Quotes / I Did What I Had to Do

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    Anime and Manga 

Since Kira has appeared six years ago, wars have stopped and global crime rates have been reduced by over 70%. But, it's not enough. This world is still rotten with too many rotten people! Somebody has to do this! When I first got that notebook all those years ago, I knew I had to do it. No, I was the only one who could. I understood that killing people was a crime. There was no other way! The world had to be fixed! A purpose given to me! Only I could do it. Who else could have done it and come this far?! Will they keep going?! The only one, who can create a new world, is me.
Light Yagami, Death Note

We Anti-Spirals were once a Spiral race like yourselves. But when we learned that the evolution of Spiral Power would lead to the destruction of the universe, we annihilated all those who possessed the power of the Spiral, and drove the few surviving life forms to the far corners of the universe. We halted our own evolution and locked ourselves away into this pocket universe! On our homeworld we sealed away our bodies and any hope of evolution!
(shows Team Dai-Gurren a dark planet that resembles Earth, with lifeless bodies similar to Anti-Spiral's lining the entire landmass)
This form is the symbol of our determination! Foolish creatures, drunk on Spiral Power! Do you possess the resolve to do that?! We defended the universe by killing our fellow spirals and halting our own evolution! Do you possess the sheer fortitude that is on par with that?! DO YOU?! WE SAY NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NOT! AT! ALL!!!
Anti-Spiral, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

    Comic Books 

I heard you, Kara. You longed to return to Argo City. I did only what needed to be done to give you that.
Cyborg Superman, Supergirl (Rebirth) #3

    Fan Works 

Daniel: I dislike having to hammer you on this, Shinji, but I'd have thought someone who's devoted serious time to study of philosophy would have a better appreciation for the implications of his choices.
Shinji: What do you mean?
Daniel: I am, and always have been, a soldier. A fighter. And yes, a killer. I long ago made peace with the fact that what I do will cause death and destruction, and that will sometimes spill over on those perhaps innocent. I became the greatest killer in the omniverse so that in the end I wouldn't have to at all because opposing me would be futile. I take every possible measure to minimize innocent suffering. But choosing inaction is a moral choice too, Shinji. I find myself in agreement with Asuka here, though she made the same point much less delicately in that battle; "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs," she said. Even when she pointed out to you that by refusing to fight the other MP Evas in Berlin you’d be condemning far more innocents to death under Winthrop's rule than the fighting in the city could possibly cause, it wasn't that logical conclusion that got you, if not to take up the fight yourself, to at least stop preventing her from taking action. What got you to stop holding her back was her reminding you of the choice you’d made to stop her from killing herself earlier that night, and her pointing out that stopping her from dying then would be meaningless if you got the both of you killed in the name of not getting blood on your hands. Wanting to avoid innocent blood being shed is a noble thing, Shinji, but you were choosing to avoid personal responsibility for such to the extent that you didn’t seem to care if your choice would cause more people to suffer or die because of that.

Shinji: Me too. I... we did what we had to do. I feel terrible about it, but we really didn't have a choice. They had... they had to be stopped, right?"
Asuka: Right. We didn't have a choice. Really. They invaded our base and wanted to use us to fight for their madness [...] And they had... they had Katsuragi-san."

Laurel Kent: Dev, just listen to me for a moment. Could you sacrifice the life of another, so easily, just to complete a mission... even one as big as this?
Dev-Em: I have.
Dev: It was an inforunning operation out of a Dark Circle world. My contact was a man in deep cover. Their cointelpro caught up to us just after an information drop. We had made arrangements on what to do if such a thing happened. I exposed him as a traitor. My cover held. He was taken away, tortured, and killed. I got the package through. Later, I saw to it that his torturers got theirs. No, I didn't do it personally... but I made sure it was done. That's how it is in my world. Not pretty, but we get the job done.
Kara: ...
Dev: No, don't think I enjoyed it. Rolg's face still comes to me in a particularly juicy nightmare every now and then. But he has to wait his time in line. And you know what he tells me? He tells me about the people of that world who were liberated, in time, with the information I got through. He tells me that I did the right thing.

Misato: I'm the fool. And I've become a monster.
Kaji: You made hard choices. And you had your responsibilities.
Misato: So much blood, Kaji. I have so much blood on my hands.
Kaji: But you knew had to [...] You had a reason.

Once, there was a youth...
...who was known for miles around as a killer.
But she did not kill for pleasure...
...although she took pleasure in killing.
And she did not kill for profit...
...although she gained profit from killing.
She killed out of necessity,
because for her to live, others had to die.

The bridge crew had performed admirably given the circumstances, as Fuyutsuki had come to expect, even if they all knew that in following his orders they would be crippling themselves beyond repair. It was, as always, a necessary sacrifice.
Fuyutsuki almost laughed. He had lost track of how many times Ikari had used that justification for what NERV had done, and the atrocities they had committed. Lazy minds tended to drift towards the excuses that were familiar to them, usually as a simple matter of expediency; who could come up with a new excuse every time their decisions were questioned? But eventually the sacrifices deemed necessary added up to even greater costs than the things they were determined to prevent in the first place.

That was a reminder that you know nothing about the decisions I have to make! How dare you, what fucking gives you the right to question me you stupid dog? What gives you the fucking right to think that you know better? I have kept this Fleet safe for millennia, always trying to choose the best option when the choices are either blood or ash!
Gideon020 to ckk185, The Universiad

    Film - Live-Action 

I repent there was no other way open to me. I do not repent my life.
Veronica Franco, at her trial by the Inquisition, Dangerous Beauty

Superman: You killed my father?
General Zod: ...I did. And not a day goes by that it does not haunt me. But if I had to do it again, I would. I have a duty to my people, and I will not allow anyone to prevent me from carrying it out!

I didn't go berserk. I simply solved a problem.

The Operative: I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.
Mal: So me and mine gotta lay down and die... so you can live in your better world?
The Operative: I'm not going to live there. There's no place for me there... any more than there is for you. Malcolm... I'm a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.


If you want to investigate and prosecute me for striking Abu Haggani, a man who is responsible for murdering over one hundred U.S. service personnel... a man who specializes in attacking grade schools filled with children... a man whose contribution to terrorism is that he was the first to recruit mentally retarded people to become suicide bombers... If that is the case you would like to put before the American people, then I welcome it. I am more than willing to publicly stand behind my position.
Mitch Rapp, Extreme Measures

There are black zones of shadow close to our daily paths, and now and then some evil soul breaks a passage through. When that happens, the man who knows must strike before reckoning the consequences.
Daniel Upton, "The Thing on the Doorstep"

I did the right thing, but no one else will ever understand!
Hollyleaf, Warrior Cats

Everything we did, we did for the right reasons. I understand it's ugly, without the context.
Alexandria justifying her involvement in crimes against humanity, Worm

Contessa: I keep on asking myself the same questions over and over again. Maybe you can answer. Was it worth it? Would you do it all over again? Knowing what you know now? Knowing that you end up here, at gunpoint?
Khepri: I... know I'm supposed to say yes. But no. Some-somewhere along way, it became no.
Contessa: Just about everyone comes to this crossroad. Some get seventy years, some only get fifteen. Enough time to grow, to take stock of who you are. Enough time to do things you'll regret when you run out of time.
Khepri: Don't- don't regret it. Was- had to. Saved lives. But I would do different, given a chance.

    Live-Action TV 

Jack Bauer: Ibrahim Haddad had targeted a bus carrying forty-five people, ten of which were children. The truth, Senator, is that I stopped that attack from happening.
Blaine Mayer: By torturing Mr. Haddad.
Jack Bauer: By doing what I deemed necessary to save innocent lives.
Blaine Mayer: So basically, what you are saying, Mr. Bauer, is that the ends justify the means and you are above the law.
Jack Bauer: When I am activated, when I am brought into a situation, there is a reason. And that reason is to complete the objectives of my mission at all costs.
Blaine Mayer: ...Even if it means breaking the law.
Jack Bauer: For a combat soldier, the difference between success and failure is your ability to adapt to your enemy. The people that I deal with, they don't care about your rules. All they care about is a result. My job is to stop them from completing their objective, at all costs. I simply adapted. In answer to your question: am I above the law? No, sir. I am more than willing to be judged by the people you claim to represent. I will let them decide what price I should pay. But please, sir, do not sit there with that smug look on your face and expect me to regret the decisions I have made. Because, sir, the truth is I don't.
24, "Day 7: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM"

I did... what you weren't prepared to do.
Wesley, Angel, "Spin the Bottle"

Angel: Jasmine, it's over. You've lost.
Jasmine: I've lost? Do you have any idea what you've done?
Angel: What I had to do.
Angel, "Peace Out"

Ninth Doctor: Your race is dead! You all burned, all of you! Ten million ships on fire; the entire Dalek race, wiped out in one second!
Dalek: You lie!
Doctor: I watched it happen! I MADE it happen!
Dalek: You destroyed us?!
Doctor: (turns away, shellshocked)...I had no choice.
Doctor Who, "Dalek"

Rassilon: We will ascend - to become creatures of consciousness alone. Free of these bodies, free of time, and cause and effect, while creation itself ceases to be.
Tenth Doctor: (to the Master) Do you see now? That's what they were planning...in the final days of the war. I had to stop them.
Doctor Who, "The End of Time"

What I did, I did without choice... in the name of peace and sanity.
The War Doctor, Doctor Who, "The Name of the Doctor"

Who we are, and who we need to be to survive, are very different things.
Bellamy Blake, The 100

"I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again, I would. Garak was right about one thing: a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant."
Benjamin Sisko, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Lore: You did what you had to do? What kind of answer is that?
Dr Soong: The best one I can give you. You were not functioning properly.


Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
I saw it through, without exemption.
Frank Sinatra, "My Way"

Pancho needs your prayers it's true, but save a few for Lefty too
He only did what he had to do, and now he's growing old
Townes Van Zandt, "Pancho and Lefty"


In the season of snow,
in the immeasurable cold,
we grow cruel but honest; we keep
ourselves alive,
if we can, taking one after another
the necessary bodies of others, the many
crushed red flowers.
Mary Oliver, "Cold"

    Tabletop Games 

Some may question your right to destroy ten billion people. Those who understand realize that you have no right to let them live...
In Exterminatus Extermis, Warhammer 40,000

Victory is commemorated, failure merely remembered.
— Imperial Proverb, Warhammer 40,000

    Video Games 

Nikolai: Only a fool would dare to change history.
Richtofen: I am no fool, for what I do, I do only to secure a better tomorrow.
Call of Duty: Zombies, "The Giant"

They were so close their stench filled the air... you can SMELL them, I tell you! Somewhere between the spice of vanilla and the bitter sweetness of pustulent rot. These creatures inhabit the bodies of men and women, exorcising the human soul and replacing it with their own putrid spirits. But they couldn't fool me! No, not at all, I could SMELL them, you see! They were all around me... dear god, all around... I knew what I had to do, they had to go, by blade and bullet I had to get rid of them! DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?! Dear god, I had to do it... had to... You believe me, don't you? Don't you?
Maximillian Roivas, Ulyaoth Bonethief autopsy, Eternal Darkness

Lots of ways to help people. Sometimes heal patients; sometimes execute dangerous people. Either way helps.
Mordin Solus, Mass Effect 2

Genji: I know you tell yourself that your brother disobeyed the clan, and that you had to kill him to maintain order. That it was your duty.
Hanzo: It was my duty, and my burden. That does not mean I do not honor him!

Understand what a world had to do to survive.
— Repeated Line, Gears of War

    Web Original 

I don't give a damn about your committee and its opinions on my work! Have you forgotten, sir, that we were at war? A fight with an alien race for the very survival of our species? I feel I must remind you, that it is an undeniable and may I say a fundamental quality of man that when faced with extinction, every alternative is preferable!
The Director of Project Freelancer, Red vs. Blue

One final note: The Foundation does many distasteful things in the completion of our mission, but our mission is important enough that the price is one we must pay. Containment of SCP-231 is one of our most dangerous duties, not because of any direct danger to ourselves (like SCP-682) but because of the danger that our resolve will fail, that we will allow ourselves to either let down our guard due to sympathy for the suffering of an innocent, or that we will allow ourselves to become monsters through the performance of monstrous acts. Just do your jobs, and save the philosophizing for the shrink.

I'm not sorry about what I did, Maxwell.... but I am sorry I had to do it.
Alexander Anderson, Hellsing Ultimate Abridged

    Western Animation 

You don't know what you're talking about. I just ran numbers for them and stuff. We were orphans out on the street; I did what I had to do to survive and protect my little brother.

    Real Life 

Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.
Ronald Reagan addresses the United Nations following the 1986 air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi

War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.