NATO, Russian Aircraft Face Off From Baltic To Black Sea

October 30, 2014 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

October 30, 2014

NATO Tracks Large-Scale Russian Air Activity in Europe

MONS, Belgium: NATO detected and monitored four groups of Russian military aircraft conducting significant military manoeuvers in European airspace over the Baltic Sea, North Sea/Atlantic Ocean, and Black Sea on 28 and 29 October 2014. These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace.

Eight Russian Aircraft Intercepted over North Sea / Atlantic Ocean on 29 October 2014

At approximately 3:00 a.m. CET on 29 October, NATO radars detected and tracked eight Russian aircraft flying in formation over the North Sea. F-16 aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Air Force were scrambled, intercepted and identified the Russian aircraft, which included four Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers and four Il-78 tanker aircraft. The formation flew from mainland Russia over the Norwegian Sea in international airspace. Six of the Russian aircraft then turned back to the north-east towards Russia, while two Tu-95 Bear H bombers continued south-west, parallel to the Norwegian coast, heading to the south-west. The Russian aircraft continued over the North Sea, and Typhoon fighters from the United Kingdom were scrambled in response. While over the Atlantic Ocean west of Portugal, the two Russian aircraft were intercepted and identified by F-16s from the Portuguese Air Force. The Russian aircraft turned back heading north-east, flying to the west of the United Kingdom. NATO aircraft from the United Kingdom and Norway were standing by and NATO assets on the ground and in the air tracked the Russian aircraft throughout. At present, the two Tu-95 bombers appear headed back to Russia, but as of 4 p.m. CET the aircraft were still airborne.

The bomber and tanker aircraft from Russia did not file flight plans or maintain radio contact with civilian air traffic control authorities and they were not using on-board transponders. This poses a potential risk to civil aviation as civilian air traffic control cannot detect these aircraft or ensure there is no interference with civilian air traffic.

Four Russian Aircraft Intercepted over Black Sea on 29 October 2014

During the afternoon of 29 October, NATO radars detected and tracked four Russian aircraft flying over the Black Sea in international air space, including 2 Tu-95 Bear-H bombers and 2 Su-27 Flanker fighter jets. Fighters from the Turkish Air Force have intercepted the Russian aircraft and NATO is continuing to track them in international airspace. As of 4 p.m. CET the aircraft were still airborne.

Multiple Russian Aircraft Intercepted over Baltic Sea on 29 October 2014

During the afternoon of 29 October, NATO radars detected and tracked a number Russian aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea in international airspace, including 2x MiG-31 Foxhound, 2x Su-34 Fullback, 1x Su-27 Flanker and 2x Su-24 Fencer jets. Portuguese F-16 Fighters assigned to the Baltic Air Policing Mission were scrambled in response and the Russian aircraft returned to Russian airspace.

Seven Russian Fighter Jets also Intercepted on 28 October 2014

During the afternoon of 28 October, NATO radars detected and tracked seven Russian combat aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea. The aircraft were detected at approximately 2:30 p.m. CET on 28 October and included 2x MiG-31 Foxhound, 2x Su-34 Fullback, 1x Su-27 Flanker and 2x Su-24 Fencer jets.

The Russian aircraft were flying in the Gulf of Finland and were intercepted by German Typhoon fighter jets from NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission in order to identify the aircraft and protect Allied air space. The Russian aircraft continued into the Baltic Sea and were subsequently intercepted by Allied fighters from Denmark as well as fighters from Finland and Sweden, which are not members of NATO. The Russian fighters continued to the Kaliningrad Oblast. The Russian aircraft had filed a flight plan with air traffic control authorities, were using transponders, but did not maintain radio contact with civilian air traffic control.

NATO jets were on standby throughout the duration of both Russian flights and Russian aircraft were continually tracked using Allied assets on the ground and in the air. NATO has conducted over 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft in 2014 to date, which is about three times more than were conducted in 2013.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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Charles Chesnutt: Justice, Peace – the seed and the flower of civilisation

October 30, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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Charles Chesnutt
From The Colonel’s Dream (1905)

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When the colonel set out next morning for a walk down the main street, he had just breakfasted on boiled brook trout, fresh laid eggs, hot muffins and coffee, and was feeling at peace with all mankind. He was alone, having left Phil in charge of the hotel housekeeper. He had gone only a short distance when he reached a door around which several men were lounging, and from which came the sound of voices and loud laughter. Stopping, he looked with some curiosity into the door, over which there was a faded sign to indicate that it was the office of a Justice of the Peace – a pleasing collocation of words, to those who could divorce it from any technical significance – Justice, Peace – the seed and the flower of civilisation.

***

Even a healthy social instinct might be perverted into an unhealthy and unjust prejudice; most things evil were the perversion of good.

***

The limpid water of the creek still murmurs down the slope and ripples over the stone foundation of what was to have been the new dam, while the birds have nested for some years in the vines that soon overgrew the unfinished walls of the colonel’s cotton mill. White men go their way, and black men theirs, and these ways grow wider apart, and no one knows the outcome. But there are those who hope, and those who pray, that this condition will pass, that some day our whole land will be truly free, and the strong will cheerfully help to bear the burdens of the weak, and Justice, the seed, and Peace, the flower, of liberty, will prevail throughout all our borders.

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NATO Deploys Hungarian Troops To Reinforce Strength In Lithuania

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
October 29, 2014

Hungarian armed forces to strengthen NATO presence in Lithuania

VILNIUS: The first 20 Hungarian soldiers have arrived in Lithuania to increase NATO reinforcement measures on Tuesday.

Around 120 more Hungarian soldiers with military equipment are scheduled to arrive later this week, announced the Ministry of National Defense of Lithuania.

According to officials, around 140 Hungarian troops accompanied by Lithuanian and U.S. soldiers, already deployed here in the spring will form a battalion size unit. The battalion will engage in joint military exercises, said the Ministry.

The Hungarian army forces will remain deployed at Lithuania for the rest of the year.

“I’m glad that Hungary, the first from NATO European countries, responded to the changes in the geopolitical situation and the NATO Wales decisions,” said Juozas Olekas, Minister of National Defense, in a statement.

The first joint military exercise with Lithuanian and U.S. troops joined by the Hungarian forces are scheduled for early November.

An international Exercise Iron Sword 2014 will be attended by around 2,500 military personnel from nine NATO countries.

Responding to the changes in the regional geopolitical situation, NATO members have agreed in Wales’ summit to implement security measures in the Baltic countries.

Lithuania by itself has also reacted by forming the rapid response forces responsible for preventing hostile actions and unconventional war threats against Lithuania in peacetime.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, the rapid response forces will come into operation from Nov. 1.

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Asian Paradox: NATO’s Number 2 Touts 78-Nation Military Force

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
October 28, 2014

NAPCI: Solving the Asian Paradox
Remarks by NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow at the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative Forum, Seoul, Republic of Korea
[Edited]

It is a great pleasure to be in Seoul and a great honor to speak here at the first Forum of the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative. As you know, I served for three years as the U.S. Ambassador to Korea up until 2008…

In my capacity as a NATO official, I would like to start by noting that as one of NATO’s global partners, The Republic of Korea has made many valuable contributions to our shared security. You have contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan; you led one of the most effective Provincial Reconstruction teams in Parwan, and are now running an important medical hospital there…Korea has complemented NATO’s counter-piracy efforts as well, providing naval escorts to merchant vessels passing through the waters off the Horn of Africa…And I offer a sincere gamsahamnida (thank-you) for that strong commitment, from NATO and all 28 Allies.

Today I would like to give you my perspective on the lessons I’ve learned through multilateral cooperation – with some perspectives from my time in Seoul, in Washington, and in Brussels. And I believe that two examples may hold particularly useful lessons for NAPCI.

The first is NATO. You probably know that NATO is a regional security organization built upon the principle of collective defense. But NATO is also a community of shared values that fosters political cooperation to complement joint efforts on security issues.

Moreover, since the end of the Cold War, the Alliance has also become the hub of a global network of partners, including the Republic of Korea, as well as Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Mongolia. Our flagship partnership initiative, the Partnership for Peace, began in 1994…in Central and Eastern Europe to meet the difficult challenges of reform (and for some, to prepare for NATO membership).

Today, NATO has more than 50 partners all over the world. We have different regional formats like the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Mediterranean Dialogue (with seven Middle East and North African states), and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (with four Gulf states). These allow NATO Allies and partners to come together and share views, identify areas of mutual interest, and cooperate on a practical level – whether on crisis management or energy security, cyber defense, interoperability, fighting corruption, or countering terrorism…

Russia is an example where cooperation with NATO has not led to the peace and security…Russia has left the path of cooperation in favor of confrontation and aggression…

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Interview: U.S. Aid Package To Afghanistan Doubtful

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Press TV
October 29, 2014

US aid package to Afghanistan, doubtful: Analyst

Audio

An anti-war activist has cast doubt on a recent US plan to pour billions of dollars into Afghanistan in what appears to be a foreign aid package, saying that Washington’s motives “are not what they appear on the surface.”

Rick Rozoff told Press TV on Tuesday that he was skeptical of US plans “to expand or extend civilian aid to the government of Afghanistan.”

“Recently the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has authorized a granting of what appears to be a rather sizable foreign aid package in fact for the new government of Afghanistan,” he said.

“Any move by the US to grant foreign aids to the fledgling government of Afghanistan, it has to be seen also as US maintaining its influence within Kabul and the region,” he noted.

According to a congressional report, whose details are due to be released on Monday, the spending must be linked to human rights reforms in Afghanistan and closer scrutiny of whether the country can maintain its new programs and buildings.

Rozoff, however, said tens of billions of US dollars flow to Afghanistan “for war and not for reconstruction, not for human needs, not for the building of roads and irrigation projects and education and civilian structures of other sort.”

“The overwhelming majority of foreign aid dollars has gone for military and security purposes with a comparatively small percentage been given for infrastructural, humanitarian and other civilian purposes,” Rozoff said.

Although most US-led troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan this year, the United States is expected to keep giving $5 billion to $8 billion annually for at least a decade.

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Olga Shugurova: The Letter From the Trenches

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Olga Shugurova
The Letter From the Trenches (2014)

My dear and beloved wife Rosa,

I am writing to you this evening with stars that seem to be so near me, so close that I keep dreaming awake about our home, our family, and our past. The stars came to our battle field in protection against the severity of this night and its lonely horrors of being. These stars today make me think more about the meaning of human purpose, here, on earth. I keep staring at the sky, feeling the winter’s weapons that are geared towards me. These weapons of frost, isolation, and fear remind me about the inner fire that I call love to life, to you, to people, to land.

This war is a horror. It makes me feel alienated from the very meaning of friendship. I feel the steel weapons that were imposed on me by the generals, by the system that I have never chosen. These weapons hurt my soul. Instead of hurting others who are labeled as enemies, I am hurting myself. The stars came near the earth as though trying to awaken us from the horrors of orders of war. The winter is harsh, indifferent. Wolves in the forest howl to reach beyond the moon; the moon is floating like a lamp. Its reflections also make me think about the past, where you and I are one without the harsh environment of the forced obedience to the laws of evil that human beings have invented to hurt others, themselves, and this earth.

Rosa, my beloved, when will I see you? Why on earth do I have to live in the trenches like a fallen angel who is unconscious to the meaning of life, the glory of the Creator, the whisper of these stars? What are my deeds for you? Rosa, my heart drowns in tears when I see these mass murders of people, when battles are covered with the human bodies. I feel how the earth cries and this flow of tears will never make me happy here among the comrades. The comrades stop thinking. They follow the orders. They become the triggers of war, thinking of victories while pushing the triggers further. Do human beings ever win with weapons? Rosa, wolves are crying in the woods. They are leaving for other places that are beyond the battles. Will the wolves forgive our intrusion onto their fields, meadows, stories, and histories? The wolves leave forests behind, people leave bullets behind in the meadows and mounts of bodies, blood, sorrow, grief. Where will we go after
this life on earth, Rosa? What will our conscience tell us about the future, about these stars?

Rosa, I think I am not brave because I am here on this meadow, in warfare, in danger before Life. The dead on the battlefield are staring without closing their eyes, they are still, they are motionless. They are with stars who are leading the souls further into the future journey of life.

Rosa, I am not an ardent soldier. I am becoming less human, de-humanized, dead inside when I take this weapon. My soul cannot tolerate war. War can never be justified, never. We as humans assail this earth, the earth’s soul. Stars know this, and when I come back, I will be someone else, I will be the other to self. I will never shoot, Rosa. I will never forget these stars and the mounts of life, buried under the weight of sin that we name as war, victory, deed, nationalism.

Rosa, I am the other, I am no longer myself. These stars have vanquished the very meaning of deed. My valour in the battle is with the stars when I follow the wolves to the other side of the earth. I will stop by a creek and drink wisdom. I will leave the weapons behind. I will return as a poet of life, Rosa. Will you marry me again, defeated, unarmed, unknown?

- Fritz, 1914

Author/Writer Shugurova, Olga, September 21, 2014. I would like to share a passage I wrote in a conversation with high school students about WWI. I wrote this Letter From The Trenches as an example. I read it to my family and some of them started to cry. This imaginary letter seems to be very actual today in the midst of conflicts, in the midst of war zones that humans have made on the face of this beloved wonderful Earth.

Photo Copyright by Graham Phillips. September 9. Lugantsk War Cemetery. 2014. I think Graham is a true hero who tells the real story that truly touches the soul and opens other dimensions of being today on earth.

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Goethe: “O wisdom, thou speakest as a dove!”

October 29, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Goethe: Withdraw hands from your swords

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Eagles and Doves
Translated by Margaret Fuller

Goethe

A new-fledged eaglet spread his wings
To seek for prey;
Then flew the huntsman’s dart and cut
The right wing’s sinewy strength away.
Headlong he falls into a myrtle grove;
There three days long devoured his grief,
And writhed in pain
Three long, long nights, three days as weary.
At length he feels
The all-healing power
Of Nature’s balsam.
Forth from the shady bush he creeps,
And tries his wing; but, ah!
The power to soar is gone!
He scarce can lift himself
Along the ground
In search of food to keep mere life awake;
Then rests, deep mourning,
On a low rock by the brook;
He looks up to the oak tree’s top,
Far up to heaven,
And a tear glistens in his haughty eye.

Just then come by a pair of fondling doves,
Playfully rustling through the grove.
Cooing and toying, they go tripping
Over golden sand and brook;
And, turning here and there,
Their rose-tinged eyes descry
The inly-mourning bird.
The dove, with friendly curiosity,
Flutters to the next bush, and looks
With tender sweetness on the wounded king.
“Ah, why so sad?” he cooes;
“Be of good cheer, my friend!
Hast thou not all the means of tranquil bliss
Around thee here?
Canst thou not meet with swelling breast
The last rays of the setting sun
On the brook’s mossy brink?
Canst wander ‘mid the dewy flowers,
And, from the superfluous wealth
Of the wood-bushes, pluck at will
Wholesome and delicate food,
And at the silvery fountain quench thy thirst?
O friend! the spirit of content
Gives all that we can know of bliss;
And this sweet spirit of content
Finds every where its food.”
“O, wise one!” said the eagle, deeper still
Into himself retiring;
“O wisdom, thou speakest as a dove!”

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New Chieftain: NATO Must Be Willing To Use Force

October 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
October 28, 2014

NATO must be prepared to use military force if necessary – Stoltenberg

The North Atlantic Alliance must be prepared to use military force if necessary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Tuesday.

“We must be prepared to use military force, when necessary,” he said, calling on Russia to end its destabilizing actions in Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said that NATO’s primary duty was to ensure the security of its member countries.

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NATO Supports Post-Coup Ukraine’s “Territorial Integrity”

October 28, 2014 1 comment

Ukrinform
October 27, 2014

NATO ready to cooperate with new parliament and government of Ukraine

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KYIV: The North Atlantic Alliance has recognized the democratic nature of the October 26 elections for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and is ready to cooperate with the president and the new parliament and government.

This was stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Ukrinform’s correspondent in Brussels reported.

“I congratulate the people of Ukraine…in favor of an ambitious reform agenda and a European path,” he said.

Stoltenberg expressed his willingness to continue close cooperation with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as well as the new parliament and government, as part of a distinctive partnership.

However, he deplored the fact that many Ukrainians were unable to exercise their democratic right to vote in Crimea, which Russia illegally and illegitimately annexed in March, and in parts of eastern Ukraine, where violence and intimidation of voters by Russian-backed separatists continued, in clear violation of the Minsk agreements.

“NATO continues to support Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. An independent, sovereign and stable Ukraine, firmly committed to democracy and the rule of law is key to Euro-Atlantic security,” Stoltenberg said.

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France Aids Georgia’s NATO Interoperability, Integration

October 28, 2014 3 comments

Civil Georgia
October 28, 2014

Georgian, French Defense Ministers Meet in Paris

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Tbilisi: Georgian Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, who is Paris for participation at the International Workshop on Global Security, met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on October 27.

Alasania said after the meeting that Georgia’s ongoing participation in the EU military mission in the Central African Republic, as well as bilateral military cooperation and French assistance to increase Georgian armed forces’ interoperability with NATO.

It was the second meeting between the two defense ministers in last two months.

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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
October 28, 2014

Meeting with French Counterpart

In the framework of his visit to France, Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Alasania was hosted by his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

At the meeting Georgian and French Defence Ministers discussed the prospects of deepening bilateral cooperation in the military field. Georgia’s prospects for NATO membership were discussed at the meeting as well. During the talks colleagues underlined significance of the outcomes of NATO Summit in Wales.

Jean-Yves Le Drian reiterated France`s support to Georgia`s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. French Minister of Defence thanked the Georgian side for its participation in the peacekeeping operation ongoing in the Central African Republic under the auspices of EU. The sides also touched upon the regional security issues.

After the meeting Defence Minister underscored the importance of bilateral cooperation between the two countries. “Military cooperation between Georgia and France is deepening day by day. At the meeting with Mr. Le Drian we talked about our joint ongoing operation in the Republic of Central Africa and outlined how we are providing security with our joint efforts under the aegis of this operation. We also referred to military and military-technical cooperation between Georgia and France. We discussed the ways how France would assist Georgia to increase our defence capabilities and how our partner country would support Georgia to enhance interoperability that is necessary precondition for NATO membership. We agreed that it is important to continue high-profile bilateral meetings and bring Franco-Georgian relationships to the strategic level,” declared Irakli Alasania.

In the framework of the visit, Irakli Alasania attended the 31st International Workshop on Global Security. Defence Minister will end his visit to France today and depart for an official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany.

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Frank Stockton: The Great War Syndicate: “On to Canada!”

October 28, 2014 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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Frank Stockton
From The Great War Syndicate (1889)

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Congress was in session, and in its halls the fire roared louder and blazed higher than on mountain or plain, in city or prairie. No member of the Government, from President to page, ventured to oppose the tempestuous demands of the people. The day for argument upon the exciting question had been a long weary one, and it had gone by in less than a week the great shout of the people was answered by a declaration of war against Great Britain.

When this had been done, those who demanded war breathed easier, but those who must direct the war breathed harder.

It was indeed a time for hard breathing, but the great mass of the people perceived no reason why this should be. Money there was in vast abundance. In every State well-drilled men, by thousands, stood ready for the word to march, and the military experience and knowledge given by a great war was yet strong upon the nation.

To the people at large the plan of the war appeared a very obvious and a very simple one. Canada had given the offence, Canada should be made to pay the penalty. In a very short time, one hundred thousand, two hundred thousand, five hundred thousand men, if necessary, could be made ready for the invasion of Canada. From platform, pulpit, stump, and editorial office came the cry: “On to Canada!”

***

By means of the continental cables it was known that many of the largest mail vessels of the British transatlantic lines, which had been withdrawn upon the declaration of war, were preparing in British ports to transport troops to Canada. It was not impossible that these great steamers might land an army in Canada before an American army could be organized and marched to that province. It might be that the United States would be forced to defend her borders, instead of invading those of the enemy.

In every fort and navy-yard all was activity; the hammering of iron went on by day and by night; but what was to be done when the great ironclads of England hammered upon our defences? How long would it be before the American flag would be seen no more upon the high seas?

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Latvia: U.S. Tanks, Bradleys In NATO Military Training

October 27, 2014 1 comment

U.S. Army Europe
October 27, 2014

NATO-led exercise to bring multinational forces together
U.S. Army Europe

RIGA, Latvia:- More than 150 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division are training with their Baltic allies at a base located outside Latvia’s capital of Riga.

These soldiers bring with them confidence in their skill sets and abilities, as well as armed and mechanized equipment to help train their NATO allies. The cooperative training between the allied partners helps foster development for all the forces involved, as well as instilling confidence, and breaking down cultural barriers.

“1st Cav was tasked with the mission of providing a training opportunity in Latvia with our soldiers and the Latvian’s in order to share experience, as well as to improve relations with a country we don’t normally get the opportunity to work with,” said Company A, first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Thomas Thornhill.

Called “the Stallions,” 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment is a Combined Arms Team, so they have both M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. These tanks also traveled to Latvia, giving soldiers the ability to bring combat firepower forward to any battlefield, and to train their multinational partners with this equipment, said Thornhill.

Pfc. Harry Newcomer, a Bradley mechanic from Hartford County, Md., traveled to Latvia with other soldiers from Company J. For the young soldier, this is his first time traveling to Europe, and he is enjoying the opportunity.

“We are here to support our NATO allies, and to support our Bradley’s and all the armored vehicles we have here,” said Newcomer. “They have never had any of our armored vehicles here, especially the tanks. They are all new to the area and none of the Latvians have had an opportunity to train on them. We are going to be working with them and training them to be able to use this sort of equipment.”

The 1st Cavalry recently replaced the 173rd Airborne Brigade for a large scale exercise taking place throughout the Baltic countries and Poland, known as Operation Atlantic Resolve. NATO soldiers were invited to take part in the exercise that was coordinated through U.S. Command, Europe and the current host nations.

“…This exercise is testing the capabilities of our combat team, and theirs.”

The soldiers from 1st Cavalry are living with and working with the Latvian soldiers, as well as Norwegians who are currently here for the exercise as well. Newcomer said that it is a great experience, and everyone he had met was really nice and helpful in getting the Americans settled in.

“Working so closely together, I know now that if we were in a situation that wasn’t an exercise, we would be equipped to work with our NATO allies, and be able to communicate better than before,” said Newcomer. “Being able to cross train with the allies, and see how they do things compared to how we do things, has opened my eyes to new ideas.”

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Upton Sinclair: Spending several times as much money to prepare for an even greater war to end war

October 27, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Upton Sinclair: Selections on war

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Upton Sinclair
From Boston (1928)

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A beautiful show; with rolling of drums and blowing of bugles, and standing up and sitting down again, and baring heads and bowing them, while the rector of Trinity Church in the City of Boston offered an invocation to the God of Battles, and his son, the Prince of Peace. War and peace were thus mixed up in the ceremony, so that nobody could tell at any moment which was which. The orators declared that the way to insure peace was to prepare for war; upon which program the nations had just led themselves into the greatest war to end war in all history, and now were spending several times as much money to prepare for an even greater war to end war.

***

She watched with tears in her eyes, while her great-grand-niece, the little daughter of the dead hero. came forward to draw the veil from the bronze tablet. The bugles blew, and the audience rose and bared its head, and the bands began to play “America,” and everybody sang – a sublime moment. The lovely widow of the hero had to hide her face in her hands…Cornelia’s tears were right and proper, and she kept her traitor-thoughts to herself. No one guessed that she was weeping for other heroes who were still to die. For the little boys in the khaki uniforms, lifting their shining faces to the orators and the beautiful waving flags! For the mothers who brought them there, to be consecrated and pledged to future slaughters! For the great humble masses who packed the streets in every direction, and stood bareheaded and trusting, gazing up to the great ones, and believing every word the loud-speakers told them!

A sharp division in the audience, between the many who believed, and the few who knew. To the former the name America, and its symbol, the flag, meant liberty and justice for all mankind; while to the few it meant private property in land, machinery and credit, and the exploitation of labor based thereon. By means of this system, the knowing ones had brought the lesser nations and weaker peoples into debt to them; so America and the flag meant battleships and guns and airplanes and poison gas to collect this tribute to all eternity. That was the reason these busy gentlemen took two days off from business, and built stands and tacked up decorations, and set up loud-speakers to carry the words of politicians and priests and preachers to crowds in the public squares…

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NATO Blackmails Bulgaria Over Military Modernization

October 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Sofia News Agency
October 13, 2014

NATO To Observe Closely Bulgaria’s Military Modernisation

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NATO will closely observe Bulgaria’s modernisation of military equipment, as planned in the “Vision 2020” strategic paper, prepared by the caretaker Government, reports Sega daily.

According to the report, quoting a last week meeting between caretaker Defence Minister Velizar Shalamanov and Heinrich Brauss, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, could also start an infringement procedure, if the next government fails to follow the plan.

Unofficial information claims that Brauss said that if next government decides not to follow the plan, Brussels would start a penalty procedure against Bulgaria and would limit the country’s access to NATO investment programmes.

This would mean that if, for example, Bulgaria wants to buy 3D radars, as described in the “Vision 2020” plan, it will not have access to NATO investment programmes.

During the industrial forum in Sofia, of which Brauss was a guest, he praised the “Vision 2020” plan and described it as “ambitious”.

“We, in Brussels, are ready to help in realising this plan,” Brauss said. “We considered the “Vision 2020” plan carefully – it can contribute to the transformation of Bulgaria’s armed forces within NATO and EU. All allies must adapt. Without this, there is a real risk for us to be outwitted by our enemies.”

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Alexander Herzen: Chthonic passions, heathen patriotism fuel war

October 26, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Russian writers on war

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war

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Alexander Herzen
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett

portrait-alexander-herzen-astafiev

Life is impossible between two ideals…Overhead are terrible apparitions, dead men in old armour and old tiaras, and fantastic figures, incredibly radiant shapes, agonisings, sufferings, frantic hopes, the bitter consciousness of weakness and the impotence of reason. Below is the bottomless pit of elemental passions, of primeval slumber, of childish dreams, of cyclopean molelike labour. The voice of man does not reach to these depths, as the wind does not reach to the bottom of the sea; only at times the trumpet-blasts and drum-beats of war are heard there, calling to blood, promising slaughter and dealing destruction.

***

Prophets may guide the visions and passionate words, but they cannot guide them if they conceal the gift of prophecy or bow down to Baal.

***

The classification of man by nationalities becomes more and more the wretched ideal of this world which has buried the revolution.

Political parties have dissolved into national parties: that is not merely a backsliding from the Revolution, it is a backsliding from Christianity. The human ideals of Catholicism and the Revolution have given place to a heathen patriotism; and the honour of the flag is the one honour of the peoples that has remained inviolate.

***

The taciturn bourgeois is ashamed to confess that he is sleep and, half-asleep, goes on muttering incoherent phrases about liberty and progress…

He needs war to awaken him. And is there in all the arsenal of the past a standard, a banner, a word, an idea for which men would go out to fight, which they have not seen put to shame and trampled in the mud?…

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NATO Conducts Naval Warfare Maneuvers In The Baltic

October 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
October 25, 2014

Periodic NATO maneuvers staged on Baltic Sea: media

WARSAW: NATO navy training maneuvers were launched on the Baltic Sea a few days ago to improve the defence skills of those guarding maritime transport routes, informed Polish media on Friday.

The military exercises included loading missiles and torpedoes, disinfecting contaminated ships, and supplying the units. The scenarios were carried out to exercise how to maintain control over the water territory, namely, protecting sea routes from being blocked, and preventing water, aerial and submarine attacks, anti-terrorist and anti-piracy actions.

Such exercises are repeated each year by task forces, consisting of various military formations, mostly navy and aviation. The main goal is to maintain the security and freedom of trade.

This year’s training lasts five days and involves 11 ships from Poland, the Netherlands and Lithuania.

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Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: Do Not Cheer, Men Are Dying

October 25, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
“Do Not Cheer, Men Are Dying”

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“DO NOT CHEER, MEN ARE DYING,” SAID
CAPT. PHILLIPS, IN THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR.

Do not cheer, for men are dying
From their distant homes in pain;
And the restless sea is darkened
By a flood of crimson rain.

Do not cheer, for anxious mothers
Wait and watch in lonely dread;
Vainly waiting for the footsteps
Never more their paths to tread.

Do not cheer, while little children
Gather round the widowed wife,
Wondering why an unknown people
Sought their own dear father’s life.

Do not cheer, for aged fathers
Bend above their staves and weep,
While the ocean sings the requiem
Where their fallen children sleep.

Do not cheer, for lips are paling
On which lay the mother’s kiss;
‘Mid the dreadful roar of battle
How that mother’s hand they miss!

Do not cheer: once joyous maidens,
Who the mazy dance did tread,
Bow their heads in bitter anguish,
Mourning o’er their cherished dead.

Do not cheer while maid and matron
In this strife must bear a part;
While the blow that strikes a soldier
Reaches to some woman’s heart.

Do not cheer till arbitration
O’er the nations holds its sway,
And the century now closing
Ushers in a brighter day.

Do not cheer until the nation
Shall more wise and thoughtful grow
Than to staunch a stream of sorrow
By an avalanche of woe.

Do not cheer until each nation
Sheathes the sword and blunts the spear,
And we sing aloud for gladness:
Lo, the reign of Christ is here,

And the banners of destruction
From the battlefield are furled,
And the peace of God descending
Rests upon a restless world.

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Breedlove In Tbilisi: NATO Prepares Georgia For Integration, New Wars

October 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
October 22, 2014

Irakli Alasania and General Philip Breedlove Briefed Media Representatives

General Philip Breedlove NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command and Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Alasania made remarks for the representatives of media after the meeting at the Georgian Defence Ministry.

Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Alasania summarized the results of the meeting and elaborated on the future plans of cooperation with the Alliance: “It is a great honor for us to host the NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Georgia who has brought the key message for the Georgian people – NATO stands by our side and will assist Georgia to strengthen our defence capabilities. The alliance stands ready to assist Georgia on its path towards NATO integration. At the meeting with General Breedlove and members of his delegation, together with General Kapanadze we discussed the details of NATO-Georgia “Substantial Package” Georgia had received at the Wales Summit. We talked about the importance of establishment of the joint training and evaluation center. We also outlined how to plan regular exercises in Georgia in cooperation with NATO. Our talks also referred to the regional threats, especially after the aggressive hostilities of the Russian Federation in the Ukraine. We analyzed the ongoing processed in Iraq and Syria. We also discussed how NATO and Georgia are going to fight those threats with joint efforts. We agreed that Georgia will continue to contribute to the security mission in Afghanistan along with NATO in 2015. Georgia will have one of the largest contingent and our NATO partners are very grateful for our cooperation. I would like to thank General for the visit once again and NATO for showing the great support for Georgia as a reliable partner.”

In his remarks General Breedlove also thanked Georgia for its contribution to international security…

“As Georgians know better the most it is the most difficult times in Europe as Russia has again moved in to a sovereign nation illegally, annexed the part of it and used the military force to impose its will and support the political objectives. NATO is keenly aware of this persistent threat in its taking actions now to ensure that NATO nations can respond rapidly to these sorts of threats in the future.

“In the coming weeks our Foreign Ministers will meet in Brussels and will further discuss the issue as will the NATO Defence Ministers shortly after to define a final form of what we are now coming to know as the Rapid Response Force. Until that time 28 of our nations are contributing to those assurance measures that we apply across NATO’s nations. And we remain firmly committed to our collective defence responsibilities that remain fully invested in our partner nations as well.

“The partnership that Georgia has made with NATO remains rock solid. As you are keenly aware at the NATO Summit in Wales we agreed on a substantial package and measures that will help Georgia advance in its preparation towards membership in NATO.

“Key initiatives include the establishment of defence capacity building mission in Georgia with the particular focus on the Ministry of Defence and assistance to Georgia continue to reform a modernization of its defence and security sector. We will also increase our efforts to improve the ability of the Georgian Armed Forces to work together and operate together with NATO forces including through more participation in NATO exercises and military exercises here in Georgia.

“Today’s security threats are global and the best response is the global response. No one country and no one alliance can tackle them alone, but if we work together we can. Partnerships are and will continue to be essential to the way NATO works. Partners have served together with us in Afghanistan, Kosovo and other operations sacrificing alongside the Alliance troops and working with us in combating terrorism and piracy. And as the commander of the operational part of NATO I think it is appropriate to thank you Minister, to thank Georgia and Georgian troops for their sacrifice alongside NATO in our fight in Afghanistan. As combat operations in Afghanistan we will ensure that the bonds forge between allied and partner nations. Armed forces remain as strong as ever. We have fought together now we will focus on preparing and training together. Thank you again for having us, Minister.”

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Theodore Dreiser: If he went he might be shot, and what would his noble emotion amount to then? He would rather make money, regulate current political, social and financial affairs

October 24, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Theodore Dreiser and Smedley Butler: War is a Racket

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Theodore Dreiser
From The Financier (1912)

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There came in this period the slow approach, and finally the declaration, of war between the North and the South, attended with so much excitement that almost all current minds were notably colored by it…Cowperwood was only twenty-five at the time, a cool, determined youth, who thought the slave agitation might be well founded in human rights – no doubt was – but exceedingly dangerous to trade. He hoped the North would win; but it might go hard with him personally and other financiers. He did not care to fight. That seemed silly for the individual man to do. Others might – there were many poor, thin-minded, half-baked creatures who would put themselves up to be shot; but they were only fit to be commanded or shot down. As for him, his life was sacred to himself and his family and his personal interests. He recalled seeing, one day, in one of the quiet side streets, as the working-men were coming home from their work, a small enlisting squad of soldiers in blue marching enthusiastically along, the Union flag flying, the drummers drumming, the fifes blowing, the idea being, of course, to so impress the hitherto indifferent or wavering citizen, to exalt him to such a pitch, that he would lose his sense of proportion, of self-interest, and, forgetting all – wife, parents, home, and children – and seeing only the great need of the country, fall in behind and enlist. He saw one workingman swinging his pail, and evidently not contemplating any such denouement to his day’s work, pause, listen as the squad approached, hesitate as it drew close, and as it passed, with a peculiar look of uncertainty or wonder in his eyes, fall in behind and march solemnly away to the enlisting quarters. What was it that had caught this man, Frank asked himself. How was he overcome so easily? He had not intended to go. His face was streaked with the grease and dirt of his work – he looked like a foundry man or machinist, say twenty-five years of age. Frank watched the little squad disappear at the end of the street round the corner under the trees.

This current war-spirit was strange. The people seemed to him to want to hear nothing but the sound of the drum and fife, to see nothing but troops, of which there were thousands now passing through on their way to the front, carrying cold steel in the shape of guns at their shoulders, to hear of war and the rumors of war. It was a thrilling sentiment, no doubt, great but unprofitable. It meant self-sacrifice, and he could not see that. If he went he might be shot, and what would his noble emotion amount to then? He would rather make money, regulate current political, social and financial affairs. The poor fool who fell in behind the enlisting squad – no, not fool, he would not call him that – the poor overwrought working-man – well, Heaven pity him! Heaven pity all of them! They really did not know what they were doing.

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Readiness Action Plan: U.S. Army, NATO Hold Joint Training Conference

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Army
October 23, 2014

U.S. Army Europe, NATO Allied Land Command co-host Combined Training Conference
By Jesse Granger, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

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OBERAMMERGAU, Germany: U.S. Army Europe and NATO Allied Land Command co-hosted the Combined Training Conference, a semi-annual event held at NATO School Oberammergau, Germany, to plan combined training and exercises, Tuesday.

Topics of focus for the multinational military planners included the NATO Connected Forces Initiative to deliver the training and exercise element of the Readiness Action Plan agreed to at the 2014 Wales Summit, improving the quality and efficiency of combined training, and maintaining the relationships and interoperability forged between NATO allies and partners through operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The Combined Training Conference will shape the training and exercises conducted between NATO nations for years to come, and is a demonstration of U.S. and NATO commitment to regional security.

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1,000 features, 400 writers: Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Georg Brandes (1916)

Each human life represents a value. Mankind is not alike. There is slight consolation in the fact that our losses were one thousand, and the enemy’s ten.

Who knows if among those one thousand there was not a man who would have been the honour of his country, the benefactor of humanity throughout the centuries?

There may have been a Shakespeare or a Newton, a Kant or a Goethe, a Moliere or a Pasteur, a Copernicus, a Rubens, a Tolstoi among the hundreds of thousands of twenty-year-old English, French, German, Polish, Belgian, or Russian soldiers who have fallen.

The press, in belligerent countries, has taken upon itself to excite hatred against the enemy in order to create war enthusiasm. It should remember that the destroying hatred it calls into existence will live long after the war, and will inevitably give birth to new wars. The longer the war lasts, the shorter the coming peace will be.

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NATO Commander: Ready To Mobilize Georgian Military

October 23, 2014 1 comment

Trend News Agency
October 23, 2014

NATO ready to mobilize efforts for further development of Georgian armed forces
By Nana Kirtzkhalia

Nato_Georgia_flags_Album

Tbilisi: NATO’s supreme allied commander and head of U.S. European Command Gen. Philip Breedlove expressed readiness to mobilize the efforts for the further development of the Georgian armed forces.

Breedlove made this statement during a joint press conference with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania.

“We will spare no effort for the great development of the Georgian armed forces and for the cooperation between NATO and Georgia to be closer,” he said. “It is necessary to participate in international missions. I am sure that it is possible to cope with the problems on the basis of cooperation. The partnership and joint work are the NATO main keynotes.”

A package of measures encouraging Georgia in its strive for membership in the alliance was approved during the NATO summit, held in Wales on September 4-5.

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Civil Georgia
October 22, 2014

Top NATO Commander: ‘Partnership with Georgia Rock Solid’

Tbilisi: Implementation of package of enhanced cooperation offered by NATO to Georgia at the summit in Wales was discussed in meetings between top NATO commander, General Philip Breedlove, and the Georgian leadership in Tbilisi on October 22, officials said after the talks.

U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. forces in Europe, met Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and then also held talks with PM Irakli Garibashvili with participation of other senior officials, including interior and justice ministers.

“The partnership that Georgia has made with NATO remains rock solid,” Gen. Breedlove said after the meeting with the Defense Minister.

Defense Minister Alasania said after the meeting: “We have discussed timely implementation of establishment of joint [NATO-Georgia] training center in Georgia; we have also discussed how we are going to jointly plan regular military exercises together with NATO. Of course we have also discussed regional security, especially in the context of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and developments in Syria and Iraq; we also spoke about how NATO and Georgia will continue joint efforts to address these threats.”

Gen. Breedlove said that the “substantial package” agreed at the NATO summit in Wales will help Georgia “advance in its preparation towards membership” in the Alliance. Key initiatives include, he said, establishment of defense capacity building mission in Georgia with the particular focus on the Ministry of Defense and assistance to Georgia in continued reform and modernization of its defense and security sector. He said that the package will also help Georgia to increase its interoperability with NATO through “more Georgian participation in NATO exercises and military exercises in Georgia.”

Alasania said that Georgian Deputy Defense Minister, Mikheil Darchiashvili, presented implementation plan of the package at the NATO headquarters this week. He said that the plan, which also includes setting up of a joint NATO-Georgian training center, will be presented to NATO foreign ministers tentatively in December and then the plan is expected to be finally approved when NATO defense ministers meet in February, 2015. Alasania said that for the proposed training center, an assessment team from NATO will arrive to examine infrastructure available in Georgia.

Gen. Breedlove said that the issue of training center was discussed “at the operational level.”

In his opening remarks at a news conference after the meeting with the Georgian Defense Minister, the top NATO commander stressed on security challenges in the region.

“As Georgians know better than most these are very difficult times in Europe as Russia has again moved into a sovereign nation, illegally annexed a part of it and used military force to impose its will,” Gen. Breedlove said.

“NATO is keenly aware of this persistent threat and is taking actions now to ensure that NATO nations can respond rapidly to these sorts of threats in the future,” he added.

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Christopher Morley: No enthusiasm for hymns of hate

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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Christopher Morley
From Ingo (1918)

morley

The first night we sat down at the inn table for supper I lost my heart to Ingo! Ingo was just ten years old. He wore a little sailor suit of blue and white striped linen; his short trousers showed chubby brown calves above his white socks; his round golden head cropped close in the German fashion. His blue eyes were grave and thoughtful. By great good fortune we sat next each other at table, and in my rather grotesque German I began a conversation. How careful Ingo was not to laugh at the absurdities of my syntax! How very courteous he was!…

There is a particular poignance in looking back now on those happy days two years before the war. Nowhere in all the world, I suppose, are there more cordial, warmhearted, simple, human people than the South Germans. On the front of the inn there was a big yellow metal sign, giving the military number of the district, and the mobilization points for the Landsturm and the Landwehr, and we realized that even here the careful organization of the military power had numbered and ticketed every village. But what did it mean to us? War was a thing unthinkable in those days…

I wonder if he thinks of me as often as I do of him? He gave me a glimpse into the innocent heaven of a child’s heart that I can never forget. By now he is approaching sixteen, and I pray that whatever the war may take away from me it will spare me my Ingo…

If I love anybody in the world, I love Ingo. And that is why I cannot get up much enthusiasm for hymns of hate.

***

From Fall Fever (1920)

Only last Sunday we saw this ad in a paper:

HEIRS WANTED: The war is over and has made many news heirs. You may be one of them. Investigate. Many now living in poverty are rich, but don’t know it.

***

From Thoughts in a Subway (1921)

He is but a poor and mean-spirited lover – whether of his city, his country, or anything else – who loves her only because he has known no other. We are shy of vociferating patriotiism because it is callow and empty, sprung generally from mere ignorance.

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Ukraine-U.S. Joint Commission: Pentagon Assistance For 190-Day War

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. European Command
October 21, 2014

Readout of Ukraine-US Joint Commission
By U.S. European Command Media Operations Division

Stuttgart, Germany: “Senior representatives from Ukraine’s General Staff and U.S. European Command recently concluded the inaugural Ukraine-U.S. Joint Commission in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct 17.

“The Ukraine-U.S. Joint Commission meeting is a part of a deliberative, constructive dialogue to build an achievable, sustainable engagement plan to institute fundamental reform, build capability, grow capacity, and develop a transformed Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“The Joint Commission is a new construct to conduct the types of bilateral security and defense cooperation the U.S. and Ukraine have been conducting for years. The Joint Commission is co-chaired by the director of Ukraine’s General Staff and U.S. European Command’s director of Policy, Strategy, Partnering and Capabilities (J5/8) . The committee oversees and guides a subordinate, cross-functional, bilateral staff structure with representatives from the U.S Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Joint Staff, U.S. European Command and its service components, and the California National Guard.

“The goal of the inaugural meeting of the Joint Commission was to bilaterally develop near, mid-, and long-term transformation measures and to validate priorities as expressed by Ukraine and the United States.

“Assistance the U.S. has either provided or will be providing includes more than $100 million U.S. dollars in military security assistance – from different funding sources – to provide for Ukraine’s near, mid-, and long-term needs.

“The Joint Commission is part of a months long bi-lateral, pro-active, comprehensive assessment which looked across a wide range of Ukrainian military functional areas that resulted in a prioritized list of requirements which will inform future assistance and cooperative efforts aimed at promoting the professional transformation of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

“The cross-functional bi-lateral staff has teamed to review and make recommendations for the improvement and growth of the following areas:

•medical
•logistics
•institution building
•maritime
•ground forces
•air forces
•special operations
•communications
•information
•border security”

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Algeria: NATO Marks Twentieth Anniversary Of Mediterranean Military Partnership

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Algerian Press Service
October 22, 2014

Algeria Celebrates 20th Anniversary of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue

Algiers: Algeria on Tuesday celebrated the 20th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s Mediterranean Dialogue in the presence of parliamentarians, representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Algiers and academics.

The celebration ceremony of the Dialogue, initiated in 1994, was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Algeria became a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue in March 2000.

This anniversary is an opportunity to assess of the achievements made by NATO and to examine the challenges and opportunities facing the NATO, said the Diplomatic Institute and International Relations (IDRI) and the Military Institute of Documentation, Evaluation and Prospect, organizers of the event.

“The Dialogue: Achievements and Prospects” and “the security challenges in the region” are the most important topics which will be discussed at this meeting.

NATO’s assistant general secretary for the political affairs and security policy Ambassador Thrasyvoulos Terry Stamatopoulos voiced, in a statement to the press that this meeting, “his recognition” to the “steadfast contribution” of Algeria within NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue.

“I recognize the very important role and the contribution of Algeria as part of the multilateral framework of the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue,” he added, while expressing the wish to further develop the NATO relations with Algeria.

He expressed his “deep satisfaction” with the recent conclusion of the first individual programme of partnership and cooperation (IPCP) between NATO and Algeria.

“This document is a strong signal of our joint determination to foster our partnership to hoist it to higher level,” he declared.

On that occasion, Stamatopoulos reaffirmed NATO attachment to the Mediterranean Dialogue and to the principles on which it is founded.

He stressed the “intense interest” of NATO to pursue the reinforcement of the political dialogue and the practical cooperation with its Mediterranean partners, including Algeria, to face the security challenges in the region.

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Ambrose Bierce: Chickamauga

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Ambrose Bierce: Warlike America

Ambrose Bierce: Killed At Resaca

Ambrose Bierce: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Ambrose Bierce: War as parricide

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Ambrose Bierce
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
Chickamauga (1889)

bierce-lieutenant-b

One sunny autumn afternoon a child strayed away from its rude home in a small field and entered a forest unobserved. It was happy in a new sense of freedom from control, happy in the opportunity of exploration and adventure; for this child’s spirit, in bodies of its ancestors, had for thousands of years been trained to memorable feats of discovery and conquest – victories in battles whose critical moments were centuries, whose victors’ camps were cities of hewn stone. From the cradle of its race it had conquered its way through two continents and passing a great sea had penetrated a third, there to be born to war and dominion as a heritage.

The child was a boy aged about six years, the son of a poor planter. In his younger manhood the father had been a soldier, had fought against naked savages and followed the flag of his country into the capital of a civilized race to the far South. In the peaceful life of a planter the warrior-fire survived; once kindled, it is never extinguished. The man loved military books and pictures and the boy had understood enough to make himself a wooden sword, though even the eye of his father would hardly have known it for what it was. This weapon he now bore bravely, as became the son of an heroic race, and pausing now and again in the sunny space of the forest assumed, with some exaggeration, the postures of aggression and defense that he had been taught by the engraver’s art. Made reckless by the ease with which he overcame invisible foes attempting to stay his advance, he committed the common enough military error of pushing the pursuit to a dangerous extreme, until he found himself upon the margin of a wide but shallow brook, whose rapid waters barred his direct advance against the flying foe that had crossed with illogical ease. But the intrepid victor was not to be baffled; the spirit of the race which had passed the great sea burned unconquerable in that small breast and would not be denied. Finding a place where some bowlders in the bed of the stream lay but a step or a leap apart, he made his way across and fell again upon the rear-guard of his imaginary foe, putting all to the sword.

Now that the battle had been won, prudence required that he withdraw to his base of operations. Alas; like many a mightier conqueror, and like one, the mightiest, he could not

curb the lust for war,
Nor learn that tempted Fate will leave the loftiest star.

Advancing from the bank of the creek he suddenly found himself confronted with a new and more formidable enemy: in the path that he was following, sat, bolt upright, with ears erect and paws suspended before it, a rabbit! With a startled cry the child turned and fled, he knew not in what direction, calling with inarticulate cries for his mother, weeping, stumbling, his tender skin cruelly torn by brambles, his little heart beating hard with terror – breathless, blind with tears – lost in the forest! Then, for more than an hour, he wandered with erring feet through the tangled undergrowth, till at last, overcome by fatigue, he lay down in a narrow space between two rocks, within a few yards of the stream and still grasping his toy sword, no longer a weapon but a companion, sobbed himself to sleep. The wood birds sang merrily above his head; the squirrels, whisking their bravery of tail, ran barking from tree to tree, unconscious of the pity of it, and somewhere far away was a strange, muffled thunder, as if the partridges were drumming in celebration of nature’s victory over the son of her immemorial enslavers. And back at the little plantation, where white men and black were hastily searching the fields and hedges in alarm, a mother’s heart was breaking for her missing child.

Hours passed, and then the little sleeper rose to his feet. The chill of the evening was in his limbs, the fear of the gloom in his heart. But he had rested, and he no longer wept. With some blind instinct which impelled to action he struggled through the undergrowth about him and came to a more open ground – on his right the brook, to the left a gentle acclivity studded with infrequent trees; over all, the gathering gloom of twilight. A thin, ghostly mist rose along the water. It frightened and repelled him; instead of recrossing, in the direction whence he had come, he turned his back upon it, and went forward toward the dark inclosing wood. Suddenly he saw before him a strange moving object which he took to be some large animal – dog, a pig – he could not name it; perhaps it was a bear. He had seen pictures of bears, but knew of nothing to their discredit and had vaguely wished to meet one. But something in form or movement of this object – some – thing in the awkwardness of its approach – told him that it was not a bear, and curiosity was stayed by fear. He stood still and as it came slowly on gained courage every moment, for he saw that at least it had not the long, menacing ears of the rabbit. Possibly his impressionable mind was half conscious of something familiar in its shambling, awkward gait. Before it had approached near enough to resolve his doubts he saw that it was followed by another and another. To right and to left were many more; the whole open space about him was alive with them – all moving toward the brook.

They were men. They crept upon their hands and knees. They used their hands only, dragging their legs. They used their knees only, their arms hanging idle at their sides. They strove to rise to their feet, but fell prone in the attempt. They did nothing naturally, and nothing alike, save only to advance foot by foot in the same direction. Singly, in pairs and in little groups, they came on through the gloom, some halting now and again while others crept slowly past them, then resuming their movement. They came by dozens and by hundreds; as far on either hand as one could see in the deepening gloom they extended and the black wood behind them appeared to be inexhaustible. The very ground seemed in motion toward the creek. Occasionally one who had paused did not again go on, but lay motionless. He was dead. Some, pausing, made strange gestures with their hands, erected their arms and lowered them again, clasped their heads; spread their palms upward, as men are sometimes seen to do in public prayer.

Not all of this did the child note; it is what would have been noted by an elder observer; he saw little but that these were men, yet crept like babes. Being men, they were not terrible, though unfamiliarly clad. He moved among them freely, going from one to another and peering into their faces with childish curiosity. All their faces were singularly white and many were streaked and gouted with red. Something in this – something too, perhaps, in their grotesque attitudes and movements – reminded him of the painted clown whom he had seen last summer in the circus, and he laughed as he watched them. But on and ever on they crept, these maimed and bleeding men, as heedless as he of the dramatic contrast between his laughter and their own ghastly gravity. To him it was a merry spectacle. He had seen his father’s negroes creep upon their hands and knees for his amusement – had ridden them so, “making believe” they were his horses. He now approached one of these crawling figures from behind and with an agile movement mounted it astride. The man sank upon his breast, recovered, flung the small boy fiercely to the ground as an unbroken colt might have done, then turned upon him a face that lacked a lower jaw – from the upper teeth to the throat was a great red gap fringed with hanging shreds of flesh and splinters of bone. The unnatural prominence of nose, the absence of chin, the fierce eyes, gave this man the appearance of a great bird of prey crimsoned in throat and breast by the blood of its quarry. The man rose to his knees, the child to his feet. The man shook his fist at the child; the child, terrified at last, ran to a tree near by, got upon the farther side of it and took a more serious view of the situation. And so the clumsy multitude dragged itself slowly and painfully along in hideous pantomime – moved forward down the slope like a swarm of great black beetles, with never a sound of going – in silence profound, absolute.

Instead of darkening, the haunted landscape began to brighten. Through the belt of trees beyond the brook shone a strange red light, the trunks and branches of the trees making a black lacework against it. It struck the creeping figures and gave them monstrous shadows, which caricatured their movements on the lit grass. It fell upon their faces, touching their whiteness with a ruddy tinge, accentuating the stains with which so many of them were freaked and maculated. It sparkled on buttons and bits of metal in their clothing. Instinctively the child turned toward the growing splendor and moved down the slope with his horrible companions; in a few moments had passed the foremost of the throng – not much of a feat, considering his advantages. He placed himself in the lead, his wooden sword still in hand, and solemnly directed the march, conforming his pace to theirs and occasionally turning as if to see that his forces did not straggle. Surely such a leader never before had such a following.

Scattered about upon the ground now slowly narrowing by the encroachment of this awful march to water, were certain articles to which, in the leader’s mind, were coupled no significant associations: an occasional blanket, tightly rolled lengthwise, doubled and the ends bound together with a string; a heavy knapsack here, and there a broken rifle – such things, in short, as are found in the rear of retreating troops, the “spoor” of men flying from their hunters. Everywhere near the creek, which here had a margin of lowland, the earth was trodden into mud by the feet of men and horses. An observer of better experience in the use of his eyes would have noticed that these footprints pointed in both directions; the ground had been twice passed over – in advance and in retreat. A few hours before, these desperate, stricken men, with their more fortunate and now distant comrades, had penetrated the forest in thousands. Their successive battalions, breaking into swarms and re-forming in lines, had passed the child on every side – had almost trodden on him as he slept. The rustle and murmur of their march had not awakened him. Almost within a stone’s throw of where he lay they had fought a battle; but all unheard by him were the roar of the musketry, the shock of the cannon, “the thunder of the captains and the shouting.” He had slept through it all, grasping his little wooden sword with perhaps a tighter clutch in unconscious sympathy with his martial environment, but as heedless of the grandeur of the struggle as the dead who had died to make the glory.

The fire beyond the belt of woods on the farther side of the creek, reflected to earth from the canopy of its own smoke, was now suffusing the whole landscape. It transformed the sinuous line of mist to the vapor of gold. The water gleamed with dashes of red, and red, too, were many of the stones protruding above the surface. But that was blood; the less desperately wounded had stained them in crossing. On them, too, the child now crossed with eager steps; he was going to the fire. As he stood upon the farther bank he turned about to look at the companions of his march. The advance was arriving at the creek. The stronger had already drawn themselves to the brink and plunged their faces into the flood. Three or four who lay without motion appeared to have no heads. At this the child’s eyes expanded with wonder; even his hospitable understanding could not accept a phenomenon implying such vitality as that. After slaking their thirst these men had not had the strength to back away from the water, nor to keep their heads above it. They were drowned. In rear of these, the open spaces of the forest showed the leader as many formless figures of his grim command as at first; but not nearly so many were in motion. He waved his cap for their encouragement and smilingly pointed with his weapon in the direction of the guiding light – a pillar of fire to this strange exodus.

Confident of the fidelity of his forces, he now entered the belt of woods, passed through it easily in the red illumination, climbed a fence, ran across a field, turning now and again to coquet with his responsive shadow, and so approached the blazing ruin of a dwelling. Desolation everywhere! In all the wide glare not a living thing was visible. He cared nothing for that; the spectacle pleased, and he danced with glee in imitation of the wavering flames. He ran about, collecting fuel, but every object that he found was too heavy for him to cast in from the distance to which the heat limited his approach. In despair he flung in his sword – a surrender to the superior forces of nature. His military career was at an end.

Shifting his position, his eyes fell upon some outbuildings which had an oddly familiar appearance, as if he had dreamed of them. He stood considering them with wonder, when suddenly the entire plantation, with its inclosing forest, seemed to turn as if upon a pivot. His little world swung half around; the points of the compass were reversed. He recognized the blazing building as his own home!

For a moment he stood stupefied by the power of the revelation, then ran with stumbling feet, making a half-circuit of the ruin. There, conspicuous in the light of the conflagration, lay the dead body of a woman – the white face turned upward, the hands thrown out and clutched full of grass, the clothing deranged, the long dark hair in tangles and full of clotted blood. The greater part of the forehead was torn away, and from the jagged hole the brain protruded, overflowing the temple, a frothy mass of gray, crowned with clusters of crimson bubbles – the work of a shell.

The child moved his little hands, making wild, uncertain gestures. He uttered a series of inarticulate and indescribable cries – something between the chattering of an ape and the gobbling of a turkey – startling, soulless, unholy sound, the language of a devil. The child was a deaf mute.

Then he stood motionless, with quivering lips, looking down upon the wreck.

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NATO-Georgia Commission Discusses Russia And Abkhazia

October 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
October 21, 2014

NATO-Georgia Commission Session

The implementation plan of the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package was discussed in the NATO HQ. Deputy Defence Minister of Georgia Mikheil Darchiashvili familiarized the allies with the plan details at the session in 28+1 format. Ministry of Defence of Georgia developed the document together with NATO International Staff.

NATO appreciated the plan offered by the Georgian side and expressed full readiness to engage in a timely and effective implementation of the package. It was underlined that accomplishment of the aspects of the implementation plan will promote Georgia`s integration into NATO, maximally enhance national defence capabilities and will further strengthen interoperability with the Alliance.

Regional security environment and the current developments between Russia and the occupied region of Abkhazia were highlighted at the meeting. A special focus was made on Russia`s attempt to conclude the document on “Integration and Cooperation” with Abkhazia, which is the violation of a ceasefire agreement and fundamental principles of the International Law. The Georgian side provided the allies with complete information on the current situation and called on the international Community for an adequate reaction.

In the framework of the visit, the MoD delegation also held meetings with the representatives of Alliance member nations, NATO International Staff and International Military Service.

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Top NATO Military Commander Arrives In Georgia

October 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
October 21, 2014

Top NATO Commander Visits Georgia

Tbilisi: U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. forces in Europe, arrived on Tuesday for a two-day visit to Georgia.

He will meet PM Irakli Garibashvili, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and will deliver a speech at the Tbilisi State University on October 22, according to the Georgian Ministry of Defense.

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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
October 21, 2014

General Philip Breedlove visits Georgia

General Philip Breedlove NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command has paid visit to Georgia. Deputy Minister of Defence Mikheil Darchiashvili welcomed the General at the Tbilisi International Airport and wished him successful visit in Georgia. Head of the NATO Liaison Office William Lahue and NATO Military Liaison Officer COL Maximilian Eder also arrived at the Airport to welcome the NATO official.

Tomorrow, Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Alasania will receive NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove in the Ministry of Defence. Meeting is also scheduled with the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. Towards the end of the visit, General Philip Breedlove will visit Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State University to deliver a lecture for students and answer their questions.

NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove will leave Georgia tomorrow.

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Sinclair Lewis: Selections on war

October 21, 2014 Leave a comment
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Turkey: NATO Holds War Games With Twelve Partnership Nations, Including Ukraine

October 20, 2014 2 comments

Associated Press of Pakistan
October 20, 2014

Turkey to host NATO war games

ISLAMABAD: Turkey will host NATO drills between October 20 and 24 that will include participation from 12 other countries, the Turkish general staff announced in a statement.

The war games will take place in Istanbul and gather military personnel from Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Moldova, Jordan, Ukraine, Mauritania, Algeria, and Pakistan, Anadolu News Agency Reported.

The drills aim to enhance the capacity of the countries to work together and cooperate, the statement said. Turkey is expected to participate in the games with 84 personnel.

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Henry Blake Fuller: Killed and wounded on the fields of hate

October 20, 2014 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
 
American writers on peace and against war

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Henry Blake Fuller
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
From On the Stairs (1918)

H_B_Fuller

The Great War waged more furiously than ever, and came more close. The country had first said, “You may,” and, later, “You must.”

***

In his own body there was not one drop of martial blood; in his being not an iota of the bellicose spirit. Why men fight, even why boys fight – all this had been a mystery which he must take on faith, with little help from the fisticuffs and brawls of school-days, or even from the gigantic, agonizing closing-in of whole peoples, now under way.

***

McComas’s bank, like others, put its office-machinery at the disposal of the Government, when the first war-loan was in the making…McComas himself felt no promptings to subscribe to this loan; but his directors thought that a reasonable degree of participation was “indicated.” The bank’s name went down, with the names of some others; and the clerks who had been working over hours on the new and exacting minutiae of the undertaking were given a chance to divert their savings toward the novel securities. The bank displayed the Nation’s flag, and the flags of some of the allies. It all made a busy corner…

His wife, who had been flitting from veranda to veranda in their pleasant suburban environment, and been doing, with other ladies of her circle, some desultory work for the wounded soldiers of the future, now came down to the centre of the town and took up the work in good earnest…”Why, it’s the most delightfully absorbing thing I’ve ever done!” she declared. A new world was dawning – a red world that not all of us have been fated to meet so young.

***

A few brief months ended the foreign service of both our young men. Albert came home invalided, and Tom McComas along with others, lay dead between the opposing lines of trenches. His father would not, at first, credit the news. His son’s very strength and vigor had helped build up his own exuberant optimism. It simply could not be; his son, his only remaining son, a happy husband, a gratified parent…But the truth bore in, as the truth will, and McComas had his days of rebellious – almost of blasphemous – protest.

Albert, whose injuries had made him appear as likely to be a useless piece on the board for longer than the army surgeons thought worth while, was sent back home and made his convalescence under the care of his mother; within her house, indeed – for his father had no quarters to offer him. Among McComas’s flower-beds and garden-paths he enjoyed the ministrations of a physician other and better than any that practices on those fields of hate…

Those few months comprised his contribution to the cause. He mended more rapidly than might have been expected, and soon began to feel the resurgence of those belligerencies which are proper to the nature of the healthy young male. But his belligerencies were not at all militaristic. He had seen war at short range, knew what it was, and desired it no more.

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Interoperability Platform: NATO Strengthens Partnerships In Persian Gulf

October 19, 2014 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
October 19, 2014

Strengthening NATO-Gulf cooperation
Intervention by NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow at the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

[Edited by RR]

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First, let me thanking Dr. Al Ketbi and the Emirates Policy Center for their kind invitation. I’m honored to represent NATO at the first Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate. It couldn’t be more timely, given the multitude and complexity of the challenges facing our nations.

We had a NATO Summit in Wales just over a month ago. This time last year, it looked as though that Summit was going to be a fairly routine event, focusing on our engagement in Afghanistan. But when NATO leaders met in Wales, they had to grapple with the greatest challenges to our security since the end of the Cold War – not only Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, but multiple threats on NATO’s Southern doorstep, the broader Middle East and Gulf regions.

…[I]t represents a fundamental threat to the security and stability of all our countries, and to the very fabric of our societies.

…We need urgent military action…and to rebuild the capacity of Iraqi and other local security forces…And we need a sustained effort across the region…

[I]t’s especially important that regional countries, among them the UAE, are part of that effort, including the air campaign…

NATO is playing its part too. We all stand with our Ally Turkey, which is literally on the front line. And while the air campaign is not a NATO operation, NATO Allies provide the bulk of the military assets that are now being deployed to degrade ISIL.

At our Summit last month, Allies also underlined our readiness to help Iraq, a NATO partner country, to strengthen its defense capacity. NATO experts have just visited CENTCOM headquarters in Florida to see where NATO might complement coalition efforts…

At Wales, we also took a number of other decisions in response to the new risks and threats in our Eastern and Southern neighborhoods – in particular to help our partners in these regions to face these risks and threats.

One new initiative is aimed at strengthening the interoperability between NATO forces and those of interested partners. At Wales, our Defense Ministers met with 24 especially interoperable partners, including the UAE, which is a founding member of our new Interoperability Platform. We are keen to follow up be expanding our practical cooperation on interoperability issues, and we hope others in the region will seek to participate as well.

The Wales Summit also launched a new initiative to help partners to strengthen their ability to address security challenges in their own region. This initiative builds upon NATO’s extensive expertise in defense capacity building, including in places like Kosovo and Afghanistan. We’re initially working with Jordan, Georgia and Moldova, but we’re ready to cooperate with other interested partners and organizations as well.

NATO has a solid record of cooperation with countries here in the Gulf. The launch of our Istanbul Cooperation Initiative ten years ago was a strong demonstration that the security and stability of this region is of strategic interest to NATO – just as the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area matter to the Gulf region.

The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain have all made good use of the opportunities for dialogue and practical cooperation under the ICI. Saudi Arabia and Oman haven’t formally joined (although the door is open!), but we’re glad they have gradually stepped up their relations with NATO as well.

We’re also very pleased that our Gulf partners have proved increasingly effective security providers, including well beyond this region. They made valuable contributions to our mission in Afghanistan. They took an active part in our operation [in] Libya three years ago. And they are again playing a major role in the international coalition to counter ISIL.

First, NATO and its regional partners should intensify our political dialogue and practical cooperation. Bilateral contacts (28+1) will remain important. They are an opportunity for each of our individual Gulf partners to share their concerns, for NATO to tailor its assistance to those concerns, and for us all to develop a shared outlook on the key security challenges of this region.

I also see scope for closer multilateral relations between NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council. We have already held exploratory talks. I believe we would all benefit from a more regular political dialogue, as well as a greater exchange of information between our organizations. That can run from strategy and doctrine to very practical issues about military planning.

NATO has considerable expertise with different forms of structured cooperation among two or more of its members, such as the Lancaster House Treaty between France and Britain, or the Visegrad-4. I believe that experience could be of particular interest to the GCC as it develops its own, regional security role, as well as integrated defense structures.

Second, we should work together to strengthen maritime security. Many European NATO Allies are highly dependent on energy from the Gulf region. And Gulf countries depend on the secure transport of their energy exports. So we have a clear, common interest in the safety of shipping lanes in this part of the world.

In recent years, Gulf countries have worked with NATO and other navies on several occasions. I would encourage them to step up that engagement by joining NATO’s counter-piracy operation in the western Indian Ocean – operation “Ocean Shield”. This would showcase their growing contribution to stability in the region and beyond. And it would help address a common threat to the security and well-being of all our nations.

Finally, we should further strengthen interoperability between our forces. During our Libya operation three years ago, this country and Qatar were able to contribute impressive air assets quickly and effectively. And in recent weeks, several of our Gulf partners have again demonstrated that ability to plug into a complex, multinational military operation very smoothly.

This didn’t happen by chance. It was the result of years of military-to-military contacts with NATO Allies, including training and exercises. We should continue to strengthen that interoperability between our soldiers, sailors and airmen, because it will be critical to our ability to meet common security challenges together in the future.

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Eugene Field and Thorne Smith: Bacchus disables Mars

October 19, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Thorne Smith: Make statues of war’s wholesale butchers before they strike

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Eugene Field
Let Us Have Peace

eugene_field

In maudlin spite let Thracians fight
Above their bowls of liquor;
But such as we, when on a spree,
Should never brawl and bicker!

These angry words and clashing swords
Are quite de trop, I’m thinking;
Brace up, my boys, and hush your noise,
And drown your wrath in drinking.

Aha, ‘t is fine, – this mellow wine
With which our host would dope us!
Now let us hear what pretty dear
Entangles him of Opus.

I see you blush, – nay, comrades, hush!
Come, friend, though they despise you,
Tell me the name of that fair dame, -
Perchance I may advise you.

O wretched youth! and is it truth
You love that fickle lady?
I, doting dunce, courted her once;
Since when, she’s reckoned shady!

***

Thorne Smith
From Night Life of the Gods (1931)

james

“Live and let live, say I.”

“That’s all very well for you…but with us, our span is so short it’s almost die and let die. What you meant to say is, drink and let drink.”

“Well, it comes to the same thing. There’re altogether too many crimes attributed to drink which rightly belong to natures that would be a lot more vicious without it. Drink doesn’t create crime. It modifies it.”

“Makes it more democratic,” suggested Hunter Hawk. “Spreads it over a wider area and reduces its velocity.”

“Absolutely,” agreed Ludwig with enthusiasm. “If the world kept itself staggering drunk for a couple of centuries there wouldn’t be any wars. Armies would fall down and go to sleep before they could reach each other.”

“And when they woke up,” Mr. Hawk amplified, “the soldiers’ hands would be so unsteady they wouldn’t be able to do much damage.”

“You’ve got it,” said the little man. “You’ve gotten my point exactly. Instead of going over the top the soldiers would barely be able to crawl along on their bottoms.”

“An inspiring picture.”

“War has no inspiring pictures that cannot find their counterparts in peace,” Mr. Turner looked exceedingly solemn when he brought forth this one.

“Them as I understand it,” summed up Hawk, “you hate war and love drink.”

“Exactly, sir. Exactly.”

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NATO Recruits Georgia To Energy “Security” Center

October 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
October 16, 2014

Georgia to join NATO’s energy security centre
By Nana Kirtzkhalia

Nato_Georgia_flags_Album

Georgia will join the NATO Energy Security Centre for Excellence (ENSEC COE), the Defense Ministry of Georgia said.

The official ceremony will be held Oct. 16 in Vilnius, Lithuania and the document on Georgia’s accession to the ENSEC COE will be signed by the Georgian Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, the ENSEC COE officials and military attaches.

As part of Georgia’s accession to the NATO ENSEC COE, the Georgian State Military Scientific-Technical Center Delta will on Nov. 12-14 hold an exhibition titled the “Innovative Energy Solutions for Military Applications” (IESMA 2014).

The ENSEC COE currently employs Estonian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, French and Turkish experts.

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Italian writers on war and militarism

October 18, 2014 1 comment

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Italian writers on war and militarism

Vittorio Alfieri: The infamous trade of soldier, the sole basis of all arbitrary authority

Vittorio Alfieri: Thousands immolated on the altar of despotism, slaves born but to fertilize the soil

Giuseppe Berto: Selections on war

Giuseppe Berto: Bombing produced cities of the dead

Giuseppe Berto: A fable: The war was going well, the war was going badly

Giuseppe Berto: It was a good night for an air raid. Somewhere or other there would be terror and death and destruction.

Giuseppe Berto: No one truly survives war

Giuseppe Berto: One of the fruits of war, that people should feel so alone and desolate

Giuseppe Berto: Orphaned by the bombs

Giuseppe Berto: The sound of the bombs whistling, the sounds of human suffering, the groans, the screams, the agonized appeals

Giuseppe Berto: Stop destroying so many good things that existed on earth simply in order to slaughter each other

Giuseppe Berto: Then the war passed over our countryside

Giuseppe Berto: A universal evil has given them the power to kill unknown people, people very like themselves

Giuseppe Berto: War destroys the soul even when it spares the body

Eugenio Montale: Poetry in an era of nuclear weapons and Doomsday atmosphere

Alberto Moravia: Selections on war

Alberto Moravia: “Ah well, war is war, you know”

Alberto Moravia: Even in uniform and with a chest covered with medals, always a thief and a murderer

Alberto Moravia: That is what war is like, the war is everywhere

Alberto Moravia: Torn colored posters inciting people to war

Alberto Moravia: War destroys all things seen and unseen

Alberto Moravia: War survives in our souls long after it is over

Cesare Pavese: Every war is a civil war

Cesare Pavese: A moment of peace, to be reborn into a bloodless world

Petrarch: Wealth and power at a bloody rate is wicked, better bread and water eat with peace

Salvatore Quasimodo: In every country a cultural tradition opposes war

Ignazio Silone: Resorting to the bloody diversion of war

Ignazio Silone: They have been warned of wars and rumors of wars

Ignazio Silone: War with today’s hereditary enemy

Giovanni Verga: The Mother of Sorrows

Elio Vittorini: Dialogue between a dead soldier and his brother

Elio Vittorini: Slaughter perpetrated in the world; one man cries and another laughs

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U.S. Army Leads NATO Confrontation With Russia

October 17, 2014 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
October 16, 2014

Reassurance, Interoperability Key for U.S. Army in Europe
By Jim Garamone

WASHINGTON: Exercises and the promise of more exercises in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine has reassured America’s European allies, the deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Europe said here today.

Speaking at a Defense Writers Group breakfast, Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt said the command is well-situated to answer threats to security in the region and to further interoperability among NATO allies and partner nations.

The exercises mean the United States takes its commitment to NATO and to allies very seriously, Piatt said. The exercise program is not new, he stressed, noting that the U.S. Army wanted to continue to build on interoperability with NATO allies gained from more than a decade of war in Afghanistan. But the program has grown with Russia’s actions in Ukraine, he added.

Shifting to preparedness

U.S. Army Europe had been training U.S. and multinational troops for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for years at state-of-the-art facilities in Grafenwohr and Hohenfels, Germany. “So we were meeting the operational demand,” the general said. “We needed to shift from meeting the operational demand to meeting operational preparedness.”

Coalition forces — very well-schooled in counterinsurgency — had to learn again the full range of operations, Piatt said. “We didn’t know what was next, but we knew we wouldn’t do it alone,” he said. “If we’re going to deploy together, we need to train together.”

The first series of NATO exercises under this new plan took place in November. Officials were going to rotate a unit from the United States to Germany for Exercise Combined Resolve, but sequestration spending cuts quashed that, Piatt said, so U.S. Army Europe used local units and went forward.
Proof of principle for multinational brigade

The exercise combined U.S., Czech and Slovenian forces making up most of a brigade. Nine countries participated with about 3,000 service members. Piatt called it the “proof of principle” in creating a multinational brigade.

“What we learned was our allies are very competent,” he said. “There are experienced forces throughout Europe.”

This was followed by Combined Resolve 2 and Sabre Junction, and the command is ramping up for Combined Resolve 3. Soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, are arriving in Europe with their tanks, armored personnel carriers and other accouterments for the exercise.

Going forward, U.S. Army Europe would like to bring over a heavy brigade combat team, Piatt said, and when the exercise is finished, it would leave its equipment in Europe for follow-on forces.

U.S. Army Europe has roughly 31,000 soldiers — a far cry from the more than 300,000 assigned to the command at the height of the Cold War. Yet these forces — plus rotational units — will be a seed for NATO interoperability, the general said.

Interoperability is about relationships

At its core, Piatt told the defense writers, interoperability is all about relationships. Building trust and understanding each other’s capabilities and procedures are key to coalition operations — from disaster response to full-out war, he said.

“You don’t want to meet the team on the ground for the first time,” Piatt said. “We saw this many times in Afghanistan, … where you would be meeting forces from other nations for the first time when you have a real operational demand. We’re doing that now so the relationships and trust are in place before deployment.”

He spoke of a recent exercise in which a Hungarian joint tactical air controller called in a German Tornado to provide fire for a U.S. armored battalion. “That’s how it works. That’s interoperability. That’s how the alliance works,” the general said.

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Interview: Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group Arrives In Middle East

October 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Press TV
October 16, 2014

Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group arrives in Middle East

Audio

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group arrived Wednesday in the Middle East to replace the George H.W. Bush, which has been heavily engaged in the bombing campaign against ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria.

The strike group consists of aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, along with the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, the guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley, USS Sterett, and USS Dewey, according to Stars and Stripes.

Warplanes from the Bush aircraft carrier have been bombing ISIL targets since August 8.

The US-led coalition began conducting airstrikes on ISIL terrorists in August, after they seized large swaths of western Iraq and threatened to move onto Baghdad. Last month, the military campaign was extended to Syria.

“The US is deploying a carrier strike group which probably includes dozens of bombers and advanced multi-role combat aircraft which are being used in the bombing in Iraq and presumably within Syria as well,” said Rick Rozoff, manager of Stop NATO International Network.

“This is simply another exemplification of the US’s willingness and ability to deploy lethal force around the world with or without the permission of the affected countries,” he told Press TV Thursday.

“It’s hard for me to believe that the government in Baghdad, certainly not that in Damascus, has been consulted about the transfer and rotation of US aircraft carrier strike groups in the area, nor are the affected governments in Iraq and Syria necessarily even consulted about where the strikes are and against whom,” Rozoff noted.

“So the US acts in a rather arbitrary manner.”

President Barack Obama has ruled out the possibility of American boots on the ground in Iraq or Syria. However, top military officials say the president might eventually be forced to send US troops into combat.

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Randall Jarrell: In bombers named for girls, we burned the cities we had learned about in school

October 17, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
 
American writers on peace and against war

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Randall Jarrell
Losses (1948)

RandallJarrell_NewBioImage

It was not dying: everybody died.
It was not dying: we had died before
In the routine crashes – and our fields
Called up the papers, wrote home to our folks,
And the rates rose, all because of us.
We died on the wrong page of the almanac,
Scattered on mountains fifty miles away;
Diving on haystacks, fighting with a friend,
We blazed up on the lines we never saw.
We died like aunts or pets or foreigners.
(When we left high school nothing else had died
For us to figure we had died like.)

In our new planes, with our new crews, we bombed
The ranges by the desert or the shore,
Fired at towed targets, waited for our scores -
And turned into replacements and woke up
One morning, over England, operational.

It wasn’t different: but if we died
It was not an accident but a mistake
(But an easy one for anyone to make.)
We read our mail and counted up our missions -
In bombers named for girls, we burned
The cities we had learned about in school -
Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among
The people we had killed and never seen.
When we lasted long enough they gave us medals;
When we died they said, ‘Our casualties were low.’

They said, ‘Here are the maps'; we burned the cities.

It was not dying – no, not ever dying;
But the night I died I dreamed that I was dead,
And the cities said to me: ‘Why are you dying?
We are satisfied, if you are; but why did I die?’

Categories: Uncategorized

Horn Of Africa: NATO Trains Somali Coast Guard

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

October 15, 2014

Operation Ocean Shield trains Somali Coast Guard

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SOMALI BASIN- Task Force 508 of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation Ocean Shield has conducted training with Somali Coast Guard personnel. The training took place off the coast of the town of Hobyo on October 12th and 13th and marks the first time Somali maritime forces have trained in their territorial waters.

Following the training activities, the Commanding Officer of HDMS ESBERN SNARE, Commander Henrik Holck Rasmussen, handed out certificates to 15 Somali Coast Guard personnel.

The Coast Guard trainees, hailing from the Galmudug Region on Somalia’s east coast, were trained in criminal investigation procedures, first aid, and motor engine maintenance and repair. There are a number of specialists in these fields on board ESBERN SNARE.

“We could see that the pupils came with proficiency already obtained from training with other international units,” said the manager of the two day course, Lieutenant Heino Kristensen. “We were able to build on this and heighten their skills.”

The graduation ceremony on board ESBERN SNARE was honoured by being attended by several senior members of the local authorities, including the Vice Governor of Galmudug and the Vice Mayor of Hobyo.

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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NATO Begins Large-Scale Naval Drills In Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
October 16, 2014

NATO Naval Drills Begin in Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean

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A large fleet of naval vessels is taking part in the multinational “Noble Justification” military exercise which is underway in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. More than twenty warships, and several submarines and aircraft, are involved in the drills. “The exercise Noble Justification is a substantial opportunity for NATO to develop force integration, multinational inter-operability and enhance readiness, by using of an improved technology”, said NATO’s Maritime Commander, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson.

The aim of the event is to test the collective defence and crisis response capabilities of NATO’s Response Force. It will also test NATO naval forces to respond to crisis situations anywhere in the world, at short notice. More than five thousand military personnel are taking part from fourteen NATO nations: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Two partner nations, Finland and Sweden, are also involved.

“It exercises a high-density, high-threat scenario in which NATO responds to a threat to its integrity, and the sovereignty, of its member states,“ said Vice Admiral, Peter Hudson. The event is being directed from NATO’s Maritime Command at Northwood in the United Kingdom. The exercise is running from 13-26 October.

A wide variety of aircraft are participating, including U.S. B-52 bombers. Anti-submarine and electronic warfare units are also taking part.

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NATO Helicopters Violate Pakistan’s Airspace

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Pak Tribune
October 16, 2014

NATO helicopters violate Pakistan’s airspace

KHYBER AGENCY: Two gunship helicopters belonging to the NATO-led international coalition forces have violated the airspace of Pakistan, according to security officials.

The officials quoted by local media agencies have said that the helicopters remained in the Pakistani territory for at least ten minutes. The two helicopters that violated the Pakistani airspace were among five which were patrolling along the Pak-Afghan border in Torkham and Pasidkhel, the officials said.

This comes as the NATO-led coalition security forces have increased drone strikes in tribal regions of Pakistan during the recent days.

At least 29 suspected militants were reported killed following a series of drone strikes in North and South Waziristan tribal regions last week.

In the meantime, the Pakistani officials are saying a major air assault was carried out by NATO on Taliban positions recently in Shamshad mountains located between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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John William De Forest: Uncivil war

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
 
American writers on peace and against war

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John William De Forest
Miss Revenel’s Conversion (1867)

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[M]en still endeavored to convince each other by argument while holding the pistol to each other’s heads; but from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf there was a spiritual preparedness for slaughter which was to end in such murderous contests as should make ensanguined Europe rise from its thousand battlefields to stare in wonder.

***

How many such marriages took place during the War, sweet flowers of affection springing out of the mighty carnage! How many fond girls forgot their womanly preference for long engagements, slow preparations of much shopping and needlework, coy hesitations and gentle maidenly tyrannies, to fling themselves into the arms of lovers who longed to be husbands before they went forth to die! How many young men in uniform left behind them weeping brides to whom they were doomed never to return!

***

Deep in the profound and solemn woods, a full mile and a half from the fighting line, they came to the field hospital of the division. It was simply an immense collection of wounded men in every imaginable condition of mutilation, every one stained more or less with his own blood, every one of a ghastly yellowish pallor, all lying in the open air on the bare ground, or on their own blankets, with no shelter except the friendly foliage of the oaks and beeches. In the centre of this mass of suffering stood several operating tables, each burdened by a grievously wounded man and surrounded by surgeons and their assistants. Underneath were great pools of clotted blood, amidst which lay amputated fingers, hands, arms, feet and legs, only a little more ghastly in color than the faces of those who waited their turn on the table. The surgeons, who never ceased their awful labor, were daubed with blood to the elbows; and a smell of blood drenched the stifling air, overpowering even the pungent odor of chloroform. The place resounded with groans…One man, whose leg was amputated close to his body, uttered an inarticulate jabber of broken screams, and rolled, or rather bounced from side to side of a pile of loose cotton, with such violence that two hospital attendants were fully occupied in holding him. Another, shot through the body, lay speechless and dying, but quivering from head to foot with a prolonged though probably unconscious agony. He continued to shudder thus for half an hour, when he gave one superhuman throe, and then lay quiet for ever.

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U.S. Sixth Fleet Flagship Docks In Georgian Port

October 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
October 14, 2014

U.S. 6th Fleet Flagship Makes Port Visit in Batumi

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Tbilisi: The amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) in port of Batumi, October 14, 2014.

USS Mount Whitney, flagship for the Europe-headquartered U.S. 6th Fleet, docked into Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi on October 14, where it will stay till October 18.

“Mount Whitney’s visit reaffirms the United States’ commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners like Georgia, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the Black Sea region,” the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said.

It is the third port visit to Georgia by the USS Mount Whitney, the U.S. 6th Fleet’s amphibious command and control ship. It delivered humanitarian aid to the port of Poti in early September 2008, less than a month after Georgia-Russia war; at the time Russian military forces were still maintaining two outposts in the outskirts of Poti. The last time when Mount Whitney made port visit to Georgia was in November, 2013. Mount Whitney was previously in the Black Sea in February, 2014.

“While in Georgia, Mount Whitney will conduct routine combined training with the Georgian Coast Guard, provide ship tours, hold a public concert for the local community, and host a reception for local officials. Mount Whitney’s port visit will build on previous U.S. Navy visits to Georgia that enhance the professional and personal relationships between the United States and its allies and regional partners,” the U.S. embassy said…

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Marianne Moore: I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war

October 14, 2014 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
 
American writers on peace and against war

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Marianne Moore
From In Distrust of Merit (1944)

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Hate-hardened heart, O heart of iron
iron is iron till it is rust.
There never was a war that was
not inward; I must
fight till I have conquered in myself what
causes war, but I would not believe it.
I inwardly did nothing.
O Iscariot-like crime!
Beauty is everlasting
and dust is for a time.

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Interview on Ukraine: Global, uncontested power is its own justification

October 13, 2014 1 comment

Rick Rozoff, Open University of the Left, 10-11-2014, Chicago, IL

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Robinson Jeffers: Eagle Valor, Chicken Mind

October 13, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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Robinson Jeffers
Eagle Valor, Chicken Mind (1947)

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Unhappy country, what wings you have! Even here,
Nothing important to protect, and ocean-far from the nearest enemy,
what a cloud
Of bombers amazes the coast mountain, what a hornet-swarm of fighters,
And day and night the guns practicing.
Unhappy, eagle wings and beak, chicken brain,
Weep (it is frequent in human affairs), weep for the terrible magnificence
of the means.
The ridiculous incompetence of the reasons, the bloody and shabby
Pathos of the result.

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Germany: U.S. Trains 18 NATO Allies, Aspirants For War In Europe

October 12, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Army Europe
October 12, 2014

What is Combined Resolve III?

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The U.S. Army’s European Rotational Force will participate in a major exercise alongside NATO allies and partner-nation forces at the Army’s Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas in southeastern Germany, Oct – Nov, 2014.

Exercise Combined Resolve III will include more than 4,000 participants from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the U.S.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (Ironhorse), stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas, is the brigade combat team designated as the Army’s regionally-aligned force for the U.S. European Command.

Combined Resolve III is designed to provide the Ironhorse Brigade with multinational training and partnership opportunities that will enhance the flexibility, agility and ability to better operate alongside NATO allies and partners in Europe.

The first phase of Combined Resolve III will include gunnery training at the Army’s Grafenwoehr Training Area. The exercise will then move to the Hohenfels Training Area for a combat maneuver training before returning to Grafenwoehr of the culminating multinational, live-fire exercise that will blend virtual, simulated and maneuver forces to replicate a complex combat environment.

European Activity Set

Combined Resolve III will also use the Army’s European Activity Set, a group of combat equipment and vehicles pre-positioned at the Grafenwoehr Training Area to outfit and support rotational forces when they arrive in Europe. The set includes the most updated versions of the Army’s M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

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Joel Barlow: War after war his hungry soul require, each land lie reeking with its people’s slain

October 12, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
 
American writers on peace and against war

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Joel Barlow
Advice To A Raven In Russia (1812)

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Black fool, why winter here? These frozen skies,
Worn by your wings and deafen’d by your cries,
Should warn you hence, where milder suns invite,
And day alternates with his mother night.
You fear perhaps your food will fail you there,
Your human carnage, that delicious fare
That lured you hither, following still your friend
The great Napoleon to the world’s bleak end.
You fear, because the southern climes pour’d forth
Their clustering nations to infest the north,
Barvarians, Austrians, those who Drink the Po
And those who skirt the Tuscan seas below,
With all Germania, Neustria, Belgia, Gaul,
Doom’d here to wade thro slaughter to their fall,
You fear he left behind no wars, to feed
His feather’d canibals and nurse the breed.
Fear not, my screamer, call your greedy train,
Sweep over Europe, hurry back to Spain,

You’ll find his legions there; the valliant crew
Please best their master when they toil for you.
Abundant there they spread the country o’er
And taint the breeze with every nation’s gore,
Iberian, Lussian, British widely strown,
But still more wide and copious flows their own.
Go where you will; Calabria, Malta, Greece,
Egypt and Syria still his fame increase,
Domingo’s fatten’d isle and India’s plains
Glow deep with purple drawn from Gallic veins.
No Raven’s wing can stretch the flight so far
As the torn bandrols of Napoleon’s war.
Choose then your climate, fix your best abode,
He’ll make you deserts and he’ll bring you blood.
How could you fear a dearth? have not mankind,
Tho slain by millions, millions left behind?
Has not CONSCRIPTION still the power to weild
Her annual faulchion o’er the human field?
A faithful harvester! or if a man
Escape that gleaner, shall he scape the BAN?

The triple BAN, that like the hound of hell
Gripes with three joles, to hold his victim well.
Fear nothing then, hatch fast your ravenous brood,
Teach them to cry to Bonaparte for food;
They’ll be like you, of all his suppliant train,
The only class that never cries in vain.
For see what mutual benefits you lend!
(The surest way to fix the mutual friend)
While on his slaughter’d troops your tribes are fed,
You cleanse his camp and carry off his dead.
Imperial Scavenger! but now you know
Your work is vain amid these hills of snow.
His tentless troops are marbled thro with frost
And change to crystal when the breath is lost.
Mere trunks of ice, tho limb’d like human frames
And lately warm’d with life’s endearing flames,
They cannot taint the air, the world impest,
Nor can you tear one fiber from their breast.
No! from their visual sockets, as they lie,
With beak and claws you cannot pluck an eye.
The frozen orb, preserving still its form,
Defies your talons as it braves the storm,
But stands and stares to God, as if to know
In what curst hands he leaves his world below.
Fly then, or starve; tho all the dreadful road
From Minsk to Moskow with their bodies strow’d
May count some Myriads, yet they can’t suffice
To feed you more beneath these dreary skies.
Go back, and winter in the wilds of Spain;
Feast there awhile, and in the next campaign
Rejoin your master; for you’ll find him then,
With his new million of the race of men,
Clothed in his thunders, all his flags unfurl’d,
Raging and storming o’er the prostrate world.
War after war his hungry soul requires,
State after State shall sink beneath his fires,
Yet other Spains in victim smoke shall rise
And other Moskows suffocate the skies,
Each land lie reeking with its people’s slain
And not a stream run bloodless to the main.
Till men resume their souls, and dare to shed
Earth’s total vengeance on the monster’s head,
Hurl from his blood-built throne this king of woes,
Dash him to dust, and let the world repose.

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Global Bloc: Japanese Delegation Visits NATO Military Headquarters

October 11, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

October 10, 2014

JAPANESE DELEGATION VISITS SUPREME HEADQUARTERS ALLIED POWERS EUROPE

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SHAPE, Belgium: A delegation of four high-ranking military officials from NATO Partner Japan visited SHAPE on Thursday, 9 October. Rear Admiral Hiroshi and his team provided SHAPE’s Military Partnership Delegation a briefing on Japan’s international military strategy. The delegation then headed for the CCOMC, SHAPE’s Crisis Management Centre, where they received complete explanations on how NATO analyses and assesses crisis situations.

Admiral Hiroshi raised important questions on NATO exercises and was particularly impressed by NATO’s quick implementation of Patriot missiles in Turkey. Most importantly, the Delegation stressed Japan’s willingness to strengthen its bonds with NATO by increasing Japan’s involvement in NATO exercises.

Although not a NATO Member, Japan has been a key partner of the Alliance since the early 1990s, when Japan’s important contribution to NATO operations in the Balkans…

More recently, Japan’s Navy and NATO ships have conducted exercises in the Gulf of Aden, within the Operation Ocean Shield. This was the first time ever that the two fleets had collaborated so extensively. Japan’s Maritime Self Defence Force’s expertise was a most valuable asset in the fight against piracy.

Story by Martin Gourgue, SHAPE

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Amy Lowell: A pattern called a war. Christ! What are patterns for?

October 11, 2014 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts
 
American writers on peace and against war

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Amy Lowell
Patterns (1916)

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I walK down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whale-bone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the plashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon —
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun shifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se’nnight.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam?” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.

For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

Categories: Uncategorized
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