War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!
— Edwin Starr, "War"
And when he gets to heaven
to St. Peter he will tell:
"One more marine reporting, sir!
I've served my time in hell!"
— The Soldier's Poem
You were all that we had, your mommy and me,
When you marched head erect, you were proud as could be;
Well, it killed your poor ma and it's slowly killing me,
When you were blown to kingdom come on the shores of Gallipoli.
— "The Shores of Gallipoli"
Over the deep and the deadly sweep
The fire and the bursting shell
While the very air is a mad despair
The throes of a living hell
— Phil Ochs, "The Men Behind The Guns"
I can't remember anything
Can't tell if this is true or dream
Deep down inside I feel to scream
This terrible silence stops me
Now that the war is through with me
I'm waking up, I cannot see
That there is not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now
Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please God, wake me
— One, Metallica
Hear the sound of the machine gun
Hear it echo in the night
Mortars firing, rains the scene
Scars the fields that once were green
It's a stalemate at the frontline
Where the soldiers rest in mud
Roads and houses, all is gone
There's no glory to be won
Know that many men will suffer
know that many men will die
Half a million lives at stake
past the fields of Passchendaele
And as the night falls, the general calls
And the battle carries on
What is the purpose of it all?
What's the price of a mile?
Thousands of feet march to the beat, it's an army on the march
Long way from home, paying the price in young men's lives
Thousands of feet march to the beat, it's an army in despair
Knee-deep in mud, stuck in the trench with no way out
Young men are dying!
O how they suffer!
So tell me, What is the price of a mile?
— Sabaton, "The Price Of A Mile"
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.note
— Wilfred Owen, Dulce Et Decorum Est
Rivers flow with blood
There's nowhere left to hide
It's hard to comprehend
There's anyone left alive
Sick of all the killing
And the reek of death
Will God tell me
What religion is to man
— Iron Maiden, "Mother Of Mercy"
The sun, how it shines on the green fields of France
There's a warm summer breeze, makes the red poppies dance
The trenches have vanished, long under the plow,
There's no gas, no barbed wire, there's no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard, it's still no-man's-land
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To Man's blind indifference to his fellow man,
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned!
— Eric Bogle, "No Man's Land" (often known as "Green Fields of France" or "Willie McBride")
How well I remember that terrible day,
When our blood stained the sand and the water,
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay,
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk, he was ready, he'd primed himself well,
He rained us with bullets, and showered us with shell,
And in five minutes flat, he blew us to hell,
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.
And the band played 'Waltzing Matilda',
As we all stopped to bury the slain,
We buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs,
Then it started all over again.
— Eric Bogle, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda"
Wi' yer drums 'n' guns, and guns 'n' drums, the enemy nearly slew ye
Oh, darlin', dear, ye look so queer, Johnny, I hardly knew ye
— Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye, traditional Irish folk song
I have eaten your bread and salt.
I have drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I have watched beside,
And the lives ye led were mine.
Was there aught that I did not share
In vigil or toil or ease, —
One joy or woe that I did not know,
Dear hearts across the seas?
I have written the tale of our life
For a sheltered people's mirth,
In jesting guise — but ye are wise,
And ye know what the jest is worth.
— Rudyard Kipling, "Prelude"
"So did all those kids die thinking of democracy and freedom and liberty and honor and the safety of the home and the stars and stripes forever? You're goddamn right they didn't. They died crying in their minds like little babies. They forgot the thing they were fighting for the things they were dying for. They thought about things a man can understand. They died yearning for the face of a friend. They died whimpering for the voice of a mother a father a wife a child They died with their hearts sick for one more look at the place where they were born please god just one more look. They died moaning and sighing for life. They knew what was important They knew that life was everything and they died with screams and sobs. They died with only one thought in their minds and that was I want to live I want to live I want to live."
—Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun
Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.
Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood. Every senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval and all across our land—young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes.
There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.
— George McGovern
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
"I've seen many men die right in front of me - so many in fact that I've become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won."
Nothing but a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.
In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.
— Jose Narosky
“When I think now of all the lunatics I knew at Baryton's, I can't help suspecting that the only two manifestations of our innermost being are war and insanity, those two absolute nightmares.”
—Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night
War does not determine who is right — only who is left.
— Bertrand Russell
Since my youth I have wielded arms for the fatherland and grew grey therin; I have seen death in his most terrible form and still see him before my eyes daily; I have seen hovels smoke and their inhabitants leave naked and bare, and I could not help. Such are the doings and ragings of men in their passionate state. But the better man yearns to leave that wild press, and I bless the hour when I can remove myself with good, true brothers to those higher regions where a clear, bright light shines upon us. Holy therefore is freemasonry to me, to her I shall adhere unto death, and every brother shall be dear and worthy to my heart.
— General Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, speech delivered at the lodge in Bautzen, 18 September 1813
"“They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.”
"He did write one novel after the war; it was not published. He told an interviewer that he would rather be a good interviewer than a bad novelist. This was meant to be the ultimate put-down. But I thought it was not quite up to our old savage standards. Like several of our contemporaries who saw heavy combat in the infantry, Bingham came back with—how to describe it? A broken ego? For him, some sense of self was lost for good in France."
—Gore Vidal, Palimpsest
War never changes.
Since the dawn of humankind, when our ancestors first discovered the killing power of rock and bone, blood has been spilled in the name of everything, from God, to justice, to simple psychotic rage.
In the year 2077, after millenia of armed conflict, the destructive nature of man could sustain itself no longer. The world was plunged into an abyss of nuclear fire and radiation.
But it was not, as some had predicted, the end of the world. Instead, the apocalypse was simply the prologue to another bloody chapter of human history. For man had succeeded in destroying the world...
War never changes.
Hawkeye: War isn't Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell, and of the two, war is a lot worse.
Father Mulcahy: How do you figure, Hawkeye?
Hawkeye: Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell?
Father Mulcahy: Sinners, I believe.
Hawkeye: Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chock full of them: little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.
Mr. Rocastle: I warn you, the school is armed.
Baines: All your little tin soldiers. But tell me, sir, will they thank you?
Mr. Rocastle: I don't understand.
Baines: What do you know of "history," sir? What do you know of next year?
Mr. Rocastle: You're not making sense, Baines...
Baines: 1914, sir. Because the Family has traveled far and wide looking for "Mister Smith", and oh, the things we have seen. War is coming. In foreign fields, war of the whole wide world, with all your boys falling down in the mud. Do you think they will thank the man who taught them it was glorious?
In war...there are no winners.
— Ramman Kenoun
Kill the enemy....Dress it up however you want, that's what war is about. If there's glory in there somewhere, I must have missed it.
— Jake, Animorphs
You must remember that I have at my internal demand every expertise known to our history. This is the fund of energy I draw upon when I address the mentality of war. If you have not heard the moaning cries of the wounded and dying, you do not know about war. I have heard those cries in such numbers that they haunt me. I have cried out myself in the aftermath of battle. I have suffered wounds from fist and club and rock, from shell-studded limb and bronze sword, from the mace and the cannon, from arrows and lasguns and the silent working of slow poisons… and more I will not recount! I have seen and felt them all. To those who dare ask why I behave as I do, I say: With my memories, I can do nothing else. I am not a coward. And once… I was human.
This is a war without victory.
— The President of the USA, Future War 198X
"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."
— JOSHUA, WarGames
Hobbes: How come we play "War" and not peace?
Calvin: Too few role models. I'll be the fearless American defender of liberty and democracy... and you can be the loathsome godless communist oppressor. We're at war, so if you get hit with a dart, you're dead and the other side wins, OK?
[they shoot each other simultaneously]
Calvin: Kind of a stupid game, isn't it?
Join the Imperial Guard or die. Then die.
— The Internet on Warhammer 40,000's Imperial Guard faction.
There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.
— General William Tecumseh Sherman
War is sweet to them that know it not.
— Pindar Pindar
Hey! ...War is dumb.
— Sgt. Slaughter, Motivational Speaker
"Give me a projection on Marine casualties."
"1,000 to 2,500, sir."
"No, sir. Per week."
"In a recent battle Player X completely destroyed Player Y's ship. The moment Player Y tried to flee he was vaporized by Player X's shots.
War Is Hell."
— GNN, Pardus
Up at the front you're alive or you're dead, and that's all! You can't fool anybody about that very long. Up there we know we're lost and done for whether we're dead or alive. Three years we've had of it... four years. Every day a year and every night a century. Our bodies are earth and our thoughts are clay, and we sleep and eat with death.
— Paul Bäumer, All Quiet on the Western Front (film)
This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.
— All Quiet on the Western Front (epigraph)
There was a little girl. Maybe, eight years old? I dunno. She'd lost both her legs. Just kept staring at them. Little stumps, cauterized by fire somehow. A little girl, all alone, looking at where her legs were, not understanding anything. Just . . . staring. Blank little eyes. Staring.
They built Shepard Stadium about 2011 for sports shows. They upgraded it in 2019 as a makeshift shelter in case of ion storms. Capacity was about forty thousand people. Three weeks into TW 3, it was filled with three hundred thousand.
They didn't mind. None of them. They were all in black bags.
— Anonymous GDI medical worker, Tiberium Wars
We forge futures out of pain and grief, Commander. The computers and the communications officers and the EV As and the displays only serve to isolate us so we can be inhuman. We're monsters, son. Cold, mechanical, rational monsters, and the only way we win is by being colder, more mechanical, and more rational than the next monster moving his little pieces on the screen. That's how war has been fought since Stalin rolled into the Allies a century ago. You point, you click, and they die. It's how it works.
— Colonel Nick Parker, Tiberium Wars "Chapter XVIII"
Captain's report February 4th, 2531. Five years, five long years. That's how long it took us to get Harvest back..At first it was going well. Then setback after setback..Loss after loss...Made what was going to be a quick and decisive win..Into five years of Hell...Of course that's all Harvest is today..It's hell down there..But it's ours again.
— Captain James Cutter, Halo Wars
I confess, without shame, I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands and fathers ... 'tis only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.
— General William Tecumseh Sherman
Since the war started, they were the first to lose their lives. But you were there too, commanding in the midst of fighting. Peasants that were cheerfully delivering milk until yesterday, return all banged up today. Every day. Until the war ends, it will continue day in and day out. Can you really handle that?
In the battlefield, there is no place for hope. What lies there is only cold despair and a sin called victory, built on the pain of the defeated. All those people who met there have wholeheartedly admitted the evil and foolishness of this act called "war." As long as people don't repent and don't regard it as the most evil taboo, then hell would endlessly reappear in the world.
— Emiya Kiritsugu, Fate/Zero
Now arms, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen, hateful, it may be said, to all creatures. Therefore they who have the Tao do not like to employ them.
The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most honourable place, but in time of war the right hand. Those sharp weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the superior man;—he uses them only on the compulsion of necessity. Calm and repose are what he prizes; victory (by force of arms) is to him undesirable. To consider this desirable would be to delight in the slaughter of men; and he who delights in the slaughter of men cannot get his will in the kingdom.
On occasions of festivity to be on the left hand is the prized position; on occasions of mourning, the right hand. The second in command of the army has his place on the left; the general commanding in chief has his on the right;—his place, that is, is assigned to him as in the rites of mourning. He who has killed multitudes of men should weep for them with the bitterest grief; and the victor in battle has his place (rightly) according to those rites.
al-Jilani: Sources claim you were at the heart of the Presidium during the Battle of the Citadel. It's fair to say the course of the battle hinged on your words. If true, you told Admiral Hackett to assist the Destiny Ascension, costing hundreds of human lives and securing the continued dominance of the Citadel Council.
Shephard: The Turians lost 20 cruisers. Figure each had a crew of around 300. The Ascension - the Asari dreadnought we saved - had a crew of nearly 10,000.
al-Jilani: But surely the human cost-
Shephard: The Alliance lost eight cruisers. Shenyang. Emden. Jakarta. Cairo. Seoul. Cape Town. Warsaw. Madrid. And yes, I remember them all. Everyone in the 5th fleet is a hero. The Alliance owes them all medals, the Council owes them a lot more than that. And so do you.
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
War is stupid.
Ace Ventura: War is hell. The last thing we want is a fight.
It was war, you dumb kid. Everybody I liked got killed, and most of the folks I'd just as soon have shot made it out with medals on their chests. It wasn't fair and it sure as hell wasn't any fun.
— Cherie Priest, Boneshaker
You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.
— Bumper sticker
Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.
— William Tecumseh Sherman
Only the dead have seen the end of war.
— George Santayana, Soliloquy #25, "Tipperary" note
Betty has gone too far. Killing is wrong. And bad. There should be a new, stronger word for killing, like "badwrong", or "badong". Yes, killing is badong. From this point forward, I shall stand for the opposite of killing...gnodab.
War is not heroic. War is not exhilarating.
It is dark. It is dreadful. It is a thing of sorrow and gloom.
That is why people fear war. That is why people choose to avoid it.
— Izuru Kira, Bleach
War is never really won by anyone who participates in it. War simply rearranges the way things were and steals the promise of tomorrow from each side. To succeed at war you have to lose a part of your humanity. After you win enough wars, you have no humanity left because you lost a piece of it each time you killed someone.
— Major Leon James, Kell Hounds, MechWarrior 2
Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. Poorly shod and poorly clad, they march away beneath his banners, ofttimes with no better arms than a sickle or a sharpened hoe, or a maul they made themselves by lashing a stone to a stick with strips of hide. Brothers march with brothers, sons with fathers, friends with friends. They’ve heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wonders they will see, of the wealth and glory they will win. War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know.
Then they get a taste of battle.
For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in after they’ve been gutted by an axe.
They see the lord who led them there cut down, and some other lord shouts that they are his now. They take a wound, and when that’s still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces from the marching, their clothes are torn and rotting, and half of them are shitting in their breeches from drinking bad water.
If they want new boots or a warmer cloak or maybe a rusted iron halfhelm, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the smallfolk whose lands they’re fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. They slaughter their sheep and steal their chickens, and from there it’s just a short step to carrying off their daughters too. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner that they hardly recognize. They don’t know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they’re fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad all in steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world...
And the man breaks.
He turns and runs, or crawls off afterward over the corpses of the slain, or steals away in the black of night, and he finds someplace to hide. All thought of home is gone by then, and kings and lords and gods mean less to him than a haunch of spoiled meat that will let him live another day, or a skin of bad wine that might drown his fear for a few hours. The broken man lives from day to day, from meal to meal, more beast than man. Lady Brienne is not wrong. In times like these, the traveler must beware of broken men, and fear them... but he should pity them as well.
— Septon Meribald, A Feast for Crows
Listen, you folks at home... Today we won a piece of Sov-Cities' dirt. So what? Three good men died for it—that's what matters. Sometimes war is necessary—but don't ever let creeps like this one tell you it's fun.
War is pointless. War is evil.
WAR IS HELL!
Five years ago, I lost 30,000 men in the blink of an eye, and the world just fucking watched. Tomorrow there will be no shortage of volunteers, no shortage of patriots. I know you understand.
— General Shepherd, Modern Warfare 2
I have marched in many a battle host, but I have also planted seeds and reaped the harvest with my own hands. And I have learned there is greater honor in a field well plowed than in a field steeped in blood.
— Adaon, son of Taliesin, Chronicles of Prydain
Well, this is what looks like when you've actually fought in battle. It's not glorious, it's not beautiful...it's not even heroic! It's merely doing what's right! And doing it again and again, even if someday you look like this.
— Ezylryb (a.k.a. Lyze Of Kiel), Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
"Oh that is typical. They're always firing shells at us. I hate this."
"It's horrible here—really horrible."
"I know it is."
"It's muddy and smelly and just really dangerous. I hate the way everyone gets killed."
War is an atrocity committed in the name of survival. A lesson I wish I had never learned.
— Javik, Prothean Avatar of Vengeance, Mass Effect 3
Ironfist: He shot him in the head, Perceptor! In the head! This isn't what being a Wrecker's about... saving lives, yes. Dramatic rescues, yes. And having adventures! What's wrong with just having adventures? But that? Back there? With the laughing and the gun and all the... all the viscera? That was not part of the deal.
Topspin: What's with you? First the blackouts, now this! How's you even land this gig, Ironfist? Pyro, Guzzle, Rotorstorm - we voted them in. Not you... we were just told you were coming along! You're a hanger-on! A tourist! This isn't role-play. People die in stupid, pointless ways. Deal with it.
When man takes it upon himself to do and to be the worst that he can, in order for him then to live with himself, he calls this "war."
This great evil. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doin' this? Who's killin' us? Robbing us of life and light. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've known. Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed through this night?
— Private Edward P. Train, The Thin Red Line
I've never seen so many men wasted so badly.
— Blondie, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
"Death... destruction, disease, horror... that's what war is all about, Anan. That's what makes it a thing to be avoided. You've made it neat and painless. So neat and painless that you've had no reason to stop it."
— Capt. James T. Kirk, Star Trek: The Original Series, "A Taste of Armageddon"
The first casualty of war is innocence.
The second is humanity.
The third is morality.
The fourth is human potential.
The fifth is sanity.
The sixth is sleep.
The seventh is life.
Another two inches? Shrapnel zings by; slices my throat. I'll bleed out like a pig in the sand; nobody'll give a shit. I mean my parents? They'll care, but they don't count, man. Who else? I don't even have a son.
— Sergeant J.T. Sanborn, The Hurt Locker
I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
Well done, Walker. You've done what the storm could not: destroyed the Damned 33rd. Do you feel like a hero yet?
— John Konrad, Spec Ops: The Line
Hey, is this world even worth protecting? What have I been fighting for all this time? Answer me. Right now! Or else....
— Sayaka Miki, Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Animorphs was always a war story. Wars don't end happily. Not ever. Often relationships that were central during war, dissolve during peace. Some people who were brave and fearless in war are unable to handle peace, feel disconnected and confused. Other times people in war make the move to peace very easily. Always people die in wars. And always people are left shattered by the loss of loved ones.
Here's what doesn't happen in war: there are no wondrous, climactic battles that leave the good guys standing tall and the bad guys lying in the dirt. Life isn't a World Wrestling Federation Smackdown. Even the people who win a war, who survive and come out the other side with the conviction that they have done something brave and necessary, don't do a lot of celebrating. There's very little chanting of 'we're number one' among people who've personally experienced war.
I'm just a writer, and my main goal was always to entertain. But I've never let Animorphs turn into just another painless video game version of war, and I wasn't going to do it at the end. I've spent 60 books telling a strange, fanciful war story, sometimes very seriously, sometimes more tongue-in-cheek. I've written a lot of action and a lot of humor and a lot of sheer nonsense. But I have also, again and again, challenged readers to think about what they were reading. To think about the right and wrong, not just the who-beat-who. And to tell you the truth I'm a little shocked that so many readers seemed to believe I'd wrap it all up with a lot of high-fiving and backslapping. Wars very often end, sad to say, just as ours did: with a nearly seamless transition to another war.
Here is better than home, eh, sir? I mean at home if you kill someone they arrest you, here they'll give you a gun and show you what to do, sir. I mean, I killed fifteen of those buggers. Now at home they'd hang me, here they'll give me a fucking medal, sir.
— Zulu War Soldier, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
I think Peeta was onto something about us destroying one another and letting some decent species take over. Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children's lives to settle its differences. You can spin it any way you like. Snow thought the Hunger Games were an efficient means of control. Coin thought the parachutes would expedite the war. But in the end, who does it benefit? No one. The truth is, no one benefits in a world where these things happen.
— Katniss, The Hunger Games
''Calvin: How do soldiers killing each other solve the world's problems?
(Beat Panel, as Calvin's dad is clearly realizing that he doesn't know how to answer.)
Calvin: I think grown-ups just act like they know what they're doing.''
We were in this bar in Saigon and this kid comes up, this kid carrying a shoe-shine box. And he says "Shine, please, shine!" I said no. He kept askin', yeah, and Joey said "Yeah." And I went to get a couple of beers, and the box was wired, and he opened up the box, fucking blew his body all over the place. And he's laying there, he's fucking screaming. There's pieces of him all over me, just...like this, and I'm tryin' to pull him off, you know, my friend that's all over me! I've got blood and everything and I'm tryin' to hold him together! I'm puttin'... the guy's fuckin' insides keep coming out! And nobody would help! Nobody would help! He's saying, sayin' "I wanna go home! I wanna go home!" He keeps calling my name! "I wanna go home, Johnny! I wanna drive my Chevy!" I said "With what? I can't find your fuckin' legs! I can't find your legs!" I can't get it out of my head. A dream of seven years. Everyday I have this. And sometimes I wake up and I don't know where I am. I don't talk to anybody. Sometimes a day - a week. I can't put it out of my mind.
— John Rambo, First Blood
Reason dictates we should hate this man. But it's hard to get angry at Josephus. What, after all, did he do? A few soldiers were tricked into suicide. Some demoralizing claptrap was shouted at a beleaguered army. A wife was distressed. (She survived, incidentally, and Josephus divorced her for a Roman heiress.) And sundry other crimes were committed, all of which pale by comparison to what the good men did. For it was the loyal, the idealistic and the brave who did the real damage. The devout and patriotic leaders of Jerusalem sacrificed tens of thousands of lives to the cause of freedom. Vespasian and Titus sacrificed tens of thousands more to the cause of civil order. Even Agrippa II, the Roman client king of Judea who did all he could to prevent the war, ended by supervising the destruction of half a dozen of his cities and the sale of their inhabitants into slavery. How much better for everyone if all the principal figures of the region had been slithering filth like Josephus.
—P.J. O'Rourke, "The Two-Thousand-Year-Old Middle East Policy Expert" from Give War A Chance
I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy, we fought ourselves, and the enemy was in us. The war is over for me now, but it will always be there, the rest of my days. As I'm sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called "possesion of my soul." There are times since, I've felt like a child, born of those two fathers. But be that as it may, those of us, who did make it have an obligation to build again. To teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.
— Chris Taylor, Platoon
A score and seven soldiers, bloody, hacked and lame,
Returning to the village from their warriors' game,
Once more the drums are beating in the village square,
They tell of those who'll never be returning there...
The captain is dead and all the banners are bloody and torn,
Only these return, there'll be no more to come,
The pipes are keening for the soldiers dead and gone,
Behind them, mothers follow sadly weeping-oh.
— Andy Irvine, Blood and Gold
And in between, your husbands marched away with drums and guns,
But you never stopped to question, you just went on with your lives,
Cos all they taught you who to be was mothers, daughters, wives,
And you believed them...
— Judy Small, Mothers, Daughters, Wives
Where to begin? Let's start with the end
This black and white photo don't capture the skin
When metal is churned. And bodies are burned
What good did it do?
Well hopefully for you
A world without war
A life full of color
— "The War Was In Color" by Carbon Leaf