"War has been the most convenient pseudo-solution for the problems of twentieth-century capitalism. It provides the incentives to modernisation and technological revolution which the market and the pursuit of profit do only fitfully and by accident, it makes the unthinkable (such as votes for women and the abolition of unemployment) not merely thinkable but practicable.... What is equally important, it can re-create communities of men and give a temporary sense to their lives by uniting them against foreigners and outsiders. This is an achievement beyond the power of the private enterprise economy ... when left to itself."
"The appalling power with which metaphors of sexual lust illuminate the nature of war, and vice versa, proves that they are based on millennia of human experience. The poets of all time have used these figures. To conquer and loot a country is to rape it: to violate a woman is to conquer her by force and plunder her of her treasure. The violence that attends sex when it is unmitigated by love, and the sexual excesses that have attended war and been its aftermath, are the psychological and historical demonstrations of the consanguinity of the two."
"War is the great scavenger of thought. It is the sovereign disinfectant, and its red stream of blood is the Condy's Fluid that cleans out the stagnant pools and clotted channels of the intellect.... We have awakened from an opium-dream of comfort, of ease, of that miserable poltroonery of "the sheltered life." Our wish for indulgence of every sort, our laxity of manners, our wretched sensitiveness to personal inconvenience, these are suddenly lifted before us in their true guise as the spectres of national decay; and we have risen from the lethargy of our dilettantism to lay them, before it is too late, by the flashing of the unsheathed sword."
"No spoon has yet destroyed a mouth, but the knife of war cuts portions that are hard to swallow. Perhaps the big mouths of the privileged are able to cope with them, but they dull the teeth of the little people and ruin their stomachs."
"Marriage is like a war. There are moments of chivalry and gallantry that attend the victorious advances and strategic retreats, the birth or death of children, the momentary conquest of loneliness, the sacrifice that ennobles him who makes it. But mostly there are the long dull sieges, the waiting, the terror and boredom. Women understand this better than men; they are better able to survive attrition."
"I still feel just as I told you, that I shall come safely out of this war. I felt so the other day when danger was near. I certainly enjoyed the excitement of fighting our way out of Giles to the Narrows as much as any excitement I ever experienced. I had a good deal of anxiety the first hour or two on account of my command, but not a particle on my own account. After that, and after I saw that we were getting on well, it was really jolly. We all joked and laughed and cheered constantly."
"My topic for Army reunions ... this summer: How to prepare for war in time of peace. Not by fortifications, by navies, or by standing armies. But by policies which will add to the happiness and the comfort of all our people and which will tend to the distribution of intelligence [and] wealth equally among all. Our strength is a contented and intelligent community."
"The Butte citizen's blood pressure rises and falls with the price of copper. He opposes war "and yet, when you come to think of it, war would probably raise the price of copper and increase work and wages ..." Sometimes he is half-convinced that Butte is the real capital of the United States and copper instead of gold the proper standard of values. If he is a miner, or has friends or near relatives in the mines, he is often grim and worried. Butte's streets are crowded nightly with persons intent upon a round of pleasure in bars and gambling places, some seeking to forget the fears of daily existence."
"There's in people simply an urge to destroy, an urge to kill, to murder and rage, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated, and grown will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again."
"... we often ask ourselves here despairingly: "What, oh, what is the use of the war? Why can't people live peacefully together? Why all this destruction?" The question is very understandable, but no one has found a satisfactory answer to it so far. Yes, why do they make still more gigantic planes, still heavier bombs and, at the same time, prefabricated houses for reconstruction? Why should millions be spent daily on the war and yet there's not a penny available for medical services, artists, or for poor people?... Oh, why are people so crazy?"
"I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again."
"What vast additions to the conveniences and comforts of living might mankind have acquired, if the money spent in wars had been employed in works of public utility; what an extension of agriculture even to the tops of our mountains; what rivers rendered navigable, or joined by canals; what bridges, aqueducts, new roads, and other public works, edifices, and improvements ... might not have been obtained by spending those millions in doing good, which in the last war have been spent in doing mischief."