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Archive for July, 2013

U.S. In Dramatic Warplane Deployments To Encircle China

July 31, 2013 5 comments

Stars and Stripes
July 30, 2013

US deploying jets around Asia to keep China surrounded
By John Reed

WASHINGTON:The United States Air Force will dramatically expand its military presence across the Pacific this year, sending jets to Thailand, India, Singapore and Australia, according to the service’s top general in the region.

For a major chunk of America’s military community, the so-called “pivot to Asia” might seem like nothing more than an empty catchphrase, especially with the Middle East once again in flames. But for the Air Force at least, the shift is very real. And the idea behind its pivot is simple: ring China with U.S. and allied forces, just like the West did to the Soviet Union, back in the Cold War.

U.S. military officials constantly say they aren’t trying to contain China; they’re working with the Chinese and other Pacific nations to “maintain stability” in the region. Still, a ring of bases looks an awful lot like something we’ve seen before.

In Australia, for example, the Air Force will dispatch “fighters, tankers, and at some point in the future, maybe bombers on a rotational basis,” said Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, chief of U.S. Air Force operations in the Pacific, during a breakfast with reporters in Washington this week. The jets will likely start their Australian presence sometime in the next year at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base at Darwin (already crowded with Marines), before moving to nearby RAAF Base Tindal, according to the four-star general.

This is just the start of the Air Force’s plan to expand its presence in Asia, according to Carlisle. In addition to the Australian deployments, the Air Force will be sending jets to Changi East air base in Singapore, Korat air base in Thailand, a site in India, and possibly bases at Kubi Point and Puerto Princesa in the Philippines and airfields in Indonesia and Malaysia.

All of this helps the United States develop a network of bases in the region and build ties to allies that operate American equipment and know how to work with the U.S. military.

“One of the main tenets of our strategy is to expand engagement and interoperability and integration . . . with our friends’ and partners’ militaries,” said Carlisle.

“The only defense budgets in the world that are climbing are in Asia,” said the general. This means the United States is working to grow its network of American-armed Pacific allies that can, in effect, bolster the U.S. presence there.

The Navy and Marines have already started their pivot to Asia, with the Navy basing littoral combat ships in Singapore and the Marines sending troops on their aforementioned deployments to Australia. Meanwhile, the Marine Corps is also refurbishing old World War II airfields on Pacific Islands. These bare-bones strips, like the one on Tinian, part of the Northern Mariana Islands, would be used by American forces in case their main bases are targeted by Chinese ballistic missiles.

U.S. officials keep saying that these deployments to the Pacific will be just for a short while. But these rotating troops will still need support staff waiting for them at all of these sites — which means America’s expansion in the Pacific be anything but temporary.

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Top Military Chief: NATO Keeping Close Eye On Egypt

July 31, 2013 2 comments

Al Arabiya
July 31, 2013

NATO says it is keeping close eye on Egypt, plans no action

NATO is keeping a close eye on Egypt and watching how the crisis there affects its “partners,” the alliance’s top military commander has said , according to Reuters.

“Right now, NATO is not planning for any actions in Egypt. Much like Syria, we are keeping a close eye on it, looking at how it affects our NATO partners and if we need to, we will do what we need to do to take care of our NATO partners,” said on Tuesday NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove.

General Breedlove said that many Mediterranean NATO members were affected by the events in North Africa.
“Refugee flows, commerce, drugs, all kinds of things in Europe are affected by what goes on in northern Africa so any instability in northern Africa is clearly a concern of the NATO nations,” he told a group of reporters at NATO’s operational headquarters in Mons, Belgium, according to Reuters.

The European Union dispatched on Monday its foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to try to mediate a diplomatic solution in Egypt before the crisis worsens in the Arab world’s biggest nation.

U.S. President Barack Obama has asked Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain to visit Egypt and try to press the army to move ahead quickly with the democratic process.

(With Reuters)

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Interview: U.S., NATO Expect Karzai To Do Afghan Dirty Work

Press TV
July 31, 2013

‘US expects Karzai to kill Afghans’

AUDIO

The United States expects the Afghan government to kill Afghan citizens, says Rick Rozoff, the manager of the organization Stop NATO International.

“Hamid Karzai regime in Kabul, which is everyone knows a proxy regime for the West more than anything else, is now evidently expected to do the dirty work that is to kill their fellow citizens,” Rozoff told Press TV’s US Desk on Tuesday.

He also said that “Afghan soldiers (are) acting really as proxies for the West. Certainly they are not a national army representing the people of Afghanistan.”

He went on to say that “the United States and its Western allies have an ..intention of leading Afghanistan entirely.”

In a pair of recent bombing attacks in Afghanistan, scores of civilians, including a number of bystanders, were killed in Zabul and Kandahar and dozens were injured in smaller attacks.

At least 14 people were killed during one overnight bombing and an early morning explosion Monday, according to officials.

During the Monday morning bombing in Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district, a mother and her two children were killed.

The attacks came amid the Afghan government’s announcement that the country’s security forces are prepared for the presidential election set for next April.

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Roger Martin du Gard: War breeds atmosphere of lies, officials lies

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

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war

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Roger Martin du Gard
From Epilogue to Les Thibault (1940)
Translated by Stuart Gilbert

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“As it happens, I’ve a Swiss paper here – Goiran passed it on to me. If we’re to believe the German communiqué, the British had over two hundred thousand casualties in one month, April, on the Yser front alone.

“The public in the Allied countries,” Bardot observed, “would be rather startled if they heard these figures.”

Antoine nodded; Mazet broke into a loud guffaw and, as he went out of the room, flung over his shoulder: “Don’t worry! The public only knows what it’s allowed to know. There’s a war on!”

He always gave the impression of regarding others as fools.

When he had left the room Bardot turned to Antoine. “Do you know what struck me this morning? That nowadays, in every country, the government has ceased to be a representative of public opinion. On neither side has anyone the least idea what the masses really are thinking; the voices of the rulers drown the voices of the ruled. Take France, for instance. Do you think there’s one Frenchman in twenty at the front who’s so keen on Alsace and Lorraine that he’d willingly prolong the war for a single month to get them back?”

“Not one in fifty.”

“And yet the whole world is firmly convinced that Clemenceau and Poincaré are the mouthpieces of public opinion in France! This war has bred an atmosphere of lies, officials lies, that’s wholly without precedent. And it’s the same thing everywhere. I wonder if they’ll ever come a time again when people are allowed to say what they really think, if the European press will ever again regain – “

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NATO Global Strike Force To Hold Series Of Exercises in Norway

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

July 30, 2013

NATO Response Force Training Takes Off with Live Air Manoeuvres in Norway

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Brilliant Arrow 2013 is the first live-fly exercise prepared and conducted by HQ AIRCOM, NATO’s single Air Command. Forty fighter aircraft, two airborne early warning platforms, three transport aircraft, four helicopters as well as other support aircraft will train within a challenging and realistic scenario that also involves air defence units on the ground.

The purpose of the series of exercises is to train and test the NATO Response Force, a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and special forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly wherever needed.

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This fall, Allied Command Operations will conduct a wide variety of dynamic and demanding exercises that will put both troops and commanders from the NATO Response Force (NRF) to the test. NATO has ambitious plans to increase training activity over the next few years in order to maintain readiness and interoperability. This will include more ambitious and frequent exercises, a broader range of scenarios, and a comprehensive training plan to cover the full range of Alliance missions.

The next major Alliance training event is Exercise Brilliant Arrow, which will involve around 50 military aircraft and approximately 800 exercise participants in the central region of Norway from 25 August to 5 September 2013. The exercise, conducted by HQ Allied Air Command (HQ AIRCOM) at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is the first in a series of manoeuvres taking place this autumn designed to hone the skills and interoperability of the NRF.

Brilliant Arrow 2013 is the first live-fly exercise prepared and conducted by HQ AIRCOM, NATO’s single Air Command. Forty fighter aircraft, two airborne early warning platforms, three transport aircraft, four helicopters as well as other support aircraft will train within a challenging and realistic scenario that also involves air defence units on the ground.

One of General Breedlove’s key priorities as Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe (SACEUR) is maintaining the unparalleled level of interoperability among allies and partners as a result of recent and intense operational experiences.

“Exercise Brilliant Arrow will hone the skills of allied air forces in orchestrating air operations,” said General Philip Breedlove. “This level of capability and interoperability will be needed if the involved units are activated under the NATO Response Force,” he said.

The exercise is centred around Oerland Main Air Station in Norway. Nine other NATO members – France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and the United Kingdom – will also participate.

The participating units and HQ AIRCOM will be on standby for a potential NRF mission in 2014.

Several NRF exercises will be conducted this fall in order to keep the Alliance fit for the future. In addition to the air exercise, Maritime manoeuvres will be conducted in late September and early October (Exercise Brilliant Mariner) and a variety of land-based exercises have already occurred. The NATO Response Force training for 2013 will culminate with Exercise Steadfast Jazz, which takes place in early November in a number of Alliance nations including the Baltic States and Poland. Air, land, maritime and special forces components will all be exercised, as well as the headquarters staff from Joint Force Command Brunssum who will be expected to lead NATO joint operations next year.

The purpose of the series of exercises is to train and test the NATO Response Force, a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and special forces components that the Alliance can deploy quickly wherever needed. The goal is to make sure that NRF headquarters and troops are ready to deal with any situation in any environment.

“The NATO Response Force is a key-component of NATO’s collective defence capabilities,” said General Breedlove. “The NATO Response Force is also essential in maintaining and enhancing the ability of forces from across the Alliance to work together, which will be increasingly important as our mission in Afghanistan winds-down and we prepare to meet future challenges,” he added.

As the operational tempo is expected to decrease after the combat mission in Afghanistan is completed at the end of 2014, NATO will step up training to maintain readiness and interoperability. NATO Defence Ministers in February 2013 endorsed plans to revitalise NATO’s exercise programme. This will include more ambitious and frequent exercises, a broader range of scenarios, and a comprehensive training plan out to 2020 to cover the full range of Alliance missions. Nations will also be encouraged to open national exercises to NATO participation, which will provide further opportunities to enhance Alliance interoperability.

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NATO Praises Saakashvili For Herding Georgia Into Military Bloc

July 30, 2013 1 comment

Trend News Agency
July 29, 2013

Georgia’s ambassador to U.S informed Committee of NATO PA about country’s foreign policy priorities
N. Kirtzkhalia

100325a-005 Visit to NATO by President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia - bilateral meeting and joint press point with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Tbilisi: Georgia’s ambassador to the U.S., Archil Gegeshidze, took part in the event organized by the Defense and Security Committee of NATO Parliament Assembly. The meeting was held at the initiative of Congressman Michael Turner.

As Georgia’s Foreign Ministry reported, Archil Gegeshidze talked about NATO’s expansion, the perspectives of Georgia’s joining the Alliance, the priorities of Georgia’s foreign policy course and internal processes in the country, during his speech at the event.

As the chairman of NATO’s Defense and Security Committee Hiver Meserau noted, the information provided by the ambassador was extremely useful for the members of the Committee.

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Trend News AgencyJuly 30, 2013

NATO Secretary General notes Georgian President’s role in country’s Euro-Atlantic integration success
N. Kirtzkhalia

Tbilisi: The NATO Secretary General has noted the personal role of President Mikheil Saakashvili in the success of Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia.

This is stated in NATO Secretary General’s letter to the President of Georgia. The letter was placed on the personal page of Mikheil Saakashvili on a social network.

The NATO Secretary General said that he was pleased to meet with Saakashvili once again during the visit of the North Atlantic Council to Georgia.

“Let me thank you for hospitality and friendship you have shown to the Council in Tbilisi,” the letter said.

The Secretary General thanked Saakashvili for open discussion, which was carried out in relation to the events that take place inside the country.

“The Allies will continue to closely monitor the events developing in the country, because this year, the country is preparing for presidential elections,” the Secretary General said.

Rasmussen also thanked Georgia for continuing participation in the ISAF operation as well as for Georgia’s obligations in post 2014 NATO training and support missions.

“Your special role in the ISAF shows that Georgia is a valuable contributor to Euro-Atlantic security,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s letter said.

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Pentagon Official Threatens Russia Over Finland’s NATO Membership

July 30, 2013 4 comments

Finnish Broadcasting Company/YLE News
July 27, 2013

U.S. official criticises Russia for meddling in Finland’s NATO debate

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James J. Townsend, a senior defence official responsible for U.S. policy on NATO and Europe, has criticised Russian interference in Finland’s possible NATO membership.

James J. Townsend, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for European and NATO Policy, spoke frankly on a number of NATO-related issues on a visit to Finland.

With most foreign troops to be pulled from Afghanistan during the next year, Townsend asked for Finland’s continued support in the strife-torn country.

“We’re hoping that the international community, Finland and NATO members, NATO partners, all of us will remain engaged and in support of the Afghan government,” Townsend said.

The U.S. official is also well aware of the debate around possible Finnish NATO membership…

Russia, however, has threatened countermeasures, should Finland join NATO.

“It was disappointing to hear from Russian officials in this day and age. This is a time when nations should feel free to join whatever institution they feel is important to them,” Townsend commented.

Showing off military muscle

In mid-July, Russia staged its biggest military exercises since Soviet times. It will flex its military muscle again in September in joint military drills with Belarus, designed against possible U.S. threats.

“They seem to like to exercise, not just to make sure their troops are trained, but also to send a signal to the neighbourhood that they are still here, and that they are still watching things across their border. And that’s one way they signal that, which I think is a shame,” said Townsend.

Townsend said that the US is not averse to sending out signals of its own.

“I think also it is important for us to signal to Russia or anyone else that the United States has very close friends up here,” he concluded.

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Henri Troyat: “Will a day ever come when there’s no more war, no more lies, no more tragedy!”

July 30, 2013 1 comment

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

Henri Troyat: Selections on war

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Henri Troyat
From The Encounter (1958)
Translated by Gerard Hopkins

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[As] long as there were human beings left alive, the massacre would go on, the patriotic speeches, the blazing houses, the lying announcements, the shooting of hostages, the muckraking newspapers, the cattle trucks packed with deported Jews, the long line of housewives at the doors of empty shops.

***

“Wait! We’re always waiting!” moaned Elizabeth. “I’m sick of waiting! Will a day ever come when there’s no more war, no more rationing, no more lies, no more curfew, no more tragedy!”

***

But once the storm has passed, what would become of all these farmers, workmen, shopkeepers, accountants, and mere children to whom disobedience to the laws, lying and slaughter, had been held up as acts of heroism? Would they ever be able to accept a life of hard work after having tasted the doubtful pleasures of fear and vengeance?

***

To the brink of what abyss was his mind careering? Had he so completely lost all faith in his fellow men that he must call on supernatural aid to build the world anew? Yes, that was the long and short of the matter: mankind would never be able to complete its immense task, which consisted in clearing the ruined cities of their rubbish and rebuilding them, in burying the dead, in throwing the roads wide open, in bringing whole populations back within their own, historic frontiers, in feeding the starving, in teaching resignation to the injured and restoring the love of life to those who were in despair – no, nothing of this could human beings do successfully until the light of charity shone upon their enterprise.

***

After a brief period of silence, a fresh wave of bombers broke over the city, and the anti-aircraft guns began again their nervous barking in the spasmodic illumination of the darkness…

Down in the street a window splintered. Shell fragments rained down on the roofs…For two hours the world was a confused din of thunder, explosions, and throbbing flashes. When, at last, the noise died down and the searchlights and the flares had been extinguished, Elizabeth wondered what was left of Paris. The silence was complete, unreal, like that of a graveyard. The house had been spared and stood there, solitary, like a tower in the middle of a vast expanse of ruins.

“It’s ghastly!” exclaimed Elizabeth. “I can’t look. Oh, God! What have they done? What have they done?”

Her legs were weak and she felt sick…

Next morning the charwoman arrived early with the bread and a paper. She was in a state of high indignation; the Anglo-Americans had bombed the station of La Chapelle and Montmartre. It was only by a miracle that the Sacré-Coeur had not been hit. People were saying that there had been six hundred killed.

“They don’t even aim, no more, but just drop their stuff at random – just unload their bombs and turn tail. That’s not war, that isn’t – just sheer butchery!”

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NATO Bond: U.S. Leads Paratroop Training In Bulgaria

U.S. Air Forces Europe – Air Forces Africa
July 29, 2013

U.S. Airmen jump with Bulgarians during two-week flying training
By Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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“The training we’re doing here is essential and improves the working relationship between NATO, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa and the U.S. government. We come and help the Bulgarians . ith their jump training and it builds a relationship as well as strengthens their participation with NATO.”

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PLOVDIV, Bulgaria: More than 600 Airmen from the 86th Airlift and 435th Air Ground Operations wings and members of the Bulgarian armed forces participated in a two-week flying training deployment called Thracian Summer, July 7 through 21.

Thracian Summer is an opportunity for the militaries of both nations to train together and strengthen partnerships. Training in Bulgaria also gives members of Team Ramstein the opportunity to get training they don’t normally receive in Germany.

“Bulgarian airspace allows us to fly in various terrains at low altitudes and practice solid formation flying,” said Maj. Jon Cato, 37th Airlift Squadron pilot. “In other places, whether in Germany or in the U.S., there’s a lot of restrictions to the airspace that aren’t present here.”

Training with the Bulgarians allows both nations to fulfill training requirements that benefit each other.

“This is the fifth time in the last four years we’ve been able to do this training, it’s very important training for us,” said Bulgarian Col. Iavor Mateev, Ministry of Defense paratrooper. “This training gives our special forces and conventional paratroopers the chance to practice day and night jumps.”

“The training we’re doing here is essential and improves the working relationship between NATO, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa and the U.S. government,” Cato said. “We come and help the Bulgarians with their jump training and it builds a relationship as well as strengthens their participation with NATO.”

Members of the 435th Contingency Response Group facilitated jump training for the Bulgarian paratroopers during Thracian Summer.

“It’s all about building partnership capacity, showing them our standards and learning about how they do business,” said Master Sgt. Stephen Nelson, 435th CRG contingency air traffic controller. “We’ve learned how to use each other’s parachutes and exchanged jump wings. The training has been great.”

In addition to the training opportunities, the two-week deployment provided an opportunity to enhance the existing partnership between the U.S. and Bulgaria.

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U.S. General Visits Georgian Black Sea Port

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
July 27, 2013

General William Fraser Visited Poti Port

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U.S. Transportation Commander, General William M. Fraser and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland visited Poti Sea Port today. The U.S. officials got acquainted with the water areas of Poti Port and its economic potential.

According to General Fraser, Poti Port is an important transport junction for withdrawal of equipment and soldiers of NATO coalition forces from Afghanistan. As he said both sides have experience of cooperation in transportation of cargo from Afghanistan. The U.S. side expressed hope for future cooperation.

Georgia’s transit opportunity was a key talking point of the meeting at Georgian Defence Ministry yesterday. Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania and U.S. Transportation Commander, General William M. Fraser discussed the ISAF reverse transit of NATO forces and cargos and alternative transit way through Georgia.

Within the framework of the visit to Georgia, USTRANSCOM Commander met with the Georgian Prime-Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, as well Ministers of Regional Development and Infrastructure and Economic Development.

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Roger Martin du Gard: Launch against the war-mongers a concerted movement to force the governments to bow to your desire for peace

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

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war

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Roger Martin du Gard
From Summer 1914 (1936)
Translated by Stuart Gilbert

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Frenchmen and Germans, you have been fooled.     

This war has been represented to you in both camps not only as a defensive war but as a fight of the rights of nations, for justice and liberty. Why? Because they know that not one German peasant or workman, not one French peasant or workman, would have let his blood be shed in an offensive war, a war to win new territories or markets.

On both sides they have told you you are fighting to stamp out militarism, your neighbours’ militarism, to check their bid for world power. As though there was anything to choose between one militarism and another; as though militant nationalism hadn’t as many champions, of recent years, in France as it has had in Germany! As though both your governments alike had not been deliberately courting the same risks of war! Yes, you have been bamboozled. All of you have been led to think that you were going to defend your country against the dastardly attack of an aggressor nation, while in actual fact both General Staffs, French and German alike, have been studying for years, with the same cynical effrontery, the best method of getting in the first lightening blow. While, all along, in each army alike, the High Command has aimed at reaping the advantage of an “act of aggression,” the act at which they now hold up their hands in pious horror, so as to justify in your eyes the war they have deliberately brought upon you.    

You have been fooled. The best among you believe in good faith that they are giving up their lives for the cause of justice among the peoples of the earth. Whereas neither justice nor the people of any country have been taken into the least account – except in official speeches – and nowhere have the wishes of the nation been ascertained by a plebiscite. No, you are all being sent to your deaths in consequence of old, stupid, secret treaties, of the contents of which you knew nothing and which, had you known them, not one of you would have endorsed. Both sides have been fooled. You Frenchmen have been led to think that it was your duty to bar the way to the invaders and defend civilization against the hordes of barbarism. You Germans have been led to think that your country was encircled, that its existence was at stake, and its prosperity was imperilled by the greed of outsiders, against whom it was your duty to defend it. German and Frenchman, each of you has been fooled; each of you has believed in all good faith that this war is a holy war – on his side only. Each has felt he owed it to his country to sacrifice unreservedly his happiness, his liberty, his life, to the national “honour” and the “triumph of justice.” But you have been fooled. The campaign of lying propaganda has done its work in a few days; you have been inoculated with the war-fever – you, even you, who will be the victims of the war! And you have marched heroically against each other at the first call to arms from your country – your country that was never in any real danger. You did not realize that on both sides alike the ruling-classes were using you, the workers, as their cat’s-paw. You did not realize you were being asked to bear the brunt of their criminal schemes, to serve as the small change of conquest, helpless accomplices and victims of their insatiable greed for power and gold.

It is exactly with the same lies that the powers that be in France and in Germany have tricked you. Never until now had the European governments shown such utter lack of scruple and such devilish skill in piling calumny on calumny, suggesting false motives and spreading false news – in a word, employing every method of creating hatred and alarm – so as to make sure of roping you in as their accomplices. Within a few days, without even been given the time to look around and count the dreadful cost of what was being required of you, you have been herded into base-camps, supplied with equipment, and hounded on to murder and to death. All your rights as free men have been wiped out. On both sides, on the same day, martial law was declared, a ruthless military dictatorship established. Anyone who tried to think for himself, who dared to ask: “What’s it all about?” was in for it! In any case, who of you was capable of taking a clear view? Of the true facts you had not been given an inkling; your only source of information was the national press, the official lie-factory! All-powerful within its own closed frontiers, the press has come to speak with a single voice of the men in command, for whom your ignorance, credulity, docility, were essential to enable them to attain their ends.

Your mistake lay in failing to forestall the conflagration while there was yet time. For, although you had on your side an overwhelming majority of pacifist-minded men, you failed to organize it, to bring it into action when the need rose, and to launch against the war-mongers a concerted movement of all classes in all lands that would have forced the governments of Europe to bow to your desire for peace.

Now, everywhere, an iron discipline has gagged the voice of individual protest. Everywhere you have been reduced to the blind subservience of animals in blinkers. Never before has humanity been brought so low, intelligence so completely stifled. Never before have governments forced men’s minds into so total an abdication of their rights; so brutally repressed the aspirations of the masses.

Now you have sampled it, their war. You have heard the bullets whining past your ears and the groans of wounded, dying men. Now you can gauge the horrors of the shambles they have in store for you. Already most of you have awakened to realities and deep down in yourselves feel a first inkling of shame – of disgust at having let yourselves be fooled. Memories of home, of the dear ones you were so absurdly ready to forsake, are crowding back into your thoughts. Under the impact of reality your minds are beginning to work again. your eyes are opening. What will it be when you have realized the squalid motives, the lust for conquest and world power, the greed for gain of which none of you will ever see a penny, the stranglehold of world finance – the hidden hand behind this war – what will it be when you realize that it is for the sake of these that you are being asked to lay down your lives?

What have they made of your liberty, your consciences, your human dignity? What of the happiness of your homes? What of the only precious thing a worker has to safeguard – his life? Has the French state, has the German state, the right to tear you away from your families and your work and dispose of your lives against your most obvious personal interests, against your will, your convictions, your most human, most sacred and legitimate instincts? What gave them this appalling power over you, the power of life and death? Your ignorance. Your apathy.

All that is needed is to stop and think if only for a moment, to make one fervent effort of revolt, and you can still break free.

Are you incapable of it? Will you tamely wait under a storm of shellfire, suffering hideously in mind and body, for the far-off day of peace? A peace which you will never know, you the first victims of the war. Very likely even the younger generation called to replace you in the firing-line and sacrificed like you in “glorious” carnage, will not survive to see that day.

Do not say that it is too late, that nothing is left to you now but to see it through and submit like sheep led to the slaughter. That would be a coward’s pretext. And it would be a lie.

On the contrary, this is the moment to throw off the yoke. Liberty, safety, the joy of life – all the happiness that has been snatched from you – you can regain them; it rests with you and you alone.

Take thought, take action, before it is too late. You have a means, an infallible means, of making it impossible for your High Commands to keep up this fratricidal butchery one day longer. It is – to refuse to fight. To cut the ground under the feet of those in power by a simultaneous revolt.

You can do it.

You can do it tomorrow morning.

You can do it without incurring any risk of reprisals.

But, to bring it off, there are three absolute conditions: that your revolt should be sudden, that it should be general, that it should be simultaneous.

Sudden, because you must not give your officers time to take precautionary measures. General and simultaneous, because your success depends on mass action begun at the same moment on both sides of the frontier. If there were only fifty of you who refused to do their “duty,” inevitably they would end up before the firing-squad. But if you were five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand – if you rose like one man in both armies on your sector, if your movement of revolt spread like wildfire from regiment to regiment, if at last you brought into play the invincible force of the greatest number – no courts-martial could cope with the situation. And your officers, and the governments that have set these officers over you, would in a few hours’ time find that their powers for evil had been scotched, paralysed, smashed for ever.

Try to realize the tremendous importance of this crucial moment in your lives. To regain your independence forthwith, only three things are needed and those three things rest with you alone: your revolt must be sudden, it must be unanimous, and it must be simultaneous.


   
Frenchmen and Germans, you are all men, all brothers, For the sake of your mothers, wives, and children, for the sake of all that is noblest in you, for the sake of that creative impulse transmitted from the dawn of civilization which tends to shape man into a just and rational being – grasp this last chance! Safety is within arm’s reach. Rise up and act, before it is too late!

Thousands and thousands of copies of this appeal are being broadcast today in France and Germany, along the whole front. At this very moment, in both camps, thousands of French and German hearts are thrilling with the same hope as yours, thousands of fists are brandished, thousands of men declaring for revolt, the triumph of life over lies and death.

Courage! Do not hesitate! The least delay may ruin everything. Your revolt must break out tomorrow and no later.

Tomorrow, at the same hour, at sunrise, all together, French and Germans, fired by the same heroism and the same fraternal love, throw down your arms and join your voices in a great shout rolling along the lines, the cheers of men set free.

Rise up all together and refuse to take part in the war, compel your governments to declare immediate peace!

Up tomorrow, all of you, with the first ray of dawn!

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“Any Sort Of Crisis”: NATO Warships Dock In Turkey

Hurriyet Daily News
July 27, 2013

NATO’s two frigates drop anchor in Istanbul shores

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The Blas De Lezo

ISTANBUL: The Spanish Blas De Lezo and Turkish Salih Reis frigates stop by Istanbul’s Sarayburnu port as their 400 mariners return to the Mediteranean from the Black Sea in order to conduct military drills to stay ready for ‘any sort of crisis’

A key NATO maritime group has dropped anchor off the shore of Istanbul, returning from a military exercise in the Black Sea with the Bulgarian Navy.

The group will have three more exercises in the West Mediterranean this year. The group’s mission is to be ready for naval operations in any situation in the region, Spanish Rear Adm. Eugene Diaz Del Rio said yesterday. “We are executing two main operations: One is against terrorist activities in the Mediterranean, and the other operation is anti-piracy in the Indian Ocean,” Del Rio told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Led by Del Rio, Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team.

‘Collaboration with the Turkish Navy is fantastic’

Usually the force works in the Mediterranean area but, as required, is available anywhere NATO requires it to deploy to.

The SNMG-2 completed the two-week military drill, which started June 15, with its two frigates, Spanish Blas De Lezo and Turkish Salih Reis and 400 mariners.

“Our collaboration with the Turkish Navy is fantastic… I have been with the Turkish commander on this task almost 10 months. We have a very close relationship. We feel very close to the Turkish Navy, and I appreciate a lot the Turkish Navy’s big effort to support my force. The Turkish Navy provides fuel, water, training… All these things are provided by the Turkish Navy… and it really costs a lot,” he said. Del Rio said navies should be ready to intervene in any sudden situation in the region.

“We cannot say, ‘We need 24 hours, please wait,’ so we are always ready to move immediately.”

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The Salih Reis

During the Spanish tenure, the SNMG-2 will participate in different NATO and non-NATO exercises, including Breeze 2013, organized by the Bulgarian Navy; Doğu Akdeniz 2013, planned by the Turkish Navy; NAIAS 2013, conducted by Greece; and Brilliant Mariner/Mare Aperto 2013, organized by Italy.

The composition of the force varies as naval units are provided by NATO-contributing nations on a rotational basis while the command of the force rotates between nations.

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Jules Romains: Deadening effects of war on human sensibilities, defeat of civilization by barbarism

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

Jules Romains: Selections on war

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Jules Romains
From Verdun: The Prelude (1938)
Translated by Gerard Hopkins

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I’ve noticed that the men are not content with having gained a familiarity with death which hardens them and renders them less susceptible to being shocked, if, indeed, shocked at all, at the idea of doing things that in the old days would have sickened them. Such an attitude is an inevitable result of the deadening effects of war on human sensibilities. But their moral deterioration goes much further than that. In many cases they seem actually relieved at being freed from the particular attitude of respect for human life in which most of them have been brought up. That is something quite different from a mere deadening of sensibility. It is an active satisfaction in loosening the bonds of sentiment, and it worries me very considerably…[They] derive a sort of gutter satisfaction from treating life and its manifestation in the bits and pieces of human beings like so much dirt…

The whole business reminds me vividly of the Middle Ages. We are rapidly taking on again the mental outlook of the Middle Ages: lack of reverence for the human carcass and for mere flesh whether living or dead; the very large part, on the other hand, which we accord, in our preoccupations, to this very flesh; the mocking unconcern which we show for those aspects of the human body which are most degrading, such as excreta, carrion, skeletons; the whole side of medieval consciousness which produced the danse macabre and found delight in setting charnel-houses, gargoyles, obscene bas-reliefs, and latrines in the shadow of the great cathedrals.

***

We just let ourselves be swept along; the tide of danger picks us up and carries us with it. It will leave us high and dry precisely where it chooses and how it chooses; dead, mutilated, made prisoner, or even still living – not that that really settles anything.

This, is seems to me, is the one irreparable loss. It has taken civilization centuries of patient fumbling to teach men that life, their own and that of others, is something sacred. Well, it’s been so much work thrown away. We shan’t, you’ll see, get back to that attitude in a hurry.

For people like us, this particular disaster is but one aspect of a far more extensive disaster, from the effects of which I, for one, shall never recover. How can I explain what I mean without making the sceptics smile? (But you’re no sceptic.) Let me put it this way: Without subscribing to the cruder forms of the belief in progress, we did think – I hope you don’t mind my saying “we” – that the last few centuries of Western civilization had given to human nature an orientation, a culture, that, no matter how one viewed it from the point of view of metaphysics, had had certain very important practical results. If we anticipated a continuance of the process, we could not, I think, be accused of undue stupidity. But that’s a thing of the past. The anticipation, like everything else, has been swept away. My most haunting horror is not that I see men now willing to suffer and to act as they do, but that having so seen them, I shall never again be able to believe in their good intentions. Look at the thing how you will, it is now proved beyond power of contradiction that millions of men can tolerate, for an indefinite period and without spontaneously rising in revolt, an existence more terrible and more degraded than any that the numberless revolutions of history were held to have terminated for ever. They obey and they suffer as unquestioningly as the slaves and victims of the most bestial periods known to us.

***

We know now that men can be made to do exactly anything – after a hundred years of democracy and eighteen centuries of the Christian faith. It’s all a question of finding the right means. If only we take enough trouble and go sufficiently slowly, we can make him kill his aged parents and eat them in a stew. I foresee appalling developments. We may live to witness the revival of human sacrifice.

***

[We] have crossed the Rubicon. However short a time ago the attack began, the fact remains that our defences have been shattered, and we are now in a world where all these things are natural, simple, and, I repeat, only too much a matter of practical politics. It was on the 2nd of August 1914 that the real front was broken, the front held by civilization against barbarism.

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NATO And The “Phantom Menace”: A Pretext For Global Expansion

July 28, 2013 2 comments

Voice of Russia
July 27, 2013

NATO and the “phantom menace”: a pretext for global expansion
John Robles

Upcoming NATO military exercises envisage an attack on Poland and an Article 5 NATO intervention against a foreign power. To the dismay of Russia, these exercises continue the outdated “Cold War” thinking of the West, which refuses to let go of such stereotypes and continues to eschew peace and understanding between nations.

NATO and the West have an agenda, and that agenda is complete and total military domination of the world. Operation “Steadfast Jazz 2013” underlines the real intentions of the alliance, and further serves to destabilize the world and a region where countries should be working for peace.

It is clear that the West is being controlled by the military industrial complex and that peace is not something that they envision for the world. NATO as an organization should have been disbanded after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact but they have done quite the opposite and have continued with a global expansion that has made NATO the single largest military power in the history of the world.

No matter that the Cold War has long been over, and the West and NATO’s beloved reason for expansion, the “evil specter” of Communism in Europe, has been relegated to the pages of history, the U.S. and its NATO allies need phantoms and demons, rogue nations and terrorists, evil aggressors and vicious invaders to justify their own existence and, even more so, to justify their own endless aggressive expansion and disguise the fact that such a global expansion is illegal and in fact a plan aimed at the domination of the world by one power.

NATO, which originally was conceived as a military alliance of North Atlantic countries aimed against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), has continued its expansion unhindered since the end of the Cold War and now includes members, partners and participants of “special programs” on every continent of the planet except Antarctica.

The organization has used the pretext of terrorism to justify its expansion to many countries and has spread the fear of nuclear missile attacks from Iran and North Korea as a way to terrify countries into joining or supporting the organization or allowing them to, in effect, annex their military forces with promises of protection, training and invulnerability.

NATO has continued to encircle the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China for over a decade with missiles and what are effectively, with the flick of a switch, first strike weapons and a “shield” which will neutralize any Russian or Chinese responsive attack and the have done so with impunity under the claim that Europe is under some sort of threat from Iranian missiles.

Poland has been a key country in the expansion of NATO to the East and key, due to its location, in neutralizing any sort of Russian defensive or counter response if it is attacked by the West. It is also the latest location where NATO is planning massive training exercises under the pretext of a supposed NATO article 5 defense of Poland under attack from a “phantom enemy” which could only be Russia.

The planned NATO exercises, with the unlikely name of “Steadfast Jazz 2013”, planned for November, include ex-Soviet Baltic republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Poland, and envisage those countries being attacked by a “foreign power” – some unidentified “phantom menace” – and are reminiscent of the Cold War according to the Deputy Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, Anatoly Antonov.

At a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels, the Deputy Defense Minister stated the following: “As we prepared for this meeting, we carefully studied information received from NATO countries about Steadfast Jazz 2013, and I can’t hide the fact that the Russian Defense Ministry was bewildered by the proclaimed goal of this exercise, which envisages the application of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty triggering a response to an aggression against Poland. These drills are in the spirit of the Cold War.”

These words from official Moscow are unlikely to change NATO’s plans as have all previous protests against the alliance’s expansion and the surrounding of Russia with NATO “missile defense” elements, protests which have fallen on deaf ears. NATO has an agenda and it will stop at nothing to fulfill that agenda. The agenda is what you might call an “open secret” and is nothing less than achieving military domination over the entire planet and even the “space” above us.

The U.S. and the Western military industrial complex are not interested in peace, and while countries in Eastern Europe, former Soviet Republics and other countries across Europe, the Middle East, South America, North America, Scandinavia, Africa and Asia might be spending more on improving their own economies, advancing peace and trade relations with their neighbors and other states and making life better for their own citizens and those of the world, NATO’s persistent expansion and the demands on member and partner countries’s economies and resources divert precious resources towards their own expansion and the supposed “defense” against “phantom menaces”.

This persistent stance of needing to defend against a “phantom menace” as a pretext for their own aggressive domination of the world and their own commission of acts of aggression against peaceful countries which do not pose any real threat to the “alliance”, such as Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China, only serves to destabilize the world and perpetuate an artificial state of endless war and danger.

Sure, NATO has not attacked North Korea, Iran, Russia or China, yet, but their aggressive placement of missiles and military infrastructure around these countries and the continuous beating of the war drum by the alliance in no way promotes peace or understanding between nations and in fact has a complete and total destabilizing effect on the entire planet.

Therefore in reality the single biggest threat to peace in today’s world is not from the bogeyman of terrorism, or from a nuclear Iran or North Korea, but from the aggressive, expansionist. saber-rattling polices of the West, namely the United States of America and its NATO subordinates and their constant meddling in countries all over the globe in their endless attempt to dominate and bend the will of the world’s countries to their own agenda. Whether that be access to resources, economic enrichment or other “strategic” goals.

These types of exercises are the antithesis of advancing peaceful relations between nations. The real geopolitical situation which exists in the world, and in particular Europe, today sees no real scenario where Poland is being attacked by an aggressive power (Russia), but the exercises against the phantom menace (which appears to be Russia) serve NATO’s expansion and allows it to further annex and place in its debt the countries involved.

The fact that NATO members, whose militaries are integrated into NATO, in effect lose the sovereignty of their militaries is a matter few countries consider and is something that is rarely, if ever, touched upon. Just how far countries allow NATO to integrate with their military structures is a question that members should be asking but are not. Blindly trusting the intentions of a military bloc whose ultimate goal is complete and total world domination is a dangerous prospect and one which should set off warning bells, but unfortunately the world has been duped into blindly trusting NATO.

The opinions and views expressed here are my own. I can be reached atrobles@ruvr.ru.

Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_07_27/NATO-and-the-phantom-menace-a-pretext-for-global-expansion-6808/

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Henri Barbusse: I will wage war, even though I alone may survive

July 28, 2013 1 comment

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

Henri Barbusse: Selections on war

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Henri Barbusse
From Chains (Les Enchaînements) (1924)
Translated by Stephen Haden Guest

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“It is you, you alone, who create, ye poor and oppressed: Power arms against you all your own acts, and it, that cannot make life, makes use of life. You have made with your sorrows the sorrowful legend of hope, as with your hands you have made the great pyramids and the great wars…”

“You have obeyed masters who used you to manufacture their own glory, their own beauty, and their own joy. And they themselves have proclaimed that their palaces, their crowned cities are cemented with your blood.

“You went out into the world and fought against one another, not for any great idea, – merely man for himself, for his personal glory, for his family, for his wealth. The masters lived upon the death of the masses – the masses which till now have been immortal. Force becomes exhausted and dies, so they made use of ruse. And this has been the whole history of man since the deluge.”

***

“And now the world is drawing to an end, vanquished by war, full of ruins. All roads lead to devastation. In every place there is nailed up like a malediction the name of some massacre, some destruction.”

***

“You have lived against yourselves. Enough of race-names and family names, enough of man assassinated by the words of man. Everything has culminated in war; and first of all the unequal war that hurls itself upon work; the task that is ever to do, the task that is ever to be begun anew, that grows again during the night, and that is never finished…Everything ended in the cudgel and the whip, in crucifixions, in human hearts thrown about like worthless scraps, in human children crushed by soldiers at street corners of towns, in the utter destruction of the two gentle things of life – love and friendship.”

***

“I perceive that among men are some few that are simple, reasonable, intelligible and intelligent, not mechanical like all the rest. They are the men of peace, the peace of nature, not that which kings conspicuously intersperse with their wars…”

***

An old, disabled soldier – he had only the stump of his right arm – was sitting, as was his custom every evening, in front of the barracks doorway. He rose up pugnaciously. One could see his savage anger.

“He does not hate the enemy! He would have us all, all of us, throw away our weapons as if war were a shameful thing. He casts aspersions even on war! For him a Scythian or a Parthian soldier is as good as a Roman. It is the defeat of his own country that he seeks. It is because Rome’s enemies bring him gold, at night, in a cave.”

***

It is by the roads that labour absorbs man, as does war, and by the roads they return conquered, as in war. This way love goes, and misery comes.

***

“We must declare war. Our shield, emblazoned with the dog’s head, the most beautiful and the most ancient of all, has received an affront…I will wage war, even though I alone may survive, even though I myself may have to devastate all the crops of my poor people of Elcho in order to starve the enemy. We shall say that one of our subjects has disappeared. We shall find a reason.”

Saying this, he turned toward me, pointing to me with that sickly thing at the end of his arm.

“Monseigneur,” said I, “God created the world, but it is left for princes to create reasons of state.”

He then waved his swollen hand, which was like a tongue, at Méliodon. He, starting up, re-echoed:

“Monseigneur,” he cried, “the war of justice.”

“My God!” exclaimed the Baron. “I pity the sufferings my people will have to endure, but my right is above everything. The war for my right, the just war, eh?”

One could hear him chuckling in his throat. He gazed closely at the dog’s head painted on the wall. His triumphant laughter fell like a cascade. This unhappy man who even in his paroxysm of laughter was still muttering the word: “War.” He brandished a crucifix threateningly.

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Poland: U.S., NATO Strengthen Military Position On Russian Border

July 26, 2013 5 comments

United States European Command
July 26, 2013

Aviation Detachment Deployment to Poland Shows U.S. Commitment to Europe
General Philip Breedlove

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In recent months, due to the U.S. “rebalance” to Asia, I have heard and read concerns decreasing U.S. engagement in Europe is causing a shift in U.S. interest in European countries as strategic partners.

Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, emblematic of U.S. commitment and interest not only to the NATO Alliance, but our allies, partners and friends is our on-going air training detachment with Poland.

As the 31st Fighter Wing commander at Aviano Air Base in 2004, my unit trained a Polish Air Force unit on their newly acquired F-16s. Fast forward nine years and the 31st Fighter Wing is back in Poland (Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group) at Task Air Base training with our Polish allies.

[W]e’ve fought side-by-side with our Polish partners in World War II, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Presently, we are modernizing our 236-year-old relationship with the standup of the Aviation Detachment in Poland, which took place in November last year, and is the first full-time U.S. presence in Poland.

The AV DET will be an enduring presence with 10 Airmen, but F-16 and C-130 crews and aircraft will rotate periodically for training, where the total number of personnel could surge up to 250. The AV DET supports Poland’s continued defense modernization and standardization with the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Buoyed by the fact that we are now into our third quarterly rotation of the Aviation Detachment, with plans for the fourth rotation under way, our security relationship has never been closer. Increased cooperation, like the kind evident in the Aviation Detachment, will continue to strengthen our interoperability and partnership.

The Detachment in Poland though represents a wider, broader trend of continued commitment and engagement in Europe. For example — United States Army Europe conducted Atlas Vision this month, a bi-lateral U.S.-Russian ground forces exercise; United States Naval Forces Europe just finished Sea Breeze, a 10 nation exercise which aims to improve maritime safety, security and stability engagements in the Black Sea; and in Israel the United States Air Forces in Europe is currently conducting Juniper Stallion 13 a bi-lateral exercise with the Israeli Defense Forces designed to promote cooperation between our two nations while enhancing peace, stability and security in the region; finally in November NATO will conduct exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013 to be held in the Baltic States and Poland. Whether on the ground; at sea; or in the air; EUCOM and NATO remain engaged across the continent to promote interoperability, capability and increased military capacity.

Our engagements with our European allies and partners is rooted in shared history, interests and values, cemented through NATO and the ironclad commitment to our mutual security. As a key component of NATO’s collective security Poland is important, to the U.S. and to NATO, and is a key U.S. ally in Central Europe.

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Increased cooperation serves both our national interests. The Aviation Detachment supports Poland’s continued defense modernization and standardization with the US and NATO and enables cooperation in regional security efforts. Exercises with our European partners – whether bilateral or multinational increase the capability and interoperability of all of our military forces.

The United States and Poland, as well as all of Europe, share an enduring and cooperative relationship which I am confident will continue in the decades ahead as we secure our future together.

“From the Cockpit”

Phil Breedlove
General, USAF
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Commander, U.S. European Command

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Chairman Of Joint Chiefs Of Staff: U.S. To Continue Military Exercises In Poland

Polish Radio
July 25, 2013

Joint US-Polish military training to continue

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US budget cuts will not affect the joint American-Polish military training programme, the US’s highest-ranking general insisted on Wednesday.

General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the pledge while visiting an air base in Lask, central Poland, where joint exercises began two weeks ago.

“These joint exercises belong to those which we consider as the most important,” Dempsey said, as cited by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“Firstly, this base is excellent, providing perfect conditions for training in the air,” he reflected.

“Secondly, these exercises strengthen the historic ties between our nations,” he added.

Six American F-16 planes were brought from the US base in Aviano, Italy, for the training programme. American and Polish air crews, together with special forces soldiers, have been cooperating in exercises involving the Airborne Early Warning and Control radar system (AEW&C).

Further US-Polish military exercises are due to take place in November.

Poles expected in Afghanistan post-2014

Meanwhile, General Dempsey noted that Polish troops would still be needed in Afghanistan after the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission ends in 2014.

“The coalition and its partners will continue to help the Afghans,” he said, with the troops purportedly staying as a peace-keeping force.

Dempsey affirmed that in line with NATO forecasts, about 8000 to 12,000 international troops would stay on in the country.

The general commented that “each country that is part of the coalition will make appropriate arrangements,” while suggesting that for the good of US-Polish relations, Poland should send as many troops as possible.

Polish forces have been part of the mission to Afghanistan since 2002, just months after the Taliban regime was compelled to abandon the capital, Kabul, in November 2001, under heavy attack from American forces.

There have been 40 Polish casualties to date, including one medic.

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Roger Martin du Gard: Secret commitments which from one day to another may plunge you, every man of you, into the horrors of war

July 26, 2013 1 comment

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

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war

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Roger Martin du Gard
From Summer 1914 (1936)
Translated by Stuart Gilbert

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Taking a notebook from his pocket, he began jotting down phrases as they occurred to him:

Frenchmen and Germans, you are brothers. All alike, and all alike victims. Victims of the lies dinned into your ears. Not one of you has left of his own accord his home, wife and children, his factory, shop, or farm, to serve as a target for other workers exactly like himself. All of you alike fear death, all hate the idea of killing, all believe that human life is sacred. All realize that war is folly. There’s not one of you but longs to escape from this nightmare war, to get back as soon as he can to his wife, children, and work, to peace and liberty. And yet here you are today, facing each other, with loaded rifles in your hands, ready blindly, at the first word of command, to slaughter men you’ve never seen, men whom you have no reason to hate, without having any idea why you are being forced to act as murderers.

***

Jacques settled himself in his corner and took out his notebook again. Feverishly he scribbled:

Within less than two weeks, a monstrous collective madness has come over Europe. The press, lying journalists. All nations doped with the same lies. What only yesterday no self-respecting man could bear to contemplate has come to seem inevitable, necessary, and legitimate. Everywhere we see the selfsame crowds of people, goaded deliberately into fanaticism, ready in a white-hot frenzy to spring at each other’s throats, not knowing why they do it. To die and kill have become synonyms of heroism, badges of honour. Why should it be? Who are the men responsible for this state of things?

He took from his pocketbook a folded sheet of paper; on it was a phrase that Vanheede had copied for him from a book on Wilhelm II; an extract from one of the Kaiser’s speeches:

I am convinced that wars between nations are oftener than not an outcome of the ambitions and intrigues of certain statesmen who use these criminal expedients for the sole purpose of keeping in their hands the reins of power and increasing their popularity.

***

The men responsible. When you want to trace an incendiary, the first thing is to discover who will profit by the fire…Feverishly he scribbled:

A hidden power, the state, has dealt with you as a farmer deals with his cattle. What is the state? Is the French state or the German state truly and effectively representative of the people, does it stand for the interests of the majority? No. In France as in Germany the state represents a mere fraction; it is the mouthpiece of a gang of speculators who owe their power to their wealth alone and who have under their control today the banks, trusts, public utilities, newspapers, munition factories – everything! They are the absolute rulers of a servile social system that promotes the interest of a favoured few at the expense of the majority. We have seen this system at work during these last weeks. We have seen it crushing like a Juggernaut under its wheels every effort to advance the cause of peace. And it is this same system that’s hounding you on today across the frontier with fixed bayonets, in the defence of interests that are no concern of yours, that actually are ruinous to almost all of you. Men who are being sent to their death have surely the right of asking who stands to profit by their sacrifice, of knowing to whom and to what end they are giving up their lives.

Well, those responsible, in the first place, are the small group who exploit the public – the big business men engaged in ruthless competition with each other, nation against nation; who have no qualms against dispatching the helpless herd to the slaughter-house so as to assure their own privileges and pile up greater and greater wealth. Wealth that, far from enriching the masses and giving them a better life, will serve only to enslave still more completely such of you as escape the shambles.

But these exploiters of the people are not the only men responsible. In every land they’ve enlisted confederates in the ranks of their respective governments. Among those responsible are these men, their satellites, that handful of windbag politicians, whom the Kaiser himself denounced.

A gang of swindlers, ambassadors, ministers of state, ambitious generals, who, working behind the scenes in Foreign Offices and High Commands, have by their plotting and scheming callously brought you into peril of death – you, the people of France, and you, the German people, the pawns in their vile game. For that is how things are; in this so-called democratic Europe of the twentieth century no nation has managed to get control of its foreign policy; none of the parliaments you have elected, which are supposed to represent you, is ever informed of the secret commitments which from one day to another may plunge you, every man of you, into the horrors of war.

And behind those arch-criminals, in France and Germany alike, are all those who, more or less consciously, have made war possible – either by conniving at the wildcat schemes of high finance or by encouraging the ambitions of the politicians by their partisan approval. I have in mind the conservative parties, employers’ associations, the nationalist press. The churches, too, are blood-guilty; almost everywhere the clergy plays the part of a spiritual police force acting in the service of the propertied class. Everywhere the churches have played traitor to their spiritual function, and become the allies, or cat’s-paws, of the powers of high finance.

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Romania: Pentagon Advances NATO Missile System Deployment

July 25, 2013 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
July 25, 2013

Contract awarded for missile interceptor site in Romania
By Steven Beardsley

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Standard Missile-3

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a construction contract for its planned ballistic missile interceptor site in Romania, another step toward the completion of a NATO European missile shield opposed by Russia.

The $134 million contract with global construction firm Kellogg Brown and Root, announced by the company in a press release last week, will include the buildup of facilities and infrastructure on a 269-acre site at Deveselu Air Base in the country’s south.

Plans call for the site to hold 24 Standard Missile-3 interceptors of the Block IB variant, making it the first land deployment of the Aegis ballistic missile defense system previously only installed on Navy ships.

Construction of the site will mark the second phase of the staged deployment of missile defense components across Europe, a system that two U.S. administrations have described as a defense against Iran. The first phase included installation of a radar system in Turkey, which was manned with U.S. soldiers in 2012.

The second phase, including the work in Romania, is pegged for completion in 2015.

The third phase, scheduled for deployment in 2018, includes a second land-based site, in Poland. The U.S. also plans to deploy four Aegis-based ships to its naval station in Rota, Spain, beginning in 2014. The system’s operational headquarters will be at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

A planned fourth phase, canceled earlier this year due in part to costs and delays, called for the deployment of an SM-3 variant to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles launched at the U.S. from the Middle East. The current variants are designed to intercept missiles with short and medium ranges.

Russia has opposed NATO’s missile defense shield since it was first announced by the administration of President George W. Bush, which planned for a much more elaborate system including longer-range interceptors to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Obama administration announced in 2009 that it would focus on shorter-range missiles and the offshore capabilities of Aegis-equipped ships.

The U.S. and NATO have pointed to Iran’s nuclear program as reason for the shield’s necessity…

But Moscow has continued to oppose the system, pointing out that Iran does not possess long-range ballistic missiles that can reach Europe. It has warned that time is running out for a solution.

The U.S. estimates some 200 military, civilian employees and contractors will be needed to run the U.S. facility at Deveselu. The Romanian air force will still maintain control over the base.

As part of construction, KBR will disassemble and move a four-story radar deckhouse — the land-based counterpart to the radar housing on an Aegis-equipped ship — from the U.S. East Coast to Romania, according to the press release.

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Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania: NATO Puts Italy Back In War Business

July 25, 2013 3 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 25, 2013

Opening remarks
by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the joint press point with the Minister of Defence of Italy, Mr. Mario Mauro

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Allied Joint Forces Command Naples

Minister, thank you very much for your hospitality and for the excellent discussion today.

We will review the progress we are making in Afghanistan. Italy is playing a leading role in the West…

…We are planning a new and different mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces after 2014, so that we build on our hard-fought gains. And I am grateful for Italy’s intention to play a leading role in that non-combat mission.

I’m grateful for Italy’s strong commitment to our alliance. In every operation, NATO could count on Italy. From Libya to Kosovo, and off the Horn of Africa.

After over a decade of operational engagements, NATO has the most capable forces the Alliance has ever had, and the strongest ties with partners across the globe. As we draw down in Afghanistan, we need to maintain this ready, capable and interconnected NATO. So that we stand prepared to deal with any security challenge in today’s complex and unpredictable world.

That is why we have launched the Connected Forces Initiative, to make sure that we all exercise, and do it together – among Allies and with partners. This is where we count on Italy to play a leadership role as well. To share its experience so that we can all learn from each other.

Keeping NATO fit for the future will be one of the main topics on the agenda when defence ministers meet in the autumn. I look forward to a constructive discussion. And Minister, I look forward to continuing to work with you.

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Russia Slams Cold War-Style, Article 5 NATO War Games On Border

Russian Information Agency Novosti
July 25, 2013

Russia Slams ‘Cold War’ Spirit NATO Exercise

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MOSCOW: The scenario for a forthcoming NATO exercise in the ex-Soviet Baltic republics and Poland, in which those nations face invasion by a foreign power, is reminiscent of the Cold War period, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister said Thursday.

The exercise, dubbed Steadfast Jazz 2013, will be held in November in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. According to NATO, the primary purpose of the exercise is to test the command and control elements of NATO’s Response Force.

“As we prepared for this meeting, we carefully studied information received from NATO countries about Steadfast Jazz-2013,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels, according to the ministry’s website.

“I can’t hide the fact that the Russian Defense Ministry was bewildered by the proclaimed goal of this exercise, which envisages the application of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty triggering a response to an aggression against Poland. These drills are in the spirit of the Cold War,” Antonov said.

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Steadfast Jazz 2013 planning conference in January

The Zapad 2013 joint military exercises between Russia and Belarus in the fall this year will only simulate combat against terrorist groups and illegal armed formations penetrating Belarusian territory, he added.

Russia has held the largest exercises for its armed forces this year since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Defense Ministry said last week after a huge deployment and readiness test in the country’s far east involving armor, aircraft and ships.

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Jules Romains: Squalidly degrading everything that the civilization of mankind had created

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

Jules Romains: Selections on war

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Jules Romains
From Verdun: The Battle (1938)
Translated by Gerard Hopkins

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Over the whole front, from the Bois d’Haumont to Herbebois, taking in the Bois des Caures and the Bois de Ville, to a depth of several kilometres, the same dance of dust, smoke, and debris went on, to a thunderous accompaniment of noise. Thousands of men, in groups of two, of three, of ten, sometimes of twenty, bent their backs to the storm, clinging together at the bottom of holes, most of which were no better than scratches in the ground, while many scarcely deserved the name of shelter at all. To their ears came the sound of solid earth rent and disembowelled by bursting shells. Through cracks in the walls that protected them they could breathe in the smell of a tormented world, a smell like that of a planet in the process of being reduced to ashes. Most of them had given up all hope of surviving, though a few still clung to a belief in their lucky star. These were the men who, as like as not, would be killed just as they thought it was all over. The rest were content to wonder whether the next shell, or, rather, one of the next dozen or so, since no one could count them individually, would send their number up and release them from this agony. Sooner or later, certainly before nightfall, they must be in for it.

***

In the experience of both, it was one of those days, rarely seen in such perfection, when war seemed intent, before flinging them into its ultimate horrors, on displaying for their benefit its lesser, its secondary, abominations; on showing them that in addition to its power of destruction on a grand scale, which could at least produce a sort of intoxication of terror, it had in its gallery of “effects” a power of squalidly degrading everything that the civilization of mankind had created, a power that the human spirit seems capable of noting with a sort of calm and scornful reaction. War, in such circumstances, seemed bent on taking the spectator into the sordid wings, the back-stage of the show, bare of any and all illusion. This side of war was like the squalid suburbs of some great city, which are never shown to visitors; a world of filthy alleys, of shoddy plaster workshops, of rag-pickers’ huts, and swarming children with dirty legs and unwashed faces. War’s sordid slum.

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Arab, Other Global Partners Graduate From NATO Defense College

July 24, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

July 23, 2013

SACT speaks at NATO Defense College Graduation
Written by ACT PAO

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Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), France Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, attended the graduation ceremony of the Senior Course 122 at the NATO Defense College (NDC), in Rome, Italy, July 19th.

A number of ambassadors, military attachés, and military and civilian leaders also participated in the ceremony that was attended by 77 course members from 30 different countries, together with their families and the college’s senior leadership and staff.

During his address, General Paloméros highlighted the significance of the course members’ achievement in completing so intensive and demanding a syllabus. The five-month long course offered students the opportunity to engage in discussions on a variety of emerging challenges to the international community in general, and to the Alliance in particular.

Course members also had the opportunity to attend numerous field study trips, as a unique means of engaging in fruitful and challenging discussions with key policy-makers in their own countries.

The course had participants from 17 NATO member nations, seven Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations, three from the Mediterranean Dialogue-program, one from the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, as well as two others, referred to as Global Partners.

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H.G. Wells: A time will come when a politician who has wilfully made war will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide

July 24, 2013 1 comment

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

H.G. Wells: Selections on war

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H.G. Wells
From The Salvaging of Civilization (1921)

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Teaching then is the initial and decisive factor in the future of mankind, and the first duty of everyone who has the ability and opportunity, is to teach, or to subserve the teaching of, the true history of mankind…Men and women can help the spread of the saving doctrine in a thousand various ways; for it is not only in homes and schools that minds are shaped. They can print and publish books, endow schools and teaching, organize the distribution of literature, insist upon the proper instruction of children in world wide charity and fellowship, fight against every sort of suppression or restrictive control of right education, bring pressure through political and social channels upon every teaching organization to teach history aright, sustain missions and a new sort of missionary, the missionaries to all mankind of knowledge and the idea of one world civilization and one world community; they can promote and help the progress of historical and ethnological and political science, they can set their faces against every campaign of hate, racial suspicion, and patriotic falsehood, they can refuse, they are bound to refuse, obedience to any public authority which oppresses and embitters class against class, race against race, and people against people. A belligerent government as such, they can refuse to obey; and they can refuse to help or suffer any military preparations that are not directed wholly and plainly to preserving the peace of the world. This is the plain duty of every honest man to-day, to judge his magistrate before he obeys him, and to render unto Cæsar nothing that he owes to God and mankind…Blatant, aggressive patriotism and the incitements against foreign peoples that usually go with it, are just as criminal and far more injurious to our race than, for example, indecent provocations and open incitements to sexual vice; they produce a much beastlier and crueller state of mind, and they deserve at least an equal condemnation. Yet you will find even priests and clergymen to-day rousing the war passions of their flocks and preaching conflict from the very steps of the altar.

***

The day is not remote when disregardful “patriotic” men hectoring in the crowd will be twisted round perforce to the light they refuse to see. First comes the idea and then slowly the full comprehension of the idea, comes realization, and with that realization will come a kindling anger at the vulgarity, the meanness, the greed and baseness and utter stupidity that refuses to attend to this clear voice, this definite demand of our racial necessity. To-day we teach, but as understanding grows we must begin to act. We must put ourselves and our rulers and our fellow men on trial. We must ask: “What have you done, what are you doing to help or hinder the peace and order of mankind?” A time will come when a politician who has wilfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men’s lives should not stake their own.

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Top U.S. Military Commander Presents Syrian War Options

July 23, 2013 2 comments

Stars and Stripes
July 22, 2013

In letter to Congress, Dempsey outlines Syria options
By Chris Carroll

Innovative Training for Emergent Missions
Tomahawk cruise missile launch

WASHINGTON: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey has laid out in a letter to Congress the range of options he said the U.S. military is prepared to carry out in Syria if given the go-ahead by civilian leaders.

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services committee last Thursday, Dempsey, who was nominated to his second term as the nation’s top military leader, declined to testify on the options and advice he had given to President Barack Obama on Syria.

That led a frustrated Sen. John McCain, ranking Republican member on the committee and an advocate of greater U.S. support of the Syrian opposition, to threaten a hold on Dempsey’s nomination. McCain and committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., last week sent Dempsey a letter again asking for his views on Syria, as well as a range of other topics, including prospects for U.S. success in Afghanistan.

Dempsey outlined five options for U.S. military action in the Syrian conflict:

* The least involved – a train, advise and assist mission – would require no U.S. troops to be directly involved with fighting as they delivered supplies and training to opposition fighters, Dempsey said.

* A second option, limited stand-off strikes, would target “high-value regime air defense, air, ground, missile, and naval forces as well as the supporting military facilities and command nodes,” with strikes launched from beyond Syrian borders. “Depending on duration, the costs would be in the billions,” Dempsey wrote.

* A third option, establishing a no-fly zone, would go further, taking out Syrian air-defenses to control the skies throughout the country. Because U.S. aircraft would be required to fly over Syrian airspace, the risk to U.S. troops would be higher, Dempsey said.

* The U.S. military could also establish buffer zones to protect Turkey’s or Jordan’s borders, or to protect Syrian civilians, Dempsey wrote. Doing would require partial no-fly zones and carry many of the same risks and costs.

* The fifth and most complex option Dempsey outlined, controlling chemical weapons, would require a no-fly zone, air and missile strikes, and thousands of troops on the ground.

Dempsey’s response, released on Monday, focused on Syria, stressing that the decision on military action is not his to make.

“The decision over whether to introduce military force is a political one that our Nation entrusts to its civilian leaders,” he wrote. “I also understand that you deserve my best military advice on how military force could be used in order to decide whether it should be used. “

And, Dempsey warned, the U.S. should be prepared to deal with the aftermath of any military action.

“Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next,” he said. “Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.”

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Syrian Border: U.S., Israel Begin Two-Week Air Combat Exercise

United States European Command
July 20, 2013

USEUCOM and IDF begin Juniper Stallion 13
U.S. European Command Public Affairs

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STUTTGART, Germany: U.S. European Command and the Israel Defense Forces are scheduled to begin Juniper Stallion 13, a bilateral aerial exercise held between the U.S. and Israeli air forces this week in Israel…

The exercise will last approximately two weeks, and is part of the regularly scheduled training between the two nations.

Juniper Stallion 13 is a combined, bilateral F-15/F-16 air-to-air exercise designed to improve the interoperability and cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli air forces. JS13 is an annual training event which has been in planning for more than a year.

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Interview: Military Buildup Around Syria Points To Another Invasion

July 23, 2013 3 comments

Voice of Russia
July 23, 2013

Military buildup around Syria points to another invasion – Rozoff

Audio

The dressing down and attempted humiliation of General Martin Dempsey, the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by superannuated life-time bureaucrat John McCain, was another in a long series of attempts to push the U.S. military into another act of aggressive war by those controlling Washington. With the amassed U.S. and NATO military forces and hardware around Syria and the advancements made by the Syria Army, the likelihood that the U.S. will invade and commit another act of aggressive war against yet another country they have helped to destabilize and tear apart seems very likely. Regular Voice of Russia contributor Rick Rozoff spoke to the VOR about these matters and more.

PART 1

This is John Robles I’m speaking to Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.

Robles: Hello Rick. How are you this evening?

Rozoff: Very good John.

Robles: What is going on with all the saber rattling surrounding Syria? Do you think there is a chance that the U.S. may be up to something, or that they are planning an invasion in the near future?

Rozoff: They certainly intend direct military action against the government of Syria, and you characterized it correctly by using the term saber rattling. Gunboat diplomacy and brinkmanship and other similar terms from the colonial era I think also are apropos in this context.

What is most disturbing, and it’s something that many of your listeners may be aware of by now, but just today the Senate confirmation, actually reconfirmation, hearings for the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and his second-in-command, General Martin Dempsey, was dressed down rather rudely and even brusquely by Senator John McCain, who in recent years with his colleagues, Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, and until recently, until he retired, Joseph Lieberman from Connecticut formed a triumvirate of U.S. Senators, almost like the imperial Roman proconsuls that would travel around the world inciting hostilities against other countries. We’ve talked about this on your show before. A traveling war circus is how I characterized it, but you know, McCain and Graham being the two survivors of that trio.

McCain, in so many words humiliated, this is really pretty stark. I’ve just seen the transcripts of it and accounts of it but I can imagine what this looks like, to see a superannuated, life-time bureaucrat like McCain, dress down and attempt to humiliate the head of the U.S. armed forces and essentially accusing him of being cowardly and indecisive and irresolute because he won’t go to war against Syria – there is no other way of interpreting McCain’s comments – and then finally browbeating Dempsey, the same Dempsey who had warned earlier this year, in February, that enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria ipso facto constituted war, an act of war, which in fact it would be. Finally, coaxing out of Dempsey the statement that no options were off the table and that “kinetic strikes”, meaning air strikes and strikes on the warships in Mediterranean, were something the U.S. military has considered, so I can’t think of any other way of describing or characterizing or interpreting the comments both by McCain and by the U.S. military chief Dempsey except an avid and almost passionate desire to have some sort of military action taken against Syria.

Now we have to remember, this occurs immediately after joint massive military exercises in two countries bordering Syria led by the United States. That is, in both Jordan and Turkey, almost simultaneously. They overlapped towards the end of June, Eager Lion as it was called in Jordan, where there are 8,000 troops from 19 nations. These are NATO nations, the U.S. and its allies, and their Arab allies, through the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

The reports came out, and they were picked up by the Voice of Russia, as a matter of fact, from other press-wires, that the US intended during the course of those exercises, to retain 700 troops in Jordan along with Patriot Interceptor missiles of the sort that NATO has now deployed in Turkey and military aircraft, I believe F-16s. And in Turkey you had similar large-scale multinational exercises between NATO members and their Arab allies, involving NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft and 50 fighter jets.

So, you see the potential for military buildup. Some of these are annual exercises, like the Eager Lion one in Jordan, but the fact they’re being held in countries bordering Syria, with just the cast of characters you would expect to participate in an attack on Syria, something comparable, perhaps even on a larger scale perhaps, comparable to what was used against Libya two years ago and were used in the invasions and occupation of Iraq both in 1991 and in 2003.

So, we have all this going on at the same time. Incidentally increasing encroachment around Syria, and incidentally one step removed, around Iran, with the U.S. son-of-Star-Wars missile shield system, Patriot missiles and eventually Standard Missile 3 and other interceptors and radars, is a pretty ominous development. It suggests that again they’re preparing for war.

And we have to recall that NATO has only twice before deployed AWACS and interceptor missiles, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, and that was in 1991 for the attack against Iraq, and in 2003 for the invasion of Iraq.

One would be hard-pressed to miss the analogy in the fact that the military buildup, and this is all compounded by, and this came across in the Senate hearings today, it is compounded by the fact that Martin Dempsey, the head of the US military, acknowledged, what everyone now knows, is that the tide has turned inside Syria, where government forces and their allies have scored fairly decisive, and I think at this point irreversible gains against internal rebel forces and their foreign mercenary allies, or backbone, and the more desperate the situation becomes for the U.S. and its NATO partners’ proxies inside the country, I think the more apt the hotheads like McCain and company are going to be in terms of pushing a direct U.S. military aggression.

Robles: How far along would you say is the political buildup compared to before the invasion of Libya, before the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan? Do you see the same mechanisms and strings being pulled? Or was McCain kind of on his own here? What’s going on there?

Rozoff: I am glad you asked that question, particularly about Libya. This is maybe a study on two different scenarios, opposing scenarios, with Iraq which eventually culminated in the U.S.-British attack on and invasion of the country in March of 2003, there’d been a build-up, I think in a lot of people’s minds for a year and a half since events of 9-11 2001. It was clear that the U.S. was going to use those attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. as a pretext for invading Iraq.

So there was plenty of time to anticipate and to organize against what was maybe not an imminent, but was certainly an unavoidable, inexorable threat to Iraq, whereas with Libya it was a matter of only some six weeks between the first protest that erupted in Benghazi, and the first U.S. and British cruise missiles that landed inside the country.

So, the turnaround time was appreciably abbreviated, in relation to previous wars such as that eight years earlier in Iraq in 2003.

I fear, then, that the Libya precedent is more likely to be at work with Syria, that with the turn of a dime, if you will, that the U.S. and company, which has amphibious assault ships right in the Eastern Mediterranean now, which participated for example, in the Jordanian exercises and in the official U.S. Armed Forces publication Stars and Stripes, they had an article four-five days ago the actual quote was “U.S. amphibious assault navy vessels are parked off the coast of Syria”, or words to that effect.

It is clear that the U.S., through the Sixth Fleet in Mediterranean and NATO through Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean, the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, that they have the military assets, particularly the naval ones, to put in place very quickly.

You were listening to an interview in progress with Rick Rozoff, the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.

Visit our site in the near future for the conclusion of this interview.

Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_07_23/Military-buildup-around-Syria-points-to-another-invasion-Rozoff-4593/

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Roger Martin du Gard: “Drop your rifles. Revolt!”

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

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war

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Roger Martin du Gard
From Summer 1914 (1936)
Translated by Stuart Gilbert

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His faith, anyhow, was inviolate as ever, and it exalted him above the herd. Misunderstood though he might be, an outcast, yet he felt stronger, single-handed, in his rebellion than all those people doped with lies and tamely acquiescent. Justice and truth were in him; reason and the dark forces of the future, on his side. This momentary defeat of pacifist ideals could not impair their grandeur or imperil their final victory. No force in the world could prevent what was happening today from being an absurdity, a monstrous error, even though millions of victims chose to endorse it, to accept it with courageous stoicism. “No force in the world,” he told himself, in a rush of mingled confidence and despair, “can prevent a true idea from being true. A day will come, when, despite these setbacks, despite conspiracies to stifle it, truth will break through and triumph.”

***

He knew the decisive act he was to carry out unaided, an act which after these long days of aimless drifting, sterile agitation, would enable him to battle for his faith, declare war on war. An act which would undoubtedly involve the sacrifice of his life. That he had been aware of from the start and accepted without indulging in heroics, without even taking stock of his courage. His sole motive was a mystic faith that this plan of his, for which he was ready to give up his life, was now the one and only way of rousing the masses from their torpor, of abruptly changing the course of events and countering the forces that had combined against the toilers of the earth, against fraternity and justice.

***

“There’s nothing to be done behind the lines. For the present, anyhow. There’s no fighting against the governments; against martial law, press censorship, the patriotic war-fever. But at the front it’s another matter. It’s possible to act upon the man who’s being marched up to the firing-line. And that’s the man we’ve got to get at.” Meynestrel made a slight movement which Jacques took as indicating doubt, but which was only a nervous twitch. “No. let me explain. Oh, I know very well how things are today. The ‘Marseillaise,’ the ‘Wacht am Rhein,’ roses stuck in the rifle-slings. But what of tomorrow? Tomorrow that man who is singing as he marches to the front will be no more than a poor devil up against the realities of war. A man who’s underfed, whose feet are bleeding, who’s dropping with fatigue and scared out of his wits by the first bombardments, the first attacks, the first wounds and corpses he sets eyes on. That’s the man to whom we can speak. That’s the man to whom we’ve got to say: ‘You fool, you’re being exploited once again. They’re trading on your patriotism, your loyalty, your courage. Everyone’s humbugged you. Even the men who had your trust, the men who you chose to defend your rights. Now, anyhow, you can see what they wanted of you. Revolt! Refuse to let them rob you of your rights. Refuse to kill. Hold out your hand to your brothers in the opposite lines, men who’ve been fooled and exploited just as you were. Drop your rifles. Revolt!'”

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Libya Involved In U.S. -NATO Black Sea Military Exercise

U.S. Navy
July 21, 2013

Exercise Sea Breeze 2013 Draws to a Close
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Howard, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

ODESSA, Ukraine: Exercise Sea Breeze 2013, the 16th iteration of the largest annual multinational maritime exercise in the Black Sea, ended July 20, as representatives from the 14 participating partner nations gathered together for the exercise closing ceremony.

Naval, air, and land forces from participating countries worked together both ashore and at sea from July 8-20 in order to strengthen interoperability…

“The military leadership of the fourteen nations that participated in Sea Breeze know that we can only improve as a cooperative team if we challenge ourselves,” said Capt. James Aiken, exercise deputy director. “Only then can we increase our cooperation and our interoperability as we become familiar with each other’s military operating procedures and practices.”

Much of the exercise focused on maritime interdiction operations as a primary means to enhance maritime security. The other key component was utilizing sea basing to conduct a range of operations ashore such as non-combatant evacuation to humanitarian assistance/disaster relief.

This year’s Sea Breeze increased in complexity by incorporating more real time operational challenges.

“I strongly believe we have been successful in continuing to grow our relationships with each other – relationships that, in the 16 years of Sea Breeze exercises, have been built through cooperation, strengthened through partnership, and affirmed through improved interoperability on the seas, over the land, and in the air.”

This year’s participants included Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and U.S., along with France, Libya, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates, as observers.

Sea Breeze 13, co-hosted by the Ukrainian and U.S. navies, aimed to improve maritime safety, security and stability engagements in the Black Sea by enhancing the capabilities of Partnership for Peace and Black Sea regional maritime security forces.

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NATO Military Committee Visits Waterloo, Recalls “Lessons”

July 22, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

July 20, 2013

THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO – LESSONS FOR TODAY FROM 198 YEARS AGO

“From the Cockpit”

Phil Breedlove
General, USAF
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Commander, U.S. European Command

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The key lesson of our visit to Waterloo was confirming this was neither a British victory nor a Prussian victory, but an Allied victory. Individually these two armies would most likely have been defeated by Napoleon. Together they completely destroyed his army and ushered in a long period of peace for Europe. [The Holy Alliance – RR]

History teaches us that as we train and equip our teams to take on future threats in this very unpredictable world that we must do so as allies and partners. We take this lesson to heart as we continue to secure our future together.

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This week, I walked the Waterloo battlefield together with the members of the NATO Military Committee. With their Chairman, General Knud Bartels, we embarked on a fascinating tour led by my deputy, General Sir Richard Shirreff.

We visited important sites such as the French lines near Belle Alliance inn, the location of Napoleon’s 80 cannon “Grand Battery”, and the lines held by the Duke of Wellington’s multinational army against fierce French infantry and cavalry attacks. At the most evocative place on the battlefield, the remains of the chateau and farm of Hougoumont, SHAPE historian, Greg Pedlow, explained the use of Napoleonic muskets, rifles, pistols and swords, using actual weapons from the time of Waterloo.

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Afterward Sir Richard led us along the path of the French Imperial Guard’s final assault. We climbed the many steps of the famous Lion Mound for a field grade view of the battlefield. And finally, we followed the route of Prussian Field Marshal Blücher’s army which was hurrying to come to Wellington’s assistance despite having been defeated by Napoleon just two days earlier.

We learned about key decisions, lost opportunities, and heard many examples of extreme valor on both sides. But the most important lesson from this battle almost two centuries ago was clearly the value of a strong alliance.

Over the years there have been many books declaring the British as the true victors of Waterloo. Others have sought to give the Prussians credit for defeating Napoleon. The key lesson of our visit to Waterloo was confirming this was neither a British victory nor a Prussian victory, but an Allied victory. Individually these two armies would most likely have been defeated by Napoleon. Together they completely destroyed his army and ushered in a long period of peace for Europe. [The Holy Alliance – RR]

We continue to value our lasting alliances and partnerships across EUCOM and Allied Command Operations today. History teaches us that as we train and equip our teams to take on future threats in this very unpredictable world that we must do so as allies and partners. We take this lesson to heart as we continue to secure our future together.

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Jules Romains: If mankind could put two and two together, there’d be no more war

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

Jules Romains: Selections on war

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Jules Romains
From Verdun: The Prelude (1938)
Translated by Gerard Hopkins

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One of the most extraordinary things here in the trenches is the apparent inability of the soldier to imagine ant connexion between the tiny movement necessary to release a projectile – whether it’s a single bullet, a machine-gun belt, or a trench mortar shell – a movement that’s usually the result of sheer boredom or momentary nerves, and the effect caused at the other end of the trajectory in the shape of smashed heads or torn bodies. If he does let his imagination work, he certainly doesn’t apply the results to himself. The torn bodies, being Boche, seems to him about as important as partridges or rabbits. They never really put two and two together. If mankind in general could put two and two together, there’d be no more war.

***

Gloomily brooding there in his dug-out, Jerphanion set himself to think out rationally what his men outside in the trenches were thinking in an access of despair. “The idea that a catastrophe cannot last for ever is a prejudice born of happy periods of peace. The shattering break-up of the Roman Empire went on indefinitely. We of the West know little of the history of China; but we find no difficulty in imagining the China of ancient days slowly dropping to pieces through two centuries of convulsive collapse. Our natural instincts are not revolted by the idea. If someone told us that modern China, torn by internal violence since the days of the Boxer risings, would not find peace again until the year 2000, should we be profoundly shocked? A catastrophe once started continues by dint of multiplying itself. A war of emperors and great standing armies becomes finally a war of generals and robber bands.”

***

I cannot conceive how this war can possible turn out “well,” meaning by “well” something that our idealism could accept. Its main consequences, so far as I can see, will be something of this sort: Entry of the Tsar into Constantinople; or the unchallenged supremacy of Great Britain from Liverpool to Singapore. Nor does my egotism as a Frenchman see anything really comforting ahead. I know perfectly well that my country will be far too exhausted to impose its will on Europe, even assuming that will to be good. Meanwhile I see only too clearly what the positive results – I’m not speaking of intangible things – have so far been: a rich harvest of profiteers; a baseness of soul in people at the rear which leads them to find it perfectly natural that we should continue to act as a bulwark behind which they can carry on their filthy little lives, their filthy little activities of buying and selling. Nor am I forgetting what may be a comparatively unimportant detail, though to me it means a lot – the gutter stupidity of all those gentlemen of letters, those so-called intellectuals, whose words and attitudes are a constant insult to the spirit, to ordinary common sense, for any reasons we may have for continuing the struggle, to us who are continuing it. Never – and I can’t stress this too strongly – never shall I forget the feeling of shame that these oafs induce in me.

Add to all this the bestiality, the gloomy bestiality, into which this business has flung us so that it has become our daily food.

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McCain Harangues Dempsey, Obama Wants Invasion Plans For Syria

July 22, 2013 2 comments

Voice of Russia
July 20, 2013

McCain harangues Dempsey, Obama wants invasion plans for Syria
John Robles

Despite apparent overtures by the new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, pointing to U.S. willingness to seek a peaceful solution to the internal conflict in Syria, the U.S. continues to seek a pretext and prepare for a military intervention in yet another Middle East country and another country that cannot properly defend itself against U.S. aggression. Recently John McCain has revealed the blood lust driving American politics and the subservient role that the U.S. military plays to politicians whose only interest is their own well-being.

The United States of America continues to pose a further dangerous threat to world peace with another act of aggressive war on yet another Middle East country as it “contemplates” “kinetic strikes” on Syria.

The current news comes as Army General Martin Dempsey faced questions during a confirmation hearing for his second term as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in congressional testimony stated that he has provided U.S. President Barack Obama with options for the use of force.

Dempsey faced hostile and aggressive questioning by failed presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, a proponent of a military invasion of Syria. McCain pressed Dempsey to give his personal opinion on the use of U.S. military force in Syria, something Dempsey refused to do as those decisions are for elected officials to make and when he refused to answer McCain’s questions regarding his opinion on the use of force, McCain committed what amounts to political blackmail, by saying he would hold up the confirmation of Dempsey.

In short we have a war-thirsty McCain attempting to get the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to publicly support another military intervention by the United States. To Dempsey’s credit he did not back down to the onslaught by the almost 80-year-old McCain but did reveal that the U.S. military is actively preparing plans for military intervention in Syria on orders from the Obama Administration.

Dempsey in answer to questions by McCain: “I am in favor of building a moderate opposition and supporting it. The question whether to support it with direct kinetic strikes … is a decision for our elected officials, not for the senior military leader of the nation.”The use of kinetic strikes: “… is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government.”

Continuing news that American politicians, Obama and the United States are continuing to push for a military solution to the internal Syria conflict mute hopes that Russian brokered, joint Russian-U.S. peace talks in Geneva on the Syrian issue will prove to be fruitful. This also shed a serious doubt on the sincerity of the U.S. in taking parts in any talks that will lead to a peaceful resolution to the problem.

The U.S. is engaged in a full press propaganda campaign on all fronts to allow those who are lusting for more bloodshed to invade Syria, but fortunately for the Syrian people claims of chemical weapons usage and other pretexts for invasion have be met with skepticism.

Country after invaded country the United States has used false, fabricated or self-created situations as evidence to back their invasions and Syria is a perfect example. The U.S. and Obama want to force President Bashar al-Assad from power and they will fabricate and create any pretext to bring about that aim with no regard for the massive blood of the Syrian people that will be spilled.

Calling the aggressive invasion of Syria “kinetic strikes” does not change the fact that such a military action is still nothing more than an aggressive invasion. The same goes with Israel’s “preventive” strikes. It is important to underline and repeat over and over again: Aggressive war is a crime against humanity.

An aggressive invasion of Syria, or any invasion for that matter, will destroy the country, possibly remove the elected president, bring untold suffering and misery on the Syrian people and allow Islamic extremist elements to engage in the genocide of those who go against them. These include Alawites, Orthodox Christians, Jews and every other group that goes against the extremist Islamic elements that the U.S. has supported and imported into the Syrian theater.

Obama, who promised “Change”, is disgracefully continuing down the path begun by his predecessor in making the United States the most dangerous and hated pariah and rogue nation in the history of the world. Yet the U.S. refuses to understand that there is no way that they will ever be able to use force the entire planet into submission.

Anything the U.S. now says about Syria, other than backing a peaceful resolution to the internal conflict, shows the glaring and obvious hypocrisy of the U.S. as they have imported, financed and backed the most violent elements in Syria and are therefore responsible for the destabilization of the country and the mass bloodshed and misery of the Syrian people.

It is clear and obvious that the U.S. has no interest in the well-being of the Syrian people, quite the opposite, as we saw in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Yugoslavia and Libya and every other American “intervention”. Unfortunately there is little we can to do to change that and until the world’s countries pull together to stop the U.S. which has unilaterally assigned itself the role of the ruler of the world.

The U.S. continues to seek military solutions throughout the world has nothing to offer the world as far as trade but they want to redesign the world in their image and the Middle East is their most important target because of the resources in the region. Bashar al-Assad and his independent policies has prevented American hegemony in the Middle East.

The United states cannot attain its ends politically, economically or diplomatically in the Middle East or in other parts of the world and with the number of independent economic and geo-political unions between countries growing and becoming stronger, organizations which the U.S. does not control, the U.S. has to make up for their waning influence by doing what they do best, using threats, bombs, death and destruction to force the world to submit. Such actions are shameful, egregious and crimes against all of humanity.

We have seen by revelation after revelation of illegality that embarrassing the U.S. is not enough, they do not care, it will take a united international effort to reign in the regime in Washington.

As war on Syria rhetoric and propaganda is being ramped up it is important to remind Americans “strong on defense” does not mean launching illegal acts of aggression on small defenseless countries anytime the U.S. wants. Those who repeat that by invading country after country they are “protecting American lives” must be confronted with the fact that there is no threat in Syria to American lives. Unless those “lives” are the lives of the fat, corrupt, morally reprehensible and outrageously criminal war profiteering who will make billions on a Syrian invasion.

Syria is not and has not ever been a threat to America, the real crime against America is an independent stance and protecting their own resources. Recently President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview and explained the reality of the situation in his country.

Bashar al-Assad on foreign meddling in Syria:

“From the outset, the conflict in Syria was not entirely domestic. There are internal Syrian dynamics at play, but the underlying issues today are more directed towards redrawing the map of the region, and the conflicting interests of the great powers. The creation of the BRICS bloc means that the United States will no longer remain the only global power in the world.”

On the west calling for him to step down:

“The Syrian People alone have the authority to grant or withdraw legitimacy. If they withdraw it, then you become illegitimate. And similarly if they give you their support, then you are a legitimate president. Everything else is meaningless shenanigans as far as we are concerned.”

On the West claiming they care about the Syrian people.

“Are these states concerned about democracy in Syria or concerned about the blood of the Syrian people? Let’s be candid. If we start with the United States, we find that it has supported the crimes committed by Israel for decades, since Israel was created in our region. The United States committed massacres in Afghanistan and Iraq resulting in millions being killed, wounded or disabled. France and Britain committed massacres in Libya, with support and cover from the United States. The current Turkish government is knee-deep in Syrian blood. Again are these states really concerned about Syrian blood?”

On the Muslim Brotherhood:

“… from our experience in Syria with the Muslim Brotherhood for over 30 years, they are a group of opportunists, who use religion for their personal advantage.”

There is no way to bring about peace through the use of force and any state that relegates itself to that role has to be reined in. America has shown that it lacks the courage to embrace peace and understanding in conflict resolution, this is now an issue for the international community.

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Roger Martin du Gard: A hundredth part of energy expended in war could have preserved peace

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

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war

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Roger Martin du Gard
From Summer 1914 (1936)
Translated by Stuart Gilbert

220px-Roger_Martin_du_Gard_1937

“A defensive war! A war that’s forced upon us! A just war! Don’t you realize they’re throwing dust in our eyes – as they’ve always done? Are you, too, going to let yourself be fooled? It’s only three hours since the mobilization order came out, and you’re backing down already! You’re giving way to those brutal passions that the press has been working up to fever-pitch for the last week, passions that the army leaders will exploit to the utmost! Who’ll stand up against this wave of madness if even Socialists like you give in?”

***

Jacques thought: “Nine Frenchmen out of ten are like that today. Eager to exculpate their country and convince themselves that their enemies have foisted this war on them – so as to justify the reactions of their combative instinct. And as a matter of fact one can’t help wondering if young fellows like these don’t get a sort of gloomy satisfaction out of suddenly feeling at one with an outraged nation, breathing the heady atmosphere of collective hatred.” And it struck him that nothing had changed since the days when Cardinal de Retz made bold to write: “Nothing is of greater consequence in handling a nation than to make it appear to them, even when one attacks, that one has only self-defence in mind.”

***

“It’s a curious thing,” Jacques said, “I’ve always believed – I’ve said it dozens of times – that wars have nothing to do with emotion, that they’re inevitable due to a clash of conflicting economic interests. Well, when I see today how every class of society, without distinction, has worked itself up so easily into a patriotic frenzy, I’m almost beginning to wonder if wars aren’t, rather, the result of some instinctive, uncontrollable upsurge of emotions and if the conflict of interests isn’t merely a pretext for letting the instincts have their run.” He broke off, letting his thoughts run on before he spoke again. “And the most grotesque thing of all is the need they feel, not only to justify themselves, but to proclaim that if they’ve given in they’ve done so for good reasons and of their own accord! Their own accord! All these poor wretches who yesterday were fighting doggedly to stave off a war and now are dragged into it against their will are resolutely putting up a show of acting on their own initiative.” Again he paused before continuing. “It’s positively tragic that all those shrewd, sharp-witted men should suddenly become so gullible once their patriotic emotions are played on. Tragic and almost incomprehensible. Perhaps it’s simply this: the average man identifies himself unthinkingly with his country, his nation, and his government. He gets into the habit of saying: ‘We Frenchmen…’ or ‘We Germans…’ And, as each individual genuinely desires peace, it’s impossible for him to admit that his country is out for war. Almost one might say that the more a man is keen on peace, the more inclined he is to exonerate his country and his countrymen and the easier it is to convince him that all the provocations come from the foreigner; that his government isn’t to blame and he belongs to a community which is being victimized, and that if he fights for it he’s acting in self-defence.”

***

“Do you know what struck me most?” Jacques said after another silence. “It was the look in their eyes, the tone of their voices, a sort of involuntary exhilaration one couldn’t help noticing in their behaviour. In fact, one can’t help wondering, supposing they were to hear tonight that orders had been issued for demobilization, whether their first reaction wouldn’t be one of disappointment. And the most tragic thing of all,” he went on in the same breath, “is the tremendous amount of energy expended by them in the service of war. The courage, the contempt of death. The waste of so much steadfastness of spirit, a hundredth part of which would have been enough to stop war from breaking out if only it had been employed, while there was still time, in the service of peace!”

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Admiral Lays Out U.S. Global Missile Shield Plans

Missile Defense Agency
July 17, 2013

Unclassified Statement of Vice Admiral James D. Syring
Director, Missile Defense Agency
Before The Senate Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee
[Edited by RR]

missile-defense-capability
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile launch

Good morning, Chairman Durbin, Vice Chairman Cochran, distinguished Members of the subcommittee. I appreciate this opportunity to testify before you for the first time as the Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Our current budget request of $7.684 billion for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 will continue the development of defenses for our Nation, deployed forces, allies, and international partners against increasingly capable ballistic missiles…My priorities in FY 2014 are to continue our strong support of the warfighter, support what we have deployed, and deliver more capability to the Combatant Commanders (COCOMs).

Our overriding goal is to provide support to the warfighter. To this end we will focus on improving the performance of the Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) and the Aegis Weapons System, including the Standard Missile (SM) interceptors, and continuing our support for operational systems like the AN/TPY-2 radar and the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) at fielded sites. We will also deliver more interceptors for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) as we look for ways to make them more operationally effective and cost-effective.

In order to provide the warfighters confidence in the execution of their integrated missile defense plans and the opportunity to refine operational doctrine and tactics, this year we plan to demonstrate the ability of the integrated BMDS to defeat two nearsimultaneous ballistic missile threats. In the integrated BMDS flight test (FTI-01) this past October, the largest, most complex ballistic missile defense test ever attempted, we demonstrated the capability of the BMDS to engage upon a raid of five nearsimultaneous representative threats, air-breathing and ballistic missiles, hitting four out of five targets…

Army Soldiers from the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, located at Schriever AFB, Colorado and under the command of U.S. Northern Command, operated the GFC system during this test. I am committed to conducting a full evaluation of the path ahead for the GMD program and, regardless of the path we decide to embark on, aggressively attacking any substantiated quality control or systems integration problems within that program…The successful non-intercept controlled flight test of the next generation CE-II GBI earlier this year (CTV-01) gives us confidence and cautious optimism we have addressed the causes of the FTG-06a endgame failure in December 2010 and are on the right track for a successful return to intercept using the redesigned EKV…

Today, 30 operational GBIs protect the United States against a limited ICBM attack from current regional threats, such as North Korea and Iran…Last year we completed construction of the 14-silo Missile Field-2 at FGA and emplaced the first GBI in that field in March 2012. We also relocated the last interceptors from Missile Field-1.

MDA requests $1,033.9 million in FY 2014 in Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) funding for GMD…We are also increasing the number of GBIs we plan to produce and deploy. As announced on March 15 by Secretary Hagel, we plan to increase our operational GBI fleet from 30 to 44 in 2017 by re-allocating GBIs from the spares and stockpile reliability program. This timeline to increase the number of deployed GBIs, of course, assumes a successful return to intercept of the next generation EKV (the CE-II) and that the results of the FTG-07 failure investigation do not point to any problematic common components within the currently planned production GBI. We will reset this program with the procurement of fourteen additional GBIs, two per year, starting in FY 2016. We also request $135 million in FY 2014 to rebuild a hardened Missile Field 1 critical to achieving the 44-operational-GBI capability.

In FY 2014 we will continue work on the GBI In-Flight Interceptor Communication System (IFCS) Data Terminal (IDT) at Fort Drum, New York, which we will deliver in early FY 2015 and is planned to be operational in 2015. The East Coast IDT will enable communication with GBIs launched from Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California over longer distances and improve defenses for the eastern United States by increasing system performance in specific engagement scenarios. Pursuant to the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, this year we will begin a siting study for a potential Missile Field in the Continental United States (CONUS). MDA has initiated a CONUS Interceptor Site (CIS) study to evaluate several sites for the potential future deployment of additional GBIs…

To maintain readiness in our network of strategic radars, last year MDA worked with the Air Force to begin upgrading the Early Warning Radar (EWR) at Clear, Alaska to give it a missile defense capability, providing improved ballistic missile defense sensor coverage over the continental United States…MDA plans to transfer the Beale (California), Fylingdales (United Kingdom), and Thule (Greenland) Upgraded Early Warning Radars to the Air Force in the later part of FY 2013 once all three radars are operating with the same software configuration. This year we are also working with our Japanese partners to deploy a second AN/TPY-2 radar to the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Area of Responsibility to enhance regional defenses and provide more robust sensor coverage for homeland defense.

We are requesting $44.5 million in FY 2014 for continued Sea Based X-band (SBX) radar operations. For affordability reasons, MDA transferred the SBX to Limited Test Support Status, where the radar continues to support the BMDS test program and remains available for contingency deployment under the operational command of PACOM. We completed the transfer of the SBX vessel to the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command in FY 2012. New SBX operational software with improved discrimination and debris mitigation was delivered and completed in January 2013. The new SBX configuration will complete integration fielding and testing with GMD in the third quarter of FY 2014.

Regional Defenses

Deployment of regional defenses to protect our deployed forces, allies and international partners remains one of our top priorities. Our FY 2014 budget request funds the continued development and deployment of defenses against SRBMs, MRBMs, and IRBMs in support of Combatant Commanders’ near-term and future priorities.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense – MDA delivered the 50th THAAD interceptor last year, completing the initial interceptor load for the two fielded batteries. With the conclusion of unit collective training, MDA also completed fielding of the second THAAD battery. The U.S. Army’s granting of Conditional Materiel Release for the THAAD weapon system made THAAD available for worldwide operational employment. In recent tests we demonstrated THAAD’s ability to intercept an MRBM as part of an integrated operational test with PAC-3 and Aegis BMD (FTI-01) and its ability to detect, track, and engage multiple simultaneous targets (FTT-12).

In FY 2013 we are delivering the third THAAD battery to the U.S. Army and initiating soldier new equipment training, which will be completed in FY 2014. MDA will continue to deliver THAAD interceptors to inventory, achieving 82 interceptors by the end of this fiscal year and 98 interceptors by the end of FY 2014. For FY 2014, MDA is requesting $581 million for THAAD procurement, which includes the purchase of 36 THAAD interceptors and six launchers, and two THAAD Tactical Station Groups for the sixth THAAD Battery. In FY 2014 we expect to deliver the fourth THAAD Battery. Our current plans are to deliver six batteries and, based on Combatant Commanders’ desires, we are working with the Army to analyze a requirement for a seventh THAAD Battery within the Future Years Defense Program. We also are requesting $269 million in RDT&E funding in FY 2014 and $92 million for THAAD operations and maintenance.

We will continue to enhance THAAD’s ability to operate through post-intercept debris, enable launch of THAAD’s interceptors using sensor data provided by other BMDS sensors, and maintain capability against current and evolving threats.

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense

Last year we installed the Aegis BMD 3.6 weapon system on three Aegis ships, for a total of 24 Aegis BMD 3.6 ships, and completed two Aegis BMD 4.0 installations. We also commenced two more Aegis BMD 4.0 installs and initiated BMD 5.0 install on the Aegis BMD test ship, the USS JOHN PAUL JONES, which will replace USS LAKE ERIE in that role. This approach supports Navy and MDA testing of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense combat system. We now have a total of 27 certified Aegis BMD ships. This past year we delivered 11 SM-3 Block IAs and two SM-3 Block IBs, both of which were expended in tests. By the end of 2014, up to 39 SM-3 Block IBs will be delivered. With the Japan Ministry of Defense, we continued SM-3 Block IIA system and component Preliminary Design Reviews and awarded a contract to complete SM-3 IIA development.

In May 2012, we conducted a lethal engagement resulting in the successful intercept of a unitary separating target with the second-generation Aegis BMD 4.0 combat weapon system onboard the USS LAKE ERIE and an SM-3 IB guided missile (FTM-16 Event 2a). This test also validated the resolution of the previous flight test issue. In June 2012, we demonstrated again the ability of the SM-3 IB and the Aegis BMD 4.0 combat system to intercept of a separating ballistic missile target (FTM-18).

Just last month we successfully conducted FTM-19 destroying a separating short-range target using the SM-3 Block IB interceptor and the Aegis BMD 4.0.2 weapon system. This was an important operational and developmental test for Aegis BMD that supports the All Up Round production decision for the SM-3 IB. All three intercept tests represented significant accomplishments for the next generation Aegis Weapon System and SM-3 for regional defense and specifically in support of EPAA Phase II. In the integrated FTI-01 BMDS flight test this past October, the USS FITZGERALD successfully engaged a low flying cruise missile over water. The Aegis combat system also tracked an SRBM and launched an SM-3 IA against that threat space. Despite indication of a nominal flight of the SM-3 IA, we did not achieve an intercept. We have a Failure Review Board currently investigating why this occurred. We have combed through ground test data from all fleet rounds and have not found any rounds with the same ground test results as the SM-3 IA used in FTI-01, which gives us confidence in all deployed SM-3 IAs. This past February, in FTM-20, we successfully intercepted a unitary MRBM target using the SM-3 IA and the Aegis BMD 4.0 weapon system in a remote engagement using data from the Space Tracking and Surveillance System demonstration (STSS-D) satellites. We passed very high quality fire control quality data provided from STSS-D satellites through C2BMC. This was a highly complex test, and 13 it proved the value of an integrated C2 and sensor network and the use of space-based sensors.

The remainder of this year and next will be busy years for Aegis BMD flight testing as we continue to demonstrate capability of the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapons System with the Standard Missile Block IB in a series of intercept flight tests. Later this fall, in FTM-21, an Aegis BMD ship will demonstrate a salvo fire capability. FTM-22 will demonstrate the IOT&E of the SM-3 IB against a complex MRBM target. These two tests will support a full-rate production decision. Tests of the SM-3 IB against various targets from both ships and our first flight testing from Aegis Ashore continue in FY 2014.

In response to the Combatant Commanders’ demand signal for more BMD ships with the latest tested capability, Navy and MDA are jointly executing efforts to upgrade Aegis Destroyers with BMD capability, incorporating Aegis BMD into the Navy’s Aegis DDG Modernization Program and new construction of Aegis BMD DDGs. In 2014, two previously installed Aegis BMD ships will be upgraded with the 4.0 weapons system configuration. In addition to the ship upgrades, one non-BMD capable ship is programmed to start the Aegis Modernization Program. Construction of DDG 113, the first Aegis Destroyer built from the keel up with the BMD capability, is well underway. Ships identified for homeport transfer to Rota, Spain will have been upgraded or programmed to receive the BMD installation.

We also continue development of a Sea Based Terminal capability to provide protection of maritime forces against advanced anti-ship ballistic missiles and increased layered defense for forces ashore. Using an incremental development approach, we are 14 incorporating BMD capability into the Navy’s SM-6 guided missile and the BMD 5.0 weapon system. We expect to test and certify the first increment of Sea Based Terminal capability in 2015 and 2016.

We are requesting $937 million in RDT&E funding in FY 2014 to continue the development, testing and, installation of Aegis BMD capabilities to defeat longer range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles launched in larger raid sizes. We also request $581 million in FY 2014 for the procurement of 52 SM-3 IB guided missiles and $18 million for operations and maintenance of SM-3 IAs. By the end of FY 2014, we plan to deliver a total of 180 SM-3s, including IA and IB variants.

European Phased Adaptive Approach

We will continue to support the EPAA to provide coverage of European NATO territory from Iranian ballistic missile threats. In 2011 MDA completed Phase 1 of the EPAA to provide coverage of NATO territory in Europe with the deployment of Aegis BMD 3.6 ships with SM-3 IAs and a SPY-1 radar
in the Mediterranean, the AN/TPY-2 radar (FBM) to U.S. European Command (EUCOM) in Turkey, and the C2BMC Spiral 6.4 system at Ramstein AFB in Germany.

We will continue to invest resources for EPAA development, testing and deployment. Our goal in EPAA Phase 2 is to provide a robust capability against SRBMs and MRBMs by ensuring the system provides multiple opportunities to engage each threat missile in flight. The architecture includes the deployment of the Aegis BMD 4.0 and 5.0 weapon systems with SM-3 IBs at sea and at an Aegis Ashore site in Romania. In FY 2012 MDA conducted Romania Aegis Ashore planning and environmental studies and
began component production necessary for early integration and testing of the Aegis Ashore system by 2015. Aegis Ashore began construction activities in 2012 in 15 Moorestown, New Jersey and construction of a test site in Kauai, Hawaii. We signed an overarching Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Navy regarding Operations and Sustainment of the European Aegis Ashore sites. The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) will support flight testing of Aegis Ashore capabilities in an operational configuration. The complex will be available to conduct the first Aegis Ashore test firing in FY 2014. MDA will initiate construction of the Aegis Ashore site in Deveselu, Romania with the delivery of the deckhouse in FY 2014. The site will be operational by December 2015. MDA requests $85 million in FY 2014 to continue construction of the Aegis Ashore site in Romania.

In support of EPAA Phase 3, the SM-3 Block IIA, which we are co-developing with the Japanese government and an upgraded version of the Aegis Weapons System are on schedule to be available for deployment in 2018 at Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and Poland and at sea. Deployment of Phase 3 will enhance and expand protection for European NATO countries and U.S. forces through the region…The upgraded Aegis Weapons System combined with the faster…longer reaching SM-3 IIA will provide capability to counter more sophisticated threats when compared to the SM-3 IA and IB and will extend coverage to NATO allies in Europe…

With the completion of Phase 3, EPAA will provide upper-tier coverage of NATO Europe. As we work closely with Navy in modernization, we will also install the 5.1 Aegis Weapons System on ships for
deployment worldwide in support of the Combatant Commanders. We will also install and deploy the 5.1 system in the two Aegis Ashore batteries. This past year we continued development of the Aegis BMD 5.1 fire control system and awarded the SM-3 16 IIA contract to complete missile development. In FY 2014 we will conduct the first flyout test of the SM-3 IIA propulsion stack to measure its performance. MDA requests $308.5 million in RDT funding in FY 2014 to continue the bilateral, cooperative effort.

Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications and Sensors

We successfully demonstrated this past year our ability to interoperate between NATO’s Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense (ALTBMD) system and C2BMC. The NATO BMD Operations Center (BMDOC) at Ramstein Air Base is NATO’s 24/7 command and control center for missile defense. Today, the NATO BMDOC participates in joint exercises with the EUCOM missile and air defense architecture and is responsible for command and control of the multi-national Patriot units currently deployed in Turkey.

In 2012 we continued to support warfighter operations of the EUCOM BMDS capability for regional defense and executed key warfighter events to demonstrate readiness for defense of Israel by linking the AN/TPY-2 and C2BMC ballistic missile threat tracks to Aegis BMD, THAAD, and Patriot shooters in a distributed environment using operational communications and crews. In partnership with the Combatant

Commands, we maintain the capability to engage multiple simultaneous threat attacks in the region. Last year we completed the AN/TPY-2 radar deployment to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), where we deployed a C2BMC suite ahead of schedule as well as the Global Engagement Manager (GEM) for control of the AN/TPY-2 radar to enhance regional missile defense.

Our near-to-mid-term focus for homeland defense will be to increase GMD capability, to include increasing deployed GBIs from 30 to 44, investing in Common Kill Vehicle technology, and conducting siting and EIS studies for a new U.S. GBI missile field.

MDA requests $19.2 million in FY 2014 to continue partnerships with industry and universities to seek innovative concepts in sensors, weapons, and advanced algorithms. We will leverage University-to-University International Research opportunities with allied nations to enhance Advanced Technology initiatives and build stronger relationships with our international partners and NATO allies.

International Cooperation

MDA is engaged either bilaterally or multilaterally with nearly two dozen countries and international organizations, such as NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In [the] Asia-Pacific, the United States and Japan are working together to support the deployment of the second U.S. forward-based AN/TPY-2 radar. In addition, we continue to develop collaboratively the SM-3 IIA to enable U.S. and Japanese Aegis BMD ships to engage MRBMs and IRBMs and, when coupled with the upgraded Aegis BMD weapon system, more sophisticated ballistic missile threats. This year we signed a Second Amendment to the formal joint agreement with Japan administering the SM-3 21 Block IIA Cooperative Development (SCD) effort. The amendment will reduce risk in the SCD program by adding flight tests and sufficient time in the schedule for additional engineering analysis between flight tests.

This budget continues MDA’s longstanding commitment in support of Israeli defensive efforts. MDA is working with the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) to deliver Iron Dome batteries and interceptors. Iron Dome has had significant success protecting the Israeli population against short-range rockets and large artillery shells. MDA has been working closely with U.S. Department of Defense leadership to ensure U.S. funding for Iron Dome is being used effectively to produce additional Iron Dome batteries and interceptors. Any further U.S. contributions on Iron Dome will be governed by a formal international agreement. MDA is actively seeking Iron Dome coproduction opportunities for U.S. defense industry. We are negotiating to obtain available technical data packages and data rights should there be a future U.S. defense requirement for this weapon system.

We are also developing missile defense systems with Israel to address regional ballistic missile threats. The David’s Sling Weapon System is designed to defeat SRBM threats. IMDO and MDA completed the first phase of the development of David’s Sling last November with a successful intercept test. MDA and Israel also are co-developing the Arrow-3 Upper Tier interceptor. The advanced design of this interceptor was successfully tested this past February in a non-intercept test; a second fly-out test is scheduled for FY 2014. MDA also participated in Austere Challenge 2012 exercises, which successfully demonstrated the concept of operations for the U.S.-Israel BMD architecture and future interoperability.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, U.S. BMD capabilities continue to expand in defense of forward-deployed U.S. armed forces, allies, and partners. Major MDA activities in the Middle East involve relationships with regional partners expressing interest in procuring U.S. systems. Last year, MDA was officially designated as a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Implementing Agency for THAAD and the AN/TPY-2 radar. In addition to our current $3.5B FMS case with the United Arab Emirates, we are engaged with several other potential FMS customers for these very capable systems. In Europe, aside from EPAA planning and fielding, MDA maintains active bilateral relationships with our close allies in that region.

Categories: Uncategorized

Georges Duhamel: No man desires war…but if there’s money to be made…

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

Georges Duhamel: Selections on war

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Georges Duhamel

Georges-Duhamel-Quotes-1

From The Masters (1937)
Translated by Béatrice de Holthoir

When there is a war it is always the young who are sent to be killed; the excuse given is that the old aren’t fit to send. That may be so. We shall see that later on, perhaps. But I’m quite positive that the young are sent to their death because the very young have a prodigal disregard for the value of life. Young men are much more willing to die that old men. Young men have not yet grown attached to life. They will grow old, they will taste of sorrow and pain and humiliation, and, it is a dreadful thing to say, they will begin to love life, this wretched life, and they will not have the faintest wish to die.

***

From Cécile Among Us (1938)
Translated by Béatrice de Holthoir

“The article must go in at once, d’you hear? Straightaway, at once. Just time for the blocks to be made. Just imagine, they might stop their war dead. You can never be sure with these monkey tricks of diplomacy. The armistice is dragging on. Well, if the war stops, I shall have had all my outlay for nothing…What you must make much of is the humanitarian side of the business…”

“Now you’re going to follow up with your journalist fellow and feed him the dope. Lay it on thick. You’ve heard the style, the tone, and the pace, Mairesse. That’s the sort of thing you ought to be capable of on your own from beginning to end. This fellow is just a worm. We’re making him a present of a magnificent article, a scoop. So don’t go talking about a fee; besides, he won’t dare claim anything, he wouldn’t have the spunk. The article must appear on Thursday. Mind, two copies straightaway to the Bulgarian Legation. And a copy to each member of the corps diplomatique. Personal mail on good paper to the entire press. Bulgaria, of course, won’t utter a sound, but it’s more than likely that Craig and Websters will lose their order…You look staggered, my good man. Unbelievable! Now come, you know quite well that Germany is the country that’s supplying munitions to Turkey. She can’t furnish them direct to Bulgaria. That’s where we come in, we undertake to deliver the good old German trash to Sofia. Craig and Websters will feel the draught. What delights me in a piece of business like this, Mairesse, is that from the point of view of humanitarianism it’s perfect. I’m only too pleased to to support the cause of humanity, isn’t that so? I have three children myself and, after all, I’m no worse than any other fellow; as a matter of fact, as a father, I’m rather tender-hearted. I don’t want any country to be plunged into war. No man desires war. But if a war is already declared, and a war is actually going on, and there are people making money out of it, then I certainly can’t see why I shouldn’t have my share…”

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Ukraine: Military Exercise Brings NATO To Russia’s Border

U.S. Army Europe
July 19, 2013

Exercise Rapid Trident 2013 comes to a close
By Maj. Mike Weisman, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

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Several of the forces rotating through the situational training lanes were formed into multinational companies consisting of one or more platoons from one nation combined with troops from other nations, under a single company commander.

The diverse units were formed into a single multinational battalion during a field training exercise that involved conducting combined maneuver and wide-area security operations against an opposing force.

As in past iterations, this year’s Rapid Trident continued the exercise’s focus on airborne and air-mobile infantry operations, with paratroopers from participating countries conducting more than 300 individual jumps from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft on three exercise days.

Another important facet of the exercise was the participation of several Ukrainian units in a NATO Operational Capabilities Concept Evaluation and Feedback Program. A team of inspectors from NATO’s Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey evaluated units via a variety of technical inspections and skills demonstrations.

“The result is (that) we are certified as combat ready. These units are able to conduct operations with NATO forces.”

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Moldovan soldier during Rapid Trident

YAVORIV, Ukraine: After two weeks of training, Exercise Rapid Trident 2013 officially ended July 19 with a closing ceremony at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here.

Approximately 1,300 soldiers from 17 nations came together July 8-19 to participate in the U.S. Army Europe-led, U.S. European Command Joint Training and Exercise Program event designed to enhance interoperability between forces…

“I thought Rapid Trident 2013 was a great opportunity for multinational training,” said Col. Alfred Renzi, director of assessments for the USAREUR operations directorate (G3) and this year’s exercise co-director. Between tactical platoons, STX (situational training) lane instructors, staff officers and observer/trainers, we took advantage of experience from 17 countries.”

Soldiers from host nation Ukraine, along with forces from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S., participated in this year’s exercise.

In the first week of the exercise, soldiers from each nation rotated through situational training exercises, honing small-unit tactics and exchanging techniques and methods with their multinational counterparts. Infantrymen trained on key tasks such as countering improvised explosive devices, convoy operations and dismounted patrolling.

Each of the situational training lanes was set up and run by a different partner nation…

“Rapid Trident provides the Canadian Forces a unique opportunity to work with our multinational partners to advance our skills and those of all participating nations,” said Canadian contingent commander Maj. Stephen Hale, part of Land Force Atlantic Area based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Our counter-IED trainers are among the best in the world. The skills they have gained on recent operations are passed on to prepare other soldiers for future operations.”

Several of the forces rotating through the situational training lanes were formed into multinational companies consisting of one or more platoons from one nation combined with troops from other nations, under a single company commander.

“Rapid Trident has been a great exercise for improving small-unit tactics and multinational interoperability, especially at the company level,” said Maj. Brent LeGreid, whose group of observer/coach/trainers from USAREUR’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany provided oversight and feedback to units during Rapid Triedent. “This training has given these soldiers and leaders a great opportunity to share techniques and develop long-term relationships.”

The diverse units were formed into a single multinational battalion during a field training exercise that involved conducting combined maneuver and wide-area security operations against an opposing force. The battalion was built around a Ukrainian airborne infantry battalion staff and augmented with multinational staff elements. Several of the companies combined one or more platoons from multiple nations.

“We built a multinational battalion, even down to the company level,” said Renzi.

The multinational battalion received direction from the Ukrainian 95th Separate Airborne Brigade headquarters staff, allowing both staffs to conduct command post operations to stress their planning and execution capabilities.

“In addition to trainers, Canada provides staff officers within the headquarters elements,” said Hale. “Training in this way with partners ensures we are ready to work together on real operations when we are called upon.”

This year marked the 11th iteration of the Rapid Trident exercises. The exercise was conducted under the name “Peace Shield” from 1998 to 2002.

USAREUR units that participated in the exercise included an airborne infantry company from USAREUR’s 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), the JMRC observer/coach/trainers, elements of the 21st Theater Support Command and the USAREUR headquarters. Additional U.S. forces were provided by the California Army National Guard.

As in past iterations, this year’s Rapid Trident continued the exercise’s focus on airborne and air-mobile infantry operations, with paratroopers from participating countries conducting more than 300 individual jumps from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft on three exercise days.

Another important facet of the exercise was the participation of several Ukrainian units in a NATO Operational Capabilities Concept Evaluation and Feedback Program. A team of inspectors from NATO’s Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey evaluated units via a variety of technical inspections and skills demonstrations.

“We signed our evaluations with the NATO monitors,” said Ukrainian Lt. Col. Ihor Zenin, deputy chief of the IPSC and director of the self-evaluation. “The result is (that) we are certified as combat ready. These units are able to conduct operations with NATO forces.”

Renzi said the most valuable thing the units participating in Rapid Trident gained from the exercise was experience working with their partners and overcoming obstacles such as language barriers and differences in tactics and equipment.

USAREUR Commanding General Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr. paid a visit to the exercise July 17 as part of a group of two dozen senior military and civilian officials from several nations. Campbell said he planned to discuss future Rapid Trident exercises with Ukrainian Land Forces Commander Col. Gen. Genadiy Vorobiov.

“It’s too good of a training exercise to not talk about it for the future,” said Campbell.

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Kerry Threatens Venezuela With Concerted NATO Action Over Snowden: Report

July 19, 2013 4 comments

RT
July 19, 2013

Kerry vows to put the screws to Venezuela over Snowden – report

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US Secretary of State John Kerry has reportedly promised his Venezuelan counterpart to close NATO airspace to the country’s flights and stop crucial oil product deliveries if Caracas grants asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Last Friday night, just hours after Venezuela agreed to provide political asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Kerry personally called Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, a Spanish ABC media outlet cites a source familiar with the conversation as saying.

Kerry threatened to ground any Venezuelan aircraft in America’s or any NATO country’s airspace if there is the slightest suspicion that Snowden is using the flight to get to Caracas.

The US’ top diplomat sent a clear signal that Venezuela’s Air Force One is not immune and President Nicolas Maduro could easily face the same fate as his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales, whose plane was grounded for inspection in Austria earlier this month in violation of all international diplomatic agreements.

“Immunity is for the president, not the plane,” the ABC source cites Kerry’s personal message to President Maduro as saying.

Closing all NATO member countries’ aerospace to Venezuelan flights means avoiding 26 countries in Europe and two in North America. Under this scenario, it would be safer for Snowden to fly across the Pacific from Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok instead of crossing the Atlantic.

Kerry also promised to intensify the ongoing process of revoking US entry visas to Venezuelan officials and businessmen associated with the deceased President Hugo Chavez.

Washington will also begin prosecuting prominent Venezuelan politicians on allegations of drug trafficking, money laundering and other criminal actions, Kerry reportedly said, and specifically mentioned some names in his conversation with the Venezuelan FM.

He further said that Washington is well aware of Venezuela’s dependence on the US when it comes to refined oil products. Despite being one of the world’s largest oil producers, Venezuela requires more petrol and oil products than it can produce, buying around 500,000 barrels of gasoline every month, roughly another half million barrels of fuel for power plants, and some 350,000 barrels of MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) – the additive used for to increase octane in gasoline.

The US Secretary of State bluntly warned that fuel supplies would be halted if President Maduro continues to reach out to the fugitive NSA contractor.

Neither the US State Department nor the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry have so far commented on ABC’s report.

On July 19 President Maduro sharply criticized a statement by the Obama administration’s nominee for UN envoy, Samantha Powers, who accused countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia and Venezuela of being guilty of a “crackdown on civil society”. Maduro called on Washington to retract the “despicable” statement.

“I want an immediate correction by the US government,” Maduro said live on state television, as quoted by Reuters.

“Power says she’ll fight repression in Venezuela? What repression? There is repression in the United States, where they kill African-Americans with impunity, and where they hunt the youngster Edward Snowden just for telling the truth,” Maduro fumed.

Former CIA technician and NSA contractor Snowden remains a fugitive without a passport, as he has remained stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport for nearly a month. Snowden requested temporary asylum from Russia and has not officially accepted Maduro’s asylum offer, WikiLeaks says.

If extradited to the US, where Showden is wanted on espionage charges, he fears he could face inhumane treatment and even the death penalty for leaking details of the National Security Agency’s dragnet surveillance programs.

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Poland: U.S. Expands Air Combat Capacity Near Russian Border

U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa
June 18, 2013

Polish air force identifies strategic need for US Av-Det
By Staff Sgt. Daryl Knee
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

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Several of the 48 F-16s purchased by Poland in the nation’s largest-ever arms expenditure.

LASK AIR BASE, Poland: The commander of the Polish air force visited U.S. service members here as part of an operations tour of Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group July 17, 2013.

Lt. Gen. Lech Majewski met and spoke with aviation detachment leadership and Aviano Air Base, Italy, Airmen who are the third overall aircraft rotation to the two-week training course.

“It’s a very important thing for us,” Majewski said. “It’s the next level of cooperation. We have a great opportunity to meet and share our experiences and train together on the ground and in the air.”

The Polish military has employed the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft for less than 10 years and have since begun developing their tactics and capabilities. The F-16 aircraft entered the U.S. arsenal in 1979, and Aviano pilots have flown the airframe since 1994. The two nations have shared experiences with the activation of the detachment last year.

Majewski toured the facility occupied by the 510th Fighter Squadron and walked along the U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft. He thanked both the pilots and ground crews for their continuing contributions to develop and improve allied air readiness.

“The best way to cooperate is to fly together,” he said, “and this is one of the best places to do it. Thank you for coming to Poland.”

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Australian War Games: U.S. Military Machine Out Of Control

Press TV
July 19, 2013

‘US military machine out of control’

AUDIO

The “military machine” of the United States is “out of control” as it is spreading its military tentacles throughout the Asia-Pacific region amid a massive and unprecedented series of war games in Australia, an antiwar activist says.

Approximately 20,000 US troops descended on Australia’s east coast for a joint military exercise this week in the biggest such exercise to date.

“This is part of the Obama administration’s signaled so-called Asia-Pacific shift or Pivot,” Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO organization said in a phone interview with Press TV’s US Desk on Thursday.

The Obama administration’s so-called “pivot to Asia” involves the repositioning of American military forces throughout the Asia-Pacific region as well as strengthening US military alliances and strategic partnerships in that part of the world.

In order to display its military might, the Pentagon leads multinational military exercises each year in the Asia-Pacific region, which is a “very dangerous escalation of US military presence,” Rozoff said.

The exercises are “a cause of severe concern to countries like China and to Russia.”

Rozoff described the US military as “out of control” that needs to be disarmed and pacified by the international community.

The US and Australia have strengthened their alliance in recent years. The US military is building up its presence in Australia and plans to send 2,500 Marines there on six-month rotations each year starting in 2016.

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Louis Aragon: Selections on war

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Georgia: NATO Trains Arab Partners At Mountain Training Center

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
July 18, 2013

Basic Mountain Training Summer Course

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The final phase of the Basic Mountain Training Summer Course is underway in the Sachkhere Mountain Training School under the NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PFP) program.

18 military servicemen of the Ukraine, Jordan and Egypt are invited to course.

Trainings will continue until July 19.

During the course foreign military servicemen are improving their mountain-technical skills. During the Basic Mountain Training Summer Course soldiers performed various mountain-technical tasks with the assistance of Georgian instructors. Listeners pass special tests. During the course the cadets learn the crossing technique over mountains, high mountains, rivers and ravines. They also practiced in providing first medical care and technical methods for providing evacuation.

Successful graduates will be awarded with the relevant certificates after completion of the training.

After graduating Basic Mountain Training Summer Course foreign partners will have opportunity to attend further stage of summer and winter courses in Sachkhere Mountain Training School.

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PRISM Part Of Broader NATO Initiative?

GigaOM
July 18, 2013

Are there really two PRISMs, or just one PRISM with NATO involvement?
By David Meyer

Nowhere (U.S. aside) is PRISM a hotter topic than in Germany. With the issue proving central to upcoming elections, some pretty wild claims are flying around — and the rest of the world should take note.

If you thought the PRISM debacle couldn’t get any more convoluted, then listen up. It turns out that there are two PRISM programs… or not, in which case the German government may be heading for a fall. It depends on who you believe: the newspaper Bild or the German government.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, the German federal elections are coming up and PRISM is a major issue. The opposition parties have demanded answers about what Angela Merkel’s administration knew about the Americans spying on German citizens en masse. The government is sticking to its line that only highly-targeted data-sharing takes place, in order to keep the public safe from terrorism, and that it never knew about the wider PRISM program.

On Wednesday Bild published a major scoop, based on a document that was apparently sent by NATO to all the regional commands in Afghanistan back in 2011. This document laid out instructions for cooperation under a program called PRISM, which involved monitoring emails and phone calls, with access regulated by the U.S. Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS). This document naturally made its way to the Germans, who are somewhatcontroversially deployed in Afghanistan and, as Bild framed it, this meant the German government is lying about its PRISM ignorance.

Not so, replied the government. Somewhat bizarrely, the administration claimed that the document was referring to a different PRISM program that was “not identical” to the NSA’s big project. Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said that – according to the BND, Germany’s NSA equivalent – this PRISM was a NATO/ISAF scheme, specific to the Afghanistan situation and not classified as secret. The Ministry of Defence chipped in with a denial that the Germans had access to this PRISM system anyway.
Then, late on Wednesday night, Bild hit back with a series of counterclaims. First off, the newspaper pointed out that JWICS is designed for transmitting the most highly classified material.

Regarding the claim that only U.S. personnel could access this NATO/ISAF PRISM, Bild quoted its anonymous American sources as saying all regional commands – Germans included – could request monitoring of a specific individual by asking “civilian and military U.S. personnel”, with the term “civilian” supposedly indicating spies. The paper also quoted these sources as saying the techniques employed across the two PRISMs were pretty darn similar.

So there we have it. If Bild got it right, Merkel is up for an electoral hammering and the rest of the world needs to wrap its head around the idea of PRISM being a collaborative scheme at the NATO level. However, if the German spy agencies are being truthful then there are two PRISMs that, by crazy coincidence, both deal in the interception of emails and phone calls. You choose.

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Roger Martin du Gard: General strike for peace

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

Roger Martin du Gard: Selections on war

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Roger Martin du Gard
From Summer 1914 (1936)
Translated by Stuart Gilbert

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“Are we going to stand idly by, waiting like sheep till they dispatch us to the slaughter-house? Are we to trust the various governments with their fine talk about their desire for peace? Who are the people who’ve plunged Europe into the hopeless muddle it’s in today? Can we be mad enough to hope that these same men – statesmen, premiers, monarchs, and the rest of them – who by their plotting and scheming have brought us to the brink of disaster, will now succeed, by their precious conferences, in preserving peace – this peace that they’ve cold-bloodedly imperilled? No! It’s too late in the day to expect governments to preserve the cause of peace. The issue, peace or war, is in the hands of the masses. In our hands and no others!”

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“A strike,” he cried, “that’s the one form of action which can save us all. Just think what it means! Our leaders issue their appeal, and on the same day, at the same hour, everywhere simultaneously, all the activities of the country come to a standstill. Automatically the strike order empties factories, shops, and government offices. Along the main roads pickets hold up supplies on their way to the city markets. Bread, meat, and milk are rationed by the strike committee. Water, gas, and electricity are cut off. There are no more trains, or buses, or taxis. No more letters or newspapers. No more telegrams or telephone calls. Every cogwheel of the machine has stopped with a jerk. The streets are full of panic-stricken crowds drifting to and fro. But there are no riots, no street-fights. Only silence and consternation. What could the government do against that? What chance would they have of stemming such an onslaught with the police and a few thousand volunteers? How could they collect supplies at such short notice or have them distributed to the population? Why, they couldn’t even feed their own policemen and troops! Even the supporters of their nationalist pretensions would turn against them – and there’d be nothing left them but to capitulate. How many days – no, not days – how many hours could they hold out against such a deadlock, a total stoppage of every public utility? And, faced with such a demonstration of the power of the masses, what statesman would ever dare again even to contemplate a war? What government would dare to issue guns and ammunition to a nation in revolt against it?”

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“The hour is critical, but we still have the last word. The weapon in our hands is so tremendous that I really don’t think we’d need to use it. The mere threat of a strike – once the government was convinced that the whole working-class without exception was determined to resort to it – would be enough to give a new turn to the policy which has brought us to the brink of the abyss. My friends, you ask: ‘What is our duty?’ Well, it’s simple, and it’s clear. We must have one aim only: peace. We must drop party differences and unite. Unite in saying ‘No!’ and fighting against war. We must rally round the leaders of the International, and bid them spare no pains to organize the general strike, the mass attack of the forces of the proletariat, on which hangs the fate of France, the destiny of Europe.”

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Fourteen Years After Air War, NATO Absorbing Serbia

Tanjug News Agency
July 17, 2013

General Ljubisa Dikovic met with NATO General Mieczyslaw Bieniek

A SMOKE RISES OVER NOVI SAD
Some of NATO’s handiwork in 1999

BELGRADE: Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff General Ljubisa Dikovic talked with NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (DSACT) General Mieczyslaw Bieniek about cooperation with the command in Belgrade on Wednesday.

The two generals discussed Serbia’s cooperation with the Allied Command and transformative processes in the country’s army and defense system, the Serbian Armed Forces announced.

Dikovic informed Mieczyslaw about the Defense Ministry’s plans to ensure that certain courses that are being held in the Krusevac-based Centre for CBRN Defense Training get the Allied Command Transformation’s certification.

“By NATO’s decision, the Centre for CBRN Defense Training was on June 25 this year officially declared a partner institution for training and education, the release reads.

The Allied Command Transformation is leading, at the strategic command level, the transformation of NATO’s military structure, forces, capabilities and doctrine.

Serbia, which has declared military neutrality, joined NATO’s program “Partnership for Peace” in 2006, as part of which it has been cooperating with the Alliance in various fields.

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NATO Aircraft Again Violate Pakistani Airspace

Dawn
July 17, 2014

Nato aircraft violate Pakistani airspace
Zahir Shah Sherazi

PESHAWAR: Two aircraft of Nato forces in Afghanistan on Wednesday evening violated airspace of neighbouring Pakistan by infiltrating into its boundaries by several kilometers.

Intelligence sources told Dawn.com that the aircraft penetrated into the Pakistani airspace through Pak-Afghan Torkham border.

The aircraft returned back to Afghanistan after flying for several minutes within Pakistani boundaries without causing damage or getting involved in any other violation of rules.

This is however not the first occasion when Nato aircraft violated Pakistani airspace. Similar incidents have been witnessed in North Waziristan, Kurram, Mohmand and Khyber tribal agencies in the past.

On November 26, Nato helicopters attacked Salala military checkpoint in Mohmand Agency at Pak-Afghan border, killing up to 28 Pakistani troops.

The incident led to rough bilateral ties between US and Pakistan and prompted the latter to shut the vital supply route for Nato troops fighting in Afghanistan.

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20,000 U.S. Troops Descend On Australia For Military Exercise

July 17, 2013 1 comment

Stars and Stripes
July 17, 2013

20,000 US troops descend on Australia for training
By Matthew M. Burke

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan: Talisman Saber 2013 — a joint U.S. and Australian military and humanitarian exercise — kicked off this week as approximately 20,000 U.S. troops descended on Australia’s east coast.

The focus of this year’s exercise has shifted to amphibious operations as the training moved from the Northern Territory to Australia’s east coast and the Coral Sea. It also marks the first time the MV-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft will touch down on Australian soil. Federal agencies such as the FBI will also have an expanded role as they train with their Australian counterparts.

The fifth iteration of the bi-annual, bi-lateral, exercise is also the biggest to date.

“This year, the U.S. has come in strength,” exercise spokesman Australian Brigadier Bob Brown said Wednesday.

Brown said that the increased presence was most likely due to the U.S. pivot to the Pacific. Also, the USS Bonhomme Richard’s predecessor, the USS Essex, was unable to take part in the exercise two years ago due to maintenance issues.

“The U.S. was a bit more stretched at that time,” Brown said.

“For Australia, [the exercise] is important because we’re developing an increased amphibious capability,” he said.

The Australians plan to procure two amphibious assault ships in the next couple of years, Brown said, so there is an increased emphasis placed on training with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group.

The exercise will feature comprehensive amphibious, airborne and special operations training. The U.S. has sent 15 ships this year, including the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, which will be coupled with 11 Australian vessels. The exercise is being observed by representatives from Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, Canada and the U.K.

Saturday will be the busiest day of the exercise, which ends Aug. 5, as U.S. Army and Australian paratroops take part in an air assault, while two major amphibious operations, including a beach landing, also take place. That same day, the FBI will be training with Queensland police on interview and crime scene techniques.

Talisman Sabre 2011 featured 22,000 troops from the U.S., Australia and Canada. The exercise two years ago featured paratrooper landings and amphibious operations as well as land-based training in the Northern Territory. Officials from the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture and Justice were also on hand to coordinate efforts with military officials.

The alliance between the U.S. and Australia has strengthened in recent years from the battlefield in Afghanistan to the deployment of U.S. Marines to Darwin. The Australian government announced in June that the number of Marines rotating in on six-month deployments would increase to 1,150 in 2014.

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Ukraine: NATO Starts Largest-Ever Military Education Program With Partner

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
July 16, 2013

Ukraine modernising its military education

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So far, DEEPs [Defence Education Enhancement Programmes] have been set up with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, the Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Initially, the Alliance’s education and training programmes focused on increasing interoperability between NATO and partner forces.

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Ukraine is modernising its defence education institutions with the support of NATO in what is the biggest educational programme the Alliance has ever embarked on with a partner country.

No less than five defence education institutions located in Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv are set on improving the professional military education they have to offer. They have openly articulated their educational needs and requested support in faculty development, simulations, English language training and curriculum development in a broad range of subjects. These include policy and strategy formulation, aviation law, international humanitarian law, economic security and psychological support for combat.

Cooperation is being led through what is known as NATO’s Defence Education Enhancement Programmes – or DEEPs. These programmes provide expertise on “what to teach” and “how to teach”. In concrete terms, DEEPs connect senior educators from NATO countries with their counterparts from partner countries with the objective of enhancing educational curricula and learning methods.

Ukraine made the request for NATO support in October 2012, in a letter from Ukraine’s former Minister of Defence, Dmytro Salamatin, to the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow. Since then, the needs of the Ukrainian institutions participating in the programme have been identified by a DEEP expert team, which visited Ukraine end March 2013. The conclusions of this visit form the basis of the three-year programme, which started mid-July 2013.

The Ukraine DEEP will be taken forward with the support and cooperation of the National Defence University of Warsaw, Poland, the NATO International Staff and the NATO Liaison Office in Kyiv.

So far, DEEPs have been set up with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, the Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Initially, the Alliance’s education and training programmes focused on increasing interoperability between NATO and partner forces. They have expanded to provide a means for Allies and partners to collaborate on how to build, develop and reform educational institutions in the security, defence and military domain.

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Stendhal: You’ve got to learn the business before you can become a soldier

July 17, 2013 1 comment

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

Stendhal: Dreaming of the Marshall and his glory…

Stendhal and Byron: Military leprosy; fronts of brass and feet of clay

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Stendhal
From The Charterhouse of Parma (1839)
Translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff

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“We’re beginning to hear the infantry fire now,” said the vivandiere, whipping up her little horse, which seemed quite excited by the firing.

The cantiniere turned to the right and took a side road that ran through the fields; there was a foot of mud in it; the little cart seemed about to be stuck fast: Fabrizio pushed the wheel. His horse fell twice; presently the road, though with less water on it, was nothing more than a bridle path through the grass. Fabrizio had not gone five hundred yards when his nag stopped short: it was a corpse, lying across the path, which terrified horse and rider alike.

Fabrizio’s face, pale enough by nature, assumed a markedly green tinge; the cantiniere, after looking at the dead man, said, as though speaking to herself: “That’s not one of our Division.” Then, raising her eyes to our hero, she burst out laughing.

“Aha, my boy! There’s a titbit for you!” Fabrizio sat frozen. What struck him most of all was the dirtiness of the feet of this corpse which had already been stripped of its shoes and left with nothing but an old pair of trousers all clotted with blood.

“Come nearer,” the cantiniere ordered him, “get off your horse, you’ll have to get accustomed to them; look,” she cried, “he’s stopped one in the head.”

A bullet, entering on one side of the nose, had gone out at the opposite temple, and disfigured the corpse in a hideous fashion. It lay with one eye still open.

“Get off your horse then, lad,” said the cantiniere, “and give him a shake of the hand to see if he’ll return it.”

Without hesitation, although ready to yield up his soul with disgust, Fabrizio flung himself from his horse and took the hand of the corpse which he shook vigorously; then he stood still as though paralyzed. He felt that he had not the strength to mount again. What horrified him more than anything was that open eye.

“The vivandiere will think me a coward,” he said to himself bitterly. But he felt the impossibility of making any movement; he would have fallen. It was a frightful moment; Fabrizio was on the point of being physically sick. The vivandiere noticed this, jumped lightly down from her little carriage, and held out to him, without saying a word, a glass of brandy which he swallowed at a gulp; he was able to mount his screw, and continued on his way without speaking. The vivandiere looked at him now and again from the corner of her eye.

“You shall fight to-morrow, my boy,” she said at length; “to-day you’re going to stop with me. You can see now that you’ve got to learn the business before you can become a soldier.”

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Georgia To Join NATO Global Strike Force: Defense Chief

AzerNews
July 16, 2013

Georgia to become member of NATO Response Force in 2015
By Nazrin Gadimova

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Launching of NATO Response Force during Steadfast Jaguar war games off western coast of Africa in 2006

Georgia will become a member of the NATO Response Force in 2015, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said.

According to Alasania, this issue has been agreed with the NATO.

“We appealed to NATO with this issue and have received preliminary approval. So, I think that in 2015 we will become a part of the NATO Response Force,” he said.

“We meet all the requirements of the alliance and our troops will be represented in the NATO Response Force with dignity,” Alasania said.

Recall that Georgia has participated in international missions of the NATO in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Georgia also expressed its willingness to participate in the operations in Mali.

Georgia is currently a candidate for NATO membership and the U.S. is actively supporting its membership bid. Accession to NATO is one of the top foreign policy priorities of Georgia. Soon after the declaration of independence, Georgia joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council.

Georgia’s bilateral relations with NATO were established in 1994 when the country joined the Partnership for Peace program (PfP). At the informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in 2006 it was decided to launch Intensified Dialogue on Membership Issues with the South Caucasus republic.

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Bulgaria: NATO Warships Participate In Black Sea Naval Exercise

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

July 16, 2013

NATO Ships Participate in Bulgarian Exercise BREEZE 13

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Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) arrived Saturday in the port of Varna, Bulgaria, after participating in the Bulgarian Navy’s multinational exercise BREEZE 2013 last week.

During the ashore phase of the exercise, ESPS BLAS DE LEZO and TCG SALIHREIS participated in a series of workshops and conferences to prepare for the part of the exercise taking place at sea. The Group also hosted an official reception on board the NATO flagship for local authorities.

At sea, SNMG2 engaged with ships and aircraft from the Bulgarian Navy, as well as naval units from Greece, Turkey and the United States. Exercise BREEZE 13 helped NATO units sharpen their skills in the fields of anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.

“Exercises such as BREEZE 13 are crucial for maintaining the highest standards of interoperability between members of the Alliance,” said SNMG2’s Commander, Rear Admiral Diaz del Rio. “These training opportunities are long term investments to ensure that NATO naval forces remain capable to act swiftly and in a coordinated fashion when called upon.”

ESPS BLAS DE LEZO and TCG SALIHREIS are currently deployed within the framework of NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.

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