William Faulkner, in his little known (Pulitzer) novel, A Fable, has many pungent things to say about man and war, which more than once, he refers to as a vice – far more tolerated by men than gambling, promiscuity or drunkenness:

[He was thinking] how war and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy. His wife and children may be shoeless; someone will always buy him drink or weapons, thinking More than that. The last person a man planning to set up in the wine trade would approach for a loan, would be a rival wine-dealer. A nation preparing for war can borrow from the very nation it aims to destroy.

Or, as here:

‘The boche doesn’t want to destroy us, any more than we would want, could afford, to destroy him. Cant you understand? either of us, without the other, couldn’t exist?

How to end war:

The old porter said. ‘You dont need to understand. Just go and  look at him.’

‘Him?’ the runner said. ‘So it’s just one now?’

‘Wasn’t it just one before?’ the old porter said. ‘Wasn’t one enough then to tell us the  same thing all them two thousand years ago: that all we ever needed to do was just to  say, Enough of this;—us, not even the sergeants and corporals, but just us, all of us,  Germans and Colonials and Frenchmen and all the other foreigners in the mud here,  saying together: Enough. Let them that’s already dead and maimed and missing be  enough of this;—a thing so easy and simple that even human man, as full of evil and  sin and folly as he is, can understand and believe it this time. Go and look at him.’


Only a fool would look on war as a condition; it’s too expensive. War is an episode, a crisis, a fever the purpose of which is to rid the body of fever. So the purpose of a war is to end the war. We’ve known that for six thousand years. The trouble was, it took us six thousand years to learn how to do it. For six thousand years we labored under the delusion that the only way to stop a war was to get together more regiments and battalions than the enemy could, or vice versa, and hurl them upon each other until one lot was destroyed and, the one having nothing left to fight with, the other could stop fighting. We were wrong, because yesterday morning, by simply declining to make an attack, one single French regiment stopped us all.’