George OrwellGeorge Orwell, [Eric Arthur Blair] (1903-1950) British author

False George Orwell Quote

“Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

George OrwellGeorge Orwell
~ George Orwell

Falsely attributed to Orwell. 1993 April 6, The Washington Times, Perils of Passive Sex by Richard Grenier, Page F3

Ratings and Comments

Rob, Bainbridge Island, WA

A country with a high standard of living, rimmed with long accessible borders, blessed with freedom of movement and supportive of individual autonomy is a target for those whose beliefs center on a more restrictive society. "Rough men" stand between all of this country and those who would have it differently.

Justin, Jennings

Couldn't be more true.

6pence, central Illinois

The quote is attributed to George Orwell, but the actual author is unknown. Still though, it is accurate!!

Former Sgt. CC Grant, USMC, Kansas City, Mo

I recently finished Lt.Ilario Pantano's book "Warlord, No better friend, no worse enemy". You may recall that Pantano hit the front pages having allegedly murdered two Iraqi detainees. The Marine Corps cleared him of all charges, but his career was ruined. As he described the current conflict in Iraq from the level of a Marine grunt, this quote struck home.

Bud Dow, Ft Walton Beach, FL

I think you have the quote wrong: it is "people", not men, who sleep peacefully in their beds at night "only" because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Bud Dow, MSgt, USAF (Ret), Hurlburt Field, FL

Oh, and BTW, I believe it's "peaceably" not peacefully. This must be one of the most misqoted quotes of all time, but if you find it on an official government site, or a post from a Senator, it is usually correct.

George, East Bridgewater, MA

Well, we all know Orwell never said this. But who cares, it's the sentiment that matters. I bet you all consider yourselves "rough men." Me too. And yes, I'm a vet, so I've been a defender of the peacefully sleeping too. But I'm just not buying your bullshit. The quote is right, very right, as far as it goes but the perspective is childishly narrow and without the rest of Orwell's argument from "Notes On Nationalism" all you have is a truism. This fact out of the context of a point has no more force than, "the sky is blue when it isn't night time or cloudy." Pretty much right most of the time, but who cares? Follow around a hospice worker or a victims rights advocate at an inner city hospital for a day and tell me soldiers are the only ones who sacrifice their lives, others do it slowly one grinding day at a time. It seems to me that while it is quite right that the only reason we are safe in our beds at night is because there is a group of "rough men willing to do violence on our behalf," we must remember that the reason they are required is because some other group of people with their own group of rough men is just as worried as us and just as convinced they are the greatest thing in the universe as we are. Though the whole us and them arrangement may be a necessary evil it seems to me the "rough men" in and of themselves cancel each other out morally speaking. My point: you have to be a good man to be worthy of honor just fighting on the right side isn't enough. In short, don't be a dick. Our courage and the fact we fight for freedom (and I do believe our way is best) does not in and of itself make us good. Rough men love to congratulate themselves on their roughness, and they will play the victim just like a bitch but at the end of the proverbial day it doesn't matter how hard you swing your dick; if you lack honor, humility and generosity of spirit, you suck. I saw this quote on a bumper sticker and all the guy really wanted to say was, "I'll kick your ass if you disagree with me." Look, millitary men protect and SERVE, you don't remind everyone how dangerous and important you are.

David, Fairbanks, AK
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David, Fairbanks, AK George, East Bridgewater, MA 9/11/21

George I don't know if you will ever see this.  I am replying 9/11/2021 and I totally agree with you.  I spent 30 plus on active duty and thankfully only 4 in combat. I served because I chose to for so many reasons.  I don't need a bumper sticker to prove it.  I served to protect everyone's free speech no matter how much I might disagree with them. I do respect those who serve in so many other ways.  I may be a combat veteran but serving in a hospital, hospice or many other things like that terrify and humble me.  I do greatly honor those who do.  

Jeremy, Tacoma, Wa

I think George from East Bridgewater, MA is a self loathing weak minded democrat. The fact is there are few, 1 in 250 Americans, willing to fight for their country and protect their way of life. For whatever reason the president at the time decides necessary, most of these brave soldiers come from impoverished or lower middle class backgrounds, the fact that they are willing to risk their lives to fight for this country is the most honorable and noble thing one can do. You must have not served or you were kicked out of the military to write such a negative comment. It takes a strong individual to stand up to unknown foes, leave their family for years at a time for what they believe in. Perhaps you would be happy if we rolled over like the French did in WWII.

Jim, Limerick, PA

The actual quote is from Winston Churchill "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." - Winston Churchill

Mike, Granbury, TX

After researching this I found that the thought came from the poem "Tommy" by Rudyard Kipling. (Also look for a great reading of this poem by Roger Moore, of 007 fame.) It has been re-cast by Orwell into the more familiar form and (maybe falsely?) attributed to Churchill. And of course, a variation of this thought was by Col Jessup (A Few Good Men). So I would credit it to Kipling and Orwell with a possible acknowledgement that Churchill may have used it in some form as well. (I could not confirm this.) As for George from East Bridgewater, he seems to be very mad about something. But he is too confused to clearly express himself (excluding crude vulgarities and analogies that do not make sense). Good luck to him on taming his demons. As for me, I say God Bless the USA and the (rough) men and women that stand on the front line (wherever that may be) and watch over us.

Austin, Bastion

I think this quote is more about the people who sleep soundly in their beds, never truly knowing the reality of violence than the glorification of "rough men".

Marinesgirl, Richmond

I think the point of the quote would be to create a sense of gratitude along with a good dose of reality in those sleeping peacefully only because of those rough men. As a side note, some of those 'rough men' are the most soft-hearted, loving, generous people on this planet. I have had the great fortune to be the wife of one, a sister to one, a sister in law to another, as well as being blessed enough to count a few of them among my friends.

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Anonymous    3/1/09

I am NOT comforted by the fact there are people who are ready to commit violence on my behalf. I appreciate the fact there are people willing to sacrifice for the betterment of society, but violence isn't a good way to achieve this.

Anonymous, Salisbury , England

" Perhaps you would be happy if we rolled over like the French did in WWII. -- Jeremy, Tacoma, Wa " Perhaps you should visit Belsen Concentration camp ( just outside highly respectable Hannover), as I did a couple of years ago.....where, apart from the plaque to a Dutch kid called Anne Frank,you will find a memorial to the 30,000 French citizens who died in that one camp ' whose only crime was to love their country'.........I think George may have seen a bit of the world, rather than formed his views watching Fox News and The Simpsons.... Cpl Bash - Iraq 2003

R.C., Camp Slayer, Iraq

I've always heard the quote "...rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm." I think it makes a moral difference if someone is going to be violent on my behalf or execute that violence in my defense. George from East Bridgewater has a point - there is also great honor in humility. Knowing I can kick your ass if you try to invade my country and arrogantly broadcasting it on a bumper sticker or T-shirt is 2 different things.

Fantom, PC
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    Fantom, PC    5/23/09

    Anonymous is a kumbaya libtard. I am thankful the flower power nuts were not around in WW II like they are today. I guess it is because those rough men doing violence as needed on our behalf have been successful. Perhaps this dove needs to go someplace where there are violent predators seeking him out. Then he might understand the nature of the beast, and the need of rough men.

    Peter Four, Two Egg

    All are pretty good comments and personal perceptions. This is MY take. I beleive that Winston Churchill gets the credit for the quote and that it is in reference of all those "Men" and "Women" in WWII who, out necessity and survival, answered the call of standing up to and defeating oppression. I am so thankful that they did then and now. As a SPECIAL WARFARE veteran myself, I thank all other veterans - past and present - and it would be great to be able to not have any need for new veteran's in the future because: "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." - Winston Churchill

    SRH, Jacksonville

    I think that anybody with any sense would prefer that people not attempt to harm other people at all. However, if anyone thinks that the immediate threat of violence can be consistently deterred with a kind word is incredibly naive. In fact, plans for societal improvement, however effective, need the breathing room that rough men provide or they could never get off the ground. I am proud to be one of those who attempt to keep the streets safe at night and would prefer not to have to use violence but am ready to do whatever is necessary...Oh, sleep tight. You're welcome.

    Frank, Burke, VA

    There are evil people in this world who will do violence upon you and your family without a second thought. Those who accept that can prepare for it. Those who deny it will always call for help from "rough men" at the moment of truth.

    Dave, Bethel Park,PA

    I agree with most of the positive stated remarks. I really don't care who gets credit for the quote. It conveys the proper thought. Many quotes of this type are basically the same, like Shakespeares "Henry V" at the scene of the battle of Agincourt. "......and gentlemen in England now abed will think themselves accursed they were not here and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on St Crispen's Day" This always made me think of those that went to Canada during the Vietnam War.

    Andrew, Hudson

    Where is this quotation from?

    Dave, Willoughby Hills,OH

    Thank God for our Armed Forces and Police who protect us from our enemies,both foriegn and domestic

    Mike, Houston

    I am a sheepdog. Those of you who know this reference will understand.Those of you who don't look up Lt. Col. David Grossman, sheepdogs and wolves. I

    Jeff S, Richardson, Texas

    Excellent quote that captures the reality of the world, then and now. We must stand tall and protect our way of life and liberty from those who would take it away, both foreign and domestic. The current challenge is a group who would take us back to the 12th century with their favored government. We tried leaving them alone in a hell hole but that was not good enough for them. Our current government would prefer to negotiate with these miscreants which is analogous to teaching a pig to sing. Imagine the world with these folks nuclear armed and see how well you sleep in your liberal beds!

    Rastus Rodentia, Louisiana

    Say it again, Jeff Richardson, say it OFTEN !!!

    Paul, Kansas City, MO

    The only way to beat terroists is to fight THEIR way, and to hell with world opinion! The Brits learnt this in Malaya in the late 1940s, so maybe our current administration should spend some time studying counter-insurgency history, instead of Round-The-World Apology Tours. Might Is Right.

    Anonymous, Ripon, WI

    It is sometimes unnerving to watch my peers and listen to their thoughts. They are soft, and they will never understand me or this military mindset so long as we allow them to sleep safely in their beds.

    Mark, Bay City, MI

    I'm a vet with 30 years in so far, and 2 tours to Iraq. Yes, I am willing to do harm on others behalf so that they may sleep peaceably at night. I would prefer not to, but if needed, I won't hesitate. I am proud to be one of the "rough men". If you are one of those that prefers I not be ready to defend you, sorry, but in being ready to defend those that welcome me, I also defend you by default. Isn't it nice to live in a country where you can have the benifits, and complain about getting them? You're welcome, sleep peaceably tonight.

    retired Capt, World

    To Paul, Kansas City, MO: "The Brits learnt this in Malaya in the late 1940s". How did that end up for the British Empire, Paul? You don't beat a hydra by cutting off the heads and ignoring the ROOT causes. You may not be able to exhibit the flexibility of mind needed, but try this thought experiment: look at the recent terrorist actions as DEFENSIVE moves by them, then consider what triggers them to do it. That may lead us down the path to beating them.

    Anonymous, Raleigh, NC

    Personally, I find this to be a fine quote for a number of reasons, none of which are as black and white as the sorry argument that has erupted around it.My short and flippant answer as to "Who"these rough men might be is, "the Marines, bless their pointy little heads and bayonets".In a more serious vein,I would say, "My volunteer father and other men just like him, joined by a multitude of men concscripted for combat in WW II were those rough men". The point here is that they all served and it really didn't matter who was first(to volunteer or die).Similarly, those hundreds of thousands of men fighting in Vietnam were both volunteers and conscripts.There is no particular distinction made for the 57,000+ "rough" men and women who died there, and I doubt they even care, now.Truth be told those "rough men"in our country are all of us when the need arises. Some may hesitate, but almost all serve when called upon.Sadly, it only seems to be the living who want to make such distinctions. So, to Jeremy's in Tacoma, Washington bold statement, that only1 in 250 Americans are willing to fight for their country and protect their way of life, I can only ask, "Have you a citation, Sir, so that honest men may know the well from which you draw your water."Such distinctions between volunteers and and the rest of us (between soldiers and soft civilians)ring hollow for me. I understand that the differences between volunteer and conscript are immaterial when one gets right down to it.I also understand that there can be an awful lot of gray territory between who volunteers and who waits to be drafted . In my case, I volunteered to serve in Vietnam as a navy corpsman in 1969,and always joked I was drafted. It was not a war I believed needed to be fought. No freedoms were particularly in danger as this 19 year old college drop out saw it, I joined anyway, knowing that had I not done so,I'd be fair game for the draft. It was my choice in so far as my prospects went.Volunteer and have some control of how I would serve;go to the draft and roll the dice as to which branch I'd end up serving in, possibly as something other than a medic or corpsman.I didn't particularly think of it as potentially a life or death choice, and would have served wherever I ended up.As fate or God would have it, I never left my country, and was a pretty much the average enlistee while I served. What would that make me, really by the rather simplistic standards of some I've read here? A volunteer or useless baggage.Am I a veteran who is to be elevated to some Promethean hero, or just a guy who is still proud to have served his country, and thankful for those who serve it now. For all intents and purposes we allARE or HAVE BEEN those "rough men"as well as those sleeping "peacefully in their beds.

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    Anonymous    3/20/10

    “Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have more responsibility here than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. I know deep down in places you dont talk about at parties, you don’t want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then question the manner in which I provide it. I prefer you said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand to post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!” [Jack Nicholson, as Colonel Jessup]

    disassociator, toronto

    Thank you America, Canada and Australia for sacrificing your blood and treasure so I did not have to learn German or Russian during elementary school.

    Gary, Ventura, CA

    To the anonymous poster that said that they are not comforted by people willing to do violence on their behalf, because violence doesn't solve anything. Being a retired cop I have many times been forced to use violence to protect myself and others, as that is sometimes the only thing that people who would harm others can understand. The real issue here is knowing when, and how much, violence is necessary. Too little and you place yourself and those you would protect at risk, too much and you risk compromising your authority. Most importantly, you must never grow to like it.

    Marc, Provo, UT

    Thank you, Gary. You and your brothers and sisters in public safety, who share your similar mentality, are the first ones I think of when I read this quote, followed by those people who honorably serve in our military.

    A retired soldier, AKA "Rough Man", Tucson, AZ

    Violence has resolved EVERY SINGLE significant conflict in human history. Some will refuse to recognize violence, some will refuse to even see the violence and some are not privy to the knowlege...but violence is the way of humanity. All of those sitting around the campfire singing happy songs and hoping that talking to our enemies will work are the sheep that the rest of us have been taking care of. They don't know it so they can't acknowledge it...but it doesn't change the truth.

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    Blue    4/17/10
    Tony, Strasburg

    I think in the days of our forefathers when wars were fought, for instance the civil war and a few wars previous to that one, fighting for our country or our side was honorable. Since then it's all been business. And all you people who think fighting today's war is honorable; well then you are sheep, and worse a fool. It's all business and the worst part about it, you arent' the ones getting rich. You are led to your death by the throat by your masters, much like a pitbull being led to the pit. And much like that pitbull you look up at your masters while he pats you on the head saying "gettem boy". You fight only because your master says "gettem" but you have no earthly knowledge of why your master says gettem. I know all of you think it's patriotic and honorable to fight for your country but while you are fighting keep something in the back of your mind. While you are fighting, the price of oil is still going up, Halliburton among others is still getting richer, people all over america still losing their homes and their jobs, bankruptcy is on the rise, and the rich and wealthy got 900 billion dollars of our tax payers dollars. What did you get, freedom? Please. According to our constitution, government is supposed to be a servant of the people. It seems to me like we serve the government. I got 3 words for you all. GET EM BOYS. I love this quote by George Orwell, but reading your posts, it saddens me to see you guys so misguided. I'm not saying that we shouldn't fight for our country, but there is nothing noble or honorable about this particular war or the wars we've had over the past decade. Don't be fools.

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      Anonymous    5/16/10

      If you haven't picked up a gun, crossed an ocean and fought in WAR, not because you had to but because you wanted to then SHUT THE "F" UP!!! It is easy to be an arm chair quarterback and give your opinions but until you put your ass on the line SHUT THE "F" UP!!! The money spent on those that protect you while you sleep, get fat and run your mouth are those that put you before themsleves. If you don't understand scariface then SHUT THE "F" UP!! The Bottom line is SHUT THE "F" UP!!!!

      Mike, New Zealand

      Peter Four, Two Egg Ditto I am grateful for all those then and now who both sacrifice and are ready to arms to defend me and mine and protect our freedoms from tyranny. The UN (whilst a great idea) is sadly a haven, nurturer and protector of Tyrants and Despots and cannot ever be trusted. Sadly there are only a few men and women of stature in the world who would qualify for to be Winston in the world today. The present occupant of the White house like my Prime Minister isn't one of them.

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      Anonymous    5/26/10

      If you haven't picked up a gun, crossed an ocean and fought in WAR, not because you had to but because you wanted to then SHUT THE "F" UP!!! It is easy to be an arm chair quarterback and give your opinions but until you put your ass on the line SHUT THE "F" UP!!! The money spent on those that protect you while you sleep, get fat and run your mouth are those that put you before themsleves. If you don't understand scariface then SHUT THE "F" UP!! The Bottom line is SHUT THE "F" UP!!!! -- Anonymous

      Anonymous, Indianapolis

      Ahem. You know, it really only takes ONE to make a war - when it then become necessary for those "rough men" to do violence on our behalf. It takes EVERYONE to make a lasting peace. One envious person; one country that decides they're going to TAKE, rather than share. Remember the song "One Tin Soldier"? The mountain people were ready to share; the greed of the valley folk wouldn't hear of it. the mountain folk could have used a few "rough men" of their own...

      Anonymous, Pensacola, FL

      Give me a break, Indianapolis. Lasting peace in this world is unobtainable. To think otherwise is either naive or ignorant. In either case, hopefully someday you will wise up and appreciate "rough men." You can't have peace without war. If it wasn't for "rough men" you very could be speaking German or worshiping Allah right now. You peaceniks live in a fantasy world.

      Anthony, Chicago

      The real quote is, "Those who abjure violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf." George Orwell 'Notes on Nationalism' 1945.

      BGS, Chicago

      I used to have this profound respect for service members. I thought they were some sort of man that I could never be. I enlisted in the Army. The quickest realization I had was that Soldiers were not unlike myself. They are just regular people, with regular jobs...sort of. While patrolling the streets of Baghdad, my convoy came under a complex ambush (none of my team was injured badly). At no point during the firefight did I think I was shooting to protect the families sleeping at home. I was killing to protect my team. I have two points in all this: (1) "Rough Men (and Women)" are regular people, so even though 1 out of every 250 Americans are currently serving actively or in the guard/reserves, 250 out of 250 would fight to the death to protect the most important thing to them; and (2) (not to be negative) this quote is an eloquent way to make people feel better. The Soldiers feel better about being referred to as "rough men" and the public feels better believing they are protected. I sleep peaceably at night because I know there is horrific violence and war all over the world and there is nothing I can do to stop it; BUT, God save the man who decides to bring it to my front door.

      Bac-Si, Las Vegas, NV

      Grammar and provenance aside, the quote speaks to those magnificent warriors who have written a blank check to their country for a sum up to and including their lives. We who sleep peacefully owe them honor and respect. A retired Special Operations soldier, I recently visited our young SPECOPS warriors in training. I can assure you that the nation is in good hands.

      Anonymous, Laughlintown, PA

      I'll go along with Bac-Si and my SEAL and SPECOP buds. Symantics aside, the rest of us are lucky we can sleep.

      Geno, Burke, VA

      Read this short, but informative article by George Orwell, and you'll see by what he expressed during WW2, that sitting on one's gluteus maximus is tantamount to be an "accepting Fascist". If the quote is attributed to G. Orwell, let it be so, for his treatise on Pacifism reminds us well that there ARE values worth fighting for, rather than going along with this Obamanable Four Year Grand Apology Tour. Check the link here: G. Orwell has much to say about the pseudo-intellectuals of his day, and it appears to mirror well what this current administration and their propaganda is all about.

      Chuck, Weirton WV

      What a great quote. As a an OEF Veteran I take great pride in the setiment of the qoute. I take great pride in my service to my country and in being "a Rough Man". Realistically speaking, I am well aware of the fact that we (veterans), were used by the government as a means to an ends. That is one of the reasons quotes of this nature as so appealing. It takes the sting off of a being a pawn. In our society it is fine for the poor, the minorities, and the patriotic to defend this country. When I was in the Army they referred to us as the lower 10% of society. You don't see the children of priveledge down range. With that said. Never in my life was I surrounded by a harder working dedicated group of people. The list of accolades could go on and on. There are not enough good things that could be said. We served the people of the United States because we wanted to serve. Our personal believes motivated us. We were well trained. We were scared. We may not have agreed with everything that was said or done by the citizens of this country. But ultimately we were willing to defend to our deaths your right to feel, say, and do what you want. That is what makes this county great. It is that willingness that makes those Americans that serve great. It makes them truly "Rough" men.

      ruben, laredo, tx

      Dont forget the true point of the quote. Its not about rough men or violence. America sleeps means as a nation we are peaceful, rough men are people who will stand up for what is right, violence is fighting for what you believe and on our behalf fighting for the defenseless.

      "Rough man", Wherever I'm told to be in the world

      @ Tony, Strasburg -It's a shame you feel that way about those fighting to protect your way of life. You say this war is about business? Indirectly, it is. There is a huge wealth of money in Afghanistan. However, our involvement there is about much more than this. We don't fight there so that you can benefit from cheaper oil at home. We don't fight there to make politicans richer. The Western world has created a loveable cartoon-character out of Bin Laden, and his loveable rogues the Taliban. Let's not forget, in 1996, they slit the throats and skinned thousands of civilians in their effort to overthrow Kabul. Where do you think the Taliban put this money during their reigning years? Into creating jobs for the unemployed, or perhaps creating new Schools? No, they forced women into house-arrest, destroyed schools, and pumped the money into weaponry, all while carrying out a mass-genocide of the Afghan people. Given another 5 years, bearing in mind they had already branched out to attack the US in NY in 11/9, where do you think we would be now without direct involvement? Perhaps clearing up the debris of a nuclear bomb in a major city. The quote isn't about picking up a rifle and shouting "who's next?!", it's about people willing to sacrifice themselves for others. That doesn't necessarily mean a soldier diving on a grenade, either; there are many forms of sacrifice.

      Anonymous, Juneau, Alaska

      An interesting debate; my short version is that I thank God for the men and women that sign on that dotted line in the recruiter's office. I had a vision from Rough Man in Tuscon, of all of us sitting around the campfire singing "Kum-by-ya" in Japanese or German. Has anyone noticed that every German child is taught English now in elementary school? The American (and Allied) way stood up for itself and prevailed, and preserved its way of life and influence in the world. Thank God I don't have to live under another's flag as the vanquished aggressor. Anyone who thinks, like Neville Chamberlain, that turning the other cheek will deter power hungry, militaristic men is a product of the last 60 years of relative peace on our soil. My thoughts go out to the Israeli people, who have psycho suicide bombers daily pressing hard to infiltrate their borders and kill random innocent people, and Hezbollah lobbing random explosives over the border. How would the "War is not the Answer" crowd react if Al-Queda was shelling Washington from Virginia? It's their "rough" men who daily shield their families from these threats.

      JC, Asia
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        JC, Asia    2/15/11

        I don't think " the rough men doing their violence "in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq has anything to do with the so called "protecting American way of life" , it is more like the rough men are doing their job to actually protect the american imperialism to continue hold strong in these region. Spanish once ruled their colonies on the plea of preaching catholism to save the natives souls, this excuse is just as vague and weak as the Americans preaching their so called democracy in the third world countries now, behind all these saved souls either by catholism or democracy is looting and plunder and if this is the foundation of American way of life, all I can say is shame on you Americans.

        Stan Brown, Colorado

        Chuck from WV brought tears to my eyes. CMSgt, USAF, Retired

        joe, st.louis

        anyone who doesn't like this quote or how america does it should get out.

        Pat, Powell River

        It is as it always has been. The need for violence and the people capable of it, can never discuss with those that are not capable of it, the very act of violence. It is the nature of mankind.

        An American Rough Man, Beach Haven, Florida

        JC, Asia In Many ways Ho and his fighters could also be called "Rough Men" in the same fasion as those from America, Britan, Australia, Canada, and the rest that fought them. Also Those in China, that fought with all they had during WW2 against Japan could be considered these "Rough Men" One of the roughest "Rough Men" stood before a tank, and refused to back away. You should know of who I speak. This quote is not to, or about, a single nation. It is to All individuals who will stand up, when the way of life chosen by a people is threatened. On 11 September 2001 America, and it's way of life was threatened. "Rough Men" have responded. And to be honest, we are willing to respond almost anywhere in the world, from everywhere in the world, not just from the US, or Britan, or China, or from any one place. The quote goes to all people, "Rough Men" and those that are not. It simply says that there are those, that are willing to stand up and fight, and keep safe, what they hold dear. Read Sun Tzu, He was a very wise "Rough Man" Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Iraqi "Rough Man" in the 1100's "Rough Men" come from every walk of life, and join every military, and every police force, and stand up when and where they see that they must.

        Patriot, Delaware

        At times, the only resolution is war. There will always be wars to be fought. If truly the strong survive, then something about their character and there internal mettle makes them strong. It isn't the weak, nor weak minded. It is the confident, well-trained, and courageous militia that excels through superior force and manuevers. Call it defense, or call it violence. Wars are not won by the feable. I am thankful to our Creator to have been one of those men, and I am eternally grateful that every generations has it's heroes in the strife-providing for the security of my family and my countrymen. At times, the only resolution is war.

        Tango, Illinois

        I have met monsters in the guise of men face to face and many times violence is the only way of dealing with them, be they overseas or here in and Smalltown or Big City. While anyone with an ounce of self preservation and respect for life wishes for viable alternatives to violence to "NOT (be) comforted by the fact there are people who are ready to commit violence" is naieve at best and arrogantly egotistical at worst. However, such an attitude is proof that such people should be thankful - not only for those anonymous "others" but for never having been thrust into the watershed moment of having to make such a decision on a first hand basis. Oh that we could all return to such innocence and never truly know what others are capable of, or what we can - and often must - do in return.

        Rudy, Chicago

        I find it fascinating that people choose the logic they want to hold on to so dearly. George Orwell would have probably taken up arms against the US imperialism in Nicaragua, Colombia, and most definitely in Vietnam. His "quote" is mis-attributed in the sense that he was referencing Kipling whose "grasp of function, of who protects whom, is very sound. He sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them." The bottom line is that the notion of "Rough Men" is taking this out of context. Basically, it is about people willing to stand in defense against subjugation. And it is those people that make it possible for others to rest easy (and from what one can surmise from Orwell's writings) and actually grow as a society. Orwell was very critical of british imperialism throughout India (and he servedin the british army), but he also joined the fight against Franco in Spain, sympathizing with the Anarchists. In this case then he took up arms not for an empire, but for an idea of freedom that was being subjugated, so did Hemingway. These people that were "rough men" in their own right fought against empire, they sided with people that were fighting for real freedom - not for expanding US markets, which is what the marines have been doign for the longest time - just ask Smedley Butler. The US is empire. Put that in your bonnet as you re-appropriate quotes out of their historical context. This ultimately speaks to the willingness to fore go critical thought, so that lately (this past century) "rough men" are actually more prone to be manipulated for the subjugation of people than they have been called to make peaceful nights for others. It is also important to note that these rough men (and all men/people in general) are also the perpetrators of violence in general. Hero one day, tormentor the next. (Look up: Police Commander John Burge).

        Jerry, Truro

        I love this quote and am so glad no one seems to know the exact wording or who wrote it, because I'm sure I never get it right. I believe it is not a quote about the rough men but us who can sleep peacefully in our beds at night without any clear knowledge of what is going on outside our wndow, our town, or our country. I thank those soldiers who fight on our behalf, and the police who protect us, but I think of the " rough men" as those we don't know about, doing things I don't understand, things I would never believe possible, with huge amounts of bravery that I know I could never have. The whole point of poetry is our own perception of it. But I also believe those who think we would live peacefully in our beds at night without these "rough men" are sadly deluded.

        Joshua WhereEverTheySendMe, Fayetteville,AR

        Nobody hates war more than a veteran. They know what war is -Ray Baumbach. That with this quote, in MY OPINION, make a good arguement. Peace is not something that is given. It has to be taken. USA took our freedom from British rule in the American Revolutionary War. Peaceful men and women who wanted to be treated fairly and justly became "rough" when it was necessary. Though the ones who choose to be a part of a military do not wish for war does not mean they will not wage war. If we are told to fight and die, we are willing and honored to answer that call. We may not personally see the truth or validity but it is not our job to question. We serve to ensure that our way of life is preserved in the best way possible. If you really want change of how things are going then take the time to exercise your freedom to vote. Those "peaceful" men in politics are not typically the ones who see the truth in war. They just send our men and women to fight in them. I enjoy my service to my country for this reason right here... you have the right to have, say and discuss your opinions. I firmly believe that peace should be given a chance. If that should fail and there is nothing left but force, then so be it. Another of my favorite quotes is "Speak softly, but carry a big stick. you will go far" -Theodore Roosevelt when he quoted the West African Proverb. Another good point for this has been made already, the book by Col. Dave Grossman. I am proud to be a sheepdog by that context.

        Gary, stuart, fl.

        We attended a memorial last nIight- for Aaron Carson Vaughn. Navy Seal Team Six. He was aboard the chopper shot down by an RPG in Afghanistan as they were on their way to help out Army Rangers pinned down by enemy fire. He was one of those " rough men ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm ." I sleep soundly knowing there are heroes like Aaron protecting us. I was a soldier from 69' - 71'...I was lucky and came home...Aaron did not. " All gave some...some gave all ."

        Anonymous, Kinshasa

        I remember several years back a retired Major General came to West Point to talk to cadets and the department of foreign languages and caught my attention as he recalled a sergeant first class who had served with him in Vietnam and quoted that man as having said "War is so beastly that it should be left to the least beastly of us". The Sergeant first class in question gave his life a few months later in South East Asia. I've enjoyed reading the comments on this page (even the so called liberal ones) and after 27 years, I'm still glad to be a soldier. Charles

        GruntLova, Real Soldierville, U.S.A.

        The guys from the military that read this quote slam Orwell, but have clearly never read an Orwell book or paper. I guess the Air Force wouldn't understand. Load your planes Shitbirds.......You don't know what violence is, besides when you beat your dicks because your wives are sleeping with the real soldiers

        Brandon h., Ca

        Think about this..."A lie is a lie. Just because they write it down and call it history, doesn't make it the truth. We live in a world where seeing is not believing, where only a few know what really happened. We live in a world where everything you know is wrong". Call of duty black ops... Now, yes it may be a quote from a video game, but could you honestly deny it's validity? The point of this qoute is that unless you were there, you have no f***ing clue why it happened or for that matter what really happened... So f*** you and your just or unjust wars... Get it?... Anyways moving to the point of the rough men quote... I believe fantom put it best " perhaps this dove needs to go someplace where there are violent predators seeking him out. Then he might understand the nature of the beast, and the need of rough men"... Because obviously we have a few berkeley students on this site whom are entirely oblivious to how cold the real world is and don't understand that the only reason death isn't at your front door is because of rough men... Aka sheepdogs...

        who cares, USA

        my cousin is fighting now in a small village...since his battalion moved in, the children are now going to school...the women can walk the streets and feel protected by a terrible power hungry american force. i have spoke with him many times about why he does it...he answers with the same reasons i want to, "go so my brother wont have to, fight so these disgusting "animals" wont rape and kill women and children in my home town." whether we fight for oil. or any damn reason. my cousin made a difference to that tiny scared village that "rough men" stand ready no matter what CREED or RELIGION. but that u were a creation from God and fucked up people want u dead...sleep well semper fi

        Quincy, Newt's Moon Colony

        Are all of you retarded? It's simple. We sleep in peace because the military is ready to defend against attacks. When you're ass gets bombed, violence IS the answer. As in WWII, attack us and we're going to kick your ass, and we can go to sleep without worrying about it because we've got all sorts of people at the ready. You read as much into it as you once, analyze his rhetoric, and change the context, IT'S A DAMN SIMPLE LINE.

        Honor, Usa
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        Honor, Usa    3/20/12

        Some men talk about doing, some men think about doing, some men don't talk or even think, these men and women do, what others can and won't, the bullshit part is these same people condemn the ones who do what they can't and won't. They look with dishonor, they judge without walking a mile in our shoes. Yes I'm a vet . I ask for nothing. I want nothing. I did my duty not for politicians , not for Washington, I did my duty for my," family, my country, and for the one who wants to fight but can't because they don't meet the standard.." I will say without the people who do , where would u be who would u be... Think before u judge us.

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          Carson    4/6/12

          The only ones who are really sleeping peacefully these days are the profit-seeking warmongers in Washington, safe in the knowledge that their bank accounts are now brimming. It is easy to talk day after day about how important it is to wage war, when the only thing you will suffer from is a sore throat.

          Mike, Yakima

          Richard Granier is the origination of these words. Orwell never said it, Churchill plagerized it, and Kipling never said it. Here is a decent source to review. See

          Clayton, Can.

          "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
          -- John Stuart Mill English economist & philosopher (1806 - 1873)



          Medic, Denver

          To: George, East Bridgewater, MA,
          As a fellow combat vet, you should lighten up. Plato came to the conclusion in "Utopia" that peaceful people still need to have warriors standing between them and those who would be agressors. George Orwell was merely echoing that conclusion.

          SIGINT, Ft. Benning, GA

          Every man has convictions, some men who would see you and I dead are in all other rights good men, law abiding men, men with their own families their own livelihoods. But if a man would jeopardize my life, the lives of my battles, the lives of our respective families then I'll do everything in my power to stop them. This is all fact. You can have whatever peaceful pacifist idealism, practice it. It won't stop a man of a different creed or belief or agenda from harming you or those you love. I'm not a hard man, I'm a soldier but I don't pretend to be something I'm not. Men who kill, men who see death, are one way or another destroyed by it. I thank god for my brothers in arms who stomach it on my behalf. And I do what I do for them, not out of self righteousness or vanity, but out of respect and duty. May whatever God you believe in keep you safe, and be thankful for what you have.

          Mann, Kalamazoo

          Rough men everywhere might benefit from something Frederick the Great once admitted: "If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one of them would remain in the army." Two-time Medal of Honor honoree Smedley Darlington Butler went on to explain the exact 'why' behind Frederick's quote in the 1930s, and was rewarded by being written OUT of history. Many thanks to George, from East Bridgewater, for one of the most honest, insightful (in-CITEful!) comments this auditor has ever encountered here. The tidal wave of subtextual, "Wah! What's the use of being tough if you can't act that way" following in its wake, was perversely delightful. Thanks as well to Anonymous, Salisbury, England, for enlightening Jeremy, Tacoma. Ouch!

          Bill, Folsom, California

          Chief Justice John C. Marshall may have made this quotation with reference to the peroid of time in America to which he lived. He won respect by all whom he touched; the refined and coarse alike. I am also a vet, a navy corpsman, from an era of combat which most Americans abhore. I do not care in the least what others think of my service, I only care about those that I have served with.We fought for each other and nothing else. I wonder how we compare to those rough men of the Revolution and just after. Fairly well I think.

          Hildergarde, Shanty

          I find it amazing that mostly ALL comments are from United States persons . sure they ARE Americans but so are Canadians, Mexicans, Brazillians etc., - I find it offensive that the USA ians usurp this title as though they are the ONLY Americans! . It is a measure of their attitude. The other , strange measure of their attitude, is that whether this is from ,Orwell ( my belief actually) Churchill OR Kipling - they were Enlgishmen...NOT United Statesians! Yes I find this amazing that at this point in time the freedoms were and still are an English perspective that United Statesians aspire to. Most amazing!

          JLee, Leeds UK

          The nearest to the rough men quote that is documented can be found here...

          In an essay on Rudyard Kipling, Orwell cited Kipling's phrase "making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep" (Kipling, Tommy), and further noted that Kipling's "grasp of function, of who protects whom, is very sound. He sees clearly that men can be highly civilized only while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them." (1942)


          Notes on nationalism 1945 by George Orwell

          See near the bottom of the page.

          Pacifist. Those who abjure violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.

          Hildergarde, shanty Great points.

          Enough said

          monster, springfield

          "I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it."

          Pepe, UK
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          Pepe, UK    9/8/13

          I have read many of the points of view here and for the majority I think they are are well made
          I am not a Vet but I serve as a PoliceOfficer for what that's worth
          My own take on the quote is this- the majority of people will be protected and served by the minority by whatever means necessary because of a belief and a desire to protect what they believe to be right and true- that the stronger should protect and serve the weaker because they have the characteristics and strength to do so- that is not specific to military or police etc but by nurses doctors volunteers carers also - people of strength who interest is to do good - I don't think the quote is about violence on its own

          ross, hobart

          i look through the comments and find a lot of them misguided and or informed but thats ok we all understand you have no clue ....

          with love from one of Australia's rough men

          J Fin, Spartanburg, SC

          As another individual noted, the essence lies in the point that people DO sleep peacefully in their beds because "rough men" and "rough women" are ready to place it all on the line for others. For those speaking against this notion, it proves the point how ignorant some people are to what goes on any given time domestic and afar. Wars (or contingencies) do not only happen when our liberal news media decides to splash it on the nightly news screen. There are always 'contingencies' occuring around the world at any given time. I think each individual takes a different meaning from this quote and that is why I find it simple and elegant. For those against the notion, I would like to load them up on a camel on a cold desert night with a special operations unit on operation status. Their perspective and appreciation may change!
          - disabled vet, spec ops

          Anonymous, Melbourne Australia

          I thought this quote had more to do with people living in a civilised society with high moral scruples and behaviour ( with perhaps an unstated sense of moral superiority) being blind to the brutal actions that the real world requires to protect those laudable aspirations

          G, UK
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            G, UK    7/7/14

            I came across this thread by chance whilst trying to establish who actually said it.
            Having taken the time to read quite a few of the comments, I feel moved to add my own two pennies worth to it.
            Being ex military and now a long serving police officer, I am that man who stands ready in the night. I am that man who will defend your property and the lives of you and your family. I am that man who walks down a dark alley not knowing what's at the end, just to make sure that there is nothing lurking in the shadows that may wish to do you harm. I am that man who you will call upon to help you in your time of need. I will be there at your side to protect you and yours. I will step in front of you to take whatever gets thrown your way. I say goodbye to my family at the start of every shift because I may not make it home through defending you and yours. I will do my part and all that I can to make sure that justice is served. I am not always a "rough man", but so help me God, if anybody tries to do you and your family any wrong or injustice, I will not hesitate to visit violence upon them if it is called for. I do this willingly so that you don't have to.
            And I sleep peacefully at night knowing that there are other rough men standing ready to do the same on my behalf.

            mankind, home

            While the Innocent live in bliss, the Honorable stand fearlessly to defend them from all harm.

            Is this not a Mother's love; a Brother's love; a Soldier's, Cop's or Other's love?

            Are they not Most Honorable?

            Didn't somebody say "Love your Neighbor"?

            Thank you & goodnite......

            Anonymous, Dublin

            Now is the hour when the rough tough sheepdogs must enter the pen, and do what is needed to prevent what is happening on the inside.
            I wonder if they have the training and the marching orders?

            Mike, Norwalk

            I'm not quite sure how to rate the quote with its many levels of interpretation and application. In a moral or righteous society of individual sovereign's united (where free men's inalienable rights, liberty, the laws of nature and of nature's God and justice are held sacrosanct  there being no god/government compelled compliance, government licensing, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity (2nd plank of the communist manifesto, Social Security, police state confiscations, non-recognition of perfected allodium/ownership, etc.) sleeping peacefully with a certain gratitude for rough men standing ready is laudable. In the unrighteous occupying statist theocracy infesting this land freemen don't sleep easy because it is an unwritten understanding that rough men are continually a threat (though those same rough men do much good when confronting unrighteousness  for those occasions, my thanks go out to those rough men).

            Ronw13, OR
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              Ronw13, OR    2/28/19

              There are those who have a compass, and are willing to follow it. 
              "The righteous king bears a willing sword " for the sake of liberty and Freedom, the sacred cause. 


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