"Two years of bombs and shells. A man won't peel that off like a sock.... The war has ruined us for everything.... We fly from ourselves, from our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war." ---- Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet On The Western Front, Ch. 5 (1929)
"When war is waged it is for the purpose of safeguarding or increasing one's capacity to make war. International politics are wholly involved in this vicious cycle. What is called national prestige consists in behaving always in such a way as to demoralize other nations by giving them the impression that, if it comes to war, one would certainly defeat them. What is called national security is an imaginary state of affairs in which one would retain the capacity to make war while depriving all other countries of it." ---- Simone Weil, The Power of Words, p. 224. (1937)
"War is what happens when language fails." ---- Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride, Ch. 6 (1993)
History renders few simple lessons or clear conclusions, but I am convinced of one, clearly illustrated by the recent "War on Terror": Violence only begets violence (not a very original conclusion, but many in our age do not seem to agree with it).
Other quotations with which I agree:
"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness." ---- Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes, part II, chapter 4 (1911)