Troops Quotes

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The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole.
Friedrich Nietzsche
A tiny dark object came sailing out of the window and landed at the giant's feet. Polybotes yelled, "Grenade!" He covered his face. His troops hit the ground. When the thing did not explode, Polybotes bent down cautiously and picked it up. He roared in outrage. "A Ding Dong? You dare insult me with a Ding Dong?" He threw the cake back at the shop, and it vaporized in the light.
Rick Riordan (The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2))
Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
The Emperor decided to make a proclamation to his troops about the importance of compassion in the face of the rising tide of heinous fuckery and political weaselocity in the nearby kingdom of the United States.
Christopher Moore (A Dirty Job (Grim Reaper, #1))
You can only fight one man at a time with a sword, but, with a pen, you can compose a lecture to bore legions of enemy troops to death.
Lindsay Buroker (Blood and Betrayal (The Emperor's Edge, #5))
A general never shows despair. He instills confidence in his troops. He leads them forward, even into the mouth of death.
Rick Riordan (The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles, #2))
War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians.
Chris Hedges
It's all rot that they put in the war-news about the good humour of the troops, how they are arranging dances almost before they are out of the front-line. We don't act like that because we are in a good humour: we are in a good humour because otherwise we should go to pieces.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
Beasts bounding through time. Van Gogh writing his brother for paints Hemingway testing his shotgun Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine the impossibility of being human Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town the impossibility of being human Burroughs killing his wife with a gun Mailer stabbing his the impossibility of being human Maupassant going mad in a rowboat Dostoevsky lined up against a wall to be shot Crane off the back of a boat into the propeller the impossibility Sylvia with her head in the oven like a baked potato Harry Crosby leaping into that Black Sun Lorca murdered in the road by the Spanish troops the impossibility Artaud sitting on a madhouse bench Chatterton drinking rat poison Shakespeare a plagiarist Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness the impossibility the impossibility Nietzsche gone totally mad the impossibility of being human all too human this breathing in and out out and in these punks these cowards these champions these mad dogs of glory moving this little bit of light toward us impossibly
Charles Bukowski (You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense)
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then -the glory- so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man's importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Until the millennium arrives and countries cease trying to enslave others, it will be necessary to accept one's responsibilities and be willing to make sacrifices for one's country - as my comrades did. As the troops used to say, "If the country is good enough to live in, it's good enough to fight for." With privilege goes responsibility.
Eugene B. Sledge (With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa)
I would die for my country. But I’d rather kill for it. Ready your troops. We march!
Brian McClellan (The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3))
No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
People are fond of using military terms to describe what they do. We call it bombing when we go out painting, when of course it's more like entertaining the troops in a neutral zone, during peacetime in a country without an army.
Banksy (Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall)
And then what are your plans?” Annwyl frowned. “My plans?” “Yes. Your plans. You take your brother’s head, your troops are waiting. What is the next thing that you do?” Annwyl just stared at him. He realized in that instant that the girl had no plans. None. No grand schemes of controlling the world. No plots to destroy any other empires. Not even the plan to have a celebratory dinner. “Annwyl, you’ll be queen. You’ll have to do something.” “But I don’t want to be queen.” Her body shook with panic, and he could hear it in her voice. “You take his head, you’ll have little choice.” “What the hell am I supposed to do as queen?” “Well . .you could try ruling.” “That sounds awfully complicated.
G.A. Aiken (Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin, #1))
Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don't in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide.
Erwin Rommel
Selective ignorance, a cornerstone of child rearing. You don't put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.
Garrison Keillor (Leaving Home: A Collection of Lake Wobegon Stories)
If chance be the Father of all flesh, Disaster is his rainbow in the sky, And when you hear State of Emergency! Sniper Kills Ten! Troops on Rampage! Whites go Looting! Bomb Blasts School! It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.
Steve Turner (Poems)
Rhino-mounted Bantu shock troops could have overthrown the Roman Empire. It never happened.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies)
The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone is the lawgiver. No playwright, no stage director, no emperor, however powerful, has ever exercised such absolute authority to arrange a stage or field of battle and to command such unswervingly dutiful actors or troops.
Joseph Weizenbaum
Laurent stopped. Damen could see the moment when Laurent decided to continue. It was deliberate, his eyes meeting Damen's, his tone subtly changed. 'Damianos of Akielos was commanding troops at seventeen. At nineteen, he rode onto the field, cut a path through our finest men, and took my brother's life. They say--they said--he was the best fighter in Akielos. I thought, if I was going to kill someone like that, I would have to be very, very good.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War: (Miniature book))
He said a bad word. Do you want to know what it was? It started with F. It's not the one you're thinking of, though. To the other one. The one that ends with P. do you want to know what it was? It was troop." She frowned. "Wait that's not a word.
Derek Landy (Kingdom of the Wicked (Skulduggery Pleasant, #7))
Once you get troops on the streets, it’s only a matter of time before it goes bad. Some kid throws a stone, next minute there’s houses on fire and people getting killed.
Terry Pratchett (Night Watch (Discworld, #29))
What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance . . . Ask yourself: how has "elitism" become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn't seem too intelligent or well educated.
Sam Harris
She can't afford to commit more troops,' Holly whispered. 'The gate is her priority, and she needs to have as many Berserkers watching her back as possible. We are secondary at this point.' 'That will be her undoing,' Artemis gasped, already suffering under the weight of the flak jacket. 'Artemis Fowl will never be secondary.' 'I thought you were Artemis Fowl the Second?' said Holly.
Eoin Colfer
Strange? I don't think that word comes anywhere near it. My troops are on an overnight camp three hundred kilometres away from here. I had to sleep at the Santangelo penitentiary for pre-pubescent girls.
Melina Marchetta (On the Jellicoe Road)
How could you hide from a murderer who lives under your skin?
Nick Cutter (The Troop)
The past had a perfection that the future could never hold.
Nick Cutter (The Troop)
North Korean troops gathering… inside North Korea. That is unheard of." "They were massing very close to the border." "North Korea is the size of Ohio. It would be geographically challenging for them to gather very far from the border.
Sylvain Neuvel (Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1))
We didn't have last names before they came. When they decided they needed to keep track of us, last names were given to us, just like the name "INDIAN" itself was given to us. These were attempted translations and botched Indian names, random surnames, and names passed down from white American generals, admirals, and colonels, and sometimes troop names, which were sometimes just colors.
Tommy Orange (There There)
I should make you watch, said Laurent, while he's stripped down for every man in the troop to have him." Damen stepped forward. "You don't mean this. You need him as a hostage." "I don't need him continent," said Laurent.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven't Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn't Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too. Eluding these assaults, you come up beneath the towers of the fortress, where other troops are holding out: the Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages, the Books You've Been Hunting For Years Without Success, the Books Dealing With Something You're Working On At The Moment, the Books You Want To Own So They'll Be Handy Just In Case, the Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer, the Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves, the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified, Now you have been able to reduce the countless embattled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread and the Books You've Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It's Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them.
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler)
No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.
Sun Tzu
Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear, Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear. So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows. The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
William Shakespeare
What Musk has developed that so many of the entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley lack is a meaningful worldview. He’s the possessed genius on the grandest quest anyone has ever concocted. He’s less a CEO chasing riches than a general marshaling troops to secure victory. Where Mark Zuckerberg wants to help you share baby photos, Musk wants to . . . well . . . save the human race from self-imposed or accidental annihilation.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
They made it plain to everyone, however, and above all to the king himself, that although he had plenty of troops, he did not have many men.
Herodotus (The Histories)
Through a strange kind of geographic arrogance, Europeans like to think that the world was a silent, dark, unknown place until they trooped out and discovered it.
Tahir Shah (House of the Tiger King : The Quest for a Lost City)
Disappear! I scream the word in my mind, queen of the desolate landscape therein, ordering her ragged troops to a last stand.
Sabaa Tahir (A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2))
There are three ways that men get what they want: by planning, by working, and by praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning or thinking. Then you must have well trained troops to carry it out: that's working. But between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory; success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks. I call it God. God has His part or margin in everything. That's where prayer comes in.
George S. Patton Jr.
Anger is precious. A silverback uses his anger to maintain order and warn his troop of danger. When my father beat his chest, it was to say, Beware, listen, I am in charge. I am angry to protect you, because that is what I was born to do. Here in my domain, there is no one to protect.
Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan (The One and Only Ivan #1))
Who supports the troops? The troops support the troops.
Clint Van Winkle (Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
They had signs about baby killers and murderers and whatever, protesting the troops who were going over to fight. They were protesting the wrong people. We didn’t vote in Congress; we didn’t vote to go to war. I signed up to protect this country. I do not choose the wars.
Chris Kyle (American Sniper)
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but, in their stead, Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not
William Shakespeare (Macbeth)
Don't apologize for being patriotic. Support the troops
Toby Keith
Pater noster Our Father who art in heaven Stay there And we'll stay here on earth Which is sometimes so pretty With its mysteries of New York And its mysteries of Paris At least as good as that of the Trinity With its little canal at Ourcq Its great wall of China Its river at Morlaix Its candy canes With its Pacific Ocean And its two basins in the Tuileries With its good children and bad people With all the wonders of the world Which are here Simply on the earth Offered to everyone Strewn about Wondering at the wonder of themselves And daring not avow it As a naked pretty girl dares not show herself With the world's outrageous misfortunes Which are legion With legionaries With torturers With the masters of this world The masters with their priests their traitors and their troops With the seasons With the years With the pretty girls and with the old bastards With the straw of misery rotting in the steel of cannons.
Jacques Prévert
They’d made a pact to be friends forever, but forever could be so, so brief.
Nick Cutter (The Troop)
With no relation to social status, class, background, whether it suits them or not, people yearn for a dream. Sustained by a dream, hurt by a dream, revived by a dream, killed by a dream. And even after being abandoned by a dream, it continues to smolder from the bottom of one's heart, probably until the verge of death. A man should envision such a lifetime once. A life spent as a martyr...to the God named "Dream". Ultimately, to be born, and then to simply live for no better reason...I can't abide such a life. They are...excellent troops. Together we have faced death so many times. They are my valuable comrades, devoting themselves to the dream I envision. But to me, a friend is...something else. Someone who would never depend on another's dream. Someone who wouldn't be compelled by anyone, but would determine and pursue his own reason to live...And should anyone trample that dream, he would oppose him body and soul, even if that threat were me myself. What I think a friend is...is one who is my "Equal".
Kentaro Miura (Berserk, Vol. 6 (Berserk, #6))
You hold on to life until it gets ripped away from you. Even if it gets ripped away in pieces. You just hold on.
Nick Cutter (The Troop)
You cannot expect the man who made this shield to live easily under the rule of man who worked the sheath of this dagger . . . You are the builders of coursed stone walls, the makers of straight roads and ordered justice and disciplined troops. We know that, we know it all too well. We know that your justice is more sure than ours, and when we rise against you, we see our hosts break against the discipline of your troops, as the sea breaks against a rock. And we do not understand, because all these things are the ordered pattern, and only the free curves of the shield-boss are real to us. We do not understand. And when the time comes that we begin to understand your world, too often we lose the understanding of our own.
Rosemary Sutcliff (The Eagle of the Ninth)
The room was a compact, informal library. Books stood or were stacked on the shelves that ran along two walls from floor to ceiling, sat on the tables like knickknacks, trooped around the room like soldiers. They struck Malory as more than knowledge or entertainment, even more than stories or information. They were colour and texture, in a haphazard yet somehow intricate decorating scheme. The short leg of the L-shaped room boasted still more books, as well as a small table that held the remains of Dana's breakfast. With her hands on her hips, Dana watched Malory's perusal of her space. She'd seen the reaction before. 'No I haven't read them all, but I will.And no I don't know how many I have. Want coffee?' Let me just ask this. Do you ever actually use the services of the library?' Sure, but I need to own them. If I don't have twenty or thirty books right here, waiting to be read, I start jonesing. That's my compulsion.
Nora Roberts
Napoleon, the man of genius, did this! But to say that he destroyed his army because he wished to, or because he was very stupid, would be as unjust as to say that he had brought his troops to Moscow because he wished to and because he was very clever and a genius
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
Night-time train travel is wonderful again! No standing in the corridors for hours, no being shunted off for a troop train to pass, and above all, no black-out curtains. All the windows we passed were lighted, and I could snoop once more. I missed it so terribly during the war. I felt as if we had all turned into moles scuttling along in our separate tunnels. I don't consider myself a real peeper-they go in for bedrooms, but it's families in sitting rooms or kitchens that thrill me. I can imagine their entire lives from a glimpse of bookshelves, or desks, or lit candles, or bright sofa cushions.
Mary Ann Shaffer (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)
The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn’t seem to be really trying.
Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1))
Being an Armenian is a merciless task and a heroic enterprise. It is a commandment, a mission, and a destiny that history has imposed on us from the depths of centuries. We are the shock troops of the struggle between light and darkness… And we are charged with an awesome responsibility. Gostan Zarian.
Keri Topouzian (A Perfect Armenian)
I’d seen how just a handful of votes in every precinct could mean the difference not just between one candidate and another but between one value system and the next. If a few people stayed home in each neighborhood, it could determine what our kids learned in schools, which health-care options we had available, or whether or not we sent our troops to war. Voting was both simple and incredibly effective.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
You know the funny thing about Afghanistan?’ Griffin’s voice was very soft. ‘The British aren’t going to invade with English troops. They’re going to invade with troops from Bengal and Bombay. They’re going to have sepoys fight the Afghans, just like they had sepoys fight and die for them at Irrawaddy, because those Indian troops have the same logic you do, which is that it’s better to be a servant of the Empire, brutal coercion and all, than to resist. Because it’s safe. Because it’s stable, because it lets them survive. And that’s how they win, brother. They pit us against each other. They tear us apart.
R.F. Kuang (Babel)
Killing War I had no desire to alter the viable occupations of humanity, but I was determined to do something about the level of regional bloodshed. Education was my weapon of choice, based on a simple hypothesis: that the advance troops of physical carnage are the propaganda and lies that justify murder, making the real battleground that of ideas. I was determined to address a situation where so many people were ready to kill, driven by the conviction that others are either evil incarnate or will murder them first if they don’t kill them first if they don’t … Entire nations were buried in twisted truths submerged by hate, covered with vengeance. Voices of remorse, forgiveness, justice and reconciliation were drowned out by the din of screams for death or revenge. The best defense system against the cycle of violence was something that is impervious to any tool of destruction ever spawned. That something is knowledge.
Nancy Omeara (The Most Popular President Who Ever Lived [So Far])
Lintang was very rational; Mahar was a daydreamer. Mahar was easily inspired by just about anything. Like Lint- ang, Mahar also was a true genius—just a different kind of genius. This kind of genius isn’t easily understood by most people and is rarely considered “intelligent” by ordinary people’s standards.
Andrea Hirata (The Rainbow Troops)
Our enemies are Medes and Persians, men who for centuries have lived soft and luxurious lives; we of Macedon for generations past have been trained in the hard school of danger and war. Above all, we are free men, and they are slaves. There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is their cause from ours! They will be fighting for pay — and not much of at that; we, on the contrary, shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it. As for our foreign troops — Thracians, Paeonians, Illyrians, Agrianes — they are the best and stoutest soldiers in Europe, and they will find as their opponents the slackest and softest of the tribes of Asia. And what, finally, of the two men in supreme command? You have Alexander, they — Darius!
Alexander the Great
Nawat grinned. “I was helping to steal soldiers who couldn't keep up.” “What do you do with them?” she asked, curious. “I haven't heard of bodies being found.” “Nor will you,” Nawat informed her, sitting on a corner of the worktable. “They were still alive when we gave them to my warriors at the edge of the jungle.” He picked up Aly's hand and laced his fingers with hers. “My warriors will be able to say they last saw the missing soldiers alive, when the troops went on a visit to the jungle.” Aly walked her free fingers over their entwined hands. “But why would Crown soldiers visit the jungle?” “They didn't think they would at first,” Nawat admitted. “So my warriors show them the beauties of the deep jungle. They take away all the things the soldiers have of the civilized world, such as clothes and weapons and armor, so the soldiers will appreciate the jungle with their entire bodies. But my warriors have seen jungle before, so they get bored and leave. The soldiers stay longer.” “Like the tax collectors,” Aly whispered, awed by the beauty of what he described. “Take away all they have and leave them to survive the jungle. If you're questioned under truthspell, you can say they were alive when you left them. And the only way they could survive naked out there . . .” Nawat was shaking his head. Aly nodded. “I take it you don't leave them near any trails.” “They are there to appreciate the jungle that has been untouched by humans,” Nawat told her, a teacher to a student who did not quite understand. Aly sighed. “I am limp with envy,” she told him. “Simply limp.
Tamora Pierce (Trickster's Queen (Daughter of the Lioness, #2))
During the First World War, I told her, Hitler had been a runner, delivering messages between the German trenches, and he was disgusted by seeing his fellow soldiers visit French brothels. To keep the Aryan bloodlines pure,and prevent the spread of venereal disease, he commissioned an inflatable doll that Nazi troops could take into battle. Hitler himself designed the dolls to have blond hair and large breasts. The Allied firebombing of Dresden destroyed the factory before the dolls could ever go into wide distribution.
Chuck Palahniuk (Snuff)
In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.
Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms)
The Regency,' said Laurent, addressing the troop, 'thought to take us outnumbered. It expected us to roll over without a fight.' Damen said: 'We will not let them cow us, subdue us or force us down. Ride hard. Don't stop to fight the front line. We are going to smash them open. We are here to fight for our Prince!' The cry rang out, For the Prince! The men gripped their swords, slammed their visors down, and the sound they made was a roar.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
The Elder of Ewart spoke out. “Your words are powerful, Ala Moire, yet they will not suffice. The Dewar commands 50,000 troops in Erbea. We are unskilled in war. We have no hope of defeating or even slowing down this invasion. All we can do is hope to treat with them and negotiate some settlement. If this means we bow our heads, so be it. I will not call simple allegiance to a foreign king slavery. Unless the Dewar wants to rape our land, he can have my fealty.
Robert Reid (White Light Red Fire)
I saw a banner hanging next to city hall in downtown Philadelphia that read, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." A bumper sticker read, "God will judge evildoers; we just have to get them to him." I saw a T-shirt on a soldier that said, "US Air Force... we don't die; we just go to hell to regroup." Others were less dramatic- red, white, and blue billboards saying, "God bless our troops." "God Bless America" became a marketing strategy. One store hung an ad in their window that said, "God bless America--$1 burgers." Patriotism was everywhere, including in our altars and church buildings. In the aftermath of September 11th, most Christian bookstores had a section with books on the event, calendars, devotionals, buttons, all decorated in the colors of America, draped in stars and stripes, and sprinkled with golden eagles. This burst of nationalism reveals the deep longing we all have for community, a natural thirst for intimacy... September 11th shattered the self-sufficient, autonomous individual, and we saw a country of broken fragile people who longed for community- for people to cry with, be angry with, to suffer with. People did not want to be alone in their sorrow, rage, and fear. But what happened after September 11th broke my heart. Conservative Christians rallies around the drums of war. Liberal Christian took to the streets. The cross was smothered by the flag and trampled under the feet of angry protesters. The church community was lost, so the many hungry seekers found community in the civic religion of American patriotism. People were hurting and crying out for healing, for salvation in the best sense of the word, as in the salve with which you dress a wound. A people longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down. They have always fallen short of the glory of God. ...The tragedy of the church's reaction to September 11th is not that we rallied around the families in New York and D.C. but that our love simply reflected the borders and allegiances of the world. We mourned the deaths of each soldier, as we should, but we did not feel the same anger and pain for each Iraqi death, or for the folks abused in the Abu Ghraib prison incident. We got farther and farther from Jesus' vision, which extends beyond our rational love and the boundaries we have established. There is no doubt that we must mourn those lives on September 11th. We must mourn the lives of the soldiers. But with the same passion and outrage, we must mourn the lives of every Iraqi who is lost. They are just as precious, no more, no less. In our rebirth, every life lost in Iraq is just as tragic as a life lost in New York or D.C. And the lives of the thirty thousand children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.
Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)
She swallowed, watching as the servants and Harry and Bert trooped out of the room. Lad, apparently not the brightest dog in the world, sat down next to Mickey O’Connor and leaned against his leg. Mr. O’Connor looked at the dog, looked at the damp spot growing on his breeches where the dog was leaning, and sighed. “I find me life is not as quiet as it used to be afore ye came to me palace, Mrs. Hollingbrook.” Silence lifted her chin. “You’re a pirate, Mr. O’Connor. I cannot believe your life was ever very quiet.” He gave her an ironic look. “Aye, amazin’, isn’t it? Yet since yer arrival me servants no longer obey me and I return home to find me kitchen flooded.” He crossed to a cupboard and took down a china teapot, a tin of tea, and a teacup. “And me dog smells like a whorehouse.” Silence glanced guiltily at Lad. “The only soap we could find was rose scented.
Elizabeth Hoyt (Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3))
The Dichotomy of Leadership A good leader must be: • confident but not cocky; • courageous but not foolhardy; • competitive but a gracious loser; • attentive to details but not obsessed by them; • strong but have endurance; • a leader and follower; • humble not passive; • aggressive not overbearing; • quiet not silent; • calm but not robotic, logical but not devoid of emotions; • close with the troops but not so close that one becomes more important than another or more important than the good of the team; not so close that they forget who is in charge. • able to execute Extreme Ownership, while exercising Decentralized Command. A good leader has nothing to prove, but everything to prove. APPLICATION
Jocko Willink (Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win)
Everybody supports the troops," Dime woofs, "support the troops, support the troops, hell yeah we're so fucking PROUD of our troops, but when it comes to actual money? Like somebody might have to come out of pocket for the troops? Then all the sudden we're on everybody's tight-ass budget. Talk is cheap, I got that, but gimme a break. Talk is cheap but money screams, this is our country, guys. And I fear for it. I think we should all fear for it.
Ben Fountain (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)
One of the great Confederate combat leaders, General John B. Gordon, had sat at his horse and spoken farewell to his men. Some he had seen weeping as they folded burnt and shot-pierced battle flags and laid them on the stacked arms of surrender. As he told his troops his own grief he tried to give them hope to rebuild out of the poverty and ashes to which many would return. Gordon would never forget a Kentucky father who lost two sons, one dying for the North, the other for the South. Over the two graves of his soldier boys the father set up a joint monument inscribed "God knows which was right.
Carl Sandburg (Abraham Lincoln)
Take it off first, soldier." He looked at her suspiciously. "Take what off?" "Your clothes. Entertain the troops." "My clothes?" He frowned. "I was sort of thinking you might want to do that for me." She shook her head and leaned back on one elbow, giving him her witchiest, bitchiest smile. "Strip." "Now, listen here, Francie--" Lifting a languid hand, she once again pointed toward the center of the room. "Do it real slow, good-looking," she purred. "I want to enjoy every minute.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Fancy Pants (Wynette, Texas, #1))
Fire! Your nose ignites, flameless kerosene (and, some say, Drano) laced with ephedrine you want to cry powdered demons bite through cartilage and sinuses, take dead aim at your brain, jump inside want to scream troops of tapping feet fall into rhythm, marking time, right between your eyes get the urge to dance louder, louder, ultra gray-matter power, shock waves of energy mushroom inside your head you want to let go detonate, annihilate barriers, bring down the walls, unleashing floodwaters, freeing long-captive dreams to ride the current through arteries and capillaries, pulsing, rushing, raging torrents pounding against your heart sweeping you away
Ellen Hopkins (Crank (Crank, #1))
You'll get over it...' It's the cliches that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don't get over it because 'it' is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to greive over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to? I've thought a lot about death recently, the finality of it, the argument ending in mid-air. One of us hadn't finished, why did the other one go? And why without warning? Even death after long illness is without warning. The moment you had prepared for so carefully took you by storm. The troops broke through the window and snatched the body and the body is gone. The day before the Wednesday last, this time a year ago, you were here and now you're not. Why not? Death reduces us to the baffled logic of a small child. If yesterday why not today? And where are you? Fragile creatures of a small blue planet, surrounded by light years of silent space. Do the dead find peace beyond the rattle of the world? What peace is there for us whose best love cannot return them even for a day? I raise my head to the door and think I will see you in the frame. I know it is your voice in the corridor but when I run outside the corridor is empty. There is nothing I can do that will make any difference. The last word was yours. The fluttering in the stomach goes away and the dull waking pain. Sometimes I think of you and I feel giddy. Memory makes me lightheaded, drunk on champagne. All the things we did. And if anyone had said this was the price I would have agreed to pay it. That surprises me; that with the hurt and the mess comes a shaft of recognition. It was worth it. Love is worth it.
Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body)
The principle I always go on in writing a novel is to think of the characters in terms of actors in a play. I say to myself, if a big name were playing this part, and if he found that after a strong first act he had practically nothing to do in the second act, he would walk out. Now, then, can I twist the story so as to give him plenty to do all the way through? I believe the only way a writer can keep himself up to the mark is by examining each story quite coldly before he starts writing it and asking himself it is all right as a story. I mean, once you go saying to yourself, "This is a pretty weak plot as it stands, but if I'm such a hell of a writer that my magic touch will make it okay," you're sunk. If they aren't in interesting situations, characters can't be major characters, not even if you have the rest of the troop talk their heads off about them." (Interview, The Paris Review, Issue 64, Winter 1975)
P.G. Wodehouse
Republican or Democrat, this nation's affluent urban and suburban classes understand their bread is buttered on the corporate side. The primary difference between the two parties is that the Republicans pretty much admit that they grasp and even endorse some of the nastiest facts of life in America. Republicans honestly tell the world: "Listen in on my phone calls, piss-test me until I'm blind, kill and eat all of my neighbors right in front of my eyes, but show me the money! Let me escape with every cent I can kick out of the suckers, the taxpayers, and anybody else I can get a headlock on, legally or otherwise." Democrats, in contrast, seem content to catalog the GOP's outrages against the Republic, showing proper indignation while laughing at episodes of The Daily Show. But they stand behind the American brand: imperialism. They "support our troops," though you will be hard put to find any of them who have served alongside them or who would send one of their own kids off to lose an eye or an arm in Iraq. They play the imperial game, maintain their credit ratings, and plan to keep the beach house and the retirement investments if it means sacrificing every damned Lynndie England in West Virginia.
Joe Bageant (Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War)
I keep thinking about all the kids who got wiped out by seventeen years of war movies before coming to Vietnam to get wiped out for good. You don’t know what a media freak is until you’ve seen the way a few of those grunts would run around during a fight when they knew that there was a television crew nearby; they were actually making war movies in their heads, doing little guts-and-glory Leatherneck tap dances under fire, getting their pimples shot off for the networks. They were insane, but the war hadn’t done that to them. Most combat troops stopped thinking of the war as an adventure after their first few firefights, but there were always the ones who couldn’t let that go, these few who were up there doing numbers for the cameras… We’d all seen too many movies, stayed too long in Television City, years of media glut had made certain connections difficult.
Michael Herr (Dispatches)
The Trial By Existence Even the bravest that are slain Shall not dissemble their surprise On waking to find valor reign, Even as on earth, in paradise; And where they sought without the sword Wide fields of asphodel fore’er, To find that the utmost reward Of daring should be still to dare. The light of heaven falls whole and white And is not shattered into dyes, The light for ever is morning light; The hills are verdured pasture-wise; The angel hosts with freshness go, And seek with laughter what to brave;— And binding all is the hushed snow Of the far-distant breaking wave. And from a cliff-top is proclaimed The gathering of the souls for birth, The trial by existence named, The obscuration upon earth. And the slant spirits trooping by In streams and cross- and counter-streams Can but give ear to that sweet cry For its suggestion of what dreams! And the more loitering are turned To view once more the sacrifice Of those who for some good discerned Will gladly give up paradise. And a white shimmering concourse rolls Toward the throne to witness there The speeding of devoted souls Which God makes his especial care. And none are taken but who will, Having first heard the life read out That opens earthward, good and ill, Beyond the shadow of a doubt; And very beautifully God limns, And tenderly, life’s little dream, But naught extenuates or dims, Setting the thing that is supreme. Nor is there wanting in the press Some spirit to stand simply forth, Heroic in its nakedness, Against the uttermost of earth. The tale of earth’s unhonored things Sounds nobler there than ’neath the sun; And the mind whirls and the heart sings, And a shout greets the daring one. But always God speaks at the end: ’One thought in agony of strife The bravest would have by for friend, The memory that he chose the life; But the pure fate to which you go Admits no memory of choice, Or the woe were not earthly woe To which you give the assenting voice.’ And so the choice must be again, But the last choice is still the same; And the awe passes wonder then, And a hush falls for all acclaim. And God has taken a flower of gold And broken it, and used therefrom The mystic link to bind and hold Spirit to matter till death come. ‘Tis of the essence of life here, Though we choose greatly, still to lack The lasting memory at all clear, That life has for us on the wrack Nothing but what we somehow chose; Thus are we wholly stripped of pride In the pain that has but one close, Bearing it crushed and mystified.
Robert Frost
In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the Neo-Con-Artists seized the economy and added $4 trillion of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defence, three times more for gasoline and home-heating oil and twice what we payed for health-care. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their health-care, their pensions; trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war payed for with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis, while all the President's oil men are maneuvering on Iraq's oil. Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No money to rebuild bridges in America. Borrowed money to start a hot war with Iran, now we have another cold war with Russia and the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.
Dennis Kucinich
It struck me that such analyses had it backward. It’s the American public for whom the Iraq War is often no more real than a video game. Five years into this war, I am not always confident most Americans fully appreciate the caliber of the people fighting for them, the sacrifices they have made, and the sacrifices they continue to make. After the Vietnam War ended, the onus of shame largely fell on the veterans. This time around, if shame is to be had when the Iraq conflict ends - and all indications are there will be plenty of it - the veterans are the last people in America to deserve it. When it comes to apportioning shame my vote goes to the American people who sent them to war in a surge of emotion but quickly lost the will to either win it or end it. The young troops I profiled in Generation Kill, as well as the other men and women in uniform I’ve encountered in combat zones throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, are among the finest people of their generation. We misuse them at our own peril.
Evan Wright (Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War)
Do you know how hard it is to kill something? Nothing wants to die. Things cling to their lives against all hope, even when it’s hopeless. It’s like the end is always there, you can’t escape it, but things try so, so hard not to cross that finish line. So when they finally do, everything’s been stripped away. Their bodies and happiness and hope.
Nick Cutter (The Troop)
Maybe I was just flattering myself, thinking I'd be worth some sort of risk. Not that I'd wish that on anyone!" he clarified. "I don't mean that. It just...I don't know. Don't you all see everything I'm risking?" "Umm, no. You're here with your family to give you advice, and we all live around your schedule. Everything about your life stays the same, and ours changed overnight. What in the world could you possibly be risking?" Maxon looked shocked. "America, I might have my family, but imagine how embarrassing it is to have your parents watch as you attempt to date for the first time. And not just your parents-the whole country! Worse than that, it's not even a normal style of dating. "And living around my schedule? When I'm not with you all, I'm organizing troops, making laws, perfecting budgets...and all on my own these days, while my father watches me stumble in my own stupidity because I have none of his experience. And then, when I inevitably do things in a way he wouldn't, he goes and corrects my mistakes. And while I'm trying to do all this work, you-the girls, I mean-are all I can think about. I'm excited and terrified by the lot of you!" He was using his hands more than I'd ever seen, whipping them in the air and running them through his hair. "And you think my life isn't changing? What do you think my chances might be of finding a soul mate in the group of you? I'll be lucky if I can just find someone who'll be able to stand me for the rest of our lives. What if I've already sent her home because I was relying on some sort of spark I didn't feel? What if she's waiting to leave me at the first sign of adversity? What if I don't find anyone at all? What do I do then, America?" His speech had started out angered and impassioned, but by the end his questions weren't rhetorical anymore. He really wanted to know: What was he going to do if no one here was even close to being someone he could love? Though that didn't even seem to be his main concern; he was more worried that no one would love him. "Actually, Maxon, I think you will find your soul mate here. Honestly." "Really?" His voice charged with hope at my prediction. "Absolutely." I put a hand on his shoulder. He seemed to be comforted by that touch alone. I wondered how often people simply touched him. "If your life is as upside down as you say it is, then she has to be here somewhere. In my experience, true love is usually the most inconvenient kind.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
The point of public relations slogans like “Support our troops” is that they don’t mean anything. They mean as much as whether you support the people in Iowa. Of course, there was an issue. The issue was, Do you support our policy? But you don’t want people to think about that issue. That’s the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody’s going to be against, and everybody’s going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn’t mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy?
Noam Chomsky (Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda)
Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various “party lines.
George Orwell (Homage to Catalonia)
I wonder of what you must daily endure in America, having no government to protect you, no one to tell you what to do. Is it true you're given no ration card, that you must find food for yourself? Is it true that you labor for no higher purpose than paper money? What is California, this place you come from? I have never seen a picture. What plays over the American loudspeakers, when is your curfew, what is taught at your child-rearing collectives? Where does a woman go with her children on Sunday afternoons, and if a woman loses her husband, how does she know the government will assign her a good replacement? With whom would she curry favor to ensure her children got the best Youth Troop leader?
Adam Johnson (The Orphan Master's Son)
The embroidery came later, in the retelling, as the story was told again and again by the men, taking on its own character as it passed over camp. The Prince had ridden out, with only one soldier. Deep in the mountains, he had chased down the rats responsible for these killings. Had ripped them out of their hiding holes and fought them, thirty to one, at least. Had brought them back thrashed, lashed and subdued. That was their Prince for you, a twisty, vicious fiend who you should never, ever cross, unless you wanted your gullet handed to you on a platter. Why, he once rode a horse to death just to beat Torveld of Patras to the mark. In the men's eyes the feat was reflected as the wild, impossible thing it was--their Prince vanishing for two days, then appearing out of the night with a sackful of prisoners thrown over his shoulder, tossing them at the feet of his troop and saying: You wanted them? Here they are.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
WHEREVER WE HAD BEEN in Russia, in Moscow, in the Ukraine, in Stalingrad, the magical name of Georgia came up constantly. People who had never been there, and who possibly never could go there, spoke of Georgia with a kind of longing and a great admiration. They spoke of Georgians as supermen, as great drinkers, great dancers, great musicians, great workers and lovers. And they spoke of the country in the Caucasus and around the Black Sea as a kind of second heaven. Indeed, we began to believe that most Russians hope that if they live very good and virtuous lives, they will go not to heaven, but to Georgia, when they die. It is a country favored in climate, very rich in soil, and it has its own little ocean. Great service to the state is rewarded by a trip to Georgia. It is a place of recuperation for people who have been long ill. And even during the war it was a favored place, for the Germans never got there, neither with planes nor with troops. It is one of the places that was not hurt at all.
John Steinbeck (A Russian Journal)
Do you want to know the best, most effective transmitter of contagion known to man? Edgerton asks me with a pinprick of mad light dancing in each iris. It's love. Love is the absolute killer. Care. The milk of human kindness. People try so hard to save the people they love that they end up catching the contagion themselves. They give comfort, deliver aid, and in doing so they acquire the infection. Then those people are cared for by others and they get infected. On and on it goes. He shrugs. But that's people. People care too much. They love at all costs. And so they pay the ultimate price.
Nick Cutter (The Troop)
You are all soldiers of Christ," he said, "and now is an opportunity given to you to show that you are worthy soldiers. When the troops of a worldly monarch go into battle they do so with head erect, with proud and resolute bearing, with flashing eye, and with high courage, determined to bear aloft his banner and to crown it with victory, even though it cost them their lives. Such is the mien that soldiers of Christ should bear in the mortal strife now raging round us. Let them show the same fearlessness of death, the same high courage, the same unlimited confidence in their Leader. What matter if they die in His service? He has told them what their work should be. He has bidden them visit the sick and comfort the sorrowing. What if there be danger in the work? Did He shrink from the Cross which was to end His work of love, and is it for His followers to do so? 'Though you go down into the pit,' He has said, 'I am there also'; and with His companionship one must be craven indeed to tremble. This is a noble opportunity for holding high the banner of Christ. There is work to be done for all, and as the work is done, men should see by the calm courage, the cheerfulness, and the patience of those that do it, that they know that they are doing His work, and that they are content to leave the issue, whatever it be, in His hands.
G.A. Henty
Somebody betrayed us... The Germans learned the location of our partisan troop. They surrounded the forest from all sides. We were hiding in the deep woods, hiding in the swamps where the torturers did not go [...] A radio operator was with us. She gave birth recently. The baby was hungry... Wanting the breast... But the mother is starving, she has no milk, and the baby is crying. The Germans are nearby... With dogs... If the dogs hear the baby, we're all dead. All of us - thirty people... Do you understand? We make a decision... Nobody dares to tell her the commader's order, but the mother guesses it herself. She puts the bundle with the baby into the water and holds it there for a long time... The baby does not cry... Not a sound... And we cannot lift our eyes. We cannot look at the mother or at each other
Svetlana Alexievich (War's Unwomanly Face)
Charles's conversation was commonplace as a street pavement, and everyone's ideas trooped through it in their everyday garb, without exciting emotion, laughter, or thought. He had never had the curiosity, he said, while he lived at Rouen, to go to the theatre to see the actors from Paris. He could neither swim, nor fence, nor shoot, and one day he could not explain some term of horsemanship to her that she had come across in a novel. A man, on the contrary, should he not know everything, excel in manifold activities, initiate you into the energies of passion, the refinements of life, all mysteries? But this one taught nothing, knew nothing, wished nothing. He thought her happy; and she resented this easy calm, this serene heaviness, the very happiness she gave him.
Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary)
Get Comfortable Not Knowing There once was a village that had among its people a very wise old man. The villagers trusted this man to provide them answers to their questions and concerns. One day, a farmer from the village went to the wise man and said in a frantic tone, “Wise man, help me. A horrible thing has happened. My ox has died and I have no animal to help me plow my field! Isn’t this the worst thing that could have possibly happened?” The wise old man replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The man hurried back to the village and reported to his neighbors that the wise man had gone mad. Surely this was the worst thing that could have happened. Why couldn’t he see this? The very next day, however, a strong, young horse was seen near the man’s farm. Because the man had no ox to rely on, he had the idea to catch the horse to replace his ox—and he did. How joyful the farmer was. Plowing the field had never been easier. He went back to the wise man to apologize. “You were right, wise man. Losing my ox wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. It was a blessing in disguise! I never would have captured my new horse had that not happened. You must agree that this is the best thing that could have happened.” The wise man replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Not again, thought the farmer. Surely the wise man had gone mad now. But, once again, the farmer did not know what was to happen. A few days later the farmer’s son was riding the horse and was thrown off. He broke his leg and would not be able to help with the crop. Oh no, thought the man. Now we will starve to death. Once again, the farmer went to the wise man. This time he said, “How did you know that capturing my horse was not a good thing? You were right again. My son is injured and won’t be able to help with the crop. This time I’m sure that this is the worst thing that could have possibly happened. You must agree this time.” But, just as he had done before, the wise man calmly looked at the farmer and in a compassionate tone replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Enraged that the wise man could be so ignorant, the farmer stormed back to the village. The next day troops arrived to take every able-bodied man to the war that had just broken out. The farmer’s son was the only young man in the village who didn’t have to go. He would live, while the others would surely die. The moral of this story provides a powerful lesson. The truth is, we don’t know what’s going to happen—we just think we do. Often we make a big deal out of something. We blow up scenarios in our minds about all the terrible things that are going to happen. Most of the time we are wrong. If we keep our cool and stay open to possibilities, we can be reasonably certain that, eventually, all will be well. Remember: maybe so, maybe not.
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life)
In the lives of emperors there is a moment which follows pride in the boundless extension of the territories we have conquered, and the melancholy and relief of knowing we shall soon give up any thought of knowing and understanding them. There is a sense of emptiness that comes over us at evening, with the odor of the elephants after the rain and the sandalwood ashes growing cold in the braziers, a dizziness that makes rivers and mountains tremble on the fallow curves of the planispheres where they are portrayed, and rolls up, one after the other, the despatches announcing to us the collapse of the last enemy troops, from defeat to defeat, and flakes the wax of seals of obscure kings who beseech our armies’ protection, offering in exchange annual tributes of precious metals, tanned hides, and tortoise shell. It is the desperate moment when we discover that this empire, which had seemed to us the sum of all wonders, is an endless, formless ruin, that corruption’s gangrene has spread too far to be healed by our scepter, that the triumph over enemy sovereigns has made us the heirs of their long undoing.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
Van Gogh writing his brother for paints Hemingway testing his shotgun Celine going broke as a doctor of medicine the impossibility of being human Villon expelled from Paris for being a thief Faulkner drunk in the gutters of his town the impossibility of being human Burroughs killing his wife with a gun Mailer stabbing his the impossibility of being human Maupassant going mad in a rowboat Dostoyevsky lined up against a wall to be shot Crane off the back of a boat into the propeller the impossibility Sylvia with her head in the oven like a baked potato Harry Crosby leaping into that Black Sun Lorca murdered in the road by Spanish troops the impossibility Artaud sitting on a madhouse bench Chatterton drinking rat poison Shakespeare a plagiarist Beethoven with a horn stuck into his head against deafness the impossibility the impossibility Nietzsche gone totally mad the impossibility of being human all too human this breathing in and out out and in these punks these cowards these champions these mad dogs of glory moving this little bit of light toward us impossibly.
Charles Bukowski
Here's what I learned over the years. Know the mission, what is expected of you and your people. Get to know those people, their attitudes and expectations. Visit all the shops and sections. Ask questions. Don't be shy. Learn what each does, how the parts fit into the whole. Find out what supplies and equipment are lacking, what the workers need. To whom does each shop chief report? Does that officer really know the people under him, is he aware of their needs, their training? Does that NCO supervise or just make out reports without checking facts? Remember, those reports eventually come to you. Don't try to bullshit the troops, but make sure they know the buck stops with you, that you'll shoulder the blame when things go wrong. Correct without revenge or anger. Recognize accomplishment. Reward accordingly. Foster spirit through self-pride, not slogans, and never at the expense of another unit. It won't take long, but only your genuine interest and concern, plus follow-up on your promises, will earn you respect. Out of that you gain loyalty and obedience. Your outfit will be a standout. But for God's sake, don't ever try to be popular! That weakens your position, makes you vulnerable. Don't have favorites. That breeds resentment. Respect the talents of your people. Have the courage to delegate responsibility and give the authority to go with it. Again, make clear to your troops you are the one who'll take the heat.
Robin Olds
(...) Some fairy lore makes a clear division between good and wicked types of fairies — between those who are friendly to mankind, and those who seek to cause us harm. In Scottish tales, good fairies make up the Seelie Court, which means the Blessed Court, while bad fairies congregate in the Unseelie Court, ruled by the dark queen Nicnivin. In old Norse myth, the Liosálfar (Light Elves) are regal, compassionate creatures who live in the sky in the realm of Alfheim, while the Döckálfar (the Dark Elves) live underground and are greatly feared. Yet in other traditions, a fairy can be good or bad, depending on the circumstance or on the fairy's whim. They are often portrayed as amoral beings, rather than as immoral ones, who simply have little comprehension of human notions of right and wrong. The great English folklorist Katherine Briggs tended to avoid the "good" and "bad" division, preferring the categorizations of Solitary and Trooping Fairies instead. (...)
Terri Windling (The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm)
Because we were duped I tell you, duped as even yet we hardly realize; because we were misused, hideously misused. They told us it was for the Fatherland, and meant the schemes of annexation of a greedy industry.--They told us it was for Honor, and meant the quarrels and the will to power of a handful of ambitious diplomats and princes.--They told us it was for the Nation, and meant the need for activity on the part of out-of-work generals!...Can't you see? They stuffed out the word Patriotism with all the twaddle of their fine phrases, with their desire for glory, their will to power, their false romanticism, their stupidity, their greed of business, and then paraded it before us as a shining ideal! And we thought they were sounding a bugle summoning us to a new, a more strenuous, a larger life. Can't you see, man? But we were making war against ourselves without even knowing it!... There is only one fight, the fight against the lie, the half-truth, compromise, against the old order. But we let ourselves be taken in by their phrases; and instead of fighting against them, we fought for them. We thought it was for the Future. It was against the Future. Our future is dead; for the youth is dead that carried it. We are merely the survivors, the ruins. But the other is alive still--the fat, the full, the well content, that lives on, fatter and fuller, more contented than ever! And why? Because the dissatisfied, the eager, the storm troops have died for it.
Erich Maria Remarque (The Road Back)
Dalinar took one step forward, then drove his Blade point-first into the middle of the blackened glyph on the stone. He took a step back. “For the bridgemen,” he said. Sadeas blinked. Muttering voices fell silent, and the people on the field seemed too stunned, even, to breathe. “What?”Sadeas asked. “The Blade,”Dalinar said, firm voice carrying in the air. “In exchange for your bridgemen. All of them. Every one you have in camp. They become mine, to do with as I please, never to be touched by you again. In exchange, you get the sword.” Sadeas looked down at the Blade, incredulous. “This weapon is worth fortunes. Cities, palaces, kingdoms.” “Do we have a deal?”Dalinar asked. “Father, no!”Adolin Kholin said, his own Blade appearing in his hand. “You—” Dalinar raised a hand, silencing the younger man. He kept his eyes on Sadeas. “Do we have a deal?” he asked, each word sharp. Kaladin stared, unable to move, unable to think. Sadeas looked at the Shardblade, eyes full of lust. He glanced at Kaladin, hesitated just briefly, then reached and grabbed the Blade by the hilt. “Take the storming creatures.” Dalinar nodded curtly, turning away from Sadeas. “Let’s go,”he said to his entourage. “They’re worthless, you know,”Sadeas said. “You’re of the ten fools, Dalinar Kholin! Don’t you see how mad you are? This will be remembered as the most ridiculous decision ever made by an Alethi highprince!” Dalinar didn’t look back. He walked up to Kaladin and the other members of Bridge Four. “Go,” Dalinar said to them, voice kindly. “Gather your things and the men you left behind. I will send troops with you to act as guards. Leave the bridges and come swiftly to my camp. You will be safe there. You have my word of honor on it.” He began to walk away. Kaladin shook off his numbness. He scrambled after the highprince, grabbing his armored arm. “Wait. You—That—What just happened?” Dalinar turned to him. Then, the highprince laid a hand on Kaladin’s shoulder, the gauntlet gleaming blue, mismatched with the rest of his slate-grey armor. “I don’t know what has been done to you. I can only guess what your life has been like. But know this. You will not be bridgemen in my camp, nor will you be slaves.” “But…” “What is a man’s life worth?” Dalinar asked softly. “The slavemasters say one is worth about two emerald broams,” Kaladin said, frowning. “And what do you say?” “A life is priceless,” he said immediately, quoting his father. Dalinar smiled, wrinkle lines extending from the corners of his eyes. “Coincidentally, that is the exact value of a Shardblade. So today, you and your men sacrificed to buy me twenty-six hundred priceless lives. And all I had to repay you with was a single priceless sword. I call that a bargain.” “You really think it was a good trade, don’t you?” Kaladin said, amazed. Dalinar smiled in a way that seemed strikingly paternal.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
It came down to that flexibility of a person’s mind. An ability to withstand horrors and snap back, like a fresh elastic band. A flinty mind shattered. In this way, he was glad not to be an adult. A grown-up’s mind—even one belonging to a decent man like Scoutmaster Tim—lacked that elasticity. The world had been robbed of all its mysteries, and with those mysteries went the horror. Adults didn’t believe in old wives’ tales. You didn’t see adults stepping over sidewalk cracks out of the fear that they might somehow, some way, break their mothers’ backs. They didn’t wish on stars: not with the squinty-eyed fierceness of kids, anyway. You’ll never find an adult who believes that saying “Bloody Mary” three times in front of a mirror in a dark room will summon a dark, blood-hungry entity. Adults were scared of different things: their jobs, their mortgages, whether they hung out with the “right people,” whether they would die unloved. These were pallid compared to the fears of a child—leering clowns under the bed and slimy monsters capering beyond the basement’s light and faceless sucking horrors from beyond the stars. There’s no 12-step or self-help group for dealing with those fears. Or maybe there is: you just grow up. And when you do, you surrender the nimbleness of mind required to believe in such things—but also to cope with them. And so when adults find themselves in a situation where that nimbleness is needed . . . well, they can’t summon it. So they fall to pieces: go insane, panic, suffer heart attacks and aneurysms brought on by fright. Why? They simply don’t believe it could be happening. That’s what’s different about kids: they believe everything can happen, and fully expect it to.
Nick Cutter (The Troop)
As it moves closer, Galen can make out smaller bodies within the mass. Whales. Sharks. Sea turtles. Stingrays. And he knows exactly what’s happening. The darkening horizon engages the full attention of the Aerna; the murmurs grow louder the closer it gets. The darkness approaches like a mist, eclipsing the natural snlight from the surface. An eclipse of fish. With each of his rapid heartbeats, Galen thinks he can feel the actual years disappear from his life span. A wall of every predator imaginable, and every kind of prey swimming in between, fold themselves around the edges of the hot ridges. The food chain hovers toward, over them, around them as a unified force. And Emma is leading it. Nalia gasps, and Galen guesses she recognizes the white dot in the middle of the wall. Syrena on the outskirts of the Arena frantically rush to the center, the tribunal all but forgotten in favor of self-preservation. The legion of sea life circles the stadium, effectively barricading the exits and any chance of escaping. Galen can’t decide if he’s proud or angry when Emma leaves the safety of her troops to enter the Arena, hitching a ride on the fin of a killer whale. When she’s but three fin-lengths away from Galen, she dismisses her escort. “Go back with the others,” she tells it. “I’ll be fine.” Galen decides on proud. Oh, and completely besotted. She gives him a curt nod to which he grins. Turning to the crowd of ogling Syrena, she says, “I am Emma, daughter of Nalia, true princess of Poseidon.” He hears murmurs of “Half-Breed” but it sounds more like awe than hatred or disgust. And why shouldn’t it? They’ve seen Paca’s display of the Gift. Emma’s has just put it to shame.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
The Loneliness of the Military Historian Confess: it's my profession that alarms you. This is why few people ask me to dinner, though Lord knows I don't go out of my way to be scary. I wear dresses of sensible cut and unalarming shades of beige, I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser's: no prophetess mane of mine, complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters. If I roll my eyes and mutter, if I clutch at my heart and scream in horror like a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene, I do it in private and nobody sees but the bathroom mirror. In general I might agree with you: women should not contemplate war, should not weigh tactics impartially, or evade the word enemy, or view both sides and denounce nothing. Women should march for peace, or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery, spit themselves on bayonets to protect their babies, whose skulls will be split anyway, or,having been raped repeatedly, hang themselves with their own hair. There are the functions that inspire general comfort. That, and the knitting of socks for the troops and a sort of moral cheerleading. Also: mourning the dead. Sons,lovers and so forth. All the killed children. Instead of this, I tell what I hope will pass as truth. A blunt thing, not lovely. The truth is seldom welcome, especially at dinner, though I am good at what I do. My trade is courage and atrocities. I look at them and do not condemn. I write things down the way they happened, as near as can be remembered. I don't ask why, because it is mostly the same. Wars happen because the ones who start them think they can win. In my dreams there is glamour. The Vikings leave their fields each year for a few months of killing and plunder, much as the boys go hunting. In real life they were farmers. The come back loaded with splendour. The Arabs ride against Crusaders with scimitars that could sever silk in the air. A swift cut to the horse's neck and a hunk of armour crashes down like a tower. Fire against metal. A poet might say: romance against banality. When awake, I know better. Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters, or none that could be finally buried. Finish one off, and circumstances and the radio create another. Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently to God all night and meant it, and been slaughtered anyway. Brutality wins frequently, and large outcomes have turned on the invention of a mechanical device, viz. radar. True, valour sometimes counts for something, as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right - though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition, is decided by the winner. Sometimes men throw themselves on grenades and burst like paper bags of guts to save their comrades. I can admire that. But rats and cholera have won many wars. Those, and potatoes, or the absence of them. It's no use pinning all those medals across the chests of the dead. Impressive, but I know too much. Grand exploits merely depress me. In the interests of research I have walked on many battlefields that once were liquid with pulped men's bodies and spangled with exploded shells and splayed bone. All of them have been green again by the time I got there. Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day. Sad marble angels brood like hens over the grassy nests where nothing hatches. (The angels could just as well be described as vulgar or pitiless, depending on camera angle.) The word glory figures a lot on gateways. Of course I pick a flower or two from each, and press it in the hotel Bible for a souvenir. I'm just as human as you. But it's no use asking me for a final statement. As I say, I deal in tactics. Also statistics: for every year of peace there have been four hundred years of war.
Margaret Atwood (Morning In The Burned House: Poems)