Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late

July 2, 2015 1 comment

A recording first heard in 1971

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U.S. Air Force, Army Prepare For Bulgarian War Games

Stars and Stripes
June 20, 2015

Air Force, Army team up to move tanks for Bulgaria exercise
By Matt Millham

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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany: The U.S. military loaded the first of two Abrams tanks onto a C-17 transport plane Saturday morning for a live-fire demonstration in Bulgaria.

Next week’s “Speed and Power” exercise at Bulgaria’s Novo Selo Training Area is meant to reassure NATO allies and demonstrate the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy materiel around Europe. It’s only expected to last just a few days, but it is one of a raft of events the U.S. and its NATO allies have added to their schedule in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

“The point of all this is to show not only our NATO allies the power of the M1A2, but to also show our adversaries that we have the power and coordination to quickly and rapidly move M1A2s to various countries throughout Europe,” said 1st Lt. Frank Wood, who is leading the two-tank formation from 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment out of Fort Stewart, Ga.

It is the first time the U.S. military has airlifted M1A2 Abrams tanks within Europe, according to U.S. Army Europe. The Army hasn’t shipped tanks by air since 2003, Wood said.

The U.S. has also never fired a tank in Bulgaria before, he said. “So that will be the big, climactic part of this.”

The tanks are part of USAREUR’s “European Activity Set,” a collection of armor and other equipment staged in Europe for contingency operations. The EAS is being expanded from a heavy battalion to a heavy brigade’s worth of equipment.

Much of that expansion is coming from the 3rd Infantry Division. About 120 pieces of their equipment that arrived in Europe in March will be left behind.

In Europe for three months already, the soldiers of 3-69 worked with Bulgarian troops at the U.S. training center in Hohenfels, Germany, prior to shipping out to the Black Sea country.

“They definitely loved our tanks,” Woods said.

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U.S. To Move Abrams Tanks Into Bulgaria

U.S. Army Europe
June 20, 2015

Abrams tanks headed to Bulgaria
By Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany: The first of two M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks is headed to Bulgaria to continue and expand the multi-dimensional multinational Operation Atlantic Resolve training in Eastern Europe led by U.S. Army Europe.

The heavily armored tank, weighing nearly 70 tons, was driven into the back of the waiting C17 Globemaster III Air Force aircraft, fitting with just enough room for the accompanying Soldiers and air crew to buckle into the aircraft’s outer seats.

Overall, the Soldiers who guided the track-vehicle made the loading process look easy, working with Airmen to move the tank off of the transportation truck and into the aircraft, ready for take off, in around 15 minutes.

While in Bulgaria, the mission will be simple.

The tanks are there to expand the current training amongst the U.S. and Bulgarian Soldiers, improving battlefield operability, overall knowledge of the machine, all while continuing to strengthen the NATO alliance.

Additionally, troops will be engaging in a live-fire training scenario, firing each tank to demonstrate the capabilities it can procure on the battlefield.

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About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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John Dos Passos: What was the good of stopping the war if the armies continued?


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

American writers on peace and against war

John Dos Passos: Selections on war


John Dos Passos
From Three Soldiers (1921)


“Home…I won’t never go home,” said the undertaker when the noise had subsided a little. “D’you know what I wish? I wish the war’d gone on and on until everyone of them bastards had been killed in it.”

“Which bastards?”

“The men who got us fellers over here.”


He wondered if he would ever be free again to walk at random through city streets. He stretched his legs out across the floor in front of him; strange, stiff, tremulous legs they were, but it was not the wounds that gave them their leaden weight. It was the stagnation of the life about him that he felt sinking into every crevice of his spirit, so that he could never shake it off, the stagnation of dusty ruined automatons that had lost all life of their own, whose limbs had practised the drill manual so long that they had no movements of their own left, who sat limply, sunk in boredom, waiting for orders.


His life would continue to be this slavery of unclean bodies packed together in places where the air had been breathed over and over, cogs in the great slow-moving Juggernaut of armies. What did it matter if the fighting had stopped? The armies would go on grinding out lives with lives, crushing flesh with flesh. Would he ever again stand free and solitary to live out joyous hours which would make up for all the boredom of the treadmill? He had no hope. His life would continue like this dingy, ill-smelling waiting room where men in uniform slept in the fetid air until they should be ordered-out to march or to stand in motionless rows, endlessly, futilely, like toy soldiers a child has forgotten in an attic.


Andrews was telling himself that the war was over, and that in a few months he would be free in any case. What did a few months more or less matter? But the same thoughts were swept recklessly away in the blind panic that was like a stampede of wild steers within him. There was no arguing. His spirit was contorted with revolt so that his flesh twitched and dark splotches danced before his eyes. He wondered vaguely whether he had gone mad. Enormous plans kept rising up out of the tumult of his mind and dissolving suddenly like smoke in a high wind. He would run away and if they caught him, kill himself. He would start a mutiny in his company, he would lash all these men to frenzy by his words, so that they too should refuse to form into Guns, so that they should laugh when the officers got red in the face shouting orders at them, so that the whole division should march off over the frosty hills, without arms, without flags, calling all the men of all the armies to join them, to march on singing, to laugh the nightmare out of their blood. Would not some lightning flash of vision sear people’s consciousness into life again? What was the good of stopping the war if the armies continued?


He thought of the swell undertaking establishment, of the black gloves and long faces and soft tactful voices. That man and his father before him lived by pretending things they didn’t feel, by swathing reality with all manner of crepe and trumpery. For those people, no one ever died, they passed away, they deceased. Still, there had to be undertakers. There was no more stain about that than about any other trade. And it was so as not to spoil his trade that the undertaker had enlisted, and to make the world safe for democracy, too. The phrase came to Andrews’s mind amid an avalanche of popular tunes; of visions of patriotic numbers on the vaudeville stage. He remembered the great flags waving triumphantly over Fifth Avenue, and the crowds dutifully cheering. But those were valid reasons for the undertaker; but for him, John Andrews, were they valid reasons? No. He had no trade, he had not been driven into the army by the force of public opinion, he had not been carried away by any wave of blind confidence in the phrases of bought propagandists. He had not had the strength to live. The thought came to him of all those who, down the long tragedy of history, had given themselves smilingly for the integrity of their thoughts. He had not had the courage to move a muscle for his freedom, but he had been fairly cheerful about risking his life as a soldier, in a cause he believed useless. What right had a man to exist who was too cowardly to stand up for what he thought and felt, for his whole makeup, for everything that made him an individual apart from his fellows, and not a slave to stand cap in hand waiting for someone of stronger will to tell him to act?

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Temporary Permanent: U.S. Strike Forces To Remain At Spanish Air Base Forever

U.S. Department of Defense
June 18, 2015

U.S., Spain Agree to Make U.S. Crisis Force Deployment Permanent
By Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON: U.S. and Spanish officials yesterday signed an amendment to the nations’ defense agreement that will change the deployment of the U.S. crisis response force at Moron Air Base from temporary to permanent, defense officials said today.

In the State Department’s Treaty Room, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Spanish Deputy Foreign Minister Ignacio Ybanez signed the Third Protocol of Amendment to the U.S.-Spanish Agreement for Defense and Cooperation.

The amendment, when the Spanish parliament approves it, will make permanent the temporary deployment of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force for Crisis Response at Moron Air Base.

Protecting, Stabilizing

The crisis response task force protects U.S. diplomatic personnel and facilities in Africa and supports efforts to stabilize an area of shared concern, defense officials said.

The United States bases nearly 4,000 personnel in Spain at Naval Station Rota and at Moron Air Base.

“We are very grateful to our Spanish allies and partners and friends for this agreement. You’ve hosted the United States military for more than 60 years now, and every day this partnership, this relationship, grows stronger,” Blinken said.

On behalf of the U.S. government, the deputy secretary expressed gratitude for the long years of military cooperation and anticipation of many more years of strong partnership.

The amendment allows for a maximum long-term U.S. military presence at the base of 2,200 military personnel, 500 U.S. Defense Department civilian employees and 21 aircraft.

After U.S. consultations with the Spanish government, a surge capability was included in the amendment of another 800 dedicated military crisis-response task force personnel and 14 aircraft at Moron, for a total of 3,500 U.S. military and civilian personnel and 35 aircraft.

Bolstering Crisis Response

The surge capability would temporarily bolster crisis response capabilities, defense officials said.
The presence of the crisis response task force in Spain has increased joint training opportunities, with more than 52 joint exercises in the past two years, an increase of more than 50 percent, the officials added.

Long-term basing and increased joint training will benefit NATO interoperability, they said.

The amendment comes three years after the second protocol of amendment to the defense and cooperation agreement, which gave the United States permission to homeport four ballistic-missile defense-capable ships in Rota as Spain’s contribution to NATO’s ballistic missile defense.

Three ships have arrived, and the fourth is due in September, defense officials said.

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Pentagon Chief’s European Trip To Include NATO Defense Meeting, Visits To Two Russian Neighbors, U.S. Warship In Baltic

U.S. Department of Defense
June 19, 2015

Carter to Meet With Counterparts in Germany, Estonia, Belgium
By Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter will travel to Germany, Estonia and Belgium this week to hold bilateral and multilateral meetings with European defense ministers and to participate in his first NATO ministerial as defense secretary, senior defense officials said today.

On Monday morning in Berlin Carter will highlight the importance of a united NATO and a strong U.S.-German relationship in remarks there at the Allianz Forum. Afterward he and German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen will have a bilateral meeting, the officials said.

Later that day Carter will travel to Münster, Germany, to visit the 1st German-Netherlands Corps, the land component of NATO’s Interim Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, with his German, Dutch and Norwegian counterparts, the officials added.

Meetings with Counterparts

On Tuesday in Tallinn, Estonia, Carter will meet with Estonian leaders and commemorate Estonian Victory Day. He will also meet with defense ministers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the senior defense officials said.

While in Tallinn, Carter will visit U.S. sailors and Marines aboard the USS San Antonio, which participated as the lead U.S. ship of the 43rd BALTOPS sea exercise, a recently concluded multinational exercise held annually since 1971, they added.

On Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels, Carter will attend the NATO Defense Ministerial. There he will discuss U.S. commitments to the NATO alliance, officials said.

New Security Environment

On Friday the secretary will return to Germany to attend an exercise that includes more than a dozen nations and is hosted by the U.S. Army at the Grafenwoehr training area, a major Army installation in the town of Grafenwoehr, Bavaria, they added.

In this important month for the alliance, senior defense officials said, Carter will hear directly from ministers, defense leaders and service members about progress made since the Wales Summit to address the new security environment, including challenges from Russia and NATO’s southern front, and discuss future actions to enhance alliance effectiveness.

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As Planned/Predicted: Ukraine Substitutes NATO For Russian Arms

June 17, 2015

Defense Ministry wants to produce weapons with NATO


KYIV: Ukraine and NATO should determine ways to use capacity of the Ukrainian military and industrial complex in order to produce necessary weapons and equipment.

Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine for European Integration Ihor Dolhov said this during the Strategic Discussion Club “Ukraine-NATO: Diagnosing the Partnership” in Kyiv on Wednesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“We have finished the cooperation with Russia. Consequently, now we need weapons, including lethal and non-lethal, which we hope to receive, sooner or later, on a bilateral basis. But at the same time, we need to think how to establish production of necessary types of equipment and weapons at our facilities with help of partners from the NATO member states,” he said.

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Saakashvili Auctions Off Odessa To American Investors

June 20, 2015 1 comment

June 20, 2015

Saakashvili presenting Odesa region’s investment opportunities in U.S.

File photo of Columbia University alumnus Saakashvili slicing the cake

Odesa regional administration head Mikheil Saakashvili has departed for the U.S. to present the region’s investment opportunities to international investors.

“I am presenting the Odesa region’s investment opportunities to international investors in New York. Odesa has a lot of advantages, in particular, a very well-educated and talented population and an amazing tourism potential, and we will guarantee investors’ protection from extortions and racket, which has obstructed economic growth so much until lately,” Saakashvili said on Facebook on Friday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had granted Ukrainian citizenship to his adviser and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and appointed him head of Odesa Regional Administration in May.

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U.S. Armored Forces Lead War Games In Bulgaria

4th Public Affairs Detachment
June 19, 2015

Learning and growing together, one level at a time
Story by Spc. Jacqueline Dowland


NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria: The American and Bulgarian soldiers dismounted from their respective military vehicles, filing separately then forming one united force before entering the crumbling, dilapidated three-story building. While the soldiers did not know what challenges awaited them inside the building as they rounded each corner, they knew that they could competently face any foe encountered together.

Soldiers with 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, joined Bulgarian Army special forces soldiers as they conducted a cordon and search joint training exercise during Kabile 15, a multilateral joint training exercise, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, June 17.

“We conducted outer and inner cordon methods, then moved in with the Bulgarian special forces team to assault the actual objective, where there were two high-value targets in the building,” said 1st Lt. Paul T. Merten, a platoon leader for 2nd Platoon, Eagle Troop, 2/2 CR and a native of Corvallis, Ore. “We divided up the different levels of the building, then went in and captured the targets and brought them out, working as a united team to get the mission accomplished successfully.”

During the planning and execution phases of the exercise, the NATO allies learned to work together as a united front to tackle the mission, despite differences.

The soldiers from each side were able to walk away from the training exercise with lasting positives gained from the experience, creating a strong bond with new allies from thousands of miles from home.

“We are confident that we are able to rely on our NATO allies, and know what we can do together to combat any potential threats,” said Merten…

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U.S. Army Paratroopers Storm Baltic Beach

U.S. Army Europe
June 19, 2015

Army paratroopers take the beach during exercise
By1st Lt. Steven Siberski


USTKA, Poland: U.S. Army paratroopers, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, participated in a joint, combined amphibious and air assault from ships in the Baltic Sea here as part of Exercise Baltic Operations, or BALTOPS, 2015, June 17.

In its 43rd iteration, BALTOPS is a large-scale multinational maritime exercise spread over Germany, Poland, Sweden and throughout the Baltic Sea with some 5,600 troops from ground, maritime and air forces from 17 participating nations. The exercise enhances flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrates resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region.

The paratroopers arrived in Ravlunda, Sweden, June 7, for several days of combined live-fire exercises with Swedish, Finnish, and U.S. Marine forces. Through the course of the exercise, the paratroopers lived aboard the Royal British Navy’s HMS Ocean to conduct various multinational amphibious and air-assault operations and expand the capabilities of the airborne infantry.

“This is the first time many of us as paratroopers have had the opportunity to conduct airborne and amphibious operations from a naval vessel,” said Capt. Matthew McCarthy, commander of 2nd Battalion’s Company D. “This opportunity gives us added flexibility, and more ways to project combat power into a wartime environment.”

During the two-week event, the paratroopers practiced boarding amphibious landing craft, movement in landing craft and ship-to-shore assaults to establish beachheads. To increase partner capacity, and effectiveness, the Americans joined with Finnish marines from the Nyland Brigade and the Finnish navy to enhance the training opportunities for both sides.

“In the event of a real world crisis, we need to know that our systems work, and our methods are effective,” said Lt. Junior Grade Daniel Forsell of the Finnish marines.

The integration with American forces provided a new and unique experience for all those involved.

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After more than a week of shared learning and rehearsals, the Sky Soldiers prepared for the main assault, June 17. Some paratroopers loaded into British CH-47 helicopters on the deck of the HMS Ocean to conduct air-assault raids to clear objectives in support of the beach landing, a task familiar to the paratroopers. Many of the paratroopers boarded British landing craft vehicles and joined the combined Marine force for the assault on the beach itself.

“We’re sending a message to not only our allies, but the entire world,” McCarthy said. “This exercise has once again demonstrated our ability to combine our assets and enhance our ability to secure peace and stability to the Baltic region.”

While the paratroopers here were assaulting a beach, other paratroopers from the brigade were conducting airfield seizures elsewhere in Poland and Lithuania as part of the related U.S. Army Europe-led multinational Exercise Saber Strike.

“Participating in exercises this large and diverse shows our flexibility and how we can contribute to the joint team and to the alliance,” said Capt. Pat Leen, a plans officer for the event, from the 173rd.

The combined exercises also demonstrated interior lines through which NATO forces can quickly move within the alliance.

“Our paratroopers went from Italy to Sweden to conduct joint and combined planning, and then onto a British ship to conduct ship-to-shore and air assault operations into Poland,” Leen said. “That highlights the freedom of maneuver within NATO.”

The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of deploying ready forces across the U.S. European, Africa, and Central Commands areas of responsibility in 18 hours or less.

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Latvia: U.S. Warplanes Simulate War Near Russian Border

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

June 19, 2015

U.S. Air Force wraps up Saber Strike participation
By Staff Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales
U.S. Air Force in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

RIGA, Latvia: After two weeks of training, learning and building partnerships Saber Strike 15 in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland came to a close June 20, 2015.

Saber Strike 15 provided 14 nations and more than 6,000 service members an opportunity to develop skills and interoperability not only among themselves but also with U.S. Air Force assets.

The USAFE and the Air National Guard provided close air support in the form of F-16 Fighting Falcons, A-10 Thunderbolts II, and B-52 Stratofortress. The C-130J Super Hercules joined the exercise providing on time cargo deliveries and a jump platform for paratroopers. In addition, the KC-135 Stratotanker provided the fuel to keep the CAS going for those joint terminal attack controllers on the ground training with multinational ground force units.

“The biggest take away from Saber Strike is just the opportunity to work with our partners and the unique training here that we couldn’t get anywhere else,” said Maj. Joey Lubbers, 435th AGOW director of staff. “Also just working with different partners from different nations Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, and sharing ideas about how to operate more effectively together in a NATO capacity.”

Unique training opportunities allowed the 37th Airlift Squadron and 435th Contingency Response Group to test the capability of establishing an airfield on an unknown grass field and then landing a C-130J on that designated area.

Other opportunities included JTACs embedding Latvian army units to show what airpower can provide to ground forces.

The Air Force made history during Saber Strike 15, when a B-52 Stratofortress performed the first bomb drop at Adazi Training Area, Latvia. It also provided close air support to ground forces’ offensive-defensive operations during Distinguished Visitors day. It wasn’t the only CAS airframe around though.

The A-10s providing CAS were able to hear a British accent come over the radio, or a Latvian JTAC in order to know and understand each other. This was the first time the 175th Wing, Maryland ANG, sent eight A-10 to participate in Saber Strike providing close air support to multinational ground force units.

The Pennsylvania and Michigan KC-135 refuelers and A-10 units from across the U.S. came together to host the Latvian and several distinguished visitor showcasing the Air Force and what it brings to the battle. The refuelers improved their interoperability among themselves to improve their capabilities with 17 missions providing more than 25,600 gallons of fuel.

While Saber Strike came to a close, it is just one of many exercises helping build partnerships and build interoperability between the U.S. and NATO allies and continuing to support the stability in and around the Baltic Area.

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H.G. Wells: No more talk of honour and annexations, hegemonies and trade routes, but only Europe lamenting for her dead


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

H.G. Wells: Selections on war


H.G. Wells
From Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916)

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If you think that these two boys have both perished, not in some noble common cause but one against the other in a struggle of dynasties and boundaries and trade routes and tyrannous ascendancies, then it seems to me that you must feel as I feel that this war is the most tragic and dreadful thing that has ever happened to mankind.

He sat thinking for some minutes after he had written that, and when presently he resumed his writing, a fresh strain of thought was traceable even in his opening sentence.

If you count dead and wounds this is the most dreadful war in history; for you as for me, it has been almost the extremity of personal tragedy…Black sorrow…


He was no longer writing to the particular parents of one particular boy, but to all that mass of suffering, regret, bitterness and fatigue that lay behind the veil of the “front.” Slowly, steadily, the manhood of Germany was being wiped out. As he sat there in the stillness he could think that at least two million men of the Central Powers were dead, and an equal number maimed and disabled. Compared with that our British losses, immense and universal as they were by the standard of any previous experience, were still slight; our larger armies had still to suffer, and we had lost irrevocably not very much more than a quarter of a million. But the tragedy gathered against us. We knew enough already to know what must be the reality of the German homes to which those dead men would nevermore return…

If England had still the longer account to pay, the French had paid already nearly to the limits of endurance. They must have lost well over a million of their mankind, and still they bled and bled. Russia too in the East had paid far more than man for man in this vast swapping off of lives. In a little while no Censorship would hold the voice of the peoples. There would be no more talk of honour and annexations, hegemonies and trade routes, but only Europe lamenting for her dead…

The Germany to which he wrote would be a nation of widows and children, rather pinched boys and girls, crippled men, old men, deprived men, men who had lost brothers and cousins and friends and ambitions. No triumph now on land or sea could save Germany from becoming that. France too would be that, Russia, and lastly Britain, each in their degree…


Our boys, he wrote, have died, fighting one against the other. They have been fighting upon an issue so obscure that your German press is still busy discussing what it was. For us it was that Belgium was invaded and France in danger of destruction. Nothing else could have brought the English into the field against you. But why you invaded Belgium and France and whether that might have been averted we do not know to this day. And still this war goes on and still more boys die, and these men who do not fight, these men in the newspaper offices and in the ministries plan campaigns and strokes and counter-strokes that belong to no conceivable plan at all. Except that now for them there is something more terrible than war. And that is the day of reckoning with their own people.

What have we been fighting for? What are we fighting for? Do you know? Does any one know? Why am I spending what is left of my substance and you what is left of yours to keep on this war against each other? What have we to gain from hurting one another still further? Why should we be puppets any longer in the hands of crowned fools and witless diplomatists? Even if we were dumb and acquiescent before, does not the blood of our sons now cry out to us that this foolery should cease? We have let these people send our sons to death.

It is you and I who must stop these wars, these massacres of boys.

Massacres of boys! That indeed is the essence of modern war. The killing off of the young. It is the destruction of the human inheritance, it is the spending of all the life and material of the future upon present-day hate and greed. Fools and knaves, politicians, tricksters, and those who trade on the suspicions and thoughtless, generous angers of men, make wars; the indolence and modesty of the mass of men permit them. Are you and I to suffer such things until the whole fabric of our civilisation, that has been so slowly and so laboriously built up, is altogether destroyed?

When I sat down to write to you I had meant only to write to you of your son and mine. But I feel that what can be said in particular of our loss, need not be said; it can be understood without saying. What needs to be said and written about is this, that war must be put an end to and that nobody else but you and me and all of us can do it. We have to do that for the love of our sons and our race and all that is human. War is no longer human; the chemist and the metallurgist have changed all that. My boy was shot through the eye; his brain was blown to pieces by some man who never knew what he had done. Think what that means!… It is plain to me, surely it is plain to you and all the world, that war is now a mere putting of the torch to explosives that flare out to universal ruin. There is nothing for one sane man to write to another about in these days but the salvation of mankind from war.

Now I want you to be patient with me and hear me out. There was a time in the earlier part of this war when it was hard to be patient because there hung over us the dread of losses and disaster. Now we need dread no longer. The dreaded thing has happened. Sitting together as we do in spirit beside the mangled bodies of our dead, surely we can be as patient as the hills.

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Siege Of Kaliningrad: U.S. To Move Military Equipment Into Lithuania

June 19, 2015 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
June 18, 2015

Lithuania, U.S. to step up military cooperation


VILNIUS: Lithuanian government ratified on Wednesday a bilateral agreement with the United States on its military presence in Lithuanian territory and investments into Lithuanian defense infrastructure.

According to the announcement from Lithuanian Defense Ministry, the agreement between the governments of Lithuania and the U.S. stipulates prepositioning and stationing of the U.S. military equipment, weaponry and vehicles in Lithuania and the U.S. funded development of Lithuanian Army’s infrastructure.

A two year agreement which can be extended is due to come into force as soon as both sides exchange diplomatic notes.

Juozas Olekas, Lithuanian Defense Minister, said the agreement fortifies one of the country’s key security interests to have defense support from the strategic partner in Lithuania.

“Furthermore, U.S. funding will step up the development projects of national training areas aimed at enhancing the conditions for combined training and readiness for defense,” a Defense Ministry statement quoted Olekas as saying.

The funding under the U.S. European Reassurance Initiative will be used to develop Airbase in Siauliai, where allied air forces conduct air policing missions in air space over the three Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The funding will be allocated to develop training areas in Rukla and Pabrade, as well as other military infrastructure objects in Lithuania, said the Ministry.

Under the agreement, roughly 15 million U.S. dollars will be allocated to these projects this year. The European Reassurance Initiative announced by the U.S. President amounts to 1 billion U.S. dollars.

The agreement on closer military cooperation between Lithuanian and the U.S. follows a high profile visit in Lithuania by the General Phillip Breedlove, the Commander U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, a day before.

Breedlove met with top Lithuanian Defense officials to discuss security issues in the Eastern Europe and assess how defense commitments from NATO allies are being practically implemented in Lithuania. Last year NATO allies agreed to strengthen collective defense, particularly in the Eastern Europe.

Rotating forces of the United States were deployed in Lithuania in spring 2014 and have been attending joint military exercises in the Baltic States since then.

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Number Tripled In Two Years: NATO Members In Over 300 Exercises This Year

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

June 18, 2015

A “Noble Jump” for NATO’s Spearhead Force

German contingent in Exercise Noble Jump 2015

The strength and readiness of NATO’s Forces were publically demonstrated during Exercise Noble Jump 2015 in Zagan, Poland between 9 and 18 June 15.

The Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Jean-Paul Paloméros, was joined by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Philip Breedlove, to attend this training event, aimed at testing and validating the Spearhead Force. Part of the Allied Shield series of exercises taking place in June throughout the eastern part of Europe, Exercise Noble Jump involved over 2,100 troops from nine nations. Focusing on fast deployment and readiness, the exercise continued the process of testing and refining the newly-formed Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), also known as the ‘Spearhead Force’ in the framework of part of the NATO Response Force (NRF).

“This exercise is just part of a strong initiative which began two years ago and reinforced in Wales with the Readiness Action Plan and the VJTF,” said General Paloméros as he addressed the press, command and dignitaries from the participating nations in Zagan. “Today is the mark of the determination of NATO, of the allies, to regain on readiness, to reemphasize credibility, and on the full spectrum of its missions, including high intensity operations.”

The 2014 Wales Summit agreed on a Readiness Action Plan (RAP) to ensure that the Alliance is ready to respond swiftly and firmly to new security challenges, arising on the uncertain borders of the Allied countries. Exercise Noble Jump 2015 represents the first time that the multinational interim Spearhead Force has been deployed and conducted tactical manoeuvres under the new VJTF framework and the updated Connected Force Initiative (CFI).


While a significant milestone in the development of the RAP, Exercise Noble Jump is just one demonstration of NATO’s Forces during 2015. “This year, NATO member nations will contribute to more than 300 exercises. This number has tripled in two years.” said General Paloméros.

Noble Jump is just one of the exercises in the enhanced NRF and VJTF conceptual build-up. The next important milestone this year is Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 (TRJE15). This exercise distributed throughout Europe and North America will take place in October and November 2015. The main training locations will be hosted in 3 NATO countries (Italy, Portugal and Spain) and will involve more than 30,000 military personnel from over 30 NATO member and partner nations. TRJE15 will prepare, test, evaluate and certify the NRF and VJTF concepts and enhance competency and interoperability at the operational and tactical levels of their constituting units. As any long haul endeavour, NRF and VJTF will further develop in 2016 their adaptive capabilities, their conceptual developments and their readiness.


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Latvia: U.S. Uses B-52 Stratofortress Bombs, A-10 Thunderbolt II Guns To Rehearse War With Russia

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

June 18, 2015

JTACs show off unique capabilities during Saber Strike 15
By Staff Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

B-52 Stratofortress

RIGA, Latvia: In the training areas and forests of the Baltics, a land force unit came under fire from an opposition force. They needed support and they could hear it flying above them. They all turn and look at the emblem on the shoulder of that one service member that is different from them — a JTAC.

Joint terminal attack controllers from various units around the Air Force trained along side more than 14 nations and 6,000 service members participating in Saber Strike 15. They brought the “brrrp” of A-10 Thunderbolt II guns, thumps of B-52 Stratofortress bombs and supplies of C-130J Super Hercules to the training.

“(Saber Strike) is great experience, you get to learn different tactics and techniques and process (other nations) bring and how they employ different verbiage they use that we can possibly put in our bag of tricks that helps us be more effective controllers and get effects on the ground for the commander sooner,” said Tech. Sgt. Todd Jensen, 116 Air Support Operations Squadron JTAC.

Airmen from the U.S. worked with British, Latvian and various other JTAC service members during Saber Strike. This not only gave the pilots a chance to hear other voices but also gave other nations the chance to hone and improve skills.

“We get to see how (other nations) do their controlling and we can try to adopt some of their methods to speed things up,” said Lance Cpl. Paul Coleman, British Army JTAC.

Having a British accent come over the radio can be quite a surprise for pilots when they expect a Washington Air National guardsman but it is one of the ways Saber Strike 15 is building interoperability and building partnerships.

“Its important to show that we are supportive of each other so when a real life issue does come up we have the working experience put in place and connection have been made and it’s easier to jump in and fight as a whole unit, a collective force, versus trying to piece different identities together on the fly,” said Jensen.

During the exercise not only did the JTACs train together controlling aircraft but also embedded themselves with army units from various to provide ground commanders insight into what a JTAC can do for them, some of which had never trained with a JTAC.

“We bring an element of firepower from the air to the ground commander,” said Coleman. “It gives the ground commander more firepower to fit in his barrel and something else to put into his plan.”

Coleman was glad for the opportunity to train, not only with other nations but other units in from his military.

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Interview: U.S.-NATO Military Confrontation With Russia Risks Nuclear War

Press TV
June 19, 2015

US, Russia edging toward nuclear catastrophe: Anti-war activist
“The threat posed by the post-Cold War revival and the expansion of the NATO cannot be overestimated,” said Rick Rozoff.


The United States and its NATO allies are edging toward a high-risk military standoff with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, a situation that may lead to the worst catastrophe in history, an anti-war activist in Chicago says.

“The threat posed by the post-Cold War revival and the expansion of the NATO cannot be overestimated,” said Rick Rozoff, a member of Stop NATO International.

“It has the potential quite literally to lead our planet and its people towards the worst catastrophe in history, which would be a nuclear war,” Rozoff told Press TV on Friday.

Over 2,000 troops are taking part in the Noble Jump 2 war games, the first exercise of NATO’s new rapid response force intended to warn Russia of its readiness and reassure east European NATO members who fear Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

Rozoff made the comments after he was asked about Thursday’s war games in Poland involving 2,100 soldiers from nine NATO states.

US, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, German, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Norwegian and Polish troops have been preparing since last week for this full-scale exercise.

The military alliance has also mounted a series of military drills on its eastern borders to counter Russia’s increased military presence in the Baltic Sea.

This comes as the Pentagon is considering deploying heavy weaponry, tanks and other vehicles for as many as 5,000 American troops in eastern European countries bordering Russia, US officials said last week.

“The US has managed through the mechanism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to establish permanent military installations, in many cases taking over air bases to be used for strategic strikes against Russia,” Rozoff said.

Ties between Washington and Moscow have reached an all-time low over the crisis in Ukraine, which began after pro-Western forces ousted the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014.

The US accuses Russia of destabilizing Ukraine by supporting pro-Russia forces in the eastern regions. The Kremlin, however, denies the allegations.

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Poland: Top NATO Political, Military Chiefs View Simulated Attack On Kaliningrad/Russia

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

June 18, 2015

NATO Spearhead Demonstrates Capability During EX NOBLE JUMP


Zagan, Poland: NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) was declared operationally functional by General Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe (SACEUR) following the successful conclusion of Exercise NOBLE JUMP in Zagan, Poland on June 18. The exercise marked the first time the new high-readiness unit has deployed and conducted manoeuvres since its inception following the Wales Summit last year.

Exercise Noble Jump, which started on 9 June, tested the rapid deployment capabilities of high readiness units from across the Alliance and their ability to operate together as part of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, also known as the ‘Spearhead Force’.”

The participation of all nations on this exercise today has shown how effective our interoperability training has been, and is an excellent demonstration of our rapid capability,” said General Breedlove. “Our commitment to collective defence is rock solid and I could not be more proud of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and special forces,” he said.

A number of other senior officials were on hand to observe the training manoeuvres on June 18, including: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, defence ministers from Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland, and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Jean-Paul Paloméros.

“I have met troops from nine countries, working as one in this important exercise,” said the Secretary General. He stressed that the purpose of the exercise was to show NATO’s readiness to defend all Allies against any threat in a changed security environment both to the east and the south of NATO’s borders. He made clear that the measures taken by NATO are defensive, proportional, and fully in line with the Alliance’s international commitments.

Units assigned to the VJTF were given orders to deploy on 9 June and will commence redeployment on 19 June. Over 2,100 troops from nine NATO nations participated in the exercise, which continued the process of testing and refining the force. Czech and Dutch air mobile troops, German and Norwegian mechanized infantry, Polish, Lithuanian and Dutch special forces, Belgian artillery, US helicopters and a Hungarian civil military cooperation unit all played a key role.

The concept of employing NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) to enhance the ability of high-readiness troops to deploy quickly was also simulated during the exercise. These command and control units, which are currently being established in the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, are not yet operational, but an exercise element role-played their functions during exercise NOBLE JUMP in order to further develop procedures and refine the conceptual work that has been done to date.

As in Exercise NOBLE JUMP, NFIUs will work in conjunction with host nations to identify logistical networks, transportation nodes and supporting infrastructure to ensure NATO high-readiness forces can deploy into an assigned region as quickly as possible. With the help of NFIUs, some units of the VJTF will be capable of moving in just two days, with most ready to move in less than seven days.

Story by: Allied Command Operations Public Affairs Office.

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Poland: U.S., Finnish, Swedish Marines Storm Shores With U.S., Swedish Warplanes Overhead, 50 Warships Off Coast

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
June 17, 2015

Allied forces practice amphibious assault in northern Poland

Allied forces practice amphibious assault near Ustka, northern Poland, on 17 June 2015

Allied forces participated in an amphibious assault on a beach near Ustka in northern Poland on Wednesday (17 June 2015), as part of naval exercise BALTOPS.

The mock attack, aimed at defeating enemy forces occupying the coast, was commanded by the British ship HMS Ocean and the American USS San Antonio. Several waves of amphibious assault craft and two U.S. Navy hovercrafts brought approximately 700 British, US, Finnish and Swedish marines to shore, supported by US and Swedish fighter jets and attack helicopters.

“We saw an amazing exercise out on the water today,” said General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He hailed the performance of the forces involved, saying “I could not be more impressed with the job they have done.” General Breedlove called the exercise “a great example of interoperability and the capability that our NATO forces have together,” and a demonstration that “the Alliance is ready for the new security situation.”

BALTOPS is a multinational exercise held annually since 1971. This year, ships and aircraft from 17 countries, including 14 NATO Allies, are participating in the largest BALTOPS exercise ever. Overall, 49 ships and 5,600 troops are involved. BALTOPS is one of several major multinational exercises this month, including exercise Noble Jump – the first deployment test for NATO’s new quick reaction force – which is taking place in Poland from 9-19 June.

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U.S. To Continue Training Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, Other Ukrainian Guardsmen

June 19, 2015

California National Guard ready for joint drills with Ukrainian counterpart

A delegation from the National Guard of the U.S. state of California led by its commander David Baldwin has expressed its wish and readiness to help and actively participate in joint drills with the Ukrainian National Guard.

At a meeting with Ukrainian National Guard (UNG) Commander Mykola Balan at the UNG headquarters, Baldwin inquired about the course of the joint U.S.-Ukrainian drills in Yavoriv (Lviv region.) and asked him what needs to be changed in the exercise program for the Ukrainian National Guard members, what the UNG commander sees as priorities in further joint training projects, a UNG spokesperson said.

Balan informed his American counterpart about the start of training-method meetings with heads of territorial command bodies, higher-education institutions and the Training Center, as well as military unit commanders.

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U.S. Military Commander Pledges More Support For 430-Day Ukraine War

June 19, 2015

U.S. armed forces commander pledges further support for Kyiv

The political and material support the United States has provided Ukraine with will continue further, Maj. Gen. Randy Kee, the U.S. European Command’s Director of Policy and Strategy, said at a meeting with Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak on Thursday.

Poltorak thanked Kee for the U.S. support and told the foreign delegation about the events in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on its website.

“Today the situation … remains tense. Regrettably, the Minsk agreements are not being implemented and are being violated daily by the terror groups created with Russia’s help,” said Poltorak, adding that it poses a threat not only to Ukraine but to the entire world.

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Top NATO Commanders Inspect Ongoing Polish War Games

Polish Radio
June 18, 2015

NATO continues exercises in Poland

A training exercise in Poland on Thursday involving 2,100 soldiers from nine countries, was observed by NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

This is the first such NATO training exercise in Poland, and is meant to demonstrate the very high readiness of the Spearhead Force.

Stoltenberg, together with General Philip Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, as well General Jean-Paul Paloméros, the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, spoke to troops who are taking part in the exercise at the Żagań military training area in southern Poland.

“I have met troops from nine countries, working as one in this important exercise,” Stoltenberg said.

He explained that the purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate NATO’s readiness to “defend all Allies against any threat in a changed security environment both to the east and the south of NATO’s borders.”

The NATO General Secretary NATO chief is set to have talks in Warsaw with outgoing President Bronisław Komorowski and President-elect Andrzej Duda.

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German NATO Commander: Arm Russia’s Western Neighbors

June 19, 2015 1 comment

Deutsche Welle
June 19, 2015

NATO commander advocates arming Baltic and Eastern Europe to deter Russia

Eastern Europe and Baltic countries need to be fortified with arms supplies to counter the threat from Russia, a NATO commander has said. However, the possibility of Russia occupying Ukraine was unrealistic, he said.

The standoff between Russia and NATO countries prompted the NATO to build a case for arming its member states in Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

“The NATO should begin an arms deployment offensive for Baltic countries and allies in the east, before stationing heavy weapons in eastern Europe,” NATO’s Central and Eastern Europe Commander Hans-Lothar Domröse told “Die Welt” newspaper in an interview on Friday.

“We need to furnish our allies with modern and effective weapons like helicopters, howitzers, tanks, anti-aircraft rocket systems and heavy machines and train them to use the equipment,” Domröse added.

The NATO commander, who leads the NATO headquarters in Brunssum in the Netherlands, said the bloc was always ready to protect its members, but every country needed to ensure it had the capacity to protect itself. “The bigger NATO countries should sell modern weapons to their allies in Baltic at a fair price,” Domröse stressed.

The NATO’s statement comes shortly after Russia announced it was adding 40 nuclear-capable missiles in its defense arsenal. The military bloc accused Moscow of dangerous “sabre-rattling.”

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Alfred Noyes: When they talked of war, they thought of sawdust, not of blood


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

Alfred Noyes: Selections on war


Alfred Noyes
From The Wine Press: A Tale of War (1913)


They were cleanly groomed. They were
not to be bought.
And their cigars were good.
But they had pulled so many strings
In the tinselled puppet-show of kings
That, when they talked of war, they thought
Of sawdust, not of blood;

Not of the crimson tempest
Where the shattered city falls:
They thought, behind their varnished doors,
Of diplomats, ambassadors,
Budgets, and loans and boundary-lines,
Coercions and re-calls;

Forces and Balances of Power;
Shadows and dreams and dust;
And how to set their bond aside
And prove they lied not when they lied,
And which was weak, and which was strong,
But – never which was just.

Yet they were honest, honest men.
Justice could take no wrong.
The blind arbitrament of steel,
The mailed hand, the armoured heel,
Could only prove that Justice reigned
And that her hands were strong.

For they were strong. So might is right,
And reason wins the day.
And, if at a touch on a silver bell
They plunged three nations into hell,
The blood of peasants is not red
A hundred miles away.

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NATO Buildup On Russian Border: Post-World War Two Peace Is Over

Stars and Stripes
June 18, 2015

NATO allies seek ways to boost readiness beyond training
By John Vandiver

The United States is not the only NATO country considering positioning military hardware in eastern Europe as part of an alliance effort to improve its state of readiness, NATO’s top military commander said Thursday.

Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander, said the forward placement of military equipment on the alliance’s eastern flank as a deterrent to Russia was one of many measures assigned to military planners after NATO’s summit in Wales last year.

The U.S. plan to position heavy equipment in the Baltics, Poland and elsewhere in eastern Europe has been under consideration for months but recently garnered greater media attention.

“What you have heard about is one of those steps we are taking in response to decisions of senior leaders in Wales,” Breedlove told reporters in Poland, where a series of NATO exercises is underway. “Several nations are considering that request and, yes, the United States is looking at the possibilities.”

Standing in front of a NATO tank, Breedlove, together with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, talked of an alliance that was adapting to a new threat environment in Europe.

“The peaceful period after the Second World War is over,” Siemoniak said. “We cannot defend our European way of life if we don’t do more for our defense.”

The officials were on hand to observe maneuvers by NATO’s new spearhead response force, which is in the midst of its first major training exercise since it was formed last year.

More than 2,000 troops from nine NATO nations are participating in Noble Jump, one in a series of exercises aimed at refining the quick reaction unit.

Breedlove said the unit is a “great fighting and striking force” that can respond on short notice to any threat…

“It is a force for NATO in the north, south, east and west,” Breedlove said.

For NATO, forward positioning equipment at various sites in eastern Europe would streamline the logistics of conducting exercises. However, it also risks escalating tensions with Russia, which has warned of answering any such move with a buildup of its own.

Since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea Peninsula from Ukraine last year, NATO has stepped up the pace of exercises in eastern Europe. The U.S. has been rotating in forces from the United States to maintain a steady presence without permanently basing troops there.

Stoltenberg said the alliance will deliberate on plans for positioning equipment on the alliance’s eastern flank at next week’s meeting of defense ministers in Brussels, though he said no final decisions have been made.

In the case of the U.S. military, officials are looking at the possibility of putting a brigade’s worth of heavy equipment in five countries, said Siemoniak, who was in Washington last month for discussions on the proposal.

“We are prepared to host,” he said. Since Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, Poland has been aggressively pushing to be more assertive in showing it will not allow Russia to threaten its former satellite states on the alliance’s eastern periphery. “I expect this decision to be made over the next few weeks, and I do hope it is going to be a positive decision.”

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U.S. Airborne Troops Train Ukrainian Forces For Combat

173rd Airborne Brigade
June 18, 2015

First Ukrainian troops complete Fearless Guardian
Story by Sgt. Alex Skripnichuk

YAVORIV, Ukraine: Paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade finished the first rotation of Fearless Guardian here with the graduation of more than 200 soldiers from the Ukrainian national guard’s 3029th Regiment June 13, 2015.

The paratroopers are in Ukraine for Fearless Guardian at the request of the Ukrainian government to train several battalions of the newly-established Ukrainian national guard. The training is expected to last six months. Fearless Guardian is the name for the Congressionally-approved, Departments of State and Defense initiative under the Global Security Contingency Fund-Ukraine.

A graduation ceremony was conducted to mark the end of training for the 3029th Regiment soldiers.

“We have trained together, we have experienced things over these last eight weeks,” said Lt. Col. Kyle Reed, the commander of 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. “We are sure that the soldiers in this room are ready to deploy into the rigors of combat, in the defense of Ukraine.”

Paratroopers have spent more than eight weeks here training soldiers from the Ukrainian national guard, beginning with individual soldier skills including movement techniques, marksmanship skills and first aid. The soldiers progressed to squad and platoon-level exercises with the use of live ammunition, requiring the guardsmen to work together.

Soldiers from the Ukrainian national guard’s 3005 and 3001 Regiments were already arriving to begin the next rotation of Fearless Guardian as the 3029th Regiment said its goodbyes. The next rotation will incorporate much of the same training from the first rotation with some changes requested by both American and Ukrainian partners to further enhance the quality of training.

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U.S. Leads Airborne Exercise In Latvia

U.S. Army Europe
June 17, 2015

U.S., Latvian military conduct airborne training
By Staff Sgt. Brooks Fletcher


ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia: Military personnel, from the Latvian National Armed Forces, U.S. Army and Air Force, performed joint airborne training operations in conjunction with Operation Atlantic Resolve at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia, June 15.

U.S. service members, who participated in the training, are deployed to Latvia as part of Exercise Saber Strike 2015 and Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing, multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between the United States and other NATO allies.

“This was a great opportunity to utilize the existing training audience here and further validate what these exercises are all about,” said U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Capt. Zach Castle, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, or 1-10th SFG, out of Stuttgart, Germany.

The training brought together service members from a gamut of units and organizations.

This included the 1-10th SFG, 86th Airlift Wing, and 435th Contingency Response Group, out of Ramstein, Germany; the Latvian National Armed Forces, out of Riga, Latvia; the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, out of Fort Bragg, N.C.; several stateside Air National Guard Air Support Operations Squadrons; and the 5th Quartermaster Detachment, out of Kaiserslautern, Germany.

“This exercise was about integrating with one another so we can better understand one another’s capabilities,” said U.S. Air Force Jump Master Tech Sgt. Cameron Riley, who is with the 435th Contingency Response Group, out of Ramstein, Germany.

The day-long airborne operation consisted of everything from performing equipment inspections, jump procedures and techniques to participants making the 11,000-foot fall into the designated drop-zone.

In this case, an exercise such as Saber Strike 2015, a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise, this small operation further facilitates the cooperation amongst the U.S., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to improve joint operational capability in a range of missions as well as preparing the participating nations and units to support multinational contingency operations.

“Today’s [training] was not only about maximizing the training value for the individual units, but also the relationships established here in Europe,” Castle said…

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Director General Of NATO International Military Staff Visits Sweden

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
June 17, 2015

Director General of the NATO International Military Staff visits Sweden to discuss ways to enhance cooperation


Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper, Director General of the NATO International Military Staff (DGIMS) visited Sweden from 9-10 June 2015. Visiting both Ronneby Air base and Stockholm, the Director General commended Sweden for being a pro-active and effective contributor to international security, for its continued contributions to multilateral and NATO missions and expressed how valuable a partner Sweden was to NATO.

While in Stockholm Air Marshal Harper took the opportunity to meet with the Chief of Defence Staff of the Swedish Armed Forces, Lt Gen Gyllensporre with whom he discussed the potential development of practical cooperation on airspace management measures in the Baltic. They also discussed methods that might enhance coherence between Swedish and NATO exercise programmes.

During his visit to Ronneby Air Base, Air Marshal Harper was briefed on Sweden’s Air Policing mission, Baltic co-operation and discussed the ongoing and future exercise programme between NATO and Sweden. As he toured the facilities at the Air Base, Sir Chris expressed admiration for the operational capability of Sweden’s armed forces and their positive impact on international security efforts. He also explored the heavy demands that such an operational tempo places on servicemen and women, and their families, and how these pressures can be mitigated.

After receiving a briefing from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Air Marshal Harper commended Sweden’s strong engagement and continued support to NATO – led operations. These past and current operations such as Operation Unified Protector, ISAF, the peacekeeping force in Kosovo and the Resolute Support Mission, have allowed for increased interoperability between the Swedish Armed Forces and NATO. Sweden’s involvement in NATO-led operations and missions has also paved the way for enhanced opportunities for Sweden which were offered within the Partnership Interoperability Initiative‘s Enhance Opportunities Platform launched at last year’s NATO Summit in Wales.

The Director General of the International Military Staff went on to highlight Sweden’s important contribution to training the forces of NATO partner countries particularly in peacekeeping, through the Defence Education Centre SWEDINT, which has been formally recognized by NATO as a Partnership for Peace Training Centre.

Lastly, Air Marshal Harper praised Sweden’s strong engagement and effective contributions to global crisis management and defence and security capacity building: “Sweden is a great force for good. She is a considerable contributor in security and defence sector reform and is clearly keen to be involved in NATO’s future defence capability building efforts”, Air Marshal Harper concluded.

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Jean Ingelow: And the dove said, “Give us peace!”

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

Jean Ingelow
Give Us Love And Give Us Peace


One morning, oh! so early, my beloved, my beloved,
All the birds were singing blithely, as if never they would cease;
‘Twas a thrush sang in my garden, “Hear the story, hear the story!”
And the lark sang, “Give us glory!”
And the dove said, “Give us peace!”

Then I listened, oh! so early, my beloved, my beloved,
To that murmur from the woodland of the dove, my dear, the dove;
When the nightingale came after, “Give us fame to sweeten duty!”
When the wren sang, “Give us beauty!”
She made answer, “Give us love!”

Sweet is spring, and sweet the morning, my beloved, my beloved;
Now for us doth spring, doth morning, wait upon the year’s increase,
And my prayer goes up, “Oh, give us, crowned in youth with marriage glory,
Give for all our life’s dear story,
Give us love, and give us peace!”

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Estonia’s (American) President Visits U.S. Army Europe

U.S. Army Europe
June 16, 2015

President of Estonia visits Army Europe
By Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs


FRANKFURT, Germany: Estonian President Toomas Ilves paid a special visit to Army Europe headquarters here, June 13.

President Ilves met with Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges to discuss current U.S. and Estonian military relations as well as to accept the general’s invitation to speak as the guest of honor at the Army Europe Ball in Frankfurt.

Discussions ranged from Operation Atlantic Resolve, current exercises, and the current illegal Russian occupation of Crimea.

“When it comes to reassurance I think what we really need is to make sure that Russia understands that NATO is serious,” President Ilves said. “NATO will defend its allies.”

Additionally, the president spoke about the growing relationship between his nation and the U.S. The president emphasized that it is not only Estonian service members who openly welcome the U.S. presence the civilian population as well.

“We are a very pro-American country and we highly value the role the U.S. has played in defending liberty,” President Ilves emphasized. “There is fundamental belief in my country that the United States is a force for good and for freedom.”

Hodges also spoke with approximately 450 guests at the ball about the personal friendship he’s developed with President Ilves over the short time in command at Army Europe.

The general stated that it is because of the dedication and leadership of countries like Estonia that Army Europe has been able to “get it done” and keep moving forward.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.

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Poland: U.S. Air Controller In NATO War Games

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

June 17, 2015

ATC Airman keeps eyes on BALTOP mission
By Senior Airman Michael Battles
39th Air Base wing Public Affairs

POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland: One air traffic controller Airman, alongside their Polish counterparts, is the sole U.S. eyes in the sky at Powdiz Air Base during Baltic Operations 2015.

BALTOPS is a multinational maritime exercise in Poland, Sweden, Germany, and throughout the Baltic Sea, including participation from 14 NATO and three partner nations taking place June 5-20. BALTOPS is designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability, as well as demonstrate resolve of allied and partner forces to defend the Baltic region.

In support of BALTOPS, Tech. Sgt. Lauren Crowell, 100th Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, is the only U.S. personnel assigned to the BALTOPS mission at Powidz for ATC.

“I’m here at the request of Poland,” Crowell said. “I’m acting as sort of a liaison between the U.S. and Polish. There is a language barrier, so I can help to coordinate between the two countries.”

According to Crowell, she is responsible for keeping track of 16 different flights coming in and out of Powidz during her deployment. Crowell also processes requests between the U.S. and Poland, which reduces the amount of time and coordination typically needed due to the language barrier.

According to Lt. Col. Krzysztof Szymaniec, 33rd Air Transport Base Operations Group commander, the U.S. Air Force is a critical asset in accomplishing the BALTOPS mission at Powidz.

“We are a host station for different NATO countries and we have a lot of engagement to show the extent of how strong NATO is,” he said. “[BALTOPS], which is mostly about supporting the tankers … is a huge challenge for this base. Not only the training and flying, but the logistics we have to meet the expectations of our NATO partners.”

In the end, Crowell explained that BALTOPS is a perfect way for the U.S. and Poland to combine efforts to achieve one goal.

“Exercises like BALTOPS are about building relationships, along with training,” she said. “The more we get to learn about our partners and how they operate will only help us accomplish the mission in the long run.”

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Video From Poland: U.S., NATO Practice War With Russia

Categories: Uncategorized

Military Matters: Essential Partners EU, NATO Share Strategic Interests

June 17, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
June 17, 2015

Joint statement by the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker

The EU and NATO are unique and essential partners who share common values and strategic interests. We work side by side in crisis management operations, capability development and political consultations to support international peace and security.

Our cooperation is particularly important in the context of declining defence budgets in many of our Member States. We need to strengthen the potential of our strategic partnership to minimise unnecessary duplication and maximise cost-effectiveness.

We welcome efforts both by NATO Allies and EU members to enhance their defence capabilities and, in this respect, we support continuing close cooperation and complementarity between the two organizations. A stronger European Defence will contribute to a stronger NATO.

We look forward to the June European Council taking decisive steps in this regard.

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William Black: Better small farms, thriving and prosperous, than splendid ruins that tell of the fierceness of war


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

William Black: When Caesar’s legions turn on him


William Black
From Sunrise (1881)


“Well, at all events, you don’t find it very picturesque as compared with other countries. Evelyn tells me you have travelled a great deal.”

“Perhaps I am not very fond of picturesqueness,” Natalie said, modestly. “When I am travelling through a country I would rather see plenty of small farms, thriving and prosperous, than splendid ruins that tell only of oppression and extravagance, and the fierceness of war.”

No one spoke; so she made bold to continue – but she addressed Lady Evelyn only.

“No doubt it is very picturesque, as you go up the Rhine, or across the See Kreis, or through the Lombard plains, to see every height crowned with its castle. Yes, one cannot help admiring. They are like beautiful flowers that have blossomed up from the valleys and the plains below. But who tilled the land, that these should grow there on every height? Are you not forced to think of the toiling wretches who labored and labored to carry stone by stone up the crest of the hill? They did not get much enjoyment out of the grandeur and picturesqueness of the castles.”

“But they gave that labor for their own protection,” Lady Evelyn said, with a smile. “The great lords and barons were their protectors.”

“The great lords and barons said so, at least,” said the girl, without any smile at all, “and I suppose the peasantry believed them; and were quite willing to leave their vineyards and go and shed their blood whenever the great lords and barons quarrelled among themselves.”

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Video: Pentagon, NATO Practice For War In Poland

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

June 16, 2015

Video: ACO News on firing range in Poland during NATO Exercise Noble Jump

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NATO To Hold 25-Nation War Games In Bulgaria, Romania

Xinhua News Agency
June 16, 2015

NATO to hold exercise Trident Joust 2015 in Romania, Bulgaria

BRUSSELS: Twenty-five NATO nations and more than 1,000 personnel will participate in exercise Trident Joust 2015 June 18 to 28, NATO said Tuesday.

The exercice marks the first time a joint force command headquarters will deploy to Romania, and the first time a NATO response force command and control exercise will conduct the shifting of control to a deployed location.

The joint logistics support group, based out of Naples, Italy, is deploying its headquarters to Bulgaria to exercise its capability in support of the exercise.

“The exercise is designed to test the abilities of Joint Force Command Naples to lead a collective defense operation for the Alliance,” said Admiral Mark Ferguson, commander of JFC Naples.

Trident Joust 2015 is part of a larger series of exercises referred to as Allied Shield. The activities will focus on enhancing inter-operability, readiness and responsiveness among Allied and partner nations.

The Allied Shield series includes exercise Noble Jump, the first training deployment of Allied high-readiness units under the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force framework.

It also includes Baltops, a major Allied naval exercise in Poland and the Baltic Sea, and Saber Strike, a significant land exercise in the Baltic States.

In total, approximately 14,000 troops will participate in this series of training events taking place across the Alliance in June 2015.

“These exercises demonstrate that NATO is transforming and adapting to meet the new security challenges facing the Alliance as identified at the Wales Summit,” said Ferguson.

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France To Provide Georgia NATO-Standard Air Defense System

June 16, 2015 1 comment

Civil Georgia
June 16, 2015

Georgia Says Signed Deal in France to Buy ‘Air Defense System’

Tbilisi: Georgia has signed an agreement in France on procurement of an “advanced” system that will “guarantee country’s air defense” and another deal is being prepared for signing on arms purchase, Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli said on June 15.

Information is very scarce about the deal which became a source of political accusations between ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats party and the government two months ago.

Officials refuse to discuss details of the agreement, citing confidentiality of security related matters.

The Ministry of Defense has released neither type of the system the country is buying nor its price.

It has not even named the company with which the deal was signed by Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli on the sideline of the Paris Air Show on June 15.

MoD, however, released a brief video of the signing from which it is possible to understand that the agreement was penned with ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS), a joint venture of the French defence electronics group Thales and U.S. arms maker Raytheon.

TRS produces a range of ground-based surveillance radars, air defense command and control systems, as well as offers cyber capabilities.

Company’s CEO for French operations, Jérôme Bendell, signed the agreement on behalf of TRS.

A small replica of what appeared to be TRS-produced GM 200 medium range multi missions radar was seen on a table while the Georgian Defense Minister and company CEO were signing the agreement. It, however, is not clear whether the contract is about procuring this very system.

MoD-released video also shows Khidasheli observing SkyView, TRS-produced air defense command and control solution, at the Paris Air Show.

It is possible that the agreement is part of a broader defense procurement deal.

Defense Minister Khidasheli told the Georgian public broadcaster without elaborating details that she would be traveling back to France in “few weeks” to sign another agreement.

“I cannot speak about the details of the agreement we signed today [June 15]. Information about such type of procurements, weapon should be top state secret, otherwise we can now continue our conversation in Russian and they will not even need to spend money on translation to learn information about this agreement,” Khidasheli said while speaking with the Georgian public broadcaster from Paris on Monday evening.

“When the [procurement] is finalized and this weapon [system] is delivered to Georgia, we will have a capacity for the first time, which will guarantee our air defense,” she said.

“We can say that our air space will be maximally protected. Georgia is buying a type of the weapon, which is in use by the leading NATO-member states and is regarded to be one of the most advanced air defense infrastructure,” Khidasheli said.

“This is just the beginning and the first step. We are not going to end the process with it; our government has much bigger plans and very soon you will learn about another agreement, which I hope we will sign in France very soon.”

“We’ll be back in Paris in few weeks and sign one more important agreement,” Khidasheli said, refusing to discuss details of the planned new deal.

She said that “for various reasons” there was reluctance among the Western partners to go into such deals with Georgia’s previous authorities. “But now this window of opportunity has opened,” Khidasheli said. “It shows confidence towards the current authorities of Georgia.”

Also on June 15 Khidasheli met in Paris with her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

“I had a very good meeting with the French defense minister. We spoke on many issues, including on arms purchase,” Khidasheli said.

Khidasheli is Georgia’s third defense minister with whom Jean-Yves Le Drian met over the past year and a half. He met the then defense minister Irakli Alasania three times – in November, 2013; August, 2014 and October, 2014. He also met Alasania’s successor on the post Mindia Janelidze in March, 2015.

Khidasheli thanked both of her predecessors – Alasania and Janelidze – for making the agreement possible.

She also said that the terms of this agreement are “maximally beneficial” for Georgia and thanked the French side for cooperation.

In early April, Alasania claimed the government abandoned preliminary deal – a non-binding memorandum of understanding, which he negotiated in France in late October, shortly before being sacked from the cabinet, and which would have paved the way to purchasing of much-needed air defense system. The allegation was strongly denied at the time by then defense minister Mindia Janelidze, who is now secretary of the State Security and Crisis Management Council.

“I do not understand why this issue turned into a political one,” Khidasheli said. “This issue is now over; the contract is finalized.”

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Charles Dickens: Waging war to perpetuate slavery

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

Charles Dickens
From American Notes (1842)

Charles-Dickens-007 (1)

The upholders of slavery in America – of the atrocities of which system, I shall not write one word for which I have not had ample proof and warrant – may be divided into three great classes…

The second, consists of all those owners, breeders, users, buyers and sellers of slaves, who will, until the bloody chapter has a bloody end, own, breed, use, buy, and sell them at all hazards: who doggedly deny the horrors of the system in the teeth of such a mass of evidence as never was brought to bear on any other subject, and to which the experience of every day contributes its immense amount; who would at this or any other moment, gladly involve America in a war, civil or foreign, provided that it had for its sole end and object the assertion of their right to perpetuate slavery, and to whip and work and torture slaves, unquestioned by any human authority, and unassailed by any human power; who, when they speak of Freedom, mean the Freedom to oppress their kind, and to be savage, merciless, and cruel; and of whom every man on his own ground, in republican America, is a more exacting, and a sterner, and a less responsible despot than the Caliph Haroun Alraschid in his angry robe of scarlet.


When we were seated in the little ferry-boat, and were crossing the swollen river immediately before both cataracts, I began to feel what it was: but I was in a manner stunned, and unable to comprehend the vastness of the scene. It was not until I came on Table Rock, and looked – Great Heaven, on what a fall of bright-green water! – that it came upon me in its full might and majesty.

Then, when I felt how near to my Creator I was standing, the first effect, and the enduring one – instant and lasting – of the tremendous spectacle, was Peace. Peace of Mind, tranquillity, calm recollections of the Dead, great thoughts of Eternal Rest and Happiness: nothing of gloom or terror. Niagara was at once stamped upon my heart, an Image of Beauty; to remain there, changeless and indelible, until its pulses cease to beat, for ever.

Oh, how the strife and trouble of daily life receded from my view, and lessened in the distance, during the ten memorable days we passed on that Enchanted Ground! What voices spoke from out the thundering water; what faces, faded from the earth, looked out upon me from its gleaming depths; what Heavenly promise glistened in those angels’ tears, the drops of many hues, that showered around, and twined themselves about the gorgeous arches which the changing rainbows made!


Shall we cry shame on the brutality of those who hamstring cattle: and spare the lights of Freedom upon earth who notch the ears of men and women, cut pleasant posies in the shrinking flesh, learn to write with pens of red-hot iron on the human face, rack their poetic fancies for liveries of mutilation which their slaves shall wear for life and carry to the grave, breaking living limbs as did the soldiery who mocked and slew the Saviour of the world, and set defenceless creatures up for targets! Shall we whimper over legends of the tortures practised on each other by the Pagan Indians, and smile upon the cruelties of Christian men! Shall we, so long as these things last, exult above the scattered remnants of that race, and triumph in the white enjoyment of their possessions? Rather, for me, restore the forest and the Indian village; in lieu of stars and stripes, let some poor feather flutter in the breeze; replace the streets and squares by wigwams; and though the death-song of a hundred haughty warriors fill the air, it will be music to the shriek of one unhappy slave.

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Yatsenyuk: Global Conflict In The World. War With Russia In Center Of Europe.

June 15, 2015

UN not fulfills its functions, it should be reformed – Yatsenyuk


KYIV: The United Nations should be reformed, because it does not perform its basic functions.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said this in an interview with TV Channel 5, Ukrinform news agency reports.

“The United Nations should be reformed. It does not perform its main function – protection of international law, human rights and freedoms and fight against those who seize someone else’s land and violate the fundamental principles of the UN,” the head of government said.

He recalled that Russia blocked any decisions on Ukraine in the framework of the UN Security Council.

“There is the global conflict in the world. There is the war with Russia in the center of Europe. And the United Nations only holds meetings and talks and that’s it,” Yatsenyuk said.

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Poland: USANATO, Allied Troops Conduct Paratroop Exercise

June 15, 2015

USANATO, 1GNC Soldiers conduct Exercise Noble Jump in Poland
By USANATO Public Affairs

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ZAGAN, Poland: USANATO and allied Soldiers assigned to NATO’s 1st German Netherlands Corps began Exercise Noble Jump here June 12. The exercise is a first-of-its-kind NATO exercise designed to test and refine the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force concept. The VJTF has been established to enhance NATO’s ability to respond quickly to security challenges, particularly in response to threats along its southern and eastern borders.

The exercise will test the 1GNC headquarters’ ability to rapidly deploy and provide command and control to NATO forces deployed in response to a security threat, a key component of the VJTF and NATO Response Force concepts.

During the exercise, 1GNC Soldiers will establish a joint operations center and command an attached brigade during a simulated security crisis.

“We’ve deployed elements of our entire headquarters from Muenster to Poland to train our staff to lead attached NATO brigades when required,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeff Thurnher, a 1GNC staff legal advisor.

Alongside 1GNC personnel, the United States Army NATO brigade has deployed a Deployment Support Team tasked with providing direct support to USANATO Soldiers deployed with 1GNC staff. For USANATO Brigade, the deployment marks the first exercise of its Deployment Support Team concept since the Brigade’s restructuring in 2012. The Deployment Support Team will fill a critical need to U.S. Soldiers who deploy with NATO headquarters.

“The different NATO headquarters may have to deploy to areas without established support networks,” said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Quintanar, a USANATO Brigade Deployment Support Team non-commissioned officer. “Our job is to provide USANATO Soldiers with national logistic and administrative support while they conduct their NATO missions.”

United States Army Europe is also supporting the NATO exercise with a UH60 Black Hawk helicopter task force. Task Force Brawler from the 3rd Infantry Division is currently deployed to Europe with rotational regionally-aligned forces from the U.S. for Operation Atlantic Resolve. The helicopters will be used by NATO Soldiers for air assault training during the exercise.

Exercise Noble Jump will train participants from nine member-nations and conclude June 19.


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War Fighting Scenario: 20-Nation NATO Drills In Greece

NATO Rapid Deployable Corps – Greece
June 15, 2015


Exercise GORDIAN KNOT ’15 – NRDC-GR High Readiness Force “Combat Ready”
By Public Affairs Office

Exercise GORDIAN KNOT ’15 (GOKT-15) has reached its “aiming for excellence”, featuring high intensity scenario operations with an intensive battle rhythm, presenting challenges and opportunities to all participants, and supporting Allied and National entities in the area of Thessaloniki in Macedonia region of Northern Greece.

The exercise, running from Tuesday, June the 2nd through Friday the 12th, brought together a total of 1628 military personnel from 20 NATO nations, representing 40 NATO and National Headquarters, for training and further improvement of skills and capabilities, in a clear multinational posture and mindset. The exercise, used as a vehicle to promote and sustain our nations’ common interests and the Alliance’s commitments to the collective defense principles, challenged by a Combat Readiness Evaluation (CREVAL) as it was scheduled with an evaluation team provided by NATO Land Command (LANDCOM) and monitored by SHAPE.

The exercise placed the HQ in a war fighting scenario, forcing the whole team to tackle the kind of issues featured in news headlines around the world. In order to find solutions in a rigorous and complex operational environment new system capabilities and strategies were pushed. The scenario of the exercise deals with the activation of the collective defense under Article 5 of the Alliance.

NRDC-GR Commander’s Lieutenant General Ilias LEONTARIS’ vision as it was pointed out states that our headquarters will remain a key player within the Graduated Readiness Forces (Land) community and will sustain its credibility and reputation within the NATO environment. At the same time NRDC-GREECE will be used a training tool by transferring knowledge and promoting techniques and NATO procedures to the Greek and Allied personnel of the HQs and will be used as a pool of well-trained Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the field of NATO Doctrine, Training, Procedures and evaluation domains, available to Armed Forces and NATO Command Structure/NATO Force Structure Headquarters.

He added that he recognizes this event as a high value target and as a milestone for the evolution of this HQ towards Joint Command and Control Capabilities (JC2C) and as a useful tool to secure the commitment of Greece to the Alliance. Starting from the 2nd semester of 2015 and in close coordination and cooperation with the Framework Nation and Troop Contributing Nations (TCNs), NRDC-GREECE will start the evolution process to transform into JHQ in order to be ready to assume the Joint Task Force (JTF) HQ role in the future.

Commander LANDCOM and Chief of the Evaluation Team Lt. General (USA) John NICHOLSON highlighted during his final evaluation report, “I am very confident that NRDC-GR is ready to undertake any command and control of NATO operations.” “An exceptional commander and an excellent staff well-trained and contributing at a higher level, led to an excellent performance that reflects internal and external collaboration,” the General added. In his remarks on the Exercise’s penultimate day, he praised the preparation and cross staff coordination of the participants, saying that they demonstrated professionalism, will, and were “overall excellent.”

Lt. General Ilias LEONTARIS, in his following remarks, highlighted, “I am very satisfied with the results of Ex. GOKT 15, and I am proud of my staff. We could not reach our objectives without the participation of all Troop Contributing Nations, and we promise that we will continue this effort.” He ended stating, “The future belongs to them that work for it and NRDC-GR is working for the future”.

On the Distinguished Visitor’s Day, on the 12th of June 2015, a press conference took place in the Exercise Area, where a NATO Media Operations Center established for the purpose of the exercise. General NICOLSON reconfirmed during his interaction with the media representatives the declaration of “Combat Ready” for NRDC-GR HQ and the strong bond between the two HQs, LANDCOM and NRDC-GR. The GORDIAN KNOT 15 has been a great success. It was an important step for the way ahead of NRDC-GR towards the allied goal of “NATO FORCES FOR THE FUTURE”.

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Émile Zola: Bloody pages of history, the wars, the conquests, the names of the captains who had butchered their fellow-beings.


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

Émile Zola: Selections on war


Émile Zola
From Truth (1902)
Translated by Ernest A. Vizetelly


From the very outset Marc combated the system by which violence, terror, and folly were inculcated in so many children. The right of the stronger, massacre, carnage, the devastation and razing of cities – all those things were set before the young, glorified in books, pictures, and constant, almost hourly, lessons. Great was the display of the bloody pages of history, the wars, the conquests, the names of the captains who had butchered their fellow-beings. The minds of children were enfevered by the crash of arms, by nightmares of slaughter steeping the plains in blood. In the prize books given to them, in the little papers published for their perusal, on the very covers of their copy-books, their eyes encountered the savagery of armies, the burning of fleets, the everlasting calamity of man sinking to the level of a wolf…In that manner one fashioned only slaves, flesh flt to serve the master’s capricious purposes. And indeed that education of blind faith and perpetual extermination was based on the necessity of ever having soldiers ready to defend the established and iniquitous order of things.

Yet what an antiquated idea it was to cultivate human energy by lessons of warfare! It corresponded with the times when the sword alone decided questions between nation and nation, and between kings and their subjects. But nowadays, if nations still guard themselves – as they do, in formidable fashion, full of anxious dread lest everything should collapse – who will dare to say that victory will rest with the warlike nations? Who, on the contrary, cannot see that the triumphant nation of to-morrow will be that which defeats the others on the economic fleld, by reorganising the conditions of human toil, and by bringing more justice and happiness to mankind?


The narrow doctrine that one’s sole purpose should be to make soldiers of Frenchmen filled him with grief and anger. On the morrow of the disasters of 1870 such a programme may have had its excuse; and yet all the unrest of years and years, the whole abominable crisis of the present times has proceeded from that programme, from having placed one’s supreme hope in the army, from having abandoned the democracy to military leaders. If it be still necessary to guard oneself, surrounded as one is by neighbours in arms, it is yet more necessary to become workers, free and just citizens, such as those to whom to-morrow will belong. On the day when France knows it and wills it, on the day when she becomes a nation freed from error, the armour-plated empires around her will crumble beneath the breath of truth and justice emanating from her lips – a breath which will achieve that which can never be accomplished by all her armies and her guns. Nations awaken nations, and on the day when, one by one, the nations rise, enlightened, instructed by example, the world will witness the victory of peace, the end of war. Marc could imagine for his country no more splendid role than that of hastening the day when all countries would mingle in one. Thus he kept a strict watch over his pupils’ books, replacing as far as possible all pictures and descriptions of spurious miracles and bloody battles by others which dealt with the truths of science and the fruitful labours of mankind.

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Decision On Deployment Of U.S. Heavy Armament In Poland To Be Made Soon

Xinhua News Agency
June 14, 2015

Decision on U.S. heavy armament deployment in Poland to be made soon: Polish official

WARSAW: A decision on deployment of U.S. heavy armament in Poland is to be made any time soon, Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said on Sunday.

According to Poland’s Ministry of National Defence website, the U.S. Department of Defence considers the deployment of heavy armaments in Eastern Europe. Poland is one of the considered places of deployment, others being Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and perhaps Hungary.

Siemoniak stated that Poland had been seeking an increased U.S. military presence in Poland and at the eastern flank of NATO for some time.

He emphasized that “it is easy to move the troops, while it is good to have the heavy armament located closely to places of potential conflict.”

The heavy armament being the subject of bilateral talks will include tanks and infantry fire trucks, which in case of danger can be used by a brigade of 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers.

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America’s NATO Chief Consolidates Sweden’s NATO Integration

June 14, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
June 12, 2015

NATO Deputy Secretary General stresses importance of shared values in visit to Sweden


NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow welcomed Sweden’s deep partnership with the Alliance in a visit to Stockholm on Friday (12 June 2015). “The reason Sweden is such a close and long-standing partner of NATO is not simply because we face the same challenges but because we share the same values,” he said. In a speech to the “Folk och Försvar” (People and Defence) forum, Ambassador Vershbow called Sweden’s cooperation with NATO a “win-win situation for us all,” saying “we share the same dedication to building a safer and more secure world.”

The Deputy Secretary General warned that both NATO and its partners face a deteriorating security situation in the Middle East and North Africa; “the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks” on our streets; and a resurgent Russia undermining the peaceful order in Europe. Ambassador Vershbow underlined that NATO is “responding to the rising security challenges in the east and the south” by reinforcing its collective defence. He stressed that NATO must be ready to work closely with partners to deter and defend against new challenges, including hybrid threats.

Later on Friday, Ambassador Vershbow delivered remarks at the Institute for Security and Development Policy on NATO and its relations with East Asia. “Both East Asia and Europe face an increasingly volatile security environment,” he said. “By supporting our partners across the globe – near and far, practically and politically – the NATO Alliance can help to foster stability around the world.”

While in Stockholm, Ambassador Vershbow also had separate meetings with Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist.

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France Joins NATO Integrated Air And Missile Defence System

June 14, 2015 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Air Command

June 11, 2015

France becomes part of NATINAMDS


After thorough preparation and planning, jointly and effectively coordinated between the French and NATO Headquarters, France agreed to declare its assets eligible for NATO Air Policing duties over the French airspace and neighboring countries as of 01 June 2015. After a short period of time, necessary to update and implement the required operational and tactical baseline documentation, French airspace has been included in the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS) as of 10 June, essential to NATO’s air and missile defence policy and the cornerstone to the Alliance’s collective defence.

NATO assumes responsibility for monitoring airspace over the SACEUR’s area of responsibility. For the airspace over France, this responsibility is shared between Allied Air Command’s two Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs). The first, CAOC Uedem, located in Germany monitors all Northern NATO airspace including the north of France; and, likewise, CAOC Torrejon, located in Spain, monitors Southern NATO airspace including the south of France. This split is unique to NATO allies and demonstrates the special relationships and interoperability shared across the Alliance. This integration across Allied Air Command and the coordination between France and the CAOCs reflects emerging air command control capabilities for the Alliance’s collective defence mission.

“France is now fully integrated into the NATINAMDS”, says Lieutenant-General Dominique de Longvilliers, Deputy Commander of Allied Air Command. “As with every other Ally, French sovereignty is maintained through air policing. It is an important step forward for the Alliance, which now has the responsibility to monitor and perform peacetime Air Policing mission over a seamless airspace from Spain to Norway and from Western Atlantic coast to Eastern border of Turkey. We will continue to fine-tune our command and control procedures during the upcoming months to ensure NATO’s high standard of interoperability as well as the Alliance’s security. However, we already know we are on the right track. Indeed, this morning at 11h09 a French Mirage 2000 was requested by CAOC Uedem to takeoff against a military target for exercise. At 11h19, the M 2000 was airborne and at 11h35 the target was successfully intercepted.”

Story by: Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office.

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Stephen Spender: Automata controlled by the mechanism of war, meaningless struggle between potential ashes to gain a world of ashes


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

Stephen Spender: Lecture on Hell: battle against totalitarian war

Stephen Spender: Ultima Ratio Regum

Stephen Spender: The Woolfs in the 1930s: War the inevitable result of an arms race.


Stephen Spender
From World Within World (1948)


Although the air raids stopped, or happened only at rare intervals, this picture of the aeroplane over the huge plain with the people concealed in crevices, can be enlarged to a vision of the new phase of the domination and threat by machine-power politics, which the world had now entered and which did not end with the peace. The aeroplane filled ever widening circles in the minds of people beneath it; but the pilot and even the officers who commanded him at bases, their masters in governments and the vanquished and victors of the war, were diminished, until it seemed that they no longer had wills of their own, but were automata controlled by the mechanism of war.


From now on, the fate of individuals was more and more controlled by a public fate which itself seemed beyond control. For control implies not only merely putting a machine into motion, but also being able to make it stop: modern war is a machine easy to make start, but it can only be stopped at the moment when it has destroyed or been destroyed by another war machine. Control means being able to relate a program of action to the results of that action. Now we had arrived at a stage when a large part of the resources of great nations were poured into programs of which no one could foresee the results. All this was only leading to subsequent plans for making atomic and hydrogen bombs to defend East against West or West against East in a meaningless struggle between potential ashes to gain a world of ashes…


Lying awake during air raids I would think of the young pilots trained by both sides to believe that the destruction of a city was an abstract task or “precision bombing” without consideration of the people whose homes were being destroyed; of the young men being trained to the brutal enterprises of Commandos and Paratroopers; and of the children, either at the mercy of the bombers in the cities, or torn away and evacuated into the houses of strangers in the country. It seemed clear that – whatever the plans of governments – the peace would be a period of struggling to impose a pattern of reasonable behavior on a population that had been systematically demoralized…

How could the war result in anything but more bitterness and hatred, and a general acceptance of further wars, which would destroy all plans?

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Latvia: U.S. Army Europe Commander Officiates Over Anti-Russian War Games

16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
June 12, 2015

USAREUR CG, dignitaries visit Saber Strike exercise in Latvia
Story by Sgt. Brooks Fletcher


ADAZI MILITARY BASE, Latvia: U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the Minister of Defense and soon-to-be president of Latvia, Raimonds Vejonis, and several additional dignitaries visited Saber Strike 2015 training exercises here, June 10-11.

The visit demonstrated USAREUR’s expeditionary capabilities in a multinational training environment, which included everything from close air support missions utilizing A-10 aircraft from the Maryland Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Squadron, 175th Wing to squad movement operations performed by Norwegian Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion and British Army’s Royal Gurkas Rifles.

“Working together is essential,” Hodges said. “In all of the exercises we’ve done, you see the quality [in our efforts]. I have so much confidence in all of our allies here. It’s important that we keep practicing together to continue building upon that confidence.”

Saber Strike, a long-standing, multilateral, multifaceted, USAREUR-led security cooperation exercise conducted annually since 2010, aims to improve the capabilities of the participating nations for future contingency operations.

“To keep the high level of interoperability that we have maintained over the years, and improve upon it, is a very powerful demonstration from NATO,” said the Latvian Ambassador to NATO Maris Riekstins. “We are preparing for every potential threat and every potential scenario; even those that are unlikely to take place. We are tirelessly reiterating our position to develop partner-ship relations.”

The two-week exercise spans multiple locations, which includes Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Estonia, and involves approximately 6,000 personnel from 14 nations: U.S., Finland, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Canada, and Slovenia.

“We have exercised and trained useable forces,” said Joint Force Commander Gen. Hans-Lothar Domro. “NATO is a family of like-minded nations and we are all ready to defend and demonstrate that NATO is a capable, willing, well-equipped and trained force.”

Through Saber Strike 2015, participating nations will validate a variety of joint capabilities; all in the name of sustaining and enhancing multinational partnership.

“The investment you see here today is important,” Hodges concluded. “To see the countries here making that investment makes us a better alliance. None of us are ever going to fight alone.”

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Poland: War Games Prepare NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Polish Armed Forces General Command

June 11, 2015

Poland Prepares to Support Exercise NOBLE JUMP

Zagan, Poland: National units comprising NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) are currently in the process of deploying to western Poland, where the ‘spearhead’ will conduct manoeuvres for the first time during Exercise NOBLE JUMP from 9-19 June. Critical to the success of any military training is the support provided by the host nation, and Polish authorities are working overtime to ensure NOBLE JUMP is a success.

During NATO exercises, the host nation is normally responsible for the reception of deployed troops at transportation hubs and their onward movement to training areas. Other areas of responsibility include the provision of logistics including fuel, water, food, medical support, and accommodation. These responsibilities are very similar to some of the roles that will be undertaken by NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs), which are currently being established in the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. These command and control units are not yet operational, but an exercise element is role-playing their functions in Poland order to further develop procedures and refine the conceptual work that has been done to date. As in Exercise NOBLE JUMP, NFIUs will work in conjunction with host nations to identify logistical networks, transportation nodes and supporting infrastructure to ensure NATO high-readiness forces can deploy into an assigned region as quickly as possible. With the help of NFIUs, some units of the VJTF will be capable of moving in just two days, with most ready to move in less than seven days.

“The main task for Poland during the first phase of Exercise NOBLE JUMP is providing quality host nation support to the deploying troops as the arrive,” said Colonel Artur Kepczynski, Chief of the Polish Host Nation Coordination Centre. “Once these forces have arrived, they will be joined by Polish units and the operational activity in the Zagan training area will begin,” he said.

Poland has hosted numerous NATO and Allied exercises in the past, including Exercise STEADFAST JAZZ in 2013, which was one of the largest NATO exercises conducted in the last decade. This experience will be a major benefit to Polish military officials who face the current challenge of rapidly deploying NATO VJTF forces from eight Allied nations into Poland for this important training event.

“To provide this crucial host nation support, we are involving several Polish military units including 4th Regional Logistic Base, 1st and 10th Logistic Brigades, 11th Armored Cavalry Division and several others, including civilian companies,” said Colonel Kepczynski. “This is certainly a major challenge, but I am very confident in the abilities of the Polish Armed Forces to provide first-rate support,” he said.

Story by: Polish Armed Forces General Command

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Joseph Conrad: With earth soaked in blood, all men seek some formula of peace


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

Joseph Conrad: Firing into a continent, a touch of insanity in the proceeding

Joseph Conrad: In modern war mankind cannot resist the temptation to use any stealthy, murderous contrivance

Joseph Conrad: Men go mad in protest against “peculiar sanity” of war

Joseph Conrad: Moral cannibals feeding on each other’s misfortunes: ‘It’s a damned bad war, but it’s better than no war at all.’


Joseph Conrad
From Under Western Eyes (1911)


There must be a wonderful soothing power in mere words since so many men have used them for self-communion. Being myself a quiet individual I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace. Certainly they are crying loud enough for it at the present day.


“I must own to you that I shall never give up looking forward to the day when all discord shall be silenced. Try to imagine its dawn! The tempest of blows and of execrations is over; all is still; the new sun is rising, and the weary men united at last, taking count in their conscience of the ended contest, feel saddened by their victory, because so many ideas have perished for the triumph of one, so many beliefs have abandoned them without support. They feel alone on the earth and gather close together. Yes, there must be many bitter hours! But at last the anguish of hearts shall be extinguished in love.”

And on this last word of her wisdom, a word so sweet, so bitter, so cruel sometimes, I said good-bye to Natalia Haldin. It is hard to think I shall never look any more into the trustful eyes of that girl – wedded to an invincible belief in the advent of loving concord springing like a heavenly flower from the soil of men’s earth, soaked in blood, torn by struggles, watered with tears.

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European Parliament: NATO, Pentagon Must Militarily Dominate Black Sea

June 11, 2015

NATO should preserve superiority in Black Sea – EP resolution

KYIV: NATO should preserve its general naval and air superiority in the Black Sea Basin.

This is stated in the European Parliament resolution on the strategic military situation in the Black Sea Basin following the annexation of Crimea by Russia, adopted in Strasbourg on Thursday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“The European Parliament underlines that NATO should preserve its general naval and air superiority in the Black Sea Basin and maintain its capacity to monitor the area,” the document says.

The resolution also notes the vital importance of the coordination between NATO and the United States as the Black Sea Basin is a key element of Euro-Atlantic security.

In addition, the MEPs call on the EU to support a reinforced OSCE presence and new OSCE initiatives in the region aiming at easing the security situation.

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Poland: NATO Prepares For 25,000-Troop Response Force Exercise

13th Public Affairs Detachment
June 11, 2015

Steadfast Cobalt 15 hosts Distinguished Visitors Day
Story by Sgt. Brandon Anderson

WALCZ, Poland: NATO leaders gathered June 2 in Walcz, Poland to observe Steadfast Cobalt 15, an annual multinational communications exercise.

The visit allowed representatives to see the progress being made in NATO’s communications capabilities, as they toured the grounds of the annual exercise.

Over the past two weeks, about 1,000 exercise participants — nearly twice as many as the previous year — from 24 nations have worked together in a simulated operational environment to build and test their ability to communicate with NATO forces across their various mission command systems.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Welton Chase Jr., director of C4 (Command, Control, Communications, and Computers)/Cyber, U.S. European Command, said during the visit he was proud of the things being accomplished here and looked forward to seeing continued progress in establishing interoperability between the partner nations.

“This exercise really sets the conditions that allow us to work through the details that enable interoperability, and what that translates to for U.S. forces is more capability on the ground,” said Chase. “To understand where we are, where our buddies are, to have that common understanding, and then to mass effects where we need to in order to deter our adversaries.”

On his tour of Steadfast Cobalt, Chase visited with the Soldiers of Company A, 44th Signal Battalion, 2nd Signal Brigade, who have been providing communications support to the U.S. participants.

Spc. Kenneth Bradley, a multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer assigned to Company A, said having Brig. Gen. Chase come and see their work meant a great deal to him and the other members of his team.

“It’s a good feeling to have him come by and recognize all of our hard work,” said Bradley, who went on to describe their team’s success in providing a fast satellite uplink for the U.S. contingent’s tactical network. “We got up on service interoperability the first time.”

As the exercise comes to a close later in the week, the U.S. team realizes the work they’ve accomplished thus far will only enhance their ability to work together with other NATO nations and serve as a foundation on which to build.

Reflecting on the work that’s taken place, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Douglas Zadow, chief, Mission Command Support Division of U.S. Army Europe, said the Soldiers here have been able to do great things, but there are lessons they will carry forward for their next mission.

“We’re learning new ways to incorporate NATO into our systems, and it’s a big challenge from the way we’ve done business in the past, but it looks like it’s the way we’ll be doing business in the future when NATO takes the lead and the U.S. is a part of that command,” said Zadow.

Zadow emphasized one of the biggest lessons they’ve learned is that when the U.S. is not in charge, it’s still vital to able to jump in and join a network where they follow another organization’s procedures.

As the U.S. team leaves Steadfast Cobalt 15, they’ll have the opportunity to put the skills they’ve acquired into practice.

The progress achieved during Steadfast Cobalt 15 will directly shape future NATO operations, as this exercise will certify the allies’ communication network for the NATO Response Force, whose culminating annual Exercise Trident Juncture will include over 25,000 troops from multiple partner nations.

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