For what can war, but endless war, still breed?
— John Milton
"Gentlemen. We shall continue with plans for the upcoming war. And the war after that. And the next, and the next, and the next..."
— The Major, Hellsing OVA #3
"This delightful and cheery war started in July 1914. It is now February 1964, and believe it or not... it's still being waged..."
— Lieutenant Anderson, Iron Storm
"Spinning your wheels in a lake of shit" is as good a metaphor for the war in Afghanistan as I can give. Maybe they'll issue us snorkels on the next tour.
"How many days? / How many more? / How many men / lost to this war? / I can't remember / what we're fighting for!"
The Civil War: The Musical
Depa: "Mace, the Summertime War isn't something that can be resolved in weeks — or months —"
Mace Windu: "I know that. I don't have weeks or months to spare. The Summertime War won't last that long."
Depa: "What? How can you say that? How long do you think it will last?"
And these wars, they can't be won
Does anyone know - or care - how they begun?
They just promise to go on
And on and on
But soon we will see
"The one who survives will inherit the title of Boss. And the one who inherits the title of Boss will face an existence of endless battle."
— The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3
Thrax: And when the war is over? What will we do then?
Sharos: For us, the war will never be over.
Doctor: The war between the Sontarans and the Rutans. It's been raging, far out in the stars, for fifty thousand years. Fifty thousand years of bloodshed, and for what?
General Stahl: For victory!
— Doctor Who, "The Poison Sky"
"There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods."
A city only in name, for none would claim to dwell there. A battlefield in form and function, into which endless columns of damned men are fed to oil the war machine!
None can say when the battle began, and many are those that say it had no beginning. It is an echo of a battle yet to come, or the shadow of a war fought out of time, or a reflection of all the bloodshed in the galaxy sprung up in all its hideous forms to blood the plains of Drakaasi.
The battlefield of Gorgath is ever-changing, filled with the ruins of fortresses and of cities raised only so they can fall again to siege. Here is a weapon of fiendish design, brought low by spears and flint arrowheads! There are cavalry in their finery, cut apart by bullets, and scorched by mechanical flame. There can be no tactic for victory, for Gorgath despises victory, and its battlefields deform to deny any ruse, no matter how brilliant. Only blood lust and hatred can win the day at Gorgath, and then only until the next day, when a new war blooms among the corpse strewn plains.
What can Gorgath be? A creature with a sentience of its own, with violence for lifeblood and warfare for breath? A machine for the blooding of Drakaasi's armies, whose lords feed their underlings through Gorgath to take command of the bloody veterans that emerge? Or some conglomeration of Chaos, some function of the ever-changing warp, bled through into flesh and blood?
Not one of these questions troubles the mind of Gor-gath's killers, for they are truly its children, devoted to it and yet despising it, trapped in the war machine, the age of slaughter, the one true battlefield that is Gorgath!
— Mind Journeys of a Heretic Saint, by Inquisitor Helmandar Oswain (Suppressed by order of the Ordo Hereticus), Warhammer 40,000
We've been claiming this damned planet for the Imperium all of my life, and all of my father and grandfathers lives before that. I just wish someone would get round to telling those damned Orks to get off our damned land!
Monsters and machines blotting out the sun
Fighting in a war that never can be won.
The men in the castles are having lots of fun
And all we can do is run, run, run.
— Traditional children's song, Agatha H. and the Airship City
The Long War was inevitable. How it started is unknown. There were always conflicts between rival Houses, so keeping track of who was fighting or not fighting at any given time became confusing and ultimately pointless. Eventually everybody was simply fighting everybody else. This simplified things greatly.