Archive for April, 2011

Alfred Noyes: The Wine Press

April 30, 2011 1 comment


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

Alfred Noyes: Selections on war


Alfred Noyes
From The Wine Press (1913)

A murdered man, ten miles away,
Will hardly shake your peace,
Like one red stain upon your hand;
And a tortured child in a distant land
Will never check one smile to-day,
Or bid one fiddle cease.

The News

It comes along a little wire,
Sunk in a deep sea;
It thins in the clubs to a little smoke
Between one joke and another joke,
For a city in flames is less than the fire
That comforts you and me.

The Diplomats

Each was honest after his way,
Lukewarm in faith, and old;
And blood, to them, was only a word,
And the point of a phrase their only sword,
And the cost of war, they reckoned it
In little disks of gold.

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.

The Charge

Slaughter! Slaughter! Slaughter!
The cold machines whirred on.
And strange things crawled amongst the wheat
With entrails dragging round their feet,
And over the foul red shambles
A fearful sunlight shone.…

The maxims cracked like cattle-whips
Above the struggling hordes.
They rolled and plunged and writhed like snakes
In the trampled wheat and the blackthorn brakes,
And the lightnings leapt among them
Like clashing crimson swords.

The rifles flogged their wallowing herds,
Flogged them down to die.
Down on their slain the slayers lay,
And the shrapnel thrashed them into the clay,
And tossed their limbs like tattered birds
Thro’ a red volcanic sky.

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U.S. And NATO Allies Initiate Libyan Scenario For Syria

April 30, 2011

U.S. And NATO Allies Initiate Libyan Scenario For Syria
Rick Rozoff

On April 29 the White House issued an executive order to enforce new and more stringent sanctions against Syria and appealed to European North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to follow suit.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives President Barack Obama wrote, “I have determined that the Government of Syria’s human rights abuses….constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, and warrant the imposition of additional sanctions.”

His order targeted among others Syrian President Bashar Assad’s brother Mahir and cousin Atif Najib and also included – in an indication that broader objectives are also being pursued however tenuous, even farfetched, the link – the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, with the presidential demarche contending: “Despite the Government of Iran’s public rhetoric claiming revolutionary solidarity with people throughout the region, Iran’s actions in support of the Syrian regime place it in stark opposition to the will of the Syrian people.”

Immediately afterward a White House official threatened that President Assad himself could be sanctioned next.

On February 25 Obama issued a comparable – in fact an almost identical – order against Libya, only ten days after anti-government protests began in the nation and three weeks before U.S. cruise missiles and bombs landed on its soil.

Employing a standard template in which only proper and place names need be changed, the earlier version stated:

“I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close associates have taken extreme measures against the people of Libya…The foregoing circumstances…pose a serious risk to its stability, thereby constituting an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.” [1]

One cannot help be reminded of the couplet of Percy Bysshe Shelley:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Washington seized $32 billion dollars worth of Libyan assets in the U.S., with special emphasis placed on those belonging to “any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State…to be a senior official of the Government” or “to be a child of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi.”

Twenty-two days later bombing missions and missile attacks were unleashed against Libya, initially under U.S. Africa Command’s Operation Odyssey Dawn and since March 31 through NATO’s Operation Unified Protector, which are continuing into their seventh week.

Libya and Syria are the only two Mediterranean nations and the sole remaining Arab states that are not subordinated to U.S. and NATO designs for control of the Mediterranean Sea Basin and the Middle East.

Neither has participated in NATO’s almost ten-year-old Operation Active Endeavor naval patrols and exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and neither is a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership which includes most regional countries: Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania. Lebanon is subject to a naval and internal (that is, on its border with Syria) blockade run overwhelmingly by NATO nations under the post-2006 expanded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon mission.

Jordan and Morocco are supporting the NATO war against Libya and members of another NATO partnership program – the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative – Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are supplying fighter-bombers for combat missions over Libya. Fellow Istanbul Cooperation Initiative partner Kuwait announced on April 24 that it will grant $180 million to pay the salaries of employees of the rebel Transitional National Council in Libya.

With renewed efforts earlier this year to recruit Cyprus into NATO’s Partnership for Peace transitional program [2] – member Sweden, for example, has provided eight Gripen warplanes for the campaign against Libya – Libya and Syria were prospectively the last outposts of independence and non-alignment in the entire Mediterranean region.

On April 24, Easter Sunday, three leading members of the patrician branch of the U.S. regime (and effective modern-day proconsuls) – Senators John McCain, who had just returned from meeting with Libyan insurgents in Benghazi, and Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham – appeared on CNN’s “State Of The Union” program, the first two live and the other in a segment taped two days before.

In what Americans and the rest of the world have come to accept as specimens of U.S. foreign policy expertise, international diplomacy and seasoned statesmanship, Lieberman stated that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 “gives justification if NATO decides it wants to, for going directly after Gadhafi,” and Graham added that “my recommendation to NATO and the administration is to cut the head of the snake off, go to Tripoli, start bombing Gadhafi’s inner circle, their compounds, their military headquarters.”

McCain and Graham are Republicans and Lieberman is a self-described independent who caucuses with Democratic Party colleagues in the Senate and was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000. The once almost second-in-command of the world’s sole military superpower, to use Obama’s phrase, added: “You can’t get into a fight with one foot.” The transition from republic to empire cost Rome the eloquence of Cicero. The United States has nothing to lose on that score.

Graham, further working himself into a frenzy of unbridled bellicosity and not to be outdone by his colleague in either fury or coarse bluster, asserted that “the goal is to get rid of Gadhafi” and added “Let’s get this guy gone.”

He offered these specifics:

“The people around Gadhafi need to wake up every day wondering, ‘Will this be my last?’ The military commanders in Tripoli supporting Gadhafi should be pounded.” As the expression has it, beating – or more accurately killing – the servant to punish the master. The model of interstate relations the imperial metropolis is enforcing around the world with the resources of the most powerful military machine in history.

To demonstrate to Russia and China, nuclear powers and veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, how much their obsequious compliance in allowing the U.S. and its NATO allies to launch the war against Libya by abstaining on the March 17 Security Council vote has gained them respect and gratitude as “responsible” partners on the global stage, Graham also said:

“You can’t let the Russians and the Chinese veto the freedom agenda. So any time you go to the United Nations Security Council, you run into the Russians and the Chinese. These are quasi-dictatorships, so I wouldn’t be locked down by the U.N. mandate.”

Lieberman, not content with a Libyan campaign that will soon enter its third month on the calendar with no indication of abating, advocated the replication of its lead-up in regard to Syria, calling for the seizing of government officials’ assets and an arms embargo against the nation he took pains to link with Iran.

In his words, “This is a moment of extraordinary opportunity for the cause of freedom in Syria, and it has tremendous strategic significance for the region.”

On April 28 Lieberman, McCain and Graham released a joint statement targeting Syria in earnest, which opens with this paragraph:

“The escalating crackdown by Bashar al Assad’s regime against the Syrian people has reached a decisive point. By following the path of Moammar Qaddafi and deploying military forces to crush peaceful demonstrations, Assad and those loyal to him have lost the legitimacy to remain in power in Syria. We urge President Obama to state unequivocally – as he did in the case of Qaddafi and Mubarak – that it is time for Assad to go. The President should take tangible diplomatic and economic measures to isolate and pressure the Assad regime, including through targeted sanctions against Assad himself and other regime officials who are responsible for gross human rights abuses.” [3]

From “Let’s get this guy [Gaddafi] gone” to “it is time for Assad to go” in four days.

The following day the Obama administration in large measure obliged them.

The U.S. and its NATO allies have, in addition to U.S. Sixth Fleet and NATO Active Endeavor military assets permanently deployed in the Mediterranean, warplanes, warships and submarines engaged in the assault against Libya that can be used against Syria at a moment’s notice.

On April 27 Russia and China evidently prevented the U.S. and its NATO allies from pushing through an equivalent of Resolution 1973 against Syria in the Security Council, with Russian deputy ambassador to the UN Alexander Pankin stating that the current situation in Syria “does not present a threat to international peace and security.” Syria is Russia’s last true partner in the Mediterranean and the Arab world and hosts one of only two Russian overseas naval bases, that at Tartus. (The other being in Ukraine’s Crimea.)

Last May Russian President Dmitry Medvedev became the first Soviet or Russian head of state to visit Syria where he pledged assistance in developing the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure and discussed constructing a nuclear power station.

However, blocked in the Security Council this time, the West has resorted to unilateral, what it refers to as “coalitional,” expedients, the first of which is Obama’s executive order.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal circulated a draft for a Resolution 1973-type initiative against Syria earlier in the week, failing which Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain later on the 27th demanded the Syrian ambassadors to their countries condemn their government’s actions at home.

Synchronized with the U.S. action on the 29th, the European Union announced it plans to impose a wide range of sanctions against Syria including the now typical portfolio of travel bans, the freezing of assets and an arms embargo.

What is underway currently is the realization of the former George W. Bush administration’s project for “regime change” in Syria of six years ago following the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in Lebanon and the subsequent Cedar Revolution – a term coined by then-U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky – the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country and the recall of the American ambassador from Damascus.

In 2005 the major Western powers – the U.S., Britain, France and Germany – acted against Syria in the United Nations. At the time Russia and China blocked more punishing measures than were taken under Security Council Resolution 1636 in October of that year.

In the same month Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz acknowledged that Syria could be the target of American military action, saying “I won’t be surprised if Syria gets a red card,” according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

Shortly before National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and the State Department’s Karen Hughes visited Turkey where, according to the Turkish Daily News, “Both U.S. officials said the Washington administration is in search of ways to facilitate a change of regime in Syria.”

Six years ago American and allied plans for overthrowing the government of Syria through subversion, military aggression or a combination of both were being justified by accusations of Syria’s alleged role in the Hariri killing, subversion of the U.S. client regime in Iraq and support for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Today the rationale is that used for the war against Libya: The violent suppression of protests.

Justifications change. Political, particularly geopolitical, objectives do not.

2) Cyprus: U.S. To Dominate All Europe, Mediterranean Through NATO
Stop NATO, March 3, 2011
Libyan War And Control Of The Mediterranean
Stop NATO, March 25, 2011

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Stephen Crane: War Is Kind


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

American writers on peace and against war

Stephen Crane: An Episode of War

Stephen Crane: There was crimson clash of war


Stephen Crane
War Is Kind (1899)

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind,
Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them.
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom –
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbles in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind!

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Richard Le Gallienne: The Illusion of War

April 27, 2011 Comments off


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

American writers on peace and against war

Richard Le Gallienne: Is this to be strong, ye nations, your vulgar battles to fight?


Richard Le Gallienne
The Illusion of War (1915)

I abhor,
And yet how sweet
The sound along the marching street
Of drum and fife, and I forget
Wet eyes of widows, and forget
Broken old mothers, and the whole
Dark butchery without a soul.

Without a soul – save this bright drink
Of heady music, sweet as hell;
And even my peace-abiding feet
Go marching with the marching street,
For yonder, yonder goes the fife,
And what care I for human life!
The tears fill my astonished eyes
And my full heart is like to break,
And yet ’tis all embannered lies,
A dream those little drummers make.

O it is wickedness to clothe
Yon hideous grinning thing that stalks
Hidden in music, like a queen
That in a garden of glory walks,
Till good men love the thing they loathe.
Art, thou hast many infamies,
But not an infamy like this;
O snap the fife and still the drum,
And show the monster as she is.

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NATO Observes Easter By Intensifying Bombardment Of Libya

April 26, 2011 3 comments

April 26, 2011

NATO Observes Easter By Intensifying Bombardment Of Libya
Rick Rozoff

As it has done daily since it assumed control of the air war and naval blockade against Libya on March 31, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on April 25 posted on its website a report on the number and nature of air missions flown by warplanes assigned to it over Libya the preceding day.

The North Atlantic Alliance flew 143 sorties on April 24, of which 62 were described as strike sorties; that is, air deployments involved in the dropping of bombs and firing of missiles. As of the above date, NATO aircraft had flown a total of 3,725 sorties and 1,550 strike sorties since the Western military bloc took command of the war against Libya from U.S. Africa Command’s Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn. By April 25 the figures had risen to almost 4,000 and over 1,600, respectively.

April 24 was Easter Sunday, this year on the same date for Western Christendom and Orthodox Christianity. The most sacred day on the calendar for two billion Christians.

France, Britain and other NATO powers in fact bombed Libya throughout Holy Week, during which 848 total air missions and 501 strike sorties were flown.

On Easter Sunday, when almost a third of humanity celebrated the resurrection of the Prince of Peace, NATO acknowledged bombing government targets in and near the cities of Misrata, Sirte, Mizdah and Zintan.

Hours later NATO warplanes bombed the residence of Muammar Gaddafi, wounding 45 people, 15 seriously.

Three days before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the Netherlands and, invoking the U.S. and NATO war against Yugoslavia twelve years earlier, said:

“We’ve been at this a relatively short period of time. I would remind you that the United States and other partners bombed targets in Serbia for 78 days.”

She confirmed what some at the time – like Isaiah and St. John the Baptist voices in the wilderness, prophets without honor in their own lands and time – warned would become the precedent it has: That in being permitted to launch an unprovoked war against a European nation for the first time since Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy did the same from 1939-1941, the U.S. and NATO would be given license to employ the model in other parts of the world, as they have done to different degrees in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and now Libya.

In 1999 leading Western and Eastern Christian church leaders urged Clinton’s husband and his NATO allies to halt the bombing of Yugoslavia on both Gregorian and Julian Easter, April 4 and 11, to no avail.

Clinton’s assertion that bombing any targeted nation on Earth for at least 78 days is sanctioned by the Yugoslav precedent, incidentally, was made on Holy Thursday, which commemorates the day before Jesus’s crucifixion during the final hours of which Jesus warned one of his followers to “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

The leaders of the NATO states that have bombed and fired cruises missiles into Libya for almost forty days all profess to be Christians, at least – particularly in the U.S. – making much of their religiosity during election years. The type that American author Ambrose Bierce, member of an organization that begs to be revived in the 21st century, the Anti-Imperialist League formed at the advent of America’s emergence as a global military power in 1898, described in his Devil’s Dictionary as:

“One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.”

And violence. War.

For members of the Western political elite laws, conventions, principles, morality and commandments are for suckers, for losers; applied solely to the comparatively weak and powerless but never to themselves who are beyond good and evil, transcending constraints and limitations imposed on the rest of the human race. Empire-building is an amoral enterprise ne plus ultra.

The Gospel of St. Matthew records Jesus making another comment that Hillary Clinton, her commander-in-chief Barack Obama and their British, French and other NATO allies have evidently never bothered to acquaint themselves with: Judge not, that ye be not judged.

After French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s troops and helicopter gunships attacked the government of then-incumbent Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, leading to his capture and humiliation by French troops on April 11, Clinton delivered herself of this pronouncement:

“This transition sends a strong signal to dictators and tyrants throughout the region and around the world. They may not disregard the voice of their own people in free and fair elections, and there will be consequences for those who cling to power.”

Of late the self-anointed would-be universal tyrannicide has, directly or through her spokesman Mark Toner, issued equally magisterial and undisguised threats against nations like Belarus and, with increasing frequency and ominous overtones, Syria.

The U.S. and its NATO allies have been at war in each of the eleven years of the new century, the new millennium – the longest continuous period of combat in the history of both – with not only no indication of the war cycle ever ending but with every assurance that it is now a permanent state of affairs.

As with the last ten Easter Sundays, Washington and Brussels are laying the groundwork for future bombing campaigns, ground operations and military occupations for succeeding ones ad aeternum or until the Second Coming, according to one’s lights.

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Samuel Johnson: War is the extremity of evil


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

Samuel Johnson: I to nobler themes aspire

Samuel Johnson: War is heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved


Samuel Johnson
From Thoughts on the Late Transactions Respecting Falkland’s Islands (1771)

[W]ar is not the whole business of life; it happens but seldom, and every man, either good or wise, wishes that its frequency were still less. That conduct which betrays designs of future hostility, if it does not excite violence, will always generate malignity; it must forever exclude confidence and friendship, and continue a cold and sluggish rivalry, by a sly reciprocation of indirect injuries, without the bravery of war or the security of peace.

As war is the last of remedies, “cuncta prius tentanda,” all lawful expedients must be used to avoid it. As war is the extremity of evil, it is, surely, the duty of those, whose station intrusts them with the care of nations, to avert it from their charge. There are diseases of animal nature, which nothing but amputation can remove; so there may, by the depravation of human passions, be sometimes a gangrene in collective life, for which fire and the sword are necessary remedies; but in what can skill or caution be better shown, than preventing such dreadful operations, while there is yet room for gentler methods!

It is wonderful with what coolness and indifference the greater part of mankind see war commenced. Those that hear of it at a distance, or read of it in books, but have never presented its evils to their minds, consider it as little more than a splendid game, a proclamation, an army, a battle, and a triumph. Some, indeed, must perish in the most successful field, but they die upon the bed of honour, “resign their lives amidst the joys of conquest, and, filled with England’s glory, smile in death.”

The life of a modern soldier is ill represented by heroick fiction. War has means of destruction more formidable than the cannon and the sword. Of the thousands and ten thousands, that perished in our late contests with France and Spain, a very small part ever felt the stroke of an enemy; the rest languished in tents and ships, amidst damps and putrefaction; pale, torpid, spiritless, and helpless; gasping and groaning, unpitied among men, made obdurate by long continuance of hopeless misery; and were, at last, whelmed in pits, or heaved into the ocean, without notice and without remembrance. By incommodious encampments and unwholesome stations, where courage is useless, and enterprise impracticable, fleets are silently dispeopled, and armies sluggishly melted away.

Thus is a people gradually exhausted, for the most part, with little effect. The wars of civilized nations make very slow changes in the system of empire. The publick perceives scarcely any alteration, but an increase of debt; and the few individuals who are benefited are not supposed to have the clearest right to their advantages. If he that shared the danger enjoyed the profit, and, after bleeding in the battle, grew rich by the victory, he might show his gains without envy. But, at the conclusion of a ten years’ war, how are we recompensed for the death of multitudes, and the expense of millions, but by contemplating the sudden glories of paymasters and agents, contractors and commissaries, whose equipages shine like meteors, and whose palaces rise like exhalations!

These are the men who, without virtue, labour, or hazard, are growing rich, as their country is impoverished; they rejoice, when obstinacy or ambition adds another year to slaughter and devastation; and laugh, from their desks, at bravery and science, while they are adding figure to figure, and cipher to cipher, hoping for a new contract from a new armament, and computing the profits of a siege or tempest.

Those who suffer their minds to dwell on these considerations, will think it no great crime in the ministry, that they have not snatched, with eagerness, the first opportunity of rushing into the field, when they were able to obtain, by quiet negotiation, all the real good that victory could have brought us.

Of victory, indeed, every nation is confident before the sword is drawn; and this mutual confidence produces that wantonness of bloodshed, that has so often desolated the world. But it is evident, that of contradictory opinions, one must be wrong; and the history of mankind does not want examples, that may teach caution to the daring, and moderation to the proud.

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William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War


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

American writers on peace and against war

William Dean Howells: Selections on war

William James: The Philippine Tangle

Edgar Lee Masters: The Philippine Conquest

Mark Twain: To the Person Sitting in Darkness

Leo Tolstoy: Two Wars and Carthago Delenda Est


William Dean Howells
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League

Spanish Prisoners of War
Literature and Life (1902)

Certain summers ago our cruisers, the St. Louis and the Harvard, arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with sixteen or seventeen hundred Spanish prisoners from Santiago de Cuba. They were partly soldiers of the land forces picked up by our troops in the fights before the city, but by far the greater part were sailors and marines from Cervera’s ill-fated fleet.

I have not much stomach for war, but the poetry of the fact I have stated made a very potent appeal to me on my literary side, and I did not hold out against it longer than to let the St. Louis get away with Cervera to Annapolis, when only her less dignified captives remained with those of the Harvard to feed either the vainglory or the pensive curiosity of the spectator. Then I went over from our summer colony to Kittery Point, and got a boat, and sailed out to have a look at these subordinate enemies in the first hours of their imprisonment.


I tried to bewilder myself in the ignorance of a Catalonian or Asturian fisherman, and to wonder with his darkened mind why it should all or any of it have been, and why I should have escaped from the iron hell in which I had fought no quarrel of my own to fall into the hands of strangers, and to be haled over seas to these alien shores for a captivity of unknown term.

[I]f there is anything more grotesque than another in war it is its monstrous inconsequence.

If we had a grief with the Spanish government, and if it was so mortal we must do murder for it, we might have sent a joint committee of the House and Senate, and, with the improved means of assassination which modern science has put at our command, killed off the Spanish cabinet, and even the queen—­mother and the little king.

This would have been consequent, logical, and in a sort reasonable; but to butcher and capture a lot of wretched Spanish peasants and fishermen, hapless conscripts to whom personally and nationally we were as so many men in the moon, was that melancholy and humiliating necessity of war which makes it homicide in which there is not even the saving grace of hate, or the excuse of hot blood.

Spanish Prisoners of War at Portsmouth Navy Yard
(Click to enlarge)

They lay in their beds there, these little Spanish men, whose dark faces their sickness could not blanch to more than a sickly sallow, and as they turned their dull black eyes upon us I must own that I could not “support the government” so fiercely as I might have done elsewhere. But the truth is, I was demoralized by the looks of these poor little men, who, in spite of their character of public enemies, did look so much like somebody’s brothers, and even somebody’s children.


At a certain cot the chief surgeon stopped and said, “We did not expect this boy to live through the night.” He took the boy’s wrist between his thumb and finger, and asked tenderly as he leaned over him, “Poco mejor?” The boy could not speak to say that he was a little better; he tried to smile – such things do move the witness; nor does the sight of a man whose bandaged cheek has been half chopped away by a machete tend to restore one’s composure.

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Roger Martin du Gard: From Nobel Prize in Literature speech

April 21, 2011 Comments off


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

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war


Roger Martin du Gard
From speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm
December 10, 1937

I should like to conclude with a more sombre hypothesis, although I am embarrassed to disturb this festive mood by arousing those painful thoughts that haunt all of us. However, perhaps the Swedish Academy did not hesitate to express a special purpose by drawing the attention of the intellectual world to the author of L’Été 1914 [Summer 1914].

That is the title of my last book. It is not for me to judge its value. But at least I know what I set out to do: in the course of these three volumes I tried to revivify the anguished atmosphere of Europe on the eve of the mobilizations of 1914. I tried to show the weakness of the governments of that day, their hesitations, indiscretions, and unavowed desires; I tried above all to give an impression of the stupefaction of the peaceful masses before the approach of that cataclysm whose victims they were going to be, that cataclysm which was to leave nine million men dead and ten million men crippled.

When I see that one of the highest literary juries in the world supports these books with the prestige of its incontestable authority, I ask myself whether the reason may not be that these books through their wide circulation have appeared to defend certain values that are again being threatened and to fight against the evil contagion of the forces of war.

For I am a son of the West, where the noise of arms does not let our minds rest. Since we have come together today on the tenth of December, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel (that man of action, “no mere shadow,” who in the last years of his life seems indeed to have put his supreme hope in the brotherhood of nations), permit me to confess how good it would be to think that my work – the work that has just been honoured in his name – might serve not only the cause of letters, but even the cause of peace.

In these months of anxiety in which we are living, when blood is already being shed in two extreme parts of the globe, when practically everywhere in an atmosphere polluted by misery and fanaticism passions are seething around pointed guns, when too many signs are again heralding the return of that languid defeatism, that general consent which alone makes wars possible: at this exceptionally grave moment through which humanity is passing, I wish, without vanity, but with a gnawing disquietude in my heart, that my books about Summer 1914 may be read and discussed, and that they may remind all – the old who have forgotten as well as the young who either do not know or do not care – of the sad lesson of the past.

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Anatole France: How the U.S. Congress deliberates on wars


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

Anatole France: Selections on war


Anatole France
From Penguin Island (1908)
Translation by A.W. Evans


After a voyage of fifteen days his steamer entered, during the night, the harbor of Titanport, where thousands of ships were anchored. An iron bridge thrown across the water and shining with lights, stretched between two piers so far apart that Professor Obnubile imagined he was sailing on the seas of Saturn, and that he saw the marvellous ring which girds the planet of the Old Man. And this immense conduit bore upon it more than a quarter of the wealth of the world. The learned Penguin, having disembarked, was waited on by automatons in a hotel forty-eight stories high. Then he took the great railway that led to Gigantopolis, the capital of New Atlantic….

“Here,” thought the doctor, “is a people far too much engaged in industry and trade to make war. I am already certain that the New Atlantans pursue a policy of peace. For it is an axiom admitted by all economists that peace without and peace within are necessary for the progress of commerce and industry.”


“The war for the opening of the Mongol markets being ended to the satisfaction of the States, I propose that the accounts be laid before the finance committee.…”

“Is there any opposition?…”

“The proposal is carried.”

“The war for the opening of the markets of Third-Zealand being ended to the satisfaction of the States, I propose that the accounts be laid before the finance committee.…”

“Is there any opposition?…”

“The proposal is carried.”

“Have I heard aright?” asked Professor Obnubile. “What? you an industrial people and engaged in all these wars!”

“Certainly,” answered the interpreter, “these are industrial wars. Peoples who have neither commerce nor industry are not obliged to make war, but a business people is forced to adopt a policy of conquest. The number of wars necessarily increases with our productive capacity. As soon as one of our industries fails to find a market for its products a war is necessary to open new outlets. It is in this way we have had a coal war, a copper war, and a cotton war. In Third-Zealand we have killed two-thirds of the inhabitants in order to compel the remainder to buy our umbrellas and braces.”

At that moment a fat man who was sitting in the middle of the assembly ascended the tribune.

“I claim,” said he, “a war against the Emerald Republic, which insolently contends with our pigs for the hegemony of hams and sauces in all the markets of the universe.”

“Who is that legislator?” asked Doctor Obnubile.

“He is a pig merchant.”

“Is there any opposition?” said the President. “I put the proposition to the vote.”

The war against the Emerald Republic was voted with uplifted hands by a very large majority.

“What?” said Obnubile to the interpreter; “you have voted a war with that rapidity and that indifference!”

“Oh! it is an unimportant war which will hardly cost eight million dollars.”

“And men.…”

“The men are included in the eight million dollars.”

Then Doctor Obnubile bent his head in bitter reflection.

“Since wealth and civilization admit of as many causes of poverty as war and barbarism, since the folly and wickedness of men are incurable, there remains but one good action to be done. The wise man will collect enough dynamite to blow up this planet. When its fragments fly through space an imperceptible amelioration will be accomplished in the universe and a satisfaction will be given to the universal conscience. Moreover, this universal conscience does not exist.”

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Jonathan Swift on war


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

Jonathan Swift: Brutes more modest than men in perpetuating war against their own species


Jonathan Swift
Gulliver’s Travels (1726)

From Part IV: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms

The author at his master’s command, informs him of the state of England. The causes of war among the princes of Europe. The author begins to explain the English constitution.

The reader may please to observe, that the following extract of many conversations I had with my master, contains a summary of the most material points which were discoursed at several times for above two years; his honour often desiring fuller satisfaction, as I farther improved in the HOUYHNHNM tongue. I laid before him, as well as I could, the whole state of Europe; I discoursed of trade and manufactures, of arts and sciences; and the answers I gave to all the questions he made, as they arose upon several subjects, were a fund of conversation not to be exhausted. But I shall here only set down the substance of what passed between us concerning my own country, reducing it in order as well as I can, without any regard to time or other circumstances, while I strictly adhere to truth. My only concern is, that I shall hardly be able to do justice to my master’s arguments and expressions, which must needs suffer by my want of capacity, as well as by a translation into our barbarous English.

In obedience, therefore, to his honour’s commands, I related to him the Revolution under the Prince of Orange; the long war with France, entered into by the said prince, and renewed by his successor, the present queen, wherein the greatest powers of Christendom were engaged, and which still continued: I computed, at his request, “that about a million of YAHOOS might have been killed in the whole progress of it; and perhaps a hundred or more cities taken, and five times as many ships burnt or sunk.”

He asked me, “what were the usual causes or motives that made one country go to war with another?” I answered “they were innumerable; but I should only mention a few of the chief. Sometimes the ambition of princes, who never think they have land or people enough to govern; sometimes the corruption of ministers, who engage their master in a war, in order to stifle or divert the clamour of the subjects against their evil administration. Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine; whether whistling be a vice or a virtue; whether it be better to kiss a post, or throw it into the fire; what is the best colour for a coat, whether black, white, red, or gray; and whether it should be long or short, narrow or wide, dirty or clean; with many more.

“Neither are any wars so furious and bloody, or of so long a continuance, as those occasioned by difference in opinion, especially if it be in things indifferent.

“Sometimes the quarrel between two princes is to decide which of them shall dispossess a third of his dominions, where neither of them pretend to any right. Sometimes one prince quarrels with another for fear the other should quarrel with him. Sometimes a war is entered upon, because the enemy is too strong; and sometimes, because he is too weak. Sometimes our neighbours want the things which we have, or have the things which we want, and we both fight, till they take ours, or give us theirs. It is a very justifiable cause of a war, to invade a country after the people have been wasted by famine, destroyed by pestilence, or embroiled by factions among themselves. It is justifiable to enter into war against our nearest ally, when one of his towns lies convenient for us, or a territory of land, that would render our dominions round and complete. If a prince sends forces into a nation, where the people are poor and ignorant, he may lawfully put half of them to death, and make slaves of the rest, in order to civilize and reduce them from their barbarous way of living. It is a very kingly, honourable, and frequent practice, when one prince desires the assistance of another, to secure him against an invasion, that the assistant, when he has driven out the invader, should seize on the dominions himself, and kill, imprison, or banish, the prince he came to relieve. Alliance by blood, or marriage, is a frequent cause of war between princes; and the nearer the kindred is, the greater their disposition to quarrel; poor nations are hungry, and rich nations are proud; and pride and hunger will ever be at variance. For these reasons, the trade of a soldier is held the most honourable of all others; because a soldier is a YAHOO hired to kill, in cold blood, as many of his own species, who have never offended him, as possibly he can.

“There is likewise a kind of beggarly princes in Europe, not able to make war by themselves, who hire out their troops to richer nations, for so much a day to each man; of which they keep three-fourths to themselves, and it is the best part of their maintenance: such are those in many northern parts of Europe.”

“What you have told me,” said my master, “upon the subject of war, does indeed discover most admirably the effects of that reason you pretend to: however, it is happy that the shame is greater than the danger; and that nature has left you utterly incapable of doing much mischief. For, your mouths lying flat with your faces, you can hardly bite each other to any purpose, unless by consent. Then as to the claws upon your feet before and behind, they are so short and tender, that one of our YAHOOS would drive a dozen of yours before him. And therefore, in recounting the numbers of those who have been killed in battle, I cannot but think you have said the thing which is not.”

I could not forbear shaking my head, and smiling a little at his ignorance. And being no stranger to the art of war, I gave him a description of cannons, culverins, muskets, carabines, pistols, bullets, powder, swords, bayonets, battles, sieges, retreats, attacks, undermines, countermines, bombardments, sea fights, ships sunk with a thousand men, twenty thousand killed on each side, dying groans, limbs flying in the air, smoke, noise, confusion, trampling to death under horses’ feet, flight, pursuit, victory; fields strewed with carcases, left for food to dogs and wolves and birds of prey; plundering, stripping, ravishing, burning, and destroying. And to set forth the valour of my own dear countrymen, I assured him, “that I had seen them blow up a hundred enemies at once in a siege, and as many in a ship, and beheld the dead bodies drop down in pieces from the clouds, to the great diversion of the spectators.”

I was going on to more particulars, when my master commanded me silence. He said, “whoever understood the nature of YAHOOS, might easily believe it possible for so vile an animal to be capable of every action I had named, if their strength and cunning equalled their malice.” But as my discourse had increased his abhorrence of the whole species, so he found it gave him a disturbance in his mind to which he was wholly a stranger before.

He thought his ears, being used to such abominable words, might, by degrees, admit them with less detestation: that although he hated the YAHOOS of this country, yet he no more blamed them for their odious qualities, than he did a GNNAYH (a bird of prey) for its cruelty, or a sharp stone for cutting his hoof. But when a creature pretending to reason could be capable of such enormities, he dreaded lest the corruption of that faculty might be worse than brutality itself. He seemed therefore confident, that, instead of reason we were only possessed of some quality fitted to increase our natural vices; as the reflection from a troubled stream returns the image of an ill shapen body, not only larger but more distorted.

He added, “that he had heard too much upon the subject of war, both in this and some former discourses….”

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James Boswell: On War

April 18, 2011 2 comments


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

James Boswell: Who profits by war?


James Boswell
On War (1777)

While viewing, as travelers usually do, the remarkable objects of curiosity at Venice, I was conducted through the different departments of the Arsenal; and as I contemplated the great storehouse of mortal engines, in which there is not only a large deposit of arms, but men are continually employed in making more, my thoughts rebounded, if I may use the expression, from what I beheld; and the effect was, that I was first as it were stunned into a state of amazement, and when I recovered from that, my mind expanded itself in reflections upon the horrid irrationality of war.

What those reflections were I do not precisely recollect. But the general impression dwells upon my memory; and however strange it may seem, my opinion of the irrationality of war is still associated with the Arsenal of Venice.

One particular however I well remember. When I saw workingmen engaged with grave assiduity in fashioning weapons of death, I was struck with wonder at the shortsightedness, the caecae mentes of human beings, who were thus soberly preparing the instruments of destruction of their own species. I have since found upon a closer study of man, that my wonder might have been spared; because there are very few men whose minds are sufficiently enlarged to comprehend universal or even extensive good.

The views of most individuals are limited to their own happiness; and the workmen whom I beheld so busy in the Arsenal of Venice saw nothing but what was good in the labour for which they received such wages as procured them the comforts of life. That their immediate satisfaction was not hindered by a view of the remote consequential and contingent evils for which alone their labours could be at all useful, would not surprise one who has had a tolerable share of experience in life. We must have the telescope of philosophy to make us perceive distant ills; nay, we know that there are individuals of our species to whom the immediate misery of others is nothing in comparison with their own advantage – for we know that in every age there have been found men very willing to perform the office of executioner even for a moderate hire.

To prepare instruments for the destruction of our species at large, is what I now see may very well be done by ordinary men, without starting, when they themselves are to run no risk. But I shall never forget, nor cease to wonder at a most extraordinary instance of thoughtless intrepidity which I had related to me by a cousin of mine, now a lieutenant-colonel in the British army, who was upon guard when it happened. A soldier of one of the regiments in garrison at Minorca, having been found guilty of a capital crime, was brought out to be hanged. They had neglected to have a rope in readiness, and the shocking business was at a stand. The fellow, with a spirit and alertness which in general would, upon a difficult and trying emergency, have been very great presence of mind and conduct, stript the lace off his hat, said this will do, and actually made it serve as the fatal chord.

The irrationality of war is, I suppose, admitted by almost all men: I almost say all; because I have met myself with men who attempted seriously to maintain that it is an agreeable occupation and one of the chief means of human happiness. I must own that although I use the plural number here, I should have used the dual, had I been writing in Greek; for I never met with but two men who supported such a paradox; and one of them was a tragick poet, and one a Scotch Highlander. The first had his imagination so in a blaze with heroic sentiments, with the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war,” that he did not avert to its miseries, as one dazzled with the pageantry of a magnificent funeral thinks not of the pangs of dissolution and the dismal corpse. The second had his attention so eagerly fixed on the advantage which accrued to his clan from the “trade of war,” that he could think of it only as a good.

We are told by some writers, who assume the character of philosophers, that war is necessary to take off the superfluity of the human species, or at least to rid the world of numbers of idle and profligate men who are a burden upon every community, and would grow an insupportable burden, were they to live as long as men do in the usual course of nature. But there is unquestioningly no reason to fear a superfluity of mankind, when we know that although perhaps the time “when every rood of land maintain’d its man” is a poetical exaggeration, yet vigorous and well directed industry can raise sustenance for such a proportion of people in a certain space of territory, as is astonishing to us who are accustomed to see only moderate effects of labour; and when we also know what immense regions of the terrestrial globe in very good climates are uninhabited. In these there is room for millions to enjoy existence. In cultivating these, the idle and profligate, expelled from their original societies, might be employed and gradually reformed, which would be better surely, than continuing the practice of periodical destruction, which is also indiscriminate, and involves the best equally with the worst of men.

I have often thought that if war should cease over all the face of the earth, for a thousand years, its reality would not be believed at such a distance of time, notwithstanding the faith of authentick records in every nation. Were mankind totally free from every tincture of prejudice in favour of those gallant exertions which could not exist were there not the evil of violence to combat; had they never seen in their own days, or been told by father or grandfathers, of battles, and were there no traces of the art of war, I have no doubt that they would treat as fabulous or allegorical, the accounts in history, of prodigious armies being formed, of men who engaged themselves for an unlimited time, under the penalty of immediate death, to obey implicitly the orders of commanders to whom they were not attached either by affection or by interest; that these armies were sometimes led with toilsome expedition over vast tracts of land, sometimes crowded into ships, and obliged to endure tedious, unhealthy, and perilous voyages; and that the purpose of all this toil and danger was not to obtain any comfort or pleasure, but to be in a situation to encounter other armies; and that those opposite multitudes the individuals of which had no cause to quarrel, no ill-will to each other, continued for hours engaged with patient and obstinate perseverance, while thousands were slain, and thousands crushed and mangled by the diversity of wounds.

We who have from our earliest years had our minds filled with scenes of war of which we have read in the books that we most revere and most admire, who have remarked it in every revolving century, and in every country that has been discovered by navigators, even in the gentle and benign regions of the southern oceans; we who have seen all the intelligence, power and ingenuity of our nation employed in war, who have been accustomed to peruse Gazettes, and have had our friends and relations killed or sent home to us wretchedly maimed; we cannot without a steady effort of reflection be sensible of the improbability that rational creatures should act so irrationally as to unite in deliberate plans, which must certainly produce the direful effects which was is known to do. But I have no doubt that if the project for a perpetual peace which the Abbé de St Pierre sketched, and Rousseau improved, were to take place, the incredibility of war would after the lapse of some ages be universal.

Were there any good produced by war which could in any degree compensate its direful effects; were better men to spring up from the ruins of those who fall in battle, as more beautiful material forms sometimes arise from the ashes of others; or were those who escape from its destruction to have an increase of happiness; in short, were there any great beneficial effect to follow it, the notion of its irrationality would be only the notion of narrow comprehension. But we find that war is followed by no general good whatever. The power, the glory, or the wealth of a very few may be enlarged. But the people in general, upon both sides, after all the sufferings are passed, pursue their ordinary occupations, with no difference from their former state. The evils therefore of war, upon a general view of humanity are as the French say, à pure perte, a mere loss without any advantage, unless indeed furnishing subjects for history, poetry, and painting. And although it should be allowed that mankind have gained enjoyment in these respects, I suppose it will not be seriously said, that the misery is overbalanced. At any rate, there is already such a store of subjects, that an addition to them would be dearly purchased by more wars.

I am none of those who would set up their notions against the opinion of the world; on the contrary, I have such a respect for that authority, as to doubt my own judgment when it opposes that of numbers probably as wise as I am. But when I maintain the irrationality of war, I am not contradicting the opinion, but the practice of the world. For, as I have already observed, its irrationality is generally admitted. Horace calls Hannibal, demens, a madman; and Pope gives the same appellation to Alexander the Great and Charles XII:

From Macedonia’s madman to the Swede.

How long war will continue to be practised, we have no means of conjecturing. Civilization, which it might have been expected would have abolished it, has only refined its savage rudeness. The irrationality remains, though we have learnt insanire certa ratione modoque, to have a method in our madness.

That amiable religion which “proclaims peace on earth,” hath not as yet made war to cease. The furious passions of men, modified as they are by moral instruction, still operate with much force; and by a perpetual fallacy, even the conscientious in each contending nation think they may join in war, because they each believe they are repelling an aggressor. Were the mild and humane doctrine of those Christians, who are called Quakers, which Mr Jenyns has lately embellished with his elegant pen, to prevail, human felicity would gain more than we can well conceive. But perhaps it is necessary that mankind in this state of existence, the purpose of which is so mysterious, should ever suffer the woes of war.

To relieve my readers from reflections which they may think too abstract, I shall conclude this paper with a few observations upon actual war. In ancient times when a battle was fought man to man, or as somebody has very well expressed it, was a group of duels, there was an opportunity for individuals to distinguish themselves by vigour and bravery. One who was a “robustus acri militia, hardy from keen warfare,” could gratify his ambition for fame, by the exercise of his own personal qualities. It was therefore more reasonable then, for individuals to enlist, than it is in modern times; for, a battle now is truly nothing else than a huge conflict of opposite engines worked by men, who are themselves as machines directed by a few; and the event is not so frequently decided by what is actually done, as by accidents happening in the dreadful confusion. It is as if two towns in opposite territories should be set on fire at the same time, and victory should be declared to the inhabitants of that in which the flames were least destructive. We hear much of the conduct of generals; and Addison himself has represented the Duke of Marlborough directing an army in battle, as an “angel riding in a whirlwind and directing the storm.”

Nevertheless I much doubt if upon many occasions the immediate schemes of a commander have had certain effect; and I believe Sir Callaghan O’Bralachan in Mr Macklin’s Love A la-mode gives a very just account of modern battle: “There is so much doing every where that we cannot tell what is doing any where.”

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Romain Rolland: Above The Battle


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

Romain Rolland: Selections on war


Romain Rolland
Above the Battle (Au-dessus de la mêlée) (1915)

Translated by C.K. Ogden

A great nation assailed by war has not only its frontiers to protect: it must also protect its good sense. It must protect itself from the hallucinations, injustices, and follies which the plague lets loose. To each his part: to the armies the protection of the soil of their native land. To the thinkers the defence of its thought. If they subordinate that thought to the passions of their people they may well be useful instruments of passion; but they are in danger of betraying the spirit, which is not the least part of a people’s patrimony. One day History will pass judgment on each of the nations at war; she will weigh their measure of errors, lies, and heinous follies. Let us try and make ours light before her!

Children are taught the Gospel of Jesus and the Christian ideal. Everything in the education they receive at school is designed to stimulate in them intellectual understanding of the great human family. Classical education makes them see, beyond the differences of race, the roots and the common trunk of our civilisation. Art makes them love the profound sources of the genius of a people. Science makes them believe in the unity of reason. The great social movement which renews the world, reveals the organised effort of the working classes all round them to unite their forces in the hopes and struggles which break the barriers of nations. The brightest geniuses of the earth chant, like Walt Whitman and Tolstoi, universal brotherhood in joy and suffering, or else as our Latin spirits, pierce with their criticism the prejudices of hatred and ignorance which separate individuals and peoples.

Like all the men of my time I have been brought up on these thoughts; I have tried in my turn to share the bread of life with my younger or less fortunate brothers. When the war came I did not think it my duty to deny these thoughts because the hour had come to put them to the test.

I have been insulted. I knew that I should be and I went forward. But I did not know that I should be insulted without even a hearing.

For several months no one in France could know my writings except through scraps of phrases arbitrarily extracted and mutilated by my enemies, It is a shameful record. For nearly a year this has gone on. Certain socialist or syndicalist papers may have succeeded here and there in getting some fragments through, but it was only in the month of June 1915 that for the first time my chief article, the one which was the object of the most violent criticism, “Above the Battle,” dating from September 1914, could be published in full (almost in full), thanks to the malevolent zeal of a maladroit pamphleteer, to whom I am indebted for bringing my words before the French public for the first time.

A Frenchman does not judge his adversary unheard. Whoever does so judges and condemns himself: for he shows that he fears the light. I place before the world the texts they have slandered. I shall not defend them. Let them defend themselves!

One single word will I add. For a year I have been rich in enemies. Let me say this to them : they can hate me, but they will not teach me to hate. I have no concern with them. My business is to say what I believe to be fair and humane. Whether this pleases or irritates is not my business. I know that words once uttered make their way of themselves. Hopefully I sow them in the bloody soil. The harvest will come.

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Henri Barbusse: Under Fire


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

Henri Barbusse: Selections on war


Henri Barbusse
From Under Fire (Le Feu) (1917)
Translated by Fitzwater Wray


We are waiting for daylight in the place where we sank to the ground. Sinister and slow it comes, chilling and dismal, and expands upon the livid landscape.

The rain has ceased to fall – there is none left in the sky. The leaden plain and its mirrors of sullied water seem to issue not only from the night but from the sea.

Drowsy or half asleep, sometimes opening our eyes only to close them again, we attend the incredible renewal of light, paralysed with cold and broken with fatigue.

Where are the trenches?

We see lakes, and between the lakes there are lines of milky and motionless water. There is more water even than we had thought. It has taken everything and spread everywhere, and the prophecy of the men in the night has come true. There are no more trenches; those canals are the trenches enshrouded. It is a universal flood. The battlefield is not sleeping; it is dead.

Swaying painfully, like a sick man, in the terrible encumbering clasp of my greatcoat, I half raise myself to look at it all. There are three monstrously shapeless forms beside me. One of them – it is Paradis, in an amazing armour of mud, with a swelling at the waist that stands for his cartridge pouches – gets up also. The others are asleep, and make no movement.

And what is this silence, too, this prodigious silence? There is no sound, except when from time to time a lump of earth slips into the water, in the middle of this fantastic paralysis of the world. No one is firing. There are no shells, for they would not burst. There are no bullets, either, for the men.

Ah, the men! Where are the men?

We see them gradually. Not far from us there are some stranded and sleeping hulks so moulded in mud from head to foot that they are almost transformed into inanimate objects.

Some distance away I can make out others, curled up and clinging like snails all along a rounded embankment, from which they have partly slipped back into the water. It is a motionless rank of clumsy lumps, of bundles placed side by side, dripping water and mud, and of the same color as the soil with which they are blended.

I make an effort to break the silence. To Paradis, also looking that way, I say, “Are they dead?”

“We’ll go and see presently,” he says in a low voice; “stop here a bit yet. We shall have the heart to go there by and by.”

We look at each other, and our eyes fall also on the others who came and fell down here. Their faces spell such weariness that they are no longer faces so much as something dirty, disfigured and bruised, with blood-shot eyes. Since the beginning we have seen each other in all manner of shapes and appearances, and yet – we do not know each other.

Paradis turns his head and looks elsewhere.

Suddenly I see him seized with trembling. He extends an arm enormously caked in mud. “There there -” he says.

On the water which overflows from a stretch particularly cross-seamed and gullied, some lumps are floating, some round-backed reefs.

We drag ourselves to the spot. They are drowned men. Their arms and heads are submerged. On the surface of the plastery liquid appear their backs and the straps of their accoutrements. Their blue cloth trousers are inflated, with the feet attached askew upon the ballooning legs, like the black wooden feet on the shapeless legs of marionettes. From one sunken head the hair stands straight up like water-weeds. Here is a face which the water only lightly touches; the head is beached on the margins, and the body disappears in its turbid tomb. The face is lifted skyward. The eyes are two white holes; the mouth is a black hole. The mask’s yellow and puffed-up skin appears soft and creased, like dough gone cold.

They are the men who were watching there, and could not extricate themselves from the mud. All their efforts to escape over the sticky escarpment of the trench that was slowly and fatally filling with water only dragged them still more into the depth. They died clinging to the yielding support of the earth.

There, our first lines are; and there, the first German lines, equally silent and flooded. On our way to these flaccid ruins we pass through the middle of what yesterday was the zone of terror, the awful space on whose threshold the fierce rush of our last attack was forced to stop, the No Man’s Land which bullets and shells had not ceased to furrow for a year and a half, where their crossed fire during these latter days had furiously swept the ground from one horizon to the other.

Now, it is a field of rest. The ground is everywhere dotted with beings who sleep or who are on the way to die, slowly moving, lifting an arm, lifting the head.

The enemy trench is completing the process of foundering into itself, among great marshy undulations and funnel-holes, shaggy with mud: it forms among them a line of pools and wells. Here and there we can see the still overhanging banks begin to move, crumble, and fall down. In one place we can lean against it.

In this bewildering circle of filth there are no bodies. But there, worse than a body, a solitary arm protrudes, bare and white as a stone, from a hole which dimly shows on the other side of the water. The man has been buried in his dug-out and has had only the time to thrust out his arm.

Quite near, we notice that some mounds of earth aligned along the ruined ramparts of this deep-drowned ditch are human. Are they dead – or asleep? We do not know; in any case, they rest.

Are they German or French? We do not know. One of them has opened his eyes, and looks at us with swaying head. We say to him, “French?” – and then, “Deutsch?” He makes no reply, but shuts his eyes again and relapses into oblivion. We never knew what he was.

We cannot decide the identity of these beings, either by their clothes, thickly covered with filth, or by their head-dress, for they are bareheaded or swathed in woollens under their liquid and offensive cowls; or by their weapons, for they either have no rifles or their hands rest lightly on something they have dragged along, a shapeless and sticky mass, like a sort of fish.

All these men of corpse-like faces who are before us and behind us, at the limit of their strength, void of speech as of will, all these earth-charged men who you would say were carrying their own winding-sheets, are as much alike as if they were naked.

It is the end of all. For the moment it is the prodigious finish, the epic cessation of the war.

I once used to think that the worst hell in war was the flame of shells; and then for a long time I thought it was the suffocation of the caverns which eternally confine us. But it is neither of these. Hell is water.

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From Ivory Coast To Libya And Beyond: Africa Threatened With Western Military Subjugation

April 8, 2011 7 comments

April 8, 2011

From Ivory Coast To Libya And Beyond: Africa Threatened With Western Military Subjugation
Rick Rozoff

On April 5 the chairman of the African Union, Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, condemned French military operations in fellow West African nation Ivory Coast and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s war against Libya, stating: “Africa does not need any external influence. Africa must manage its own affairs.”

Though hardly a model of a democratic ruler, having come to power in a coup d’etat in 1979 and governed his nation uninterruptedly since, Obiang Nguema is the current head of the 53-nation African Union and his comments stand on their own regardless of their source.

In reference to the mounting violence between the Western-backed Alassane Ouattara’s self-styled Republican Forces army and “Invisible Commandos” on one side and incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo’s military and security forces on the other in Ivory Coast, the AU chairman said that it should not “imply a war, an intervention of a foreign army.”

He spoke after French attack helicopters struck Ivorian military bases in the commercial capital of Abidjan and destroyed over ten armored vehicles, four anti-aircraft weapons and the broadcasting station of the state-run Radiodiffusion-Télévision ivoirienne as well as firing on the presidential building and residence. French troops took over the nation’s main airport earlier in the week. (In 2004 French warplanes destroyed the Gbagbo government’s modest air force on the ground, an action heartily endorsed by the U.S.)

President Obiang Nguema also spoke about what is now the almost three-week-long war waged by the U.S. and its NATO allies against Libya: “I believe that the problems in Libya should be resolved in an internal fashion and not through an intervention that could appear to resemble a humanitarian intervention. We have already seen this in Iraq.”

He added: “Each foreigner is susceptible to proposing erroneous solutions. African problems cannot be resolved with a European, American or Asian view.”

On the same day Russia called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Ivory Coast and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that recently reinforced French troops and cohorts from the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) operate under a mandate that demands strict neutrality and impartiality.

The following day Lavrov expressed concerns about the U.S. and other NATO members arming anti-government insurgents in Libya, stating that such a measure “would constitute interference in the civil war.”

Comparable statements have been voiced around the world, from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) in Latin America and the Caribbean denouncing the Libyan war to the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, referring to the violence in Ivory Coast and Libya as a defeat for humanity and issuing “a renewed and heartfelt appeal to all parties to the [conflict] to initiate a process of peacemaking and dialogue, and to avoid further bloodshed.”

American and other Western leaders, however, only desire an end to the violence in both African countries after the belligerents they support, with arms and air and missile attacks, have scored a decisive victory over their opponents.

On the same day that the chairman of the African Union and the Russian foreign minister articulated the concerns cited above, President Barack Obama demanded that “former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately, and direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their arms,” while applauding the actions of French troops and military helicopters in the capital.

Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton have repeatedly delivered ultimatums to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to abdicate – backed up by bombs and cruise missiles – with Clinton responding to the latter’s recent letter to Obama calling for an end to NATO attacks on his country by stating: “Mr Gaddafi knows what he must do….There needs to be a decision made about his departure from power [and] his departure from Libya.”

The recently appointed commander of U.S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, told the House Armed Services Committee on April 5: “This is a historic time for us in Africa Command. We completed a complex, short-notice, operational mission in Libya and have now transferred that mission to NATO.”

Since AFRICOM handed over command of the war against Libya to NATO on March 31 over 1,200 air missions have been flown over the country, including several hundred bombings and missile strikes.

Two of only five African nations that have not entered into individual and regional partnerships with the Pentagon through AFRICOM are the targets of violent uprisings aimed at toppling their governments and installing client regimes subservient to the U.S. and its NATO allies. Only Eritrea, Zimbabwe and a truncated Sudan will be left. And will be next.

As Alassane Ouattara, former unelected prime minister under the late president for life Félix Houphouët-Boigny and Washington, D.C.-based Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, is poised to take control of Ivory Coast with the assistance of the French military, his country is being prepared to join its Gulf of Guinea neighbors in the U.S.- and NATO-supported West African Standby Force and be incorporated into AFRICOM operations in one of the world’s most oil-rich and thus strategic regions.

The USS Robert G. Bradley guided missile frigate began a nine-nation Africa Partnership Station West mission on February 1 with a port visit to the capital of Togo, two countries removed from Ivory Coast’s eastern border on the Gulf of Guinea. The Africa Partnership Station is an initiative of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and works in conjunction with AFRICOM.

After Togo, the U.S. warship’s itinerary has included and will include visits to Cape Verde, Senegal, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Angola and Nigeria. Angola and Nigeria are Africa’s largest oil exporters. Gabon’s sizeable oil exports are divided between Russia, the U.S., China and former colonial master France. In 2005 American oil giants ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil entered into an exploration and production agreement with Sao Tome and Principe.

The U.S. frigate is part of Africa Partnership Station 2011, operating off the coasts of West, Southern and East Africa with five U.S. ships and three from European NATO nations.

While visiting Cameroon late last month, USS Robert G. Bradley led the Obangame Express exercise with vessels from France, Spain, Belgium, Cameroon, Gabon and Nigeria.

From March 3-19 the U.S. Marine Corps conducted a joint Africa Partnership Station exercise with the Ghana Armed Forces at the Jungle Warfare School in the Gulf of Guinea nation.

In February USS Stephen W. Groves, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile warship like USS Robert G. Bradley, participated in a joint exercise off South Africa with that country’s submarine SAS Charlotte Maxeke in training that U.S. Africa Command described as “part of the U.S. Navy’s initiative to strengthen military partnership nations throughout the continent of Africa.”

The ship next visited Tanzania, where it trained military personnel from Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique and the host country in the first of several phases of the Africa Partnership Station East mission that has now taken it to Mauritius and will later bring it to Kenya and Seychelles and after that to Cape Verde and Senegal in West Africa.

Since the Africa Partnership Station initiative was launched in 2007, U.S. warships assigned to it have visited almost every African coastal and island nation except for those bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The exceptions have been Ivory Coast, Sudan and Eritrea as well as Libya in the north.

In February AFRICOM conducted the 19-day Operation Flintlock 2011 special forces exercise in Senegal with the participation of NATO allies France, Germany, Spain, Canada and the Netherlands and Sahel nations Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal. (Last year’s Flintlock included the above African states and Algeria and Tunisia.) Burkina Faso borders northeastern Ivory Coast.

The AFRICOM website wrote this of the exercise:

“Conducted by Special Operations Command Africa, Flintlock is a joint multinational exercise to improve information sharing at the operational and tactical levels across the Saharan region while fostering increased collaboration and coordination. It’s focused on military interoperability and capacity-building for U.S., North American and European Partner Nations, and select units in Northern and Western Africa.”

Note how African participants are listed after those of the U.S. and its European and Canadian NATO allies.

Late this January the main planning conference for Africa Endeavor 2011 was held in Mali. Modeled after U.S. European Command’s Combined Endeavor, the largest military communications and information systems exercise in the world, this year’s annual Africa Endeavor multinational exercise will be held in June in the same country.

According to AFRICOM, January’s planning conference “brought together more than 180 participants from 41 African, European and North American nations and observers from [the] Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Eastern African Standby Force and NATO to plan interoperability testing of communications and information systems of participating nations,” with the “largest number of participating countries to date in the Africa Endeavor series” in the words of Brigadier General Roberts Ferrell, head of AFRICOM’s Command, Control, Communications and Computers Systems Directorate.

Last year’s Africa Endeavor included, in addition to U.S. and other NATO nations’ military personnel, participants from Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Southern Sudan (a year before its independence referendum), Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

Note the absence of Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Eritrea and Zimbabwe.

Only 30 months after becoming an independent command, AFRICOM has consolidated military-to-military relations with 50 African nations, including non-African Union member Morocco and the world’s newest state, South Sudan. Changes in government in Ivory Coast and Libya would add two more countries to that column.

And as AFRICOM handed command of the current war against Libya to NATO on March 31, so, if recent comments by African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra are to be given credence, AFRICOM is preparing to share its 50 new African assets with NATO. [1]

Just as the 1884-1885 Berlin Conference divided the African continent into spheres of influence between the major European powers and the U.S., with Ivory Coast belonging to France and Libya later taken by Italy, so now the U.S. and all the major former European colonial masters, who are now fellow NATO member states – France, Britain, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Turkey – are again planning to establish dominance over what has become the world’s second most populous continent.

1. Africa: Global NATO Seeks To Recruit 50 New Military Partners
Stop NATO, February 20, 2011

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NATO’s New Humanitarian Intervention: Words And Pictures

April 5, 2011 1 comment


Updates on Libyan war: April 5

Libyan War In Third Week As NATO Takes Command

NATO Wages War On Third Continent

Libyan War And Control Of The Mediterranean


April 5, 2011

NATO’s New Humanitarian Intervention: Words And Pictures
Rick Rozoff

Click on photographs to enlarge.

Prime Minister David Cameron
March 29, 2011

Today is about a new beginning for Libya – a future in which the people of Libya can determine their own destiny, free from violence and oppression.

Second, we must ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid where it is needed, including to newly liberated towns.

It’s never too early to start planning co-ordinated action to support peace in Libya over the long term.

Our military actions can protect the people from attack; and our humanitarian actions can help the people recover.


Eurofighter Typhoon F2s

Tomahawk missile fired from a Royal Navy submarine


President Barack Obama
March 28, 2011

In addition to our NATO responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of Libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded.

In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence….

The task that I assigned our forces – to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a No Fly Zone – carries with it a UN mandate and international support. It is also what the Libyan opposition asked us to do.

But let us also remember that for generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer and brighter if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity.

B-2 Spirit stealth bomber


F-16 Fighting Falcons

AV-8B Harrier

A-10 Thunderbolt II

Tomahawk cruise missile launch


President Nicolas Sarkozy
March 19, 2011

Today, our intervening in Libya with the mandate of the UNSC, with our partners, namely our Arab partners, we do it to protect the civilian population….



Super Étendard


NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
March 27, 2011

NATO Allies have decided to take on the whole military operation in Libya under the United Nations Security Council Resolution. Our goal is to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas….Nothing more, nothing less.

F-16 Fighting Falcon

Canadian CF-188 Hornet

JAS 39 Gripen

C-17 Globemaster III

C-130 Hercules


Photographs from Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Armée de l’Air, Canadian Air Force and Flygvapnet.


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Libyan War In Third Week As NATO Takes Command

April 3, 2011 1 comment

April 3, 2011

Libyan War In Third Week As NATO Takes Command
Rick Rozoff

On the morning of March 31 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization assumed full command of military operations against Libya, effecting the transfer of air, naval and preliminary ground operations from U.S. Africa Command’s Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn to NATO’s Operation Unified Protector. In NATO’s words, “The Alliance has the assets in place to conduct its tasks under Operation Unified Protector – the arms embargo, no-fly zone and actions to protect civilians and civilian centres.”

On the same day a press conference was conducted by NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu, the commander of Unified Protector Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard and the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola to announce the transition.

Romania’s Lungescu (a veteran of BBC World Service), Quebec’s Bouchard and Italy’s Di Paola spoke entirely in English, as notwithstanding NATO’s formal command of Libyan war operations Bouchard reports to America’s Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and also the chief of the Pentagon’s European Command, and NATO is after all a U.S.-controlled military alliance. One speaks to a master in his language.

The day after NATO took over control of the war Stavridis asserted that “the Libyan operation demonstrates just how capable the Western alliance remains two decades after the end of the Cold War,” in the words of an Associated Press dispatch. The news agency added that “This is the first time in its history that NATO is engaged in two major conflicts at once,” meaning the wars in Libya and Afghanistan, in Africa and Asia.

The day before NATO assumed command of the North African war, Stavridis told the House Armed Services Committee that the war in Afghanistan “has become a global effort, with committed partners from nations that include Mongolia, Bulgaria, Tonga and El Salvador.” He referred to 49 nations contributing troops for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, one more than has been acknowledged before, with El Salvador evidently the latest. There are also military personnel assigned to NATO in Afghanistan from countries that are not yet official Troop Contributing Nations like Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt, Japan and Kazakhstan. Never before have armed forces from so many nations been stationed in a war zone in a single country.

Stavridis, who as NATO’s top military commander is in ultimate charge of both current wars, made the latter comments in an address commemorating the 60th anniversary of NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium, which “was set up by NATO’s then-commander and later U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower” as Associated Press reminded its readers.

On March 21, hours after NATO launched Operation Unified Protector, Secretary of Defense Roberts Gates and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen also addressed the House Armed Services Committee on Libya. Later Gates appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and confirmed that U.S. warplanes would remain in the Libyan war theater to assist the new NATO mission.

Referring to the twelve days of Operation Odyssey Dawn, he said: “That part of our mission is complete and successful.”

He further boasted of Western bombs and cruise missiles destroying Libyan air capabilities and ground assets – the second category includes administrative buildings, oil depots, ammunition dumps and naval facilities – and affirmed that the intensive onslaught “will not diminish under NATO leadership.”

And indeed it hasn’t. On the third day of Unified Protector, April 2, NATO announced that it had conducted 174 air missions over Libya on the preceding day, including 74 strike sorties, ones involving bombing missions and missile strikes. The total for the first two days of the NATO operation were 363 sorties and 148 strike sorties.

In his testimony on March 1, Secretary Gates also said: “A decision about support to the opposition is clearly the next step. I think all members of the coalition are thinking about that at this point.”

NATO Military Committee chief Admiral Paola was more candid, stating that he was “confident, absolutely confident, that one of the (NATO) allies” has already been arming anti-government insurgents in Libya.

Gates offered the standard official explanation of the ongoing war as being actuated by alleged humanitarian concerns and disavowed a formal policy of regime change, but gave the lie to his own words in adding that NATO forces “will continue to attack (Gadhafi’s) ground forces with no opportunity for resupply” to the point where “His military is going to face the question of whether they are prepared to be destroyed by air attacks, or if it’s time for him to go.”

In addition, according to the Pentagon’s website: “The issue is more complicated than simply arming the rebels. What the opposition really needs, Gates said, is organization, training, and command and control – something he said likely requires coalition forces on the ground in Libya.” He refrained from openly endorsing that strategy although it is already being implemented with American and British special forces and intelligence operatives directing air strikes from the ground in Libya.

Gates warned against the alternative to an overthrow of the government and ground operations while speaking in the House earlier, saying “We have considered the possibility of this being a stalemate and being a drawn-out affair…where you achieve the military goal but not achieve the political goal” of regime change.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Howard McKeon cautioned that NATO “could be expected to support a decade-long no-fly zone enforcement like the one over Iraq in the 1990s,” a further incentive for entertaining the alternative – or complementary – option of staging a ground war.

A recent poll demonstrated 47 percent of Americans in opposition to the military operation in Libya with 41 supporting it. The same survey, conducted by Quinnipiac University, shows that by a two-to-one majority, 58-29 percent, Americans feel that President Obama has not clearly and convincingly presented an argument for U.S. involvement.

Pressure will be applied on the public to support a prospective invasion of Libya employing the same rationale used for the ongoing air war: The need for an alleged humanitarian intervention.

Modeled after the calls by the likes of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark during the 1999 war against Yugoslavia, a ground invasion will be presented as a humane remedy for the death and destruction not so much exacerbated as caused by an air campaign.

And there is no lack of Libyans being killed and wounded by the current one.

The Vatican’s senior representative (vicar apostolic) in Libya, Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, recently decried the fact that NATO air attacks “are killing dozens of civilians.”

He added that “In the Tajoura neighborhood [of the Libyan capital, Tripoli], around 40 civilians were killed, and a house with a family inside collapsed.”

In early March Bishop Martinelli had pleaded against the “further spilling of blood” in the country, warning against outside intervention and saying any attempt at a military resolution of the Libyan crisis would only escalate the level of violence.

On April 1 it was announced that a NATO air strike killed seven Libyan civilians, including three girls from one family, and injured 25 in the village of Zawia el Argobe.

On the same day Western warplanes strafed areas east and southwest of Tripoli.

An Associated Press correspondent interviewed the mother and uncle of an 18-month-old boy killed by a NATO air strike in the village of Khorum on March 29.

The mother said, “His blood was streaming down my arm.” The uncle added: “We took him to the hospital where they treated him for…burns and some broken bones. But by nightfall he was dead.”

On April 2 a spokesman for the Libyan opposition reported that a NATO air strike had killed 13 rebels and wounded at least a score more, adding that the “collateral damage” was “an unfortunate accident.” Evidently being killed by Western bombers is more humane than being killed in a firefight with government forces.

Far more Libyans stand to be killed and injured in what NATO has announced will be at least a 90-day campaign.

To indicate the probable true duration, and the scope, of the war, NATO spokesperson Lungescu said at the press conference on March 31 that the North Atlantic Council, the military bloc’s highest decision-making body consisting of the permanent representatives (ambassadors) of its 28 member states, had met the day before to discuss the transfer of the war’s command to the Alliance.

She also said that the North Atlantic Council met with representatives of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative “and other partners around the globe.”

She added that “I can tell you it was a big room and the room was full.”

The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council includes all 28 full NATO members and the 22 affiliates of its Partnership for Peace program:

Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Georgia, Finland, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partners are Libya’s neighbors Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia and Israel, Jordan, Mauritania and Morocco.

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative’s members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – the last two providing warplanes for NATO’s Operation Unified Protector – with Oman and Saudi Arabia next in line to join.

After NATO led a conference in London on March 29 to plan for a “post-Gaddafi” Libya along the lines of such precedents as Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the bloc’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen celebrated the creation of a Contact Group on Libya and stated “NATO has long-standing relations with partner countries from the region, notably through its Mediterranean Dialogue programme and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.”

Two days later Rasmussen delivered an address in Stockholm titled “The New NATO and Sweden’s security” in which he stated:

“NATO welcomes contributions from all its partners across the world to ensure that the will of the international community is heard….We have extensive experience of involving partner nations in our operations – partners such as Sweden, but also partners in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions.”

“Afghanistan is another example where we can see the value of partnership. 48 countries are now part of the International Stabilisation Force [International Security Assistance Force] ISAF. With one in four UN member states taking part, this is the largest coalition in history. And Sweden is part of it, along with NATO Allies.”

400 Swedish troops serving under NATO in Afghanistan are fighting their country’s first war in 200 years.

On April 2, two days after the NATO chief left the country, Sweden deployed the first three warplanes assigned for NATO’s air operations in Libya with five more leaving the next day.

As with Afghanistan, the war against Libya is being employed by the U.S. and NATO to consolidate military partnerships with nations around the world under wartime conditions.

Russian political analyst Pyotr Iskenderov recently wrote that “A deployment of multinational forces on a long-term basis under the aegis of NATO paves the way for Brussels to bypass the only restriction [against military occupation] imposed by the UN Security Council on an operation in Libya.”

His compatriot Alexander Karasev added:

“An allegedly humanitarian intervention by NATO against Yugoslavia in 1999 ended with the deployment of NATO forces in Kosovo and the setting up of the largest U.S. [overseas base since the Vietnam war] Camp Bondsteel in the province. The U.S. and NATO may repeat this scenario in Libya.”

As U.S. military vessels are scheduled to depart the Mediterranean Sea, NATO is amassing an imposing array of warplanes and warships to intensify the attack against Libya.

Tallies compiled by Agence France-Presse and Deutsche Presse-Agentur list the following inventory of military assets deployed against Libya:

Britain: 17 Tornado and Typhoon fighter bombers as well as surveillance, reconnaissance and refuelling aircraft and two frigates and a submarine.

France: 36 warplanes. 20 Mirage and Rafale combat planes and the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier with ten Rafale and six Super Etendard attack jets escorted by two frigates, as well as AWACS and refuelling aircraft.

Italy: 16 jets, the Garibaldi aircraft carrier and four other ships as well as seven air and naval bases.

Canada: Eleven fighter jets, patrol and refuelling planes and a frigate.

Belgium: Six F-16 fighter jets and mine-hunting ship.

The Netherlands: Seven jets and a ship.

Turkey: Seven jets, five warships and a submarine.

Norway: Six F-16s.

Denmark: Six F-16s.

Greece: Two jets, a helicopter, a ship and four bases.

Bulgaria: A frigate.

Romania: A frigate and use of an air base.

From NATO partner nations:

Sweden: Eight Gripen fighter jets, a C-130 transport plane and reconnaissance aircraft.

Qatar: Six Mirage fighter jets and two C-17 military transport planes.

United Arab Emirates: Six Mirage jets, six F-16s and one C-17 transport aircraft.

Warplanes from the above nations have launched several hundred ground strikes against Libyan targets already.

NATO’s first African war, following its first European and Asian wars in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan respectively, will be neither short nor limited in scale and intensity.

The new commander of U.S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, said of the first phase of the war that “We’ve demonstrated the capability to [lead military operations].”

Now NATO is following suit and escalating the conflict to new and more dangerous heights.

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