John F. Kennedy's speech at Rice University was one on behalf of NASA and, by extension, the human spirit:
"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
At the Rivonia Trial, when just about everyone - including himself - thought he was facing the hangman for his part in organizing uMkhonto we Sizwe's armed campaign against white supremacist rule in South Africa, had this to say:
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
Later, after his release:
Our march to freedom is irreversible.
At his inauguration:
Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
Let freedom reign!
The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!
"Stop sending men to try and kill me. If you don't, I will send one to kill you. I will not need to send another."
14th century French noblewoman-turned-pirate-admiral Jeanne de Clisson, whose husband was betrayed and executed for treason by the French crown, to the sole survivor she always made sure to leave after taking a French ship:
"Tell the King of France that the Lioness of Brittany is coming for him."
Yuri Gagarin made one on his return to Earth, when he was first discovered and mistaken for an alien.
Stunned farmer: Can it be that you have come from outer space?
Gagarin: As a matter of fact, yes.
The SAS, the first modern special forces regiment and archetypal badasses, have one as their motto: "Who dares, wins."
This is set underneath a flaming Excalibur set on a crusader shield. When the Brits with Battleships do badass, they don't mess around.
Most heroes of American folklore, Davy Crockett (legendary version and the real man), Mike Fink, John Henry, Pecos Bill, etc., had version of this, often called brags.
These are based, at least part, in the brags of Ohio/Missisippi river boatmen, who were well-known for colorful and elaborate boasts, before fights (a major source of entertainment and betting). Examples: "My daddy can whip any man in (your area), and I can whip my pa!", "I can wrassle a buffalo and chaw the ear off a grizzly!", etc.
During a parley with Andy Jackson, one mixed-ancestry Crow chieftain said something to the effect of, "I got Scots in me, I got Iroquois in me, I got French in me...", and so on through a list of both White nations and Indian tribes. Then he closes with, "...but I ain't got no damn Yankee in me!"
For Davy Crockett:
"I'm that same David Crockett, fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without scratch down a honey locust; can whip my weight in wild cats, — and if any gentleman pleases, for a ten dollar bill, he may throw in a panther,- hug a bear too close for comfort, and eat any man opposed to Jackson."
"I'm a Salt River roarer! I'm a ring-tailed squealer! I'm a reg'lar screamer from the ol' Massassip'! WHOOP! I'm the very infant that refused his milk before its eyes were open, and called out for a bottle of old Rye! I love the women an' I'm chockful o' fight! I'm half wild horse and half cock-eyed alligator and the rest o' me is crooked snags an' red-hot snappin' turkle. I can hit like fourth-proof lightnin' an' every lick I make in the woods lets in an acre o' sunshine. I can out-run, out-jump, out-shoot, out-brag, out-drink, an' out-fight, rough-an'-tumble, no holts barred, ary man on both sides the river from Pittsburgh to New Orleans an' back ag'in to St. Louiee. Come on, you flatters, you bargers, you milk-white mechanics, an' see how tough I am to chaw! I ain't had a fight for two days an' I'm spilein' for exercise. Cock-a-doodle-do!"
The Duke of Marlborough before the Battle of Blenheim: "Here I conquer or here I die."
Patrick Henry is a speech given at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia on March 23, 1775:
"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
During his political battle against the Second Bank of the United States, Andrew Jackson proclaimed to his vice president Martin Van Buren: "The bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me but I will kill it!".
These words could only have been spoken by a man whose only language was ham.
"Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, bringing his fist down on the table I will rout you out!"
Written about Jackson in the song "The Hunters of Kentucky" referring to his impressive victory in the Battle of New Orleans:
I s'pose you've read it in the prints
How Pakenham attempted
To make Old Hickory Jackson wince
But his scheme soon repented
For he with rifle ready cocked
Thought such occasion lucky
And soon around Old Jackson flocked
The hunters of Kentucky!
David Farragut, upon being warned about mines in the water at the Battle of Mobile Bay, responded (roughly): "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!"
Warned nothing, one of his ships (The monitor Tecumpseh) had just struck one and sunk. This caused the ship in front of his to stop, right under the guns of a fort. The historical quote is properly two separate quotes: "Damn the Torpedoes!" to the Captain of the Brooklyn (the guy who had stopped), and "Four bells" (which was the naval order for maximum power) to the Captain of the ship tied alongside, the Hartford. The Captain then took the Hartford right past the Brooklyn and into the mine field.
General Pedro María Anaya to the general asking him where his ammo was after the Battle of Churubusco ended: "Si yo hubiera tenido parque, usted no estaría aquí (If I had any ammunition left, you would not be here)".
The Brag was a tradition of the Scandinavian warriors. When going into battle, a warrior would "brag" about what feats he'd do in the upcoming battle, and his fellow warriors would hold him to this boast. If the warrior did not deliver in his brag, he'd be killed by his fellows, unless he died trying, in which case he'd be honored as one of the noble slain and burned in a funeral pyre so his spirit would go to Valhalla. Quite the motivator to either be a Badass or shut the hell up.
Invoked and Subverted by a (supposed) RealLife Example. A student is taking a test, but goes over the acceptable time. The professor refuses to accept it. Three times the student asks the professor if he knows who he is, in stronger language each time; each time the professor replies 'no'. Finally the student says "Good!" shoves the test into the middle of the stack, and walks away.
"From youth my heart has been inclined toward the Way of strategy. My first duel was when I was thirteen, I struck down a strategist of the Shinto school, one Arima Kihei. When I was sixteen I struck down an able strategist, Tadashima Akiyama. When I was twenty-one I went up to the capital and met all manner of strategists, never once failing to win in many contests. After that I went from province to province dueling with strategists of various schools, and not once failed to win even though I had as many as sixty encounters. This was between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight or twenty-nine." From The Book Of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.
So we made a thoroughfare for freedom and her train,
Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred to the main,
Treason fled before us for resistance was in vain,
While we were marching through Georgia.
In his second campaign for reelection, Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech immediately following an assassination attempt. His opening statement was "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."
And of course, what Vice President Marshall said upon hearing about Roosevelt's passing. "Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight."
This was a common pre-battle ritual for samurai, which bit them in the bum when they came up against Kublai Khan's Mongol host, who of course had no concept of the formal traditions of battle the Japanese had practised during centuries of fighting themselves. When the Japanese drew up their battle lines and sent forth their herald to read the formal Badass Boast and ritual insult of the enemy, the Mongols simply shot the guyand charged. Fortunately for Japan, a freak typhoon later sunk the colossal navy Khan had sent to conquer them, thwarting his attempt and forever entering the Japanese psyche as "Kamikaze", the Divine Wind.
This actually happened twice, a second time after the Mongols had already crushed the first line of defence on the actual islands of Japan. After the second invasion was obliterated by storm, the Mongols apparently decided that while the enemy troops were easy, their gods were a pain in the neck.
"If the Army and the Navy / ever look on Heaven's scenes / They shall find the streets are guarded by / The United States Marines."
"We stole the Eagle from the Air Force, the Anchor from the Navy, and the Rope from the Army. On the seventh day while God rested, we overran his perimeter, stole the Globe, and we've been running the whole show ever since. We live like soldiers, talk like sailors, and slap the hell out of both of them. Warriors by day, lovers by night, professionals by choice, and Marines by the grace of God."
(Unnamed) Marine Colonel: "The Chinese are ahead of us, behind us, and on both flanks. They outnumbers us 20 to 1. And they can't get away from us now!"
Such boasts are usually attributed to Chesty Puller, who likely deserves the credits.
"Good. Now we can fire in any direction!"
"We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things."
General Puller was an outstanding combat officer and leader who commanded the respect and loyalty of his men, and to this very day is seen as something akin to a saint within the Marine Corps. If just half of the quotes attributed to him are accurate, however, you would be forgiven for thinking he was bat-shit insane:
Upon being shown a flamethrower for the first time, he is reported to have asked where the bayonet was supposed to go.
Once, on an inspection tour, he demanded to be taken to the Brig so he could meet the "real Marines".
Military running cadences are traditionally filled with badass boasts. This is especially true of those used within the Marines:
"Hey there Army! / Get in your tanks and follow me! / I am Marine Corps infantry!
"Μολὼν λαβέ" ("Come and take them") — Leonidas at Thermopylae, when asked to give up his weapons. That's "Molon labe" for those who can't understand Greek writing.
Μολὼν λαβέ is currently the Badass Creed of the Greek First Army Corps, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).
Also said at Thermopylae by Dienekes, a Spartan warrior, when informed that the Persians' arrows would block out the sun: "So much the better... then we shall fight our battle in the shade."
The Spartans have a long history of this sort of thing. When Philip II sent a message to Sparta saying "If I enter Laconia, I will level Sparta to the ground," the Spartans replied simply; "If." Neither Philip nor his army entered Laconia.
The men of the small Texas town of Gonzalez used a variant of this when the Mexican army tried to reposses their cannon: "Come And Take It". They later carried that banner — and attitude — to the Alamo. American frontiersmen were like that. Gonzalez still have the cannon, and the flag, which still says 'Come And Take It'. They have a parade every year. (A very small one, it's a pretty small town.)
Suleiman the Magnificent, the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire, signed his letters by titling himself
The lord of the realms of the Romans, and the Persians and the Arabs, hero of all that is, pride of the arena of earth and time!
Of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea;
Of the glorified Kaaba and the illuminated Medina, the noble Jerusalem and the throne of Egypt, that rarity of the age;
Of the province of Yemen, and Aden and Sana, and of Baghdad the abode of rectitude, and Basra and al-Hasa and the Cities of Nushirivan;
Of the lands of Algiers and Azerbaijan, the steppes of the Kipchak and the lands of Tartars;
Of Kurdistan and Luristan, and of the countries of Rumelia and Anatolia and Karaman and Wallachia and Moldavia and Hungary all together, and of many more worthy kingdoms of countries.
Sultan and Padishah.
Speaking of Ottoman sultans, the letter of Sultan Mahmud IV to the Zaporogian Cossacks. And, topping that, the Cossacks' reply.
That reply is probably a fake, though.
Atahualpa, the final sovereign emperor of the Inca empire, had such a (possibly ahistorical) boast to the Spanish when they told him his land had been granted to them by the Pope:
"Your emperor may be a great prince; I do not doubt it, seeing that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters; and I am willing to treat him as a brother. As for your pope of whom you speak, he must be mad to speak of giving away countries that do not belong to him. As for my faith, I will not change it. Your own God, as you tell me, was put to death by the very men He created. But my God still looks down on His children."
Things... didn't go so well for him after that. But it was still an awesome Badass Boast.
During his conquest of the Aztec Empire, Hernan Cortez had to defeat the army of the Governor of Cuba, which was sent after him. He bested them, even outnumbered and outgunned, AND convinced the survivors to join him. Accounts say that the army's general spoke to him like this:
General: Mister Cortez, it is a great victory for you to capture me.
Cortez: Capturing you is the least of everything I've done in this land.
"He's a tramp, a bum and a cripple, not worth training for. I'll take him in five." Said before his fight with Henry Cooper. He did just that, although Cooper at one point laid Ali on the canvas with a punch.
Most famously, before his first heavyweight title match against Sonny Liston, the relatively little-known Cassius Clay (as he still was) claimed he would "Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee." He won that one too.
Ali actually lost against Joe Frazier in 1970, but nevertheless had a poetic Badass Boast beforehand: "Now this may shock and amaze ya/But I'm gonna retire Joe Frazier."
Awesomely, when he was interviewed after he was fully afflicted with Parkinson's disease, unable to talk above a whisper and uncontrollably shaking, he continued to speak in Badass Boast.
Ali: I am... still... the greatest... I am... still... the champ...
Rather less impressive, but also spotted (and as a boast): "We are racists. We are pedophiles. We are cowards. We are Anonymous."
Also: "We are Anonymous. We are the Internet's hate machine."
Julius Caesar: "Veni, vidi, vici." ("I came. I saw. I conquered.") . Caesar report on the Pontus war sent to the Senate. Also posthumous Take That against Pompey the Great, who got a bit tangled in the previous war in that zone.
Many great people have made their own quotes basing on this. For example, king of Poland, John III, after massacring the Turks at Vienna and breaking their power forever, send all their banners to the Pope along with the letter:
Veni, vidi, Deus vicit (I came, I saw, God conquered).
Robert Heinlein quipped, "I came, I saw, She conquered. (Something seems to have been lost in the original translation...)"
After the defeat of the Spanish Armada, one slogan used by the Royal Navy was Venit, vidit, fugit. "They came, they saw, they fled."
People born and bred in Falkirk, UK, are known as "The Bairns of Falkirk". The town motto is "Touch ane, touch a'" and the Bairns are keen on the saying, "Better meddle with the Devil than the Bairns of Falkirk".
The McPherson clan motto, "Touch not the cat but a glove", refers to McPherson as a wildcat. When its claws are unsheathed, (without the glove), well... tomfoolery will not be met with kindness.
"...we are Sherpas and we have never willingly let anyone die on a mountain. It is not our way..." (Tenzing Norgay's grandson rallying disgruntled porters.)
"The wolves will eat well this year" (Finnish officer surveying his army's handiwork during the Winter War)
When Stalin made his demands known the Finns cried out "They are so many and our country is so small. Where will we bury them all?" Finns don't really boast.
Seems that that's one of the better boasts. When you recall that they had a single guy with over 700 kills, it's not an idle one, either.
German General: "If there were 50 million Finns we would share the world together with you."
Finnish General Paavo Talvela: "If there were 50 million Finns... what makes you think we would share anything with you?"
Napoleon himself had this one when France has to face invasion in 1814: "The cannonball that will kill me has not been molded yet!".
The Viscount Pierre Cambronne, Napoleon's Old Guard commander at the battle of Waterloo, is usually quoted as saying after the battle, "The Guard dies, but does not surrender!". That's badass enough, yet what he actually said in the heroic Last Stand of the Old Guard was even more so:
Somewhat subverted in that he survived the carnage and surrendered anyway.
To this day, "merde" is sometimes known as "le mot de Cambronne" ("Cambronne's word").
Marshal Lefebvre, one of Napoleon's senior generals. One of his dinner guests supposedly expressed envy of his wealth. Lefebvre's response was to offer to take him outside and take twenty shots at him from thirty paces; if the guest survived it would all be his. Unsurprisingly, he declined. "I had a thousand bullets fired at me from much closer range before I got this," said Lefebre. Most other French generals could have said the same.
General Allenby made a Badass Antiboast. By tradition only a conqueror gets to ride into Jerusalem on a horse. Allenby of course was a conqueror . But what he did was dismount and walk in saying, "I will not ride where Christ has walked."
The next conqueror of course was MosheDayan. He didn't ride in, but he didn't stop to remind people that he was not riding in the way Allenby did, which is really too bad. Perhaps he hadn't heard of the custom or wished the credit to go to the IDF.
In the second case he should have had a man chosen by lottery as representative. It would have been too cool a Badass Boast not to remember.
Gajah Mada, before his campaign to unify the archipelago, made this oath to his queen: "If the external territorities of Majapahit are lost, I will not taste any spices. And until I have conquered Malaka, Seram, Tanjungpura, Haru, Pahang, Dompo, Bali, Sunda and Palembang... I will never taste any spices." And, he actually succeeded and even expands the territority of Majapahit into the whole archipelago that will be known as Indonesia.
Occasionally I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
It worked. He got into college, the essay won a contest, and Gallagher is now a successful novelist.
Hope: Are you the Corps of Engineers, the guys who build the runways the planes land on?
Audience Member: Hell no! We're the Seabees! We build the roads the Japs retreat on!
Many armed forces have a battle cry they use to psych themselves up (and scare the enemy) in case they have to end up stabbing some poor bastard to death with their bayonet. For example, the 506th P.I.R of the 101st Airborne's battle cry was "Currahee!" a Cherokee word which literally means "stand alone". Even today, it is still used by the 101st as a morale booster.
The Celts would often do this before battle, while challenging their enemies to duels.
John Paul Jones informing the British Navy "I have not yet begun to fight!" during his fighting on the Bonhomme Richard
Historical evidence actually indicates that he said "I may sink, but I'll be damned if I strike!" (strike being a common term for naval surrender, referring to taking down your flag). Still Bad Ass.
He had another one too: "I wish to have no connection with any ship which does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way."
BRIAN BLESSED reportedly kept Oliver Reed from making trouble during the filming of Prisoner Of Honor with one of these, to the point that Reed was sober the whole time for fear of starting a fight that Brian had said he would end.
General McAuliffe, at the Battle of the Bulge, was presented with a surrender ultimatum by the Germans. To which he said: "NUTS!"
That reaction came after McAuliffe initially believed the Germans were wanting to surrender to him.
One anonymous soldier during the same battle is recorded as having commented "Haven't you heard? They've got us surrounded. The poor bastards."
Here's the story: the German Commander sent him a long letter detailing his position in a haughty manner and demanding surrender. The letter was "To the American Commander," and signed, "The German Commander." Mc Auliffe read it and blurted out "Nuts!" When he and his men tried to compose a reply, they came to the conclusion nothing was better than that, so the full text of the reply was, "To the German Commander: Nuts! The American Commander."
Micheal Wittmann, famed Tiger Tank ace: "At this point, enemy tanks have ceased to be a strain on my nerves."
Doctor Peter Rhee, one of the men taking care of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she's been shot through the head, seems to be prone to this, with two quotes coming to mind: "She will not die. She does not have that permission from me." and "If she comes to me alive, I can keep her alive." - Considering that, so far, he seems to have delivered very well, quality of life and speed of recovery included, he earned it.
For informational purposes: Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head on January 8th, 2011. She had recovered enough to travel to Washington D.C. from Arizona to vote on an important bill on August 1st, 2011. That's seven months recovery time for being shot in the head. Doctor Rhee has more than earned his status as a Bad Ass doctor. (It goes without saying that Gabby Giffords is also an unqualified badass.)
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a (probably unintentional) one in 2008 when he claimed in the House of Commons that by bailing out the banks his government had "saved the world". It didn't stop him from losing the next election, of course.
Following a recent crash during a race, Kiwi cyclist Edward Dawkins was asked where he hurt. "I'm from New Zealand", he responded. "We don't feel pain."
"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender" Churchill's response to the threat of Nazi invasion - bearing in mind that Britain was one of the only European countries that was not yet part of Nazi Germany or Nazi-affiliated.
Corporal Josh Pearson of Generation Kill fame responding to a school boy's letter erroneously sent to 'an Army serviceman': "Dear Frederick, thank you for your nice letter, but I am actually a U.S. Marine who was born to kill, whereas you have clearly mistaken me for some sort of wine-sipping, communist dick suck. And although peace probably appeals to tree-loving bisexuals like you and your parents, I happen to be a death dealing, blood crazed warrior who wakes up every day, just hoping for the chance to dismember my enemies and defile their civilizations."
For added context, Cpl. Pearson's most-often seen job was driving the humvee. In active combat, at the tip of the spear.
"Detroit. Where the weak are killed and eaten".
And a similar one from Detroit's neighbor to the north, under a picture of a smoking gun:
"Come back to Saginaw, we missed you last time."
It should be pointed out that this is more a real-life warning/a bit of Black Comedy than a boast, however.
Evel Knievel gave a memorable interview with radio host Jim Rome, which included this interchange discussing Knievel's attempted Snake Canyon jump:
Rome: "If you knew that the chances of making it were only 50/50, why did you do it? Why did you jump?"
Knievel: (Beat) "Know who the hell I am?"
The USA, during the invasion of Afghanistan, flooded the airwaves with the following message to demoralize and intimidate the Taliban: "Attention. You are condemned. Did you know that? The instant the terrorists you support took over our planes, you sentenced yourselves to death. You will be attacked by land, sea and air. Resistance is futile."
During a siege of Quebec in 1690, the English Admiral Phips sent an ambassador into the city to offer terms for its surrender. Governor Frontenac said to him "my only reply to your general will be from the mouth of my cannons!"
When Ronald Reagan was asked about his plan for the Cold War with the Soviets, he said, "We win. They lose."
The way Soviet soldiers spoke of one of their most formidable pieces of ordnance - MLRS BM-13, aka Katyusha (Katie): "Those foes who heard Katyusha are now deaf; those of them who saw Katyusha are now blind; those who tussled with Katyusha are naught but ash."
Allegedly when the U.S. military entered World War I a group of soldiers in France went to the tomb of Lafayette, the French noble who was responsible for much of the French assistance in the American Revolution and said "Lafayette, we have come" or "Lafayette, we are here."
French general Henri Gouraud, after marching into Damascus in July 1920 to put down an anti-colonial rising, stood upon Saladin's grave, kicked it and said: "The Crusades have ended now! Awake Saladin, we have returned! My presence here consecrates the victory of the Cross over the Crescent."
Actually, in the Gospel of John, there are six statements made by Jesus that begin with the words "I am..." In the original language, that word is the same as how God told Moses to name Him to the Israelites in Exodus. It's no wonder that after every one of those statements the Priests hated Jesus even more: He was claiming to be God!
The US Army has a Military Occupational Specialty known as "13F". Officially this is what is known as a Fire Support Specialist; colloquially as a Forward Observer. As do many specialties in the US Army, Forward Observers have an unofficial prayer: "Yea, tho I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil; for I command the biggest damn guns in the valley."
This may be more along the lines of Truth in Advertising, as Forward Observers in the US Army are trained to direct fire for 4.2" mortars, 105mm & 155mm Howitzers, 8" Howitzers, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, helicopter gunships, all forms of close air support including AC-130 Spectre Gunships, Naval gunfire up to 16" Battleship main guns, and if "released" by the President; Tactical Nuclear Weapons. This may be why during the Cold War the unofficial US Army estimate of a Forward Observer's life expectancy upon contact with Soviet forces was approximately 13 seconds.
Clearly cribbed from Green Beret prayer: "Yea, tho I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil; for I am the baddest mother*** in the valley."
The same prayer has been attributed to Army Air Force bomber crews in World War II.
An alternative and possibly even more badass version "Yea, tho I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil; for the Valley of the Shadow of Death is wherever I walk through."
Or the motto of the Kadena SR-71 base, "Yea, though I fly through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil; for I am at 80,000 feet and climbing."
A boast about the US Navy, if not actually by them: Enemy targets continue to exist within the strike radius of an American carrier task force at the discretion of the task force commander.
From Abraham Lincoln; "Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years."
Almogavars were mercenary soldiers from the 13th and 14th century. "Awake iron!" was their battlecry. The badassery of it relies on the fact that, while shouting the battlecry, they used to struck their blades against rocks, so the steel would spark.
Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix' epitaph. The exact wording is lost, and it may have been either Greek or Latin, but one version reads: "No better friend...no worse enemy."
The American Civil War had a few:
The Mayor of Atlanta sent a letter to General William T. Sherman, pleading for him to spare the city the fate of everything else Sherman's army had come across during their infamous March to the Sea. His response is in equal measures Badass for him and Nightmare Fuel for the people of Atlanta.
Gen. William T. Sherman: You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out...you might as well appeal against the thunder-storm...
In other words, Sherman was a force of nature a century and a half before the Scout was.
However, General Sherman's most famous Badass Boast came up when his commanding officer, the also badass General Ulysses S. Grant, stated that he doubted Sherman could carry out his March to the Sea through the heavily fortified state of Georgia. Sherman's response:
Gen. William T. Sherman: I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl!
Another was from Captain Philip Sheridan, a Union officer whose entry took place at the Battle of Missionary Ridge. It would normally be enough that he stood in plain view of the Confederate position on the ridge, took out a flask, and raised it towards them and toasted, "Here's at you." But in anger at the mocking display, the Confederates fired a volley at Sheridan and his entrenched troops, missing him but disrupting his drink. A mistake, as it turned out.
Captain Philip Sheridan: That was ungenerous. I'll take your guns for that!
Sheridan's men interpreted this as an order, and charged the Confederate line along with their captain. The Confederates, despite their superior position, fled in panic, and the equally off-guard Union troops who weren't under Sheridan's immediate command (including Ulysses S. Grant) hastily mounted their own offensive and won the battle. Bear in mind that the Battle of Missionary Ridge was what led largely to the Confederate defeat in the West, which in turn led to Grant being made overall general of the Union army.
A rather dark example. After assassinating President Lincoln at Ford's Theater, John Wilkes Booth leaped off the presidential balcony onto the stage and proclaimed to the audience "Sic Semper Tyrannis. The South is avenged!".
This Royal Marines Commando advert: "I am your worse nightmare. I have conquered fear. I have come to terms with terror, and pain is my best friend. I am a Royal Marines Commando. I will come from the sea. I will disappear without trace. My brothers will lay down their lives for me, as I will for them."
If The Christian National Registry of Atheists suggests that anyone should be discounted, avoided, or shunned, it should be any person who conceives of such a list. The one who attempts to quell opposing opinions with ignorance and oppression. To paraphrase Robert Green Ingersoll, "You are the inferior of any man whose rights you trample underfoot". Pastor Stahl, we are your neighbours, your educators, your entertainers, your authors, your scientists, your business partners, your community. Your world. We are atheists. We are everywhere. And no list willevercontain us.
As the story goes, the Nazis sent an ambassador to Switzerland before the outbreak of World War II. The ambassador noted that the Swiss didn't have a very large standing army, to which the Swiss Representative replied that all citizens of the country were trained as citizen soldiers and kept their rifles in their homes, and that, if their country were to be invaded, their standing army of 20,000 would be increased to 500,000 in 24 hours. Which led to the following exchange:
Nazi Ambassador: But sir, what if you were invaded by an army numbering one million troops? Swiss Representative: Then, sir, we would shoot twice.
Germany never tried to invade Switzerland throughout the entirety of the second World War.
Although, of course, you would think twice before invading the place that keeps your money safe in case the unthinkable happens and you lose the war...
An old legend states that a man challenged another man to a duel on the following day (I forget why), the second man showed up to the duel the next day wielding a double-bladed weapon. The first man laughs and says to the second man "I've never heard of someone being defeated by a weapon like that!" The second man replies "That's because no one's ever survived fighting against it." the first man was soundly beaten and killed.
Many a sniper (and less seriously, SCA combat archer) has adopted the motto "Go ahead and run—you'll just die tired."
A cover letter is, ideally, a three-paragraph speech about why you kick the most ass at the job you're applying for.
"You may think you're big. You may have 50 people in your gang, you might have 100. My gang has 100,000 people in it, it's called the Metropolitian Police."
The British, Churchill notwithstanding, do not appear to do badass boasts terribly well. They appear to tend more towards understated stoicism and vicious self-mockery, but if you look carefully you can spot a few, more impressive perhaps because of their quiet nature.
We don't need to. We ran the largest empire the world has ever known.
Does the above count as an example?
Winston, let us not forget, was half American. He was in fact the grandson of a man who calmly informed his dinner guests; "Gentlemen, I am ruined. But don't worry, your dinner is paid for." before proceeding to make himself another fortune.
A fine example of the understated British Badass Boast: The Royal Engineers and the Royal Artillery hold no battle honours. Instead they have their motto, unassuming and completely accurate: it is simply Ubique— "Everywhere".
"Fight to get your men ashore, fight to save your ships, and if you have any strength left, fight to save yourselves!" - Landing Craft commander, June 6, 1944
Khalid Bin Walid, named the Drawn Sword of God by The Prophet Muhammad himself, gave one on his deathbed: "I fought in so many battles seeking martyrdom that there is no place in my body but having a stabbing mark by a spear, a sword or a dagger, and yet here I am, dying on my bed like an old camel dies. May the eyes of cowards never sleep."
Nikita Khrushchenev's declaration of "We will bury you" meant this, but was exaggerated after its translation. The translator thought it meant that the Soviets will kill the Americans, while he intended it to mean that they will outlive the "rotting capitalists" and will see them buried...which is a badass boast on its own.
He got another one: "Of course, we will not bury you. Your own working class will bury you!"
The motto of the Spanish crown is pretty good. According to legend, during the Roman era, the Pillars of Hercules (the two hills on either side of the straits of Gibraltar) had the words "Nec Plus Ultra" "Nothing Further Beyond" carved on them. After the Spanish discovered the New World and carved out their famous empire, they took as their motto: Plus Ultra - "Further Beyond"
The Jesuits used to remark that while other priests lived for God, "only the Jesuits died for Him."
"Be not afraid of any man No matter what his size. When danger threatens call on me And I will equalize."
A related boast about Sam Colt (inventor of the Colt revolver mechanism):
God made Man. Sam Colt made 'em equal.
Herodotus' description of the Persian Empire's couriers, adopted as the motto of the US Postal Service:
Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
The motto of the AppinStewarts is, Not us from kings but kings from us.
While the USAF's Strategic Air Command had the official slogan of "Peace is Our Profession," complete with an armored fist clutching lightning bolts, its unofficial slogan was "...but War is Our Hobby. Want to Play?" but was only displayed in areas where the public was not allowed. The emblem was changed to an armored fist holding a scrotum.
Archimedes is said to have remarked of the lever: "Give me a lever and a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth."
Joseph Conrad said, "Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world."
After helping to repair valves in the Prince George's County, Maryland plumbing system so that water would continue to flow to thousands of customers during a summer heat wave, Brad Destelhorst said, "They said it was broken. I fix things."
Former United States Marine Corps general James Mattis dropped two of these during his time in Iraq. The first is well known to any Team Fortress 2 fan as the Sniper's "be polite, be professional and (but) have a plan to kill everybody you meet" quote from "Meet The Sniper". The other is lesser known, but just as badass. After the end of the Invasion of Iraq, Mattis spoke to Iraqi leaders in a message sent to each of them. It read:
I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.
Another American naval hero, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, was tasked with preventing the British from using the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie, as a route for troops and supplies to invade the United States during the War of 1812. Both sides constructed their fleets right there on different ends of the lakeshore, and though it was a close-fought thing, he and his men managed to capture the entire British lake fleet. His letter to General Harrison is one of the most Bad Ass and laconic after-action reports ever:
Dear Gen'l: We have met the enemy and they are ours, two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem, O. H. Perry.
Russian Chess grandmaster Efim Bogoljubow (1889-1952) liked to say: "When I play white, I win, because I play white. When I play black, I win, because I am Bogoljubow!" (Actually a Stealth Pun, since "Bogoljubow" means "favoured by God").
Facing an Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 1890s, Menelik II of Shoa made a very understated boast. "Our enemies have began the affair by advancing and digging into the country like moles. With the help of God I will not deliver up my country to them." This was carried through when Menelik's Ethiopian forces crushed the Italian invaders so comprehensively at the Battle of Adwa that the Italian government of the time collapsed.
After the Battle of Adwa mentioned above and other blunders, the Italian Royal Army came to be considered a joke by most powers. At the end of World War I, Italy gave the following and completely truthful answer: