War and Peace

War is one of the oldest activities of mankind, but one which today has fallen into disrepute. Newfangled schemes are proposed to do away with it from nuclear freezes to UN commissions. If past efforts to limit man's inate aggression are any indication, these modern attempts will fail since it has been shown time and time again that fear of another's greater strength is the only effective deterrent.

The methods of waging war have changed over the millennia, but never so quickly as over the past few decades. Some have even suggested that the fission of uranium nuclei at Hiroshima changed the whole character of war, indeed made it obsolete. This is clearly not so. The defeat of the Carthaginians by the Romans was as complete, and from the point of view of the losers, as disastrous, as the aftermath of a nuclear war.

Still, the immediacy of the conflict has been altered. Campaigns which might have once taken years to eliminate an enemy could now take hours or minutes. Even more ominously, a minor power or a madman has the potential to best a professional army, for the development of nuclear arsenals has been concentrated on offense with scant attention paid to defense.

In spite of the old maxim that the best defense is a good offense, armies have in practice also watched their flanks and built perimeter defenses. The history of warfare has been a seesaw battle between offensive and defensive technology. "Unstoppable" weapons -- the bow and arrow, the roman phalanx, the tank -- have always been neutralalized, or at least contained, by new and better defenses.

The same thing is about to happen today with nuclear weapons. If the United States has the will to develop them -- the Soviet Union certainly will -- High Frontier space and land-based defensive systems can effectively neutralize the opposition's nuclear arsenal.

And then? The old conflicts will doubtless continue. New weapons will be developed and new defenses to stop them. In the end it will be the will to win which counts as much as the weapons.

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.
Robert Heinlein

Who desires peace should prepare for war.

War is the only sport which is genuinely amusing. And it is the only sport which has any intelligible use.
H.L. Mencken

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile -- hoping it will eat him last.
Winston Churchill

Men should stop fighting among themselves and start fighting insects.
Luther Burbank

We view our atomic arsenal as proudly and as devotedly as any pioneer ever viewed his flintlock hanging over the mantel as his children slept, and dreamed.
William F. Buckley Jr.

If you want to know when a war might be coming, you just watch the U.S. and see when it starts cutting down on its defenses. It's the surest barometer in the world.
Will Rogers

The only good Indian is a dead Indian.
Gen. George Custer

We don't owe the Indians anything. We fought them. They lost. That's that.
Ted Crown

Genocide means never having to say you're sorry.
Ted Crown

Why don't we sell 5 AWACS planes to the State of Florida? That way they can spot those damn Haitians as soon as they leave port.
Ted Crown, on the Haitian boatlift

The only lesson of the Nuremberg War Trials is the importance of being on the winning side.
Ted Crown

Better pointed bullets than pointed speeches.
Prince Otto von Bismark

In war there is no second prize for the runner-up.
Gen. Omar Bradley

At sea let the British their neighbors defy -- The French shall have frigates to traverse the sky.
Philip Freneau, The Progress of Balloons, 1784

History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
Ambrose Bierce

History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history.
Clarence Darrow

When I came back to Dublin I was courtmartialled in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.
Brendan Behan

A government needs one hundred soldiers for every guerilla it faces.
Fulgencio Batista, Cuban leader overthrown by Castro

The sinister nature of the American soil is apparent in places like Gettysburg. Fertilize it with the blood of heros, and it brings forth a frozen-custard stand.
Russell Baker

Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only for food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Woody Allen

The Gettysburg Adress has been included, of late, in several anthologies of poetry. It actually meets the major requirement of all poetry: It is a mellifluous and emotional statement of the obviously not true. The men who fought for self-determination at Gettysburg were not the Federals but the Confederates.
H.L. Mencken

All American wars (except the Civil War) have been fought with the odds overwhelmingly in favor of the Americans. In the history of armed combat such affairs as the Mexican and Spanish-American Wars must be ranked, not as wars at all, but as organized assassinations. In the two World Wars, no American faced a bullet until his adversaries had been worn down by years of fighting others.
H.L. Mencken

I have never met a man [in the military], in or out of uniform, who ever said, "Let's use the missiles." They are even more terrified that the Bishops, because a great many of them don't expect to go to Heaven, which at least the Bishops do.
Clare Boothe Luce

In dealing with Syria's dictator...only force counts. No cease-fire was attainable in Lebanon until the 16-inch guns of the battleship New Jersey started shelling Syria's proxies; suddenly, sweet reason prevailed in Damascus.
William Safire

If there were 10,000 U.S. forces ashore [in Lebanon], authorized to move about, there would be less risk to American lives than there is with an immobile force of 1,300.
George Will

I think the President ought to bring everybody that's in American uniform back because we're headed for war.
Sen. Barry Goldwater, on Lebanon

The people in the Mideast have been fighting since the days of Abraham. Asking our marines to stop the fighting there is like trying to change the course of Niagara Falls with a bucket.
Larry J. Hopkins, Republican congressman

France believes in armed intervention by America only when the intervention is in France to rescue France from occupation by other powers.
William F. Buckley Jr.

Mrs. Thatcher responded to our liberation of Grenada with the sounds of a somewhat hypersensitive Neville Chamberlain.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

The miracle of Grenada is how quickly the Cuban workers beat their plowshares into Soviet AK-47s.
Sen. William Cohen

The United States has done something unusual. After too many years, it has picked up Teddy Roosevelt's big stick and given the Big Bear and Fidel a swat on their collective butts they will remember for awhile.
R.W. Scott, Editor, World Oil on the Grenada liberation

These missiles [Cruise and Pershing II] represent a new generation of missiles whose deployment will help give NATO first-strike capability. With this first-strike strategy, the West believes it could attack Russian military installations with such effectiveness that serious retaliation would be impossible.
Petra Kelly, leader of West Germany's Green party

The worst possible policy for El Salvador is to provide just enough aid to keep the war [against the leftist guerrillas] going, but too little to wage it successfully.
Kissinger Commission on Central America Report

In 1979, we thought it would be easier to take power. The intervention of the United States has changed the circumstances.
Mario Lopez, Salvadoran guerilla leader

To get even inadequate levels of aid for the Salvadoran Army, Reagan must promise repeatedly that the administration is not seeking a "military solution" at the expense of a "political settlement." In plain language, that means giving up a chance for victry in favor of a negotiated compromise with Marxist-Leninists who, if abundant history is any guide, will disregard any promise the moment it is advantageous to do so.
Robert J. Caldwell, Soldier of Fortune

The jelly-bean eating thug says that national defense is important. But national defense starts at home.
Dick Gregory, bemoaning Reagan's budget priorities

Japanese government leaders, bowing to pressure from the United States, approved a budget increasing military spending to $771 million...With that kind of money, they could buy at least 12 bolts.
USA Today

High Frontier places a bullet-proof vest on our bare chest. High Frontier is as non-aggressive as a bullet-proof vest. There is no way to kill anyone with High Frontier -- all that High Frontier can do is to keep others from killing us.
Robert Heinlein

Mutually Assured Destruction, MAD, works only as long as it works; it does not know what to do if deterrence fails, for it envisions no defensive capabilities. A deterrent works until it is needed; then one needs defenses.
J.E. Pournelle

Star Wars -- a scary concept. But not so scary as the though of nuking cities. These are defensive systems, and defense will no more cause war than burglar alarms cause burglaries.
Howard Banks

Arms control is a worthy enterprise, but it is a means and not an end. Content matters, although the House pretends otherwise.
Editorial, The New Republic

We can export terrorism. We can assassinate and set fires inside the territory of the United States as it did to all of us.
Muammar Qadhadfi, Libyan dictator

Alexander III of Macedon is known as Alexander the Great because he killed more people of more different kinds than any other man of his time.
Will Cuppy

An admiral should be put to death now and then to encourage the others.

Your highness should recollect that Bonaparte has not been twice in London to teach them.
Lord Dudley, to Prince Metternich when the latter remarked that the common people of Vienna spoke better French than the educated people of London

I love the smell of napalm in the morning...It smells like victory!
Robert Duvall, in the film, Apocalypse Now

So long as the international community consists of sovereign states, war between them remains a possibility, of which all governments have to take reasonable account.
Michael Howard, The Causes of Wars and Other Essays

Paradoxically, the few eras of peace were times when men of war had high influence. The Pax Romana was enforced by Caesar's Legions. The Pax Brittanica was enforced by the Royal Navy and His Majesty's Forces.
J.E. Pournelle

It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.
Douglas MacArthur

To talk of atomic energy in terms of atomic bombs is like talking of electricity in terms of the electric chair.
Peter L. Kapitza

I took the canal zone and let congress debate, and while the debate goes on the canal does also.
Theodore Roosevelt

We should keep [the Panama Canal]. After all, we stole it fair and square.
Sen. S.I. Hayakawa

Go pick bananas, we'll run the canal.
Meldrim Thomson, New Hampshire governor to Panamanians

The British Army should be a projectile to be fired by the British Navy.
Edward, Viscount Grey of Falloden

If you are insulted at the dinner table, don't throw the decanter stopper at the offender. Throw the decanter!
Lord John Fisher, speaking of the purpose of battleship firepower

The visual impact of a United States battleship springs from its ability to put Soviet ships on the bottom of the sea and to put devastating firepower ashore -- nothing else.
John F. Lehman Jr., Secretary of Defense

A gun in the hand is worth any number being tested.
Malcolm Forbes

When we jumped into Sicily, the units became separated, and I couldn't find anyone. Eventually, I stumbled across two colonels, a major, three captains, two lieutenants, and one rifleman, and we secured the bridge. Never in the history of war have so few been led by so many.
General James Gavin

Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat.
Hermann Goering

I could have ended the war in a month. I could have made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle.
Barry Goldwater

We should declare war on North Vietnam. We could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it, and still be home by Christmas.
Ronald Reagan, 1966

Viewed as drama, World War I is somewhat disappointing.
D.W. Griffith

The men who make history have no time to write about it.
Prince Clemens von Metternich

There is no record in history of a nation that ever gained anything valuable by being unable to defend itself.
H.L. Mencken

General, you don't have a war plan! All you have is a kind of horrible spasm!
Robert S. McNamara

Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland rules the World-Island; Who rules the World-Island commands the world.
Sir Halford MacKinder, 1919

Before all else, be armed.
Niccolo Machiavelli

It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.
Niccolo Machiavelli

A battle that you win cancels all your mistakes.
Niccolo Machiavelli

Blank cartridges should never be used against a mob, nor should a volley be fired over the heads of the mob even if there is little danger of hurting persons in the rear. Such things will be regarded as an admission of weakness, or an attempt to bluff, and may do more harm than good.
Douglas MacArthur

Wars are caused by undefended wealth.
Douglas MacArthur

My dear McClellan:
If you don't want to use the army I should like to borrow it for a while.
Yours respectfully,
A. Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, letter to General McClellan in response to his tactics

The soldiers currently manning our sophisticated weaponry have room temperature IQ's.
G. Gordon Liddy

When I first went into the active Army, you could tell someone to move a chair across the room. Now you have to tell them why.
Robert Lembke

I don't want to hear of any of you men getting into any fights with the British. But if you do, you'd better not get whipped.
Curtis LeMay, to his troops stationed in England during World War II

When someone makes a move
Of which we don't approve,
Who is it that always intervenes?
U.N. and O.A.S.,
They have their place, I guess,
But first send the Marines!
Tom Lehrer

Once all the Germans were warlike and mean
But that couldn't happen again
We taught them a lesson in 1918
And they've hardly bothered us since then.
Tom Lehrer

Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.
John F. Kennedy

A Smith & Wesson beats four aces.
Canada Bill Jones

Boys, it is just like the Alamo. Somebody should have by God helped those Texans. I'm going to Vietnam.
Lyndon Johnson

I wake up 5 a.m. some mornings and hear the planes coming in at National Airport and I think they are bombing me.
Lyndon B. Johnson

To the meaningless French idealisms, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, we oppose the German realities, Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery.
Prince Bernhard von Bulow

We believe that Americans should have the right to own guns because traditionally justice has always come from the ballot box, the jury box, but, if these failed, the cartridge box.
Rep. Steve Symms

Fortune is always on the side of the largest battalions.
Marie de Rabutin-Chantal

The thing constantly overlooked by those hopefuls who talk about abolishing war is that it is by no means an evidence of decay but rather a proof of health and vigor.
H.L. Mencken

World War II was the last government program that really worked.
George Will

A NATO official recently observed that "Luxembourg's defense budget is smaller than the Pentagon's phone bill." It's reassuring to know that the Defense Department at least stays in touch.
Malcolm S. Forbes

It is admirable to go down fighting. It is better to come out on top.
Daniel Gersen

It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while the wolf remains unconvinced.
William R. Inge

The armed forces skimp on training exercises so they can sluice money into exotic new systems. Detecting and collaring airborne drug runners, I would think, would be a superb training exercise. More than that, it would be engaging in the prime function of the Air Force: defending the U.S.
Malcolm S. Forbes

We want peace with all our hearts. But peace cannot be achieved through weakness.
Jack Kemp, speech to the Republican Convention

Get a shot off fast. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect.
Robert Heinlein

Peace is an extension of war by political means. Plenty of elbowroom is pleasanter -- and much safer.
Robert Heinlein

Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.
Theodore Roosevelt

Put your trust in God -- But keep your powder dry.
Oliver Cromwell

Nobody who's ever been to Gulag is a pacifist.
William F. Buckley Jr.

Maybe we should hold the next [Olympic] games in Afghanistan and hope the Soviets pull out of that one too.
Johnny Carson, 1984

It ought to be remembered by all [that] the Games more than 2,000 years ago started as a means of bringing peace between the Greek city-states. And in those days, even if a war was going on, they called off the war in order to hold the Games. I wish we were still as civilized.
Ronald Reagan

Those who refuse to support and defend the state have no claim to protection by that state. Killing an anarchist or a pacifist should not be considered "murder" in a legalistic sense. The offense against the state, if any, should be "Using deadly weapons within city limits," or "Creating a traffic hazard," or other misdemeanor.
Robert Heinlein

The Soviet Union needs you! Support a U.S. nuclear freeze.
Dartmouth College Republican poster

The problem is that the East is producing missiles and the West is producing pacifists.
Francois Mitterand

Every normal man must be tempted at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
H.L. Mencken

The true lesson of the Vietnam War is: certainty of purpose and ruthlessness of execution win wars.
Ronald Reagan

Pay well, command well, hang well.
Ralph Hopton, Lord Hopton of Stratton, Maxims for the management of an army, 1643

After a battle is over, people talk a lot about how decisions were methodically reached, but actually there's always a hell of a lot of groping around.
Frank Jack Fletcher

He defeated the Americans with great slaughter.
General Charles Cornwallis, inscription on tomb in Westminster Abbey

MacArthur is the type of man who thinks that when he gets to heaven, God will step down from the great white throne and bow him into His vacant seat.
Harold Ickes

General Sherman is considered an able man in our parts, though some people think he is a kind of careless man with fire.
Henry W. Grady

No matter what happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping.
Frank Knox, U.S. Secretary of the Navy December 4, 1941

It is significant that despite the claims of the air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs.
Caption to photo of the U.S.S. Arizona, in the Army-Navy football program, November 29, 1941

Babies Satisfactorily Born.
U.S. Army code message, on the successful test of the atomic bomb at Almagordo, New Mexico

It was accidental suicide.
Vietnamese government announcement, on the death of President Ngo Dinh Diem and Ngo Dinh Nhu

History has shown that men and nations act reasonably only when they have exhausted all existing alternatives.
Delegate to United Nations

We can do it. What is it?
Motto of British Field General

Our ships have been salvaged and are retiring at high speed toward the Japanese fleet.
American Radio message, after the Japanese reported that the ships of the Third Fleet were sunk or retiring

That monkey meat is all right, until the animal's hands turn up on the plate.
GI saying

If we had to depend of the likes of the U.S. Postal Service to defend our country, we'd all be speaking Russian.
Nathan Levenson

Anyone who wants nuclear weapons to attack Massachusetts can't be all bad.
Greg Fossedal, on Meldrim Thomson, the New Hampshire governor who wanted his National Guard to be trained in the use of nuclear weapons

History tends to be partial to the victor.
George Wrong

Germany was responsible for Hitler just as much as Chicago was responsible for the Chicago Tribune.
Alexander Woollcott

Army's rules: 1) If it moves, salute it. 2) If it doesn't move, pick it up. 3) If it's too big to pick up, paint it.
G.F. Wilson

We'll blast them back into the stone ages!
General William C. Westmoreland

Nothing could have been more obvious to the people of the early twentieth century than the rapidity with which war was becoming impossible. And as certainly they did not see it. They did not see it until the atomic bomb burst in their fumbling hands.
H.G. Wells, The World Set Free (1914)

I have seen their backs before.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, when French marshalls turned their backs on him at a reception

The whole art of war consists in getting what is on the other side of the hill.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

I have already given two cousins to the war, and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother.
Artemus Ward

Not by speeches and decisions of majorities will the greatest problems ofthe time be decided...but by iron and blood.
Otto von Bismark

Nothing should be left to an invaded people except their eyes for weeping.
Otto von Bismark

Generals are fascinating cases of arrested development -- after all, at five all of us wanted to be generals.
Peter Ustinov

Sir, a doolie is that insignificant whose rank is measured in negative units, one whose potential for learning is unlimited.
US Air Force Academy, designation of first-year men

There are also a lot of nice buildings in Haiphong. What their contribution to the war effort is I don't know but the desire to bomb a virgin building is terrific.
Commander Henry Urban Jr.

He'll sit there are he'll say "Do this! Do that!" and nothing will happen. Poor Ike -- it won't be a bit like the army.
Harry S Truman, on Eisenhower's election

A collision at sea can ruin your entire day.

Sovereignity is a lot like pregnancy; either you have it or you don't.
Vincent Starzinger

Asking one of the states to surrender part of her sovereignity is like asking a lady to surrender part of her chastity.
John Randolph

The Germans, a race eager for war.
Seneca, c. 50 A.D.

A "brass hat" is an officer of at least one rank higher than you whom you don't like and doesn't like you.
Kenneth Claiborne Royall

I was standing next to a famed geo-politician when the first news of the Argentine attack [on the Faulkland Islands] was received, and heard him muse incredulously: "An old-fashioned naval battle. A war between two civilized nations, perhaps with even a declaration of war, and later a peace conference. Wow." No hostages, no nukes, no ideologies, no religious fanaticism; just a fair-and-square war over national interests - hard to believe, in this day and age.
William Safire

Genocide: A gentle reminder that God is on the side of the big battalions.
Bernard Rosenberg

No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war.
Theodore Roosevelt

A pacifist is as surely a traitor to humanity as is the most brutal wrongdoer.
Theodore Roosevelt

Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth.
Will Rogers

Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it.
Will Rogers

When PLO sniper fire is followed by 14 hours of Israeli bombardment, that's stretching the definition of defensive action too far.
Ronald Reagan

I'm beginning to wonder if the symbol of the United States pretty soon isn't going to be an ambassador with a flag under his arm climbing into an escape helicopter.
Ronald Reagan, during the 1980 campaign

You may cover whole skins of parchment with limitations, but power alone can limit power.
John Randolph

One consolation -- if there is a nuclear war, we won't have to hear all about it every two seconds on radio and TV.

I do like to see the arms and legs fly.
Colonel George S. Patton III

You can thank God that twenty years from now, with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you "What did you do in the war?," you won't have to shift him to the other knee, cough, and say "I shovelled shit in Louisiana."
General George S. Patton, to his soldiers

I don't blame our Indians for being discouraged. They are the only ones to be conquered by the United States and not come out ahead.
Harry Oliver

While might certainly does not make right, neither does right by itself make might.
Richard M. Nixon

The lesson of all history warns us that we should negotiate only when our military superiority is so convincing that we can achieve our objective at the conference table, and deny the aggressor theirs.
Richard M. Nixon

A ship is always referred to as "she" because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

In Rommel's War in Africa, author Wolf Heckman demonstrates that neither courage nor tactics could make up for tanks which were too slow, tanks which lacked adequate armor, tanks with small guns, and the absence of decent anti-tank weapons.
New Yorker

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