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U.S., NATO Troops To Remain In Afghanistan Indefinitely

September 30, 2014 2 comments

Xinhua News Agency
September 30, 2014

Afghan gov’t signs agreements with U.S., NATO

KABUL: The government of Afghanistan and the United States inked the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) here on Tuesday to allow limited number of troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 pullout of the NATO-led troops in the country.

Afghan Presidential Advisor on National Security, Mohammad Hanif Atmar and U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

Under the agreement, the United States would keep around 10,000 military service members in Afghanistan to train and advice the Afghan security forces.

Speaking after inking the agreement, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai described the agreement as a milestone in enhancing bilateral relations between Kabul and Washington, saying in the wake of inking the agreement, the international community would support Afghan national security forces.

Allaying the concerns of the neighboring states, the Afghan president said, “the security agreement with U.S. poses no threats to the neighboring countries.”

“No nuclear or chemical weapons will be deployed in the Afghanistan soil in the wake of the agreement,” president Ahmadzai categorically stated.

In his short speech after signing the agreement, Ambassador Cunningham stated that inking the agreement paves the way for further enhancing relations between Afghanistan and the United States.

In a similar step, the government of Afghanistan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) inked Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) here on Tuesday.

Afghan Presidential Advisor on National Security, Mohammad Hanif Atmar and NATO’s senior civilian representative to Afghanistan Maurits R. Jochems signed the agreement.

Under the agreement, limited number of NATO forces would remain in Afghanistan after 2014 pullout of troops to provide training and advice to Afghan security forces.

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Slovakia: NATO Hosts Multinational Air Combat Exercises

September 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 29, 2014

Slovakia hosts NATO air combat exercises

BRATISLAVA: Slovakia hosts NATO air combat exercises MACE XVI which starts from Monday.

According to Slovak Defence Ministry spokesperson Martina Ballekova, as many as 660 military personnel from 14 NATO countries and two countries of the Partnership for Peace are taking part in the air combat exercises in Slovakia.

The exercises are being used to train methods of overcoming anti-air defences by the use of tactical aircraft in conditions of radio-electronic interference and to practice air combat in fighters.

“All the air equipment is being looked after by Sliac Airbase, with the command located in Zvolen and the ground equipment stationed at the training facility at Lest in Central Slovakia,” said Slovak Lieutenant-Colonel Andrej Ulicny on Monday.

Apart from Slovakia’s MiG-29 fighters, F-16 jets (Belgium, Denmark, Norway), DA-20 Falcons (Norway), Learjet 40s (Germany), RAFALEs (France), Gripens (Sweden), EA 18Gs (USA), C 130Js (Denmark) and Typhoons (Spain) are also taking part.

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Ukraine: Video Of U.S.-NATO Military Exercise

September 30, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Opertations

September 30, 2014

VIDEO: UKRAINE HOSTS MULTINATIONAL EXERCISE IN WEST OF THE COUNTRY

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Mediterranean Dialogue: NATO Expands Interoperability With Algeria

September 30, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

September 29, 2014

NATO MINE COUNTER MEASURES GROUP VISITS ALGERIA

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ALGIERS, Algeria:This morning, Monday 29 September 2014, five NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group TWO (SNMCMG2) arrived in Algiers for a scheduled port visit, during the Group’s deployment to the Mediterranean to enhance maritime security and readiness, and in support of NATO counter-terrorism Operation ‘ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR’.

Building upon the operational framework offered by the port visit, Commander, NATO Maritime Air, Rear Admiral Thomas Ernst is meeting with Algerian leadership to discuss numerous issues of shared importance, to include operation Active Endeavour, mutually beneficial training opportunities, and partnership within the Mediterranean Dialogue framework.

During the port visit, the Group will share its experiences in mine warfare operations with Algerian Navy officers and cadets and participate in activities designed to enhance understanding and friendship between the Algerian Navy and NATO Sailors.

Upon conclusion of the port visit, SNMCMG2 will participate in a passing exercise and tactical navigation exercise with Algerian Navy ships, while embarking Sailors to observe the exercises from aboard the NATO ships. These activities at sea are designed to enhance interoperability and familiarity between naval partners.

“The Algerian Navy is a trusted and valuable partner in maintaining maritime security in the Mediterranean,” said Captain Piegaja. “With this visit, we hope to broaden NATO’s relationship with Algeria, identifying new opportunities to cooperate in operations and exercises at sea.”

Story by: MARCOM Public Affairs Office.

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O. Henry: The ethics of justifiable slaughter

September 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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O. Henry
From The Moment of Victory (1909)

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“Our company got into a section of Cuban scenery where one of the messiest and most unsung portions of the campaign occurred. We were out every day capering around in the bushes, and having little skirmishes with the Spanish troops that looked more like kind of tired-out feuds than anything else. The war was a joke to us, and of no interest to them. We never could see it any other way than as a howling farce-comedy that the San Augustine Rifles were actually fighting to uphold the Stars and Stripes. And the blamed little señors didn’t get enough pay to make them care whether they were patriots or traitors. Now and then somebody would get killed. It seemed like a waste of life to me. I was at Coney Island when I went to New York once, and one of them down-hill skidding apparatuses they call ‘roller-coasters’ flew the track and killed a man in a brown sack-suit. Whenever the Spaniards shot one of our men, it struck me as just about as unnecessary and regrettable as that was.”

***

“‘Well, Ben,’ says the captain to me, ‘your allegations and estimations of the tactics of war, government, patriotism, guard-mounting, and democracy are all right. But I’ve looked into the system of international arbitration and the ethics of justifiable slaughter a little closer, maybe, than you have. Now, you can hand in your resignation the first of next week if you are so minded. But if you do,’ says Sam, ‘I’ll order a corporal’s guard to take you over by that limestone bluff on the creek and shoot enough lead into you to ballast a submarine air-ship. I’m captain of this company, and I’ve swore allegiance to the Amalgamated States regardless of sectional, secessional, and Congressional differences. Have you got any smoking-tobacco?’ winds up Sam. ‘Mine got wet when I swum the creek this morning.'”

***

“‘Well, Ben,’ says Sam, kind of hefting his sword out from between his knees, ‘as your superior officer I could court-martial you for attempted cowardice and desertion. But I won’t. And I’ll tell you why I’m trying for promotion and the usual honors of war and conquest. A major gets more pay than a captain, and I need the money.’

“‘Correct for you!’ says I. ‘I can understand that. Your system of fame-seeking is rooted in the deepest soil of patriotism…'”

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Air-Sea Battle Concept Risks Nuclear War With China

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
September 28, 2014

Analysts: Air-Sea Battle concept carries risks in possible conflict with China
By Erik Slavin

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam: While the United States may welcome China’s peaceful rise, last week’s Valiant Shield exercise over the western Pacific Ocean plainly showed that Washington is hedging its bets on the “peaceful” part.

The U.S. military training brought 18,000 U.S. servicemembers together to fight a sophisticated enemy trying to block U.S. access to international waters and airspace.

Exercise officials scrupulously avoided any indication that this imagined enemy was any particular nation. Such is the diplomatic dance involved with China, America’s second-largest trading partner behind Canada. However, China is the only nation in the Asia-Pacific region building the large-scale type of “anti-access, area-denial” capability that exercise participants fought against.

The exercise tested the Air-Sea Battle concept, a set of tactics that first blinds an enemy’s communications in space and cyberspace, then destroys land- and sea-based weapons platforms.

Combatants also attempt to shoot down or otherwise defeat the enemy’s deployed weapons.

The Defense Department’s 2013 unclassified summary of Air-Sea Battle never mentions China explicitly. However, the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military makes it clear that Beijing is developing the weapons its war planners believe will prevent the U.S. from safely sending its ships into the international waters of the East and South China seas. That would potentially complicate U.S. efforts to defend Taiwan, which China claims.

The U.S. also has alliances and agreements with some of China’s neighbors, a few of whom are entangled in territorial disputes with Beijing.

The Air-Sea Battle concept, which became official doctrine in 2010 and now has a dedicated Pentagon office, is focused on defeating China if it grows increasingly belligerent, according to security analysts.

“Air-Sea Battle is about China — no doubt,” said Aaron Friedberg, a Princeton University professor who published a book this year on Air-Sea Battle and its alternatives. “We have exaggerated concerns about offending the Chinese. I think at some point we have to be more candid.”

However, analysts differ over whether Air-Sea Battle’s existence deters China from potential aggression, or whether it increases the chances of a globally devastating war.

Among Air-Sea Battle advocates and detractors alike, few believe there is much good about a conflict between China and the United States. Choosing a deterrent is about choosing “the least bad strategy,” according to T.X. Hammes, a National Defense University senior fellow and retired Marine colonel.

Disrupt, destroy, defeat

China hasn’t fired a shot at any of its neighbors recently, but its attempts at what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has deemed “force and coercion” have increased.

Chinese ships engaged in low-level standoffs with Vietnam and the Philippines over territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea; in Vietnam’s case, a fishing boat sank after a ramming incident with a larger Chinese vessel in May.

Japan and China have repeatedly scrambled jets over the Senkaku Islands, which Japan administers but China claims as its own.

China’s military is presently considered to be no match for the United States in a full-scale conflict, but that is expected to change in the coming decades as Beijing’s spending and technology continue their upward trend. What remains unclear — and is nerve-wracking for U.S. allies in the region — is whether China will grow to resolve its disputes diplomatically or wield its newfound military clout.

“I don’t see how we make decisions about the weapons we buy and how we reassure our allies unless we have a plausible story about how to fight and not lose a war against China,” Friedberg said. “I don’t think we have that right now.”

Air-Sea Battle is a set of tactics, but it is not a strategy by the military’s own definition. It provides a method for re-entering oceans and airspace after China tries to deny entry and maneuverability.

China is building missiles like the Dong Feng-21D, a ballistic missile with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle that is designed to strike a moving aircraft carrier. If it works, that could keep some of America’s most potent weapons out of striking range.

Although the U.S. military maintains ship and land-based interceptor missiles, shooting down a volley of advanced ballistic missiles is far from a guaranteed success. That is why the “tip of the spear” in an Air-Sea Battle isn’t made up of ground troops or pilots — it’s computer hackers or, in military terms, cyberwarriors.

At the beginning of the fight, the U.S. aims squarely at the web of networks and satellites controlling the enemy’s missiles and other weaponry in a “blinding campaign.” It is a critical component of Air-Sea Battle, but it is also the biggest unknown, Friedberg said.

The military keeps so much of its cyberdefense planning classified that it’s impossible for anyone on the outside to analyze it.

“We want others to believe that we have an ace up our sleeve — that we can make things go away with flip of a switch,” Friedberg said.

The blinding campaign also includes air and sea strikes on some of China’s softer targets, like over-the-horizon radar, Friedberg said.

The next phase involves striking ships, platforms and other armaments on land and sea. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft would potentially fly several missions, including bombing runs over China. Navy surface and undersea ships would also be heavily involved in that phase.

Navy ships, Army missile defense batteries and other methods would attempt to intercept any missiles that made it to launch.

Blockade and bargain

Supporters of Air-Sea Battle view its potential to cripple the People’s Liberation Army as so disruptive that it threatens the Chinese Communist Party’s survival. That deters the party leadership from taking any overly aggressive action in the Asia-Pacific region, thereby guaranteeing regional stability and the free flow of world commerce.

Hammes, the National Defense University scholar, views it as a dangerous, escalatory concept that could even lead to a nuclear war. “The Navy has stated categorically that Air-Sea Battle isn’t a strategy, and they’re right,” Hammes said. “It’s a concept without strategy, and that may be the most dangerous aspect.”

American strategy should instead seek to minimize a conflict with China, according to Hammes. Assuming China strikes first in space or cyberspace, it immediately gains an advantage in those domains and jeopardizes Air-Sea Battle’s chances of success, he said.

As for destroying China’s land-based weapons platforms, that’s a tough act to pull off. China is converting to solid-fuel missiles, which launch within minutes, he said. Meanwhile, China’s mobile missile launchers would be hard to find, Hammes said.

“The evidence we have is that it’s not doable,” Hammes said. “We hunted Scuds in the desert (in the Gulf War), and we still never killed one. Imagine shuttling around on the complex terrain of China.”

Conventional ballistic missile attacks on China could also be difficult to distinguish from nuclear ballistic missile attacks, which raises the possibility of a Chinese nuclear response, he said.

Hammes instead favors a less costly approach that analysts refer to by names like “offshore control” and “distant blockading.” They vary in their aggressiveness, but generally rule out bombing runs over Chinese land.

Hammes’ contends that the Chinese Communist Party fears economic threats more than anything else. In a 2003 speech, President Hu Jintao began a debate on the “Malacca Dilemma,” the position that China’s economic and energy security is compromised because so much if it passes through the narrow Malacca Strait.

If China attacked U.S. positions and launched an anti-access, area-denial campaign, Hammes advocates blockading everything surrounding those waters.

“They can have their near-shore waters,” Hammes said. “They need the rest of the ocean.”

By Hammes’ count, teams of 13 to 15 Marines could interdict the roughly 800 ships that carry bulk import and export goods to and from China’s main ports.

The blockade would economically strangle China but would not leave it in a position where the Communist Party couldn’t eventually sue for peace without losing face, Hammes said.

China is aware of this weakness and is building land links to its west to compensate. However, Hammes doesn’t believe that China wants to put its economy in the hands of the Russian and Kazakh rail networks. Even if it did, the railroads couldn’t handle anywhere near the same cargo capacity, he said.

Hammes’ strategy leaves out fighting in space and cyberspace and minimizes what he deems as the chance of a nuclear exchange.

Friedberg thinks the chance of China using its comparatively smaller nuclear arsenal against the U.S. in response to Air-Sea Battle is highly unlikely, since it would be akin to “contemplating national suicide.”

Defending against Air-Sea Battle also forces the Chinese to put more resources into defending their installations, which presumably takes some funding from things like hypersonic missiles, Friedberg added.

Proponents of Air-Sea Battle contend that while a blockade might be a good concurrent idea, it doesn’t do anything to gain access to the seas and air China has blocked. If blockading becomes America’s strategy, it may not reassure U.S. allies in the region who are within or bordering a Chinese-enforced no-go zone.

Analysts agree that a war between two nuclear nations, especially one involving the world’s two biggest economies, is inherently unpredictable. Great power wars historically have lasted for many years, which runs counter to apparent U.S. and Chinese planning for a short conflict, Hammes and Friedberg said.

Nevertheless, Friedberg argues that the U.S. must be prepared for conflict.

“I don’t think we can diminish that danger by not doing these things,” he said. “[China] is already making preparations to do that … so it’s not like we’re starting this competition.”

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NATO Launches Military Exercises In Latvia

September 29, 2014 1 comment

Ukrinform
September 29, 2014

NATO military exercises start in Latvia

KYIV: Joint military exercises of the Allied forces «Silver Arrow 2014″ begin in Latvia today.

As the Ministry of Defense of Latvia writes on its website, it will be one of the largest exercises of the land forces. Participating in them will be the Armed Forces of Latvia, Estonia, Norway, the U.S. and the UK – generally more than 2,100 soldiers.

The exercises will last from September 29 to October 6, but the active phase will be held from October 3 to October 5.

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Xinhua News Agency
September 26, 2014

Over 2,100 troops to take part in military exercise in Latvia

RIGA: More than 2,100 troops from Latvia, the US, Estonia, Greece, the UK and Norway will join the Silver Arrow 2014 military exercise which is due to take place in Latvia next week, a military news website reported Friday.

The training exercise was scheduled to take place at Adazi Military Training Area outside Riga from September 29 to October 6, with Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis and Chief of Defence Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube expected to attend the opening ceremony, Latvian Defence Ministry told the Baltic News Service (BNS).

The active phase of the military exercise will take place from October 3-5 with the participation of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades of the Latvian Ground Forces and the Combat Support Battalion, as well as Latvian home guard units. The drills are intended to enhance soldiers’ conventional warfare skills.

Commander of the Silver Arrow exercise Col. Martins Liberts indicated to BNS that from an annual national military training exercise, Silver Arrow has grown into multinational manoeuvres which are being held according to a plan worked out at the command headquarters of NATO’s Steadfast Jazz exercise in Latvia last year.

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Lytton Strachey: After the battle, who shall say that the corpses were the most unfortunate?

September 29, 2014 Leave a comment

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

Robert Graves: Men at arms and men of letters, the birth of English pacifism in the First World War

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Lytton Strachey
From Eminent Victorians (1918)
Florence Nightingale

Miss Nightingale arrived at Scutari – a suburb of Constantinople, on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus – on November 4th, 1854; it was ten days after the battle of Balaclava, and the day before the battle of Inkerman. The organisation of the hospitals, which had already given way under the stress of the battle of the Alma, was now to be subjected to the further pressure which these two desperate and bloody engagements implied. Great detachments of wounded were already beginning to pour in. The men, after receiving such summary treatment as could be given them at the smaller hospitals in the Crimea itself, were forthwith shipped in batches of two hundred across the Black Sea to Scutari. This voyage was in normal times one of four days and a half; but the times were no longer normal, and now the transit often lasted for a fortnight or three weeks. It received, not without reason, the name of “the middle passage.” Between, and sometimes on the decks, the wounded, the sick, and the dying were crowded – men who had just undergone the amputation of limbs, men in the clutches of fever or of frostbite, men in the last stages of dysentery and cholera – without beds, sometimes without blankets, often hardly clothed. The one or two surgeons on board did what they could; but medical stores were lacking, and the only form of nursing available was that provided by a handful of invalid soldiers, who were usually themselves prostrate by the end of the voyage. There was no other food beside the ordinary salt rations of ship diet; and even the water was sometimes so stored that it was out of reach of the weak. For many months, the average of deaths during these voyages was seventy-four in the thousand; the corpses were shot out into the waters; and who shall say that they were the most unfortunate? At Scutari, the landing-stage, constructed with all the perverseness of Oriental ingenuity, could only be approached with great difficulty, and, in rough weather, not at all. When it was reached, what remained of the men in the ships had first to be disembarked, and then conveyed up a steep slope of a quarter of a mile to the nearest of the hospitals. The most serious cases might be put upon stretchers – for there were far too few for all; the rest were carried or dragged up the hill by such convalescent soldiers as could be got together, who were not too obviously infirm for the work. At last the journey was accomplished; slowly, one by one, living or dying, the wounded were carried up into the hospital. And in the hospital what did they find?

Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate: the delusive doors bore no such inscription; and yet behind them Hell yawned. Want, neglect, confusion, misery – in every shape and in every degree of intensity – filled the endless corridors and the vast apartments of the gigantic barrack-house, which, without forethought or preparation, had been hurriedly set aside as the chief shelter for the victims of the war. The very building itself was radically defective. Huge sewers underlay it, and cess-pools loaded with filth wafted their poison into the upper rooms. The floors were in so rotten a condition that many of them could not be scrubbed; the walls were thick with dirt; incredible multitudes of vermin swarmed everywhere. And, enormous as the building was, it was yet too small. It contained four miles of beds, crushed together so close that there was but just room to pass between them. Under such conditions, the most elaborate system of ventilation might well have been at fault; but here there was no ventilation. The stench was indescribable. “I have been well acquainted,” said Miss Nightingale, “with the dwellings of the worst parts of most of the great cities in Europe, but have never been in any atmosphere which I could compare with that of the Barrack Hospital at night.” The structural defects were equalled by the deficiencies in the commonest objects of hospital use. There were not enough bedsteads; the sheets were of canvas, and so coarse that the wounded men recoiled from them, begging to be left in their blankets; there was no bedroom furniture of any kind, and empty beer-bottles were used for candlesticks. There were no basins, no towels, no soap, no brooms, no mops, no trays, no plates; there were neither slippers nor scissors, neither shoebrushes nor blacking; there were no knives or forks or spoons. The supply of fuel was constantly deficient. The cooking arrangements were preposterously inadequate, and the laundry was a farce. As for purely medical materials, the tale was no better. Stretchers, splints, bandages – all were lacking; and so were the most ordinary drugs.

To replace such wants, to struggle against such difficulties, there was a handful of men overburdened by the strain of ceaseless work, bound down by the traditions of official routine, and enfeebled either by old age or inexperience or sheer incompetence. They had proved utterly unequal to their task. The principal doctor was lost in the imbecilities of a senile optimism. The wretched official whose business it was to provide for the wants of the hospital was tied fast hand and foot by red tape. A few of the younger doctors struggled valiantly, but what could they do? Unprepared, disorganised, with such help only as they could find among the miserable band of convalescent soldiers drafted off to tend their sick comrades, they were faced with disease, mutilation, and death in all their most appalling forms, crowded multitudinously about them in an ever increasing mass. They were like men in a shipwreck, fighting, not for safety, but for the next moment’s bare existence—to gain, by yet another frenzied effort, some brief respite from the waters of destruction.

In these surroundings, those who had been long inured to scenes of human suffering – surgeons with a world-wide knowledge of agonies, soldiers familiar with fields of carnage, missionaries with remembrances of famine and of plague – yet found a depth of horror which they had never known before. There were moments, there were places, in the Barrack Hospital at Scutari, where the strongest hand was struck with trembling, and the boldest eye would turn away its gaze.

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U.S., NATO Allies Hold Largest-Ever Exercise In Poland

September 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Polish Radio
September 26, 2014

‘Anaconda 14′ military exercises begin in Poland

Two-week military exercises known as Anaconda 14 have begun involving around 12,500 troops from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Netherlands, UK and US.

US troops from the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrived in Orsyz, north east Poland on 24 September to take part in the exercises, which will include 120 armoured personnel carriers, 50 rocket launchers, 17 vessels, including submarines, plus 25 aircraft, including helicopters, fighters and multi-purpose aircraft, according to the PAP news agency.

This year’s bi-annual exercises will be the largest ever staged in Poland, according to defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak, and carry special significance in the shadow of the conflict in Ukraine.

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C.P. Snow: As final product of scientific civilization, nuclear bomb is its ultimate indictment

September 28, 2014 Leave a comment

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

C.P. Snow: Even if moral judgments are left out, it’s unthinkable to drop the bomb

C.P. Snow: Hope it’s never possible to develop superbomb

C.P. Snow: Worse than Genghiz Khan. Has there ever been a weapon that someone did not want to let off?

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C.P. Snow
From The New Men (1954)

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Some of them gave an absolute no to the use of the bomb for reasons which were too instinctive to express. For any cause on earth, they could not bear to destroy hundreds of thousands of people at a go.

Many of them gave something near to an absolute no for reasons which, at root, were much the same; the fission bomb was the final product of scientific civilization; it of were used at once to destroy, neither science nor the civilization of which science was bone and fibre, would be free from guilt again.

***

The news of Hiroshima had sickened them; that afternoon had left them without consolation. Luke said: “If anyone had tried to defend the first bomb, then I might just have listened to him. But if anyone dares try to defend the second, then I’ll see him in hell before I listen to a single word.”

They all assumed, as Martin had done, that the plutonium bomb was dropped as an experiment, to measure its ‘effectiveness’ against the other.

“It had to be dropped in a hurry,” said someone, “because the war will be over and there won’t be another chance.”

***

How long can you sustain grief, guilt, remorse, for a horror far away?

If it were otherwise, if we could feel public miseries as we do private ones, our existence in those years would have been hard to endure. For anyone outside the circle of misery, it is a blessing that one’s public memory is so short; it is not such a blessing for those within.

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Rasmussen’s Parthian Shot: Belittling, Threatening Russia

September 27, 2014 1 comment

Ukrinform
September 26, 2014

Rasmussen: Russia sees NATO as adversary, alliance needs strong force

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KYIV: Russia considers the North Atlantic Alliance not as a partner but as an adversary, and NATO needs a strong force given the challenges posed by Russia.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this in an interview with USA Today.

“It’s quite clear that, today, Russia doesn’t consider us a partner, but an adversary. And, obviously, we will have to adapt to that,” he said.

He recalled that the alliance intended to deepen partnership with Russia in the missile defense sphere, but Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine had changed the situation. He called Russian behavior his biggest disappointment since becoming secretary general in 2009.

Beyond Ukraine, Rasmussen said he suspects Russia has a “master plan” to “establish a zone of Russian influence in their near neighborhood, covering the former Soviet space.” He said Russian intimidation of Georgia and Moldova are other examples.

The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia feel especially threatened by Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said. Officials there cited the recent detentions of an Estonian officer and a Lithuanian fishing vessel, as well as Russian pledges to protect the rights of Russian speaking communities in other countries.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen said: “I don’t think there is an imminent threat against NATO allies. Russia knows that if they were to attack a NATO ally, the response would be firm and fast.”

According to the NATO secretary general, the challenges of Russia and the Islamic State have created “an arc of crisis” around NATO nations, Rasmussen said. “We need a strong force for freedom,” he said. “That’s why we need a strong NATO.”

As reported, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is leaving the post of NATO secretary general on October 1, and this post will be taken up by former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

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Ukraine: U.S.-NATO War Game Simulated War With Russia

September 27, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 26, 2014

RAPID TRIDENT 2014 COMES TO A CLOSE

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The Ukrainian-led joint exercise Rapid Trident concluded its battalion-level field training exercise in western Ukraine on Thursday, 25 September. For four days and in any direction within the 360-kilometer training range at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre near Yavoriv, Ukraine, sounds of simulated improvised explosive devices (IED), armoured vehicle convoys and small-arm firing filled the air.

After Rapid Trident 2014 (RT14) began with a week of simulated training and command post exercises focusing on countering IEDs, convoy operations and patrolling, the field-training portion put their communication, tactical, and operational skills to the test.

Within the exercise scenario, the simulated country ‘Fogland’ crossed the border into simulated-country ‘Yazirland’ in an effort to aid the ethnic ‘Foglanders’ within ‘Yazirland’ and to disrupt the stability in the region. A simulated UN-mandated multinational taskforce deployed in order to identify the destabilizing actors, develop an intelligence picture and to restore the border province within ‘Yazirland.’

Rapid Trident made huge strides this year, said James Ellingwood, RT14 simulation cell deputy chief and U.S. Army Europe counter-IED training program manager. “We’re pushing a multinational staff to actually maneouver multinational companies without scripting, and we have Ukrainian officers in most of the key positions on the staff; it’s great. I don’t think Rapid Trident is ever going to be the same.”

The training between more than 1,200 military personnel from 15 nations marked the first major exercise in the country since tensions with Russia spilled over earlier this year. The exercise was originally scheduled to take place in July but was pushed back because early planning was disrupted by the crisis in the eastern part of the country.

While the U.S. European Command scheduled exercise involves many NATO members as well as countries such as Ukraine, who are part of NATO’s broader “Partnership for Peace,” the exercise is not formally a NATO drill. Ukraine doesn’t enjoy the collective security guarantee that comes with Alliance membership: the NATO principle that an attack on one is an attack on all. But training partnerships with the U.S. and other allies help prepare Ukrainian troops for the fight in the east, Ukrainian officers said.

Rapid Trident is an annual exercise and was planned well before the current situation in Ukraine. The last Rapid Trident exercise was held in July 2013.

Story by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Keim, SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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F. Scott Fitzgerald: War comes to Princeton

September 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

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F. Scott Fitzgerald
From This Side of Paradise (1920)

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In Princeton every one bantered in public and told themselves privately that their deaths at least would be heroic. The literary students read Rupert Brooke passionately; the lounge-lizards worried over whether the government would permit the English-cut uniform for officers; a few of the hopelessly lazy wrote to the obscure branches of the War Department, seeking an easy commission and a soft berth.

***

…The war seemed scarcely to touch them and it might have been one of the senior springs of the past, except for the drilling every other afternoon, yet Amory realized poignantly that this was the last spring under the old regime.

“This is the great protest against the superman,” said Amory.

“I suppose so,” Alec agreed.

“He’s absolutely irreconcilable with any Utopia. As long as he occurs, there’s trouble and all the latent evil that makes a crowd list and sway when he talks.”

“And of course all that he is is a gifted man without a moral sense.”

“That’s all. I think the worst thing to contemplate is this – it’s all happened before, how soon will it happen again? Fifty years after Waterloo Napoleon was as much a hero to English school children as Wellington. How do we know our grandchildren won’t idolize Von Hindenburg the same way?”

“What brings it about?”

“Time, damn it, and the historian. If we could only learn to look on evil as evil, whether it’s clothed in filth or monotony or magnificence.”

***

Long after midnight the towers and spires of Princeton were visible, with here and there a late-burning light – and suddenly out of the clear darkness the sound of bells. As an endless dream it went on; the spirit of the past brooding over a new generation, the chosen youth from the muddled, unchastened world, still fed romantically on the mistakes and half-forgotten dreams of dead statesmen and poets. Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken….

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U.S. Paratroopers Finish War Games In Ukraine

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
September 26, 2014

173rd Airborne wraps up Rapid Trident exercise in Ukraine
By John Vandiver

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The U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade on Friday concluded nearly two weeks of training in Ukraine, where more than 1,000 troops from 15 nations conducted a series of military drills and war games.

The U.S. Army Europe-led Rapid Trident exercise came during a time of turmoil for Ukraine, which has been fighting a Russia-backed insurgency in its eastern region since a revolution in February and Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula in March.

The exercise’s focus was on improving the combat capabilities of allies and ensuring they are capable of fighting together on the battlefield. The exercise was also meant to send a signal to Russia that the U.S. and allies stand with Ukraine, U.S. Army officials said.

From a military standpoint, officials say, the war games achieved their aim.

“I think it was extremely successful in terms of achieving interoperability between the nations, which worked very well together during the exercise,” said Capt. Royal Reff, a U.S. Army spokesman.

While Rapid Trident is a long-standing exercise in Europe, U.S. military officials have said it is part of an overall effort to increase the U.S. military presence in the broader region.

The Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd has been at the center of the effort, having spent nearly six months rotating through Poland, the Baltics and most recently Ukraine.

Now, the 173rd will get some relief as the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, will begin deploying as part of Atlantic Resolve, which is focused on ensuring a ongoing force presence in eastern Europe in response to Russian actions in Ukraine. The 1st Cavalry will operate in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland with tanks, mechanized vehicles and other heavy military equipment.

The deployment demonstrates the United States’ commitment to its NATO Allies, Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, EUCOM spokesman, said in a news release.

“The intent is to reassure allies and adapt the alliance’s strategic military posture in response to regional security challenges,” he said.

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NATO War Clause: U.S. Sends Combat Troops, Armor To Baltic, Poland

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

United States European Command
September 25, 2014

Statement on arrival of 1-1CD for Operation Atlantic Resolve
By U.S. European Command Media Operations Division

Stuttgart, Germany: U.S. European Command spokesman Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, director of Communication and Engagement, provided the following statement:

“Over the coming weeks, as part of the next bilateral Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR) land force rotation, elements of the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division will begin deploying to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland with tanks, mechanized vehicles, and other heavy military equipment.

“The new rotation replaces U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade, which has been training with Polish and Baltic forces since April 23, 2014. The units from 1st Cavalry Division are in the Baltics and Poland to continue the U.S. Army’s land force assurance training and to enhance multinational interoperability, strengthen relationships, and demonstrate the United States’ commitment to NATO Allies.

These OAR rotations are the next phase in the continuous presence that NATO Allies have committed to in Poland and the Baltics as a result of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The intent is to reassure Allies and adapt the Alliance’s strategic military posture in response to regional security challenges.

“Operation Atlantic Resolve is a clear demonstration of NATO’s Article 5 commitment to collective defense. As part of that unwavering commitment, the United States remains dedicated to maintaining a persistent rotational presence of air, ground, and naval resources in Poland and the Baltic states.

“U.S. European Command is pleased that other NATO Allies have joined in conducting training and exercise activity in the region; we encourage other Allies to do so as well. Through such cooperative exercises and activities, the U.S., and the Alliance as a whole, will increase the readiness and interoperability of NATO.”

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Britain Prepares NATO Partner Georgia For Next Caucasus War

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 26, 2014

Meeting with the 160th Brigade Commander

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Commander of the Wales 160th Brigade hold three-day long working visit to Georgia. Defence Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania and Chief of general Staff of the GAF, Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze hosted Brigadier Martyn Gamble at MoD today.

At the beginning of the meeting Irakli Alasania expressed gratitude to the British guest for UK’s support of Georgia’s aspirations towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Bilateral defence cooperation between Georgia and the UK, as well as further deepen cooperation were one of the topics of the discussion. Defence Minister stressed on the importance of UK-Georgia joint military drills in Georgia.

Irakli Alasania delivered information to Brigadier Martyn Gamble on the fulfilled reforms in Georgian defence sphere and expressed gratitude for the UK support provided to military and civilian Human Resource Management reformation process.

At the meeting the sides also referred to the Substantial Package Georgia received at NATO Summit in Wales. Irakli Alasania underlined the importance of the role of UK high-rank military official in the core team within the implementation process of the Substantial Package.

Chief of general Staff of the GAF, Major-general Vakhtang Kapanadze also met with Commander of the Wales 160th Brigade today.

Brigadier Martyn Gamble pays the first working visit to Georgia. Within the visit he has already met with Deputy Defence Ministers Mikheil Darchiashvili and Tamar Karosanidze, Deputy Chief of General Staff, Colonel Giorgi Kbiltsetskhlashvili. Brigadier visited Vaziani IV Mechanized Brigade, National Defence Academy and National Training Center “Krtsanisi” as well.

Working visit of the Commander of the Wales 160th Brigade will come to an end today.

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Poland: U.S. Leads Large-Scale War Games With NATO Allies

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Polish Radio
September 26, 2014

‘Anaconda 14′ military exercises begin in Poland

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Two-week military exercises known as Anaconda 14 have begun involving around 12,500 troops from Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Netherlands, UK and US.

The ORP Baltic tanker departs from the port of Gdynia as part of the international “Anaconda-14″ training exercises: PAP / Adam WARZAWAUS troops from the Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrived in Orsyz, north east Poland on 24 September to take part in the exercises, which will include 120 armoured personnel carriers, 50 rocket launchers, 17 vessels, including submarines, plus 25 aircraft, including helicopters, fighters and multi-purpose aircraft, according to the PAP news agency.

This year’s bi-annual exercises will be the largest ever staged in Poland, according to defence minister Tomasz Siemoniak, and carry special significance in the shadow of the conflict in Ukraine.

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U.S. Advisers To Modernize Ukrainian Army For 165-Day War

September 26, 2014 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 26, 2014

U.S. advisers to assist Ukraine with army modernization: ambassador

KIEV: A group of American advisers will come to Ukraine in the near future to assist the country with the modernization of its army, the United States Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said in an interview to a local newspaper published Thursday.

“We believe that Ukraine needs to be able to defend itself, and we will support that,” Pyatt was quoted as saying in the interview to the “Day” newspaper.

The U.S. has increased its security sector assistance to Kiev by 15 times to 116 million dollars during the crisis in Ukraine’s eastern regions, Pyatt said, who explained that extra assistance was also offered to add new programs, which would “help the Ukrainian forces defend themselves.”

The assistance includes programs to provide Ukraine with counter-mortar radar systems, as well as military advices to the security establishment and technical support on combat medicine. There is an initiative aimed at helping the Ukrainian forces deal more effectively with their injured personnel.

While stressing there is no military solution to conflict in eastern Ukraine, Pyatt said that the U.S. is going to continue its support for the peace plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko and desire of the Ukrainian people to “define their own future.”

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Latvia: U.S., NATO Allies To Hold Yet Another Baltic War Game

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 26, 2014

Over 2,100 troops to take part in military exercise in Latvia

RIGA: More than 2,100 troops from Latvia, the US, Estonia, Greece, the UK and Norway will join the Silver Arrow 2014 military exercise which is due to take place in Latvia next week, a military news website reported Friday.

The training exercise was scheduled to take place at Adazi Military Training Area outside Riga from September 29 to October 6, with Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis and Chief of Defence Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube expected to attend the opening ceremony, Latvian Defence Ministry told the Baltic News Service (BNS).

The active phase of the military exercise will take place from October 3-5 with the participation of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades of the Latvian Ground Forces and the Combat Support Battalion, as well as Latvian home guard units. The drills are intended to enhance soldiers’ conventional warfare skills.

Commander of the Silver Arrow exercise Col. Martins Liberts indicated to BNS that from an annual national military training exercise, Silver Arrow has grown into multinational manoeuvres which are being held according to a plan worked out at the command headquarters of NATO’s Steadfast Jazz exercise in Latvia last year.

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Latvia: NATO Builds Up Air Capabilities

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

September 26, 2014

A MILESTONE FOR LATVIAN MILITARY CAPABILITIES

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LIELVARDE AIRFIELD, Latvia: Latvia’s Lielvarde Airfield is now open to conduct day and night visual flight operations. The opening ceremony marking the occasion was held on Thursday, 25 September. The event was attended by H.E. Ms Laimdota Straujuma, Latvian Prime Minister, Mr Raimonds Vejonis, Minister of Defence, LTG Raimonds Graube, Chief of Defence and General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

“Taking into consideration latest events in the international arena, as well as our national security priorities, this base is required for National Armed Forces to ensure national defence, as well as to implement all necessary measures to support NATO operations and carry out NATO air patrol maintenance”, Latvian Prime Minister, Ms Straujuma stated.

As Mr. Vejonis, Minister of Defence, highlighted, “Development of the Air Force Base reaffirms that our priority is not just to establish new military bases, but to develop, improve and adapt our infrastructure to meet NATO’s high standards and insure our allies’ presence in the region”.

“It is a tremendous set of development of operational capabilities, in an extremely important time, when the security situation in Europe has significantly changed”, said General Bradshaw, adding, “This restoration is the first of many more investments to improve NATO’s capabilities, to guarantee NATO is rock solid regarding collective defence”.

After the chaplain blessed the airfield, there was a short dynamic demonstration, namely “fly by” and “touch and go”, by Canadian, Portuguese and American jets.

This year marks ten years since Latvia joined NATO and the opening ceremony symbolised the significant amount of work that has been undertaken since 2005 in order to bring this co-financed project to fruition.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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Gulf Of Aden: NATO, Japan Conduct First Joint Naval Maneuver

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

September 26, 2014

NATO and Japan conduct first ever joint counter-piracy drill

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NATO and Japan conducted a joint counter-piracy drill in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday (25 September 2014) to test communications and tactical skills. It was the first such joint naval exercise between the two maritime fleets. “By synchronizing our activities and sharing information we stand a much better chance to secure the waters in the region and thereby keeping the sea lanes safe and secure,” said Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, the commander of NATO’s counter-piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield.

The exercise involved the Japanese destroyer JS Takanama and the Danish frigate HDMS Ebern Snare, currently the flagship of the NATO mission. Thursday’s drills included a range of tasks including the boarding and securing of ships and communication procedures. “There is no doubt that the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces are an important and very capable actor in the region and I am truly looking forward to expanding the fine cooperation NATO has with Japan,” said the Danish Commodore.

NATO ships have patrolled the waters off the Horn of Africa since 2009…NATO’s Ocean Shield operation as well as European Union…

Japan is a valued partner for NATO. In May 2014 NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan signed an agreement to further political dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO and Japan, including in the areas of counter piracy, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

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Ellen Glasgow: The Altar of the War God

September 26, 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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Ellen Glasgow
From The Battle-Ground (1902)

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VIII. The Altar of the War God

Through the warm spring weather she sat beside the long window that gave on the street, or walked slowly up and down among the vegetable rows in the garden. The growing of the crops became an unending interest to her and she watched them, day by day, until she learned to know each separate plant and to look for its unfolding. When the drought came she carried water from the hydrant, and assisted by Mammy Riah sprinkled the young tomatoes until they shot up like weeds. “It is so much better than war,” she would say to Jack when he rode through the city. “Why will men kill one another when they might make things live instead?”

Beside the piazza, there was a high magnolia tree, and under this she made a little rustic bench and a bed of flowers. When the hollyhocks and the sunflowers bloomed it would look like Uplands, she said, laughing.

Under the magnolia there was quiet, but from her front window, while she sat at work, she could see the whole overcrowded city passing through sun and shadow. Sometimes distinguished strangers would go by, men from the far South in black broadcloth and slouch hats; then the President, slim and erect and very grave, riding his favourite horse to one of the encampments near the city; and then a noted beauty from another state, her chin lifted above the ribbons of her bonnet, a smile tucked in the red corners of her lips. Following there would surge by the same eager, staring throng — men too old to fight who had lost their work; women whose husbands fought in the trenches for the money that would hardly buy a sack of flour; soldiers from one of the many camps; noisy little boys with tin whistles; silent little girls waving Confederate flags. Back and forth they passed on the bright May afternoons, filling the street with a ceaseless murmur and the blur of many colours.

And again the crowd would part suddenly to make way for a battalion marching to the front, or for a single soldier riding, with muffled drums, to his grave in Hollywood. The quick step or the slow gait of the riderless horse; the wild cheers or the silence on the pavement; the “Bonnie Blue Flag” or the funeral dirge before the coffin; the eager faces of men walking to where death was or the fallen ones of those who came back with the dead; the bold flags taking the wind like sails or the banners furled with crepe as they drooped forward — there was not a day when these things did not go by near together. To Virginia, sitting at her window, it was as if life and death walked on within each other’s shadow.

***

That afternoon the sound of the guns rolled up the Williamsburg road, and in the streets men shouted hoarsely of an engagement with the enemy at Seven Pines. With the noise Virginia thrilled to her first feeling of danger, starting from a repose which, in its unconsciousness, had been as profound as sleep. The horror of war rushed in upon her at the moment, and with a cry she leaned out into the street, and listened for the next roll of the cannon.

A woman, with a scared face, looked up, saw her, and spoke hysterically.

“There’s not a man left in the city,” she cried. “They’ve taken my father to defend the breastworks and he’s near seventy. If you can sew or wash or cook, there’ll be work enough for you, God knows, to-morrow!”

She hurried on and Virginia, turning from the window, buried herself in the pillows upon the bed, trying in vain to shut out the noise of the cannonading and the perfume of the magnolia blossoms which came in on the southern breeze. With night the guns grew silent and the streets empty, but still the girl lay sleepless, watching with frightened eyes the shadow of Mammy Riah’s palm-leaf fan.

At dawn the restless murmur began again, and Virginia, looking out in the hot sunrise, saw the crowd hastening back to the hospitals lower down. They were all there, all as they had been the day before – old men limping out for news or returning beside the wounded; women with trembling lips and arms filled with linen; ambulances passing the corner at a walk, surrounded by men who had staggered after them because there was no room left inside; and following always the same curious, pallid throng, fresh upon the scent of some new tragedy. Presently the ambulances gave out, and yet the wounded came – some walking, and moaning as they walked, some borne on litters by devoted servants, some drawn in market wagons pressed into use. The great warehouses and the churches were thrown open to give them shelter, but still they came and still the cry went up, “Room, more room!”

Virginia watched it all, leaning out to follow the wagons as they passed the corner. The sight sickened her, but something that was half a ghastly fascination, and half the terror of missing a face she knew, kept her hour after hour motionless upon her knees. At each roll of the guns she gave a nervous shiver and grew still as stone.

***

The sun was already high above, and the breeze, which had blown for three days from the river, had dropped suddenly since dawn. Down the brick pavement the relentless glare flashed back into the sky which hung hot blue overhead. To Virginia, coming from the shade of her rooms, the city seemed a furnace and the steady murmur a great discord in which every note was one of pain.

Into the rude hospitals, one after one, she went without shuddering, passing up and down between the ghastly rows lying half clothed upon the bare plank floors. Her eyes were strained and eager, and more than one dying man turned to look after her as she went by, and carried the memory of her face with him to death. Once she stopped and folded a blanket under the head of a boy who moaned aloud, and then gave him water from a pitcher close at hand. “You’re so cool – so cool,” he sobbed, clutching at her dress, but she smiled like one asleep and passed on rapidly.

When the long day had worn out at last, she came from an open store filled with stretchers, and started homeward over the burning pavement. Her search was useless, and the reaction from her terrible fear left her with a sudden tremor in her heart. As she walked she leaned heavily upon Mammy Riah, and her colour came and went in quick flashes. The heat had entered into her brain and with it the memory of open wounds and the red hands of surgeons. Reaching the house at last, she flung herself all dressed upon the bed and fell into a sleep that was filled with changing dreams.

At midnight she cried out in agony, believing herself to be still in the street. When Mammy Riah bent over her she did not know her, but held out shaking hands and asked for her mother, calling the name aloud in the silent house, deserted for the sake of the hospitals lower down. She was walking again on and on over the hot bricks, and the deep wounds were opening before her eyes while the surgeons went by with dripping hands. Once she started up and cried out that the terrible blue sky was crushing her down to the pavement which burned her feet. Then the odour of the magnolia filled her nostrils, and she talked of the scorching dust, of the noise that would not stop, and of the feeble breeze that blew toward her from the river. All night she wandered back and forth in the broad glare of the noon, and all night Mammy Riah passed from the clinging hands to the window where she looked for help in the empty street. And then, as the gray dawn broke, Virginia put her simple services by, and spoke in a clear voice.

“Oh, how lovely,” she said, as if well pleased. A moment more and she lay smiling like a child, her chin pressed deep in her open palm.

In the full sunrise a physician, who had run in at the old woman’s cry, came from the house and stopped bareheaded in the breathless heat. For a moment he stared over the moving city and then up into the cloudless blue of the sky.

“God damn war!” he said suddenly, and went back to his knife.

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Ukraine To Obtain Cutting-Edge U.S. Weapons System For 164-Day War

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Ukrinform
September 25, 2014

Ukraine will buy US newest weapons systems – media

KYIV: Ukraine will buy one of the newest weapons systems in the United States in the near future – funds are provided in the budget.

Journalist Yuriy Butusov writes on Facebook.

“According to the source Tsenzor.Net, Ukraine will buy one of the newest weapons systems in the United States in the near future – funds are provided in the budget. A group of Ukrainian military personnel will be trained at one of the training centers of the United States – this agreement has been achieved. This is still a small step, but it may be the beginning of great positive changes. Arms are not of a lethal character, but the value is important. Analogues are not made in Ukraine,” Butusov writes.

As reported by Ukrinform, President Barack Obama has allocated USD 25 million in military aid to Ukraine: USD 5 million will be spent on training of Ukrainian soldiers for direct military assistance to the Ukrainian government in the crisis conditions. USD 20 million will be used to provide non-lethal weapons Ukraine, produced by the U.S. companies.

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NATO Interoperability: U.S. Rotates Air Force Commander In Poland

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Forces Africa

September 25, 2014

Lt. Col. Harman takes command of Aviation Detachment in Poland
By Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Lask Air Base, Poland: U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jack Harman took command of Aviation Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group at Lask Air Base, Poland, from U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Spears Sept. 18, 2014 after serving two years as the commander.

“You’ve dedicated a year of your lives to improve the mission to increase NATO interoperability, support regional security and build a lasting impression on such a key area of the world,” Harman said. “I look forward to working with you and our professional colleagues to continue building partner capacity.”

The U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland, or Av-Det, is a nine-person team that facilitates the U.S. Air Force service members and aircraft in Poland. They continually train with Polish air forces to strengthen bilateral ties and increase interoperability.

Recent involvement in Exercises Eagle Talon and BALTOPS 14 in June 2014 was among many training opportunities aimed at fostering NATO partnerships and bolstering readiness for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa’s “Forward. Ready. Now!” priority. The detachment completes four annual rotations primarily of F-16 Fighting Falcon, but also includes C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft.

Harman shared his gratitude to his predecessor for creating the foundation as the first commander of the detachment upon assuming command. As for the next year, he will continue to establish a constant presence in Europe and execute the mission to foster bilateral defense ties, enhance regional security, and increase interoperability among NATO allies.

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NATO Delegation In Georgia To Oversee Military Upgrade

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 24, 2014

Visit of NATO Allied Command Transformation

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NATO Allied Command Transformation representatives are paying a two-day introductory visit to Georgia. Deputy Minister of Defence Tamar Kasoranidze and Deputy Chief of the GS of GAF Colonel Giorgi Kbiltsetskhlashvili hosted the NATO National Liaison Representatives under the headship of Brigadier-General Michael Bygholm.

The sides discussed the areas set out in the substantial package adopted by Georgia at the NATO Summit. The role of NATO Allied Command Transformation in the effective implementation of the substantial package was also focused during the meeting.

One of the main topics of discussion was ongoing cooperation between the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and NATO Allied Command Transformation in the field of military education as well as the prospects of deepening bilateral cooperation. Deputy Minister Tamar Karosanidze thanked the NATO visitors for their assistance in the development of military education sector and briefed them about the implemented reforms.

Within the frames of the visit to Georgia, NATO National Liaison Representatives will visit National Training Centre “Krtsanisi”, Sachkhere Mountain Training Centre and Cadets Military Lyceum.

The NATO National Liaison representatives’ first visit in Georgia will be over tomorrow.

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Georgia: NATO Director Of Force Planning Accelerates Integration

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
September 23, 2014

Meeting with Frank Boland

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Director of Force Planning, NATO Defence Policy and Planning Directorate Frank Boland is paying an official visit to Georgia. Minister of Defence Irakli Alasnaia hosted the NATO official.

At the meeting held in the Ministry of Defence the implementation plan of the substantial package granted to Georgia at the NATO Summit was discussed. The sides also evaluated fulfillment of the commitments by Georgia under Planning and Review Process (PARP) and Annual National Program (ANP).

“This visit had two main purposes – one was to complete the work on the planning and review process assessment with Georgia which we do every two years and looking at implementation of partnership goals which we agreed last year. That’s gone very smoothly and I think we are very happy with the outcome. So we will for date, I believe in November for discussion of that with the allies in Brussels. The other major purpose was to discuss the implementation plan for the substantial package of cooperation that was agreed at the Wales Summit a few weeks ago. We spent the afternoon going through this in its final form and I have just spoken with the Minister about this. We’ve been working with the staff here in Tbilisi on continuing bases on this over the past three months. I think we’ve put together between this something which is very ambitious but realistic and likely to be accepted in the major part by Allies when it’s discussed next month. That will cover the full range of issues which was set out in the summit declaration in relation to the substantive package to Georgia. I’m looking forward to taking that work forward and to see further improvements in interoperability and cooperation between Georgian and rest of the allies,” declared Frank Boland.

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George Ade: The dubious rights granted a people “liberated” through war

September 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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George Ade
Two Rebellions (1899)

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“I just wanted to ask you about a certain passage in the school history,” said Mr. Kakyak, the Tagalo, addressing the American missionary.

Washington Conner – “Yes?”

Kakyak – “Here it is. (Reads) ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it – ‘”

Conner – “I remember the passage perfectly. You are reading from the second paragraph of the declaration of independence. What of it?”

Kakyak – “Well, do the people of your country still indorse the sentiments contained in that declaration?”

Conner – “I don’t suppose we are legally bound by anything contained in the declaration of independence. In a general way, however, we still agree with what it says there.”

Kakyak – “Do you still maintain that ‘governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed’?”

Conner – “Nothing in that declaration of independence applies to the Malay division of the human race. That declaration was prepared by white men.”

Kakyak – “Then it should read: ‘All men (except Malay) are created equal’ or perhaps ‘all white men are created equal’?”

Conner – “For a great many years that passage was supposed to mean ‘all white men,’ just as you suggest. Stephen A. Douglas, an eminent statesman, maintained that the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the privileges of self-government belonged to the white race alone. Abraham Lincoln claimed that the word ‘men’ had a more general application and included negroes as well. We had a very bitter and destructive civil war in America, and after it was all over we reached the conclusion that the negro has the same unalienable rights as the white man. But we would never admit that the Tagalo has these rights, if that’s what you’re driving at.”

Kakyak – “I am simply seeking information – trying to find the exact status of my countrymen. You see the Filipino insur – rebels, I mean – have set up the claim that they have the same rights as the Americans claimed in 1776. They have organized a provisional government, just as the colonies did. They are fighting for – well, what they conceive to be their rights. In what respect are they different from the thirteen colonies that rebelled against Great Britain?”

Conner – “The situation is entirely different. Our forefathers in America threw off the British yoke because they had been made the victims of a long train of abuses which you will find set forth in the declaration of independence in front of you – two whole pages. The Tagalos, on the other hand, are resisting a government which is wise, humane and just, with charity for all.”

Kakyak – “How do we know this?”

Conner – “Because we tell you so.”

Kakyak – “You say the thirteen colonies resisted British authority because they had been persecuted and unjustly taxed. Suppose that after they had issued this declaration of independence and founded a provisional government of their own, Great Britain had relented and promised to correct all the abuses of which there had been complaint. Do you think the colonists would have been willing to go back and accept British rule?”

Conner – “Perhaps not, but -“

Kakyak – “Another question. I read in here that France helped the colonies in their war against Great Britain, just as the Americans last year helped us in our revolt against the Spanish, here in this island. Now, suppose that before the British had been driven from the colonies, Great Britain and France had made a treaty in which Great Britain, in consideration of a large sum of money, had transferred the colonies to France. Do you think the colonists would have accepted French rule simply because the French had been their friends during the war?”

Conner – “Your questions are preposterous, Mr. Kakyak. It is evident that you are trying to demonstrate that the present rebellion in this island bears some resemblance to the revolutionary uprising in America in 1776. You seem to forget that the colonial fathers were an intelligent, high-minded body of patriots while the Tagalos are simple islanders who have a vague longing to govern themselves and mistake this longing for genuine patriotism.”

Kakyak – “Whether it is patriotism or not, a great many of them have been willing to die for it. Your colonial fathers could not do more than that.”

Conner – “Look here, Mr. Kakyak, do you realize that your conversation to-day borders very closely on treason?”

Kakyak – “Perhaps so. I have become rather inflamed from reading the declaration of independence.”

Conner – “I can see that you still cling to the idea that the Tagalos ought to have a government of their own.”

Kakyak – “I think they ought to be given a chance to govern themselves.”

Conner – “But the Tagalos are only one tribe.”

Kakyak – “We number one and a half millions. There were only three million colonists.”

Conner – “But they were a different kind of people.”

Kakyak – “They held slaves. We are too civilized to do that.”

Conner – “Don’t you see that it would be impossible, under prevailing conditions, to give you Tagalos a separate and independent government? You are only one of many tribes. Why, there are tribes right on this island who are ready and willing to accept American rule.”

Kakyak – “Those are the bow men who live in the remote jungles. They do not have schools and churches and printing presses as we do, and so they have not been educated to a desire for liberty. I read in this history that when the colonists rebelled against the British the Indians who lived on the British possessions that surrounded the colonies did not join in the rebellion or the revolution, but continued to be friendly with the British. If I am not mistaken, they helped the British on more than one occasion, and massacred whole villages of the rebels – I mean the colonists. So, you see, the colonists did not have the sympathy of the savage tribes any more than we have. I’ll admit that the Tagalos do not hold all the territory in Luzon, but they occupy all that part of the island which is civilized and under cultivation. As far as that’s concerned, the thirteen colonies were only a little patch of North America. They occupied less than one-forth of the British holdings in North America, yet they presumed to found a government of their own without the consent or co-operation of the inhabitants of the Indian country and the province acquired from the French.”

Conner – “I don’t know what you hope to accomplish by all these parallels. Suppose you do satisfy yourself that your countrymen are real liberty-loving patriots, the same as our forefathers in America were. What are you going to do about it?”

Kakyak – “I don’t know, I’m sure.”

Conner – “Did you expect us to come over here and destroy the Spanish fleet and afterwards pay out $20,000,000 for the mere satisfaction of permitting you people to govern yourselves?”

Kakyak – “That’s what we thought.”

Conner – “Then you have very elementary notions of business.”

Kakyak – “Let me begin at the beginning and tell how and why we have been deceived.”

Conner – “Mistaken, you mean.”

Kakyak – “Perhaps that would be a better word. When your fleet under Admiral Dewey came to Manila we were under the impression that the Americans had come to help us drive out the Spanish and set up a government of our own. That’s what my people have been fighting for and praying for ever since I can remember. Some of my neighbors said: ‘If the Americans come in here and defeat the Spanish they will take the island for themselves instead of letting us have a republic of our own.’ Then Aguinaldo and other leaders who had talked with the Americans assured us that the war against Spain was a war of humanity, that the Americans had gone into it because they believed in the rights of men and could no longer endure the spectacle of Spanish cruelties in Cuba. We were told that the Americans were willing to spend any amount of money to enforce justice and confer the blessings of liberty on a struggling people. We know that your countrymen were pledged to drive the Spanish out of Cuba and help the Cubans to establish a stable government of their own. We thought you would treat us the same as you treated the Cubans.”

Conner – “We didn’t promise you a stable government of your own. We have never conceded that you had a right to govern yourselves. Evidently you have jumped at conclusions.”

Kakyak – “But we hear such favorable reports of you that we believed you would give us a chance at self-government, even though you had made no specific promises. We thought that your conscience might help you to a conclusion.”

Conner – “Do you realize that we have paid $20,000,000 for these islands? Do you expect a business nation to go to work and throw away any such sum of money? You may rest assured that we will keep these islands. especially since President Schuman has reported so favorably on the good qualities of the Tagalos. I notice that he says in an interview that in two generations you Tagalos will be as far advanced, in all respects, as the Japanese.”

Kakyak – “When we are as far advanced as the Japanese do you still think we will consent to be governed by a foreign power?”

Conner – “I don’t like the terms you use. You talk of ‘government’ and ‘foreign power’ as if the United States intended to oppress you, instead of making you highly civilized through the workings of benevolent assimilation.”

Kakyak – “Well, I wish I knew just what going to become of us. After this war is over, Mr. Conner, after all the fighting rebels have been killed and peace has been restored, don’t you think your countrymen will relent somewhat and decide to give us a chance to govern ourselves?”

Conner – “I shouldn’t like to hold out false hopes, Mr. Kakyak. I think I can best answer your question by reading a newspaper clipping which I just received from the United States. It is an extract from a speech delivered by President McKinley at the Ocean Grove camp meeting. Here it is:”

(Reads)

“‘The flag does not mean one thing in the United States and another in Puerto Rico and the Philippines. There has been some doubt expressed in some quarters as to the purpose of the government in respect to the Philippines. I can see no harm in stating this in this presence. Peace first, then, with charity for all, an established government of law and order, protecting life, property and occupation, for the well being of the people in which they will participate under the stars and stripes.'”

Kakyak – “What does it mean?”

Conner – “Well, a true statesman is always indefinite, but as nearly as I can figure it out means, ‘You don’t get it.’ Note the word ‘occupation.’ That means that we are going to remain.”

Kakyak – “How about the word ‘participation’?”

Conner – “Participation is a beautifully copious word. That’s why McKinley used it. But it satisfied the people at the camp meeting, so you ought not to kick.”

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Fitter, Faster And More Flexible Against “Revanchist Russia”: Rasmussen Tells West Point Cadets To Serve Under NATO Flag Worldwide

September 24, 2014 2 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 24, 2014

NATO: A long blue line for security
Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the United States Military Academy West Point, New York

[Edited by RR]

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General Thomson, thank you for that kind introduction. And thank you, cadets for that warm welcome.

This is a visit I have wanted to make for a long time. During my five years as NATO Secretary General, I have had the privilege of working with many of this institution’s outstanding graduates.

Truly exceptional leaders and commanders such as the current commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, General John Campbell. As well as two of his predecessors.

Indeed, the history of West Point and of NATO are intimately linked. The very first NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Eisenhower, was a West Point graduate. And so were twelve of the sixteen SACEURs who followed him.

Two of my senior staff, Matt Klimow and EJ Herold, graduated from this academy. And so did your country’s current ambassador to NATO, Douglas Lute. He was a member of the class of 1975…

NATO Secretary General visits New York

Cadets,

When you graduate, you will leave here to serve your flag. And many of you will likely also serve under the flag of NATO. As American service men and women have done in Afghanistan, Kosovo, off the coast of Somalia, over Libya and in the Mediterranean Sea. And from the Baltic Sea to Turkeys south-eastern border.

NATO is a unique organization. It is an Alliance of 28 nations…

Our Alliance was founded 65 years ago, on the ruins of World War Two and in the shadow of the Cold War. It binds together North America and Europe to ensure our collective security…Article 5 of our founding Treaty states that we consider an attack against one to be an attack against us all. This remains our solemn pledge. All for one, and one for all.

Article 5 has only been invoked once. Not to protect Europe, as we expected during the Cold War. But in support of the United States, immediately after the 9/11 attacks.

So NATO remains vigilant. But we are also carrying out ongoing operations and preparing for the challenges we will face in the future.

Just a couple of weeks ago, President Obama, joined me and the other Allied leaders in Wales, in the United Kingdom, for a crucial NATO Summit.

We laid out the way ahead for our Alliance. A NATO that will be fitter, faster, and more flexible. I wont go through all the decisions that were made at the Summit. For those of you with interest, and some time, you can read the Summit Declaration on the NATO website. All 113 paragraphs of it. If any of you are suffering from insomnia, it will certainly cure it.

Instead, let me set out the threats we face. NATO’s responses. And the missions and operations that could be part of your future.

Today’s security challenges are more interconnected and more complex than ever before.

In Iraq and Syria, we see the rise of the so-called Islamic State…

With such groups, there is no negotiation. Only violence and destruction. So we can’t just talk. We need to act. And I welcome yesterday’s strikes, led by the United States and several regional partners….

Turning now to Europe, a revanchist Russia has rejected all the rules and commitments that have helped to keep peace since the end of the Cold War. From the Republic of Moldova to Georgia, and now in Ukraine, Russia has used economic pressure, military force and the most cynical propaganda. Hot conflicts and frozen conflicts. To forcibly rebuild its influence in the former Soviet space. And to deny countries in its neighbourhhod the right to choose their own path.

So the security landscape has dramatically changed. And we have to adapt. At our NATO Summit in Wales a few weeks ago we did exactly that. We approved a Readiness Action Plan that will increase our ability to respond swiftly and effectively to threats to our territory. Our priority is to provide for the collective defence of all our Allies. This means having the right forces in the right place with the right equipment.

We also agreed to create a special spearhead force. Ready and deployable at short notice. In the years ahead, some of you may exercise and train with other NATO soldiers as part of this force.

At the Summit, we also launched a Defence Capacity Building Initiative. Which is aimed at helping nations with security challenges…

As an initial step, we extended this Initiative to Georgia, Jordan and Moldova. And we are also considering how to provide this type of support to support Iraq, if the new government requests our help.

Here again, I would expect some of you might participate in these teams. To pass on your advice, your experience, and the wealth of knowledge that you acquire during your time in this academy and during your Army service.

For over 60 years, American soldiers, including many West Point graduates, continued to put their lives on the line. To preserve not just American security, but the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic region.

In recent years, many brave Americans have served in Afghanistan…We have done that together. In a coalition of over 50 nations. Led by NATO.

Today, members of the Long Gray Line can be found from Japan and the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea all the way to the Baltic states in northern Europe.

The Long Gray Line has stood firm. And you have not stood alone. NATOs flag is blue. So we must ensure that a long blue line of security continues to protect all our Allies and their freedom.

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Ukrainian Junta To Buy Foreign Drones, Helicopters For Nearly Six-Month War

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
September 24, 2014

Defense Ministry to buy Polish drones and Ukrainian helicopters for ATO forces – Turchynov

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry will purchase Polish drones and Ukrainian helicopters for the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) forces, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Turchynov has said.

“When visiting the exhibition [11th Arms and Security exhibition] we have already agreed on the immediate purchase of several of these helicopters for the National Guard. The Defense Ministry is also buying these helicopters along with armaments,” he told reporters when attending the exhibition in Kyiv on Wednesday.

In addition, according to Turchynov, the Ukrainian army and the police showed an interest in unmanned aerial vehicles.

“It’s very important to us, and our Polish colleagues want to supply these products to Ukraine,” he said.

He said that Polish drones have very serious specifications, in particular, they can lift up to 15 kilograms of cargo, including arms.

Turchynov noted that one of the problems in the area of the anti-terrorist operation for the Ukrainian military was to find targets, locate and neutralize them.

“There are several systems here that will leave for the ATO zone straight from the exhibition and will help fully realize the drones that are used by the Russian Armed Forces for precision-guided fire on our positions,” he said, adding that these products will be tested in the ATO zone.

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Interfax-Ukraine
September 24, 2014

Arms and equipment for National Guard and Armed Forces to be purchased this year – interior minister

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said that arms and equipment for the National Guard and the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the area of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) will be purchased this year.

“Purchases will be made this year. They continue. The prime minister held a respective meeting… By the end of the year, as part of defense contracts, we will purchase a sufficient amount of BTR-4Es, BTR-3Es and Grads and domestically produced equipment for the National Guard and the Armed Forces alone,” he told journalists in Kyiv on Wednesday when attending an international specialized exhibition “Arms and Security 2014.”

“I think that following today’s exhibition and following conversations with our suppliers (we are working as part of the defense order, direct contracts and through government funding from the reserve fund)… we will modify the current contracts according to the latest achievements that they managed to demonstrate today,” Avakov said.

He also said that the work of defense enterprises in Ukraine today “is a big backlog for 2015, taking into account the challenges given to us by the war.”

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Contra Russia: NATO Naval Commander In Bulgaria, Romania

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

September 24, 2014

COMMANDER OF ALLIED MARITIME COMMAND VISITS BULGARIA AND ROMANIA

BUCHAREST, Romania: The Commander of NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), Vice Admiral Peter Hudson, CBE, has wrapped up three days of staff talks in Bulgaria and Romania. The official visits were held in conjunction with the conclusion of Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU.02) port visit to Varna, Bulgaria, as part of ongoing NATO efforts to assure Allies on the eastern borders of the Alliance.

During the visit to Varna, Vice Admiral Hudson met with the Bulgarian Minister of Defence, Dr. Velizar Shalamanov, the Bulgarian Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Dimitar Denev, and the Bulgarian General Staff, followed by a visit to SNMG2 TU.02 ships HMCS TORONTO and ESPS ALMIRANTE JUAN DE BORBON.

In Bucharest, Vice Admiral Hudson met with the Romanian Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Stefan Danila, the State Secretary for Defence Policy and Planning, Mr. Valeriu Nicut, the Romanian Navy Chief of Training and Doctrine, Rear Admiral Constantin Ciorobea, and the Romanian Naval Staff.

Topics of discussion in both countries included maritime security in the Black Sea, increased NATO presence in the Black Sea, exercise participation (both national and NATO-led), participation in NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR and counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and force contributions to NATO’s Standing Naval Forces.

“Close coordination between MARCOM and individual Allied navies is critical to our ability to operate together, and Bulgarian and Romanian naval contributions to Allied Standing Naval Forces are of utmost importance,” said Vice Admiral Hudson. “Our Allies on the Black Sea are on the front line of an increasingly complicated maritime area following Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine. NATO presence at sea is essential to assuring our Allies that NATO’s solidarity and commitment to collective defence are absolutes.”

Story by HQ MARCOM Public Affairs Office

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163-Day War In Ukraine To Be Priority For New NATO Chief

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Ukrinform
September 24, 2014

Situation in Ukraine to be a priority for new NATO secretary general

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KYIV: The situation in Ukraine triggered by Russian aggression will be a priority for Jens Stoltenberg, who takes up the post of the NATO secretary general on October 1.

He said this in an interview with the Norwegian Telegraph Bureau (NTB).

“The seriousness of the current situation in Ukraine is indicated by the fact that military force is used to change the borders of states. Ukraine is a NATO partner and, in addition, it borders the member states of the alliance,” ITAR-TASS quoted Stoltenberg as saying.

He also noted that a return to the old format of relations between Russia and NATO was not being considered.

“The return to the former [format] is not being considered as an option. Russia has decided to stand for a more aggressive line. Therefore, we cannot, as we previously hoped, continue strengthening the partnership with Russia…The case of Norway, as a country that is a NATO member and modernize its armed forces, shows that force and firmness are the necessary conditions for dialogue with Russia,” Stoltenberg said.

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

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

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

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

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Vittorio Alfieri
From Memoirs
Anonymous translation of 1810

VITTORIOALFIERI

I visited Zorndorff, a spot rendered famous by the sanguinary battle fought between the Russians and the Prussians, where thousands of men on both sides were immolated on the altar of despotism and thus escaped the galling yoke which oppressed them. The place of their interment was easily recognised by its greater verdure and by yielding more abundant corn than the barren and unproductive soil in its immediate vicinity. On this occasion I reflected with sorrow that slaves seemed everywhere only born to fertilize the soil on which they vegetate.

***

The trade of arms and the life of a soldier were never conformable to me character; but I relished them still less in a country where liberty and freedom are altogether unknown.

***

I would rather, I affirm, be unknown to my contemporaries than write in the deaf-mute French and English languages though their cannons and their armies have rendered these languages fashionable. I would rather write good Italian verses, even with the certainty of seeing them despised and neglected for the moment, than write in either English, French, or any other tyrant jargon, though assured that my productions would be immediately read, admired, and applauded. There is a great difference to our own ears in sounding a fine tuned harp even when no one is present to listen, and blowing a detestable bagpipe, however much an ignorant audience might applaud the performance.

***

Very few of our friends dared to visit us and that extremely seldom, lest it might awaken the suspicions of our legalistic military despotism, which of all monsters is the truly most ridiculous, cruel, and insupportable. It is a tiger led by a hare.

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Baltic: “Besieged” NATO Readies New Strike Force

September 23, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

September 22, 2014

NATO Leaders meet in Vilnius for the Military Committee Conference

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At their recent Summit in Wales, NATO Allies agreed on a Readiness Action Plan that will strengthen NATO’s collective defence and re-ensure that the Alliance is ready to respond to any future security challenge.

At the Military Committee Conference 2014 which took place in Vilnius, Lithuania the military authorities have now taken the next step in guiding and directing the implementation of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), meant to be able to deploy at short notice.

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros contributed to the discussions in the two main sessions:

During the “Geostrategic Update – Situational Understanding and Strategic Consequences” session, SACT presented some of the trends that will likely form the future security environment. General Paloméros presented three conclusions which might serve as the basis for how NATO approaches capability development in the future: Firstly, in light of present experiences, SACT thinks that our adversaries will not accept internationally established borders, treaties, rules of law or norms of behaviour; they will increase their use of asymmetric or irregular forms of warfare in order to counter our military superiority, and could seek to strike the Alliance within its own borders, in such a way to limit the possibility to adequately use of forces, and even the legitimacy to employ them.

Secondly, SACT is persuaded that NATO’s opponents will keep on increasing their capabilities and more and more aim to hinder NATO actions. SACT is of the opinion that “…the Alliance’s adversaries will seek to increase the lethality and diversity of threats in their operations in order to increase NATO’s dependency on force protection – and affect NATO nations’ perceptions of risk and therefore the public opinion and political will to intervene”. Thirdly, General Paloméros thinks that NATO’s ability to plan and prepare for possible contingencies will be more and more challenged. The project “Framework for Future Alliance Operations” (FFAO) will likely capitalise on those observations to propose orientations for the future, where a premium is placed on being agile enough to adapt, fostering innovation in operational planning – and on maintaining a clear margin of error in both sizing and structuring of the force.

During MC Conference Post-Wales-Deliverable (Session 3), SACT stressed that “our goals are always to keep taking forward the framework of transformation with continuity and consistency, with the necessity of carry on investing in capabilities (highlighted in the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) Capacities Review, in exercises and in the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI), to support and anticipate requirements of NATO’s current and future operations, by increasing the level of effective operational readiness of NATO forces. The session provided an opportunity for SACT to stress his key points on the role of CFI, and especially the exercise “Trident Juncture” in 2015: “…our Alliance interoperability, as well as its credibility and solidarity will be emphasised during this major exercise”, he said. SACT concluded on the enhancement of the Alliance’s responsiveness through the implementation of the VJTF and of the Readiness Action Plan (RAP), which will bring together the training and capability development efforts of the Alliance.

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Estonia: NATO Launches “Spearhead Force” On Russia’s Northwest Border

September 23, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

September 23, 2014

DSACEUR discusses ‘Spearhead’ Force during Official Visit to Estonia

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Tallinn, ESTONIA: Continued assurance measures and NATO’s Readiness Action Plan were a focus of discussions between Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Sir Adrian Bradshaw and senior Estonian political and military officials during meetings in Tallinn, Estonia on 22 and 23 September. The Readiness Action Plan was recently agreed to by Allies at the NATO Summit in Wales, and follow-on work and consultations are continuing across Europe.

During his official visit, General Bradshaw met with the Estonian Minister of Defence, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Defence Committee, and the Military Chief of Defence. One of the main topics of discussion was the generation of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), or ‘Spearhead Force’. NATO is refining its response forces in order to enhance its capabilities to respond to the ambiguous warfare tactics such as those employed by Russia in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The Spearhead Force will be provided by allies in rotation, and will include several thousand troops, ready to respond where needed with air, sea and special forces support.

“The ability of a Spearhead force to move quickly demands that NATO pre-position command and control and logistics experts at a number of sites on the territories of our Eastern European Allies,” said General Bradshaw. “These measures, along with possible upgrades to national infrastructure such as airfields and ports, will enhance our ability to respond to any threat in very short order,” he added.

On 18 September, Alexander Vershbow, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, said that he expected the Spearhead Force to reach an initial operating capability by the Fall of 2015 and that military planners were now “working seven days a week” to finalize details of the force.

During the visit DSACEUR laid a wreath at the Estonian National Military Memorial and met a number of key officials and military officers.

“Estonia has played a central role in NATO’s assurance measures in response to the Ukraine crisis,” said General Bradshaw. The contribution of ships to our standing maritime forces, the hosting of exercises like STEADFAST JAVELIN I, and the use of Amari Air Base for enhanced air policing have all been essential in underscoring NATO’s rock solid resolve regarding our collective defence,” he added.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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Association Agreement With EU: Ukraine To Change Military Doctrine

September 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Ukrinform
September 23, 2014

Ukraine changing military doctrine

KYIV: The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine will draw up by December 2015 a new wording of Ukraine’s military doctrine and the program for the development of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

This is stated in a plan on the implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, which the Cabinet of Ministers approved on September 17, 2014.

According to the plan on the implementation of the Association Agreement, the government instructed the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the Justice Ministry and central executive government agencies, as well as the Ukroboronprom State Concern, to draft a new wording of Ukraine’s military doctrine, the program for the development of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other defense planning documents.

The European External Action Service will help implement Ukraine’s strategy taking into account a European priority in Ukraine’s foreign policy.

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Hamlin Garland: Cog in a vast machine for killing men

September 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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Hamlin Garland
From The Return of a Private (1891)

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The nearer the train drew toward La Crosse, the soberer the little group of “vets” became. On the long way from New Orleans they had beguiled tedium with jokes and friendly chaff; or with planning with elaborate detail what they were going to do now, after the war. A long journey, slowly, irregularly, yet persistently pushing northward. When they entered on Wisconsin Territory they gave a cheer, and another when they reached Madison, but after that they sank into a dumb expectancy. Comrades dropped off at one or two points beyond, until there were only four or five left who were bound for La Crosse County.

Three of them were gaunt and brown, the fourth was gaunt and pale, with signs of fever and ague upon him. One had a great scar down his temple; one limped; and they all had unnaturally large bright eyes, showing emaciation. There were no bands greeting them at the stations, no banks of gaily dressed ladies waving hand-kerchiefs and shouting “Bravo!” as they came in on the caboose of a freight tram into the towns that had cheered and blared at them on their way to war…

The station was deserted, chill, and dark, as they came into it at exactly a quarter to two in the morning. Lit by the oil lamps that flared a dull red light over the dingy benches, the waiting room was not an inviting place. The younger man went off to look up a hotel, while the rest remained and prepared to camp down on the floor and benches. Smith was attended to tenderly by the other men, who spread their blankets on the bench for him, and by robbing themselves made quite a comfortable bed, though the narrowness of the bench made his sleeping precarious. It was chill, though August, and the two men sitting with bowed heads grew stiff with cold and weariness, and were forced to rise now and again, and walk about to warm their stiffened limbs It didn’t occur to them, probably, to contrast their coming home with their going forth, or with the coming home of the generals, colonels, or even captains – but to Private Smith, at any rate, there came a sickness at heart almost deadly, as he lay there on his hard bed and went over his situation.

***

He thought of his chum, Billy Tripp. Poor Billy! A “mime” ball fell into his breast one day, fell wailing like a cat, and tore a great ragged hole in his heart. He looked forward to a sad scene with Billy’s mother and sweet-heart. They would want to know all about it. He tried to recall all that Billy had said, and the particulars of it, but there was little to remember, just that wild wailing sound high in the air, a dull slap, a short, quick, expulsive groan, and the boy lay with his face in the dirt in the plowed field they were marching across. That was all. But all the scenes he had since been through had not dimmed the horror, the terror of that moment, when his boy comrade fell, with only a breath between a laugh and a death groan. Poor handsome Billy!…

A few years ago they had bought this farm, paying part, mortgaging the rest in the usual way. Edward Smith was a man of terrible energy. He worked “nights and Sundays,” as the saying goes, to clear the farm of its brush and of its insatiate mortgage. In the midst of his Herculean struggle came the call for volunteers, and with the grim and unselfish devotion to his country which made the Eagle Brigade able to “whip its weight in wildcats,” he threw down his scythe and his grub ax, turned his cattle loose, and became a blue-coated cog in a vast machine for killing men, and not thistles. While the millionaire sent his money to England for safekeeping, this man, with his girl-wife and three babies, left them on a mortgaged farm and went away to fight for an idea…

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U.S. Military Chief On NATO Meeting: Wars In Europe, Middle East And Asia

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
September 21, 2014

Dempsey Recaps NATO Meetings in Lithuania

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WASHINGTON: Russia’s continuing aggression in Ukraine, vulnerabilities posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other threats along NATO’s southern borders, and the alliance’s continuing commitments in Afghanistan were the chief topics in meetings with NATO’s chiefs of defense in Vilnius, Lithuania, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

In a statement summarizing the meetings, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey added that today’s agreement between Afghanistan’s presidential candidates to form a new national unity government “puts us in a much better place than we were a week ago.”

“Now we need a signed security agreement and a NATO [status of forces agreement], both of which should be accomplished fairly quickly,” Dempsey said. The agreements are necessary for U.S. and NATO forces to have a role in Afghanistan beyond the current mission, which ends Dec. 31, and both candidates said during the election process that they would sign the agreements.

The chiefs of defense also elected Gen. Petr Pavel, the chief of staff of the Czech Republic’s armed forces, to be the next chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the chairman said. “His appointment is significant, because he will be the first Eastern European military leader to take the job,” he added.

Pavel will take the post in July, succeeding Danish Gen. Knud Bartels, whom Dempsey called “a trusted friend.”

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Black Sea: NATO Warships Dock In Bulgarian Port

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command

September 22, 2014

NATO SHIPS VISIT VARNA, BULGARIA

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Varna, Bulgaria: Last weekend from 19 till 22 September 2014, the two ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) Task Unit TWO (TU.02) stayed in Varna for a scheduled port visit during their deployment to the Black Sea.

Led by Commander Jason Armstrong (Royal Canadian Navy), SNMG2 TU.02 is currently composed of HMCS TORONTO (Royal Canadian Navy) and SPS AMIRALTE JUAN de BORBON (Spanish Navy).

SNMG2 is visiting the port as part of the Group’s deployment to the Black Sea to enhance maritime security and NATO’s readiness in the region.

“This visit has been planned for quite some time, and in light of current events it; has become all the more significant,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, Commander SNMG2 TU.02. “We are delighted to come and train together, eager to enhance our mutual understanding, and eager to bring a strong message to Bulgarian people and to all Allied Nations regarding NATO’s resolve and commitment to collective defence.

”In conjunction with the port visit, Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Hudson will visit with the Bulgarian Minister of Defence, Dr. Velizar Shalamanov, and Bulgarian Navy leaders to discuss maritime security and other issues of shared interest.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the Bulgarian Navy for their support in making this visit possible.” said Vice Admiral Hudson. “While this deployment to the Black Sea is reflective of our naval forces’ regular activities, it is also part of a broader set of military measures agreed upon by NATO’s highest political body, the North Atlantic Council, to reinforce our collective defence and demonstrate the strength of Allied solidarity.”

During the remainder of its deployment in the Black Sea, SNMG2 TU.02 will engage with ships and aircraft of the Bulgarian Navy and air and naval units from Turkey.

Story by: MARCOM Public Affairs Office.

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Leaders From 36 NATO, Partner States: From Deployed To War Ready

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

September 22, 2014

NATO ‘FROM DEPLOYED TO READY’, THE 11TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL SENIOR ENLISTED SEMINAR

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Senior enlisted leaders (SELs) from 36 NATO and partner nations attended the 2014 International Senior Enlisted Seminar (ISES) at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies at Sheridan Barracks, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany 14-19 Sept.

The weeklong seminar focused on the theme “NATO From Deployed to Ready”.

“During the seminar, the senior enlisted leaders received a comprehensive update on the challenges facing NATO, from the Ukraine/Russia crisis to ongoing operations in Afghanistan—including a VTC direct to ISAF HQs to engage with SgtMaj Jim Booker, the ISAF CSEL,” said Command Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, Allied Command Operations Chief Senior Enlisted Advisor. “In addition, we had a comprehensive update on international NCO education institutions, programs and courses from Chief Warrant Officer Mike McDonald, CSEL of the NATO School.”

The SEL’s partnered with the Senior Executive Seminar (SES) to cover topics relating to developing and adapting strategies to combat international terroristic threats.

“During the co-SES session, we dove deep into topics such as strategic transnational terrorism, a global challenge confronting every NATO nation,” said the Chief. “The SELs, along with the senior executive seminar participants, heard from leading authorities who offered an assessment of the current state of the globally connected network of transnational terrorism.

“We also learned more about efforts to counter these threats in Eurasia as described by experts from Russia, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.”

2014 marked the 11th year for this highly successful seminar that brought together senior enlisted leaders from around the globe.

Story by: SHAPE Public Affairs Office.

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Langston Hughes: A mighty army serving human kind, not an army geared to kill

September 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

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Langston Hughes

langston

Peace

We passed their graves:
The dead men there,
Winners or losers,
Did not care.
In the dark
They could not see
Who had gained
The victory.

Give Us Our Peace (1945)

Give us a peace equal to the war
Or else our souls will be unsatisfied,
And we will wonder what we have fought for
And why the many died.

Give us a peace of accepting every challenge –
The challenge of the poor, the black, of all denied,
The challenge of the vast colonial world
That long has had so little justice by its side.

Give us a peace that dares us to be wise.
Give us a peace that dares us to be strong.
Give us a peace that dares us still uphold
Throughout the peace our battle against wrong.

Give us a peace that is not cheaply used,
A peace that is no clever scheme,
A people’s peace for which men can enthuse,
A peace that brings reality to our dream.

Give us a peace that will produce great schools –
As the war produced great armament,
A peace that will wipe out our slums –
As war wiped out our foes on evil bent.

Give us a peace that will enlist
A mighty army serving human kind,
Not just an army geared to kill,
But trained to help the living mind.

An army trained to shape our common good
And bring about a world of brotherhood

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New NATO Strike Force To Be Deployed At Short Notice

September 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 20, 2014

NATO to develop readiness force to be deployed at short notice

VILNIUS: Chairman of NATO Military Committee said here on Saturday that NATO will develop a readiness force which can be deployed at a very short notice.

Knud Bartels stressed at a press conference after the Military Committee’s conference held in Vilnius that NATO will have the right forces, right equipment, at the right place and time.

“This force will be sustainable, credible, agile, visible and balanced,” he said.

The conference held in Vilnius will supply directions and guidance to the development of this force, according to him.

NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend all its 28 allies against threats, which is the reason for NATO to reach the decision to build a Readiness Action Plan during the NATO summit in Wales, Bartels noted.

“It was a clear commitment that demonstrates the alliance’s solidarity and resolve,” he added.

Readiness Action Plan aims to strengthen the bloc’s collective defense and to ensure the alliance is ready to deal with any challenge.

According to Bartels, the conference, at a level of chiefs of defense, discussed “critical developments” on four areas: Russia-Ukraine, Africa’s Sahel, Middle East and North Africa, and Asia-Pacific.

He also mentioned at the press conference the Resolute Support mission through which NATO will provide training and assistance to Afghanistan national forces.

The Military Committee meets twice a year at NATO Headquarters in Brussels at the level of chiefs of defense to discuss NATO operations and missions and provide the North Atlantic Council with consensus-based military advice on how the bloc can best meet global security challenges, and once a year they meet in a member country.

This is the second time that the committee’s meeting has been held in Vilnius, with a previous meeting ten years ago.

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Wars Over “Frozen Conflicts”: U.S. Senate Declares Three-Quarters Of GUAM Strategic Military Allies

September 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Rustavi 2
September 19, 2014

Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova granted major non-NATO ally status

The United States Senate has granted Georgia the status of major non-NATO ally. The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has approved the new legislation bill, which recognizes these three countries as the major non-NATO allies.

The support act will enable the U.S, administration to impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, and for other purposes.

The committee members were discussing the draft bill for three hours and it was finally approved by the majority.

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The Messenger
September 19, 2014

U.S Senate to discuss granting Georgia non-NATO status
By Ana Robakidze

U.S. senator Robert Mendez U.S. senator Bob Corker U.S. senators Robert Mendez and Bob Corker drafted and presented to the Senate a bill on supporting the Independence of Ukraine. The draft offers granting Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova the status of U.S major non-NATO allies. The senators also offered to donate 10 million USD to these countries so they could stand against Russian propaganda. According to the draft, funds should be transferred to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova within the next three fiscal years.

The Georgian government confirms it has an interest in expanding the country’s military and self-defense capabilities. State Minister of Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alexi Petriashvili says there is nothing wrong with seeking stronger military partners.

The resolution imposes broad sanctions on Russia’s defense, energy, and financial sectors, as well as increases military and non-military assistance for Ukraine.

The legislation was planned to be taken up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 18th, after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s address at a joint meeting of Congress.

Menendez and Corker sent their request to Speaker John Boehner, asking to invite Poroshenko to speak before Congress.

“President Putin has upended the international order and a slap on the wrist will not deter future Russian provocations…“In the face of Russian aggression, Ukraine needs our steadfast and determined support, not an ambiguous response. We are left with no choice but to apply tough sanctions against Russia, coupled with military assistance to Ukraine,” Mendez wrote in his request.

According to Corker the draft has to be approved, as the bill would both demonstrate U.S solidarity with the Ukrainian people and its commitment that Russia will pay an increasingly heavy price for its invasion of Ukraine.

If the bill is approved it will require the U.S president to apply sanctions against:

• Rosoboron export and other Russian defense firms that contribute to instability in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Syria;

• Companies worldwide that make significant investments in particular unconventional Russian crude oil energy projects;

• Gazprom, if the President determines that Gazprom is withholding significant natural gas supplies from member countries of NATO or further withholds such supplies from countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, or Moldova.

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Humphrey Cobb: Generals are reassured by the smell of the dead

September 21, 2014 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Humphrey Cobb: Hallucination of fantastic butchery; too much for one man to bear

Humphrey Cobb: War never settled anything except who was the strongest

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Humphrey Cobb
From Paths of Glory (1935)

A fire began to burn, over in the German lines. The fire grew brighter and revealed its shape: the sun. Slowly it raised itself out of the earth, red and hostile-looking, but welcomed to the men who watched it. It swelled to enormous size, then paused in delicate contact with the rim of the world like a dancer waiting for the first notes of the ballet. For a moment the two edges were tangent and seemed to cling. Then the sun stepped off the edge of the earth and was instantly floating in its own space.

The bombardment began to die down slowly and the holocaust was gradually extinguishing itself. The earth seemed to relax from its fearful punishment of steel. Men, too, relaxed a little and began to talk in monosyllables, elliptically. Later, it seemed very quiet after the paroxysmal gunfire…

The sun, to whose coming all this inferno had been but a prelude, moved higher in the cloudless sky, unmindful, so it seemed, of the havoc caused in honor of the event. Day was full now, and Langlois saw that it was really spring. He saw the delicate blades of grass which the bodies of his comrades had fertilized; he saw the little shoots of the shell-shocked trees. He saw the smoke-puffs of shrapnel being blown about by the light breezes. He saw birds making love in the wire that a short while before had been ringing with flying metal. He heard the pleasant sound of larks up there, near the zenith of the trajectories. He smiled a little. There was something profoundly saddening about it. It all seemed so fragile and so absurd.

***

The morning was cloudless and fresh with spring. The dawn bombardment had died down and there was nothing to show for it but some new shell-holes, in some places linking, in others superimposed upon the old ones. The general walked along the road enjoying the cool and fragrant morning. Now and then a whiff of a less fragrant smell would filter through the bristles of his nostrils, and he enjoyed that too, in a way. Casualties were a part of war. Where there were no casualties, there was no fighting. It would be unthinkable not to have fighting under a fighting commander. The smell of the dead reassured him on this point.

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Lithuania: NATO Military Chiefs Divide (Non-Western Hemisphere) World Into Four Military Zones Of Operation

September 20, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 20, 2014

NATO Chiefs of Defence give direction and guidance to implement Wales Summit decisions

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“NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our Allies against any strategic and unconventional threat,” General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee said at the Military Committee Conference 2014 in Vilnius, Lithuania. “The Alliance must have the right forces, the right equipment in the right place, at the right time”. NATO’s response to the new threats will require a thorough analysis in order to ensure a sustainable, visible, agile and therefore credible force.

At the Wales Summit, NATO Allies agreed a Readiness Action Plan that will strengthen NATO’s collective defence and ensure the Alliance is ready to respond to any future security challenge. The Military Authorities have now taken the next step in guiding and directing the implementation of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), able to deploy at short notice. “NATO’s Chiefs of Defence are the best at transforming decisions into plans and plans into actions,” the President of Lithuania, H.E. Mrs. Daria Grybauskaitė said at the Conference.

Among the key topics discussed were the security challenges in four regions – Russia/Ukraine, Africa/Sahel, Middle East/North Africa and Asia/Pacific. These areas are particularly important for Allies given the increasing instability on NATO’s borders and further abroad, which has the potential to impact the security of the Alliance both directly and asymmetrically. The Chiefs of Defence highlighted the enduring and significant nature of these current state and non-state threats and agreed that the Alliance could have a role to play to mitigate them.

The Military Committee paid tribute to the hundreds of thousands of military and civilian personnel who have served with ISAF and the Afghan National Security Forces over the past thirteen years. “Their sacrifices and efforts have made all of our nations safer and improved global security,” emphasised General Bartels. To conclude, the Chiefs of Defence elected General Pavel, Czech Army, as the next Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.

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U.S. Army Secretary Follows Pentagon Chief To Georgia

September 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
September 20, 2014

Secretary of the U.S. Army Visits Georgia

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Tbilisi: Secretary of the U.S. Army, John McHugh, arrived in Tbilisi on Saturday, two weeks after U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Georgia.

He will meet Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania to discuss threat posed by Islamic State, as well as U.S. support to Georgia’s NATO integration, according to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi.

The Georgian Defense Ministry said that U.S. role in implementing decisions of NATO Wales summit in respect of Georgia would be discussed.

The Secretary of the U.S. Army will also visit the Georgian National Defense Academy in the town of Gori in Shida Kartli region on September 21.

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Civil Georgia
September 16, 2014

Top NATO Commander Praises Georgia’s Interoperability with the Alliance

Tbilisi: NATO’s top military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said on September 15 that Georgia has done “an extremely good job” of becoming interoperable with NATO.

Responding a question of NATO enlargement, Gen. Breedlove, who is NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of U.S. forces in Europe, said some of the nations aspiring to join the Alliance, among them Georgia, have improved their “programs of engagement.”

Commenting on military component of NATO integration of aspirant nations, Gen. Breedlove said that some of the countries, “like Georgia, have done an extremely good job of becoming interoperable with NATO and deploying with NATO.”

“Georgia has deployed at a very constant and high level its forces in support in Afghanistan and in other places,” he said.

“So what I see is nations continue to move towards their goal or have already probably in some cases met the military expectation that we have for their entry into NATO and now some of the more political issues are being worked out by the political leadership of NATO,” Gen. Breedlove said.

He made the remarks at the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank’s event, discussing NATO Wales summit results, during which he spoke about a new rapid response force of the Alliance and laid out plan how to improve NATO Response Force.

“I don’t want to sound too positive, but what we thought was going to be the ceiling of what we could get at Wales, became the floor of what we can expect in the future,” he said.

He said that one of the main issues on the agenda of the NATO summit in Wales was “how we address revanchist Russia.”

Asked about reassurances to those countries, which are not yet NATO members, Gen. Breedlove said that this is an issue, which the West has to consider.

“There are nations, which are outside NATO – which are between us [NATO and Russia]. How does the Western world approach those nations and what are the expectations of all the neighbors east and west as to what their action should be in those nations, what are accepted international norms – I think this is first principle conversation, then you can begin to look at…what are those assurances that we can give these nations,” he said. “Right now there is no NATO policy what to do in those nations that find themselves outside the Alliance.”

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U.S. Senate Backs Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova As Major Non-NATO Allies

September 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
September 19, 2014

U.S. Senate Committee Backs Major Non-NATO Ally Status for Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

Tbilisi: The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed unanimously on September 18 the Ukraine Freedom Support Act – the bill, which designates Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia as “major non-NATO allies.”

If backed by Congress and enacted, the bill will also authorize more sanctions against Russia, as well as military and non-military assistance to Ukraine, including lethal aid, and allocation of USD 350 million for that purpose.

Designation as a major non-NATO ally under the section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act gives a country more access to U.S. military assistance, among them giving priority to a designated country for the transfer of excess U.S. defense articles. But the status does not entail any security commitment.

Fifteen countries have such designation. Afghanistan was the last nation to gain the status in 2012; others are: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand.

“The United States has been and will be number one strategic partner for Georgia, so it’s not a news,” Georgia’s PM Irakli Garibashvili told journalists when asked on September 18 about possible major non-NATO ally status for Georgia.

Georgia signed Charter on Strategic Partnership with the U.S. in 2009.

If granted, the status of major non-NATO ally would “elevate Georgia’s strategic partnership with the United States in all directions, first and foremost in the security sphere,” Georgian state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Alexi Petriashvili, said on September 19.

“It is very important that Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will be together designated as major U.S. [non-NATO] allies,” Petriashvili added.

The bill, passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also authorizes USD 10 million for the next three fiscal years “in order to counter Russian Federation propaganda” in the former Soviet Union countries and prioritizes Russian-language broadcasting into Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

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NATO Uses Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Military Mechanism To Upgrade Ukrainian Army For Current, Future Wars

September 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
September 20, 2014

Poland pledges to help modernize Ukrainian army – Komorowski

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The formation of a joint Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian LitPolUkrBrig brigade is part of NATO agreements to modernize the Ukrainian army, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has said.

“This agreement is part of the plan, which was discussed at the NATO summit in Newport, where it was decided to support Ukraine” Komorowski said before the ceremony for the signing of the agreement to form the joint LitPolUkrBrig brigade in Warsaw on Friday.

According to him, the brigade will be part of the peacekeeping contingents, the platform for exchange of experience, knowledge and skills, not only between the three participating countries, and will also contribute to the interaction of the Ukrainian army with the armed forces of the world.

He added that Poland pledged to contribute to the process of the Ukrainian army modernization.

“I believe that the combination of all these steps will help the Ukrainian army to cooperate efficiently with the armies of the world, as well as modernize the armed forces of Ukraine, which is required in connection with the existing threat posed by an aggressive neighbor,” Komorowski said.

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Interfax-Ukraine
September 20, 2014

Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania sign agreement to form joint peacekeeping brigade

Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heletei on behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers signed an agreement to form the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade LitPolUkrBrig.

Ukraine is to delegate 545, Poland 3,000 to 3,800 and Lithuania between 150 and 350 troops to LitPolUkrBrig, whose command would be based in Lublin, Poland, and the member contingents would remain at their permanent bases.

Before the end of 2014, an agreement would be signed to settle all technical problems.

The goals of LitPolUkrBrig are to raise confidence and step up cooperation between the three countries and make a contribution to regional security.

LitPolUkrBrig would also take part in UN-mandated international operations provided all three countries agree to this.

Other countries would be free to join the brigade.

The accord was signed in Warsaw by the Ukrainian, Polish and Lithuanian defense ministers, Valeriy Heletei, Tomasz Siemoniak and Juozas Olekas, in the presence of Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, an Interfax-Ukraine correspondent reported.

“It is an example of effective practical cooperation amid new challenges and a new element of pan-European security,” said Heletei.

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F. Marion Crawford: The world dreads the very name of war, lest it should become universal once it breaks out

September 20, 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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F. Marion Crawford
From Marzio’s Crucifix (1887)

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“Your brother represents an idea,” answered the Cardinal. “That idea is the subversion of all social principle. It is an idea which must spread, because there is an enormous number of depraved men in the world who have a very great interest in the destruction of law…They will, it is true, always be a minority, because the greater part of mankind are determined that order shall not be destroyed. But those fellows will fight to the death, because they know that in that battle there will be no quarter for the vanquished. It will be a mighty struggle and will last long, but it will be decisive, and will perhaps never be revived when it is once over…”

“May we not be alive to see anything so dreadful!” exclaimed Don Paolo devoutly.

“No, you and I shall not see it. But those little children who are playing with chestnuts down there in the court – they will see it. The world is uneasy and dreads the very name of war, lest war should become universal if it once breaks out. Tell your brother that.”

“It is what he longs for. He is always speaking of it.”

“Then it is inevitable. When many millions like him have determined that there shall be evil done, it cannot long be warded off. Their blood be on their own heads.”

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U.S. Troop Participation At Ukrainian War Games Sends Message To Russia

September 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
September 19, 2014

US troop presence at Ukrainian exercise sends message to Russia
By John Vandiver
Stars and Stripes

YAVORIV, Ukraine: After watching a series of war games on Ukrainian soil, U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh warned Russia on Friday about testing the resolve of an alliance that stands ready to guard against aggression in the region. “If anyone questions the United States’ commitment to security in the Black Sea region, they might want to take a look at what is happening at Rapid Trident 14,” said McHugh, who, along with top U.S. uniformed commanders, was in Ukraine to observe the first major exercise in the country since tensions with Russia spilled over earlier this year.

There are 1,300 international troops taking part in the U.S. Army Europe-led Rapid Trident exercise in western Ukraine, including 200 soldiers from the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade. The decision to send U.S. soldiers into Ukraine, which has been in a virtual state of war since Russia’s annexation of the country’s Crimea peninsula, should also serve as a reassuring signal to allies rattled by unrest in the country, McHugh said.

“The United States’, our partner nations’, attempt to demonstrate our commitment to a people, a cause, a nation, is offered in different ways,” McHugh said. “But none of those ways speaks more clearly, more affirmatively about our commitment than when we send our men and women in uniform to train alongside nations that you’re seeing here today.”

As the first week of Rapid Trident draws to a close, soldiers from 15 countries have been working on their combat skills, in particular how to deal with unconventional threats in urban environments. Ukraine, as a non-NATO member, doesn’t enjoy the collective security guarantee that comes with alliance membership: the NATO bedrock principle that an attack on one is an attack on all. But training partnerships with the U.S. and other allies help prepare Ukrainian troops for the fight in the east, Ukrainian officers said.

“It goes without saying this event is very important. It is the epitome of our security for the future,” said Lt. Gen. Anatoliy Pushniakov, land forces commander for the Ukrainian army. “This increases our combat readiness.”

Many Ukrainian soldiers who have taken part in past exercises with the U.S. are now fighting on the eastern front, Pushniakov said. This year, young Ukrainian cadets are also taking part in the exercises, as they could soon be fighting, too.

“The exercise is being done in very difficult circumstances,” Pushniakov said. “We decided to involve the cadets because they are the future of our armed forces.”

U.S. European Command has increased its presence across eastern Europe in an effort to bolster the military capabilities of allies…in places like the Baltics.

Still, some NATO partners, such as Poland, have hoped for a larger U.S. military presence. Polish officials have sought the permanent stationing of U.S. combat troops. Instead, U.S. and NATO allies say they intend to increase their presence by deploying rotational forces.

Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the mix of roughly 30,000 forward-stationed U.S. Army troops in Europe, coupled with more rotational forces, should be enough to carry out an expanded mission on the Continent.

While McHugh and Campbell stopped short of saying that there would be no further drawdown of soldiers in Europe, they signaled that the current structure is likely to remain in place.

“I feel we have the footprint about right,” Campbell said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s actions in Ukraine have forced a broad rethink about the nature of European security, officials said.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who serves as head of NATO land command in Izmir, Turkey, said the show of unity at exercises like Rapid Trident should deliver a message of solidarity among allies to Russia.

“Seventy-five years ago Russia invaded this very area [!],” said Hodges, who was among top commanders observing the training in western Ukraine.

“So that threat was there then, and that threat is still here today. So that is why we train. That’s why you have to prepare to deter further aggression, and certainly NATO is going to continue to support training efforts that deter that sort of Russian aggression.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Turkey: NATO Readies German-Dutch Corps For Strike Force

September 19, 2014 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 19, 2014

Headquarters 1 German Netherlands Corps ready for NATO Response Force

LANDCOM, Izmir, Turkey visited Headquarters 1 German/Netherlands Corps (1GNC) to check 233 criteria in the fields of Command & Control, Operations, Administration and Support.

This exercise named ‘Noble Justification’ was the culmination of a long preparation period. In May this year, the NATO Response Force (NRF) 2015 Immediate Response Brigade from Arnhem, The Netherlands, was certified during exercise ‘Reliable Sword’. Soon after that, the in-house evaluation took place followed now by the practical part during exercise ‘Noble Justification’.

In his address to the roll call concluding the CREVAL, Deputy Commander Land Command, Lieutenant General Ed Davis stated: “I praise the 1 German Netherlands Corps for daring to make great steps towards the so much needed comprehensive approach, the approach to plan and conduct operations in close concert with International Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations.”

He especially applauded the dedicated Command and Information Systems Battalion and the G-6 Branch of the Headquarters. “A class of its own and exemplary for NATO,” as he put it.

Categories: Uncategorized
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