Tag: Words for War

Words for War: Seven Unknown Quotes on War, Part 8

By John DeRosa


“Few of us can hold on to our real selves long enough to discover the real truths about ourselves and this whirling earth to which we cling. This is especially true of men in war. The great god Mars tries to blind us when we enter his realm, and when we leave he gives us a generous cup of the waters of Lethe to drink.”

Gray, Jesse Glenn. The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle. First Bison Books, 1998. 


“There are many ways of fighting. Many a man or woman has waged a good war for truth, honor, and freedom, who did not shed blood in the process. Beware of those who would use violence, too often it is the violence they want and neither truth nor freedom.” 

L’Amour, Louis. The Walking Drum. Bantam, 2005.

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Words for War: Seven Unknown Quotes on War, Part 7

By Von Clausewitz (a pseudonym for a military person that desires anonymity)


On operational command and civil-military relations:

‘I spend a great deal of time imprisoned in my office, captive to the demands of Canberra. As much as possible I shield the unit commanders in Afghanistan from the deadening touch of Defence bureaucrats and political wrangling, but not always successfully. I tear my hair out in frustration when I am second-guessed, undermined or contradicted by staff officers half a world away; sometimes I get actual help. I have a bit of a blue with my boss, a turf war; we patch it up and get on with it’.

From Exit Wounds by Major General (ret) John Cantwell (Australian Army)


On hope as a course of action

‘It was all very well hoping confidently and optimistically that the grand endeavour would be smiled upon by a benevolent deity, but the battle-hardened old-timers taught us that you shouldn’t mix hope and soldiering’.

From Kandak by Patrick Hennessey

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Words for War: Seven Unknown Quotes on War, Part 6

By Lieutenant Colonel Dave Lyle, US Air Force


How Wars Start


“To be saved from folly you need either kind friends or fierce enemies.” 

Diogenes of Sinope (aka Diogenes the Cynic)


How War Works

“In the history of the world, there have been persons in leadership positions who have not thought things through as well as they might have. Nor have they always been able to direct matters even skillfully enough to achieve their short sighted objectives. One of the traditional places where the price for that is paid is in the trenches where the common soldier has to crawl in simple self-preservation. Far less often is the price paid in the distant citadels of power, and even then it is normally paid in bloodless coin, limousines taking the henchmen away to minimum-security detentions or to exile in luxury.” 

Algis Budrys, in the introduction to L. Ron Hubbard’s Final Blackout

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Words for War: Seven Unknown Quotes on War, Part 4

By PJ Neal


“Although the war is over the memories still go on in my dreams.  I still see the desperate fighting, and hear the groans of the wounded.  The World War cost the United States more than 342,000 wounded and approximately 39,500 killed in action.  There were 9,665,000 men killed in the World War, all for the craze of territory expansion, greed and the almighty dollar.  Yet the “War Dogs” and the politicians pay hypocritical homage to the dead, saying:  ‘They died gloriously for their country.’  Like hell.  The ones I saw died pitifully, just doing their duty.”

– John W. Nell, The Lost Battalion:  A Private’s Story

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Words for War: Sir Lawrence Freedman Edition

By Sir Lawrence Freedman

“For War, consisteth not in Battell onely, or the act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the Will to contend by Battell is sufficiently known: and therefore the notion of Time, is to be considered in the nature of Warre; as it is in the nature of Weather.”

               -Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

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Words for War: Seven Unknown Quotes on War, Part II

By Colonel Clark C. Barrett

Mental preparedness

My favorite (in bold), some may have read it, but it’s not among the traditional Patton favorites.

“. . . the successful cavalryman must educate himself to say Charge! I say educate himself, for the man is not born who can say it out of hand. . . . Civilization has affected us; we abhor personal encounter. Many a man will risk his life, with an easy mind, in a burning house, who recoils from having his face punched. . . . We have never felt our eyes screw up, our temples throb, and the red mist gather in our sight. And we expect that a man. . . shall. . . hurl himself on the enemy, a frenzied beast, lusting to probe his foeman’s guts with three feet of steel or shatter his brains with a bullet. Gentlemen, it cannot be done—not without mental practice.”

 -General George S. Patton

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