Words for War: Seven Unknown Quotes on War, Part 5


This article was originally published on The War Council on February 5th, 2015.  I am glad my obscure quotes were found to be of value by The War Council.

“I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions;  I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles and death.  Let him who loves his country in his heart and not with lips only follow me.”

-Giuseppe Garibaldi

“The moment a warrior confronts a foe all things come into focus…”

-Ueshiba

“The real problem was being able to stick it out, to sit in an office under the orders of a wee man in a dark gray suit and look out of the window and recall the bush country, the waving palms, the smell of sweat and cordite, the grunts of the men hauling jeeps over the river crossings, the copper-tasting fears just before the attack, and the wild, cruel joy of being alive afterward.  To remember, and then go back to the ledgers and the commuter train, that was impossible.  He knew he would eat his heart out if it ever came to that.”

The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth

“The main point is to select targets where success is 100% assured.  To harass, to upset, to work on the nerves through unexpected small damages… This is a thinking man’s game.  Especially when one is as poor as the Popular Front is.  It would be silly for us to even think of waging a regular war; imperialism is too powerful and Israel is too strong.  The only way to destroy them is to give a little blow here, a little blow there; to advance step by step, inch by inch, for years, for decades, with determination, doggedness, patience.  And we will continue our present strategy.  It’s a smart one, you see.”

-George Habash, Leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

“This is another type of war new in its intensity, ancient in its origins – war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat; by infiltration, instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him…it requires in those situations where we must counter it. ..a whole new kind of strategy, a wholly different kind of force, and therefore a new and wholly different kind of military training.”

-President Kennedy’s 1961 Speech to the USMA Graduating Class

“Your surviving spy must be a man of keen intellect although in outward appearance a fool; of shabby exterior but with a will of iron.  He must be active, robust, endowed with physical strength and courage, thoroughly accustomed to all sorts of dirty work; able to endure hunger and cold and to put up with shame and ignominy.”

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“I found myself back in the sepulchral city resenting the sight of people hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams.  They trespassed upon my thoughts.  They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an irritating pretense, because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I knew.  Their bearing, which was simply the bearing of commonplace individuals going about their business in the assurance of perfect safety, was offensive to me like the outrageous flontings of folly in the face of a danger it is unable to comprehend.  I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty in restraining myself from laughing in their faces, so full of stupid importance.”

-Marlowe’s thoughts after returning from Africa in The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

“The motivation of a man, determined to succeed, no matter what the price or pain, is a weapon of such incredible power that it cannot be measured.”

-Commanding Officer, Israeli Naval Special Warfare School

“If a man were to know the end of this days business ere it come, but it suffices that the day will end and then the end be known.  And if we meet again, well then we’ll smile, and if not, then this parting was well made.”

-Julius Caesar

“Three words separate amateurs from professionals:  check, test, and rehearse.

-Phil Walter

Categories: Mindset, Published Elsewhere
%d bloggers like this: