Charles Bernstein


first published in the Philadelphia Inquirer
Monday, March 31, 2003
subsequently collected in

Audio recording (MP3)
with author and Emma Bee Bernstein, Morrow Studio (2004)
Buffalo (2003)


War is the extension of prose by other means.

War is never having to say you're sorry.

War is the logical outcome of moral certainty.

War is conflict resolution for the aesthetically challenged.

War is a slow boat to heaven and an express train to hell.

War is either a failure to communicate or the most direct expression possible.

War is the first resort of scoundrels.

War is the legitimate right of the powerless to resist the violence of the powerful.

War is delusion just as peace is imaginary.

"War is beautiful because it combines the gunfire, the cannonades, the cease-fire, the scents, and the stench of putrefaction into a symphony."

"War is a thing that decides how it is to be done when it is to be done."

War is not a justification for the self-righteousness of the people who oppose it.

War is other people.

War is a five-mile hike in a one-mile cemetery.

War is nature's way of saying I told you so.

War is a fashioning of opportunity.

War is "a nipponized bit of the old sixth avenue el."

War is the reluctant foundation of justice and the unconscious guarantor of liberty.

War is the broken dream of the patriot.

War is the slow death of idealism.

War is realpolitik for the old and unmitigated realism for the young.

War is pragmatism with an inhuman face.

War is for the state what despair is for the person.

War is the end of the road for those who've lost their bearings.

War is a poem that is afraid of its shadow but furious in its course.

War is men turned into steel and women turned into ash.

War is never a reason for war but seldom a reason for anything else.

War is a casualty of truth just as truth is a casualty of war.

War is the redress of the naked.

War is the opiate of the politicians.

War is to compromise what morbidity is to mortality.

War is poetry without song.

War is the world's betrayal of the earth's plenitude.

War is like a gorilla at a teletype machine: not always the best choice but sometimes the only one you've got.

War is a fever that feeds on blood.

War is never more than an extension of thanatos.

War is the older generation's way of making up for the mistakes of its youth.

War is moral, peace is ethical.

War is the ultimate entertainment.

War is resistance in the flesh.

War is capitalism's way of testing its limits.

War is an inevitable product of class struggle.

War is technology's uncle.

War is an excuse for lots of bad antiwar poetry.

War is the right of a people who are oppressed.

War is news that stays news.

War is the principal weapon of a revolution that can never be achieved.

War pays for those who have nothing to lose.

War is Surrealism without art.

War is not won but survived.

War is two wrongs obliterating right.

War is the abandonment of reason in the name of principle.

War is sacrifice for an ideal.

War is the desecration of the real.

War is unjust even when it is just.

War is the revenge of the dead on the living.

War is revenge on the wrong person.

War is the cry of the child in black, the woman in red, and the man in blue.

War is powerlessness.

War is raw.

War is the declared struggle of one state against another but it is also the undeclared violence of the state against its own people.

War is no vice in the defense of liberty; appeasement is no virtue in the pursuit of self-protection.

War is tyranny's greatest foe.

War is tyranny's greatest friend.

War is the solution; but what is the problem?

War is a horse that bridles its rider.

War is the inadequate symbol of human society.

War is the best way to stoke the dying embers of ancient enmities.

War is a battle for the hearts and minds of the heartless and mindless.

War is history as told by the victors.

War is the death of civilization in the pursuit of civilization.

War is the end justifying the meanness.

War is an SUV for every soccer Pop and social Mom.

War is made by the rich and paid by the poor.

War is the quality TV alternative to You Still Don't Know Jacko: Cookin' with Michael and Fear Factor: How to Marry a Bachelorette.

War is not a metaphor.

War is not ironic.

War is sincerity in serial motion.

War is a game of chess etched in flesh.

War is tactical violence for strategic dominance.

War is international engagement to cover domestic indifference.

War is the devil in overdrive.

War is our only hope.

War is our inheritance.

War is our patrimony.

War is our right.

War is our obligation.

War is justified only when it stops war.

War isn't over even when it's over.

War is "over here."

War is the answer.

War is here.

War is this.

War is now.

War is us.