It seemed Earth was a rich and undefended planet in a warring, hating galaxy. Things can be deceptive though; children playing can be quite rough--but that ain't war, friend!
d. He touched on the envy of the alien worlds, and the friendship of the humanoid planets that had enabled Earth to found her dozen distant colonies. He couldn't wisely discuss her cowardice and timidity in avoiding her responsibilities to help her friends; but there was another approach.
"In the forefront of every battle against alien aggression," he declaimed proudly, "have been men from Earth. Millions of our young men have fought gloriously and died gladly to protect the human--and humanoid--civilizations from whatever forms of life have menaced them. Djamboula led the forces of Hera against Clovis, just as Captain O'Neill so recently directed the final battle that saved Meloa from the hordes of Throm. In our own ranks, we have a man who spent eight long and perilous years in such a gallant struggle to save a world for humanoid decency. Senator Harding--"
From the darkened sea of faces, a voice suddenly sounded. "Will the senator yield?" It was the deep baritone of Harding.
Pretty well-written and an interesting premise, as we expect from del Rey, but goes a bit overboard. Didn't feel much empathy with the hero.
An interesting story that starts out gritty then turns philosophical. A human captain returns to the planet he fought years to protect, and discovers it devastated, despite winning the war. The humanoid aliens across the galaxy resent Earth's constant neutrality in their wars with hostile alien lifeforms. The captain shares their bitterness and can't wait to ship out to another war to escape the cowardice of his home planet.
Almost all the characters are good, the plotting is twisty enough, and the descriptions are nice.
As one ally says, "But humans are a different species, so it's not really cannibalism.