On War

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?"

Mahatma Gandhi, political and spiritual leader of the Indian Independence Movement

In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.

When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.

Sun Tzu, early Chinese general and author of The Art of War

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war … but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

Hermann Göring, second in command of the German Third Reich during the reign of Adolph Hitler

“Terror is a tactic. We can not wage ‘war’ against a tactic."

Ron Paul, US Congressman and 2008 Presidential Candidate

“Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent."

Isaac Asimov, celebrated science-fiction author

“History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."

Ronald Regan, 40th President of the United States

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime."

Ernest Hemingway, American novelist

“Never has there been a good war or a bad peace."

Benjamin Franklin, early American polymath and [Founding Father of the United States

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Published: August 21, 2007Last updated: August 21, 2007

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