The 6 Coolest Things Said by Soldiers Before Killing People
War is serious. War is dark, violent and terrible, and it will likely be the end of our species someday. It's a cliche, but some cliches are there for a reason: War is hell.
Or a hell of a lot of fun, depending on who you ask.
Like these guys, who liked to talk trash at global death-orgies like they were pickup basketball games at the park.
"Before We're Through With Them, the Japanese Language Will Be Spoken Only in Hell."
Vice Admiral William Halsey Jr. was so primed for world war that he offered to start one himself if he didn't get it for Christmas. Needless to say, Halsey got his wish after the Japanese attacked America. When he first surveyed the damage at Pearl Harbor from his ship, the USS Enterprise, the incensed admiral fumed, "Before we're through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell."
"Hell, and large parts of California."
Halsey upheld his oath by making life on Earth hell for the Japanese for the next four years. When Japan finally surrendered to the U.S., they did so on the deck of Halsey's own flagship, the USS Missouri. No word on whether or not he gently laid his balls on the table just as they went to sign the treaty papers, so we're forced to assume that yes, he did exactly that.
They edited it out, of course. We're sure of that much.
And nobody had the nerve to say a word about it.
Related: Happy Birthday, Badass - August 6
"Surrender? Your Grandmother Should Surrender, You Bastard!"
For those of you unfamiliar with Colonel Eduardo Abaroa Hidalgo, picture Tony Montana from Scarface dressed like a Johnny Depp character.
The background is just an extreme closeup of Helena Bonham Carter.
Abaroa was a Bolivian superhero during the War of the Pacific between Chile, Bolivia and Peru. After a standoff with Chile at the Battle of Topater, an injured and outnumbered Abaroa was asked to surrender. According to the Bolivians' story, he was out of ammo and nearly dead, but still refused to give up the fight. Abaroa responded, "Surrender? Your grandmother should surrender, you bastard!" And no, that phrase isn't gaining something in translation. Even in Spanish, it means exactly what you think. Abaroa was surrounded and facing certain death, and with his last words he screamed, "Your mother!"
He died a martyr to his country and was commemorated with federal buildings, a national holiday and some seriously inappropriate stamps to put on your letters to grandma.
"Guess where I'm sticking this musket!"
"I Am the Death of the Pale Faces, I Am the Killer of Romans, I Am the Scourge Sent Upon You, I Am Zarrar Ibn al-Azwar!"
In 634, the Eastern Roman Empire met with soldiers from the Rashidun Caliphate. Among them was Zarrar Ibn al-Azwar, a man whose name can only be pronounced properly with a mouthful of blood and rage-froth. Despite having the uninspiring job title of "tax collector," whenever a war broke out, Azwar was there -- charging out on the battlefield to ruin other human beings in a slightly more merciful manner than auditing. He was so damn war-crazy, in fact, that he often went into battle without armor, hence his nickname, "the half-naked warrior."
There's nothing you can do to make us imagine him any other way.
During the Battle of Ajnadayn, the Muslims were outmatched tactically, and came up with an idea as stupid as it was entirely effective: kill every one of them, one at a goddamn time. The Muslims instigated a series of duels against Byzantine officers, whose vanity would not permit them to turn down challenges, even after hearing Azwar taunting his enemies like Lord freaking Humongous: "I am the death of the Pale Faces, I am the killer of Romans, I am the scourge sent upon you, I am Zarrar Ibn al-Azwar!"
"U mad, bro?"
Azwar killed two governors and every other champion the Romans threw at him at Ajnadayn, which left the Byzantine army sorely lacking in experienced command officers. Because of this, the battle soon swung in the Caliphate's favor, eventually resulting in their full conquest of Syria and Palestine. Judging by how long those two territories remained in their hands, Zarrar Ibn al-Azwar's message is as clear today as it was 1,400 years ago: Do not mess with the Rashidun IRS.
"I Come in Peace. I Didn't Bring Artillery. But I'm Pleading With You, With Tears in My Eyes: If You Fuck With Me, I'll Kill You All."
Clearly, the Iraq War didn't go exactly as well as George W. Bush's bitchin' party banners advertised. But it would be an insult to the American military to ignore the monumental balls it must take to go to a place like Baghdad and tell those little Fonzies to chill. One such ball-proprietor is General James N. Mattis of the U.S. Marine Corps. Mattis is well regarded for his intelligence and empathy, but even more well regarded for his crazy cowboy mouth. In 2005, he was speaking at a public event and openly admitted:
Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.... You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.
"I'll punch a horse; I don't care."
In the spring of 2003, Mattis met with the recently defeated military leaders of Iraq and strode into the room with the best intro this side of professional wrestling, jovially stating, "I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all."
Judging from how long the Iraqi insurgency lasted, we're guessing the full whereabouts of every man at that meeting is classified. All we know is that if a guy whose idea of a good time is brawling with the entire Middle East tells you to dance, you'd better dance ... right the hell out of the room.
"Let that one go. He pleases me."
"They're on Our Right, They're on Our Left, They're in Front of Us, They're Behind Us; They Can't Get Away from Us This Time."
The Battle of Chosin Reservoir was one of the nastiest conflicts of the Korean War, particularly since it wrapped the full might of the Chinese military around U.N. forces like an enormous red condom. Forced into these unfortunate circumstances was Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller, the most decorated U.S. Marine in history. Chesty calmly surveyed the hopeless situation and said, "They're on our right, they're on our left, they're in front of us, they're behind us; they can't get away from us this time."
OK, so the exact wording is still under debate, but there's one thing nobody disputes: When outnumbered and completely surrounded, Chesty Puller put on his killin' smile and said a quiet prayer of thanks that all his enemies had the decency to come straight to him, on account of he was sick of walking all the way over there to shoot them.
That's him in 1931, angry that he had to stop thinking of ways to kill people long enough to pose for a photo.
The U.N. forces broke through the Chinese blockade, not only freeing themselves from the siege but inflicting heavy casualties along the way. And perhaps more dire a consequence: Chesty's love for war was cemented even further. Seriously, his Wikipedia page reads like a Captain America comic, and his quotes section alone makes the Spartans look like romantic poets. Our favorite: Upon seeing a flamethrower for the first time, Puller reportedly asked, "Where do you put the bayonet?"
"I mean, I can figure out how to explode him myself, but how do you stab the guy once you light him on fire?"
During the mid-1670s, Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire tried to send the Cossacks of the Zaporozhian Host packing by attacking their stronghold in Ukraine. After he failed at killing them all, Mehmed escalated the conflict even further and dared to pen a sternly worded letter to his foes. This was the text he sent:
I have invented a new beard that sprouts primarily from the neck. It is now mandatory!"
I, the Sultan, son of Mohamed, brother of the Sun and Moon, grandson and vicegerent of God, sovereign of all kingdoms: of Macedonia, Babylonia, and Jerusalem, of Upper and Lower Egypt: king of kings, ruler of all that exists; extraordinary, invincible knight; constant guardian of the grave of Jesus Christ; trustee of God himself; hope and comfort of Moslems, confusion and great protector of Christians, command you, the Zaporozhian Cossacks, to surrender to me voluntarily and without any kind of resistance, and don't permit yourselves to trouble me with your attacks!
Turkish Sultan Mohamed
This was the text he got back:
Zaporozhians -- to the Turkish Sultan
You Turkish Satan, brother and comrade of the damned devil and secretary to Lucifer himself! What the hell kind of knight are you? The devil and you and your army swallow . You aren't fit to have the sons of Christians under you; we aren't afraid of your army, and we'll fight you on land and sea. You Babylonian busboy, Macedonian mechanic, Jerusalem beer brewer, Alexandrian goat skinner, swineherd of Upper and Lower Egypt, Armenian pig, Tatar goat, Kamenets hangman, Podolian thief, grandson of the Evil Serpent himself, and buffoon of all the world and the netherworld, fool of our God, swine's snout, mare's , butcher's dog, unbaptized brow, may the devil steam your ass! That's how the Cossacks answer you, you nasty glob of spit! You're unfit to rule true Christians. We don't know the date because we don't have a calendar, the moon is in the sky, and the year is in a book, and the day is the same with us as with you, so go kiss our !
-Chief Hetman Zaxarcenko with all the Zaporozhian Host
Sultan Mehmed IV clearly had no idea who he was messing with. The Cossacks did little more than rape and pillage professionally, and on their downtime, most of their hobbies involved studying the betterment of rapematics and pillagology. Far from being intimidated, the Cossacks took the composition of the letter as a good excuse to party like something out of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Russian painter Ilya Repin depicted the penning of their carefully worded, austere response here:
"He said what? Ho ho ho! Nobody laughs harder than Murder Claus!"
Jacopo would like to thank @megtuck213, @ms45, @gigaknight, @Chuy_Rdz_ and everyone else for following him on Twitter. So, what are you waiting for? Follow him so he can thank you already!
For more soldiers who had custom-fitted pants to accommodate their balls, check out The 6 Most Epic One Man Armies in the History of War and The 5 Craziest Soldiers of Fortune To Ever Cash a Paycheck.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out Proof That 'Demolition Man' Was a Visionary Film
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn how you can improve your wartime vernacular.
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