of group rivalry, and serve in some measure as “a moral equivalent for war”; and perhaps the cross-investments of finance may overcome the tendency of trade to come to blows for the markets of the world. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Santayana.

War is revolt against the discipline of civilization.
War 13 …war is a natural revolt against the necessary but extremely irksome discipline of civilization…. Mencken, Minority Report.

When a man dies for his country, he is really dying for his government which is made up of politicians who never die in the wars they create.
War 173 Is a young man bound to serve his country in war…what is called his country is only the government, and that government consists merely of professional politicians…[who] never sacrifice themselves for their country…[and] make all wars, but very few of them ever die in one. Mencken, Minority Report.

In the old days, the danger was that of a duelist; today it is the danger of a hog in a slaughter house.
War 179 Yesterday the danger that a soldier ran in the field was the danger of a duelist with a sword in hand; today it is much more like the danger of a hog in a slaughter-house. Mencken, Minority Report.

What did we learn from two wars in twenty-five years?
War 135 Paul Gallico: Two wars in twenty-five years have forced us to grow up a little. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

You cannot win a political war with the military.
War 300 This [the Vietnam War] was a political war; one could not produce military answers. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

Bombing in Vietnam was a way of avoiding war.
War 513 But the bombing allowed them a rationale for thinking it was not war, it was just bombing, a way increasingly in their own minds of not going to war. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

Stay close to the enemy and air power is neutralized.
War 613 The way to offset U.S. might (which was clearly technological and not based on individual bravery or superiority soldier against soldier) was to close with the Americans as tightly as possible, within thirty meters [which] neutralized the American air and artillery power. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

The body count was marvelous.
War 638 Rostow: “The body count in Chau Doc is marvelous!” Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

No one realized the successes of the Vietcong because they faded away into the night.
War 647 The…Vietcong were resilient, but their successes never showed; they did not hold terrain, they faded into the night, their strength was never visible. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

The Vietnamese knew they could keep fighting until the Americans quit.
War 665 …a fully confident Pham Van Dong…told Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times in December 1966 in Hanoi: “And how long do you Americans want to fight, Mr. Salisbury… one year? Two years? Three years? Five years? Ten years? Twenty years? We will be glad to accommodate you.” Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

It is the duty not to mistreat prisoners of war to protect one’s own soldiers from mistreatment if they are captured.
War 220 Admiral Canaris to Hitler: Since the eighteenth century there has gradually been established that war captivity is neither revenge nor punishment, but solely protective custody…contrary to military tradition to kill or injure helpless people and in the interest of all belligerents in order to prevent mistreatment of their own soldiers in case of capture. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

It is accepted international principle that combatants can use the same methods used against them.
War 378 Rosenberg: It is a recognized principle of international law that, in war, reprisals may be taken by resorting to the same procedures and the same concepts as primarily used by the enemy. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

Although “War of Aggression” has not been defined, it is considered an international crime.
War 493 Although Biddle had found it impossible to define precisely what constituted a war of aggression—a definition that experts on international law still cannot agree on—the judgment declared: to initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

Men describe experiences in war as they would like them to have been, not as they actually were.
War 279 He described the Schöon Graben affair exactly as men who have taken part in battles always do describe them—that is, as they would like them to have been, as they have heard them described by others, and as sounds well, but not in the least as they really had been. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Why are millions slaughtered because leaders are ambitious or find some other reason to engage in war?
War 716 To us it is incomprehensible that millions of Christian men killed and tortured each other because Napoleon was ambitious or Alexander firm or because England’s policy was astute or the Duke of Oldenburg wronged: …why because the Duke was wronged thousands of men from the other end of Europe slaughtered and pillaged the inhabitants of Smolensk and Moscow, and were slaughtered by them. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Men fight for their own private ends and somehow produce a stupendous victory, the purpose of which no one has any idea.
War 810 Providence compelled all these men, striving for the attainment of their own private ends, to combine for the accomplishment of a single stupendous result, of which no one man (neither Napoleon, nor Alexander, still less any of those who did the actual fighting) had the slightest inkling. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

War is vile and we ought not to play at it.
War 922 War is not a polite recreation but the vilest thing in life, and we ought to understand that and not play at war. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Men slaughter men and then celebrate.
War 922 Tens of thousands of men meet--as they will tomorrow--to massacre one another: to kill and maim, and then they will offer up thanksgiving services for having slain such vast numbers...and proclaim victory, supposing that the more men they have slaughtered the more credit to them. Tolstoi, War and Peace

War 943 Soldier: “Down she crashes and out fly your guts.” Tolstoi, War and Peace

It’s not the details of the fighting that count but the spirit of the troops.
War 956 Long experience in war had taught him [General Kutuzov]…that it was impossible for one man to direct hundreds of thousands of others waging a struggle with death, and he knew that the outcome of a battle is determined not by the dispositions of the commander-in-chief, nor the place where the troops are stationed, nor the number of cannon or the multitude of the slain, but by that intangible force called the spirit of the army, and he kept an eye on that force and guided it as far as lay within his power. Tolstoi, War and Peace

Cannon balls smashed human bodies.
War 972 The cannon-balls flew just as swiftly and cruelly from each side, smashing human bodies, and still the fearful work went on…. Tolstoi, War and Peace

In the faces of the opposing armies he saw the same dismay, horror and conflict he felt in his own heart; who is causing this to happen?
War 1143 On the faces of all the Russians, on the faces of the French soldiers and officers, without exception, he read the same dismay, horror, and conflict that he felt in his own heart: ‘But who, after all, is doing this?’ Tolstoi, War and Peace

His witnessing the slaughter destroyed his faith in life, in humanity and in God.
War 1146 From the moment Pierre had witnessed that hideous massacre committed by men who had no desire to do it…his faith in the right ordering of the universe, in humanity, in his own self and in God had been destroyed…felt that to get back to faith in life was not in his power. Tolstoi, War and Peace

The maneuver was not planned but unfolded, incident by incident, and could only be seen in its entirety after it was completed.
War 1170 …the maneuver was, in reality, never conceived of as a whole but came about step by step, incident by incident, moment by moment, as the result of an infinite number of most diverse conditions, and was only seen in its entirety when it was a fait accompli and belonged to the past. Tolstoi, War and Peace

Everything had been planned but, as is always the case, no one reached the objective on time.
War 1176 Everything had been admirably thought out, as dispositions always are, and as is always the case, not a single column reached its objective at the appointed time. Tolstoi, War and Peace

A force is at work that causes men to slaughter each other and you cannot contradict or cancel it.
War 1201 In the changed face of the corporal, in the sound of his voice, in the agitating, deafening din of the drums, Pierre recognized that mysterious callous force which drove men against their will to murder their kind—that force the workings of which he had witnessed during the executions…to be afraid or to try to escape that force, to address entreaties or exhortations to those who were serving as its tools, was useless. Tolstoi, War and Peace

The spirit of the army is their readiness to fight and face danger.
War 1224 This X is the spirit of the army—in other words, the greater or lesser readiness to fight and face danger on the part of all the men composing an army…. Tolstoi, War and Peace

War 124 The tragedy of war is not in the dead nor in the living; it is in the living dead. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Impressions of waiting out a bombing in a bomb shelter.
War 145 …to sit in the corridor or the dank cellar holding tight to the children who cry with fright at the look in their parents’ eyes while droning like that of a million bees fills the sky. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

The emotional response to nearby bombing.
War 160 And God! The terrifying violence of bombs nearby, how they stunned the mind, ripped the nerves, and turned one’s limbs to water. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Soldiers born with names but died as numbers.
War 353 They [American soldiers] were born as names and would die as numbers. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

The technology of war: you don’t see the ones you kill.
War 388 They located the enemy by the abstractions of mathematics, an imagined science; they reported the enemy through radio waves that no man could visualize; and they destroyed him most frequently with projectiles no eye could follow. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

The soldiers’ bodies were relaxed, but their faces were not.
War 390 You noticed that their [soldiers’] bodies were relaxed, but their faces were not. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Thousands of bodies are a problem in sanitation; six bodies seem like a tragedy [because you see them as individuals.]
War 402 He looked at the bodies and went on: “With a thousand, it would be just a problem of sanitation; with six, it seems like a tragedy.” Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Knowing that you are the specific target of shell fire is a terrifying sensation.
War 438 To be near shell fire intended for something or somebody else is distressing enough, but to know that you are the target is quite another sensation. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Wars are each century’s attempt to destroy itself.
War 460 [Gertrude Stein] was just then finishing a new book…about all the wars she had known, from reading and in life, and its theme…was that wars come because every century tries to destroy itself. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

You cannot communicate the experience of war.
War 495 It [war] can never be communicated. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

I tried to explain that I could not explain the experience of war.
War 495 …this attempt to explain that I could not really explain the war…. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

Enough wars will kill all the green and shut off the oxygen.
War 27 If we let fly enough of them [missiles], we can even burn out the one-celled green creatures in the sea, and thus turn off the oxygen. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Nuclear enthusiasts are busy calculating acceptable levels of massive numbers of deaths.
War 27 ...the nuclear realists, busy as their minds must be with calculations of acceptable levels of megadeath.... L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Bell for Adano suggested that the American soldier was a dangerous shit.
War American 88 Bell, [Hersey] wrote, “was the first novel or book of any kind, during the Second World War, to suggest that the American hero…might be a dangerous shit.” Blum, V Was for Victory

War is not like chess; it consists of complex collisions of diverse wills.
War and chess 843 How much more complex is the game of war, which must be played within certain limits of time and where it is a question not of one will manipulating inanimate objects but of something resulting from the innumerable collisions of diverse wills. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Only dictators can conduct sudden, bold, determined wars.
War and dictatorship 100 Senator Baker of Oregon: I want sudden, bold, forward determined war; and I do not think anybody can conduct war of that kind as well as a dictator. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Each side in the Civil War invokes and prays to the same God.
War and God 772 Lincoln: Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

In war, morality becomes relative.
War and morality 72 The relativity of moral ideas is proved anew every time there is a war. Mencken, Minority Report.

Wars will cease when those who have to fight make the decision between war and peace.
War and peace 285 Kant: When those who must do the fighting have the right to decide between war and peace, history will no longer be written in blood. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Kant.

Profiteers who make cheap goods to increase profit at the expense of the armies they are outfitting.
War and profiteering 479 General James Grant Wilson noted…that some of the most competent and energetic contractors were the most dishonest…in tents, a lighter cloth or a few inches off the size; in harness, split leather; in saddles, inferior materials and workmanship; in shoes, paper soles; in clothes, shoddy; in mixed horse feed, chaff and a larger proportion of the cheaper grain…. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

There’s no science when unforeseeable circumstances come together to produce an event that could not be foretold.
War and science 762 Prince Andrei: What science can there be where everything is vague and depends on an endless variety of circumstances, the significance of which becomes manifest all in a moment, and no one can foretell when that moment is coming? Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Wars create more scoundrels than they kill.
War and the Home Front 480 Blackwood’s Magazine: A great war always creates more scoundrels than it kills. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

When people die in war, who knows what contributions they might have made to the world that now have been lost?
War death 182 The flame that burned so brightly in fifth-century Athens would have given more and still more light to the world if these dead had not died, and died truly in vain. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

This book about the last bomber shot down over Germany during WWII belongs to my father who inspired it and to my grandparents who always believed that the family would some day be reunited again.
War memory death 273 But ultimately this book belongs to my father, Tom Childers, who inspired it and who did not live to see it completed, and to my late grandparents, Ernest and Callie Goodner, who preserved Howard’s letters and his memory and who always believed, as the old wartime song went, that they would meet again. Childers, Wings of Morning.

In communicating with those who had lost their sons, we brought back to life the men who had died.
War memory love generations 246 And as we talked and wrote and visited in the months that followed, the crew came alive again, one by one, borne on the wings of memory, and we found ourselves bound together in a chain of love and loss that passed beyond the generations. Childers, Wings of Morning

Hitler was influenced by the discipline and hierarchy of the military organization.
War military order 66 It was the discipline of war and the “front-line acquaintance” with the clear and simple military hierarchy of order and values which were to shape Hitler’s sense of values and turn this unstable dreamer…into the rigid fanatic with incredibly oversimplified ideas of war and order. Bracher, The German Dictatorship.

No comments:

Post a Comment