A Few Anti-war Quotes

The list of anti-war quotes at AntiWar.com is a long one and and very fine. Here are a few of those quotes that are suitable for tweeting on Twitter with little or no modification. I like that. I found this list using Google some time back and copied it. I no longer know exactly where, but I thank the blogger who culled these short quotes from all the quotes at anitwar.com.

  1. “As far as I am concerned, war itself is immoral.” –U.S. WWII General Omar Bradley
  2. “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home ” –James Madison
  3. “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” –James Madison
  4. “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. ” –James Madison
  5. “Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” –James Madison
  6. “The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.” –James Madison “
  7. It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” –James Madison
  8. “Having seen the people of all other nations bowed down to the earth under the wars and prodigalities of their rulers, I have cherished their opposites, peace, economy, and riddance of public debt, believing that these were the high road to public as well as private prosperity and happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson
  9. “The most successful war seldom pays for its losses.” –Thomas Jefferson
  10. “The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.” –Thomas Jefferson
  11. “Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other.” –Thomas Jefferson
  12. “I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.” –Thomas Jefferson
  13. “Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.” –Thomas Jefferson
  14. “If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.” –Thomas Jefferson
  15. “Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.” –Thomas Jefferson
  16. “War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.” –Thomas Jefferson
  17. “A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.” –Thomas Jefferson
  18. “Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.” –Thomas Jefferson
  19. “War…is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer.” –Thomas Jefferson
  20. “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” –Thomas Jefferson
  21. “Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.” –George Washington
  22. “The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.” –George Washington
  23. “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” –George Washington
  24. “It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” –George Washington
  25. “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force…Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” –George Washington
  26. “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” –George Washington
  27. “My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.” –George Washington
  28. “Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later.” –Benjamin Franklin
  29. “A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang.” –Benjamin Franklin
  30. “I hope….that mankind will at length, as they call themselves responsible creatures, have the reason and sense enough to settle their differences without cutting throats…” –Benjamin Franklin
  31. “When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?” –Benjamin Franklin
  32. “All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.” –Benjamin Franklin
  33. “There never was a good war or a bad peace.” –Benjamin Franklin
  34. “Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin
  35. “Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.” –John Adams
  36. “Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak…” –John Adams
  37. “A people free to choose will always choose peace.” –Ronald Reagan
  38. “The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor.” –Ronald Reagan
  39. “History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.” –Ronald Reagan
  40. “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” –Ronald Reagan
  41. “…no mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology.” –Ronald Reagan
  42. “People do not make wars; governments do.” –Ronald Reagan
  43. “We must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” –Ronald Reagan
  44. “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  45. “How far can you go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  46. “We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  47. “We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  48. “Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  49. “You can’t have this kind of war. There just aren’t enough bulldozers to scrape the bodies off the streets.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  50. “War settles nothing.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  51. “There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  52. “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  53. “Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  54. “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  55. “This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  56. “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
  57. “Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing.” –Ayn Rand
  58. “Do not ever say that the desire to ‘do good’ by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.” –Ayn Rand
  59. “No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.” –Alexis de Tocqueville
  60. “All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.” –Alexis de Tocqueville
  61. “If we dont stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, were going to have a serious problem coming down the road.” –George W. Bush, before becoming president and doing exactly what he promised not to.
  62. “Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.” –George W. Bush (I wish he had governed according to the principles in this quotation.)
  63. “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” –George Orwell
  64. “Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.” –George Orwell
  65. “The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor.” –George Orwell
  66. “Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” –George Orwell
  67. “War is a way of shattering to pieces…materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable and… too intelligent.” –George Orwell
  68. “All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.” –George Orwell
  69. “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” –George Orwell
  70. “What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.” –Aldous Huxley
  71. “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” –Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  72. “The next war … may well bury Western civilization forever.” –Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  73. “In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.” –Leo Tolstoy
  74. “A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over…is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.” –G.K. Chesterton
  75. “War is the greatest plague that can affect humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.” –Martin Luther
  76. “How vile and despicable war seems to me! I would rather be hacked to pieces than take part in such an abominable business.” –Albert Einstein
  77. “It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.” –Albert Einstein
  78. “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” –The Mahatma Gandhi
  79. “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?” –The Mahatma Gandhi
  80. “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.” –The Mahatma Gandhi
  81. “Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood.” –The Mahatma Gandhi
  82. “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” –The Mahatma Gandhi
  83. “If we don’t stop behaving like the British Empire, we will end up like the British Empire.” –Pat Buchanan
  84. “All forms of violence, especially war, are totally unacceptable as means to settle disputes between and among nations, groups and persons.” –The Dalai Lama
  85. “The best defense is no offense.” –Dr. Ivan Eland
  86. “It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
  87. “The chain reaction of evil–wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
  88. “We have guided missiles and misguided men.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
  89. “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
  90. “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
  91. “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
  92. “‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.” –F.A. Hayek
  93. “The essence of so-called war prosperity; it enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.” –Ludwig von Mises
  94. “Economically considered, war and revolution are always bad business.” –Ludwig von Mises
  95. “The attainment of the economic aims of man presupposes peace.” –Ludwig von Mises
  96. “History has witnessed the failure of many endeavors to impose peace by war, cooperation by coercion, unanimity by slaughtering dissidents. A lasting order cannot be established by bayonets.” –Ludwig von Mises
  97. “War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings.” –Ludwig von Mises
  98. “War…is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror.” –Ludwig von Mises
  99. “Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things.” –Ludwig von Mises
  100. “Whoever wants peace among nations must seek to limit the state and its influence most strictly.” –Ludwig von Mises
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7 thoughts on “A Few Anti-war Quotes

    • 22. “The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.” –George Washington

      Many people’s lives could be saved if this was followed, especially now when the US government is making war a continuous process that is not declared. I suppose Obama is authorizing drone strikes against “militants” rather than members of a foreign government, so it’s not as clear who to declare war against, but still….

      • It would be great if the US government followed the Constitution and interpreted it as it was written but that is not what governments do. Damn shame because it would have made this country a much better place if the government had of followed it. Plus it would have saved many lives as you say.

    • 25. “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force…Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” –George Washington

      Of course, defending property rights can mean force too, but the difference as I often point out is that government is usually aggressive force. To those who disagree that this or that use of government force is actually an example of aggressive force, may I just ask: Shouldn’t it at least be up to the individual to decide whether or not he believes a given use of force is moral or just or not and thus whether or not he wishes to support it? Surely the government’s judgement is flawed at least some of the time and at least some of the time it employs aggressive force? If you force everyone to fund the government’s activities, especially it’s forceful activities in war, then don’t you risk forcing someone to pay for something that he or she believes is aggressive, immoral, and unjust? Isn’t that action of forcing people to pay thus necessarily wrong? Consider that.

    • 42. “People do not make wars; governments do.” –Ronald Reagan

      The truth behind this is that governments fund their wars by offloading many of the costs onto unwilling taxpayers. If people had to fund wars voluntarily they almost always would choose to do without them. Therefore, it’s reasonable to think that voluntarily-funded security firms in a free market anarchist society would not wage war against each other, because it simply would not be worth the cost to them. http://mises.org/daily/1855

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