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Archive for May, 2014

Wildred Owen: Strange meeting: I am the enemy you killed, my friend

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

Wildred Owen: Selections on war

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Wildred Owen
Strange Meeting

It seemed that out of the battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which Titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall;
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
With a thousand fears that vision’s face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
‘Strange, friend,’ I said, ‘Here is no cause to mourn.’
‘None,’ said the other, ‘Save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something has been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress,
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery;
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now …

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Siegfried Sassoon: We left our holes and looked above the wreckage of the earth

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

Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

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Siegfried Sassoon
Bombardment

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Four days the earth was rent and torn
By bursting steel,
The houses fell about us;
Three nights we dared not sleep,
Sweating, and listening for the imminent crash
Which meant our death.

The fourth night every man,
Nerve-tortured, racked to exhaustion,
Slept, muttering and twitching,
While the shells crashed overhead.

The fifth day there came a hush;
We left our holes
And looked above the wreckage of the earth
To where the white clouds moved in silent lines
Across the untroubled blue.

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Africa: Laboratory and Battleground for Pentagon’s 21st Century Warfare

RIA Novosti
May 29, 2014

Africa: Laboratory and Battleground for Pentagon’s 21st Century Warfare
Rick Rozoff

MOSCOW: For the United States in the second decade of the 21st century war is being conducted in as risk-free a manner as practicable. In place of large contingents of land forces, armored vehicles and artillery, Hellfire missiles fired from unmanned aerial vehicles and low-profile special operations are the preferred mode of killing adversaries abroad, having the domestic political advantage of not resulting in flag-draped coffins returning to the U.S. in cargo planes.

As the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization war in South and Central Asia – Afghanistan and frequently across the border in Pakistan, with military forces also stationed in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – continues to wind down, drone and special operations warfare are being shifted to the African continent.

The New York Times ran a feature on May 26 reporting that the U.S. Department of Defense has allotted several tens of millions of dollars for training hundreds of elite commandos in the northern African nations of Libya, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The bulk of the train and equip programs targeting the four nations are, according to the Times, being conducted by U.S. Army’s Green Berets and Delta Force (the Army’s contribution to Joint Special Operations Command).

The program is described as being secretive and financed by what the newspaper characterizes as “classified Pentagon spending.” Unlike smaller, independent news outlets, U.S. newspapers of record like the New York Times and Washington Post don’t have to cite sources or in other manners substantiate their contentions, especially when regurgitating State Department propaganda and leaking information Washington wants to get out to the public one degree removed.

The Pentagon has budgeted over $16 million in Libya to instruct and equip two companies of elite troops for what appear to be counterinsurgency operations; in Mauritania $29 million has been apportioned for comparable purposes; in Niger $15 million and in Mali an undisclosed amount.

A few days earlier U.S. commander-in-chief Barack Obama announced the deployment of 80 U.S. troops to Chad allegedly to assist in the search for 300 Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram.

A Washington Post article of May 21 has a map showing where U.S. military personnel (largely special forces) are already stationed in sub-Saharan Africa. It shows twelve countries colored in, most all in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and Central Africa: Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. This list doesn’t include the island nation of Seychelles where the U.S. has based Reaper drones and troops since 2009 and the nations of North Africa, including Libya and Morocco, where the U.S. has what is assumed to be a permanent military presence.

Earlier this month the Pentagon signed a new ten-year agreement with the diminutive Horn of Africa nation Djibouti for the continued use of Camp Lemmonier, where the U.S. has deployed thousands of troops, including special operations forces, with the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa since 2003.

Washington has used Djibouti and Ethiopia for drone attacks inside Somalia and Yemen and has employed Niger for drone flights over Mali as part of the Pentagon’s support for the French counterinsurgency war in the latter country. The U.S. has been directly involved in the war there against Tuareg militias for perhaps a decade, where in 2007 an American C-130 Hercules military transport plane was hit by rifle fire while dropping supplies to Malian troops under siege by Tuareg forces.

Also earlier this month, the Defense Department announced an $8.5 million contract to the Florida-based AAR Airlift Group to supply services for the U.S. Army in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Congo and Uganda, the four nations the Obama administration dispatched special forces troops to in 2011 for counterinsurgency operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army.

In March President Obama ordered what the news media referred to as a sharp increase in U.S. special operations forces deployed to Uganda and also sent CV-22 Osprey aircraft to that nation for the first time.
The preceding month U.S. Africa Command led this year’s iteration of the (since 2005) annual Flintlock special forces/counterinsurgency military exercise in Niger. Over 1,000 troops from the U.S. and its NATO allies Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands and this year’s host country, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal participated. Past participants have also included NATO’s Germany, Italy and Spain and Africa’s Algeria, Mali, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.

The opening ceremonies included addresses by Special Operations Command Africa Commanding General Brigadier General James Linder and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara Commander Colonel Kenneth Sipperly of the U.S.

The large-scale Flintlock exercises grew out of the State Department’s Pan-Sahel Initiative, which was superseded in 2005 by the Pentagon’s Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative, now subsumed under U.S. Africa Command.

(Incidentally, the current head of U.S. Special Operations Command is Admiral William Harry McRaven, who before arriving at his current post was in charge of Joint Special Operations Command and was the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre, overseeing the enhanced interoperability of all NATO special operations forces.)

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the first and to date sole overseas regional military command the Pentagon has inaugurated in the post-Cold War era. Washington will continue to wage bloody proxy wars from Syria to Ukraine, but its direct operations seem to be focused on Africa, with the 2011 six-month AFRICOM-NATO war against Libya, Operations Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector, the opening salvo in the current phase.

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Franz Werfel: Waging currish, cowardly war to plunder the poor

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

Franz Werfel: Selections on war

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Franz Werfel
From The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1933)
Translated by Geoffrey Dunlop

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The power of any warrior race is dependent on magic belief in invincibility, and the morale engendered by it. So that, for those who take the sword, every value totters with a defeat, and their very foundations seem to crumble…

“…You have made a few superficial investigations into the essence of the chemical elements. And what happens, then – when you act from your imperfect knowledge? You manufacture the poison gases, with which you wage your currish, cowardly wars. And is it any different with your flying-machines? You will only use them to bomb whole cities to the ground. Meanwhile, they only serve to nourish usurers and profit-makers, and enable them to plunder the poor as fast as possible…

“…Since politics, industry, agriculture, military science – what is all that but the fabrication of dung, even though perhaps the dung may be necessary. If you take his dung away from a human animal, what remains in his soul is the worst possible agony, boredom! He can’t stand himself. And that boredom produces everything bad in the world, political hatred, mass murder!…”

“Render unto Caesar – ”

“But what is Caesar’s – apart from a worn-out penny piece? Christ was too wise to tell us that. No! No! the peoples are the slaves of their racial differences. And their flatterers, who want to live off them, intensify such things and stimulate their vanity. As though there were any special merit in being born a dog or a cat, a turnip or a potato. Jesus Christ, Who gives us the eternal example of the divine man, only put on human form in order to conquer it. So that on earth only the true sons of Gods should rule, from the very fact that they have conquered their race, their earthly conditioning…”

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George Bernard Shaw: Little Minds and Big Battles

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

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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George Bernard Shaw
From Preface to Heartbreak House (1919)

NPG x81840; George Bernard Shaw by Elliott & Fry

Little Minds and Big Battles

Nobody will be able to understand the vagaries of public feeling during the war unless they bear constantly in mind that the war in its entire magnitude did not exist for the average civilian. He could not conceive even a battle, much less a campaign. To the suburbs the war was nothing but a suburban squabble. To the miner and navvy it was only a series of bayonet fights between German champions and English ones. The enormity of it was quite beyond most of us. Its episodes had to be reduced to the dimensions of a railway accident or a shipwreck before it could produce any effect on our minds at all. To us the ridiculous bombardments of Scarborough and Ramsgate were colossal tragedies, and the battle of Jutland a mere ballad. The words “after thorough artillery preparation” in the news from the front meant nothing to us; but when our seaside trippers learned that an elderly gentleman at breakfast in a week-end marine hotel had been interrupted by a bomb dropping into his egg-cup, their wrath and horror knew no bounds. They declared that this would put a new spirit into the army; and had no suspicion that the soldiers in the trenches roared with laughter over it for days, and told each other that it would do the blighters at home good to have a taste of what the army was up against. Sometimes the smallness of view was pathetic. A man would work at home regardless of the call “to make the world safe for democracy.” His brother would be killed at the front. Immediately he would throw up his work and take up the war as a family blood feud against the Germans. Sometimes it was comic. A wounded man, entitled to his discharge, would return to the trenches with a grim determination to find the Hun who had wounded him and pay him out for it.

It is impossible to estimate what proportion of us, in khaki or out of it, grasped the war and its political antecedents as a whole in the light of any philosophy of history or knowledge of what war is. I doubt whether it was as high as our proportion of higher mathematicians. But there can be no doubt that it was prodigiously outnumbered by the comparatively ignorant and childish. Remember that these people had to be stimulated to make the sacrifices demanded by the war, and that this could not be done by appeals to a knowledge which they did not possess, and a comprehension of which they were incapable. When the armistice at last set me free to tell the truth about the war at the following general election, a soldier said to a candidate whom I was supporting, “If I had known all that in 1914, they would never have got me into khaki.” And that, of course, was precisely why it had been necessary to stuff him with a romance that any diplomatist would have laughed at. Thus the natural confusion of ignorance was increased by a deliberately propagated confusion of nursery bogey stories and melodramatic nonsense, which at last overreached itself and made it impossible to stop the war before we had not only achieved the triumph of vanquishing the German army and thereby overthrowing its militarist monarchy, but made the very serious mistake of ruining the centre of Europe, a thing that no sane European State could afford to do.

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Alexander Herzen: Blood replaced by tears, the field of battle by forgotten tombs

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

Russian writers on war

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war

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Alexander Herzen
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett

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“…One’s ears are still ringing with the the sound of shots, the tramp of racing cavalry, the heavy rumblings of cannon-wheels through the dead streets; individual details flash upon the memory – a wounded man holding on to the stretcher, with his hand to his side, a few drops of blood trickling down it; the omnibuses filled with corpses, the prisoners with bound hands, the cannon on the Place de la Bastille…” [From a letter of his wife Natalie]

…Byron has a description of a battlefield at night; its blood-stained details are hidden in the darkness; at dawn, when the battle has long been over, its traces – a sword-blade and bloodstained clothes – are seen. It was just such a dawn that rose now in the soul, it lighted up just such a scene of fearful desolation. Half of our hopes, half of our beliefs were slain, ideas of scepticism and despair haunted the brain and took root in it. One could never have supposed that, after passing through so many trials, after being schooled by contemporary scepticism, we had so much in our souls to be destroyed.

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We know the events as a whole, but have no record of the lives of the persons who were directly dependent on them, though it was through those events that lives unchronicled were broken and ruined, blood replaced by tears, devastated towns by desolate families, the field of battle by forgotten tombs.

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Second Stage Interoperability: NATO Trains For Combat In Europe

May 26, 2014 1 comment

Second Stage Interoperability: NATO Trains For Combat In Europe
Rick Rozoff

U.S. Army Europe is currently conducting a fifteen-nation, 4,000-troop military exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in that Bavarian city.

The war games, code-named Combined Resolve-II, involve military personnel from thirteen European nations and one pseudo-nation, Kosovo.

All fifteen parties involved were identified on NATO’s Allied Command Operations website as NATO allies (members) and partners (prospective members) “training for future operations.”

This is perhaps the first time that the 28-nation, U.S.-controlled military bloc has acknowledged Kosovo as an alliance partner, although the latter’s fledgling army, the Kosovo Security Force, was created by NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) and has been trained and provided with arms, armored vehicles and even uniforms by NATO as a whole and by respective member states of the bloc.

One of the other NATO partners, a member of the bloc’s Partnership for Peace program which has been used to prepare all twelve post-Cold War alliance members for accession, is Serbia – the nation that NATO wrested Kosovo from fifteen years ago after an overpowering 78-day air war against the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of which Serbia was the core.

In addition to the U.S., Kosovo and Serbia, the other participating countries are NATO stalwarts France and Belgium, new NATO members in Eastern Europe – Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovenia – and Partnership for Peace members Austria and Georgia.

The NATO account of the event reiterates a theme commonly addressed over the past eighteen or so months: that with the drawdown of troops from no fewer than fifty NATO member and partner states in Afghanistan, the bloc’s new integrated, combat-melded global military force – trained and hardened by over twenty years of war and post-war deployments in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Iraq (only partially acknowledged as a NATO operation), Libya and the Horn of Africa – is now being used by the U.S. for use in Europe.

The most significant paragraph of the NATO account of Combined Resolve-II (which includes the use of “cutting edge battlefield simulation equipment”) cited above states:

“NATO and many Allied and Partnered nations have served most recently in Afghanistan and trained together for many years to develop and refine their standard operating procedures. Training on the scale of Combined Resolve-II allows these nations to test these standard operating procedures in near combat like scenarios.”

The website of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center offers an intriguing history of the Pentagon’s Hohenfels Training Area, one that is surely pertinent to contemporary developments.

The training area was established by the Nazi German Wehrmacht in 1938, the year before Berlin’s invasion of Poland and the beginning of World War II in Europe.

In 1951 it passed into the hands of the American armed forces, which employed (and doubtlessly expanded and modernized) it exclusively until 1956. With the U.S. and NATO allies assisting in the formation of a new German army, the Bundeswehr, in West Germany in 1955 and its immediate incorporation into NATO (thereby provoking the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies to found the Warsaw Pact) , U.S. military personnel at the Hohenfels Training Area were joined by West German forces and the facility was used by NATO nations until 1988 under the name of the Combat Maneuver Training Center.

Toward the end of 2005 the latter was renamed the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC), which transformation, in the words of its website, “leverages the unique capability of the JMRC to train U.S. forces for joint and multinational coalition warfare” and “provides the best opportunity for U.S. Forces to train with their coalition partners prior to joining them in combat.”

The site reports that over 60,000 U.S., NATO and NATO partnership forces are trained for the above purpose each year.

Stage two of Washington’s use of NATO to train, deploy and employ the international military force that they have jointly crafted in the post-Cold War era has commenced. Trained abroad, it will now be used at home: Europe.

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Shakespeare: So inured to war that mothers smile as their children are slain

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

William Shakespeare
From Julius Caesar

ANTONY

Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

CASSIUS

Coming from Sardis, on our former ensign
Two mighty eagles fell, and there they perch’d,
Gorging and feeding from our soldiers’ hands;
Who to Philippi here consorted us:
This morning are they fled away and gone;
And in their steads do ravens, crows and kites,
Fly o’er our heads and downward look on us,
As we were sickly prey: their shadows seem
A canopy most fatal, under which
Our army lies, ready to give up the ghost.

CALPURNIA

Caesar, I never stood on ceremonies,
Yet now they fright me. There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn’d, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Caesar! these things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.

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Maxim Gorky: “That’s what war is for – to seize foreign land or depopulate one’s own”

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

Russian writers on war

Maxim Gorky: Selections on war

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Maxim Gorky
From Fragments From My Diary (1923)
Translated by Moura Budberg

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Excerpts from Some Views on the War:

In the garden in front of the Narodni Dom a heterogeneous group of people was listening to the bold words of a little soldier. He had a bandage around his head and his bright eyes shone with inspiration. He spoke in a high-pitched voice, and clutched at the people standing next to him, in his anxiety to impress his audience.

‘As a matter of fact,’ he said, ‘we are, of course the stronger, but in every other respect we can’t hold a candle to them. The German fights with calculation, he uses soldiers carefully, whereas we – slap bang! – all the gruel’s thrown into the pot at once…’

A huge, sturdy peasant in a torn overcoat here remarked in a weighty, business-like way: ‘We’ve got more people than we know what to do with. Thank God we go to work differently than the Germans. Our whole object is to reduce the number of people in this country, so that those who survive can have more room.’

He yawned luxuriously as he said this. I tried to detect some irony in his words, but his face may have been carved out of stone, and his eyes were calm and sleepy.

A grey, crumpled-up little man chime in. ‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘That’s what war is for – either to seize a foreign land or to diminish the number of people in our own.’

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On the whole I find that the man in the street speaks of this abominable, desecrating slaughter as though it were something to which he is a complete stranger, something that he is watching as a spectator; something he speaks of with a certain amount of ill-will, though I cannot make out against whom this ill-will is directed. Criticism of the authorities has not perceptibly increased, nor does opposition to them seem to be growing. What is noticeable is the rise of a disgusting, common anarchism…

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George Bernard Shaw: Gadarene swine running violently into a hell of high explosives

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

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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George Bernard Shaw
From Preface to Saint Joan (1924)

George Bernard Shaw

The legal and conventional superiority of Herod and Pilate, and of Annas and Caiaphas, inspires fear; but the fear, being a reasonable fear of measurable and avoidable consequences which seem salutary and protective, is bearable; whilst the strange superiority of Christ and the fear it inspires elicit a shriek of Crucify Him from all who cannot divine its benevolence. Socrates has to drink the hemlock, Christ to hang on the cross, and Joan to burn at the stake, whilst Napoleon, though he ends in St Helena, at least dies in his bed there; and many terrifying but quite comprehensible official scoundrels die natural deaths in all the glory of the kingdoms of this world, proving that it is far more dangerous to be a saint than to be a conqueror.

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Does not the present cry of Back to the Middle Ages, which has been incubating ever since the pre-Raphaelite movement began, mean that it is no longer our Academy pictures that are intolerable, but our credulities that have not the excuse of being superstitions, our cruelties that have not the excuse of barbarism, our persecutions that have not the excuse of religious faith, our shameless substitution of successful swindlers and scoundrels and quacks for saints as objects of worship, and our deafness and blindness to the calls and visions of the inexorable power that made us, and will destroy us if we disregard it? To Joan and her contemporaries we should appear as a drove of Gadarene swine, possessed by all the unclean spirits cast out by the faith and civilization of the Middle Ages, running violently down a steep place into a hell of high explosives. For us to set up our condition as a standard of sanity, and declare Joan mad because she never condescended to it, is to prove that we are not only lost but irredeemable. Let us then once for all drop all nonsense about Joan being cracked, and accept her as at least as sane as Florence Nightingale, who also combined a very simple iconography of religious belief with a mind so exceptionally powerful that it kept her in continual trouble with the medical and military panjandrums of her time.

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A trial by Joan’s French partisans would have been as unfair as the trial by her French opponents; and an equally mixed tribunal would have produced a deadlock. Such recent trials as those of Edith Cavell by a German tribunal and Roger Casement by an English one were open to the same objection; but they went forward to the death nevertheless, because neutral tribunals were not available. Edith, like Joan, was an arch heretic: in the middle of the war she declared before the world that ‘Patriotism is not enough.’ She nursed enemies back to health, and assisted their prisoners to escape, making it abundantly clear that she would help any fugitive or distressed person without asking whose side he was on, and acknowledging no distinction before Christ between Tommy and Jerry and Pitou the poilu. Well might Edith have wished that she could bring the Middle Ages back, and have fifty civilians, learned in the law or vowed to the service of God, to support two skilled judges in trying her case according to the Catholic law of Christendom, and to argue it out with her at sitting after sitting for many weeks. The modern military Inquisition was not so squeamish. It shot her out of hand; and her countrymen, seeing in this a good opportunity for lecturing the enemy on his intolerance, put up a statue to her, but took particular care not to inscribe on the pedestal ‘Patriotism is not enough’, for which omission, and the lie it implies, they will need Edith’s intercession when they are themselves brought to judgment, if any heavenly power thinks such moral cowards capable of pleading to an intelligible indictment.

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U.S. Tests Advanced Missile For NATO Interceptor System

May 23, 2014 1 comment

U.S. Tests Advanced Missile For NATO Interceptor System
Rick Rozoff

Russian version

The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the U.S. Navy and the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex and Pacific Missile Range Facility conducted what was described as a successful first flight test of the program alternately known as the Aegis Ashore and the European Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile system.

The latter was announced in September 2009 by the then-new Barack Obama administration in place of plans by the preceding George W. Bush White House to station ten Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missiles in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic in a shift that at the time was described by President Obama as a “stronger, smarter, and swifter” initial implementation of what the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s named the Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as Star Wars, missile defense.

The Aegis Combat System is a project of the U.S. Navy which has also come to include Aegis class warships (destroyers, cruisers and frigates) in the navies of allies Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain. In total over 100 guided missile warships, including 62 U.S. Arleigh Burke class destroyers (each equipped with 90 missiles) and 22 U.S. Ticonderoga class cruisers with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors on board.

Aegis Ashore entails, as the name suggests, placing Standard Missile-3s, until now exclusively ship-based, on land. At first 24 latest-generation SM-3s, Block IB of the sort tested on May 21, in Romania next year, with a projected basing of 24 Block IIA missiles in Poland in 2018. (Plans for the latter deployment have been in abeyance of late, but with the American and NATO military build-up in Eastern Europe this year escalating almost by the day, resumption of the Polish plan seems almost inevitable. The U.S. placed a Patriotic Advance Capability-3 interceptor missile battery in Morag, Poland four years ago this month.)

NATO deployed an antiballistic missile Forward Based X-band radar to Turkey in 2012.

The European Phased Adaptive Approach system was endorsed by NATO at its summit in Lisbon, Portugal in December of 2010 and at the NATO summit in Chicago in May of 2012 the military bloc announced that the system had achieved interim capability with the establishment of command and control capability at NATOs Headquarters Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany and the beginning of the permanent deployment of U.S. Aegis class warships equipped with SM-3s to the Mediterranean Sea, the U.S. Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility, with ever more frequent incursions into the Black Sea as well. The Naval Station Rota in Spain now hosts four U.S. interceptor missile warships.

The current version of U.S.-initiated interceptor missile system has incorporated or subsumed the U.S–Germany-Italy Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and NATO’s Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) program.

The U.S. and NATO are now prepared to add interceptor missiles to the deployment of troops, warplanes and warships in the ongoing military build-up in Eastern Europe.

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Siegfried Sassoon: The unheroic dead who fed the guns, those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones

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

Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

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Siegfried Sassoon
On Passing The New Menin Gate

Who will remember, passing through this Gate,
the unheroic dead who fed the guns?
Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate,-
Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?

Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
The armies who endured that sullen swamp.

Here was the world’s worst wound. And here with pride
‘Their name liveth for ever’, the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
as these intolerably nameless names?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.

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Joseph Kessel: War’s ultimate fratricide, killed for not killing

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

Joseph Kessel: In my family, war is in the blood…the blood of others

Joseph Kessel: The monstrous ululation of an air-raid siren

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Joseph Kessel
From The Medici Fountain (1950)
Translated by Herma Briffault

KESSEL Joseph

Richard drew near the lieutenant and spoke in a lower voice.

“Do you know what we’re hearing about mutinies on this sector?”

“One more reason for my program! No such thing will happen in my company. Besides, the Senegalese are not far off.”

“Bernan, for the last time, I ask you to give up the part you are playing.” Richard’s voice became suddenly very firm. “There are Senegalese troops in the nearby village. And your father will not come to your rescue.”

Etienne’s ashen and bearded face was momentarily convulsed with wild laughter.

“My father! Why, I loathe and detest him now! He’s the friend of all the parlor-generals who hung up those corpses of our buddies on the barbed wire. Don’t you worry, I’ll die without appealing to him. Die like the others. Can’t you see, Dalleau, that nothing matters to us now?”

Two truckloads of Senegalese sharpshooters had arrived in front of the house. They jumped down on the grass, guns at the ready, while some officers set up a battery of machine guns. The officer in command of the detachment was no older than Richard. He coolly saluted Béliard.

“At your orders!”

Béliard scratched his head, looked at Richard, then considered his pipe.

“No hurry, now,” he said. “Come into my office.”

Once there, he took his canteen from its hook on the wall and swallowed a big draught of red wine before speaking.

“I’ve bothered you for nothing, my man,” he muttered. “There was more smoke than fire, and we put it out all by ourselves.”

The face of the young officer cleared.

“We’ve shot quite a number these days,” he said in a low voice. “And among them, married men with families…”

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Edgar Saltus: Soldiers and no farmers; imperial sterility…and demise

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

American writers on peace and against war

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Edgar Saltus
From Imperial Purple (1892)

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Conquest once solidified, the rest was easy…The principalities and kingdoms that of their own wish [a wish often suggested, and not always amicably either] became allies of Rome and mingled their freedom with hers, entered into an alliance whereby in return for Rome’s patronage and protection they agreed to have a proper regard for the dignity of the Roman people and to have no other friends or enemies than those that were Rome’s – a formula exquisite in the civility with which it exacted the renunciation of every inherent right…

As for herself she fought, she did not till. Italy, devastated by the civil wars, was uncultivated, cut up into vast unproductive estates. From one end to the other there was barely a trace of agriculture, not a sign of traffic. You met soldiers cooks, petty tradesmen, gladiators, philosophers, patricians, market gardeners, lazzaroni and millionaires; the merchant and the farmer, never. Rome’s resources were in distant commercial centres, in taxes and tributes; her wealth had come of pillage and exaction. Save her strength, she had nothing of her own. Her religion, literature, art, philosophy. luxury and corruption, everything had come from abroad. In Greece were her artists; in Africa, Gaul and Spain, her agriculturists; in Asia her artisans. Her own breasts were sterile. When she gave birth it was to a litter of monsters, sometimes to a genius, by accident to a poet. She consumed, she did not produce. It was because of that she fell.

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George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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NATO, U.S. Seek to Consolidate Western Military Blockade of Russia in Finland

May 19, 2014 5 comments

RIA Novosti
May 19, 2014

OPINION: NATO, US Seek to Consolidate Western Military Blockade of Russia in Finland
Rick Rozoff

MOSCOW: The defense minister of Finland, Carl Haglund, recently reiterated, and evidently gave more concrete form to, the call by Atlanticists in his country and neighboring Sweden for the accession of both Scandinavian countries into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Haglund is in some manner particularly entitled, in his own mind at any rate, to speak of the dual incorporation as he is simultaneously Finland’s defense chief and the chairman of the country’s Swedish People’s Party.

The other three Nordic nations – Denmark, Norway and Iceland – are founding members of NATO, so Finland’s and Sweden’s largely surreptitious but incontestably accelerating movement towards full membership in the U.S.-led bloc would solidify Western military control of Russia’s northwest environs. American warships and submarines would thus be provided freer rein in the Baltic, Barents, North and Norwegian Seas and that part of the Arctic Ocean north of Scandinavia.

Toward the end of last month Finland’s Haglund revealed that his nation had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NATO allowing the latter to station military aircraft and vessels in the country and to supply troops and equipment to “assist” Finland if the latter – presumably – requests it. In other words, Finland will enter into an Article 5-style partnership with NATO that obligates the entire 28-nation Alliance to enter the fray if Finland is under threat or claims that it is; correspondingly, the Scandinavian nation will be compelled to go to war with NATO whenever the Article 5 mutual defense clause is activated in relation to any other country or region.

According to Paavo Arhinmäki, leader of the opposition Left Alliance party, the above provisions were never discussed while he was a member of the federal cabinet and the Foreign and Security Committee in parliament and, in his own words, “We were left in the dark, and I was very surprised to learn of this NATO pact” [the Left Alliance left the governing coalition in March], an aspect of which is also rumored to be Finland’s purchase of American F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation warplanes.

A comparable integration arrangement has recently been reached with Sweden, which abandoned the last remnant of its historical policy of conscription four years ago in keeping with NATO membership demands. All Sweden military personnel now have to sign a waiver allowing overseas deployment. Defense analysts not infrequently remark that Sweden’s armed forces are more NATO-compatible than are those of many NATO member states.

In the past half decade or so Finland has supplied as many as 200 and Sweden 500 troops for NATO’s war in Afghanistan, serving under the International Security Assistance Force in the north of the conflict-ridden nation. Both nations’ forces have engaged in lethal combat operations there, the first time since World War II in the case of Finland, the first time in two centuries in that of Sweden.

Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s political party, the National Coalition Party, has lately been beating the drum for full NATO membership. His party’s leadership candidate and Social Services and Health Minister Paula Risikko has issued a call for a referendum on NATO membership.

Prime Minister Katainen, however, realizes that there is no popular support for joining the military bloc; indeed that there is overwhelming opposition to doing so – in recent polls only a fifth of Finns support membership, but he nevertheless asserts that this opposition is “an insufficient reason” not to forge ahead with the covert corralling of the nation into history’s first global military formation.

He has been quoted affirming:

“It cannot be presumed that the public is able to draw conclusions on such a major question, since many people don’t even have a chance to familiarize themselves with these things to the extent the politicians do.”

The nation’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, has been subjecting its readers to a barrage of pro-NATO propaganda, particularly in light of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Finland has a 1,200-kilometer border with Russia and coastlines on or near three seas: the Baltic, Barents and Norwegian. Moving U.S. and NATO military forces into place along the land border and in the above seas would, in addition to analogous plans for Ukraine and Georgia, in effect consolidate the Western military blockade of the entire western frontier of Russia, from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea and the Caucasus.

Even before the brief war between Georgia and Russia in August of 2008 – so that that conflict, or the current one in Ukraine, cannot be legitimately cited as the reason for it – Finland agreed to contribute troops for NATO’s Response Force, an international strike force inaugurated in the massive Steadfast Jaguar war games in the West African island nation of Cape Verde in 2006.

As such, Finland is one of only four non-full NATO members to have committed to joining the Response Force. The others are, both predictably and revealingly, Sweden, Georgia and Ukraine.

To further indicate how little subsequent developments, especially the post-coup military campaign being conducted by the junta in Kiev against civilians in the east of Ukraine, have served as anything other than an ex post facto pretext for the further integration of Finland by NATO (and, behind NATO, the Pentagon), current Finnish Defense Minister Haglund’s predecessor once-removed, Jyri Hakamies, stated during a visit to the Pentagon in 2007 that the largest security challenge was: “Russia, Russia, and Russia! And not only for Finland, but for all of us.”

The next year Jan-Erik Enestam, then the general secretary of the Nordic Council – a post-World War II cooperation group consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – spoke in a similar vein:

“NATO is the only important international organisation of which Finland is not a member. It would seem as if the time is now ripe for membership. Meanwhile it would be sensible to enter into closer defense co-operation with Sweden and Norway. Norway is after all a NATO country.”

In the same year Juhani Kaskeala, at the time Chief of Defence of the Finnish Defence Forces, announced plans for his nation to join NATO’s Early Warning Air Surveillance System, specifying that “Finland, Sweden and Norway are at present looking at the establishment of joint air surveillance…if these three Nordic countries decide to team up in this field, Sweden and Finland would have to take part in the NATO air surveillance system.”

Also in 2008, Defense Minister Hakamies, speaking at the Atlantic Council of Finland, said: “With Denmark, Norway and Iceland already serving as NATO members…the joining of Finland and Sweden would make the Nordic bloc an influential force within the military alliance” and to make the intended target of that expansion more transparent, added, “NATO membership would further the Nordics’ position in the face of Russia’s growing power.”

Russia’s growing power…Six years ago. Is it because of “Russia’s growing power” that Finnish troops have fought and died, fought and killed in Afghanistan? Perhaps it is. NATO has provided dozens of partnership nations combat experience in a real-life war zone for later use near their borders. Finland is one of them. NATO’s encroachments along Russian’s flanks are not solely designed to enrich Western arms manufacturers, particularly as the Alliance’s fifty-nation war in South Asia is being wrapped up and combat-hardened troops return to their respective homelands to put their training to use.

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Siegfried Sassoon: No doubt he loathed the war and longed for peace

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

Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

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Siegfried Sassoon
“The rank stench of those bodies haunts me still”

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The rank stench of those bodies haunts me still
And I remember things I’d best forget.
For now we’ve marched to a green, trenchless land
Twelve miles from battering guns: along the grass
Brown lines of tents are hives for snoring men;
Wide, radiant water sways the floating sky
Below dark, shivering trees. And living-clean
Comes back with thoughts of home and hours of sleep.
To-night I smell the battle; miles away
Gun-thunder leaps and thuds along the ridge;
The spouting shells dig pits in fields of death,
And wounded men, are moaning in the woods.
If any friend be there whom I have loved,
God speed him safe to England with a gash.
It’s sundown in the camp; some youngster laughs,
Lifting his mug and drinking health to all
Who come unscathed from that unpitying waste:
(Terror and ruin lurk behind his gaze.)
Another sits with tranquil, musing face,
Puffing his pipe and dreaming of the girl
Whose last scrawled letter lies upon his knee.
The sunlight falls, low-ruddy from the west,
Upon their heads. Last week they might have died
And now they stretch their limbs in tired content.
One says ‘The bloody Boche has got the knock;
‘And soon they’ll crumple up and chuck their games.
‘We’ve got the beggars on the run at last!’
Then I remembered someone that I’d seen
Dead in a squalid, miserable ditch,
Heedless of toiling feet that trod him down.
He was a Prussian with a decent face,
Young, fresh, and pleasant, so I dare to say.
No doubt he loathed the war and longed for peace,
And cursed our souls because we’d killed his friends.
One night he yawned along a half-dug trench
Midnight; and then the British guns began
With heavy shrapnel bursting low, and ‘hows’
Whistling to cut the wire with blinding din.
He didn’t move; the digging still went on;
Men stooped and shovelled; someone gave a grunt,
And moaned and died with agony in the sludge.
Then the long hiss of shells lifted and stopped.
He stared into the gloom; a rocket curved,
And rifles rattled angrily on the left
Down by the wood, and there was noise of bombs.
Then the damned English loomed in scrambling haste
Out of the dark and struggled through the wire,
And there were shouts and curses; someone screamed
And men began to blunder down the trench
Without their rifles. It was time to go:
He grabbed his coat; stood up, gulping some bread;
Then clutched his head and fell.
I found him there
In the gray morning when the place was held.
His face was in the mud; one arm flung out
As when he crumpled up; his sturdy legs

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Henri Troyat: War, that greatest of political crimes

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

Henri Troyat: Selections on war

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Henri Troyat
From While the Earth Endures (1947)
Translated by David Hapgood

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He laughed, Akim laughed too, but suddenly Arapov felt very old and lonely before this officer who was his son. The world was stupid, cruel, and unfair. People hated each other, insulted each other, killed each other. They proclaimed victories and accepted defeats. Jealousy, hatred, greed and suffering reigned everywhere. One could no longer be selfishly indifferent as before…

They left together, and in the street they heard the newsboys shouting, “Sarajevo! Assassination in Sarajevo!”

A priest stopped in front of Nicholas and asked timidly, “What are they saying? Who did they kill?” He was a young man with candid blue eyes and a blond beard.

“Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo,” said Nicholas.

The priest crossed himself and murmured, shaking his head, “All that bloodshed!” Then he disappeared in the crowd.

…Did he, a political criminal, have a right to protest against war, that greatest of political crimes? Was he not condemned to silence by the blood he had shed? Was he not in some way an accomplice of those who wanted to fight? The more he thought about it, the less guilty he felt. Of course, he shared with the warmongers a contempt for individual lives, he was cruel and realistic; but although he could kill an enemy of the socialist cause in cold blood, his whole being revolted at the idea that millions of anonymous soldiers must be slaughtered to redeem the diplomats’ mistakes…

Michael and Volodia were seated at a small crimson table. A gentle yellow glow, seeping through the heavy silk lampshade, haloed their friendly faces. Volodia was smoking nervously while Michael unfolded a map. The map of Russia. Suddenly Tania remembered a distant evening, in the same room, with the same furniture, the same faces, and the same map with its long folds. Then it was a war with Japan; now they were talking about another war, more terrible than the first, and closer. Akim would go, and Mayorov, and many of her friends. She walked over and looked at the map over their shoulders. Again she saw her immense country lying before her, green and tawny, pocked with cities, bristling with mountains, lined with rivers – her great country that was always threatened. She detested it now. She reflected that it was better to be born in Sweden or Switzerland; there at least you could love in peace.

If there were war, she knew Michael would enlist, so at any cost this war had to be avoided. She had the papers brought in, and read the Novoye Vremia dispatches: Partial mobilization in Austria – Enthusiastic demonstration in Vienna after break of diplomatic relations with Serbia – General mobilization in Belgrade – Wilhelm II returning from Norway. The world had gone insane; mankind was feverishly preparing for the slaughter…

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Jacques Maritain: What good one can expect from such a war and its pitiless prolongation?

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

Jacques Maritain
From an interview in 1938
Translator unknown

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Count, if you can, the number of dead, the thousands of unfortunate people done away with on both sides, be it by the war itself, by the fury of the populace, or by police purges. Think of the priests slain, the nuns outraged, the churches burned and desecrated, the suspects of all kinds despoiled or murdered by the “reds” after the outbreak of the military insurrection. Think of the suspects of all kinds stripped of their goods, hunted, condemned to death or executed without trial by the “white” terror. Think of the total war waged against fellow citizens, of the horrible treatment of the Basque country, the most Catholic part of Spain. Think of the women and children slaughtered by aerial bombardments, of the famine afflicting a whole civil population, of the thousands of children — Spanish children — who are subject to disease and death in Catalonia by a war between Spaniards (and between Italians and Spaniards). Think of the cities of Spain — among the noblest of cities — which have become proving grounds for international air forces. Picture the exhaustion of the country, the immense damage, physical and moral, done over a period of two years; the accumulation of hatred and bitterness amassed on both sides, the despair of so many souls. And tell me what good one can expect from such a civil war and its pitiless prolongation?

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Alexander Herzen: As soon as a boy can walk, he is given a toy sword to train him to murder

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

Russian writers on war

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war

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Alexander Herzen
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett

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As soon as a boy can walk, he is given a toy sword to train him to murder, he is promised an hussar’s uniform and epaulettes; while the girl is lulled to sleep with the hope of a rich and handsome bridegroom, and she dreams of epaulettes not on her own shoulders but on the shoulders of her predestined husband…

One must marvel at the fine human nature which is not ruined by such an education – we might have expected that all the little girls so lulled for fifteen years would set to work speedily to replace those slain by the boys who have been trained from childhood with weapons of slaughter.

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[A] coup d’état like the 2nd of December destroys more than men: it destroys all morality, every conception of good and evil in a whole population; it is a lesson of corruption which cannot pass without effect. Among them were soldiers, too, troupiers, in a permanent state of wonder at finding themselves, contrary to all discipline and their captains’ orders, on a different side from their flag and their regiment…

***

Our classic ignorance of the Western European will be productive of a good deal of harm; race hatreds and bloody collisions will develop from it later on.

In the first place, we know nothing but the top, cultured layer of Europe, which conceals the heavy substratum of popular life formed by the ages, and evolved by instincts and by laws which are little understood in Europe itself. European culture does not penetrate into those foundations in which, as in the works of the Cyclops, the hand of man is indistinguishable from that of nature and history passes into geology. The European states are welded together of two different peoples whose special characteristics are maintained by utterly different educations. There is here none of the Oriental unity which makes the Turk who is a Grand Vizier and the Turk who hands him his pipe just like each other. Masses of the country population have, since the religious wars and the peasant risings, taken no active part in events; they have been swayed by them to right and left like growing corn, never for a minute leaving the ground in which they are rooted.

Secondly, that stratum with which we do become acquainted, with which we do enter into contact, we know only historically, not as it is to-day. After spending a year or two in Europe we see with surprise that the men of the West do not correspond as a rule with our conception of them, that they are greatly inferior to it.

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Eastern Partnership: The West’s Trojan Horse and Battering Ram In Former Soviet Space

May 15, 2014 1 comment

Stop Nato
May 15, 2014

Eastern Partnership: The West’s Trojan Horse and Battering Ram In Former Soviet Space
Rick Rozoff

Рик Розофф рассказал о “троянском коне” Запада на землях бывшего СССР

When the European Union launched the Eastern Partnership initiative five years ago this month, it should have been transparently obvious what it was intended to effect: to wrest all other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States outside Central Asia aside from Russia from that post-Soviet trade and economic bloc and achieve the isolation of Russia not only from the rest of Europe but from the rest of former Soviet space itself.

The six nations that were and remain targeted by the Eastern Partnership – which is fully supported by the United States to complete their so-called Euro-Atlantic integration including, and by no means the least important factor, incorporation into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – are three in Europe and three in the South Caucasus: Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. At the time the Eastern Partnership was first proposed at the EU’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels in May of 2008, all six of the former Soviet federal republics listed above were members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Three months later the Georgian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili launched a full-scale attack against South Ossetia, timed to coincide with the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and thus provoked a five-day war with Russia. Shortly thereafter Georgia initiated the process of withdrawing from the CIS, which formally occurred ten days after the August 8th war began.

This March, shortly after the violent uprising in Ukraine that deposed President Viktor Yanukovych, the post-putsch parliament introduced a motion to withdraw from the CIS.

The self-evident intention of the Eastern Partnership is to bring about the demise of the CIS, the Customs Union consisting of Russian, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the last being the only multinational security and military arrangement in the former Soviet Union, whose current members are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The Association Agreement with the European Union that the government of Ukraine rejected on November 21 of last year, the alleged cause of protests and later bloody, even lethal, attacks by opposition forces, was to have been signed under the auspices of the Eastern Partnership.

The new junta in Kiev will now rectify the former administration’s “error” on the diktat of its Western sponsors and comparable agreements will soon be signed by the pro-Western governments of Moldova and Georgia.

Of the six nations included in the EU’s Eastern Partnership, four are the nations which account for the U.S.-initiated GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova) bloc and the other two the only members of the CSTO outside Central Asia except for Russia: Armenia and Belarus. As the current writer observed five years ago, Washington and Brussels will first need, and unquestionably are actively planning, so-called color revolutions in the last two nations, something after the unsuccessful 2006 Denim Revolution and the 2008 Daffodil Revolution in Belarus and Armenia, respectively. (And the 2009 Twitter Revolution in Moldova.)

So that at the current moment the Western triad of the U.S., the EU and NATO is concentrating on the three Eastern Partnership candidates whose prospects appear most immediately promising: Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Integration with the EU will proceed, as it ever does, hand-in-glove with the latest, more advanced Individual Partnership Action Plan and afterward, the final gateway to full membership,  a Membership Action Program with NATO.

Western officials have been scurrying in and out of the capitals of all the Eastern Partnership candidates excerpt for Belarus, whose government appears to be watching which way the cat jumps, and their respective itineraries – trajectories – are worth tracing.

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania lingered in Washington, D.C. for what has to be an unprecedented second week, after addressing the Atlantic Council and meeting with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Vice President Joseph Biden, and spent his final day in the capital meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. To receive his marching orders. The public account – press release – of the meeting states the two and their delegations discussed “partnership in the defense area” and “Ukrainian developments.” The two are certainly not unrelated phenomena.

While the Georgian defense chief was in the American capital inviting NATO to deploy anti-aircraft, anti-armor and other equipment in his nation (on April 30 at this year’s annual  Atlantic Council conference), the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, was in the Georgian capital confirming that the military bloc was bringing Georgia “even closer” to full membership and seconding Alasania’s enthusiasm for dispatching military hardware to the country.

On May 8 the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary William Hague was in Georgia, after visiting Moldova and Ukraine, and confirmed his nation’s wholehearted support “for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic trajectory [and] for its territorial integrity,” the latter an ominous reference to the Georgian government’s plans for subjugating independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

He also encouraged Georgia’s signing the Association Agreement with the European Union, as scheduled, next month. When asked about Georgian Defense Minister Alasania’s call for deploying NATO military assets in the South Caucasus state, Hague endorsed the proposition, answering, “We are in favor of course of building up further cooperation between Georgia and NATO.”   

Subsequent to the foreign secretary’s departure, Estonia’s Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence Mikk Marran arrived in Georgia to discuss training programs designed to hasten the Georgia’s NATO accession.

In March Marran spoke at the Estonian Defense Ministry and stated: “The best possible solution for strengthening NATO’s presence and deterrence – in addition to expanding the Baltic Air Policing Mission to Ämari – would be the permanent presence of allied ground forces units in the Baltic states.”

He would then appear to be coordinating deployments on the Black Sea to complement those he envisioned, and in fact now are already well in progress, on the Baltic Sea.

On May 13 President Francois Hollande of France arrived in the Georgian capital after visiting those of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The French head of state was recruiting more Georgian troops for the military mission it heads up in the Central African Republic among other objectives, and while in Tbilisi echoed the earlier comments of Britain’s William Hague in pledging, as the local news media reported, “to support the signing of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and…Georgia`s territorial integrity.” (Hague also thanked Georgia for supplying NATO troops for its war in Afghanistan and the EU troops for the Central African Republic.)

The next day President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy was in Georgia to meet with the nation’s leadership and while there stated that the signing of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement on June 27 in Brussels “is not the final goal in our cooperation.” 

Rompuy, like Hague before him, had come to Georgia via Ukraine and Moldova. If the EU comes, can NATO be far behind? Or is it the other way around?

The European Council president acknowledged to the local press corps that the “troubling regional situation” was deliberated over in meetings with his hosts and that the EU intends to “increase the cost for Russia” economically, politically and otherwise,

According to the Civil Georgia website, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili responded in the most accomplished NATOese/Euro-Atlantese thusly:

Regarding “current difficulties in the Eastern Partnership region,” he said, “we expect the EU’s more active efforts.”

“We believe that the EU will provide more assistance and help to the Eastern Partnership countries, which have made the European choice.

“Europe whole and free has not yet been accomplished; we hope that united, strong and successful European Union will play an active role in achieving this goal.”

A Europe whole and free is a catch phrase, perhaps better put code language, first introduced by President George W. Bush in a speech in Mainz, West Germany in 1989.

The title of this year’s recently concluded conference of the Atlantic Council, the world’s preeminent NATO-promoting think tank, was Toward a Europe Whole and Free.

One of the recipients of the Council’s international leadership awards was Herman Van Rompuy’s colleague José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission.

The world is large and populous. The Western clique bent on dominating both the world and its people is small and severely constricted in its composition, though it is diabolically  single-minded and ruthless in furtherance of its self-serving goals.

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George Bernard Shaw: The earth is still bursting with the dead bodies of the victors

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

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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George Bernard Shaw
From the Preface to Heartbreak House

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…Political science has been as recklessly neglected by Governments and electorates during my lifetime as sanitary science was in the days of Charles the Second. In international relations diplomacy has been a boyishly lawless affair of family intrigues, commercial and territorial brigandage, torpors of pseudo-goodnature produced by laziness and spasms of ferocious activity produced by terror. But in these islands we muddled through. Nature gave us a longer credit than she gave to France or Germany or Russia. To British centenarians who died in their beds in 1914, any dread of having to hide underground in London from the shells of an enemy seemed more remote and fantastic than a dread of the appearance of a colony of cobras and rattlesnakes in Kensington Gardens. In the prophetic works of Charles Dickens we were warned against many evils which have since come to pass; but of the evil of being slaughtered by a foreign foe on our own doorsteps there was no shadow. Nature gave us a very long credit; and we abused it to the utmost. But when she struck at last she struck with a vengeance. For four years she smote our firstborn and heaped on us plagues of which Egypt never dreamed. They were all as preventable as the great Plague of London, and came solely because they had not been prevented. They were not undone by winning the war. The earth is still bursting with the dead bodies of the victors.

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NATO to Train Ukraine Regime Troops for Southeast Operation

RIA Novosti
May 14, 2014

OPINION: NATO to Train Ukraine Regime Troops for Southeast Operation
Rick Rozoff

MOSCOW: On May 9 the website of United States European Command, one of six regional unified (land, air, naval and special forces) combatant commands used by the Pentagon to divide up the entire planet, announced the opening ceremony of Exercise Spring Storm in Estonia run by the U.S.’s Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR).

The event was held at the Ämari Air base in the Baltic nation, which recently has been inaugurated as a hub for U.S. and other NATO nation’s warplanes after the manner of the Šiauliai Air Base in nearby Lithuania, where NATO warplanes have been operating for continuous air patrols initiated over a decade ago. During the last, recently concluded, U.S. rotation the number of multi-role combat aircraft deployed for that mission was increased from the customary four to ten.

Following the war games in Estonia, the Special Operations Command Europe forces will participate in the Flaming Sword 14 exercise in Lithuania and Latvia from May 18-30, then the Namejs 14 drills in Latvia from May 19-25. In the words of the U.S. armed forces publication Stars and Stripes on May 9, “U.S. Special Operations Command Europe is planning additional exercises in the region as part of an effort to reassure allies in border regions around Russia and Ukraine.”

The special forces maneuvers will overlap with the deployment last month of 600 members of the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team – airborne rapid reaction combat troops – for exercises in the same three countries and Poland.

In its account of the current special operations exercises in the Baltic Sea region, European Command reports:

“SOCEUR has also added a number of Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) events in five countries across the Baltics and Eastern Europe to be conducted over the next two months. These JCET events are the first in a series of expanded U.S. special operations training activities in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region; they are the first in a developing persistent rotational SOF presence in the region…”

Stars and Stripes indicates that, given the ambitious scope of and time required to operationalize the following, plans for the expanded and in fact permanent presence of American special operations forces in nations bordering Russian territory have been underway long before the current Ukrainian crisis:

“In addition to long-standing annual exercises, SOCEUR has added a number of new training programs over the next two months in five counties across the Baltics and eastern Europe. Follow-on missions are also being planned to ensure an ongoing presence of special operators, according to the command.

“The so-called Joint Combined Exchange Training events will involve small teams of operators, who work on a range of combat tactics on 30-day rotations. The troops, including Green Berets, SEALS and Air Force operators, will be pulled from SOCEUR headquarters in Stuttgart and across the SOF [Special Operations Forces] community to maintain a constant rotational presence.”

The commander of SOCEUR, Air Force Major General Marshall B. Webb, is quoted stating, “Through these types of annual exercises, SOCEUR elements have developed lasting relationships and extensive interoperability with our special operations partners in the majority of countries bordering Ukraine over the last seven years.”

The time frame he uses may be a reference to the annual Jackal Stone special operations forces exercises the U.S. and its NATO allies and partners have held in Eastern Europe since 2008.

The first was hosted by Hungary, Romania and Ukraine and included personnel from the U.S., Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden and Ukraine. The 2010 iteration was conducted in Lithuania and Poland and the 2011 one in Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.

Romania and Bulgaria, Ukraine’s and Russia’s Black Sea neighbors, also host the U.S. Army’s Task Force East and the U.S. Marine Corps’ Black Sea Rotational Force, the latter assigned since 2010 to further the NATO integration of 16 nations in the Balkans, Black Sea and Caucasus regions (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine) through regular multinational training and exercises.

The current and upcoming special operations exercises in the Baltic states officially include the participation of units from the U.S. and its NATO allies and partners Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, Finland and Sweden. All but the U.S. and Sweden border Russia.

What is not reported but is to be assumed is that Ukrainian special forces, already the recipient of several years of Jackal Stone exercises designed to achieve special forces interoperability with the U.S. and NATO, will be trained for ongoing combat operations against opponents of the Kiev junta in the east of their nation.

It is worth recalling that the Pentagon’s Georgia Train and Equip Program, which for the past twelve years has trained the Caucasus country’s combat forces for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan – and for the five-day war with Russia in 2008 – was initially run by United States Army Special Forces, the Green Berets, in the Black Sea state. A thousand U.S. troops led the Immediate Response 2008 NATO and Partnership for Peace war games in Georgia, which only ended a week before Georgian – U.S.-trained – special forces launched a bloody assault of the South Ossetian capital of Tschinval, triggering the war with Russia.

A Reuters feature of March 2 of this year written by one Peter Apps asserts that “Ukrainian special forces or irregular units could mount hit-and-run attacks on Russian forces in the country.” If there were Russian forces in the country; but in lieu of that option they can and no doubt are being used against self-defense volunteers in the east of the country.

Special operations units also participated in the NATO Response Force Steadfast Jazz exercises last November in the Baltics and Poland, which with 6,000 troops – air, sea and land forces – constituted NATO’s largest war games since 2006. Thirteen warships were deployed off the coast of Poland and 60 military aircraft were employed.

The secretary general of the U.S.-dominated military bloc, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, stated at the time:
“The purpose of the NATO Response Force is to be able to defend any Ally, deploy anywhere, and deter any threat – all at short notice. It is the spearhead of NATO. Every year, we test it, to make sure that it is sharp and ready for use.”

The NATO-led Cold Response military exercises in Norway also routinely include a thousand or more special forces troops. This year’s version in March featured the participation of 16,000 troops from sixteen nations conducting exercises in northern Norway, not far from the Russian border.

Until recently the U.S. and NATO have trained special operations forces for integrated military action abroad, particularly in Afghanistan. Having achieved the desired real-life combat training in South Asia, those troops and units are home for use domestically and against neighboring states.

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NATO’s Southern Front: Mr. Alasania’s Week In Washington

NATO’s Southern Front: Mr. Alasania’s Week In Washington
Rick Rozoff

The defense minister of Georgia, Irakli Alasania, recently concluded an eight-day visit to Washington, D.C., which began at the Toward a Europe Whole and Free conference of the Atlantic Council and ended at the Pentagon. 

The first event commemorated the fifteenth, tenth and fifth anniversaries of North Atlantic Treaty Organization expansion in the post-Cold War era: The incorporation of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999; the absorption of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004; and the accession of Albania and Croatia is 2009. In all, a 75 percent increase in the military bloc’s membership from 16 to 28 members,  the twelve new members all in Eastern Europe and all either former Warsaw Pact member states, including three former Soviet republics, or former Yugoslav federal republics.

The Atlantic Council event was co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, the former also head of the National Democratic Institute, and included addresses by  Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso as well as the attendance of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chick Hagel received the Council’s Distinguished International Leadership Award, with other leadership awards being granted to Barroso and Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., top commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

According to a Georgian news account of the above event, Defense Minister Alasania stated that, “in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” NATO should deploy military assets in his nation, which fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008, including ““antiarmor, antiaircraft and antitank” capabilities, as “this is something we need to put in Georgia and Russians will understand that you are serious.”

Delivering these comments as part of a panel discussion that included NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, an American and former U.S. ambassador to Russia, as well as the defense chiefs of the Czech Republic, Estonia and Montenegro,  Alasania lamented the fact that the crisis in Ukraine might eventually subside, that sanctions would be lifted and that, to lend the most plausible interpretation to his words, a precious opportunity may be missed to exploit the tragedy in Ukraine, so to avoid that lapse “we should do something that will have strategic importance – this is expansion of NATO.” He also offered his sponsors in Brussels and Washington the opportunity for increased “exercises from the NATO countries [in order] to have a footprint in Georgia,” according to Civil Georgia, the source for most of the above quotes as well as for Alasania’s contention that “these joint exercises may have a regional context with involvement of troops
from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey with a focus on protecting energy and pipeline infrastructure.” (See comments below in regards to GUAM.)

He also demanded, or rather perhaps voiced his masters’ demands, that NATO boost the deployment of military personnel and equipment to the other, as NATO calls them, aspirant countries, the next in line for full Alliance membership: Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen promised to take the matter under advisement and back with him to the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels.

Alasania’s fellow panelist Vershbow identified Russia “as more of an enemy than a partner,” perhaps the first public admission of what any sensible observer could have discerned about NATO not only during but ever since the (formal) end of the Cold War. His Georgian colleague hastened to chime in that he “certainly” concurred.

The Georgian defense minister also met tête–à–tête with Vice President Biden, who had been the first major American official to fly into Georgia after the war with Russia almost six years ago, then promising the Mikheil Saakashvili regime one billion dollars in aid.

The day after the Atlantic Council conference ended,  James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, was in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi where, again according to a report from Civil Georgia, the military bloc is now examining the “next steps” to bring the country “even closer” to NATO.

Alasania also met with members of the U.S. Senate and House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittees on Defense to discuss deeper military cooperation and Georgia’s NATO membership.

On May 7 he was the guest of his American counterpart Chick Hagel at the latter’s haunts, the Pentagon, where the two deliberated over NATO’s war in Afghanistan (where Georgia is the largest troop contributor of any non-full Alliance member) and NATO interoperability.

According to Civil Georgia once again:

“The two leaders also discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. They reviewed the efforts by allies and partners in the region to reinforce our international commitments and to continue to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Moscow.”

The Georgian Ministry of Defence website reported that after the meeting Alasania issued the following statement (verbatim):

“Meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defence was very productive. We continue dialogue what steps the USA and Georgia should make forward for increasing Georgia’s security and defence capability. I’d like to outline that we have progress in this direction and this meeting once more confirms that strategic partnership in defence and security sphere between Georgia and USA is strengthening.”

The following day British Foreign Secretary William Hague arrived in the Georgian capital and pledged full support to the host nation’s incorporation into both NATO and the European Union. Hague’s itinerary started with visits to Moldova and Ukraine, which with Georgia constitute three-quarters of the U.S.-initiated Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova (GUAM) bloc, established in the 1990s to further NATO integration of post-Soviet space, the “resolution” of so-called frozen conflicts (Georgia with Abkhazia, Adjara and South Ossetia; Ukraine with Crimea; Azerbaijan with Nagorno-Karabakh; Moldova with Transdniester and Gagauzia), transport corridors for future wars in the south and east and transit routes for Caspian Sea oil and natural gas to Europe, circumventing and squeezing out Russia and Iran. All but Azerbaijan have been the victims of successful “color revolutions” as well.

During the Atlantic Council conference, NATO’s Alexander Vershbow also stated, apropos the above:

“We need to step up our support for defense reforms and military modernization of Russia’s neighbors, and not just of Ukraine, but also Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan.”

Armenia is at loggerheads with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and it is no secret that Washington and Brussels would prefer to absorb all three former Soviet South Caucasus republics – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – en bloc.

NATO and its counterpart in civilian garb, the European Union, are conducting what they intend to be the final mopping up operation in the former Soviet Union. They are evidently not counting on popular resistance in the territories they have marked for conquest. Nor on Russia not passively playing along with the project.

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Joseph Kessel: In my family, war is in the blood…the blood of others

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

Joseph Kessel: The monstrous ululation of an air-raid siren

Joseph Kessel: War’s ultimate fratricide, killed for not killing

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Joseph Kessel
From The Medici Fountain (1950)
Translated by Herma Briffault

images (1)

“But I’ve left the convent and my milieu. And we’ll see, now. I’m only waiting for the war to end. At the moment I can’t think of anything but the war, and what I can do in it.”

“War,” said Etienne, compressing his lips. “It seems to be a word you like.”

“I’ve never thought about it. Perhaps you’re right…In my family, war is in the blood.”

“The blood of others,” Etienne murmured.

***

Etienne’s letters were stopped, as were hundreds of other letters sent from that part of the front where the useless and murderous offensive that began on April 17, 1917, was being prepared…

May 3, 1917

Sylvie, my beloved,
I don’t want to talk about the war, I don’t want to trouble your convalescence, and especially I don’t ever want to think of the war again. I don’t want to think any more about those men snagged in the barbed wire, about the useless butchery, the brave fellows, the smashed faces, the disemboweled bodies…No, no, no. I’ve had enough. You see, I’m beginning to live it all over again. And I haven’t the right to judge. I am an officer, now. Promotion is swift after an offensive of that kind. Duchesne was killed. Fleury – both legs amputated. Namur evacuated to the rear with a bullet in the chest…If you’d seen Duchesne, whom I replace…his skull open, the brains pouring out! But here I go again! No, no, it’s over with…

***

May 3, 1917

Geneviève, my dear,
Things are going badly. We’re at the end of our patience and resistance. For the amusement of the generals, two thirds of our battalion were killed. No preparation whatsoever, not the slightest thought of the soldiers’ lives. And they went off to the attack with such confidence! They were made to charge not once but three times against intact barbed-wire entanglements, against nests of machine guns that fired as if at a target. I felt the worth of life at that moment, yes, I who have so often thought of suicide. At that moment I would rather have killed those who were having us massacred than the enemy opposite us. And what I am saying here, all the men are thinking. Yes, things are that bad. No one believes in anything any more…

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Ukraine Crisis Exposes NATO’s Eastward Expansion Drive

May 13, 2014 2 comments

RIA Novosti
May 13, 2014

OPINION: Ukraine Crisis Exposes NATO’s Eastward Expansion Drive

MOSCOW: The Defense Minister of NATO “aspirant” member state Georgia has urged the military alliance to expand eastward while the ongoing Ukraine crisis can serve as a smokescreen, says Rick Rozoff, the owner and manager of the Stop NATO website.

The defense minister of Georgia, Irakli Alasania, recently concluded an eight-day visit to Washington, D.C., which began at the Toward a Europe Whole and Free conference of the Atlantic Council and ended at the Pentagon.

The first event commemorated the fifteenth, tenth and fifth anniversaries of North Atlantic Treaty Organization expansion in the post-Cold War era: The incorporation of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999; the absorption of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004; and the accession of Albania and Croatia is 2009. In all, a 75 percent increase in the military bloc’s membership from 16 to 28 members, the twelve new members all in Eastern Europe and all either former Warsaw Pact member states, including three former Soviet republics, or former Yugoslav federal republics.

The Atlantic Council event was co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, the former also head of the National Democratic Institute, and included addresses by Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso as well as the attendance of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel received the Council’s Distinguished International Leadership Award, with other leadership awards being granted to Barroso and Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., top commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

According to a Georgian news account of the above event, Defense Minister Alasania stated that, “in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” NATO should deploy military assets in his nation, which fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008, including “antiarmor, antiaircraft and antitank” capabilities, as “this is something we need to put in Georgia and Russians will understand that you are serious.”

Delivering these comments as part of a panel discussion that included NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, an American and former U.S. ambassador to Russia, as well as the defense chiefs of the Czech Republic, Estonia and Montenegro, Alasania lamented the fact that the crisis in Ukraine might eventually subside, that sanctions would be lifted and that, to lend the most plausible interpretation to his words, a precious opportunity may be missed to exploit the tragedy in Ukraine, so to avoid that lapse “we should do something that will have strategic importance – this is expansion of NATO.” He also offered his sponsors in Brussels and Washington the opportunity for increased “exercises from the NATO countries [in order] to have a footprint in Georgia,” according to Civil Georgia, the source for most of the above quotes as well as for Alasania’s contention that “these joint exercises may have a regional context with involvement of troops from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey with a focus on protecting energy and pipeline infrastructure.”

He also demanded, or rather perhaps voiced his masters’ demands, that NATO boost the deployment of military personnel and equipment to the other, as NATO calls them, aspirant countries, the next in line for full Alliance membership: Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen promised to take the matter under advisement and back with him to the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels.

Alasania’s fellow panelist Vershbow identified Russia “as more of an enemy than a partner,” perhaps the first public admission of what any sensible observer could have discerned about NATO not only during but ever since the (formal) end of the Cold War. His Georgian colleague hastened to chime in that he “certainly” concurred.

The Georgian defense minister also met tête-à-tête with Vice President Biden, who had been the first major American official to fly into Georgia after the war with Russia almost six years ago, then promising the Mikheil Saakashvili regime one billion dollars in aid.

The day after the Atlantic Council conference ended, James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, was in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi where, again according to a report from Civil Georgia, the military bloc is now examining the “next steps” to bring the country “even closer” to NATO.

Alasania also met with members of the U.S. Senate and House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittees on Defense to discuss deeper military cooperation and Georgia’s NATO membership.
On May 7 he was the guest of his American counterpart Chick Hagel at the latter’s haunts, the Pentagon, where the two deliberated over NATO’s war in Afghanistan (where Georgia is the largest troop contributor of any non-full Alliance member) and NATO interoperability.

According to Civil Georgia once again:

“The two leaders also discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. They reviewed the efforts by allies and partners in the region to reinforce our international commitments and to continue to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Moscow.”

The Georgian Ministry of Defence website reported that after the meeting Alasania issued the following statement (verbatim):

“Meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defence was very productive. We continue dialogue what steps the USA and Georgia should make forward for increasing Georgia’s security and defence capability. I’d like to outline that we have progress in this direction and this meeting once more confirms that strategic partnership in defence and security sphere between Georgia and USA is strengthening.”

The following day British Foreign Secretary William Hague arrived in the Georgian capital and pledged full support to the host nation’s incorporation into both NATO and the European Union. Hague’s itinerary started with visits to Moldova and Ukraine, which with Georgia constitute three-quarters of the U.S.-initiated Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova (GUAM) bloc, established in the 1990s to further NATO integration of post-Soviet space, the “resolution” of so-called frozen conflicts (Georgia with Abkhazia, Adjara and South Ossetia; Ukraine with Crimea; Azerbaijan with Nagorno-Karabakh; Moldova with Transdniester and Gagauzia), transport corridors for future wars in the south and east and transit routes for Caspian Sea oil and natural gas to Europe, circumventing and squeezing out Russia and Iran. All but Azerbaijan have been the victims of successful “color revolutions” as well.

During the Atlantic Council conference, NATO’s Alexander Vershbow also stated, apropos the above:
“We need to step up our support for defense reforms and military modernization of Russia’s neighbors, and not just of Ukraine, but also Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan.”

Armenia is at loggerheads with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and it is no secret that Washington and Brussels would prefer to absorb all three former Soviet South Caucasus republics – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – en bloc.

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Henri Troyat: Selections on war

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Alfred Neumann: War’s arena, a monstrous distortion, a blasphemous coupling of life and death

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

Alfred Neumann: Selections on war

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Alfred Neumann
From Guerra (1930)
Translated by Huntley Paterson

neumann-alfred1-e1384030189740

“…What is it all about? What is the good of it? Are those fellows going to sleep any more peacefully because they are drunk with thoughts of war? And it won’t be a matter of sleep, but of death…Good God, mesdames, that was a good bull in Arles! A little beast with cow’s eyes, who did not want anything to do with men. But the arena was thirsting for blood and killed him in accordance with all the rules of the art. It took twenty-five minutes! I learnt all sorts of things from that; I was bursting with indignation. Je protestais enérgiquement with a black-bearded beggar who had lost his legs – you know, a sort of centaur on four wheels instead of the usual two pins – and under the shadow of the decadent old Saint Trophimus, I talked myself into two excellent philosophies over the little beast, one for private and the other for demagogic use. Very well, Madda, today I am Minister of War, and tomorrow there will be war, bright, joyous, sacred war, with dead and wounded – magnificent, Madda! The whole crowd cheered, the fine young students are now practising marching in step, and polishing up their second-rate muskets, and rejoicing at the thought of death! – Magnificent, Madda! But where in my tragedy is the good bull of Arles? I cannot find him…”

***

“Do you imagine then,” inquired Guerra, carried away by his companion’s words, “do you imagine, my dear friend, that I do not love life?”

The blind man nodded slowly, his hand moving in harmony. He was still smiling.

“I believe you do,” he replied, “for even I love life, although my eyes at least know more of death than your worst nightmares wot of. But I also know all manner of things about life, not much less than you people who can see. I know that the beauty of life is greater than the beauty of death, which is beautiful enough. I have a very vivid conception of human beauty, or of the beauty of youth, which amounts almost to the same thing; for the very fact that one has beautiful life before one, makes one beautiful. The fine young men whom we refrained from telling that was was a calamity, a monstrous distortion, a blasphemous coupling of life and death, and whom we decked out as though they were going to a banquet…”

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Wilfred Owen: For torture of lying machinally shelled at the pleasure of this world’s Powers who’d run amok

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

Wildred Owen: Selections on war

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Wilfred Own
S.I.W.

“I will to the King,
And offer him consolation in his trouble,
For that man there has set his teeth to die,
And being one that hates obedience,
Discipline, and orderliness of life,
I cannot mourn him.”

– W. B. Yeats.

Patting goodbye, doubtless they told the lad
He’d always show the Hun a brave man’s face;
Father would sooner him dead than in disgrace, –
Was proud to see him going, aye, and glad.
Perhaps his Mother whimpered how she’d fret
Until he got a nice, safe wound to nurse.
Sisters would wish girls too could shoot, charge, curse,…
Brothers – would send his favourite cigarette,
Each week, month after month, they wrote the same,
Thinking him sheltered in some Y.M. Hut,
Where once an hour a bullet missed its aim
And misses teased the hunger of his brain.
His eyes grew old with wincing, and his hand
Reckless with ague. Courage leaked, as sand
From the best sandbags after years of rain.
But never leave, wound, fever, trench-foot, shock,
Untrapped the wretch. And death seemed still withheld
For torture of lying machinally shelled,
At the pleasure of this world’s Powers who’d run amok.

He’d seen men shoot their hands, on night patrol,
Their people never knew. Yet they were vile.
“Death sooner than dishonour, that’s the style!”
So Father said.

One dawn, our wire patrol
Carried him. This time, Death had not missed.
We could do nothing, but wipe his bleeding cough.
Could it be accident? – Rifles go off…
Not sniped? No. (Later they found the English ball.)

It was the reasoned crisis of his soul.
Against the fires that would not burn him whole
But kept him for death’s perjury and scoff
And life’s half-promising, and both their riling.

With him they buried the muzzle his teeth had kissed,
And truthfully wrote the Mother “Tim died smiling.”

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Lilika Nakos: Selections on war

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Siegfried Sassoon: The Tombstone-Maker

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

Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

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Siegfried Sassoon

Siegfried-Sassoon-007

The Tombstone-Maker

He primmed his loose red mouth and leaned his head
Against a sorrowing angel’s breast, and said:
‘You’d think so much bereavement would have made
‘Unusual big demands upon my trade.
‘The War comes cruel hard on some poor folk;
‘Unless the fighting stops I’ll soon be broke.’

He eyed the Cemetery across the road.
‘There’s scores of bodies out abroad, this while,
‘That should be here by rights. They little know’d
‘How they’d get buried in such wretched style.’

I told him with a sympathetic grin,
That Germans boil dead soldiers down for fat;
And he was horrified. ‘What shameful sin!
‘O sir, that Christian souls should come to that!’

Wirers

‘Pass it along, the wiring party’s going out’—
And yawning sentries mumble, ‘Wirers going out.’
Unravelling; twisting; hammering stakes with muffled thud,
They toil with stealthy haste and anger in their blood.

The Boche sends up a flare. Black forms stand rigid there,
Stock-still like posts; then darkness, and the clumsy ghosts
Stride hither and thither, whispering, tripped by clutching snare
Of snags and tangles.
Ghastly dawn with vaporous coasts
Gleams desolate along the sky, night’s misery ended.

Young Hughes was badly hit; I heard him carried away,
Moaning at every lurch; no doubt he’ll die to-day.
But we can say the front-line wire’s been safely mended.

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Henri Troyat: Shedding blood for the motherland: War is ugly and absurd

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

Henri Troyat: Selections on war

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Henri Troyat
From While the Earth Endures (1947)
Translated by David Hapgood

Rendezvous With Henri Troyat

Volodia was not in a joking mood: whereas the day before he had looked lightly at the future, now he was following the latest diplomatic and military reports with passionate interest. The approach of war had made him abandon his bravado and turn serious. He said, “War is ugly and absurd,” and “I have seen officers who were afraid to go to the front. Heroism is just a state of hysteria.”

***

The people greeted the war with sullen anger. They did not understand this bloody adventure; they took it as a malignant and incomprehensible act of fate. Column after column of soldiers was sent to Manchuria. They spent weeks in cattle-cars, crossed frozen Lake Baikal, and met the furious assault of the “yellow devils.” Why did they have to go and die? They were not defending the soil of Russia, but the financial interests of the Tsar’s friends…

***

Akim looked at his blade; it was soaked with blood. He suddenly felt shameful. He could not help seeing that horror-torn face, that scar, that open mouth, that arm lifted in threat or prayer. “I won’t think about that…something else…Let’s see now…The glory of the Russian Army, the beloved Tsar, the oath to the flag, shedding blood for the motherland…excellent…”

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Jack Lindsay: The Scared Men

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

Jack Lindsay: Who Will Dare Look This Child in the Eyes?

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Jack Lindsay
The Scared Men (1950)

lindsay jack 4

The faces change,
the faces are still the same.
You pass in the street today
the men who crucified Christ,
the man who thrust your brother
into the Auschwitz-flame,
the same one or another
who plays the ravening game
with all things bought and sold,
all murderously priced.

They are afraid,
these men of the ruthless hour,
who will wreck the world with a grin
rather than slacken their hold.
The atom-bomb that they nurse
is their greed in its ultimate flower:
their rule is wholly a curse,
destruction their only power,
World-end the last toss of their coin
for an earth that is bought and sold.

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Wilfred Owen: Multitudinous murders they once witnessed

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

Wildred Owen: Selections on war

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Wilfred Owen

Le Christianisme

So the church Christ was hit and buried
Under its rubbish and its rubble.
In cellars, packed-up saints long serried,
Well out of hearing of our trouble.

One Virgin still immaculate
Smiles on for war to flatter her.
She’s halo’d with an old tin hat,
But a piece of hell will batter her.

Mental Cases

Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jays that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ teeth wicked?
Stroke on stroke of pain, – but what slow panic,
Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets?
Ever from their hair and through their hands’ palms
Misery swelters. Surely we have perished
Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish?

These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
Always they must see these things and hear them,
Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
Carnage incomparable, and human squander
Rucked too thick for these men’s extrication.

Therefore still their eyeballs shrink tormented
Back into their brains, because on their sense
Sunlight seems a blood-smear; night comes blood-black;
Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh.
-Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous,
Awful falseness of set-smiling corpses.
-Thus their hands are plucking at each other;
Picking at the rope-knouts of their scourging;
Snatching after us who smote them, brother,
Pawing us who dealt them war and madness.

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Silence of the Wolves: Ukraine and the Moral Stultification of the West

Russian Information Agency Novosti
May 5, 2014

Silence of the Wolves: Ukraine and the Moral Stultification of the West
By Rick Rozoff, founder of Stop NATO project

Although all efforts have been made by the violently-installed regime in Kiev and its sponsors in the United States and Europe to, by turns or simultaneously, ignore, downplay, obfuscate and distort the horrific events in Odessa, Ukraine on Friday, May 2, what is indisputably evident is that an estimated 46 people were killed and 200 forced to seek medical treatment after assaults by pro-government forces culminated in the burning of a trade union office building.

A French novelist wrote in the 1800s of a curious trait of the human psyche that a person will perpetrate the perfect crime, then give himself away by bragging it about it to the first stranger he meets in a bar. Such indeed is the dynamic that seems to account for videos appearing on YouTube almost immediately after the carnage in Odessa demonstrating beyond a scintilla of doubt that young thugs, many with military camouflage outfits and plastic and metal military helmets, were preparing firebombs and, in one clear instance, firing a handgun in the direction of the besieged occupants of the trade union headquarters, who had fled a tent camp they had inhabited outside for shelter after the extremist goons arrived.

One cell phone video shows what appear to be members of the police force walking by and observing several young men getting Molotov cocktails ready and, far from intervening, appearing to nod their approbation. After the assailants hurled several of the handmade bombs into the building, shouts of exultation and triumph are heard, increasing in intensity as the fires caused by the bombs spread through the several-story complex.

After the tardy, unaccountably and unconscionably tardy, response by law enforcement forces and rescue workers, several of the victims who survived the onslaught were arrested and held for investigation. There are no reports indicating that the perpetrators and those who incited them were apprehended.

The U.S.- and NATO-backed regime of Arseniey Yatsenyiuk and Oleksandr Turchynov  in the nation’s capital has attempted to deflect attention from the self-evident truth of what occurred, with Turchynov stating the day after the massacre, “I’ve signed a decree on the two days mourning in Ukraine for heroes who were killed during the antiterrorist operation and people killed during the tragic events in Odesa.”

His cynical disingenuousness has been echoed, or orchestrated in conjunction with,  comparable equivocation and evasion by leaders of the U.S. and the European Union.

This is as though a defendant himself presented proof of his guilt and not only confessed but celebrated his act, and the prosecutor demanded an investigation and the judge rendered an acquittal.

Western leaders will, after consulting with their public relations specialists, shed a couple of crocodile tears, lament the violence on both sides and continue to support, morally and materially, the massive, military campaign by their client regime in Kiev against what the latter invariably refers to as terrorists.

As Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov stated in relation to the above:

“Not even fascists acted like this. First, to burn people alive by blocking all entrances and setting them on fire, and then to tell the whole world that it was the people inside the building who hurled bottles with flammable substance at each other.”

Not even fascists, indeed.

There will be no outcry against the hideous barbarity motivating and characterizing the massacre in Odessa in the West; what was described on a video tape by one of its supporters as “our May barbecue.”

Not one of the one hundred members of the U.S. Senate, not one of the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, no member of the European Parliament will rise to denounce this outrage, more reminiscent of the behavior of Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht seventy years ago and or roaming bands of cutthroat mercenaries during the Thirty Years’ War four centuries ago than what people may have expected in the 21st century, in the post-Cold War epoch of what President Barack Obama embraced as the reign of “the world’s military superpower” on the occasion of his receiving – and how truly unimaginative George Orwell has been proven to have been – the Nobel Peace Prize in December of 2009.

Wolves don’t cry, not even stage tears; they howl. And tear flesh.

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Alexander Herzen: Despotism means military discipline, empires mean war

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

Alexander Herzen: Selections on the military and war

Russian writers on war

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Alexander Herzen
From My Past and Thoughts
Translated by Constance Garnett

Alexander_Herzen

We are present now at an amazing spectacle; even those lands in which free institutions have survived are striving for despotism. Humanity has seen nothing like it since the days of Constantine when free Romans sought to become slaves to escape civic burdens.

Despotism or socialism – there is no other alternative…

Europe has chosen despotism, has preferred Imperialism. Despotism means military discipline, Empires mean war, the Emperor is the commander-in-chief. Every one is under arms, there will be war, but where is the real enemy?…

The war now beginning [the Crimean War] may have intervals of truce but will not end before the beginning of the general revolution which will shuffle all the cards and begin a new game. It is impossible that the two great historical powers [Britain and France], the two veteran champions of all West European history, representatives of two worlds, two traditions, tow principles – of state and personal freedom – should not crush the third [Russia], which, dumb, nameless, and bannerless, comes forward so opportunely with the rope of slavery on its neck and rudely knocks at the doors of Europe and the doors of history, with an insolent claim to Constantinople, with one foot on Germany and the other on the Pacific Ocean.

Whether these three will try their strength and crush each other in the trying; whether Russia breaks up into pieces or Europe, enfeebled, sinks into Byzantine decay; whether they are reconciled and go hand in hand forward or slaughter each other endlessly – one thing we have discovered for certain and it will not be rooted out of the consciousness of the coming generations; that is: that the free and rational development of Russian national existence is at one with the ideas of Western Socialism.

***

The idea of nationality is in itself a conservative idea – the demarcation of one’s rights, the opposition of self to another: it includes both the Judaic conception of superiority of race, and the aristocratic claim to purity of blood, and right to ascendancy. Nationalism as a standard, as a war-cry, is only surrounded with the halo of revolution when a people is fighting for its independence, when it is throwing off a foreign yoke. That is why national feeling with all its exaggerations is full of poetry in Italy and in Poland, while it is vulgar in Germany.

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Lilika Nakos: “What’s the war got to do with God?”

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

Lilika Nakos: Selections on war

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Lilika Nakos
From The Children’s Inferno (1946)
Translated by Allan Ross Macdougall

“Our neighbor at Botanico was right,” said the other, “when she said that the world’s gone mad and we were cursed before we were born because we live in such an age.”

“Something’s been running through my head. When bombs are being dropped as they are now over there, I ask myself why men kill each other. Who can tell me that? Why do men kill each other like that without reason?”

The two others, stumped, did not know what to say. Then one answered: “It’s the will of God.”

“Aw, shut up!” said the positive Pireote. “You’re only talking nonsense. What’s the war got to do with God? You bring God into everything.”

“So, what else can I say? It is written.”

“Phooey! What does that mean, it is written?”

“So?”

“So, it’s this way, old man. The big ones, the big countries all want to divvy up something and that’s why they can’t get together. My uncle told me that.”

“Divvy up what?”

“The earth! They want to divvy up the earth.”

“The earth!” said Ianko indignantly. “But God made the earth for all men. He put the Frenchmen here, the Germans there, and further on the Turks. He gave them the earth to live on and all its produce to eat.”

“Go on, you’re crazy. You don’t understand. The produce is what the neighbors want to take. And that’s why every twenty years they fight among themselves. For instance, from us they’ve taken the bread, and that’s why everybody is dying.”

“It isn’t they who have taken it. It’s because of the blockade. I’ve heard tell it’s the fault of the English.”

“I don’t know whose fault it is,” said Yorgo; “what I do know, there’s no bread.”

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Panaït Istrati: Crusades profit neither those who fight, nor the cause for which they have gone to war

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

Panaït Istrati: Warmakers and toadeaters

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Panaït Istrati
From Domnitza de Snagov (1929)
Translated by William Drake

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…All crusades are fought with desperate men, but crusades profit neither those who fight, nor the cause for which they have gone to war; for the immemorially ancient tree of life cannot, more than any ordinary tree, give fruit when one burns it in order to destroy the caterpillars.

***

“The earth is so beautiful, our senses so powerful, and the necessities of the mouth so base, that truly one must have come into the world without eyes, without heart, and with only the need of devouring, if one can reduce oneself to crushing one’s fellow man and making existence an ugly thing, instead of preferring justice, mercy, and the right of others to happiness.”

***

“I am content to die – to have nothing more to do with this world! Horrible herd, that flogs or permits itself to be flogged, but knows no middle ground between these ignominies! Now I know that if the masters of this world are without humanity, the world itself is no whit better than its masters. A pity for the just of this earth! We got off rather well than otherwise at the hands of the bands of the hetairia. Our community did not suffer overmuch; there were several rapes and some pillage, but no murders. I defended my hearth as the she-wolf defends her young. My son, too, got off with only some material loss. And we considered the peril as averted when, one fine day, the settlements were warned that the Turkish soldiers were occupying the country, with the purpose of pursuing the Greeks and suppressing the hetairia.

“That occupation! Although we had nothing to do with the revolt of the Greeks, and despite the assurances of the padischah who ‘guaranteed the life and property of his faithful raïas,’ we paid dearly for the brawl.

“For the first time, the peasants among us had occasion to learn that the world is divided between the strong and the weak, that the strong do not devour each other, and that the weak are without a country.

“As soon as the Turkish army landed in our territory, the most patriotic concerns of the boyars was to secure their own property against the expected ravages of the Mussulman soldiers. The famous otousbirs were know for their ferocity. For a heavy purse of gold, every lord obtained from the Turkish commandant a hostage, who was generally an aga. This aga, nourished, housed, and fatly paid, had the responsibility of defending the court of the boyar who had taken him as hostage against the depredations of the otousbirs.

“It meant peace for our masters, but with how much human misery this peace of theirs was to be saturated, only the plaints of our children could tell!”

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Siegfried Sassoon: Selections on war

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Wilfred Owen: From gloom’s last dregs these long-strung creatures crept

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

Wildred Owen: Selections on war

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Wilfred Owen

Wilfred_Owen_plate_from_Poems_1920

The Show

My soul looked down from a vague height with Death,
As unremembering how I rose or why,
And saw a sad land, weak with sweats of dearth,
Gray, cratered like the moon with hollow woe,
And fitted with great pocks and scabs of plaques.

Across its beard, that horror of harsh wire,
There moved thin caterpillars, slowly uncoiled.
It seemed they pushed themselves to be as plugs
Of ditches, where they writhed and shrivelled, killed.

By them had slimy paths been trailed and scraped
Round myriad warts that might be little hills.

From gloom’s last dregs these long-strung creatures crept,
And vanished out of dawn down hidden holes.

(And smell came up from those foul openings
As out of mouths, or deep wounds deepening.)

On dithering feet upgathered, more and more,
Brown strings towards strings of gray, with bristling spines,
All migrants from green fields, intent on mire.

Those that were gray, of more abundant spawns,
Ramped on the rest and ate them and were eaten.

I saw their bitten backs curve, loop, and straighten,
I watched those agonies curl, lift, and flatten.

Whereat, in terror what that sight might mean,
I reeled and shivered earthward like a feather.

And Death fell with me, like a deepening moan.
And He, picking a manner of worm, which half had hid
Its bruises in the earth, but crawled no further,
Showed me its feet, the feet of many men,
And the fresh-severed head of it, my head.

Dulce et Decorum est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Fine-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. –
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, –
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

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