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Further Integration: Ukraine Joins NATO’s Indian Ocean Operation

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 24, 2013

Ukraine joins NATO’s counter-piracy operation Ocean Shield

A Ukrainian navy frigate is steaming towards the Horn of Africa to join NATO’s counter-piracy mission Operation Ocean Shield after NATO Allies gave their final approval to Ukraine’s participation in the mission. Ukraine will be the first partner nation to join the operation.

The North Atlantic Council gave its go ahead late Tuesday (24 September 2013) to Ukraine’s participation in Ocean Shield. The Ukrainian Parliament gave its approval to participate earlier this month.

The Ukrainian frigate, “Hetman Sahaydachnyy” set sail from the port of Sevastopol earlier this week and is expected to join the NATO mission off the Somali coast early next month. The ship will join the other two ships in the mission, the HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen and the USS De Wert. The ships maintain a high level of vigilance off the Horn of Africa, despite the fact that the last successful pirate attack happened more than a year ago.

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The Obama Doctrine

September 30, 2013 2 comments

China.org.cn
September 30, 2013

The Obama Doctrine
By Zhao Jinglun

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In his lengthy and tedious remarks delivered at the UN General Assembly, President Obama, bold as brass, tried to portray Washington as peace-loving and war-hating. But its record clearly shows the contrary: it is a hegemon of war and intervention.

He repeated several times “peace is hard.” Why is peace so hard? Primarily because of the U.S. policy of war and intervention. The country has waged hundreds of wars and intervened in very corner of planet earth since its founding. Is Obama trying to change course?

He said that the U.S. is drawing down in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it is doing so not just “to build our nation at home,” but also to rebalance to the Asia/Pacific region to contain China. And it is still energetically intervening in the Middle East. He brazenly declared: “The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region….We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world.” As Jeremy Scahill pointed out: “He basically came out and said the United States is an imperialist nation and we are going to do whatever we need to conquer areas to take resources from the world.”

It is incredible that when he talked about the Arab Spring and said “Ben Ali and Mubarak are no longer in power,” he did not mention the fact that it was the United States who propped those dictators up for so many years. And Washington is still supporting the Egyptian military junta.

When he talked about free and fair elections, he did not explain why Washington supports the Egyptian junta, which staged a military coup that ousted free and fairly elected President Morsi. It is only elections that elevated Washington’s clients that it would recognize.

He insisted that Bashar al-Assad must go. But whether Assad stays or not should be up to the Syrian people to decide. And to his surprise, the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels commanders on the ground announced that they were joining al-Qaeda, and that they are through with the “National Council” and are organizing their own “Islamist Alliance.”

That group includes Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate, the lead signatory; the Tawheed Brigade, the biggest Free Syrian Army unit in Aleppo and Liwa al-Islam, the largest rebel group in Damascus; and Ahrar al-Sham, a franchise of mostly Syrian Salafist fighters. The group claims to represent seventy-five percent of the rebels fighting to oust Assad.

As we said earlier, Obama has chosen to side with the comrades of those who brought down the World Trade Center towers and rammed the Pentagon on 9-11.

Fortunately, the UNSC resolution on Syrian chemical weapons paved the way for a negotiated settlement of the Syrian civil war.

So what is the Obama Doctrine? It is not yet an established term. According to The New York Times’ David Sanger, it is Obama’s “deep reluctance to use American power in long, drawn-out conflicts where national interests were remote and allies were missing.” So he opts for an expanded drone war and cyber attacks on Iran’s nuclear program.

In this, he took the life line thrown him by Putin, and heeded the warning by his former defense chief Bob Gates, who asked: “Haven’t Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya taught us something about the unintended consequences of military action?”

In the three years and two months left of his presidency, he will take two high-risk diplomatic initiatives: finding a negotiated end to the Iran confrontation (see my previous column) and creating a Palestinian state side by side with Israel with the latter’s security guaranteed.

Successive American administrations failed in settling the Israel-Palestine dispute because of Washington’s lopsided support of Israel. Can Obama overcome that bias? That remains to be seen.

The author is a columnist with China.org.cn.

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Mikhail Sholokhov: People worse than wolves. And it was called a heroic exploit.

September 30, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Russian writers on war

Mikhail Sholokhov: Selections on war

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Mikhail Sholokhov
From And Quite Flows the Don (1928-32)
Translated by Stephen Garry

Sholokhov-1938

Within an hour the entire company rode out to where the German officer lay. The Cossacks removed his boots, clothing, and weapons and crowded around to look at the young, frowning, yellow face of the dead man. One of them managed to capture the officer’s watch and sold it on the spot to his troop sergeant. In a pocket-book they found a few coins, a letter, a lock of flaxen hair, and a photograph of a girl with a proud, smiling mouth.

Afterwards the incident was transformed into a heroic exploit. Kruchkov, a favourite of the company commander, told his story and received the Cross of St. George. His comrades remained in the shadow. The hero was sent to the divisional staff headquarters, where he lived in clover until the end of the war, receiving three more crosses because influential women and officers came from Petersburg and Moscow to look at him. The ladies “ah’d” and “oh’d,” the ladies regaled the Don Cossack with expensive cigarettes and chocolates. At first he cursed them by all the devils, but afterwards, under the benevolent influence of the staff toadies in officers’ uniforms, he made a remunerative business of it. He told the story of his “exploit,” laying the colours on thick and lying without a twinge of conscience, while the ladies went into raptures and stared admiringly at the pock-marked, brigand face of the Cossack hero.

The Czar visited headquarters, and Kruchkov was taken to be shown to him. The sleepy Emperor looked Kruchkov over as if he were a horse, blinked his heavy eyelids, and slapped the Cossack on the back.

“Good Cossacks lad!” he remarked, and turning to his suite, he asked for some Seltzer water.

Kruchkov’s shaggy head was continually pictured in the newspapers and journals. There was a Kruchkov brand of cigarettes. The merchants of Nizhnii-Novgorod presented him with a gold-mounted firearm.

And what really happened? Men had clashed on the field of death and, embraced by mortal terror, had fought, struck, inflicted blind blows on one another, wounded one another’s horses; then they turned and fled, frightened by a shot which had killed one of their number. They had ridden away mortally mutilated.

And it was called a heroic exploit.

***

After his first battle Grigori Melekhov was tormented by a dreary inward pain. He grew noticeably thin, lost weight, and frequently, whether attacking or resting, sleeping or waking, he saw the features and form of the Austrian whom he had killed by the railings. In his sleep he lived again and again through that first battle and even felt the shuddering convulsion of his right hand clutching the lance. He would wake and drive the dream off violently, shading his painfully screwed-up eyes with his hand.

The cavalry trampled down the ripened grain and left their hoof-prints as though hail had rattled all over Galicia. The soldiers’ heavy boots trampled the roads, scratched the macadam, churned up the August mud. The gloomy face of the earth was pock-marked with shells; fragments of iron and steel tore into it, yearning for human blood. At night ruddy flickerings lit up the horizon: trees, villages, towns were flaming like summer lightning. In August – when fruits ripen and grain is ready for harvest – the wind-swept sky was unsmilingly grey, the rare fine days were oppressive and sultrily steaming.

August declined to its close. The leaves turned an oily yellow in the orchards, and a mournful purple flooded the stalks. From a distance it seemed as though the trees were rent with wounds and streaming with blood.

Grigori studied with interest the changes that occurred in his comrades. Prokhor Zykov returned from hospital with the marks of a horseshoe on his cheek, and pain and bewilderment lurking in the corner of his lips. His calfish eyes blinked more than ever. Yegor Zharkov lost no opportunity of cursing and swearing, was more bawdy than ever, and imprecated everything under the sun. Yemelian Groshev, a serious and efficient Cossack from Grigori’s own village, seemed to char; his face turned dark, and he laughed awkwardly and morosely. Changes were to be observed in every face; each was inwardly nursing and rearing the iron seeds implanted by the war, and the young Cossacks were wilting and drooping like the stalks of mown grass.

***

The detachment was drawn up in the yard. The other Cossacks returned to their bath, being joined soon after by the new arrivals. Grigori dropped down at his brother’s side. The damp, crumbling clay of the dam smelt raw and deathly. He sat killing the bloodless, flaccid lice in the folds and hems of his shirt and told his brother:

“Piotra, I’m dead in spirit. I’m like a man all but killed. As though I’d been between millstones; they’ve crushed me and spat me out.” His voice was complainingly high-pitched, and the furrows (only now, with a feeling of anxiety, did Piotra notice them) darkened and streamed across his forehead.

“Why, what’s the matter?” Piotra asked as he pulled off his shirt, revealing his bare white body with the clean-cut line of sunburn around the neck.

“It’s like this,” Grigori said hurriedly, and his voice grew strong in its bitterness. “They’ve set us fighting one another, but they don’t come themselves. The people have become worse than wolves. Evil all around you. I think to myself that if I were to bite a man he’d go mad.”

“Have you had to – kill someone?”

“Yes,” Grigori almost shouted, screwing up his shirt and throwing it underfoot. Then he sat clutching with his fingers as his throat as though choking with a stranded word and gazed aside.

“Tell me!” Piotra ordered, avoiding his brother’s eyes.

“My conscience is killing me. I sent my lance through one man – in hot blood – I couldn’t have done otherwise…But why did I cut down the other?”

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NATO Chieftain Holds Talks With Libya, Turkey

September 29, 2013 3 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 25, 2013

NATO Secretary General holds talks with Libya, Turkey

The Alliance remains open to help the Libyan government rebuild its security sector, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan during talks on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday (25 September 2013).

The Secretary General also held a separate meeting with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu focused on the situation in the Middle East.

In his meeting with the Libyan Prime Minister, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen noted that Libya has achieved key milestones on its transition to democracy since NATO’s Operation Unified Protector in 2011. He stressed that NATO, which has relevant expertise in security sector reform, is currently examining a request by the Libyan government to assist in security institution building.

The Secretary General also held talks with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. They discussed issues at the top of NATO’s agenda, including the crisis in Syria and NATO’s continued Patriot deployment to help protect Turkey‘s people and territory.

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Interview: UN Resolution On Syria May Allow For Actions Against Supporters Of Rebels

September 29, 2013 1 comment

Voice of Russia
September 29, 2013

UN resolution on Syria may allow for actions against supporters of rebels – Rick Rozoff

Audio
Interview is longer than transcript indicates

The full text of the United Nations Resolution on Syria has been published and thanks to the efforts of the Russian Federation and China is one of the most balanced of such documents in the last century. However there remains the threat of a western attack on Syria. In an interview with the Voice of Russia World Service, regular contributor Rick Rozoff also stated that there exists language in the resolution that could even allow for measures to be taken against an party that provides or supports the Syrian “opposition” with chemical and or other non-conventional weapons.

Hello this is John Robles I am speaking with Rick Rozoff, the owner of Stop NATO and the Stop NATO international mailing list.

Robles: Can you tell us about the United Nations Resolution on Syria? Are there any holes or loops in it that the United States might use to go ahead with a bombing campaign on that country?

Rozoff: I fear there is, indeed. Actually there are two that I can think of immediately. The resolution itself was adopted unanimously by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States – and the current ten rotating members states for the most part – it makes some effort to be balance, better than what, I’m sure, the U.S., Britain and France would have wanted, and that’s because of Russia in the first place. The Russian and Chinese influence, I think, trying to introduce a balanced and moderate resolution…however, it mandates a number of issues, including the monitoring of chemical and other non-conventional weapons inside Syria.

Presumably by all sides, though when it comes to compliance issues and ultimately the use of Chapter 7, as they’re called, measures against the perpetrators of the violations of chemical weapons regulations, only the state could be held accountable. I hardly see how the ragtag and irregular military forces supported by the West could be held accountable. They couldn’t be sanctioned, for example and I don’t know if they could be bombed.

But what’s most alarming is that the penultimate demand in the resolution, number 21, and I’m reading it verbatim, “decides in the event of non-compliance with this resolution including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter” and what’s important to realize in that, there are several articles under Chapter 7, but the operative one and the one that we are most concerned about right now is Article 42, which reads as follows: “Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in the earlier Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, they may take such actions by air, sea and land forces as it may be necessary to maintain and restore international peace and security and these include,” I’m quoting again, “demonstrations, blockade and other operations by air, sea or land forces of members of the United Nations”, in other words, war.

And what we are talking about, of course, most recently is some equivalent of UN Resolution 1973 in March of 2011 that led to, contrary to what the Resolution asserts, a full six-month war by the Pentagon and NATO against the nation of Libya. So, the resolution passed recently does not stipulate Chapter 7 measures, I mean that’s the Russian contribution to have that left out, but at the end it leaves a little bit of room for the West – the United States, Britain, France and their allies – to come back to the Security Council and demand implementation of Chapter 7 military intervention against the government of Syria.

Robles: Right. But that would still require the approval of all the members of the UN Security Council, wouldn’t it?

Rozoff: Actually, it wouldn’t have to be all members. One permanent member alone could veto it, Russia or China.

In theory it would be unanimous but not necessarily. Russia and China could abstain, vote against and then not veto it, and this is what happened with Libya indeed. So either assent or passive assent is guaranteed by voting for or abstaining. Or even voting against and not vetoing.

We’ll see, but even though I think that we can pause for a little while and hope that in contravention of the UN Security Council and the recently passed Resolution 2118, the U.S. will not once again act outside of and in direct contradiction to the United Nations, as it did 14 years ago against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and as it did ten years ago against Iraq and as it has in any number of other cases since the creation of the United Nations.

So, I think, a couple of things: there is still the real threat of a US and allied military action against Syria regardless of this resolution but I think that we can agree that adept Russian diplomatic initiative has put a spoke in the wheel of the Western war machine.

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Erich Maria Remarque: War, mass production of corpses

September 29, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

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Erich Maria Remarque
From A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1954)
Translated by Denver Lindley

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The cemetery lay in the bright sun. Graeber saw that a bomb had hit the gate. A few crosses and granite headstones were strewn over the paths and graves. The weeping willows had been turned upside down; as a result the roots seemed to be branches, and the boughs long, trailing green roots. They looked like some strange growth that had been thrown up, decked with seaweed from a subterranean sea. Most of the bones from the bomb-wrecked graves had been gathered up and heaped in a tidy pile; only small splinters and fragments of decaying coffins hung in the willows. No longer any skulls.

A shed had been put up beside the chapel. An overseer and his two helpers were at work there. The overseer was sweating. When he heard what Graeber wanted he waved him away. “No time, man! Twelve more burials before lunch! Dear God, how should we know whether your parents are here? There are dozens of graves without headstones and without names. This has turned into mass production! How can we know about everybody?”

“Don’t you keep lists?”

“Lists!” the overseer replied bitterly, turning to the two assistants. “Lists he wants to see, did you hear that? Lists! Do you know how many corpses are lying outside? Three hundred. Do you know how many were brought in after the last air raid? Seven hundred. How many after the one before? Five hundred. There were just four days in between. How are we going to catch up with that? We’re not equipped to do it! We need steam shovels instead of gravediggers to handle what’s still lying out there. And can you tell me when the next attack is coming? Tonight? Tomorrow? And he wants to have lists!”

***

They walked down to the city. The streets engulfed them once more, the cold stench of old fires drew about them, and the blank, black windows accompanied them again like a procession of catafalques. Elizabeth shivered. “Once upon a time the houses and the streets were full of light. We were so used to it that we thought nothing of it. Today we’re beginning to understand what we have lost – ”

Graeber looked up. The sky was clear and cloudless. It was a good night for fliers and so for his taste too bright. “They say it’s this way almost everywhere in Europe,” he said. “Only Switzerland is supposed to be still full of light at night. They keep the lights burning there so that fliers will see it’s a neutral country. A man who was in France and Italy with his squadron told me that. He said Switzerland was like an island of light – of light and peace, for one means the other. Beyond it and around it as though covered by endless funeral palls lie the dark countries, Germany, France, Italy, the Balkans, Austria, and the rest that are at war.”

“Light was given to us and it made human beings of us,” Elizabeth said vehemently. “But we have murdered it and become cave men again.”

Did it make human beings of us? Graeber wondered. That seemed to him exaggerated. But maybe Elizabeth was right. Animals had no light. No light and no fire. And no bombs.

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Obama Deserves Nobel War Prize: Bolivian President

September 28, 2013 1 comment

Voice of Russia
September 28, 2013

Obama deserves Nobel War Prize – Bolivian President

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President Evo Morales of Bolivia has deplored the fact that the Nobel Committee made an error when awarding the US President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, insisting that the award should have been different, namely the Nobel War Prize, according to the Latin American media reports on Friday.

Morales said this in a statement in Caracas, where he’d arrived to meet another vociferous critic of the US policy, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

Morales arrived in Caracas straight from New York in the wake of his attendance of the UN General Assembly session.

According to the Bolivian leader, the number of wars around the world has been growing since Obama came to power, armed conflicts continued specifically in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the last but not least, in Syria.

Morales claims Obama feels he has the right to invade any country boasting mineral resources without seeking any UN approval first.

According to the Bolivian President, the situation prompts (us) to consider the need for setting up an international tribunal of nations that would have the authority to try anyone, including the US President.

Morales also said he would contact some Nobel Peace Prize winners and human rights organizations to start work on the proposal. He said that someone should be able to stop Obama and that things shouldn’t be left as they are now.

On Thursday, the Bolivian leader also called for holding working meetings in the UN framework in neutral countries, since he believes that the world leaders who adhere to anti-imperialist positions do not feel safe in New York.

According to Morales, these kinds of meetings should be held on a rotating basis, alternately in Switzerland, Austria and Brazil.

Voice of Russia, RIA

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Alberto Moravia: Torn colored posters inciting people to war

September 28, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Italian writers on war and militarism

Alberto Moravia: Selections on war

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Alberto Moravia
From Two Women (1958)
Translated by Angus Davidson

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All this time the war was going on, but I paid no attention to it and when, after the light music on the radio, they read the communiqué I used to say to Rosetta: “Turn it off, turn that radio off. Let the bastards cut each other’s throats as much as they like but I don’t want to hear about it. What does their war matter to us? They started it among themselves without asking the opinion of the poor people who have to go and get mixed up in it, and so we, who are the poor people, are justified in taking no notice of it.”

***

Rosetta also made me read her fianceé’s last letter, and I remember one sentence particularly: “We’re leading a really hard life here. These Slavs don’t want to give in to us and we’re always in a state of alarm.” I didn’t know anything about Yugoslavia, however I said to Rosetta: “What on earth are we doing in that country? Couldn’t we stay in our own homes? Those people don’t want to give in to us and they’re perfectly right, I tell you, they’re perfectly right.”

***

I felt sorry for Rosetta because I knew she was suffering, and I said: “My blessed child, once this bad moment is past, everything will be all right, you’ll see it will. The war will come to an end, we shall have plenty of everything again, and you’ll get married and be with your husband, and then you’ll be happy.” Just at that moment, as though answering me back, came the sound of the air raid warning, that accursed noise which seemed to me to bring ill luck and made my heart sink every time I heard it. Then a rage came over me and I opened the window facing the courtyard and raised my fist toward the sky and shouted: “May you come to a bad end, and the people who sent you too, and the ones who asked you to come!”

***

“But, for us to be able to come home, which is it which ought to win – the Germans or the English?” I was put out by this question, because, as I have said, I never read the papers and, into the bargain, had never taken any interest in knowing how the war was going. “I don’t know what plans they’ve got,” I said; “all I know is that they’re bastards, the whole lot of them, both English and Germans, and that they make these wars without consulting unfortunate poeple like us…”

***

All the streets were empty, and the grey air at the far end of each of them looked like steam from the washing when the clothes are very dirty. On the ground the early morning dampness made the paving stones shine so that they were like iron. There were only dogs to be seen: I saw five or six of them, ugly, starved-looking and dirty, sniffing at corners of houses and then pissing against walls from which hung torn colored posters inciting people to war.

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Polish President First Head Of State To Visit U.S. NATO Headquarters

September 27, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

September 27, 2013

ACT Hosts Historic Visit by Polish President

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Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros welcomed the Polish President, Bronisław Komorowski, at his headquarters (HQ) in Norfolk, Virginia, September 26th.

While several Ministers of Defence from different NATO nations have visited HQ SACT, President Komorowski is the first Head of State to visit the HQ since its creation in 2003.

During his welcome speech, General Paloméros praised Poland for its support to the Alliance: “NATO is very fortunate indeed to have among its members a free Poland, whose soldiers champion superbly the solidarity that is the soul of the Washington Treaty. Your country has paid a heavy price in blood for our Alliance in Afghanistan, particularly in the Ghanzi province where you continue to play a prominent role in training Afghan forces. Poland is also a great supporter of NATO’s Transformation.”

President Komorowski confirmed the Polish commitments to the Alliance today and for the future. “Our contribution to the Alliance is not only in the form of our needs and expectations, but also in the form of our assets and capabilities. We are also strengthening the Alliance by the modernisation of the Polish armed forces which are contributing to the future of NATO, NATO today and in the post Afghan era,” said the president during his speech.

Since its entry into NATO in 1999, Poland has been a strong supporter of the Alliance’s efforts, maintaining a high level of interactions on both strategic and working levels. Poland currently hosts the NATO Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC), located in Bydgoszcz. “We know that this enduring effort will be a great help to NATO to capitalise on two decades of operations, to support its contingency posture, and to fulfil its key missions of collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security,” said General Paloméros.

Poland also sponsors several Centres of Excellence (COEs) and is at the final stage of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Military Police COE that is hosted in Bydgoszcz along with the JFTC.

Poland will support the forthcoming Steadfast Jazz 2013 exercise in collaboration with Latvia. “We attach great significance not only to our actions and solidarity in Afghanistan, but also in the performance of the exercise that is important not only for Poland but also for other countries of central Europe, namely Steadfast Jazz,” said President Komorowski.

After the welcome ceremony, the president had an office call with General Paloméros and the Deputy SACT, Italian Air Force General Mirco Zuliani. President Komorowski was given an update on NATO transformation, SACT’s priorities and the challenges that await NATO nations in a post-Afghanistan era; “Future NATO” and the “Transatlantic Bond” were the central themes of the discussions, with ACT’s leadership.

Following his meeting with SACT, the president met with HQ SACT’s Polish staff members, thanking them for their support.

In the President’s delegation were also the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Radosław Sikorski, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to NATO, Ambassador Jacek Najder, and the Secretary of State, Head of the National Security Bureau, Professor Stanislaw Koziej.

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NATO Expansion: U.S. Trains Polish Air Force Against Russia

September 27, 2013 2 comments

U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa
September 27, 2013

Poland’s top enlisted airman tours PME facilities
By Master Sgt. Norris Agnew
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

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One of 48 F-16 Fighting Falcons sold to Poland by the United States under a contract signed in 2003

KAPAUN AIR STATION, Germany: Poland’s air force senior enlisted leader is partnering with U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa officials to strengthen his service’s operational capacity. But his efforts are focused on a more foundational level of airpower – enlisted professional military education.

Warrant Officer 1st Class Krzysztof Gadowski, the top enlisted advisor for the Polish air force, visited the Ramstein First Term Airman’s Center, Kisling NCO Academy, and the Airman Leadership School Sept. 17-19. The trip included an overview of the academic curriculum, multiple sessions of observing instructors interact with students, and one-on-one discussions with the enlisted leaders of both PME facilities.

Partnership-building activities between USAFE-AFAFRICA and the Polish air force aren’t new. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the two have shared a strong alliance. For proof, look no further than the establishment of a U.S. aviation detachment at Lask Air Base, Poland, in 2012; recurring air exercises such as Screaming Eagle and Brilliant Ardent that seek to improve the interoperability of the two air forces; and the 2010 agreement made between the 86th Airlift Wing here, and the 3rd Airlift Wing at Powidz Air Base, Poland, to become sister wings.

Now that the air operational side of this relationship appears solid, Gadowski is attempting to glean best practices from USAFE-AFAFRICA’s professional military education programs.

“It’s nice to see the U.S. Air Force system myself, especially the education system for NCOs,” said Gadowski. “I hope that some parts of this system I will be able to adopt for our NCO education system.”

(USAFE-AFAFRICA) Airmen have great combat experience,” he said. “As a NATO member, Polish airmen have to achieve the same standard, so we have to learn from our (USAFE-AFAFRICA) partners.

“For many years, we have been working to adopt our NCO system to yours, so that we can make our NCO corps stronger,” he continued.

Poland is a priority nation in terms of the Air Force’s Building Partnership Capacity initiative, a core function of airpower doctrine.

“This is basically a continuation of our strong partnership with Poland’s air force that started about three years ago,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Moore, NCOA commandant. “Our two air forces are already partnering on a more operational level, but from a leadership and management capacity, this is how we are helping them professionalize their NCO corps.

“This is really important, because when we deploy together we can interoperate and take care of the mission,” Moore said. “In my opinion, all of that starts with enlisted force development.”

Throughout the three-day visit, Gadowski was invited into different classrooms to observe actual academic instruction, allowing him to gauge the interaction between instructor and students that serves as the foundation of PME training.

“The Polish air force has many years of tradition,” said Gadowski. “Tradition is not easy to change. But what I see here with the education system would be a good change for our air force.”

Adopting a more cutting-edge approach to airpower is a daunting task for any leader, especially when it involves developing and empowering an entire enlisted corps.

For that reason, Poland’s top airman doesn’t mind going back to the classroom, especially if the lessons learned are exactly what he needs to take his air force to the next level.

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Erich Maria Remarque: The front begins and we become on the instant human animals

September 27, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

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Erich Maria Remarque
From All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)
Translated by A.W. Wheen

Erich Maria Remarque

To me the front is a mysterious whirlpool. Though I am in still water far away from its centre, I feel the whirl of the vortex sucking me slowly, irresistibly, inescapably into itself.

From the earth, from the air, sustaining forces pour into us – mostly from the earth. To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence and her security; she shelters him and releases him for ten seconds to live, to run, ten seconds of life; receives him again and often for ever.

Earth!-Earth!-Earth!

Earth with thy folds, and hollows, and holes, into which a man may fling himself and crouch down. In the spasm of terror, under the hailing of annihilation, in the bellowing death of the explosions, O Earth, thou grantest us the great resisting surge of new-won life. Our being, almost utterly carried away by the fury of the storm, streams back through our hands from thee, and we, thy redeemed ones, bury ourselves in thee, and through the long minutes in a mute agony of hope bite into thee with our lips!

At the sound of the first droning of the shells we rush back, in one part of our being, a thousand
years. By the animal instinct that is awakened in us we are led and protected. It is not conscious; it is far quicker, much more sure, less fallible, than consciousness. One cannot explain it. A man is
walking along without thought or heed; – suddenly he throws himself down on the ground and a storm of fragments flies harmlessly over him; – yet he cannot remember either to have heard the shell coming or to have thought of flinging himself down. But had he not abandoned himself to the impulse he would now be a heap of mangled flesh. It is this other, this second sight in us, that has thrown us to the ground and saved us, without our knowing how. If it were not so, there would notice one man alive from Flanders to the Vosges.

We march up, moody or good-tempered soldiers – we reach the zone where the front begins and
become on the instant human animals.

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NATO Plans To Repeat Libyan Scenario In Syria: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister

September 26, 2013 2 comments

Itar-Tass
September 26, 2013

Ryabkov: NATO seeks to repeat Libyan scenario in Syria

NIZHNY TAGIL: NATO seeks to repeat the Libyan scenario in Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at an expert meeting within the exhibition Russian Arms EXPO-2013 in the Ural city on Thursday.

“By their actions the NATO member-countries violate the rules, which the U.N. Security Council had set. Thus, they seek to repeat the Libyan scenario in Syria,” the diplomat noted. He noted that Russia opposes such actions on the international scene.

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
September 26, 2013

Russia Says Sarin Gas in Aug. 21 Syria Attack Was ‘Homemade’

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with a US newspaper published Thursday that homemade sarin nerve agent was used in a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on August 21, an attack that the United States maintains was carried out by the Syrian regime.

Lavrov gave an interview to The Washington Post on Tuesday after a meeting with his US counterpart John Kerry. Lavrov said he had used the meeting to hand over evidence proving Russia’s contention that chemical weapons were used by Syrian rebel groups in the controversial August 21 attack.

Russia investigated the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian city of Aleppo on March 19 after a request from the Syrian government, Lavrov said, adding that its findings have been “broadly” made available to the United Nations Security Council and the public, The Washington Post reported.

“The main conclusion is that the type of sarin used in that incident [on March 19] was homemade, and we also have evidence that the type of sarin used on August 21 was the same, only of higher concentration,” Lavrov said, according to The Washington Post.

The United States, as well as Britain and France, said last week that a UN report into the use of chemical weapons on August 21 in Damascus confirmed their contentions that it was the work of the Syrian regime, Reuters reported.

The UN investigation – which did not have a mandate to determine which side was responsible – said that sarin gas was delivered via surface-to-surface rockets during the attack on August 21, which also coincide with meteorological conditions that maximized the spread of the gas, according to Reuters.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on September 18 that the UN investigation was carried out in the absence of a full understanding of the situation in Syria, and described its conclusions as “politicized, biased and unilateral.”

Lavrov told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the evidence he had presented to Kerry to support Russia’s case that chemical weapons were used by rebel groups on August 21 was “available on the Internet,” and that it included reports from journalists who were told by combatants that “they were given some unusual rockets and ammunition by some foreign country and they didn’t know how to use them.”

The United States claims that 1,400 people, including over 400 children, were killed in the August 21 attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, and has used the incident in an attempt to rally international and domestic support for a military strike on Syria.

The use of force against Syria by members of the international community has been put on hold in recent weeks after Russia and the US reached agreement on September 14 on a plan to put all of Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, and then destroy or remove them from the war-torn country by the middle of 2014.

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Interfax-Military
September 26, 2013

Moscow expects new report of UN experts on chemical weapons in Syria to be comprehensive – Russian Foreign Ministry

NIZHNY TAGIL: Russia supports sending a new group of UN chemical weapons experts to Syria and hopes that the report they prepare will be objective, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

“We think that this decision is correct. And the report, which will be prepared, should be comprehensive and should not contain any hastily-made or one-sided conclusions, which the initial material given to UN Under-Secretary General Angela Kane contains,” Ryabkov said at a round table on weapons export issues.

The group of UN experts arrived in Damascus on September 25 in order to investigate all cases of chemical weapons use in Syria, Ryabkov said.

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World’s Largest: Pentagon Completes 38-Nation European Communications, Interoperability Exercise

September 26, 2013 Leave a comment

United States European Command
September 25, 2913

MWCS-28 make their mark at Combined Endeavor 2013
Mass Communication Specialist Chief Petty Officer Jim Bane, Combined Endeavor Public Affairs

U.S. ARMY GARRISON, GRAFENWOEHR: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ryan Zabriskie was completing his training in Twentynine Palms, Calif., when he learned he was supporting a fleet activity – in Germany.

“Someone tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘you need to report for a briefing on Combined Endeavor,’ which I had never heard of,” said Zabriskie.

Combined Endeavor 2013 (CE13) is the world’s largest communications and interoperability exercise, with 38 nations providing equipment and personnel to build, operate, maintain and defend a coalition network.

MWCS-28 was tasked with providing communications services including chat and web port interoperability that would allow all the nations and organizations participating in CE13 to communicate.

“Adapting to the way everything operates in a joint environment was the real challenge,” said Wallace. “We had no problem doing everything our way, but that’s not how it works in this (CE 13) environment. What we had to do was simulate a regimental level command operations center over a large number of multinational battalions.”

Monty Martinez, of the Computer Science Corporation Center of the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA) is part of a support group that travels with the Marines.

“MCTSSA fields a team of technical experts to support operations and exercises,” said Martinez. MCTSSA is made up of active duty Marines, government contractors and civilians. All of the MCTSSA staff is experienced in CE13 field operations.

“We are here to provide engineering, field operating procedure and help desk support to these guys,” said Martinez. “We are able to advise on gear rooming, verifying software baseline compatibility, and we also ran these guys through putting this whole thing together several times.”

Combined Endeavor is an annual U.S. European Command-sponsored event that runs from Sept. 13-26, 2013.

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Alfred de Musset: “No, none of these things, but simply peace.”

September 26, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Alfred de Musset
From The Confession of a Child of the Century (1836)
Translated by Kendall Warren

220px-Alfred_de_musset

During the wars of the Empire, while husbands and brothers were in Germany, anxious mothers gave birth to an ardent, pale, and neurotic generation. Conceived between battles, reared amid the noises of war, thousands of children looked about them with dull eyes while testing their limp muscles. From time to time their blood-stained fathers would appear, raise them to their gold-laced bosoms, then place them on the ground and remount their horses.

The life of Europe centred in one man; men tried to fill their lungs with the air which he had breathed. Yearly France presented that man with three hundred thousand of her youth; it was the tax to Caesar; without that troop behind him, he could not follow his fortune. It was the escort he needed that he might scour the world, and then fall in a little valley on a deserted island, under weeping willows.

Never had there been so many sleepless nights as in the time of that man; never had there been seen, hanging over the ramparts of the cities, such a nation of desolate mothers; never was there such a silence about those who spoke of death…

***

[Death] borrowed the color of hope, it reaped so many immature harvests that it became young, and there was no more old age. All the cradles of France, as indeed all its tombs, were armed with bucklers; there were no more graybeards, there were only corpses or demi-gods.

Nevertheless the immortal Emperor stood one day on a hill watching seven nations engaged in mutual slaughter, not knowing whether he would be master of all the world or only half. Azrael passed, touched the warrior with the tip of his wing, and hurled him into the ocean. At the noise of his fall, the dying Powers sat up in their beds of pain; and stealthily advancing with furtive tread, the royal spiders made partition of Europe, and the purple of Caesar became the motley of Harlequin.

***

Something in that word liberty made their hearts beat with the memory of a terrible past and the hope of a glorious future.

They trembled at the word; but returning to their homes they encountered in the street three coffins which were being borne to Clamart; within were three young men who had pronounced that word liberty too distinctly.

A strange smile hovered on their lips at that sad sight; but other speakers, mounted on the rostrum, began publicly to estimate what ambition had cost and how very dear was glory; they pointed out the horror of war and called the battle-losses butcheries. They spoke so often and so long that all human illusions, like the trees in autumn, fell leaf by leaf about them, and those who listened passed their hands over their foreheads as if awakening from a feverish dream.

Some said: “The Emperor has fallen because the people wished no more of him;” others added: “The people wished the king; no, liberty; no, reason; no, religion; no, the English constitution; no, absolutism;” and the last one said: “No, none of these things, but simply peace.”

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Latvia: NATO Plans Baltic War Games With Members, Partners

September 25, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations/Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

September 25, 2013

Steadfast Pinnacle 13: The journey continues
Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

The second instalment of the two-week long Steadfast Pyramid & Pinnacle Exercise continued this week in Riga, Latvia. The candidates, a variety of Senior Leaders arriving from the NATO command Structure, NATO Force Structure and partner nations will make maximum use of the planning achieved during Exercise Pyramid. The aim is to allow the participants to hone their skills as commanders at the Operational/Strategic level.

In his welcoming remarks Mr Veiko Spolitis, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Latvia, emphasized the importance of Steadfast Pinnacle 13, in that it not only shows a clear example that NATO is in the Baltics, but also underlines Latvia’s commitment to supporting NATO. “Latvia will keep its promises while slightly increasing the defence expenditures next year to reach the 2 % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020”. “NATO, the strongest ally of democracy, builds trust among the nations”, he stated. “The one will survive who will transform”, he quoted from a famous Latvian poem, Rainis, since “we have to transform ourselves in the direction of new security challenges, such as asymmetric and cyber threats”.

General Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), thanked Latvia for hosting this event for the third time. He also welcomed the partner nations’ (Australia, Austria, Finland and Sweden) who he believes “add further political strength to the 28-nation Alliance”.

“Key leader training remains a strategic goal for NATO”, he stated. Civilian expertise is a key ingredient of the comprehensive approach and he was happy that so many IO’s and NGO’s were represented. The Comprehensive Operational Planning Guidance, the tool-box given to commanders, is only a tool box and using “refreshed operational knowledge should allow best practices to be developed over the coming week.

Prior to being split into 3 syndicates, the participants were given a series of lectures on a broad spectrum of topics such as Crisis Management Processes in NATO, Knowledge Development and the Commander’s Perspective.

The exercise is scheduled to finish on 27 September 2013.

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NATO Begins War Games Preparation In Latvia

September 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Sargs.lv
September 23, 2013

Preparation for NRF exercise „Steadfast Jazz 2013” has begun in Adazi

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An active preparation for the upcoming NATO Response force (NRF) exercise „Steadfast Jazz 2013” has begun in Adazi Base in Latvia. During the exercise Adazi Base will be the main deployed NRF Headquarters location, hosting hundreds of exercise participants from Joint Force Command Brunssum and other military staffs.

Since mid-September the building of the camp which will be used as the exercise HQ area is carried out.
NATO Support Agency (NSPA) who is responsible for the creation of the camp is planning to build up 50 tents covering the area of 3,900 m2. The tents will host 500 exercise participants and will be used as the office space, meeting rooms and for other HQ needs.

All the tents will be equipped with electricity and heating, which is especially important taking into account the weather conditions in November in Latvia.

80 containers in total were necessary to transport all the equipment for creation of such a camp in Adazi, using both land and sea transport.

The building is done by 40 soldiers of Staff Battalion of the Latvian National Armed Forces under the command of NSPA instructors.

„We are very pleased with the progress of the building so far. Latvian soldiers are working very quickly. We are ahead of schedule and it seems that we will finish the building of tents a week earlier than planned”, says John Williams, Deployable Team Chief of NSPA. The weather conditions have also helped a lot, as the builders so far have experienced only few rainy days.

NSPA is building such deployable HQ space once a year and similar camps have been created also for the previous NRF exercises „Steadfast Juncture”. NSPA will provide also the maintenance of the camp during the exercise in November.

After the building of the tents are finished and the electricity and heating is set up, the work on installation of communication and information systems (CIS) will start. It also means that the new cargos with CIS equipment are expected to arrive in Adazi in coming weeks.

NATO and partner nations will conduct exercise “Steadfast Jazz 2013” in Latvia and in Poland from 2 – 9 November 2013 which is designed to train and test NRF. The event involves about 6,000 personnel from many Allied and partner nations. A command and control exercise will be conducted at the Adazi Base, Latvia and several other headquarters locations across the Alliance. In addition, the multinational troops will be involved in the live exercise in Poland’s Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area. At the conclusion of the exercise, the headquarters staff from Joint Force Command Brunssum will be officially certified to lead NATO joint operations in 2014.

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Global NATO Continues Integration Of Ukraine

September 25, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 24, 2013

NATO Secretary General takes part in United Nations General Assembly, discusses partnerships

The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen attended the start of the 68th ministerial session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Tuesday (24 September 2013). He also joined other world leaders in a lunch hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Continuing a series of bilateral meetings on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary General met the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. Mr. Fogh Rasmussen expressed his appreciation for the positive momentum in NATO-Ukraine cooperation. With the deployment of a frigate to NATO’s counter-piracy mission Ocean Shield, Ukraine contributes to all NATO-led operations, as well as to the NATO Response Force. At the same time, NATO provides significant support to Ukraine’s defence reforms through military training and education, trust funds on the destruction of excess munitions, the disposal of radioactive material, and the retraining of retired servicemen. The Secretary General reiterated that NATO Allies support Ukraine’s decision to conclude an association agreement with the EU and continue to follow closely the country’s progress on democratic reforms, including on selective justice.

The NATO Secretary General also met the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Stressing the importance of the recent constructive discussion on Syria in the NATO-Russia Council, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen spoke of the need to ensure the swift, secure and verifiable elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons stocks, and full Syrian compliance with the US-Russian framework agreement.

The Secretary General praised NATO-Russia practical cooperation in areas such as Afghanistan, counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism, and looked forward to a robust work programme in 2014. He also discussed with Minister Lavrov reciprocal transparency regarding military exercises, including Russia’s ongoing Zapad 2013 and NATO’s forthcoming Steadfast Jazz.

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NATO Chief Backs U.S. Threat of Force Against Syria

September 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Voice of America
September 24, 2013

NATO Chief Backs US Threat of Force Against Syria

STATE DEPARTMENT: NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the United States should keep up its threat of military action against Syria so as to push forward a deal to end Syria’s chemical weapons program.

Rasmussen says it was the threat of a U.S. missile strike that forced Syria into agreeing on a framework to destroy its chemical weapons, so there is no reason to remove that threat.

“The military option should stay on the table because it will facilitate continued momentum in that political process,” he said.

In an interview with VOA at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, Rasmussen called for strong Security Council action to enforce the plan to eliminate or remove 1,000 metric tons of Syrian chemical weapons by the middle of next year.

“Now I urge the Security Council to adopt a firm and binding resolution that can create the framework for a swift, secure, and verifiable elimination of all chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

Russia is resisting U.S., French, and British efforts to include language in a resolution imposing consequences on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he fails to comply with the chemical weapons deal. Consequences under a Chapter Seven U.N. resolution could be sanctions or force.

NATO has air defense missiles in Turkey…

On Afghanistan, Rasmussen says he is confident that next year’s presidential election can take place in a secure environment ahead of the withdrawal of NATO forces by the end of 2014.

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Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

September 25, 2013 Leave a comment

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

goddard-remarque-ascona-61_opt

Erich Maria Remarque: After the war: The day of great dreams for the future of mankind was past

Erich Maria Remarque: All learning, all culture, all science is nothing but hideous mockery so long as mankind makes war

Erich Maria Remarque: The front begins and we become on the instant human animals

Erich Maria Remarque: It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation

Erich Maria Remarque: Like a dove, a lonely white dove of assurance and peace

Erich Maria Remarque: Now, for the first time, I feel it; I see it; I comprehend it fully: Peace.

Erich Maria Remarque: On every yard there lies a dead man

Erich Maria Remarque: Peace?

Erich Maria Remarque: Their fighting and their dying have been coupled with murder and injustice and lies and might; they have been defrauded

Erich Maria Remarque: War dreams

Erich Maria Remarque: The war has ruined us for everything

Erich Maria Remarque: War, mass production of corpses

Erich Maria Remarque: War turns us into thugs, into murderers, into God only knows what devils

Erich Maria Remarque: A war veteran’s indictment

Erich Maria Remarque: War was everywhere. Everywhere, even in the brain and the heart.

Erich Maria Remarque: War’s conqueror worms

Erich Maria Remarque: We want to be men again, not war machines!

Erich Maria Remarque: We were making war against ourselves without knowing it

Erich Maria Remarque: What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when the war is over?

Erich Maria Remarque: With the melting came the dead

Erich Maria Remarque: Worse than a slaughterhouse

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Scandinavia: U.S., British Air Forces Break In NATO Candidates

September 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Nordic Defence Cooperation

Arctic Challenge exercise will see dozens of fighters in the northern sky

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The air exercise is part of the Cross Border operations between Finland, Sweden and Norway expanding over the national boundaries. The goal is to enhance Nordic cooperation in the field of defence under NORDEFCO and develop capabilities for combined operations. Aircraft from Great Britain and the United States (US) will be also involved in the exercise.

The Finnish Air Force (FINAF) will participate in the international Arctic Challenge 2013 exercise 11 to 27 September with about ten F/A-18 Hornet fighters. The air exercise is considered one of the major training events this year for the FINAF, and it involves units from Sweden, Norway, Great Britain and the US. A total of some 80 aircraft will fly in the exercise.

The exercise has been planned and will be directed and carried out in cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway. The United States and Great Britain will act in the roles of training partners.

Flight activity takes place in the airspace of Finland, Sweden and Norway 16 to 20 September and 23 to 26 September from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. Aircraft mainly operate over Northern Sweden but they also fly over the Gulf of Bothnia and in the airspace of Finland and Sweden. In addition, air activity can be observed in the extreme northwest of Finland and in the vicinity of Bodø in Norway.

The exercise bases are located in Rovaniemi in Finland, Kallax in Sweden and Bodø and Ørland in Norway. The Swedish detachment will be deployed to Rovaniemi base whereas part of the FINAF F/A-18 Hornet fleet will fly from Bodø. Oulu airport in Oulunsalo is the alternate operating base.

The exercise is performed under the direction of Commander of Norrbotten Wing 21 of the Swedish Air Force. The FINAF flight detachment is led by Lapland Air Command Commander Colonel Harri Leppälaakso.

Cost-effective and diversified training

The aim is to improve air defence capability incorporated with Nordic cooperation in the field of defence under NORDEFCO. Combined operations provide a cost-effective and high-quality opportunity to the fighter pilots of participating countries to develop national capabilities, tactical know-how and various forms of cooperation. One of the objectives is also to train service personnel for command and control, aircraft maintenance and ground support duties in combined operations.

The exercise also enables the FINAF to develop and and test the Mid-Life Upgrade 2 (MLU2) capabilities of the F/A-18, like Link 16 data link and the different aspects of air-to-surface operations.

In addition to Finland’s ten F/A-18s, Norway will assign to the exercise ten F-16 fighters and Sweden twenty-two JAS 39 Gripens. The hosting nations will be joined by the US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) with nearly thirty F-15 fighters and one to two air refuelling tankers. The British detachment will include six Eurofighter Typhoons. The NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft will be involved in the exercise, too.

For further information:
Finnish Air Force Public Affairs Section Tel. +358299291136

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http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/467157/airmen-test-skills-in-first-arctic-challenge.aspx

U.S. Air Force
September 19, 2013

Airmen test skills in first ‘Arctic Challenge’
By 1st Lt. Christopher Mesnard, 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

ØRLAND, Norway: The first Exercise Arctic Challenge, which includes more than 60 aircraft from five partner nations, here began Sept. 16.

Norwegian F-16 Fighting Falcons, Swedish JAS-39 Gripens, Finnish F/A-18 Hornets and U.K. Eurofighter Typhoons took to the skies with U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, F-15C Eagles and KC-135 Stratotankers to train in a combined environment. They incorporated both strategic planning and tactical war fighting simulations, practicing in-flight maneuvers and communication strategies with each other.

Two NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft also joined in to provided aerial combat command for the dueling aircraft further simulating a real combat scenario.

“(Our) air force has, in periods, had the need to train at bigger scenarios with more aircraft, and this is difficult in Norway, with only our own planes at (our)disposal,” said Col. Baid Solheim, Main Air Station Bodø base commander. “Before the cross border training we had to deploy to foreign, far away countries to fly against other types of aircraft, [now] we fly directly from Bodø. In this way it’s very efficient in costs.”

The Arctic Challenge exercise focused on bringing the Scandinavian nations, the U.S. and the U.K. together in the air, to challenge pilots to react quickly and work together to achieve common goals. During times of maximum participation, more than 60 aircraft are expected to partake in the war-fighting scenarios.

“During this exercise, we will face almost every scenario that could be seen in any war or conflict,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Rich Stringer, 494th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations and lead project officer for the 48th Fighter Wing’s participation in the exercise. The different aircraft will take turns as the aggressors and will be tested on how they can respond to a variety of scenarios, according to Stringer.

The purpose of this exercise is to train air forces to operate cohesively. Arctic Challenge, in particular, allows multiple nations to perform aerial operations simultaneously; give critical feedback on how to improve processes; and become a more efficient and effective force – especially in a multi-national environment.

“These exercises provide the U.S. and NATO forces an opportunity to integrate their operations at both the tactical and strategic levels with a high level of fidelity that could not otherwise be achieved without live-fly exercises,” said Capt. Timothy Gerne, 100th Operations Support Squadron chief of wing weapons and tactics and director of operations for the 100th Air Refueling Wing portion of the exercise. “Similar to a Red Flag exercise in mission sets, large force numbers and multinational integration, the benefits of hosting locally allows us and our allies to focus resources toward operations.”

In addition to flying with allies, Airmen on MAS Bodø and MAS Ørland combined the exercise with a simulated deployment. The movement tested many assets in U.S. Air Forces in Europe including air lift, medical, legal and financial services.

“This exercise improves the readiness of everyone because of the variety of scenarios and the high level of skill that we are flying with and against,” said Stringer. “The Finns, Swedes, British, and Norwegians are all very skilled aviators and have very competent forces.”

The Arctic Challenge exercise is scheduled to continue until Sept. 26, before culminating in a final scenario which tests the pilots on their ability to operate in a diverse force.

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Interview: U.S. Behaving Like An Insane Power

September 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
September 24, 2013

The US is an insane power like the Nazis – Dr. Edward Herman

The US is behaving like an insane power, like the threat of the Nazis back in the 1930s and 40s. It’s out of control, and it’s engaging in war after war, violating international law and considers itself to be above the law. It is also the richest country in the world but it’s having trouble feeding its own citizens while preparing for yet another war. Dr. Edward Herman told in an interview with the Voice of Russia that it is time for the international community to rise up and bring the US under control.

Hello. This is John Robles. I’m speaking with Dr. Edward Herman. He is a Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of several books namely “Manufacturing Consent” which he wrote with Noam Chomsky and “The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context and Politics.” My next question is: isn’t the US financially “stressed out” maybe if you would put it… to engage in yet another war? Is this financially viable for the US or maybe a move to actually save the economy?

For those of us that are critical of US policy, of the situation with respect to the use of resources, it’s amazing! The United States is in a financial crisis. It’s cutting back on all kinds of public expenditures, on Food Stamps, it’s cutting back on its schools and it’s really stripped for resources, and here it’s about to go into another war which is going to be extremely costly.

So we’re dealing with a country that is kind of a little “crazy.” It has unlimited resources for its military policies and its wars abroad but it’s struggling to provide for its own citizens. It’s amazing! This may be a good part why the public is against this war. The public is troubled, it’s getting very poor support from its government. And yet this government is preparing for another war of choice! It’s really quite amazing.

A lot of people in the United States seem to be, right now, afraid of losing food. Is the situation that bad in the United States?

Yeah! Republicans are certainly planning on cutting back Food Stamps. Food insecurity has increased greatly there are a lot of people in distress and a lot of people are really worried. So this is a remarkable situation: the richest country in the world, the richest country in history but it’s having trouble feeding its own people while it’s preparing for another war.

So this is a real serious problem in the United States right now? And people are truly afraid of running out of food or not being able to obtain or buy food? Right?

Yeah, it is a serious problem but the high-level people don’t seem to recognize it. There’s Obama and his “crew” spending a lot of their time now organizing forces to justify another war, and meanwhile his base constituency is struggling. It’s lunacy. A lot of people consider that this is a country that is out of control. It’s kind of a lunatic asylum.
I see. Now. What drives the US government at this point into threatening yet another war? What are the real motivations behind this?

I think that there are a couple of things that are involved. One is the military forces in the United States, the military industrial complex is immensely powerful. Eisenhower warned about it back in 1960, that the military complex was getting out of control, it’s much more powerful now.

The United States has become a permanent war system and I read in a paper just the other day that the companies that are supplying cruise missiles and the rest, their stock prices are rising, Raytheon, Lockheed, they are doing very well.

So you’ve got the military industrial complex and all its affiliates pressing for war. You also have the pro-Israel lobby, the AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee). The Israelis have been very influential on US policy, Syria is their enemy, Iran is their enemy, Iraq was their enemy, so they are pressing for a military operation and they have great in influence in Washington.

The United States is kind of “running wild”, globally you read about the fact that Obama says, and others say: “We have to maintain our credibility,” which can allow them to do these things and get away with them.

What about our credibility? Well, whose credibility? The American people? The United States? It’s the credibility of the imperial power. It is trying to dominate, really trying to dominate the world and it can’t stand setbacks.

Once Obama stuck his neck out and said we must stop these “bad guys,” we can’t back down. So there’s really a multiplicity of forces here but we are now in a permanent war system and the forces that support that permanent war system: the military industrial complex and the pro-Israel lobby, they are running wild here. The media follow along.
Intelligent, educated, informed people all over the world would equate credibility with following the rule of law. The world knows that an attack on Syria is a Crime Against Peace, there is no justification for it. So the hypocrisy of Obama saying: “Well we said we’re going to bomb…” and that (If we don’t) damages our credibility, I mean that could only possibly play to the internal US audience.

I think the American leaders think that they have to show foreigners that we mean business, that if we give orders and we say we are going to do something, we are going to follow through otherwise they won’t obey us.

So the claim is, draw a “Red Line” for Syria, and don’t follow through if it crosses the Red Line then Iran will take notice and it won’t follow orders either. I think the “credibility” applies to the little countries that we are trying to keep in line.
I would say 99% of the countries (other than a couple and we know who they are) are attempting to follow international law in implementing their economic policies and their interstate relationships, and to see this big bully come in and say: “We are going to kill you and we are going to do whatever we want.” A lot of people, a lot of states, a lot of countries, and this should be something that the US leadership really listens to: people are getting tired of it.

I think you have a point there. A lot of foreigners are really quite upset at the United States threatening Syria, and actually I am just hoping… I mean that’s part of the reason why the British Parliament voted down going along, that was an amazing vote that the British Parliament wouldn’t go along with Obama’s policies even our close European… other European allies, and the Canadians are not rushing in to back Obama. And that’s probably much more true of the general population.

Usually we get the leaders to go along and peoples of the world are not so enthused, but now even the leaders of the rest of the world are dragging their feet and Pope has made a powerful statement about the rule of law and even Ban Ki-Moon, who is usually a puppet of the United States, even he is dragging his feet and calling for the rule of law.
So there is a reaction in the world, and let’s hope that it will constrain (make a difference) the trouble is in the United States the pro-war forces are extremely strong and the political parties too, the war-faction is important. Even in the United States there is a public reaction the public doesn’t want to go to war. It’s possible that it will affect the Obama administration. Let’s hope so.

Yeah, let’s hope so. Do you think the chemical weapons attack in Damascus may have been a false flag operation?
I actually believe that it probably is. The bombing of August the 21st, if you ask the question: “Who benefits from that?” The Syrian government surely does not. It has given the Obama Administration the stimulus to go to war, it fits the needs of the rebels in Syria, and the Israelis who want the United States to go to war.

So if we ask that fundamental question: “Who benefits from this chemical warfare action?” The answer is: not the Syrian government.

So, that’s one factor, the other factor is that they haven’t collected the evidence yet. The Syrian government actually welcomed the UN people who were coming in to investigate an early chemical war action and they have not impeded the work of the UN investigators.

On the other hand, United States government said it was too late for them to do their work, which was false, the work that they have to do, is work that does not have a time limit, it’s not as if they have to be there two or three days after an event to be able to get very significant evidence.

So on one hand, you have the United States trying to avoid confirmation and Syrian Government, sort of, welcoming these investigators. That’s another consideration.

The Syrian government actually invited the UN Chemical Weapons Inspection Team, and they arrived on the same day in Damascus and all of a sudden there was this chemical attack in a neighborhood that was, despite western media reports, that neighborhood was under control of the government forces. That would be complete insanity for President Assad to launch a chemical weapons attack on the day that the UN inspectors that he invited to the country arrived, don’t you think?

Yeah, yeah… Absolutely!

It goes beyond belief really…

Well, it’s still “believable,” it could be that there was an accident, it could be that some lower level government persons did this, but it’s up in the air, it is certainly something that has to be investigated. The third important factor that is involved is that the rebels had access to these chemical weapons, they had been being supplied and trained in Jordan and Turkey and by the United States and by Israeli forces.

Are you aware of the reports that Saudi Prince Bandar (after three and a half weeks ago – four weeks ago threatening Russia with terrorist attacks at the Sochi Olympics: admitting that all the terrorists in Syria are under Saudi control, in particular Chechens), there are reports that “he” delivered, personally, he was involved in the operation to deliver the chemical weapons directly to the Syria insurgents, Wahhabis or al-Qaeda elements or whatever you want to call them? Have you heard anything about that? Probably not in the western media but …

Yeah, that’s a very good point and I think that it is absolutely true that there “seems” to have been that threat, and evidence from Saudi Arabian sources themselves, that they were involved, that there was a threat by them and their allies to use chemical weapons, but the broad point is that the rebels surely had access to these weapons and they had the incentive to use them, and so at a minimum: it’s a serious question as to whether the Syrian Government did it, or in my view, more probably that the rebels did it.

Now.. (We could talk about this for weeks I think) Next question if we could?: Where is the international community in all of this maneuvering and why is the US so adamant about going in there so quickly and urgently? Why the urgency by the US, why the desperation to drop bombs?

Actually, the international community is looking relatively good, as I mentioned, Ban Ki-moon is actually dragging his feet and calling for restraint and Pope is calling for restraint and the allied governments to the United States are dragging their feet, they usually have lined-up with the United States when it wants to go to war, but they are dragging their feet.

So the international community, while actually it should be condemning the US action, the Syrian government has asked the Security Council to declare a forthcoming attack “illegal,” which it should do under the rules of the UN Charter, so if the international community was really “on its toes” and trying to prevent war and follow international law, it would be castigating the United States and bringing actions against it but it’s not doing that. But it’s an improvement that they are dragging their feet, suggesting that there should be delays until the facts are in. That’s a big deal.
Dr. Herman what would you say to those responsible for all of this, to those in power who can prevent this war, what would your message be to them?

I think the United States is behaving like an insane power, it’s almost like the threat of the Nazis back in the 1930s and 40s, it’s out of control, and it’s engaging in war after war, and it’s violating international law, considers itself to be above the law.

The international community has to rise up and bring it under control, has to take a much more vigorous, hostile action to the US war threats.

I noticed today that this guy Rasmussen, the Secretary General of NATO, has come out in favor of action against Syria, he is a menace, and NATO is a menace, and the Warsaw Pact dissolved and the whole rational for NATO dissolved and NATO has been expanding, taking on more obligations. This is part of the US program for global domination. The world has to wake up and stop it!

Okay thank you Dr. Herman, I really appreciate it.

Okay. Good to be with you John.

That was the final installment of an interview with Dr. Edward Herman, a Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of several books namely “Manufacturing Consent”, “The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context and Politics” and other works. Thank you very much for listening and I wish you the best wherever you may be!

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Arnold Zweig: Mere existence of armies imposes upon mankind the mentality of the Stone Age

September 24, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Arnold Zweig: Selections on war

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Arnold Zweig
From The Case of Sergeant Grischa (1927)
Translated by Eric Sutton

02-arnold-zweig-in-verdun

So long as he did not hear the winter howl of the wolves, tales of which had terrified his boyhood, or see the huge bulk of a growling bear across his path, or meet the ugly glare of the tusked and bow-legged boar, his only feeling toward animals was their deep delight in their gambols and their ways which is often found in a hunter out to kill. But Grisha felt no joy in killing, since the Tsar’s coat had changed him as by enchantment first into a hunter of men and then into a caged quarry. In any case, he cared no more for killing than most men with an occupation. Above all, after his escape – or his resurrection, as he called it – he was so brimful of kindness and goodwill, that apart from his dish of rabbit he would have had no hand in the wanton slaughter of live things.

***

Not many railways enlivened these broad provinces, and none of them served sufficiently the needs of those who lived there…The railway lines, therefore, had been laid with an eye to future wars, and strangled trade and traffic in their narrow net. A host of confederate German tribes clung like leeches to this vast territory. At every centre of activity or wherever the natives had settled in considerable numbers, the Germans fixed their tentacles. They watched, and tightened or relaxed their grip according to the interests of judgment of Headquarters. And they drew from the poor soil its sap and substance to feed the German troops or Germany itself, who, cut off as she was from the sea and all supplies, drained, like a gigantic land-crab, all the countries of what they had to give her.

****

“My dear Mr. Wodrig, our colleagues of the cloth have a tougher job than we have. They’re harnessed to their texts.”

Wodrig in his soldier’s tunic shook his head emphatically. “There’s something wrong, Sir, take it from me, and they feel it too, if they’re worth anything. For instance, ‘Love your enemies,’ and machine-guns and flame-throwers and howitzers, don’t go very well together.”

***

The fine old Prussian Junker with his inflexible precision in every official detail was not to be held responsible for the terror and alarm which he inspired. But he would only have laughed heartily, if Posnanski had endeavoured to explain to him that he considered superior officers as obsolete and inhuman devices, and that rank, force, and the mere existence of armies, imposed upon mankind the mentality of the Stone Age. Such was his private unofficial view, but this was no time for laying it before the general.

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CSTO Nations Oppose Western Military Aggression Against Syria

September 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Itar-Tass
September 23, 2013

CSTO countries unanimously call for peaceful settlement in Syria

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SOCHI: The member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) called for a peaceful settlement in Syria and opposed possible aggression against that country.

“The CSTO member states are unanimous in that the Syrian situation can be settled only by peaceful political methods and that any external use of force would be a gross violation of international law or, using the terms of the U.N. Charter, simply aggression,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said after a CSTO summit in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Monday, September 23.

In his opinion, the use of force against Syria would inevitably lead to further destabilization in the country and would have a negative impact on the situation in the CSTO area.

“We are grateful to our CSTO partners for their support of Russia’s efforts to settle the crisis peacefully and for their support of the Russian-American proposal with regard to the Syrian chemical weapons,” Putin said.

He noted the need to use all possibilities to stop the violence in Syria and to start a dialogue between the Syrian authorities and the opposition.

“This is a consolidated position and it is reflected in the statement adopted by the CSTO countries,” he said.

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Itar-Tass
September 23, 2013

CSTO states support efforts to convene Geneva II conference on Syria

MOSCOW: The member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) have supported efforts to convene a peace conference on Syria, commonly known as Geneva II.

“The CSTO member states support the efforts to convene an international conference aimed at laying the groundwork for reconciliation and normalization [of the situation] in Syria,” the CSTO leaders said in a joint statement adopted at their summit in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Monday, September 23.

They also “strongly condemn any manifestation of terrorism and violence against the peaceful population, especially religious or ethnic ones, and oppose unlawful actions aimed at further militarization of the internal conflict in Syria.”

The CSTO member states said the crisis in Syria should be resolved as soon as possible “by the Syrians themselves, with respect for the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic,” and called for “an end to the violence in the country and for a broad political dialogue between the authorities and the opposition without preconditions, on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012.”

The statement begins with the expression of concern about the situation in Syria and around it. The signatories called for peace, stability, prosperity and progress in Syria and in the whole of the Middle East.

“The CSTO member states believe that external interference, including the use of force, is unacceptable and can lead to further destabilization of the situation in country and far beyond the region. Furthermore, any international interference in the Syrian conflict in circumvention of the U.N. Security Council and in violation of the U.N. Charter would be unlawful,” the statement said.

The CSTO countries supported Russia’s efforts to settle the Syrian conflict by political and diplomatic methods only and implement the Russian-American agreement for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons.

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NATO Intensifies Global Response Force War Games

September 23, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations/Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

September 23, 2013

NATO Response Force Training, The Road to Steadfast Jazz
Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

Allied Command Operations will conduct a wide variety of dynamic and demanding exercises this autumn 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.

To that end, several NRF exercises are being conducted in order to keep the Alliance fit for the future.

Exercise Brillliant Arrow

In early September the Alliance conducted Exercise Brilliant Arrow, which involved around 50 military aircraft and approximately 800 exercise participants in the central region of Norway. The exercise, conducted by HQ Allied Air Command, was the first in a series of manoeuvres taking place this autumn designed to hone the skills and interoperability of the NRF. Forty fighter aircraft, two airborne early warning platforms, three transport aircraft, four helicopters as well as other support aircraft trained within a challenging and realistic scenario that also involved 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 honed 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 was 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 also participated. These units and HQ AIRCOM will be on standby for a potential NRF mission in 2014.

Exercise Brilliant Mariner

A large fleet of warships from NATO’s Response Force (NRF) sailed from ports across Europe on 25 September 2013 to take part in the maritime exercise “Brilliant Mariner” in the Mediterranean Sea.

The warships will take part in integration training that will enable them to respond to operational needs or crisis situations anywhere in the world, as and when required. The exercise, which will end on 6 October 2013, will take place in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sicily and Sardinia.

Over five thousand military and naval personnel from 10 NATO nations comprising Germany Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom, France and the United States will participate.

The exercise will involve a total of 25 warships, including one aircraft carrier, 12 frigates, one auxiliary ship, and 7 mine counter-measure vessels. Two submarines and a range of maritime Patrol aircraft will also take part.

NATO’s Maritime Command at Northwood, U.K will be responsible for directing the exercise known as Brilliant Mariner 2013. They will ensure that the NATO Response Force (NRF) is faced with a realistic and demanding scenario, presenting a number of challenges for the commanders at sea; including, asymmetric or terrorist threats, maritime security operations and embargo operations.

“Brilliant Mariner will not only hone our ability to provide force integration and combat readiness training for the maritime forces assigned to the NATO Response force (NRF) but it is also a tangible demonstration of what maritime power can bring to the various security challenges that we are likely to be faced with in coming years,” said NATO’s maritime commander, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson of the UK Navy. “A key attribute of Maritime forces that is of increasing premium is that they can achieve influence without embroilment, offering political choice and viable military options,” he said.

This exercise is part of NATO’s efforts to maintain connected and interoperable maritime forces at a high-level of readiness. Through dynamic and demanding exercises, the goal is to make sure that maritime NRF troops are ready to deal with any situation in any environment.

Exercise Steadfast Jazz

In addition to these exercises, a variety of land, special-forces, and headquarters staff exercises have also occurred this fall. All NATO NRF training 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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Wars Not Always Fought On Battlefields: U.S. Conducts 40-Nation NATO, Partners Cyber Warfare Exercise

September 23, 2013 1 comment

United States European Command
September 22, 2013

Cyber injects help transition Combined Endeavor into operational exercise

U.S. ARMY GARRISON GRAFENWOEHR, Germany: Wars are not always fought on the battlefield; some occur in places we can’t even see like ‘the network’. For most countries, namely the nearly 40 here at Combined Endeavor 2013, cyber security is the number one concern for these 1,200 communications professionals in keeping their networks safe and operational.

“My role is to integrate cyber security into Combined Endeavor,” said Nathan Menkevich, U.S. European Command International Cyber Engagement Branch and CE13 red team director. “We’re here to assess the network and perform live scenario-based injects when we move to Phase III [the operational phase] of the exercise.”

Menkevich’s team, consisting of 10 members from the United States, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Bulgaria, are part of the ‘red team’ that is scheduled to perform vulnerability assessments for 22 countries participating in Combined Endeavor. They are also tasked with reviewing policies associated with CE13 and determining the effectiveness of the cyber security team.

So far, the team has conducted five assessments per day since the start of Phase II of the exercise, and noted that they have found several critical vulnerabilities they plan to share with the countries involved. Finland and Austria have taken a keen interest in the team’s role in Cyber Endeavor and have provided the team access to their systems and network architecture to evaluate how well they are performing in the area of cyber security.

“We believe the response to our assessments will be positive because we’re going to talk with these countries and provide them with the tools they need to improve their networks,” Menkevich said.

Menkevich said they hope the information they provide to the 22 countries and the implementation of the cyber injects helps pave the way for future Combined Endeavor exercises as they transition to a more operational environment.

“[In future Combined Endeavor exercises] our focus will be more toward degrading the entire network as opposed to just providing assessments,” Menkevich said. “We want to see if these countries can figure out how to continue to operate even when their systems are not available.”

Red team lead, Polish Maj. Thomas Strycharek, who has been involved in all three phases of the exercise, said this has been a challenging, yet rewarding experience.

“This is actually one of the best exercises that I’ve ever attended,” Strycharek said. “This is my second time as team lead for Combined Endeavor cyber injects and I’m happy to have the opportunity to practice my skills and share my experience and information with other members.”

CE13 is a multinational command, control, communications and computer (C4) systems exercise designed to build and enhance communications and network interoperability between the participating NATO and Partnership for Peace countries.

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Iraqi Bloodbath, Other Terrorist Acts Directly Linked To Syrian Crisis: Russia

September 23, 2013 1 comment

Interfax
September 23, 2013

Iraq violence “directly linked” to Syria crisis – Moscow

MOSCOW: Russia has claimed that the current escalation of violence in Iraq is “directly linked” to the crisis in neighboring Syria.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry made the point in a statement issued on Monday in response to a new series of explosions in Baghdad this weekend, which reportedly killed more than 70 people and left more than 120 injured. The most powerful bombing was perpetrated during a funeral ceremony in a Shiite district.

“Such inhuman crimes, in which innocent people die, are resolutely condemned in Moscow. We give our sincerest condolences to the families of those killed, and sympathize with and wish the earliest possible recovery to those injured,” the statement said.

“It is especially alarming that the escalation of terrorist activity in Iraq is directly linked to developments in neighboring Syria, where the government and opposition remain in bloody confrontation. In effect, one can see terrorist groups, including groups linked to Al Qaeda, joining forces, now at a regional level,” it said.

“We reaffirm our solidarity with the leadership and people of Iraq in resolutely countering the terrorist threat. We believe that it is particularly important to rebuff attempts by extremists to exacerbate relations between various political, ethnic and religious groups of the country. We support efforts to solve problems through a broad pan-national dialogue in the interests of all Iraqis, on the basis of respect for the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq,” the statement said.

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Itar-Tass
September 23, 2013

Terror ‘spilling over’ from trouble spots threat to CSTO

SOCHI: The problem of “terrorism spilling over” from troubled countries, including from Syria, is a real threat for states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Russian President Vladimir Putin told its session on Monday.

The group could not turn a blind eye to such a serious problem as affairs in Syria, Putin said, noting that armed groups operating on the territory of that state had not emerged from nowhere and would not evaporate. “The problem of terrorism spilling from one country into some other is quite real and may directly affect interests of any of our countries,” he added.

The Russian president cited the terrorist act in Kenya, attributed to gunmen from a different country, as an example.

Behind the dramatic developments in Syria and Kenya “we have stopped paying attention to other events no less terrible,” the president said. “Another awful terrorist act was committed in Iraq yesterday. Dozens or even hundreds of people are killed there on a daily basis. The situation in other countries of the region also raises big concerns,” Putin said.

CSTO leaders “have things to discuss” at the summit and they needed to think how to “stop the threats that are emerging in the world and directly affect us”.

Putin said the CSTO leaders would issue a declaration on developments in Syria.

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Mediterranean: 25 NATO Warships In Strike Force Exercise

September 23, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations/Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

September 23, 2013

NATO RESPONSE FORCE CONDUCTS MAJOR MARITIME EXERCISE TO STRESS TEST ITS CRISIS REACTION CAPABILITIES
Story by: SHAPE Public Affairs Office

image_thumbnail
Brilliant Mariner 2010

A large fleet of warships from NATO’s Response Force (NRF) sailed from ports across Europe to take part in the maritime exercise “Brilliant Mariner” in the Mediterranean Sea that starts on Wednesday 25 September 2013 .

The warships will take part in integration training that will enable them to respond to operational needs or crisis situations anywhere in the world, as and when required. The exercise, which will end on 6 October 2013, will take place in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sicily and Sardinia.

Over five thousand military and naval personnel from 10 NATO nations comprising Germany Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom, France and the United States will participate.

The exercise will involve a total of 25 warships, including one aircraft carrier, 12 frigates, one auxiliary ships, and 7 mine counter measure vessels. Two submarines and a range of maritime Patrol aircraft will also take part.

NATO’s Maritime Command at Northwood, U.K will be responsible for directing the exercise known as Brilliant Mariner 2013. They will ensure that the NATO Response Force is faced with a realistic and demanding scenario, presenting a number of challenges for the commanders at sea; including, asymmetric or terrorist threats, maritime security operations and embargo operations.

Brilliant Mariner will not only hone our ability to provide force integration and combat readiness training for the maritime forces assigned to the NATO Response force (NRF) but it is also a tangible demonstration of what maritime power can bring to the various security challenges that we are likely to be faced with in coming years,” said NATO’s maritime commander, Vice Admiral Peter Hudson of the UK Navy. “A key attribute of Maritime forces that is of increasing premium is that they can achieve influence without embroilment, offering political choice and viable military options,” he said.

This exercise is part of NATO’s efforts to maintain connected and interoperable maritime forces at a high-level of readiness. Through dynamic and demanding exercises, the goal is to make sure that maritime NRF troops are ready to deal with any situation in any environment.

Categories: Uncategorized

Ernest Hemingway: Who wins wars?

September 23, 2013 2 comments

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

American writers on peace and against war

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war

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Ernest Hemingway
From A Farewell to Arms (1929)

hemingway

“What do you think of the war really?” I asked.

“I think it is stupid.”

“Who will win it?”

“Italy.”

“Why?”

“They are a younger nation.”

“Do younger nations always win wars?”

“They are apt to for a time.”

“Then what happens?”

“They become older nations.”

“You said you were not wise.”

“Dear boy, that is not wisdom. That is cynicism.”

“It sounds very wise to me.”

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Bosnia, Jordan, Ireland: New NATO Course Trains Global Partners

September 21, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Transformation

September 21, 2013

NATO Senior Enlisted Course Help Prepare Leaders for Multinational Challenges
Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Hendrick Dickson

There are not many organisations that depend as heavily on its leadership structure as the military. In every military – in every nation – Command Senior Enlisted Leaders (CSELs) have a vital role in their success.

They are the leaders who dictate and ensure that orders from the commanders are carried out successfully.

Within NATO organisations however, the CSELs job can be even more challenging. In addition to having to lead in a joint-structure much different from their own, they must be cognizant of the array of nations – and cultures – within their command.

Two years ago, the NATO School (NSO) in Oberammergau, Germany, launched its CSEL course to provide senior enlisted leaders the tools and networks needed to be successful while assuming responsibilities as CSELs in an international setting. The aim of the course is to prepare non-commissioned officers (NCOs), designated by their nation, to serve next to the Commander in a NATO organisation by updating them on the current status of operations, NATO structure and procedures.

“There are many challenges in multi-national positions which the average CSM (command sergeant major) is not prepared for, dealing with international military unions, scope of authority, protocol etc., so this course tries to present these issues and of course broaden the network of the leaders so they know where and how to glean info that may not be readily apparent,” said Canadian Army Command Sergeant Major Michael McDonald, NATO School Command Senior Enlisted Leader.

“Our leaders need to be able to train multinational forces and advise our Commanders in such a way that it will strengthen the Alliance,” said UK Royal Marines Command Sergeant Major Marc Wicks, NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) Command Senior Enlisted Leader. “Part of that is being able to work within a cohesive, interoperable team.”

The bi-annual course was structured from study groups at ACT and NATO Allied Command Operations (ACO) levels.

“This course bridges the gap, so those without formal PD training are better prepared to take on the challenges of the positions,” said McDonald. “But also for those that have formal PD training to prepare them for national CSEL positions, the course allows them to see the vast differences between being a CSM in a national position vice in a NATO type multi-national position.”

The fifth iteration of the course, held in September, included 12 CSELs representing the United States, Canada, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Jordan and Ireland.

“The best thing about it is bringing people together from different nations to learn from each other and build a camaraderie,” said Sergeant Major Necati Akpinar, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Allied Land Command. “All of these leaders from all the nations do their job the same way within their nation. We know our nation’s standard. This course is important because it is based on the NATO standard.”

Over the course of two weeks, the leaders gain more than just knowledge of NATO operations and structure, they gain the opportunity to get to know each partner nation a little better – something that will ultimately strengthen the entire Alliance.

“This is an opportunity for us all to build a good line of communication and understand that although we have different cultures, it is just different – not wrong,” said Warrant Officer First Class Mohammad al-Smadi, Senior Enlisted Leader Jordanian Military. “The friendship and communication here with NATO and all its members is bigger and bigger. Jordanian Armed Forces walk shoulder to shoulder with NATO members.”

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Erich Maria Remarque: It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation

September 21, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

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Erich Maria Remarque
From All Quiet on the Western Front (1929)
Translated by A.W. Wheen

iremarq001p1

Kantorek had been our schoolmaster, a stern little man in a grey tailcoat, with a face like a shrew
mouse…

There were thousands of Kantoreks, all of whom were convinced that they were acting for the best – in a way that cost them nothing.

And that is why they let us down so badly.

For us lads of eighteen they ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity, the world of work, of duty, of culture, of progress – to the future. We often made fun of them and played jokes on them, but in our hearts we trusted them. The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief. We had to recognise that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs.

They surpassed us only in phrases and in cleverness. The first bombardment showed us our mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces.

While they continued to write and talk, we saw the wounded and dying. While they taught that duty to one’s country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger. But for all that we were no mutineers, no deserters, no cowards – they were very free with all these expressions. We loved our country as much as they; we went courageously into every action; but also we distinguished the false from true, we had suddenly learned to see. And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it
through.

***

The cries continued. It is not men, they could not cry so terribly.”Wounded horses,” says Kat.

It’s unendurable. It is the moaning of the world, it is the martyred creation, wild with anguish,
filled with terror, and groaning.

We are pale. Detering stands up. “God! For God’s sake! Shoot them.”

He is a farmer and very fond of horses. It gets under his skin. Then as if deliberately the fire dies
down again. The screaming of the beasts becomes louder. One can no longer distinguish whence in this now quiet silvery landscape it comes; ghostly, invisible, it is everywhere, between heaven and earth it rolls on immeasurably. Detering raves and yells out: “Shoot them! Shoot them, can’t you? damn you again!”

“They must look after the men first,” says Kat quietly.

We stand up and try to see where it is. If we could only see the animals we should be able to endure it better. Müller has a pair of glasses. We see a dark group, bearers with stretchers, and larger black clumps moving about. Those are the wounded horses. But not all of them. Some gallop away in the distance, fall down, and then run on farther. The belly of one is ripped open, the guts trail out. He becomes tangled in them and falls, then he stands up again.

Detering raises up his gun and aims. Kat hits it in the air. “Are you mad?”

Detering trembles and throws his rifle on the ground.

We sit down and hold our ears. But this appalling noise, these groans and screams penetrate, they penetrate everywhere.

We can bear almost anything. But now the sweat breaks out on us. We must get up and run no matter where, but where these cries can no longer be heard. And it is not men, only horses.

From the dark group stretchers move off again. Then single shots crack out. The black heap convulses and then sinks down. At last! But still it is not the end. The men cannot overtake the wounded beasts which fly in their pain, their wide open mouths full of anguish. One of the men goes down on one knee, a shot – one horse drops – another. The last one props itself on its forelegs and drags itself round in a circle like a merry-go-round; squatting, it drags round in circles on its stiffened forelegs, apparently its back is broken. The soldier runs up and shoots it. Slowly, humbly, it sinks to the ground.

We take our hands from our ears. The cries are silenced. Only a long-drawn, dying sigh still hangs on the air.

Then only again the rockets, the singing of the shells and the stars there – most strange.

Detering walks up and down cursing: “Like to know what harm they’ve done.” He returns to it
once again. His voice is agitated, it sounds almost dignified as he says: “I tell you it is the vilest baseness to use horses in the war.”

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Lendman and Rozoff: Syria Is The Spanish Civil War Of The 21st Century

September 21, 2013 1 comment

Progressive Radio Network
September 20, 2013

Stephen Lendman and Rick Rozoff

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Audio

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Arctic Challenge: U.S. Leads Large-Scale NATO Air War Games

September 20, 2013 1 comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe – U.S. Air Forces Africa
September 19, 2013

Allied forces exercise over Norwegian training area
By 1st Lt. Christopher Mesnard
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

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U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle refuels with U.S. Air Force KC-135R Stratotanker en route to the Arctic Challenge exercise

ØRLAND, Norway: The first-ever Exercise Arctic Challenge, which includes more than 60 aircraft from five partner nations, began here Sept. 16.

Norwegian F-16 Fighting Falcons, Swedish JAS-39 Gripens, Finnish F/A-18 Hornets and U.K. Eurofighter Typhoons took to the skies with U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, F-15C Eagles and KC-135 Stratotankers to train in a combined environment. They incorporated both strategic planning and tactical war fighting simulations, practicing in-flight maneuvers and communication strategies with each other.

“[Our] air force has, in periods, had the need to train at bigger scenarios with more aircraft, and this is difficult in Norway, with only our own planes at [our] disposal,” said Col. Baid Solheim, Main Air Station Bodø base commander. “Before the cross border training we had to deploy to foreign, far away countries to fly against other types of aircraft, [now] we fly directly from Bodø. In this way it’s very efficient in costs.”

The Arctic Challenge exercise focused on bringing the Scandinavian nations, the U.S. and the U.K. together in the air, to challenge pilots to react quickly and work together to achieve common goals. During times of maximum participation, more than 60 aircraft are expected to partake in the war-fighting scenarios.

During this exercise, we will face almost every scenario that could be seen in any war or conflict,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Rich Stringer, 494th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations and lead project officer for the 48th Fighter Wing’s participation in the exercise. The different aircraft will take turns as the aggressors and will be tested on how they can respond to a variety of scenarios, according to Stringer.

The purpose of this exercise is to train air forces to operate cohesively. Arctic Challenge, in particular, allows multiple nations to perform aerial operations simultaneously; give critical feedback on how to improve processes; and become a more efficient and effective force – especially in a multi-national environment.

These exercises provide the U.S. and NATO forces (and regional partners) an opportunity to integrate their operations at both the tactical and strategic levels with a high level of fidelity that could not otherwise be achieved without live-fly exercises,” said Capt. Timothy Gerne, 100th Operations Support Squadron chief of wing weapons and tactics and director of operations for the 100th Air Refueling Wing portion of the exercise. “Similar to a Red Flag exercise in mission sets, large force numbers and multinational integration, the benefits of hosting locally allows us and our allies to focus resources toward operations.”

In addition to flying with allies, Airmen from Royal Air Force Mildenhall combined the exercise with a simulated deployment. The movement tested many assets in U.S. Air Forces in Europe including air lift, medical, legal and financial services.

“This exercise improves the readiness of everyone because of the variety of scenarios and the high level of skill that we are flying with and against,” said Stringer. “The Finns, Swedes, British, and Norwegians are all very skilled aviators and have very competent forces.”

The Arctic Challenge exercise is scheduled to continue until Sept. 26, before culminating in a final scenario which tests the pilots on their ability to operate in a diverse force.

(Editor’s note: Follow the day-to-day coverage of the Arctic Challenge exercise on Twitter at #ACE13.)

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Pentagon Assists NATO Integration Of Moldova

September 20, 2013 Leave a comment

United States European Command
September 20, 2013

U.S. Army and Moldovan troops assess EUCOM humanitarian projects
By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Chlosta, 7th Civil Support Command

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CHISINAU, Moldova: Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve’s 7th Civil Support Command deployed to this Eastern European nation recently to take a closer look at U.S. European Command humanitarian assistance projects.

Five Soldiers from Company A, 457th Civil Affairs Battalion, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, partnered with Moldovan Soldiers to evaluate seven EUCOM projects…

“We are here to evaluate how the HA projects align with the Department of State and European Command’s strategic objectives,” said Capt. Nathan Gardner, Company A’s commander, who led the team. “EUCOM provides the funding for these projects. We’re here representing the EUCOM HA program.”

Gardner, a Rocky Mount, N.C.-native, said the assessments determine if the projects were effectively implemented and are being sustained by Moldova, a partner nation. They give their work to EUCOM headquarters and the U.S. Embassy in Moldova’s Office of Defense Cooperation

At each site, the team spoke with key leaders, project supervisors and people who use the services, Pekarcik said. Roughly 50 percent of the Moldovan citizens interviewed knew of U.S. involvement in the projects.

“One of the shop owners knew that the U.S. had invested money to get the project going,” Pekarcik said, after a fire station visit. “We’re seeing that they have an idea that the U.S. was involved, but they don’t know all the details.”

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Moldova’s Prime Minister Vlad Filat at NATO headquarters last year

Moldovan Soldiers made key contributions to the assessments and reports, Gardner said, as they “view the projects from a Moldova perspective.”

Moldovan Army 1st Lt. Simion Bitca, a military intelligence officer from Moldova’s special forces battalion, was familiar with the U.S. projects, how they are managed and how U.S. troops operate overseas.

“It’s important for us because we have similar activities,” Bitca said. “It will be a good experience for us for the future projects in our country or also for the future missions for my battalion.”

Having Moldovan soldiers on the team builds their capabilities and shapes ours, said Staff Sgt. David Heath, a Company A team sergeant.

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Bolivia, Venezuela To Sue U.S. Government For Crimes Against Humanity

September 20, 2013 2 comments

RT
September 20, 2013

Bolivian president to sue US govt for crimes against humanity

Bolivian President Evo Morales will file a lawsuit against the US government for crimes against humanity. He has decried the US for its intimidation tactics and fear-mongering after the Venezuelan presidential jet was blocked from entering US airspace.

“I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity,” said President Morales at a press conference in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz. He branded the US president as a “criminal” who violates international law.

In solidarity with Venezuela, Bolivia will begin preparing a lawsuit against the US head of state to be taken to the international court. Furthermore, Morales has called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss what has been condemned by Venezuela as “an act of intimidation by North American imperialism.”

The Bolivian president has suggested that the members of CELAC withdraw their ambassadors from the US to send a message to the Obama Administration. As an additional measure he will call on the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas to boycott the next meeting of the UN. Members of the Alliance include Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Saint Lucia.

“The US cannot be allowed to continue with its policy of intimidation and blockading presidential flights,” stressed Morales.

The Venezuelan government announced on Thursday that President Nicolas Maduro’s plane had been denied entry into Puerto Rican (US) airspace.

“We have received the information from American officials that we have been denied travel over its airspace,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said, speaking to reporters during an official meeting with his South African counterpart. Jaua decried the move “as yet another act of aggression on the part of North American imperialism against the government of the Bolivarian Republic.”

President Maduro was due to arrive in Beijing this weekend for bilateral talks with the Chinese government. Jaua was adamant that the Venezuelan leader would reach his destination, regardless of any perceived interference.

The US government has not yet made any statement regarding the closing of its airspace to the Venezuelan presidential plane. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US.

Relations on the rocks

Washington’s relations with Latin America have deteriorated since the beginning of the year following the aerial blockade that forced Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane to land in Austria in July. Several EU countries closed their airspace to the presidential jet because of suspicions that former CIA employee Edward Snowden – wanted in the US on espionage charges – was on board. Bolivia alleged that the US was behind the aerial blockade.

In response to the incident, Latin American leaders joined together in condemnation of what they described as “neo-colonial intimidation.”

Later in the year, the revelations on the US’ global spy network released by Edward Snowden did little to improve relations. Leaked wires revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored the private communications of both the Brazilian and Mexican presidents.

The Brazilian government denounced the NSA surveillance as “impermissible and unacceptable,” and a violation of Brazilian sovereignty. As a result of US spying Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has postponed a state visit to Washington in October.

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NATO Chief To EU: Buy More Drones, Refuelling Planes, Interceptor Missile Radar

September 20, 2013 Leave a comment

EUobserver
September 19, 2013

Nato wants EU countries to buy more drones

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BRUSSELS: Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen wants EU countries to buy more drones, refuelling planes and naval radars.

The head of the military alliance is expected to call for the measures at a speech in the Carnegie Europe foundation in Brussels on Thursday (19 September).

“I believe that European nations can, and should, do more, to match America’s commitment … [and] help to rebalance Nato,” he aims to say.

“I would like to see European allies playing their part to acquire more drones to improve surveillance. More large transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft to enhance their ability to deploy on operations. And more upgraded radars on their ships so they can be integrated into our Nato missile defence,” he plans to add.

Looking ahead to an EU summit on defence in December, he also plans to endorse European Commission ideas on how to create “a strong European defence industrial base.”

He is to say “the European defence industry remains too national and too fragmented.”

He also aims to urge EU leaders to “demonstrate strong political commitment” to spend more on defence when their economies recover from the crisis and “to assume more security responsibilities in Europe’s neighbourhood.”

The EU commission in July published a draft blueprint for EU defence co-operation.

It proposed a series of actions, including the creation of EU-level certification standards for military equipment, such as chemical and nuclear detection technology, airworthiness of aircraft and data encryption instruments.

It aims to crack down on state aid and other market distortions in the sector.

It intends to give more EU money to train defence sector workers and to fund research into military technology.

It wants EU countries to pool buying of military and commercial satellite technology.

It is also keen to launch an assessment of whether some kinds of assets, especially “dual-use” technology, which can be used in civilian or military missions, should be “directly purchased, owned and operated by the Union.”

The commission paper said EU countries’ total defence budgets have gone from €251 billion a year to €194 billion since 2001, while total EU military R&D spending is just €9 billion, seven times less than the US.

It noted that 80 percent of current defence spending is done at national level.

It also said the future of the 1.36 million people who work in member states’ military-related companies is at risk unless Europe makes the sector more competitive.

Like Rasmussen, it noted that “the US is rebalancing its strategic focus towards Asia.”

It added: “Europe must be able to decide and to act without depending on the capabilities of third parties. Security of supply, access to critical technologies and operational sovereignty are therefore crucial.”

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Arnold Zweig: From the joy of the slayer to being dimly aware of the man on the other side

September 20, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Arnold Zweig: Selections on war

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Arnold Zweig
From The Case of Sergeant Grischa (1927)
Translated by Eric Sutton

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In those days the War was gripping Central Europe in a hoop of steel. With titanic force, in a welter of savagery, degradation and cruelty, thirty nations, bent on bringing peace to a distracted Europe, surged against those lands which only the narrow wall of the front protected from their onslaught. The struggle was at a standstill. Against all the peoples of the earth, the German troops, with the help of the loyal Austrians, Turks, and Bulgars, held their ground, grey, haggard men, without tanks, with only a few airplanes, and a dwindling fleet of submarines. In Palestine, in Macedonia on Lake Doiran, in Roumania and Italy, athwart France and Belgium, and facing England along the Channel and the North Sea; thence through the Baltic to Libau, and on land again through Russia from Windau down to Bukovina, they fought, sickened, cursed, and died…far, far indeed from the clinking spurs of Emperors, Kings, Princes, Field-Marshals, and Generals at the Base.

***

Meanwhile the deadly work went on: throughout Champagne and Flanders grenades and machine-guns whizzed and clattered, the limbs of men hurtled bleeding through the air, tunnels filled with dynamite exploded under teeming dug-outs, bombs from airplanes hissed down upon the heads of scurrying men, and rattling machine-guns hemmed the borders of the nation’s garments with the chain-stitches of death. The scales of decision, trembling gently, hung level.

***

Only a few weeks ago he had held the rifle lightly in his hands, a pleasant and familiar thing. The joy of the slayer, slaying from afar, as though he could puff out a human life like the flame of a candle, a full thousand yards away, had filled him with exultant ardour; then he was the man with the bayonet, the fighting man, thrusting and lunging, in the passionate splendid fury of his wild limbs revelling in their strength. But now he was dimly aware of the man on the other side, not only as one who could fire a bullet at him, but also as one who could be hit, whose flesh could be gashed and pierced and could feel the blow and the agony in every fibre of him. When he was splitting logs with his axe, outside Posnanski’s door, his soul went out not only to the swinging blade and the steel wedge of the axe behind it, wielded with all the sundering strength of wooden haft and human sinew, but also to the patient wood which split so silkily, and fell apart into smooth-faced fragments. He thought – nay he saw – with his unreflecting, groping vision, the slender, mangled body of the pine or fir, which he was now converting into lifeless logs, and in his disgust he kicked away the block and spat on the haft of his axe as he picked it up again, for that, too, had been hewn out of a tree, and both of them were conspiring traitorously to destroy their brother that had once, like them, been living wood.

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NATO Intensifies Training For Worldwide Expeditionary Deployments

September 19, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

September 19, 2013

Training Key to NATOs Future says SACEUR

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Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip Breedlove and Commander Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Hans-Lothar Domröse spoke to over twenty international journalists regarding their priorities for the coming year, including the training of the NATO Response Force and Exercise Steadfast Jazz at JFC Brunssum, The Netherlands on Wednesday 18 September.

General Breedlove indicated that his top priority as the commander of NATO’s operational forces was the planning for NATO’s post-ISAF engagement in Afghanistan, the RESOLUTE SUPPORT Mission.

“I recognise that the Alliance is gradually reducing its presence on deployed operations, and that our efforts are starting to shift to a contingency posture,” said General Breedlove. “Therefore, an enduring priority is ensuring NATO remains vigilant and prepared to meet future challenges and threats with agile, capable, and interoperable military forces,” he said.

General Breedlove added that NATO has achieved an unprecedented level of cohesiveness among allies and partner forces in the past decade of combat operations and is operating as a seamless integrated team.

“We aim to maintain this level of cohesion by intensifying our education, training and exercises in the air, land, sea and cyber domains,” he said.

Several NATO Response Force exercises will be conducted during the second part of 2013 to keep the Alliance fit for the future. The Air exercise ‘Brilliant Arrow’ and a wide variety of Land-based exercises have already occurred in the last few months. Next week, NATO will exercise its naval forces during Exercise BRILLIANT MARINER. This training event will prepare Alliance maritime forces for the final stage of NATO Response Force training, Exercise STEADFAST JAZZ, which takes place in early November 2013.

During Steadfast Jazz, 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. Almost every NATO member nation is involved together with a number of partners.

“Steadfast Jazz is the final preparation in certifying forces allocated to the NRF for 2014 and, specifically, my headquarters, Joint Force Command Brunssum for its potential command role,” said General Hans-Lothar Domröse. “The NRF is a highly capable force but also a force that is evolving to the demands of modern warfare – cyber for example – and embraces the latest military capabilities Alliance members have developed in response to emerging threats,” he said.

According to Major-general Michael Yakovleff, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans at JFC Brunssum, the NATO Response Force allows the Alliance to develop and maintain robust, mobile and deployable conventional forces to carry out Alliance’s responsibilities and its expeditionary operations. “The overarching purpose of the NATO Response Force is to provide a rapid military response to an emerging crisis, whether for collective defence purposes or for other crisis response operations,” he said.

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Global NATO Renews Threat Against Syria

September 19, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 19, 2013

NATO: Ready, Robust, Rebalanced
Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Carnegie Europe Event

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Thank you, Jan, for that very kind introduction and thank you to Carnegie for organizing this morning session.

I have been looking forward to meeting you this morning to outline some major security policy priorities as we are approaching two important security policy events within the next year: an EU Summit on defence and security in December, and a NATO Summit next year.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We live in a world in transition. And transition often leads to turmoil and turbulence. In such times, we need something strong. Stable. And secure. For 28 nations in Europe and North America, that pillar of strength is NATO. We are seeing tragic turmoil and turbulence just beyond NATO’s south eastern border. We have also recently seen renewed efforts by the international community to stop the terrible bloodshed in Syria.

I welcome the framework for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons agreed between the United States and Russia. The next step should be an expeditious agreement of a United Nations Security Council Resolution to ensure effective implementation. The swift, secure and verifiable elimination of Syria’s substantial stocks of chemical weapons is key.

It is clear that what happened around Damascus on 21st August is a war crime. And it is clear that the international community has a duty to hold those responsible to account.

NATO remains vigilant. We continue to keep the situation in Syria under close review. And we continue to protect the Alliance’s south-eastern border.

While the ultimate solution to the Syrian crisis can only be political, I have no doubt that the recent agreement could not have been reached without a credible military option.

This demonstrates once again that we need strong defence capabilities to support strong diplomatic efforts and make them effective.

And this brings me to the theme of my speech: NATO’s future.

Of course, every crisis around the world is different. And NATO cannot be the response for every crisis. But I do believe that NATO is the foundation on which any Ally or group of Allies can build their response to any crisis.

Our political consultations. Our common standards and procedures. Our military command and control structures. And our common experiences in combat and in peace-keeping on three continents. All these make NATO unique. They mean that Allied nations stand ready to act. And that when they act, they can be more effective.

Today, in many parts of the world, Allies are acting under NATO’s command and control – often with partner nations….In Afghanistan and Kosovo. In the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa. Over the Baltic states and near Turkey’s border.

We have a strong base on which to build. At the Lisbon Summit in 2010, we approved NATO’s new Strategic Concept. We have been successfully implementing it since. And as we draw down from Afghanistan and take stock of twenty years of operations, we have the most capable and tightly connected forces in history, and the widest network of partners.

I cannot predict today what NATO’s next mission will be. But whatever the next challenge is, we need to remain ready to face it. To do that, I see three priorities.

* First, to maintain robust defence and deterrence.

* Second, to reaffirm the bond between Europe and North America and rebalance our relationship.

* And third, to bolster our global perspective and remain ready to work with partners and protect our values in our region and beyond.

Over thirty countries around the world have – or are developing – missile technology. Some of Europe’s cities are well within range. And against real threats, we need real defences. That is why NATO is building a missile defence system to protect European populations and territory. This, as well, is modern collective defence.

Similarly, we saw in Estonia in 2007 how cyber attacks can harm our economies and our security. We have made good progress in improving our cyber defences. For me, the next step should be to consider how we could assist Allies who come under cyber attack. I believe this, too, is modern collective defence.

Moreover, we must continue to look for ways to improve our joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, including the acquisition of observation drones and modernisation of our AWACS aircraft.

We also need to strengthen the connection between our forces through more joint exercises, education and training. And to reinforce our NATO Response Force. To defend any Ally. Deploy anywhere. And deter against any threat.

And that is the aim of our Connected Forces Initiative.

Taken together, these steps will ensure NATO remains robust.

Our second priority is to strengthen the transatlantic relationship and rebalance the Alliance.

North America and Europe remain each other’s partner of choice. And we can only be fully effective by working together.

That’s why we must all continue to invest in our Alliance. And why we must all shoulder a fair share of the burden, just as we all share in the benefits.

The engagement of the United States in European security remains strong. And it is keeping up with the security challenges.

A few years ago, the last American nuclear submarines left Sardinia. But shortly afterwards, we saw the first American Aegis ship deploy to the Mediterranean to enhance our defence against missile attacks.

Earlier this year, the last American tank left Germany. But next month the first American Brigade Combat Team will deploy to Europe as part of the NATO Response Force during exercise Steadfast Jazz in the Baltic region.

In May, we saw the last anti-tank aircraft fly out of Germany. But in June, the first American vertical-lift transport aircraft deployed to the United Kingdom to enhance special operations forces.

These are all signs of North America’s continuing commitment to modern transatlantic security.

Europeans are also making important contributions. For instance, by deploying forces on NATO operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. But I believe that European nations can, and should, do more, to match America’s commitment.

Because a strong NATO needs a strong Europe – with strong capabilities, strong defence industries, and strong political commitment.

I would like to see European Allies playing their part to acquire more drones to improve surveillance. More large transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft to enhance their ability to deploy on operations. And more upgraded radars on their ships so they can be integrated into our NATO missile defence.

To deliver a strong Europe we also need a strong European defence industrial base. So far, the European defence industry remains too national and too fragmented. This is why I welcome the European Commission’s proposals to enhance the industry’s efficiency and competitiveness. And to help it to fund research and develop new military technologies.

Finally, a strong Europe will require strong political will. To increase defence spending when our economies start to recover, as they will. To develop long-term procurement and investment programmes. And to assume more security responsibilities in Europe’s neighbourhood.

I was encouraged by the debate we had at the recent European Union defence ministerial in Vilnius. So I expect the European Council on security and defence in December to demonstrate strong political commitment. It will help to strengthen Europe. It will help to strengthen the transatlantic partnership. And it will help to rebalance NATO. This is an opportunity not to be missed.

Finally, our third priority is to develop a truly global perspective of security, and the partnerships to match that perspective.

I welcome the increased attention that the United States is paying to the Asia-Pacific region. This is also in Europe’s interest. It is certainly not at the expense of the transatlantic relationship. On the contrary, by paying greater attention to Asia and the Pacific, the United States is also contributing to Europe’s security and well-being. Earlier this year, I visited South Korea and Japan. And I was struck by how well these partners understand our interdependence.

Security today can only be cooperative security. Dialogue and cooperation with partners play an integral part in helping our understanding of world events – and in strengthening international stability and security. And we must now deepen our relationships, and widen our network.

In particular, I believe we should explore ways to help others build their security capacity. We have been doing this successfully both in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

NATO’s unique expertise and experience means we are particularly well suited to helping countries manage difficult political transitions. Modernise their security sectors. Train their forces to deal with internal challenges. And assist them in operating together with their neighbours’ forces to manage crises together…

NATO is looking into a request by the Libyan Prime Minister to provide advice in the development of Libya’s national security forces. And I believe other countries in that region could benefit from NATO’s experience and expertise.

I would also like to see NATO further develop co-operative relations with regional organizations – such as the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the African Union. To contribute to regional security including, if they so wish, by developing their capacities to manage future crises.

[T]his is essential for NATO to be ready to deal with the security challenges of today’s globalised world.

The political and military bonds forged in NATO between Europe and North America; our unrivalled capabilities; and our extensive network of partners – form an Alliance that is strong, flexible, and able to perform a wide range of tasks. The tasks we can foresee, and those we can’t yet imagine.

Our job today is to make NATO ready, robust, and rebalanced for the future. So that, in an unpredictable world, it remains an essential source of stability we can all rely on.

Thank you.

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Djibouti: NATO’s New Military Partner In Horn Of Africa

September 19, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 16, 2013

NATO Secretary General thanks Djibouti for counter-piracy efforts

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the President of Djibouti discussed counter-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa and the situation in Somalia during the president’s visit to NATO headquarters on Monday (16 September 2013). The Secretary General thanked President Ismail Omar Guelleh for his country’s leadership role in fighting piracy. “Djibouti’s strong commitment to counter-piracy and your support for our efforts are greatly appreciated,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.

Somalia has been the base for most pirate activity off Africa’s east coast. “We agree on the importance of continued efforts to help stabilise the country, both from a political and security perspective. Because ultimately, the roots of piracy are not at sea, but on land,” said the Secretary General. Despite the fact that the last successful pirate attack happened more than a year ago, ships from NATO’s counter-piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield, maintain a high level of vigilance off the Horn of Africa. “This shows how effective international cooperation can be in the face of such a serious challenge. However, we agree that we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.

The Alliance’s relationship with Djibouti “has real potential,” the Secretary General said, adding that NATO was open to explore further cooperation. A NATO-Djibouti agreement is currently being finalised which would see the establishment of a liaison office in support of Ocean Shield. The Secretary General said that NATO would continue to look at capacity building opportunities during port visits of Allied vessels to Djibouti. “Building capacity in the region is something that both of us see as the key to long-term maritime security off the Horn of Africa,” he said.

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U.S.’s Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti

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Henry de Montherlant: A constant state of crime against humanity

September 19, 2013 1 comment

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

Henry de Montherlant
From Chaos and Night (1963)
Translated by Terence Kilmartin

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It was Europe, it was all those countries whose chancelleries, a week after the pronunciamento, knew that they were not going to support the Republicans, knew that the Republicans were already doomed, and regarded the war as a heaven-sent opportunity to judge, thanks to the corpses of six hundred thousand insignificant caballeros, the quality of the Italian and German forces who would be their enemies of tomorrow..

***

Now less than ever had he the strength of mind to see that his country’s civil war was but a chapter in the worldwide civil war that had long been in progress.

***

For twenty years he had been in exile, and it seemed to him that they were disposed to welcome him with a “What! Already!” as soldiers on leave during the First World War were greeted when they reappeared after five or six months of hell (at least according to a joke of the time – not such a joke as all that).

***

Celestino had noticed in Paris that any innovation whatsoever, sooner or later, without fail – literally without fail – turned out to have been copied from the Americans. As a result he had come to the conclusion that the French had lost the art of invention and creation. But it was the same in Madrid. This servility went even further in that it was no longer a question of copying the Americans but of not offending them. In Spain, as in France, and no doubt elsewhere, things that were good in themselves, and long-established in the country, were abolished with the stroke of a pen, because they displeased American tourists – and heaven knows what tourists, heaven knows what specimens of superior humanity!

***

More and more wary and more and more duped, more and more vicious and more and more mocked, more and more both impotent and dangerous, ineluctably doomed to die and yet still capable of killing: such was the bull at the end of its life, and such is man.

***

Suddenly a noise that was by way of being musical erupted outside: somebody’s radio was belching forth a North-American popular song, based on a hysterical rhythm, a hideous twitching and shaking of male and female monkeys. Nothing that Celestino, even in his worst nightmares, had imagined happening at such a time was comparable to this. He had been ready to face death in a spirit of conciliation. And now this noise was forcing him to die in a mood of just revolt and just hatred. The nation that had corrupted the world – that had corrupted Spain and Russia even, the only two countries worthy of his interest and his love – had risen up to corrupt his dying breath. It had arrived just in time to destroy the solemnity of his final hour, to snatch his soul from him or make a mockery of it, at the moment when it was his most sacred right to be in possession of his soul, his own soul as he wanted it to be.

…The ear-splitting squawks and hiccoughs went on, depriving him of all consciousness of being a human being, for the dehumanization they implied was such in his eyes that anyone who listened to them became dehumanized. And yet, almost throughout the entire planet, millions of people were listening to it with enjoyment! Yankee baseness, with demoniacal cunning, had probed men’s baser instincts, exacerbating and sometimes bringing them to the surface. He remembered the final sentence of his “famous” article on the United States, the one he intended to read to Ruiz the day they had quarrelled, and which in the end he had not even tried to place: “A single nation that has succeeded in lowering the intelligence, the morality, the quality of the human race almost throughout the globe is a phenomenon never before experienced since the beginning of the world. I accuse the United States of being in a constant state of crime against humanity.”

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Russia, China To Continue Coordinating Efforts On Syria

September 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Itar-Tass
September 18, 2013

Russia and China agree to continue coordination of efforts to resolve Syrian crisis

MOSCOW: Russia and China have agreed to further coordinate their efforts within the United Nations Security Council and other international organizations to resolve the Syrian problem, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday after a meeting between Russian president’s Middle East envoy and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov with China’s Ambassador to Moscow Li Hui.

The two diplomats “discussed the development of the situation around Syria in the context of the tasks of the soonest implementation of the Russia-US agreements on the Syrian chemical weapons and the launch of the political settlement process in Syria on the basis of the Geneva communiqué· of June 30, 2012 by means of convening an international conference on Syria,” the ministry said.

“The sides reiterated their commitment to continue close and efficient coordination of Russia’s and China’s efforts on the Syrian problem within the United Nations Security Council and in other international formats,” the ministry noted.

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Xinhua News Agency
September 18, 2013

Chinese, Russian FMs discuss Syria crisis on phone

BEIJING: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had a comprehensive and in-depth exchange of views on the Syria crisis via phone on Tuesday, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Wang said China welcomes the Russia-U.S. deal on Syria, hoping that the accord could be implemented as soon as possible.

The Chinese side holds the belief that a military approach cannot solve the conflict, Wang said, adding that China will continue to contribute to facilitating a political solution to the crisis and make due efforts.

Lavrov appreciated China’s stand. Both sides agreed to keep close contacts and coordination on the issue.

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Itar-Tass
September 18, 2013

Russia supports Syria and country’s counteraction to terror

BEIRUT: The Syrian people “values highly Russia’s position and the country’s support to counteract any hostile acts and terror,” Syrian President Bashar Assad stated on Wednesday, adding that Russia’s stance “resurrects hope for a new balance of power on the global arena.”
Assad received Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Damascus on Wednesday.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly that Russia believes that the evidence suggesting that the chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21could be a provocation must be thoroughly looked into,

Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said on Thursday, September 12 that Syria has become a full member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

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Interfax
September 18, 2013

Damascus provides new info on opposition’s involvement in chemical weapons use – Ryabkov

DAMASCUS: Syria has provided Russian experts with additional evidence that the opposition used chemical weapons and it can be considered “very convincing,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“There is some confusion in this regard. We received additional proof, which had been gathered and analyzed by the Syrian authorities. They consider it to be evidence of chemical weapons use by the so-called Syrian opposition in eastern Ghouta on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th,” Ryabkov told reporters in Damascus on Wednesday.

“This is not news, this is not what makes headlines,” Ryabkov said.

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Russian Information Agency Novosti
September 18, 2013

Russia to Submit Its Syria Chemical Attack Findings to UN

VALDAI: Moscow will soon submit to the United Nations findings indicating that the Syrian opposition had used chemical weapons during the deadly civil war, the Russian foreign minister said Wednesday.

“Reports about the use of chemical weapons [in Syria] reflect the fact that the opposition regularly resorts to provocations seeking to trigger [foreign military] strikes and intervention in Syria. We have enough evidence [to prove it],” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during the 10th annual meeting of the Valdai Club, a Kremlin-backed discussion forum that brings together Russian and foreign politicians, academics and other public figures.

“We have information related to the incidents that took place in August in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, a lot of information. We will take it all to the UN Security Council,” he added.

UN inspectors said Monday that they had found “clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, were used in an August 21 attack in Ghouta that killed hundreds of people.

The US and some of its Western allies have attributed the attack to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Moscow and Syria have repeatedly called it a provocation by anti-Assad rebels.

Lavrov said Syrian officials had handed over evidence indicating the opposition’s possible involvement in the chemical attack to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is currently on a visit to Damascus.

“I haven’t familiarized myself with it yet, but I’m convinced that the experts would work with it and, of course, we would submit it to the UN Security Council,” Lavrov said.

Ryabkov traveled to Damascus to discuss Syria’s compliance with the US-Russian plan to place Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles under international control.

“We expect all the sides to honor this deal,” Lavrov said.

According to a Valdai Club participant, political expert Gleb Pavlovsky, Lavrov said Russia had no plans of pressing for Assad’s resignation.
“Lavrov refuses to persuade Assad to leave [his post]. Moscow has no experience of political engineering like that,” Pavlovsky wrote on his Facebook page.

On September 14, after days of intense negotiations, Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry announced an ambitious plan under which all chemical weapons in Syria would be made available to international inspectors by November and destroyed by mid-2014.

Two days later, it became evident that the two states differ in their approaches to the plan.

The United States is pushing for a UN Security Council resolution that would allow the use of military force against Syria in response to its failure to comply with the plan, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday, hours after Lavrov said that option was a nonstarter.

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Interfax
September 18, 2013

Moscow to send to UN SC proof that insurgents used chemical weapons in Ghouta – Lavrov

MOSCOW: Russia intends to provide the proof, provided by Damascus, that the opposition used chemical weapons in eastern Ghouta near Damascus, to the UN Security Council.

“Of course, we will provide all of this to the UN Security Council,” Russian Foreign Minister told reporters following his speech at the Valdai Discussion Club.

This proof has been given to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Damascus.

Lavrov said that the materials given to Ryabkov confirm that the events in Ghouta on August 21 were of a provocative character. At the same time, Lavrov said he had not yet studied these materials but was certain experts would deal with them.

“We have enough evidence that the reports on chemical weapons reflect the fact that the opposition frequently resorts to such provocations in order to cause strikes [and foreign military] intervention. There is a lot of information. It is widely accessible on the Internet. This information is stipulated in the report our experts prepared on the events related to the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo in March 2013. And indeed there is a lot of information regarding the incidents, which took place in the Ghouta district near Damascus in August. We will consider all of this in the [UN] Security Council together with the report, which has been provided by UN experts, confirming the fact that chemical weapons were used. And it will be found out who did this,” Lavrov said.

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Russian Parliament Slams U.S. For Ignoring Mass Killing Of Syrian Kurds

September 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
September 18, 2013

Russian Lawmaker Slams US for ‘Silence’ Over Killing of Syrian Kurds

MOSCOW: A senior Russian lawmaker bristled at Washington on Wednesday for its “silence” about the recent killing of hundreds of civilian Kurds by a jihadist rebel group linked to al-Qaida in Syria’s civil war.

Some 450 Kurds, most of them women and children, were killed by the al-Nusra Front between July 28 and August 2 near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. The Front is linked to al-Qaida and is considered a terrorist group by the United Nations.

“Why is the US silent?” Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said on Twitter.

“Where is the moral compass of [US Secretary of State] John Kerry?” he added in an apparent reference to Kerry’s own reported use of the idiom.

In late August, Kerry was quoted by The Associated Press as saying that anyone who thinks that the August 21 chemical attack outside Damascus was fabricated needs to check “their own moral compass.” Washington insisted that the deadly attack, which killed hundreds, was carried out by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, while Damascus and Moscow blamed anti-Assad rebels for the attack.

In early August, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the United Nations Security Council to condemn the attacks on Kurdish civilians.

Kurds are Syria’s largest ethnic minority, accounting for more than 10 percent of the country’s 23 million population, and are mostly concentrated in impoverished northeastern regions sandwiched between Turkey and Iraq, according to The Associated Press.

Until recently, the Kurdish areas appeared relatively calm amid Syria’s civil war, which has claimed more than 100,000 lives since March 2011, according to the United Nations and Western media reports. But recent jihadist attacks on Kurdish communities along the Turkish border caused tens of thousands of Kurds to flee to neighboring Iraq, the reports said.

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Kyrgyzstan: NATO Partner On The Chinese Border

September 18, 2013 1 comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
September 17, 2013

Secretary General says NATO is open to expand cooperation with Kyrgyzstan

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev on Tuesday (17 September 2013) that the Alliance is open to expand its cooperation with Kyrgyzstan, as well as providing support to democratic reforms. “Kyrgyzstan is a valuable partner for NATO,” the Secretary General said. “We appreciate your commitment to dialogue and cooperation and we appreciate your commitment to develop your country’s democratic institutions.”

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said the Alliance could expand its cooperation with Kyrgyzstan into other areas where cooperation would make a real difference. “I am confident that we can be more ambitious in our cooperation, for example, in disaster response, logistics and defence reform,” he said. The Secretary General stressed that “cooperation is also based on shared values and democratic principles. These are the essence of the Partnership for Peace. We addressed this today and I encourage you, Mr. President, to strengthen democratic institutions and ensure protection of minorities and human rights.”

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The Secretary General thanked President Atambayev for his country’s cooperation in helping to build security and stability in Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan is helping NATO’s mission in Afghanistan by facilitating the transit of NATO equipment. It also participates in the NATO-Russia Council programme to train counter-narcotics officers from Afghanistan and across the region. “We all know that a stable and secure Afghanistan will help sustain a stable and secure region,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.

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

September 18, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Joseph Conrad: Selections on war

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Joseph Conrad
From Poland Revisted (1915)

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Any trickle of oversea trade that passes yet that way must be creeping along cautiously with the unlighted, war-blighted black coast close on one hand, and sudden death on the other. For all the space we steamed through that Sunday evening must now be one great minefield, sown thickly with the seeds of hate; while submarines steal out to sea, over the very spot perhaps where the insect-dinghy put a pilot on board of us with so much fussy importance. Mines; Submarines. The last word in sea-warfare! Progress – impressively disclosed by this war.

There have been other wars! Wars not inferior in the greatness of the stake and in the fierce animosity of feelings. During that one which was finished a hundred years ago it happened that while the English Fleet was keeping watch on Brest, an American, perhaps Fulton himself, offered to the Maritime Prefect of the port and to the French Admiral, an invention which would sink all the unsuspecting English ships one after another – or, at any rate most of them. The offer was not even taken into consideration; and the Prefect ends his report to the Minister in Paris with a fine phrase of indignation: “It is not the sort of death one would deal to brave men.”

And behold, before history had time to hatch another war of the like proportions in the intensity of aroused passions and the greatness of issues, the dead flavour of archaism descended on the manly sentiment of those self-denying words. Mankind has been demoralised since by its own mastery of mechanical appliances. Its spirit is apparently so weak now, and its flesh has grown so strong, that it will face any deadly horror of destruction and cannot resist the temptation to use any stealthy, murderous contrivance. It has become the intoxicated slave of its own detestable ingenuity. It is true, too, that since the Napoleonic time another sort of war-doctrine has been inculcated in a nation, and held out to the world.

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Thousands Of U.S., Filipino Troops To Hold Amphibious Exercise

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Xinhua News Agency
September 17, 2013

Philippine, U.S. forces to hold amphibious exercise

MANILA: Thousands of U.S. and Filipino forces are due to commence on Wednesday an amphibious exercise in the northern Philippine province of Zambales, the Philippine military said on Tuesday.

The exercise, to last until Oct. 11, will involve 2,300 Filipino and U.S. soldiers. A number of naval assets from both sides will also be utilized for the bilateral exercise.

Vince Edward Salmingo, public affairs officer of the annual RP- U.S. Amphibious Landing Exercise or PHIBLEX, said the venue of the joint exercise includes San Antonio, Zambales, home of the Naval Education and Training Command where the opening ceremony will be held.

The other venues of the exercise are Crow Valley in Capas, Tarlac Province; Marine Base Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite Province; Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Metro Manila; and Basa Airbase and Clark Field in Pampanga Province.

“It is meant to enhance the interoperability of both forces in the conduct of operations,” said Salmingo, adding that the main focus of the training is disaster response, coupled with external defense.

Salmingo said small-boat operations exercise, small-unit training like combat marksmanship, and mortar training will be held at the beach landing area of the Navy facility in San Antonio.

“This is not in (congruence) to the current events,” said Salmingo when asked if the exercise has anything to do with the dispute at China’s Huangyan Island, about 124 nautical miles from Zambales.

“We are just here to train with U.S. counterparts,” said Salmingo, adding that the exercise is not meant to agitate China.

….

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$100 Million Contract: Lockheed Martin To Design NATO Infrastructure

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

IsraelDefense
September 16, 2013

Lockheed Martin to Design NATO Infrastructure
The US company was chosen to design an advanced network infrastructure for NATO’s new HQ. The scope of the project is estimated at nearly $100 million

Lockheed Martin has been chosen to design the Active Network Infrastructure (ANWI) for NATO’s new HQ in Brussels, Belgium. The contract, which is estimated at more than $100 million, also includes options which, if fulfilled, may award the company with a five-year contract for the maintenance of NATO’s network.

For the purpose of the project, Lockheed Martin has assembled a team consisting of the most experienced and leading companies in the US and in Europe, including Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Prodata Systems and Selex Elsag.

NATO’s new HQ in Brussels will serve as the face and heart of the organization, and will represent an example of technological integration and cooperation between the users from the organization’s member states and the nationalities involved in it. The new infrastructure will serve more than 4,500 users at the organization’s HQ, and will provide support for an additional 1,500 visitors and conference guests.

The new infrastructure will include four integrated security networks, capable of operating concertedly with other nations that are NATO members. It will additionally include solutions for verifying information between different compounds, which will provide secure and transparent connectivity; a modern and powerful data center with high availability as well as comprehensive and unified communication and work services.

NATO’s new network is based on systems developed by Lockheed Martin for clients with similar tasks and requirements. In the past 20 years, the company has been responsible for upgrading some of the largest military networks in the US, including those of the Pentagon, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Air Force.

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Erich Maria Remarque: Like a dove, a lonely white dove of assurance and peace

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Erich Maria Remarque: Selections on war

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Erich Maria Remarque
From A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1954)
Translated by Denver Lindley

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He stood in front of the ruins and looked up. The green armchair was missing. Someone must have taken it. In the place where it had stood a few newspapers protruded from the ruins. He climbed up and pulled them out. They were old papers filled with victories and famous names, faded, torn, and dirty. He threw them away and went on searching. After a while, between two beams, he saw a little book, yellow and wilted, lying open as though someone had just left it there. He pulled it out and recognized it. It was one of his schoolbooks. He leafed through the pages to the front and saw his name in pale writing on the first page. He must have written it there when he was twelve or thirteen years old.

It was a school catechism, a book containing hundreds of questions and the answers to them. The pages were spotted and on some of them were notes he himself had written. He stared at them absently. For a moment everything seemed to tremble and he did not know what was trembling – the ruined city with the quiet mother-of-pearl sky above it or the little yellow book in his hands that contained the answers to all the questions of mankind.

He put it aside and continued his search. But he found nothing more – no other books nor anything else from his parents’ home. It would have been unlikely in any case; they had lived on the third floor and their things must have been buried much deeper under the rubble. Probably in the explosion the catechism had been blown high in the air and then, because it was light, had slowly fluttered down. Like a dove, he thought, a lonely white dove of assurance and peace, with all its questions and answers, in a night full of fire and smoke and suffocation and screams and death.

He sat for a while longer on the ruins. The evening wind sprang up and turned the pages of the book. God is merciful, he read, all-bountiful, all-mighty, all-wise, all-knowing: He is infinitely kind and just –

Graeber felt for the bottle Binding had given him. He opened it and took a swallow. Then he climbed down to the street. He did not take the catechism with him.

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NATO Holds Mutlnational Military Exercises In Latvia

September 16, 2013 Leave a comment

LETA
September 16, 2013

NATO exercise ”Steadfast Pyramid 2013” to be conducted in Latvia next week

RIGA: On Monday, September 16, the NATO exercise ”Steadfast Pyramid 2013” will begin at the Latvian National Defense Academy, where 27 high-ranking officers from 16 NATO and NATO partner countries will participate, LETA was informed by the Defense Ministry’s press department.

The exercise will go on until September 20.

Furthermore, from September 23 to 27, the NATO exercise ”Steadfast Pinnacle 2013” will also be held in Latvia.

Demonstrating the strategic partnership among allies and the close connection between NATO and Latvia it is the third time this Latvia has hosted these exercises which focus on commanders and senior staff, across the NATO Command Structure, NATO Force Structure and troop contributing nations to the NATO Response Force. The ultimate goal being to improve command and control skills during planning, preparation and conduct operations, the Latvian defense portal ”Sargs.lv” informs.

The use of fictitious but realistic scenarios built within the context of a non-Article 5 crisis response situation, the candidates from 16 different nations will have the authentic environment to test their planning procedures.

”Pyramid 2013” focuses on the role of commanders in operational planning and decision-making process, while ”Pinnacle 2013” focuses on the role of commanders at operational level.

NATO regularly plans and conducts exercises in order to develop operational capabilities, readiness, standardization and effectiveness, demonstrates its capabilities and the effective integration of forces, however, once the ISAF mission in Afghanistan comes to end NATO will be forced to increasingly rely on exercises in order to enhance cooperation, exploit opportunities for transformation, maintain high-levels of interoperability and help promote NATO’s Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) between member and non-member countries by supporting training programs, ”Sargs.lv” points out.

Exercises ”Steadfast Pyramid” and ”Steadfast Pinnacle” were first conducted in Latvia in 2011. According to the agreement between Latvia and the NATO Supreme Allied

Commander Transformation the exercises will be conducted in Latvia until 2016. During the exercises, Latvia develops the joint operational capability as a host nation and benefits from these exercises by improving abilities to work with other NATO nations.

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Asia-Pacific: Pentagon Launches Long-Range Interceptor Missile

September 16, 2013 1 comment

Missile Defense Agency
September 13, 2013

Successful Missile Defense Test Against Multiple Targets

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The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, and U.S. Pacific Command, in conjunction with U.S. Army soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, U.S. Navy sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73), and U.S. Air Force airmen from the 613th Air and Operations Center successfully conducted a complex missile defense flight test, resulting in the intercept of two medium-range ballistic missile targets.

The test was conducted in the vicinity of the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site and surrounding areas in the western Pacific. The test stressed the ability of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon systems to function in a layered defense architecture and defeat a raid of two near-simultaneous ballistic missile targets.

The two medium-range ballistic missile targets were launched on operationally realistic trajectories towards a defended area near Kwajalein. Along with overhead space assets providing launch alerts, an Army-Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance and Control (AN/TPY-2) radar in Forward Based Mode detected the targets and relayed track information to the Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) system for further transmission to defending BMDS assets.

The USS Decatur with its Aegis Weapon System detected and tracked the first target with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The Aegis BMD weapon system developed a fire control solution, launched a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IA missile, and successfully intercepted the target.

In a demonstration of BMDS layered defense capabilities, a second AN/TPY-2 radar in Terminal Mode, located with the THAAD weapon system, acquired and tracked the target missiles. THAAD developed a fire control solution, launched a THAAD interceptor missile, and successfully intercepted the second medium-range ballistic missile target. THAAD was operated by soldiers from the Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment. As a planned demonstration of THAAD’s layered defense capabilities, a second THAAD interceptor was launched at the target destroyed by Aegis as a contingency in the event the SM-3 did not achieve an intercept.

Initial indications are that all components performed as designed. MDA officials will extensively assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

The event, a designated Flight Test Operational-01 (FTO-01), demonstrated integrated, layered, regional missile defense capabilities to defeat a raid of two threat-representative medium-range ballistic missiles in a combined live-fire operational test. Soldiers, sailors, and airmen from multiple combatant commands operated the systems, and were provided a unique opportunity to refine operational doctrine and tactics while increasing confidence in the execution of integrated air and missile defense plans.

U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System programs have completed 62 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 78 flight test attempts since 2001.

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Arnold Zweig: Reason is the highest patriotism and militarism is evil its very essence

September 16, 2013 Leave a comment

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

Arnold Zweig: Selections on war

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Arnold Zweig
From Young Woman of 1914 (1931)
Translated by Eric Sutton

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“For nearly fifty years I have admired our Prussians, and thought a soldier’s tunic the finest wear in the world; and I would not listen to people who talked about militarism – including yourself, Father. Well, it’s never too late to learn. Reason is the highest patriotism, and militarism is evil its very essence. It will ruin Germany, if it is not kept within some sort of bounds.”

***

As she dried and then lay down to rest, she pondered on what would really happen when peace came again upon the earth. One could then take spiritual stock of oneself, and see how much of one’s moral character had been eroded by the war. One would try to hide the horror that was past; to discipline the feelings, esteem the intellect, and love things of good report. She must wait her time. “We must go through much tribulation,” she hummed softly to herself from an aria that she loved, “we must go through much tribulation before we can enter into the Kingdom of God.” And she hoped that it might prove to be the kingdom of love and of the spirit, and of a better time. In the meantime let us preserve our sense of truth, that we may take up the fabric of civilized life at the point where we laid it down almost two years ago.

Thus, simply and without foreboding, did Lenore Wahl conceive the issue of the war. She may well be pardoned. It was generally so conceived, except by a very few.

***

She eyed him sideways as he wandered through the room, picked up books, stroked their backs, and opened them. He had come upon Schiller’s letters on aesthetic education; together they read the passage in which he writes: “I hope to convince you that this subject is far less foreign to the needs than to the taste of the age; and even that it is through aesthetics that the way lies to the solution of every political problem, since it is through beauty that mankind moves on to freedom.” He put the book back, looked at her and nodded. It was so, and it remained so – merely postponed for a while until the bugles blew for peace.

***

The Russians drove in the front, leapt over the trenches, and killed; they killed their enemy by thrusting a bayonet into his vitals, smashing his skull with a rifle-butt, or blowing him to pieces with a hand-grenade. They killed, took hordes of prisoners, and tore a great archway in the enemy front, through which a victory must pass. But it did not pass. Through it nine hundred thousand men were sent back, and engulfed in Russia, eleven thousand officers, and a rabble of German and Austrian guns and plunder. But behind, where General Brussilov’s proud offensive had not yet reached, new fronts were formed. Men began to grasp the fact that it was now too late to believe in a break-through. Fresh fronts were built with trenches and men’s bodies, with nerves of barbed wire and ligaments of railways. Summer nights, summer days – nights and days of screaming agony and thirst, when men died in tens of thousands. As they lay strewn upon the earth they truly looked no more different from each other than men from Berlin East and Berlin North-West. The offensive came to a standstill, but the war – no: it had already outgrown such offensives.

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