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Upton Sinclair: U.S. invasion of Russia: nothing but wholesale murder; American army and navy as a world police-force

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Upton Sinclair: Selections on war

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Upton Sinclair
From Boston (1928)

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It was time to get excitable young rebels out of the country; the family realized that clearly more and more every day. For it appeared that the signing of the armistice was not going to mean peace; not even the signing of a treaty would mean it. Our troops were to stay in Germany; worse yet, they were to stay in Siberia and Archangel, and wage President Wilson’s private war upon the Russian people. The American army and navy were to service as a world police-force for the capitalist system. Exactly what Cornelia had seen the Boston police do in Plymouth, the national police were going to do all over Europe and Asia, sometimes under our command, sometimes under British command. And any persons at home who objected to this program would be hit over the head with the so-called espionage act; a law enacted to punish enemy spies, and now serving to jail American citizens for protesting against attacks upon a friendly people without a declaration of war.

It was the White Terror. Conducted partly by mobs, and partly by police and government agents acting as mobs, it had for its aim the destruction of every means through which the American people might learn how their blood and treasure were being wasted. It stopped at no crime; the law-enforcers of city, state and nation became the leading criminals. In New York four Russian boys and a girl, all of them under age, attempting to distribute a circular against the invasion of Russia, were seized by the police and tortured until one of them died; the rest were prosecuted in the federal courts and received sentences of twenty years’ imprisonment.

***

“It is nothing but a coward’s attempt to frighten and distress us. Joe was connected with the American legation in Russia, when President Wilson begin his private war on the Russian people, which was nothing but wholesale murder for the benefit of the British Tories. Joe said what he thought about it, and he may actually have done something to try to stop it. If he has a ‘criminal record,’ that is it. I’m sure.”

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Edward Bulwer Lytton: The heartless and miserable vanity from which arose wars neither useful nor honourable

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Edward Bulwer Lytton: The sword, consecrating homicide and massacre with a hollow name

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Edward Bulwer Lytton
From Devereaux (1829)

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One evening I was engaged to meet a large party at a country-house about forty miles from Paris. I went, and stayed some days. My horses had accompanied me; and, when I left the chateau, I resolved to make the journey to Paris on horseback. Accordingly, I ordered my carriage to follow me, and attended by a single groom, commenced my expedition. It was a beautiful still morning, – the first day of the first month of autumn. I had proceeded about ten miles, when I fell in with an old French officer. I remember, – though I never saw him but that once, – I remember his face as if I had encountered it yesterday. It was thin and long, and yellow enough to have served as a caricature rather than a portrait of Don Quixote. He had a hook nose, and a long sharp chin; and all the lines, wrinkles, curves, and furrows of which the human visage is capable seemed to have met in his cheeks. Nevertheless, his eye was bright and keen, his look alert, and his whole bearing firm, gallant, and soldier-like. He was attired in a sort of military undress; wore a mustachio, which, though thin and gray, was carefully curled; and at the summit of a very respectable wig was perched a small cocked hat, adorned with a black feather. He rode very upright in his saddle; and his horse, a steady, stalwart quadruped of the Norman breed, with a terribly long tail and a prodigious breadth of chest, put one stately leg before another in a kind of trot, which, though it seemed, from its height of action and the proud look of the steed, a pretension to motion more than ordinarily brisk, was in fact a little slower than a common walk.

This noble cavalier seemed sufficiently an object of curiosity to my horse to induce the animal to testify his surprise by shying, very jealously and very vehemently, in passing him. This ill breeding on his part was indignantly returned on the part of the Norman charger, who, uttering a sort of squeak and shaking his long mane and head, commenced a series of curvets and capers which cost the old Frenchman no little trouble to appease. In the midst of these equine freaks, the horse came so near me as to splash my nether garment with a liberality as little ornamental as it was pleasurable.

The old Frenchman seeing this, took off his cocked hat very politely and apologized for the accident. I replied with equal courtesy; and, as our horses slid into quiet, their riders slid into conversation. It was begun and chiefly sustained by my new comrade; for I am little addicted to commence unnecessary socialities myself, though I should think very meanly of my pretensions to the name of a gentleman and a courtier, if I did not return them when offered, even by a beggar.

“It is a fine horse of yours, Monsieur,” said the old Frenchman; “but I cannot believe – pardon me for saying so – that your slight English steeds are so well adapted to the purposes of war as our strong chargers, – such as mine for example.”

“It is very possible, Monsieur,” said I. “Has the horse you now ride done service in the field as well as on the road?”

“Ah! le pauvre petit mignon, – no!” (petit, indeed! this little darling was seventeen hands high at the very least) “no, Monsieur: it is but a young creature this; his grandfather served me well!”

“I need not ask you, Monsieur, if you have borne arms: the soldier is stamped upon you!”

“Sir, you flatter me highly!” said the old gentleman, blushing to the very tip of his long lean ears, and bowing as low as if I had called him a Conde. “I have followed the profession of arms for more than fifty years.”

“Fifty years! ’tis a long time.”

“A long time,” rejoined my companion, “a long time to look back upon with regret.”

“Regret! by Heaven, I should think the remembrance of fifty years’ excitement and glory would be a remembrance of triumph.”

The old man turned round on his saddle, and looked at me for some moments very wistfully. “You are young, Sir,” he said, “and at your years I should have thought with you; but -” (then abruptly changing his voice, he continued) – “Triumph, did you say? Sir, I have had three sons: they are dead; they died in battle; I did not weep; I did not shed a tear, Sir, – not a tear! But I will tell you when I did weep. I came back, an old man, to the home I had left as a young one. I saw the country a desert. I saw that the noblesse had become tyrants; the peasants had become slaves, – such slaves, – savage from despair, – even when they were most gay, most fearfully gay, from constitution. Sir, I saw the priest rack and grind, and the seigneur exact and pillage, and the tax-gatherer squeeze out the little the other oppressors had left; anger, discontent, wretchedness, famine, a terrible separation between one order of people and another; an incredible indifference to the miseries their despotism caused on the part of the aristocracy; a sullen and vindictive hatred for the perpetration of those miseries on the part of the people; all places sold – even all honours priced – at the court, which was become a public market, a province of peasants, of living men bartered for a few livres, and literally passed from one hand to another, to be squeezed and drained anew by each new possessor: in a word, Sir, an abandoned court; an unredeemed noblesse, – unredeemed, Sir, by a single benefit which, in other countries, even the most feudal, the vassal obtains from the master; a peasantry famished; a nation loaded with debt which it sought to pay by tears, – these are what I saw, – these are the consequences of that heartless and miserable vanity from which arose wars neither useful nor honourable, – these are the real components of that triumph, as you term it, which you wonder that I regret.”

Now, although it was impossible to live at the court of Louis XIV. in his latter days, and not feel, from the general discontent that prevailed even there, what a dark truth the old soldier’s speech contained, yet I was somewhat surprised by an enthusiasm so little military in a person whose bearing and air were so conspicuously martial.

“You draw a melancholy picture,” said I; “and the wretched state of culture which the lands that we now pass through exhibit is a witness how little exaggeration there is in your colouring. However, these are but the ordinary evils of war; and, if your country endures them, do not forget that she has also inflicted them. Remember what France did to Holland, and own that it is but a retribution that France should now find that the injury we do to others is (among nations as well as individuals) injury to ourselves.”

***

“Yes,” renewed my comrade, colouring with evident shame and drawing his cocked hat over his brows, “yes, I received my last wound at Ramilies. Then my eyes were opened to the horrors of war; then I saw and cursed the evils of ambition; then I resolved to retire from the armies of a king who had lost forever his name, his glory, and his country.”

Was there ever a better type of the French nation than this old soldier? As long as fortune smiles on them, it is “Marchons au diable!” and “Vive la gloire!” Directly they get beaten, it is “Ma pauvre patrie!” and “Les calamites affreuses de la guerre!”

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Alfred Neumann: Ten million lives for one man’s glory; the emperor changes his hat

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

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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 Empire (1936)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul

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Here is a remarkable head, crowned with a Kepi…Yes, the Emperor is wearing the Kepi of active service, like everyone else. His name is Napoleon, and…he will fulfill the warlike obligations of his name…There was a time, soldiers, you will remember, when he sported the famous little hat that was unique, that had been so frightfully individual when flaunted above the crater of a Europe vomiting wars and compelled to sacrifice ten million lives for the Corporal’s gloire…The times have changed, soldiers of the people; the Emperor will not send you to the front while he himself stays safe at home, as he did when he despatched you to the Crimea where pestilence raged as well as war…

This almighty and immense plain of the Po, adapted by nature and art for the production of food, is permanently hostile to destruction; the pregnant, peaceful earth is permanently antagonistic to war. The man in the Kepi, soldier and commander, stands at its very marge, and he has already become aware of God’s enmity. That is no feeling to animate a solider; and it may lead him in the wrong direction. It may lead him back into civilian dress, which he has just laid aside; to a civilian mood which would make him see or desire to see the critical and discontented professional generals of his immediate environment peep out throughout all the holes in this threadbare war…A fine horse, as quiet as a lamb, reins loose on the neck, was standing across the road, motionless, obedient, and indifferent. The Emperor rose a little in his stirrups, bent forward and to one side to look past the beast’s twitching neck into the ditch. In the ditch lay a volunteer voltigeur, whose legs in their red trousers were higher than his head, and higher than anything else were the boots, almost new boots made of good, solid leather. Not a button was missing from the white gaiters. Since a heavy soft-nosed bullet or a shell-splinter had cut off the top of the man’s skull, some kindly hand had laid a kepi over the dead face; not necessarily his own kepi, but Everyman’s kepi, the burning-red kepi. What is one to say when a kepi is used to cover something half of which is gone? A horrid position for a kepi, a lapse into non-entity, making mock of the gaiters and boots that were so beautifully uninjured. Of the poor mutilated face nothing more remained than the mouth with the prescribed imperial. Over what was non-existent above had been clapped the kepi, whose peak yawned to disclose the imperial, and the open mouth, through which the tongue protruded, and on which metallic looking blow-flies had already settled. Kepi looked down from horseback upon the kepi in the ditch, which showed him its tongue, and hos own goatee, as surviving remnants of young life. He did not hurry himself over his study of this “casualty”, and his suite had plenty of time to watch how the amateur commander-in-chief stood the grisly test. It was said that he turned quite yellow; but then he was always yellow of visage.

***
Yes, the amateur plan of campaign was both spirited and venturesome. Perhaps the victor of Marengo would have done the same thing, without a siege-train or bridge-building apparatus. But the War God would not have spent so many minutes looking at one dead soldier. He had left so long a train of corpses that if he has stopped to look at them all, he would have had no time to keep his eyes fixed on victory.

Still, Kepi must not be grudged that long look at his victim, and his almost theological understanding of the way in which the peaceful earth resisted war-making…

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Robert Graves: Military madness degenerating into savagery

February 25, 2015 4 comments

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

Robert Graves: Selections on war

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Robert Graves
From Good-Bye to All That (1929)

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England looked strange to us returned soldiers. We could not understand the war madness that ran everywhere, looking for a pseudo-military outlet. The civilians talked a foreign language; and it was newspaper language. I found serious talk with my parents all but impossible…

The training principles had been recently revised. Infantry Training, 1914, laid it down politely that the soldier’s ultimate aim was to put out of action or render ineffectively the armed forces of the enemy. The War Office no longer considered this statement direct enough for a war of attrition. Troops learned instead that they must HATE the Germans, and KILL as many of them as possible. In bayonet-practice, the men had to make horrible grimaces and utter blood-curdling yells as they charged. The instructors’ faces were set in a permanent ghastly grin. ‘Hurt him, now! In at the belly! Tear his guts out!’ they would scream, as the men charged the dummies. ‘Now that upper swing at his privates with the butt. Ruin his chances for life! No more little Fritzes!…Naaoh! Anyone would think that you loved the bloody swine, patting and stroking ’em like that. BITE HIM, I SAY! STICK YOUR TEETH IN HIM AND WORRY HIM! EAT HIS HEART OUT!’

***

[Siegfried Sassoon] wrote how mad it made him to think of the countless good men being slaughtered that summer, and all for nothing. The bloody politicians and ditto generals with their cursed incompetent blundering and callous ideas would go on until they tired of it or had got as much kudos as they wanted…

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Joseph Addison and Richard Steele: It is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Joseph Addison: Already have our quarrels fill’d the world with widows and with orphans

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Joseph Addison and Richard Steele
From The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers (1711)

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He is well acquainted with commerce in all its parts, and will tell you that it is a stupid and barbarous way to extend dominion by arms; for true power is got by arts and industry. He will often argue that of this part of our trade were well cultivated, we should gain from one nation; and if another, from another. I have heard him prove that diligence makes more lasting acquisitions than valour…

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…I remembered that Monsieur Pascal, in his most excellent discourse on the ‘Misery of Man,’ tells us that our endeavors after greatness proceed from nothing but a desire of being surrounded by a multitude of persons and affairs that may hinder us from looking into ourselves…

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A furious party spirit, when it rages in its full violence, exerts itself in civil war and bloodshed; and when it is under its greatest restraints naturally breaks out in falsehood, detraction, calumny and a partial administration of justice. In a word, it fills a nation with spleen and rancour, and extinguishes all the seeds of good-nature, compassion, and humanity.

Plutarch says, very finely, that a man should not allow himself even to hate his enemies; – “Because,” says he, “if you indulge this passion in some occasions, it will rise of itself in others; if you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind as by degrees will break out upon those who are your friends, or those who are indifferent to you.” I might here observe how admirably this precept of morality – which derives the malignity of hatred from the passion itself, and not from its object – answers to that great rule which was dictated to the world about an hundred years before this philosopher wrote…

***

How many honest minds are filled with uncharitable and barbarous notions, out of their zeal for the public good! What cruelties and outrages would they not commit against men of an adverse party, whom they would honour and esteem, if, instead of considering them as they are represented, they knew them as they are! There are persons of the greatest probity seduced into shameful errors and prejudices, and made bad men even by that noblest of principles, the “love of their country.”

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George Borrow: Prisoners of war: misery on one side, disgrace on the other

February 23, 2015 Leave a comment

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

George Borrow
From Lavrengo (1841)

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And a strange place it was, this Norman Cross, and, at the time of which I am speaking, a sad cross to many a Norman, being what was then styled a French prison, that is, a receptacle for captives made in the French war. It consisted, if I remember right, of some five or six casernes, very long, and immensely high; each standing isolated from the rest, upon a spot of ground which might average ten acres, and which was fenced round with lofty palisades, the whole being compassed about by a towering wall, beneath which, at intervals, on both sides, sentinels were stationed, whilst outside, upon the field, stood commodious wooden barracks, capable of containing two regiments of infantry, intended to serve as guards upon the captives. Such was the station or prison at Norman Cross, where some six thousand French and other foreigners, followers of the grand Corsican, were now immured.

What a strange appearance had those mighty casernes, with their blank blind walls, without windows or grating, and their slanting roofs, out of which, through orifices where the tiles had been removed, would be protruded dozens of grim heads, feasting their prison-sick eyes on the wide expanse of country unfolded from that airy height. Ah! there was much misery in those casernes; and from those roofs, doubtless, many a wistful look was turned in the direction of lovely France. Much had the poor inmates to endure, and much to complain of, to the disgrace of England be it said – of England, in general so kind and bountiful. Rations of carrion meat, and bread from which I have seen the very hounds occasionally turn away, were unworthy entertainment even for the most ruffian enemy, when helpless and a captive; and such, alas! was the fare in those casernes. And then, those visits, or rather ruthless inroads, called in the slang of the place “straw-plait hunts,” when in pursuit of a contraband article, which the prisoners, in order to procure themselves a few of the necessaries and comforts of existence, were in the habit of making, red-coated battalions were marched into the prisons, who, with the bayonet’s point, carried havoc and ruin into every poor convenience which ingenious wretchedness had been endeavouring to raise around it; and then the triumphant exit with the miserable booty; and, worst of all, the accursed bonfire, on the barrack parade, of the plait contraband, beneath the view of the glaring eyeballs from those lofty roofs, amidst the hurrahs of the troops, frequently drowned in the curses poured down from above like a tempest-shower…

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D.H. Lawrence: In 1915 the world ended with the slaughter-machine of human devilishness

February 22, 2015 Leave a comment

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

D. H. Lawrence: Selections on war

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D.H. Lawrence
From Kangaroo (1923)

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Those days, that autumn…people carried about chrysanthemums, yellow and brown chrysanthemums: and the smell of burning leaves: and the wounded, bright blue soldiers with their red cotton neck-ties, sitting together like macaws on the seats, pale and different from other people. And the star Jupiter very bright at nights over the cup hollow of the Vale, on Hampstead Heath. And the war news always coming, the war horror drifting in, drifting in, prices rising, excitement growing, people going mad about Zeppelin raids. And always the one song:

“Keep the home fires burning,
Though your hearts be yearning.”

It was in 1915 the old world ended. In the winter 1915-1916 the spirit of the old London collapsed; the city, in some way, perished, perished from from being a part of the world, and became a vortex of broken passions, lusts, hopes, fears, and horrors. The integrity of London collapsed, and the genuine debasement began, the unspeakable baseness of the press and the public voice, the reign of that bloated ignominy, John Bull.

No man who has really consciously lived through this can believe again absolutely in democracy. No man who has heard reiterated in thousands of tones from all the common people, during the crucial years of the war: “I believe in John Bull.” Give me John Bull,” can ever believe that in any crisis a people can govern itself, or is even fit to govern itself. During the crucial years of the war, the people chose, and chose Bottomleyism. Bottom enough.

***

He had enough influential friends in London to put him into some job, even some quite congenial, literary job, with a sufficient salary. They would be only too glad to do it, for there in his remoteness, writing occasionally an essay that only bothered them, he was a thorn in their flesh. And men and women with sons, brothers, husbands away fighting, it was small pleasure for them to read Mr. Somers and his pronunciation. “This trench and machine warfare is a blasphemy against life itself, a blasphemy which we are all committing.” All very well, they said, but we are in for a war, and what are we to do? We hate it as much as he does. But we can’t all sit safely in Cornwall.

That was true too, and he felt a most dreary misery, knowing how many brave, generous men were being put through this slaughter-machine of human devilishness…

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Nathanael West: The noble motives, the noble methods of war

February 21, 2015 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Nathanael West: Selections on war

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Nathanael West
From Good Hunting (1938)

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THOMPSON
(Into transmitter – ad libs)

‘Lo, Crecy…Paris, please…Grenoble…Paris…American Press.

RUSSO
(Slipping Thompson a bill)

Here’s your five.

THOMPSON

You said ten.

RUSSO

You’ll take five – or I’ll charge you with accepting a bribe.

THOMPSON

But you’re giving it to me!

RUSSO

I’m a war correspondent, I’m immune.

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SIR ARTHUR
(Sternly)

I know your troops are tired…But I will brook no delay. I demand superhuman efforts. Attacks!

HARGREAVES

Yes, sir…but…but…

SIR ARTHUR

Damn it, man! stop mumbling! We attack tomorrow, that’s final! Lloyd George and his committee were with us all week. They’re having plenty of trouble with the Colonies and the draft. An election is approaching – victories mean votes! This has to be kept a popular war.

HARGREAVES

I don’t underestimate the importance of victories – but –

SIR ARTHUR
(Cutting him short)

A decisive one right now will encourage America. Their bankers are beginning to worry about the money they’re lending us.

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JERVAIS
(Ferociously)

The enemy must be exterminated – man, woman and child!
(With mounting hysteria, surprising in such a mild looking gent)
Torn out, root and branch. Slaughtered! Annihilated! Their cities must run with blood. Their brains must be dashed out! Their hearts plucked quivering from their bodies!

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Paul Morand: Nations never lay down their arms; death which is still combative

February 20, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Paul Morand: The magic disappearance of ten millions of war dead

Paul Morand: The War for Righteousness ends in the burying of moral sense

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Paul Morand
From The Living Buddha (1928)
Translated by Madeleine Boyd

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“Life is bad, Monseigneur, but everybody is attached to it.”

“Why?”

“Because we are rich in reasons for being alive. To covet is the first. A thing is worth something in our eyes when it belongs to someone else. It is cupidity which once upon a time threw the bourgeois upon the nobles and to-day the people upon the bourgeois; the strong upon the weak; the young against the old; the women against the men. Everything crashes with us and that may be why there are so many flashes of lightning…What is true of the West is true of the nations. They never lay down their arms. Some perish, are devoured, others wounded. Some stopped, seized with uneasiness. A few hours before, they looked healthy, with gold in their banks, with allies and invincible armies: now they are down, their strength ebbing through new or old wounds; their unguided mechanism goes on functioning in emptiness, producing, perhaps, or poisoning. Proud, hardened to suffering, those nations are the last to doubt their own power, and they are wrong. Look at England.”

“Then there are illnesses of nations?” asked the Prince.

“There is also old age of nations; constitutions that are too old; arterio-sclerotic administrations; no money for medicines and a senile taste for economy; a horror of fresh air; alcohol at all the street corners and no milk; soon, disordered reflexes, a panic of healthy organs at the expense of others; prostration, a delirium of persecution; poverty. I have seen that a short while ago.”

“Where?”

“In France, Monseigneur, in my own country.”

“And afterwards?”

“Afterwards comes general paralysis and death.

“Of course, life is an illness we all die of; but what one sees there is death without rest, death which is still combative, an end without hope, a shout which is suddenly choked, an interrupted curse…”

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Richard Aldington: The criminal cant and rant of war

February 19, 2015 Leave a comment

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Richard Aldington: The Blood of the Young Men

Richard Aldington: Selections on war

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Richard Aldington
From Death of a Hero (1929)

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All this time the war was drawing steadily nearer. Probably it had become certain since 1911, though most people were taken unawares. Why did it happen? Who was responsible? Questions which have been interminably debated already and will furnish exultant historians with controversial material for generations to come. Already one foresees the creation of Chairs in the History of the First World War, to be set up in whatever civilised countries remain in existence after the next one. But for us the debate is vain, as vain as the pathetic and reiterated enquiry, “Where did I catch this horrible cold?” If any body or bodies engineered this catastrophe they must have been gratified by its shattering success. Few lives indeed in the belligerent countries remained unaffected by it, and in most cases the effect was unpleasant. Adult lives were cut sharply into three sections – pre-war, war, and post-war. It is curious – perhaps not so curious – how many people will tell you that whole areas of their pre-war lives have become obliterated from their memories. Pre-war seems like pre-history…

Talleyrand used to say that those who had not known Europe before 1789 had never known the real pleasure of living. No one would dare to substitute 1914 for 1789 in that sentence. But such a wholesale shattering of values had certainly not occurred since 1789. God knows how many governments and rulers crashed down in the earthquake, and those which remain are agitatedly trying to preserve their existence by the time-honoured method of repression and persecution. And yet 1914 was greeted as a great release, a purgation from the vices supposed to be engendered by peace! My God! Three days of glory engender more vices and misery than all the alleged corruptors of humanity could achieve in a millennium. Les jeunes would be amazed if they read the nauseous poppycock which was written in 1914-15 in England, and doubtless in all the belligerent countries, except France, where practically nothing was printed at all. (However, the French have made up handsomely for the loss since then.) “Our splendid troops” were to come home – oh, very soon – purged and ennobled by slaughter and lice, and were to beget even nobler fellows to go and do likewise…

***

It was the régime of Cant before the War which made the Cant during the War so damnably possible and easy. On our coming of age the Victorians generously handed us a charming little cheque for fifty guineas – fifty-one months of hell, and the results. Charming people, weren’t they? Virtuous and farsighted. But it wasn’t their fault? They didn’t make the War? It was Prussia, and Prussian militarism? Right you are, right ho! Who made Prussia a great power and subsidized Frederick the Second to do it, thereby snatching an empire from France? England. Who backed up Prussia against Austria, and Bismarck against Napoleon III? England. And whose Cant governed England in the nineteenth century? But never mind this domestic squabble of mine – put it that I mean the “Victorians” of all nations.

One human mind cannot hold, one memory retain, one pen portray the limitless Cant, Delusion, and Delirium let loose on the world during those four years. It surpasses the most fantastic imagination. It was incredible – and I suppose that was why it was believed. It was the supreme and tragic climax of Victorian Cant, for after all the Victorians were still in full blast in 1914, and had pretty much the control of everything. Did they appeal to us honestly, and say: “We have made a colossal and tragic error, we have involved you and all of us in a huge war; it’s too late to stop it; you must come and help us, and we promise to take the first opportunity of making peace and making it thoroughly”? They did not. They said that they didn’t want to us, but they thought WE ought to go; they said our King and Country needed us; they said they’d kiss us when we come home (merci! effect of the Entente Cordiale?); they said one of the most civilized nations in the world were “Huns”: they invented Cadaver factories; they asserted that a race of men notorious during generations for their kindliness were habitual baby-butchers, rapers of women, crucifiers of prisoners; they said the “Huns” were sneaks and cowards and skedaddlers, but failed to explain why it took fifty-one months to beat their hopelessly out-numbered armies; they said that they were fighting for the Liberty of the World, and everywhere there is less liberty; they said they would Never sheath the Sword until etcetera, and this sort of criminal rant was called Pisgah-Heights of Patriotism…They said…Why go on? It is desolating, desolating. And then they wonder why the young are cynical and despairing and angry and chaotic! And they still have adherents, who still dare to go on preaching to us. Quick! A shrine to the goddesses Cant and Imprudence…

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H.G. Wells: When war comes home

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment

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

H.G. Wells: Selections on war

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

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In this fashion it was that the great war began in Europe and came to one man in Matching’s Easy, as it came to countless intelligent men in countless pleasant homes that had scarcely heeded its coming through all the years of its relentless preparation. The familiar scenery of life was drawn aside, and War stood unveiled. “I am the Fact,” said War, “and I stand astride the path of life. I am the threat of death and extinction that has always walked beside life, since life began. There can be nothing else and nothing more in human life until you have reckoned with me.”

***

He had always hated conflict and destruction, and felt that war between civilised states was the quintessential expression of human failure, it was a stupidity that stopped progress and all the free variation of humanity, a thousand times he had declared it impossible, but even now with his country fighting he was still far from realising that this was a thing that could possibly touch him more than intellectually. He did not really believe with his eyes and finger-tips and backbone that murder, destruction, and agony on a scale monstrous beyond precedent was going on in the same world as that which slumbered outside the black ivy and silver shining window-sill that framed his peaceful view.

War had not been a reality of the daily life of England for more than a thousand years. The mental habit of the nation for fifty generations was against its emotional recognition. The English were the spoilt children of peace. They had never been wholly at war for three hundred years, and for over eight hundred years they had not fought for life against a foreign power. Spain and France had threatened in turn, but never even crossed the seas. It is true that England had had her civil dissensions and had made wars and conquests in every part of the globe and established an immense empire…

***

“I tell you I never knew there was such a thing as war until this happened to me. In America we don’t know there is such a thing. It’s like pestilence and famine; something in the story books. We’ve forgotten it for anything real. There’s just a few grandfathers go around talking about it. Judge Holmes and sage old fellows like him. Otherwise it’s just a game the kids play at…And then suddenly here’s everybody running about in the streets – hating and threatening – and nice old gentlemen with white moustaches and fathers of families scheming and planning to burn houses and kill and hurt and terrify. And nice young women, too, looking for an Englishman to spit at; I tell you I’ve been within range and very uncomfortable several times…And what one can’t believe is that they are really doing these things…”

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Leonid Leonov: Tell me, is it right to kill – in war or anyhow?

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Russian writers on war

Leonid Leonov: All the blood that has been shed has turned the air bad

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Leonid Leonov
From The Thief (1927)
Translated by Hubert Butler

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“…They used to practice the read death in our parts. Have you heard of it?”

“I read about it in some book…the old men used to be suffocated with a red bolster…some kind of sect, wasn’t it?”

“Not only old men,” Agey waved his hand and cast down his eyes. “But the folk in our parts are quiet and peaceable. The hares come and play close to the houses. The bolster business…that all happened in old times…in any case, what do the bolsters matter? What’s the difference whether one smothers a man with a bolster or shoots him with a gun or hacks him to pieces with a sword or poisons him with poison gas? One might even say it’s softer with a bolster: it’s even a pleasure, if the other party’s agreeable. They say that the professor who invented this poison gas hasn’t been shot yet, but he is still running about…”

***

“You’re a brainy chap with those spectacles. Tell me, is it right to kill – in war or anyhow? While my father had me in his pocket, I used to think that one might kill anything up to a mouse, but nothing higher than that. I had wisdom bitten into my ear. I was a dreamy chap…In the night I used to get up and read, but in the war my mind went off the rails. It was during an attack – a hellish spot called Ferdinand’s Nose, a hill full of holes. I went ahead and cut the wire in two and ran in, and up against me came an Austrian officer with a red nose. He rushed at me with his sword, but I took a jab at him with my bayonet. Then I lifted up the butt of my rifle, and he looked at me as you are doing now, in a pleading kind of way. I saw his eyes growing dull. What did they want, Fyodor Fyodorich? And it’s true if a chap hits you with the butt of a rifle, it isn’t in the butt the death is, but in his eyes. When he winked at me I thought…’You’re cheating,’ though I. ‘You want to get into me with your eyes.’…And I screwed up my eyes, too.”

“It’s unbearably hot here,” murmured Firsov, who was streaming with sweat, and he got up from his chair.

“Sit down!” Agey ordered him, and pushed his knees down. “A little afterward there was a parade. Our general gave me a cross and praised me, and I began to think of the young hawk. ‘But, your serene excellency,’ said I. “I killed a man.’ I was stupid, I suppose, eh? I’m almost ashamed of telling it. And he screamed in my face: ‘You fool! If anyone gives you anything, well, you’ve earned it.’ For this bit of back chat I was under arrest for three days – quite the hero! – but I didn’t care a damn! ‘That’s easy work,’ thought I, ‘and I get distinguished for it into the bargain!’ In the end I got a taste for it. I did in seven of them with my bayonet at every attack, and I longed for each attack as if it was Easter Sunday. Once I hacked a man’s hand off, and brought it to the commandant. Another time I killed a dead man a second time: he was sitting by a gun carriage, and I gave him one just for the love of the thing. And when I’d learned to stomach it, I had a high old time with medals and crosses…”

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George Santayana: Fatal wars: equally needless, equally murderous

February 16, 2015 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

George Santayana: Selections on war

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George Santayana
From The Last Puritan: A Memoir in the Form of a Novel (1935)

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“I know, in the old days, a brilliant boy like that would have gone into the army, and there are wars everywhere in which to be killed. Mothers had that trial to endure; and I suppose it’s no worse now with motors and aeroplanes and submarines, and whatever else those scientific busybodies may find to invent. We blame those dangerous innovations and those fatal wars, both equally needless, equally murderous…”

***

Odds and ends of learning stuck pleasantly in his mind, like the adventures of a Gil Blas or a Casanova; it was the little events, the glimpses of old life, like the cadences of old poetry, that had the savour of truth. Perhaps there were no great events: a great event was a name for our ignorance of the little events which composed it. Summary views were necessary to the rhetoric of politics; they were gross masks made for the public eye, or made by it; but the humble truth of things was woven into their finer texture; it lay in the forgotten passions and forgotten accidents that really determined every turn of events…”

***

“At least you, Mr. Oliver, will be spared. There’s that advantage now in being an American.  They can’t drag you into this wicked war, not with all their picture-posters and conscription that they will say will have to come in the end. Our young men will drop like apples in a wet year in the orchard, some green and some ripe and some rotten and each with an iron worm in him…”

“These young recruits are told that they will be dying for their country. That’s sheer cant. Nobody knows if he’s doing his country any good by dying for it, or whether his country is better worth dying for than any other. And what is one’s country, anyhow? A piece of land? How is a piece of land in danger? Institutions and ideas? But institutions and ideas are always changing; by dying to preserve one set you will be creating another: and there will be less than you could care for in the world after that than there was before. It is a blind current that sweeps us on, we don’t know for how long or to what issue.”

***

He tried going to France and driving a motor-ambulance…The native women he found sly, the men false, and both avaricious. Moreover, the constant sight of the dead and wounded, when it did not turn his stomach or make his head swim, cut cruelly into his conscience. He couldn’t throw off the sense of indignation, the perpetual rebellion of his reason against such folly, so much suffering, so much unmitigated wickedness at the source of this carnage. He must retire somewhere beyond the sound of guns and Zeppelins, and recover his nerve.

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Bulgaria: Protesters Demand Withdrawal From NATO

February 15, 2015 Leave a comment

Sofia News Agency
February 15, 2015

Anti-NATO Protest Staged in Downtown Sofia

About a hundred people have demonstrated against Bulgaria’s NATO membership, calling on the alliance “to leave” the country.

The event started at Sunday noon at the square in front of Bulgaria’s Presidency and later headed to the National Assembly. It was formally organized by the Bulgarian Anti-Fascist Union.

Protesters demanded that Bulgaria remain neutral in any military action that could be carried out by the Alliance and revoke all of its commitments relating to a “direct or indirect war in Ukraine.”

The country should quit NATO as well, they believe.

Sunday’s event comes against the backdrop of an earlier decision to have a NATO command center located in Bulgaria alongside five other Eastern European member states.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, however, insists the units are to ensure rapid deployment in case of a crisis and will help coordinate joint drills and training.

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Liam O’Flaherty: Sounds from a dead world. Nothing but worms and rats feeding on death.

February 15, 2015 2 comments

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

Liam O’Flaherty: The foul horror of war

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Liam Flaherty
From Return of the Brute (1929)

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The two enemy soldiers stopped chattering and began to move away.

“What did I tell you?” said Gunn. “See? They’re moving off.”

They listened to the queer, brutal sound of two human beings dragging themselves over the sodden mud in the darkness.

“It’s funny,” said Lamont, “those two blokes are soldiers same as we are, with people at home. And they’re wet and lousy and hungry and fed-up same as we are too. But we think…I mean to say that whenever I think of Fritz I see him only as some cruel giant that’s…No! But just as an enemy. What’s an enemy, I wonder?…”

***

“Now listen to me. I’ve been out here over two years on this lousy front and I’m as fed up with it as you are. I don’t give a curse who wins this rotten war and I’d like to run my bayonet through the fellahs that started it. We’re just fighting for a gang of robbers, as ’79 Duncan said. I’ve got my eyes open now, although I hadn’t when I enlisted…”

***

They became silent, standing side by side, looking out into the darkness over the parapet. With their steel hats and their oil-sheets, which they wore, laced about their throats, over their great coats, they looked like ghouls in the gloom, buried to their waists in a hole; while all around them the earth lay naked, turned into mud, holed, covered with the horrid débris of war, emitting a stench of rotting, unburied corpses.

From the pitch-dark sky the rain fell, unceasing and monotonous, like the droning of brine water falling on a floor of black rocks from the roof of a subterranean cave where moaning seals are hidden and flap themselves about on their ledges; sounds from a dead world; the mysterious gloom of the primeval earth, where no life had yet arisen; no sap of growing things; nothing but worms and rats feeding on death.

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Britain To Supply 75 Armored Vehicles For War In Ukraine

February 14, 2015 Leave a comment

UNIAN
February 13, 2015

British Saxon armored cars to be delivered to Ukrainian army after conversion and testing

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A consignment of 20 British Saxon armored cars has been delivered to Ukraine, with another 55 of the vehicles expected to arrive in the country in the near future, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov has said.

Turchynov, speaking during a visit on Friday to a training center of the Ukrainian National Guard, said that in the near future the armored vehicles will undergo conversion work at the enterprise of state concern Ukroboronprom to adapt them to the needs of the Ukrainian army.

“These Saxons were obtained without weapons – they will be equipped with a weapons station made in Ukraine, which should provide effective fire cover for the National Guard or the other units that the vehicles will be delivered to,” Turchynov said.

After testing, the armored vehicles will “immediately enter service with our military,” he said.

As reported earlier, on December 5, 2014, First Deputy General Director of state-owned enterprise Ukroboronprom Sergiy Pinkas said that the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine had purchased 75 light armored vehicles from British manufacturer Saxon for about $3.8 million.

He also added that the Saxon armored cars are an affordable alternative to the outdated technology currently in service of the Ukrainian army, stressing that these machines are being upgraded and would be ready to provide the necessary protection for the Ukrainian military when carrying out missions in the combat zone.

Saxon armored vehicles were developed in the early 1970s to act as a cheap but efficient “battle-taxi” for security forces on missions. Saxons are currently used by several countries, including Oman, Bahrain, Malaysia and Nigeria.

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Following “Negotiations,” Poroshenko To Be Briefed By American, German Masters

February 14, 2015 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
February 14, 2015

Poroshenko to speak on phone with Merkel, Obama on Saturday

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that on Saturday evening on the eve of the entry into force of the ceasefire in line with the Minsk agreements he intends to make phone calls to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama.

During the transfer of military equipment to the Ukrainian border guards in Kyiv on Saturday, Poroshenko said that at 17.00 he will talk on the phone with Merkel, and at 1900 with Obama.
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Interfax-Ukraine
February 14, 2015

Saakashvili to advise Poroshenko on reforms

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has set up an International Advisory Council for Reform led by the former Georgian president and his advisor, Mikheil Saakashvili.

“To form the International Advisory Council for Reform as an advisory agency under the President of Ukraine, whose main objective is to offer proposals and recommendations on reforms in Ukraine on the basis of the best international experience,” according to a decree posted on the website of the Ukrainian president on Friday evening.

Saakashvili, who was the president of Georgia in 2004-2007 and 2008-2013, has been appointed as the head of the new body.

The International Advisory Council for Reform in Ukraine “aims to invite leading foreign experts with the globally-renowned best practical experience in reforming relevant areas,” the document reads.

Saakashvili is “to submit proposals on appointing the Council personnel and to draft the Regulations of the International Advisory Council for Reform,” the document reads.

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U.S. Escalating Secret War In Afghanistan: Report

February 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Press TV
February 14, 2015

US escalating ‘secret war’ in Afghanistan: Report

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The US is escalating a secret war in Afghanistan despite the formal ending of foreign combat operations, a New York Times report says.

The United States is escalating a secret war in Afghanistan, despite an official end to foreign combat mission in the country, according to a new report.

Washington has increased secret night raids in Afghanistan since October, when American and Afghan commandos found a laptop computer with files allegedly detailing planned terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

The newspaper cited unnamed American and Afghan officials as saying that US forces are playing direct combat roles in many of the raids and are not acting as merely advisers.

“It’s all in the shadows now,” a former Afghan security official told the Times. “The official war for the Americans — the part of the war that you could go see — that’s over. It’s only the secret war that’s still going. But it’s going hard.”

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Thursday, “We’ve been clear that counterterrorism operations remain a part of our mission in Afghanistan.”

“We’ve also been clear that we will conduct these operations in partnership with the Afghans to eliminate threats to our forces, our partners and our interests,” he added.

US-led foreign forces formally ended combat operations in Afghanistan in December, with only 13,500 troops remaining there in an advisory role.

Night raids by foreign forces have in the past sparked public anger in Afghanistan over civilian casualties they left.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.

In an interview with Press TV last month, an anti-war activist in Chicago said, the US military plans to remain in Afghanistan “indefinitely” and conduct military operations inside the country for “years to come”.

“The war [in Afghanistan] is not going to end in the imminent future,” said Rick Rozoff, a member of Stop NATO International. “Western military forces who have been in the country for over 13 years…are to be there for an indefinite period of time.”

“The effort to portray a complete withdrawal of military personnel and an end of armed hostilities in the country is largely politically driven because of the [US] presidential election next year,” Rozoff said.

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Caucasus: NATO Launches “Georgia IV”

February 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 12, 2015

Project “Georgia IV”

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NATO/PfP Trust Fund Project “Georgia IV” has launched. NATO Trust Fund Project Manager David Towndrow arrived in the village of Skra, Gori region and observed the ongoing works in the framework of the project. All necessary equipment for implementation of the project is already mobilized on the site and specially trained EOD Company personnel are ready to start demining works.

The Project“Georgia IV” envisages clearing the military ammunition depot in the village of Skra that was damaged after the 2008 August Russia-Georgian war. In the frames of the project, military ammunition will be removed from the collapsed underground bunkers and made safe that will reduce the risk of an explosion of the damaged munitions which would threaten the international rail line and nearest village. Implementation of the project will make the area safe for the local population and usable for the local authorities.

Georgia has been actively cooperating with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA, former NATO Maintenance and Support Agency, NAMSA) since 2002. Through this cooperation three NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund projects – Georgia I, Georgia II and Georgia III have been successfully implemented.

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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 12, 2015

EU European External Action Service Delegation Visit

The representatives of EU European External Action Service pays two-day working visit to Georgia. Today Deputy Minister of Defence Levan Girsiashvili hosted the delegation led by Director of the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate, Gabor Iklody.

Georgia-EU cooperation, regional security environment and existing challenges were spoken at the meeting. The sides discussed cooperation plan of 2015 and underlined the importance of partnership in defence sphere.

The representatives of Ministries of Defence and Internal Affairs, as well as State Security and Crisis Management Council attended the meeting.

Within the visit to Georgia, Gabor Iklody will deliver a lecture to the Junkers of Davit Agmashenebeli National Defence Academy on EU security and defence policy.

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NATO Trains Georgian Forces For War On Russia’s Southern Border

February 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 13, 2015

Jubilee of Sachkhere Mountain Training School

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Besik Kutateladze Sachkhere Mountain Training School celebrates its 9th anniversary. The solemn ceremony was held at Sachkhere Mountain Training School. Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze, Deputy Defence Minister Levan Girsiashvili and the leadership of the Georgian Armed Forces congratulated the personnel on their jubilee.

Today the graduation of Intermediate Winter Training Course was held at Sachkhere Mountain Training School as well. Deputy Minister Levan Girsiashvili and Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze handed the participants the relevant certificates of the course and wished them successful career.

Winter Course is underway within the frames of NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) Program. 12 military servicemen from Georgia, as well as NATO member and partner countries participated in the training. The trainings were led in two phases. The course attendees improved shooting capabilities from service guns in hard weather conditions and on difficult terrain. The military mastered in moving, searching and rescue operations as well as in technical skiing. Within the scope of the course, they were trained in the skills of crossing obstacle line by skis and making snow shelter “Iglu”.
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Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 13, 2015

Tactical platoon- level field exercise of 32 Battalion

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A planned platoon-level tactical exercise came to an end at the Simoneti firing-ground. The military personnel of 32nd battalion of III Infantry Brigade took part in the two-week long exercise.

During the training, the soldiers had to perform various tasks including offensive and defensive operations along the forested terrain such as patrolling, searching and raiding.

At the final phase of the exercise, a combined training was conducted. The unit was tasked with neutralizing adversary. The solders coped with an entrusted mission successfully.

The goal of the exercise, which is held on a regular basis, is to ensure permanent combat readiness of the military.

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Richard Aldington: It is so important to know how to kill

February 14, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Richard Aldington: Selections on war

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Richard Aldington
From Death of a Hero (1929)

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The business of “making a man” of him was pursued at School, but with little more success, even with the aid of compulsion.

“The type of boy we aim at turning out,” the Head used to say to impressed parents, “is a thoroughly manly fellow. We prepare for the Universities, of course, but our pride is in our excellent Sports Record. There is an O.T.C., organized by Sergeant-Major Brown (who served throughout the South African War) and officered by the masters who have been trained in the Militia. Every boy must undergo six months’ training, and is then competent to take up arms for his Country in an emergency.”

The parents murmured polite approval, though rather tender mothers hoped the discipline was not too strict and “the guns not too heavy for young arms.” The Head was contemptuously and urbanely reassuring. On such occasions he invariably quoted those stirring and indeed immortal lines of Rudyard Kipling which end up, “You’ll be a man, my son.” It is so important to know how to kill. Indeed, unless you know how to kill you cannot possibly be a Man, still less a Gentleman.

***

How curious are cities, with their intricate trench systems and perpetual warfare, concealed but as deadly as the open warfare of armies! We live in trenches, with flat revetments of house-fronts as parapet and parados. The warfare goes on behind the house-fronts – wives with husbands, children with parents, employers with employed, tradesmen with tradesmen, banker with lawyer, and the triumphal doctor rooting out life’s casualties. Desperate warfare – and for what? Money as the symbol of power; power as the symbol or affirmation of existence. Throbbing warfare of men’s cities. As fierce and implacable and concealed as the desperate warfare of plants and the hidden carnage of animals…

***

Of course, in that eternity of 1914-18 they must have come to feel that men were mortal, and they immortals…And then there was the deep primitive physiological instinct – men to kill and be killed; women to produce more men to continue the process…

***

There must be a vast amount of latent masochism in women…How ghastly – if you think about it – their passion for soldiers! To breed babes by him who has slain men – puh! there’s too much spilt blood in the world; one sickens at it…

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NATO, EU Continue Drive To Dominate Black Sea Region

February 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Civil Georgia
February 13, 2015

Romanian Foreign Minister Visits Georgia

Tbilisi: Romanian Foreign Minister, Bogdan Aurescu, who is visiting Tbilisi on February 12-13, reiterated his country’s support to Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

He said that Romania, which was the first EU-member state to ratify EU’s Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, is “supporting and advocating inside the EU [for] swift ratification by all the member states if possible before the Riga summit” of Eastern Partnership in late May.

He said that Romania also supports implementation of Georgia’s second phase of visa liberalisation action plan with the EU. “We consider that this is a very important objective and we politically support it firmly,” the Romanian Foreign Minister said.

He also said that Romania “remains determined to contribute to Georgia’s efforts” to implement substantial package of cooperation adopted by NATO leaders at the summit in Wales in September.

“Romania will contribute with experts to these efforts,” Aurescu said.

He said that there is a potential of boosting economic ties between the two countries. He noted that the ferry connection between Constanta, Romania; Batumi, Georgia and Illichevsk, Ukraine, which was launched in October, “is working very well”, linking Caspian and Black Sea regions.

Aurescu also said that possibility of expanding these transportation links will be one of the main issues on the agenda of discussions when Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visits Romania on February 27.

During the visit the Romanian Foreign Minister held a meeting in the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia to which Romania is the largest contributor with up to 40 personnel. He will also meet President Giorgi Margvelashvili, PM Garibashvili and parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili.

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Military Headquarters: Top NATO Commander, Estonian Prime Minister Discuss War Plans

February 13, 2015 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

February 13, 2015

Estonian Prime Minister Discusses Collective Defence at SHAPE

Mons, Belgium: General Philip M. Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, met with the Prime Minister of Estonia, Taavi Rõivas, during a visit to SHAPE today on February 13, 2015.

Prime Minister Rõivas was greeted with an official Honour Guard reception upon his arrival at SHAPE. He then met with General Breedlove and senior SHAPE officials, and toured the Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre (CCOMC). The CCOMC is the heart of NATO’s command and control network, responsible for anticipating, thinking, planning and reacting to significant events around the world.

Mr Rõivas and Gen. Breedlove praised SHAPE staff for their recent efforts in planning assurance measures in response to the Ukraine Crisis. The Prime Minister was also updated on the Alliance’s plans to enhance the NATO Response Force, including the establishment of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).

“Estonia continues to play a key role in NATO’s response to the Ukraine crisis,” said Gen. Breedlove. “The hosting of exercises and the use of Amari Air Base for enhanced air policing have been essential to NATO’s ongoing assurance measures, which remind all of our rock solid commitment to our collective defence,” he said.

Story by: SHAPE Public Affairs Office.

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Poland: Pentagon Moves Ahead With NATO Interceptor Missile Plans

February 13, 2015 Leave a comment

United States European Command
February 12, 2015

EPAA moves forward in Poland with US Industry Days
USEUCOM Media Operations

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Aegis Ashore: Standard Missile-3 launch

Stuttgart, Germany: As a demonstration of our continued efforts to provide a ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability for U.S. and European NATO Allies against established and emergent threats, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Europe District, in conjunction with the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. European Command (EUCOM), the U.S. Navy, and the Polish Ministry of Economy hosted U.S. Industry Day in Warsaw, Poland, on Feb. 11 and 12.

The two-day event was designed to help provide information on the general scope of work, the required infrastructure and facilities, and potential construction and services opportunities to support a planned U.S. missile defense asset deployment in Poland. More specifically, the event provided information to prospective contractors on how to successfully compete for U.S. government contracts and explain the application process.

“Missile defense is a critically important part of NATO security, and the United States deeply appreciates Poland’s contributions to the NATO missile defense effort,” said Ambassador Stephen Mull, U.S. Ambassador to Poland. “Poland plans to spend an estimated $10 billion USD on integrated air and missile defense systems over the next ten years. This is in addition to Poland’s decision to host an American missile defense base at Redzikowo.”

As approved by the President in September 2009, the purpose of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to ballistic missile defense is to protect European NATO allies, and U.S. forces in the region, against current and emerging threats from the Middle East. This key event demonstrates that we are moving forward with deploying an Aegis Ashore site in Poland in the 2018 timeframe and that the U.S. continues to work in close cooperation with NATO allies to integrate BMD capabilities into a NATO missile defense system.

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Swift Response: NATO Rehearses War In Europe

February 13, 2015 Leave a comment

U.S. Army Europe
February 12, 2015

10 NATO Allies come together to plan major crisis response exercise
By 7th Army JMTC Public Affairs

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HOHENFELS, Germany: Military planners from 10 NATO nations came together this week in Hohenfels, Germany to plan for exercise Swift Response.

The exercise will take place at multiple locations across the U.S. Army Europe area of operations and is intended to exercise high-readiness forces from a coalition of NATO nations, including France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United States. The goal is to test the ability of the coalition forces to respond quickly and effectively to potential crisis situations on the European continent.

Swift Response will feature airborne forces from each nation, including the U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg and the Europe-based 173rd Airborne Brigade.

“This is a chance for us to do something that is new for our forces,” said Brigadier (UK) Giles Hill, Deputy Commanding General-Interoperability for the 82nd Airborne Division. “Swift Response will contribute to NATO’s capability to rapidly respond to crisis situations.”

Swift Response is scheduled to take place in Germany, Italy and Bulgaria from Aug. 18 to Sept. 15, 2015.

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Culmination Of “Active And Effective” NATO-Qatar Partnership

February 13, 2015 Leave a comment

Gulf Times
February 13, 2015

Qatar, Nato discuss Doha conference

Qatar, Nato discuss Doha conference

HE the Qatari Ambassador to Brussels and Nato, Sheikh Ali bin Jassim al-Thani, yesterday met Nato Assistant Secretary General Sorin Ducaru in Brussels as part of a series of consecutive meetings to put the final touches on Nato’s conference on the prevention of weapons of mass destruction, which will be held in Qatar on March 1-3.

The Nato official praised Qatar’s efforts in hosting the conference, the first time the event will be held in the Middle East, which he said culminates the active and effective partnership between Qatar and Nato.

Ducaru said that the conference bears special significance as it takes place during difficult circumstances, with many security challenges on the international front as well as the high-level participation of member states, those who have partnership and co-operation agreements with them, in addition to international organisations and the UN.

Categories: Uncategorized

Graham Greene: None of us can hate any more – or love. You have to feel something to stop a war.

February 13, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Graham Greene: He carried the war in his heart, infecting everything

Graham Greene: A hundred English Guernicas

Graham Greene: Letter On NATO Threat To Cuba

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Graham Greene
From The Confidential Agent (1939)

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He was filled with a sense of amazement at these people; you could never have told from their smoky good fellowship that there was a war going on – not merely a war in the country from which he had come, but a war here, half a mile outside Dover breakwater. He carried the war with him. Wherever D. was, there was a war. He could never understand that people were unaware of it.

***

He turned up the collar of his macintosh and went up on the cold and foggy deck where the gulls were mourning, blowing over his head toward Dover. He began to tramp – up and down beside the rail – to keep warm, his head down, the deck like a map marked with trenches, impossible positions, salients, deaths: bombing planes took flight from between his eyes, and in his brain the mountains shook with shell-bursts.

***

D. found himself at a standstill. A very gentle man with a fair mustache said, ‘But do you mean that this photograph is – yours?’

D. said, ‘Of course.’ He looked down at it; it had never occurred to him to look at his own passport for – well, years. He saw a stranger’s face – that of a man much younger and, apparently, much happier than himself: he was grinning at the camera. He said, ‘It’s an old photograph.’ It must have been taken before he went to prison, before his wife was killed, and before the air raid of December 23 when he was buried for fifty-six hours in a cellar. But he could hardly explain all that to the passport officer.

***

‘You see, I come from two years of war. I should go along a road like this very slowly, ready to stop and get into a ditch if I heard a plane.’

‘Well, I suppose you’re fighting for something,’ she said. ‘Or aren’t you?’

‘I don’t remember. One of the things which danger does to you after a time is – well, to kill emotion. I don’t think I shall ever feel anything again except fear. None of us can hate any more – or love. You know it’s a statistical fact that very few children are being born in our country.’

‘But your war goes on. There must be a reason.’

‘You have to feel something to stop a war. Sometimes I think we cling to it because there is still fear. If we were without that, we shouldn’t have any feeling at all. None of us will enjoy the peace.’

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NATO’s Atlantic Resolve: U.S. A-10 Warplanes Arrive In Europe

February 12, 2015 Leave a comment

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

February 12, 2015

A-10s arrive in Europe
By Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

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LAJES FIELD, Azores, Portgual: A-10 Thunderbolt IIs land at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, Feb. 11, 2015. The A-10s are being deployed as part of a Theater Security Package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. While deployed they will conduct training alongside our NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. The A-10s and Airmen are deploying from the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

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“Front Line State”: U.S. Army Europe Commander In Poland

February 12, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Army Europe
February 11, 2015

Army Europe commander travels to Poland, meets with MNC-Northeast

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SZCZECIN, Poland: Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander, Army Europe, arrived in Poland today to meet with Multi-National Corps-Northeast commander, Maj. Gen. Boguslaw Samol, and the headquarters staff.

The MNC-NE framework nations of Denmark, Germany and Poland recognize the need to change the unit’s mission to adapt to the changing threat in Europe and shift focus on Article 5 protections.

Army Europe is committed to helping MNC-Northeast — be it communications, intelligence, joint fires and effects — as they prepare for exercise Anakonda 16 next year.

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

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Valhalla Valiant Victors: Kiev Gets Intoxicated On Nazi Metaphysics

February 12, 2015 1 comment

Interfax-Ukraine
February 12, 2015

February 20 to be commemorated as Heavenly Hundred Heroes Day– decree

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree “On the tribute to the feat of the participants of the revolution of dignity and the commemoration of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes”.

“The document declares February 20 as the Day of the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, as a tribute to courage, willpower and fortitude of citizens who sacrificed their lives in the course of the Revolution of Dignity (November 2013 – February 2014), defending the ideals of democracy, human rights and freedom, as well as the European future of Ukraine,” the president’s press service announced on Wednesday.

According to the decree, the Cabinet of Ministers is instructed to develop and approve an action plan to accomplish the following: establish a museum in Kyiv dedicated to revolution; involve the National Academy of Sciences, museum, archive and research institutions in the search for photos, videos and other materials that cover the Revolution of Dignity.

The Samopomich parliamentary faction addressed the President last week with a request to mark February 20 as the Heavenly Hundred Heroes Day.

At the end of February 2014, protest rallies in the center of Kyiv ended with nearly one hundred activists being shot to death. They are now called the Heavenly Hundred Heroes, or simply the Heavenly Hundred.

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Ukraine To Enforce Prison Terms, Martial Law, Forced Billeting

February 12, 2015 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
February 12, 2015

Evasion from mobilization or civil protection service during special period punishable by up to five years in prison – law

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has adopted amendments to the laws regarding responsibility for evasion from the civil protection service during the special period or in case of special purpose mobilization.

A total of 238 MPs voted in favor of the bill on Thursday.

According to the law, evasion from the civil protection service during the special period (excluding the rehabilitation period) or in case of special purpose mobilization is punishable by two to five years in prison.

The law also establishes that in areas subject to martial law, if requested, private persons and legal entities must provide a place to stay for army personnel and civil protection units, as well as evacuated citizens.

The law comes into effect on the day after being posted.

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Interview: Ukraine War Is Inevitable

February 12, 2015 3 comments

Corbett Report
February 12, 2015

Interview 1000 – Rick Rozoff Warns Ukraine War is Inevitable

Audio

Rick Rozoff of Stop Nato joins us to go over the context of the US/NATO/EU/IMF takeover of Ukraine, why it is taking place, and where it is ultimately leading. Rozoff warns that war is not a potential outcome but is in fact already taking place, and full-scale US/NATO intervention is virtually unstoppable at this point.

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Oliver Goldsmith: I am an enemy to nothing in this good world but war

February 12, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Oliver Goldsmith: Selections on war

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Oliver Goldsmith
From Citizen of the World (1762)

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Now turn from this happy peaceful scene to Europe the theatre of intrigue, avarice and ambition. How many revolutions does it not experience in the compass even of one age; and to what do these revolutions tend but the destruction of thousands. Every great event is replete with some new calamity. The seasons of serenity are passed over in silence, their histories seem to speak only of the storm.

There we see the Romans extending their power over barbarous nations, and in turn becoming a prey to those whom they had conquered. We see those barbarians, when become Christians, engaged in continual wars with the followers of Mahomet; or more dreadful still, destroying each other. We see councils in the earlier ages authorizing every iniquity; crusades spreading desolation in the country left, as well as that to be conquered. Excommunications freeing subjects from natural allegiance, and persuading to sedition; blood flowing in the fields and on scaffolds; tortures used as arguments to convince the recusant; to heighten the horror of the piece, behold it shaded with wars, rebellions, treasons, plots, politics, and poison!

And what advantage has any country of Europe obtained from such calamities? Scarce any. Their dissensions for more than a thousand years have served to make each other unhappy, but have enriched none. All the great nations still nearly preserve their ancient limits; none have been able to subdue the other, and so terminate the dispute. France, in spite of the conquests of Edward the third, and Henry the fifth, notwithstanding the efforts of Charles the fifth and Philip the second, still remains within its ancient limits. Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, the states of the north, are nearly still the same. What effect then has the blood of so many thousands, the destruction of so many cities, produced? Nothing neither great or considerable. The Christian princes have lost indeed much from the enemies of Christendom, but they have gained nothing from each other. Their princes, because they preferred ambition to justice, deserve the character of enemies to mankind; and their priests by neglecting morality for opinion, have mistaken the interests of society.

On whatever side we regard the history of Europe, we shall perceive it to be a tissue of crimes, follies and misfortunes, of politics without design, and wars without consequence; in this long list of human infirmity, a great character or a shining virtue may sometimes happen to arise, as we often meet a cottage or a cultivated spot, in the most hideous wilderness. But for an Alfred, an Alphonso, a Frederic, or one Alexander III. we meet a thousand princes who have disgraced humanity.

***

Let others, my friend, bestrew the hearses of the great with panegyric; but such a loss as the world has now suffered affects me with stronger emotions. When a philosopher dies, I consider myself as losing a patron, an instructor, and a friend. I consider the world as losing one who might serve to console her amidst the desolations of war and ambition. Nature every day produces in abundance men capable of filling all the requisite duties of authority; but she is niggard in the birth of an exalted mind, scarcely producing in a century a single genius to bless and enlighten a degenerate age. Prodigal in the production of kings, governors, mandarines, chams, and courtiers, she seems to have forgotten for more than three thousand years, the manner in which she once formed the brain of a Confucius; and well it is she has forgotten, when a bad world gave him so very bad a reception.

***

I am an enemy to nothing in this good world but war; I hate fighting between rival states; I hate it between man and man…

***

There are some here who, I am told, make a tolerable subsistence by the credulity of their countrymen. As they find the people fond of blood, wounds, and death, they contrive political ruins suited to every month in the year. This month the people are to be eaten up by the French in flat-bottomed boats; the next, by the soldiers designed to beat the French back…

***

The most ignorant nations have been always been found to think most highly of themselves. The Deity has ever been thought peculiarly concerned in their glory and preservation; to have fought their battles, and inspired their teachers; their wizards are said to be familiar with heaven; and every hero has a guard of angels, as well as men, to attend him…

***

What cities as great as this have once triumphed in existence, had their victories as great, joy as just, and as unbounded; and, with short-sighted presumption, promised themselves immortality! Posterity can hardly trace the situation of some; the sorrowful traveller wanders over the awful ruin of others; and, as he beholds, he learns wisdom, and feels the transience of every sublunary possession.

“Here,” he cries, “stood their citadel, now grown over with weeds; there their senate house, but now the haunt of every noxious reptile; temples and theatres stood here, now only an undistinguished heap of ruin. They are fallen, for luxury and avarice first made them feeble. The rewards of the state were conferred on amusing and not on useful members of society. Their riches and opulence invited the invaders, who, though at first repulsed, returned again, conquered by perseverance, and at last swept the defendants into undistinguished destruction.”

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Ukrainian Junta Ready To Declare Martial Law In 302-Day War

February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

UNIAN
February 11, 2015

Poroshenko: We are ready to declare martial law in Ukraine

The Ukrainian government is ready to declare martial law throughout Ukraine if there is an escalation of the conflict in the east, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday during a government meeting with the heads of regional state administrations, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

“I can say that I, the government and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are ready to take a decision on the introduction of martial law throughout the country. In any case, I will not be late with this decision, if the irresponsible actions of the aggressor lead to a further escalation of the conflict,” Poroshenko said.

Poroshenko is due to attend peace talks in Minsk on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

There has been a further increase in fighting in the run-up to the talks…

According to some reports from unofficial sources, agreement was reached between negotiators ahead of the Minsk summit on a ceasefire deal, including the pull-back of heavy weapons and international monitoring of the front line.

However, the Ukrainian side is said to still be insisting that it be allowed to regain control of the parts of Ukraine’s border with Russia where militants have seized control…

That point may well scupper the talks, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that it was “unrealistic” for Kyiv to put this condition forward in the peace talks, according to Reuters.

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U.S. Plans To Sell Armored Vehicles To Uzbekistan

February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
February 11, 2015

Uzbekistan, US negotiating on military equipment supply
By Demir Azizov

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Tashkent, Uzbekistan: The governments of the US and Uzbekistan are holding negotiations on the supply of military equipment to Uzbekistan, Daniel Rosenblum, the deputy assistant secretary for Central Asia at the US Department of State, said.

He made the remarks during a conference call with reporters from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The conference call was organized by a media center in Brussels.

Rosenblum didn’t provide detailed information about the negotiations.

It was earlier reported that Uzbekistan and the US in 2014 agreed on delivering 308 M-ATV armored vehicles to Uzbekistan.

The representative of the US Department of State said the talks on delivering the armored vehicles lasted very long and were difficult.

He added that the ongoing negotiations focus on other types of military equipment.

Currently, 308 M-ATV armored vehicles are delivered from the US to Uzbekistan. Moreover, 20 armored recovery vehicles are delivered to this country from the US for the technical support for these vehicles.

The delivery of the military equipment from the US to Uzbekistan started in December 2014 and this process will last for several more months.

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Report: Georgia’s Saakashvili Named Head Of Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Advisors

February 11, 2015 1 comment

Trend News Agency
February 11, 2015

Georgia’s ex-president named head of Ukrainian presidential advisors

Baku: Georgia’s former president, Mikheil Saakashvili, has been appointed the chairman of the council of advisors for international affairs under Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, News- Georgia agency reported citing the Pirveli Radio.

Georgia-News also reported citing the radio that a briefing to be held in Kiev will be also attended by Saakashvili.

Meanwhile, the press service of Saakashvili’s party, the United National Movement, said they currently can’t confirm the report.

“So far we have no information,” said the press service.

The MPs from the United National Movement haven’t commented on the report either.

“I have no information on the matter, and I can’t confirm it,” Goga Khachidze, an MP from the United National Movement, told News-Georgia.

Saakashvili left Georgia after the inauguration of the new president, Giorgi Margvelashvili, in November 2013.

The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office filed charges in absentia against Saakashvili on several criminal cases, including the embezzlement of about $5 million of public funds for personal needs.

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NATO Partners: Pentagon Signs Memorandum Of Understanding With Estonian Defense Ministry

February 11, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
February 10, 2015

Department of Defense and Estonia Ministry of Defense Sign Memorandum of Understanding

The Department of Defense signed a memorandum of agreement today with the Estonia Ministry of Defense, signifying expanding international relationships while serving a valuable role in security cooperation.

Estonian Ambassador Eerik Marmei and the Principal Deputy, Assistant Secretary of the Defense for Reserve Affairs Richard O. Wightman Jr., who is performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, signed the Military Reserve Exchange Program (MREP) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

“This memorandum of agreement between the U.S. and Estonia provides ongoing proof of our continued dedication to our NATO partners,” said Wightman. “The Military Reserve Exchange Program further strengthens the partnership between our two nations and plays a key role in the development of the Reserves and their contribution to national defense.”

The signing ceremony follows an agreement between the two nations to allow the individual reciprocal exchange of Reserve forces exhibited through the MREP. This agreement demonstrates U.S. commitment to NATO members and their militaries and provides unique multi-service/multi-component training. For the past 25 years the U.S. has conducted the MREP program with Germany, United Kingdom and most recently Denmark beginning in 2013, exchanging more than 300 personnel each year.

Estonia has a Reserve force of more than 13,000 and is anticipating exchanging cyber, Special Forces, maneuver and medical personnel with the U.S. As Estonia holds the title as the Cyber Center of Excellence for NATO, this partnership provides participants with unique training opportunities while imbedded in host nation units during annual training. MREP fosters international cooperation and creates enduring friendships with our allies while building partnership capacity.

“This agreement complements our European Command’s Theater Security Strategy and the National Guard’s State Partnership Program,” said Wightman. “By entering into these partnerships, our two nations hope to enhance the reserve component capabilities and training opportunities. This MOU opens the way to closer cooperation between the Estonian Defence League and U.S. Reserve Component force that should improve the interoperability and capabilities of the Estonian military.”

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Almost 100 Ukrainian Government Soldiers Killed, Wounded In Day Of Fighting

February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Interfax-Ukraine
February 11, 2015

19 Ukrainian servicemen killed, 78 injured near Debaltseve – general staff

Nineteen Ukrainian servicemen have been killed as a result of artillery attacks near the Hostra Mohyla barrow in the vicinity of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, spokesman for the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces of Ukraine Vladyslav Selezniov has said.

“In the area of the Hostra Mohyla barrow as a result of artillery attacks and fighting Ukraine has lost 19 soldiers, including 17 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and two officers of the Interior Ministry,” he said at a briefing on Wednesday morning.

Selezniov added that 78 soldiers received injuries of varying severity. They have been hospitalized.

The General Staff spokesman also said that 591 servicemen are currently undergoing medical treatment, of them 26 have serious injuries. In addition, rebels hold captive 204 Ukrainian servicemen.

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U.S. Congress Readies $1 Billion For War In Ukraine

February 11, 2015 4 comments

Interfax-Ukraine
February 11, 2015

U.S. congress prepares bill on providing $1 bln to arm Ukraine
 

Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress have prepared a bill on the provision of $1 billion in lethal defensive aid to Ukraine.

The proposed bill envisages the provision of training, equipment and lethal defensive weapons to the security forces of Ukraine through September 30, 2017.

Member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Adam Smith told reporters: “It seems Russia has decided to go back to the Cold War.”

In his words, the introduction of economic sanctions has not changed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans.

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Charles Yale Harrison: Two kinds of people in the world, those who like wars and those who fight them

February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

Charles Yale Harrison: Selections on war

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Charles Yale Harrison
From Generals Die In Bed (1928)

To the left, up towards the line a mile or two away, we see an ammunition dump blowing itself up in sporadic explosions. It must have been hit by a stray shell. In the blackness of the night it looks as though a boy had thrown a match among a giant heap of fireworks. We have seen these things before – they keep on going off for weeks – open-air enormous storage places for ammunition supplies, sometimes a square mile in area.

We crowd to the side of the truck to watch the sight. We talk among ourselves about it.

“They say those ‘coalbox’ shells cost about five thousand dollars each.”

“Can you imagine what a little barrage costs, then?”

We lapse into silence as we try to calculate the possible cost of a preliminary bombardment. After a while someone says in an awed voice:

“Millions, I guess.”

“Then what must a scrap like Passchendaele cost? They were hammering away there for months. First the Belgians tried to take it, then the Imperials, then the Anzacs, and then we did. They must’ve fired millions of shells…”

This problem in mathematics is too much for us.If one twelve-inch shell costs five thousand dollars, then a major battle must cost – it is too much…

“I bet that dump going up over there must cost a billion dollars.”

“And I’ll bet somebody is making a profit on those shells whether they are fired at the Germans or whether they just blow up…”

“Sure they do.”

A surprised voice from a corner says:

“Just think of all the people that’s getting a big hunk of swag out of it. Shoes, grub, uniforms, bully beef…”

He breaks off.

We all join in enumerating the various materials of war on which someone may be making a profit.

“…and big profits, too.”

The lorry hits a shell hole and knocks the breath out of us for a while.

We continue the conversation.

“Sure, and I’ll bet that those people don’t want the war to end in a hurry.”

“Course not.”

“At Étaples when I was goin’ on my leave I heard a madame in an estaminet say she hoped the war never ended – with her gettin’ five francs for a bottle of vinegar what she called vin blanc. Why should she?”

“All of us wish the war was over, but believe me, there’s plenty that don’t.”

“…there’s those that make the shells, the clothes; them that sell the food, rifles, socks, underwear, ships, boots…”

Others break in:

“Flags, airplanes, artillery…”

“Officers with cushy jobs in Blighty…”

“Paymasters in Millbank…”

“Society dames playing the Florence Nightingale with wounded officers…”

“…these men who are making money on war have wives and daughters and women…”

“…there must be millions of them…!”

“…and in every country, too. In Germany and France and America…!”

“…and they’re praying to God tonight for the war to last forever while we’re riding in this goddamned lorry…”

“…and God must be listening to them. Look how long it’s been going on.”

***

“There’s two kinds of people in this world – there’s those who like wars and those who fight ’em, pal.”

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U.S. Deploys More Warplanes In Expanding Anti-Russian Campaign

February 10, 2015 Leave a comment

United States European Command
February 10, 2015

EUCOM announces USAF deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve

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A-10 Thunderbolt

Stuttgart, Germany: “The United States Air Force deployed 12 A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft as part of a Theater Security Package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. Approximately 300 Airmen and support equipment are deploying with the A-10s from the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. While in Germany these aircraft will forward-deploy to locations in Eastern European NATO nations. Units will conduct training alongside our NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe,” said U.S. Navy CAPT Greg Hicks, U.S. European Command spokesman.

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

February 10, 2015

First Air Force theater security package deploys to Europe

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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany: The U.S. Air Force deployed 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and approximately 300 Airmen as part of a theater security package to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve this week.

The aircraft and Airmen, from the 355th Fighter Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., and are set to be in place and fulfilling the TSP mission by the end of the month.

The TSPs will augment U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s existing efforts as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve by conducting flying training deployments and off-station training with NATO allies to further enhance interoperability.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of U.S. European Command and United States Air Forces in Europe’s continued commitment to the collective security of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and dedication to the enduring peace and stability in the region.

“The Air Force has been rotating forces as a part of OAR for the past year,” said Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, vice commander, United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa. “The TSP is another way the Air Force is increasing rotational presence in Europe to reassure our allies and partner nations that our commitment to European security is a priority.”

While in Germany, the unit will conduct training alongside NATO allies with the goal of strengthening interoperability and enhancing regional security. The unit will later forward deploy to locations in Eastern European NATO nations.

“The U.S. Air Force’s forward presence in Europe area provides the support infrastructure needed to increase our current force and build new and deeper partnerships across the continent,” said Jones.

The A-10s are the first of several TSP deployments to Europe. Rotations will generally last six months, depending on mission and U.S. European Command requirements. Although a first in Europe, the Air Force has been conducting similar TSP rotations in the Pacific region since 2004.

Categories: Uncategorized

Britain To Sign Military Cooperation Agreement With Kiev

February 10, 2015 4 comments

Interfax-Ukraine
February 10, 2015

Ukraine and UK to sign defense cooperation memorandum – Kyiv official

Ukraine and the United Kingdom will soon sign a memorandum on mutual understanding and defense cooperation, Ukrainian Defense Minister Col. Gen. Stepan Poltorak has said.

“We are working hard to prepare this document, which will become a logical follow-up to cooperation between our countries,” Poltorak said at a meeting with British Ambassador to Ukraine Simon Smith and Director of International Security Policy at the British Ministry of Defense Nick Herr, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s press service.

The meeting also addressed the situation in the east of Ukraine.

“Cooperation between the Defense Ministries of our two states has always been constructive. I am convinced that it will continue to develop successfully,” he said.

Herr, for his part, noted that Ukraine could count on any possible support from the UK.

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Ukrinform
February 10, 2015

Great Britain sends humanitarian aid to Ukrainian army

KYIV: Ukrainian army has received humanitarian aid from the UK worth nearly $2 million.

The press service of Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported the news.

“Kevlar helmets, body armor, sleeping bags and group medical aid kits for military vehicles were sent by the British government to Ukraine as its supplies and technical assistance totaling $1,872,921,” the statement said.

According to Acting Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine for European Integration Lieutenant General Leonid Holopatiuk, most of the humanitarian aid has already been shipped to the military, in particular, to the soldiers of 93rd Brigade.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Great Britain to Ukraine Mr. Simon Smith said that Ukraine can count on the continued support and assistance of the British government.

“The UK will deliver 75 thousand tonnes of diesel fuel to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the near future,” informed the press-service.

Categories: Uncategorized

Finland At NATO’s Doorstep?

February 10, 2015 Leave a comment

teleSUR
February 10, 2015

Finland at NATO’s Doorstep?
By Johannes Hautaviita

In broad terms, NATO’s mission in the post-Cold War era has been at odds with international law and the purpose of the United Nations.

The events in Ukraine have triggered public discussion in Finland about NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Similarly in 2008, the crisis in Georgia prompted commentary on Finland’s security policy and the NATO option. Following both of these crises, NATO supporters in particular, mainly from the right-wing National Coalition Party (NCP), have moved to put NATO on the public agenda.

U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks indicate, not surprisingly, that the U.S. embassy in Helsinki and pro-NATO advocates in Finland have been working for years to reframe the discussion about NATO in Finland and pave the way for Finland’s eventual accession into the military alliance.

While the Finnish public has remained opposed to membership, the conflict in Ukraine could prove to be a more significant game changer in this regard than the crisis in Georgia. But even without a significant shift in public opinion, a move towards membership in the near future can’t be discounted out of hand. Indeed, Finland’s Prime Minister and chair of the NCP Alexander Stubb is advocating for applying for NATO-membership during the following electoral term.

Meanwhile, in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine, Finland together with Sweden, took steps to strengthen their ties with NATO. Both countries signed a Host Nation Support Agreement with the military alliance, establishing a “special status” (Stubb) with NATO. The agreement, according to Defense News, contains “a protocol under which Finland and Sweden would allow, by invitation, NATO to deploy land, naval and air force assets on Swedish and Finnish soil. Under this arrangement, Finland and Sweden would agree to provide Western alliance forces full logistical support, including barracks, transport and munitions.”

Polishing NATO’s image in Finland

A U.S. diplomatic cable from September 2008 noted, that “Finnish officials have inserted NATO into the public sphere since the crisis [in Georgia] began. References to NATO have sprung more often from the National Coalition Party (NCP), the center-right government coalition member that favors NATO membership.” The cable continues: “While not openly challenging the current security policy, Stubb seems to be testing the consensus.”

Following NATO’s 60th anniversary event in Helsinki in 2009, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Finland cabled to Washington that the event and Stubb’s speech in particular contributed to a more “fact-based debate” in Finland about NATO. He continued, “We are coordinating with other NATO Member State embassies, the MFA, think tanks and the Atlantic Council on other events during this anniversary year that will contribute to that debate.”

Aware of public opposition to NATO, another U.S. diplomatic cable from October 2008 deplores the fact that “Many Finns retain a vision of NATO as a bulwark against the Soviet Union – and now Russia – and not more broadly as an alliance of collective defense and common values.” In order to change this “outdated” perception, the US embassy in Helsinki set as its mission to “promote greater understanding of the Alliance in the wake of the conflict in Georgia” through what it called “NATO tours”.

The rebranding of NATO’s mission has been a constant challenge for the alliance ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the threat of which was the official reason for NATO’s existence. The ongoing pro-NATO campaign in Finland can be seen as a peripheral part of this effort, to justify the continued existence of NATO.

One of these “NATO tours” to promote “fact-based debate” took place in early 2010. During the seminar in Helsinki titled “Nato’s New Strategic Approach – Comprehensive Approach to Crisis Management”, Stubb stated, that

Nato is an essential part of our own European and global security environment. It has projected security and stability in Europe, including the Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea, over the past six decades. The alliance also continues to serve as a bedrock of Transatlantic co-operation. Nato and the EU are the most successful peace movements of the western world.

NATO – a peace movement like no other?

Drawing attention to the refusal to acknowledge the history of NATO’s involvement in terrorist operations in Europe during the Cold War, Finnish investigative journalist Bruno Jäntti wrote in Al Jazeera in April 2014, that “The public debate on Finland joining NATO has been marked by misrepresentation and historical amnesia.”

Jäntti elaborates,

Operation Gladio was the codename for an extensive clandestine NATO operation in Europe that went undetected for decades. It organized underground stay-behind military structures in a number of European countries (including Finland), collaborated with right-wing extremist and terrorist groups and undermined the democratic processes of the states targeted by the campaign.

But even if one looks only at the period after the end of the Cold War, the lofty rhetoric about NATO’s track record obscures and ignores some of the alliance’s more problematic aspects.

In his article on NATO enlargement published in 1998, eminent Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis wrote: “historians — normally so contentious — are in uncharacteristic agreement: with remarkably few exceptions, they see NATO enlargement as ill conceived, ill-timed and, above all, ill-suited to the realities of the post-Cold War world.”

Thus, many were critical when NATO continued to expand in the 1990s without a credible reason and in direct violation of promises made to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Today, NATO has expanded all the way to the borders of Russia, threatening its perceived geostrategic interests.

While Stubb would have it that NATO has been one of the most “successful peace movements of the western world”, whatever NATO’s role in provoking the ongoing confrontation with Russia, it can hardly be seen as an exemplary performance in peace building.

Indeed, it may be useful to ask what the US reaction would have been had a Russian-led military alliance expanded to the Western Hemisphere and begun installing missile defense systems close to the borders of the US?

In broader terms, NATO’s mission in the post-Cold War era has been at odds with international law and the purpose of the United Nations. For instance, during the war in the former Yugoslavia in 1999, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated, that NATO’s actions constituted a “threat to the very core of the international security system”.

Security arrangements relying on military alliances that use force unilaterally to further their own interests, will not foster peace and security. This can only be achieved through strengthening the international legal order and the United Nations in the interests of all of its member states.

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William Dean Howells: On Mark Twain and war

February 10, 2015 Leave a comment

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

American writers on peace and against war

William Dean Howells: Selections on war

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William Dean Howells
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
From letter to Aurelia Howells
February 24, 1901

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I see a great deal of Mark Twain nowadays, and we have high good times denouncing everything. We agree perfectly about the Boer war and the Filipino war, and war generally…Clemens is, as I have always known him, a most right-minded man, and of course he has an intellect that I enjoy. He is getting some hard knocks now from the blackguards and hypocrites for his righteous fun with McKinley’s attempt to colonize the Philippines, but he is making a host of friends, too.

***

From a letter to Charles Eliot Norton
August 15, 1903

I have heard that this year’s dinner is to be the last of these occasions at Ashfield which have made so much for righteousness during the last twenty years, and I wish to express my part of a general sense of their usefulness. You have know how to speak the truth and have spoken in in the ears of a generation not so deaf as it would like to be, and have helped keep the popular conscience alive in times when it seemed past hope. The word of Ashfield has gone far, but better still it has gone deep, and has uttered the heart, otherwise silent, of those who believed the Spanish war wrong, and the Philippine oppression doubly wrong; and I hope that it will not fail now to confess the national shame for the hideous popular massacres with which we have crowned the cruelty and folly of our dealings with a people we enslaved…

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Strategic Command Chief: Pentagon Must Maintain, Expand Space Dominance…Against “Disinformation”

February 9, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
February 9, 2015

Stratcom Chief: U.S. Must Maintain Space Dominance
By Jim Garamone

WASHINGTON: The space domain is changing, and the U.S. military must remain ahead of these changes to maintain the nation’s military dominance, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said here today.

Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney spoke at a Peter Huessy Breakfast Series seminar sponsored by the Air Force Association, the Reserve Officers Association and the National Defense Industrial Association.

The playing field in space is changing…Haney said. “Today, our nation is dealing with a global security environment that is more complex, dynamic and volatile than at any time in our history,” he added.

Tensions With Nation States, Ungoverned Environments

“In addition to significant tensions involving nation states,” Haney told the audience, “we are in an environment that is flanked with numerous ungoverned or ineffectively governed areas that are breeding grounds for bad actors and violent extremist organizations.” These groups, he added, also use space and cyberspace to recruit and spread propaganda — including misinformation — in support of their causes.

“Perhaps of greater concern, however, is the proliferation of these emerging strategic capabilities attempting to limit our decision and maneuver space that ultimately impacts strategic stability,” Haney said.

The admiral focused on the emerging capabilities and what it means for the United States. Space is getting cluttered, he said, noting that it is more “congested, contested and competitive.” That alone makes U.S. capabilities increasingly vulnerable, he said.

“Iran, just this past week, successfully launched a satellite into orbit after a string of failures,” he said.

China has publicly stated that its goal for the next decade is to outperform all other nations in space, investing large amounts of money in increasing the number of platforms in every orbital regime, and increasing their influence, Haney added.

Nations Seek to Take Away U.S. Strategic Advantage

Countries also are working to take away America’s strategic advantage in space, the Stratcom commander said. “U.S. national security space systems are facing a serious growing threat,” he added. “For example, multiple countries have developed and are frequently using military jamming capabilities designed to interfere with satellite communications and global positioning systems.”

China and Russia warrant the most attention, the admiral said. “Both countries have acknowledged they are developing — or have developed — counter-space capabilities,” he said. “Both countries have advanced directed energy capabilities that could be used to track or blind satellites — disrupting key operations — and both have demonstrated the ability to perform complex maneuvers in space.”

Operational Planning Comes First for Stratcom

Strategic Command is working to ensure the United States maintains the strategic advantage in space today. Operational planning is first with the command, the admiral said, ensuring it is prepared for all phases of potential conflict. This means characterizing the operational environment, allowing timely and accurate warning and assessment of threats to senior leaders including the president, Haney said.

Operationally, the admiral said, Stratcom must protect and defend space capabilities using new tools and new tactics, techniques and procedures. The command, he said, also must use new partnerships and new command and control relationships.

All this is happening at a time of constrained budgets, he noted.

“I am pleased to see the president’s budget for fiscal 2016 recognizes the growing and demonstrated threat to our vital space assets — assets our forces are reliant upon and assume will always be there,” Haney said.

“We are early in the process, but let me make clear: Any retrograde in the president’s budget could jeopardize these investments and diminish our asymmetric advantage in space, exposing our nation to significant risk in this foundational area,” he said.

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NATO Chief: Military Cohesion Needed To “Prevent New Age Of Disorder”

February 9, 2015 3 comments

U.S. Department of Defense
February 9, 2015

Unity Will Prevent New Age of Disorder, NATO Chief Says
By Jim Garamone

[Perhaps Stoltenberg meant to employ the verbs create, spread or maintain for “prevent.”]

WASHINGTON: Solidarity is needed to prevent a new age of disorder, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday in Munich.

“History is not written in advance,” the secretary general said at the annual Munich Security Conference. “We can prevent an age of disorder if we have the will. We can keep the international order that has served us so well if we stand up for its rules and if we stand up for each other.”

Last year marked a turning point for European security and the global order, he said. In Europe, Russia annexed Crimea and is seeking to destabilize Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking to intimidate the Baltic republics, Poland, Romania and Georgia.

“North Africa and the Middle East are also in turmoil,” Stoltenberg said. “States are breaking up, and conflict is at our borders. Extremism is fueling barbaric violence across the region and inspiring terrorism on our own streets.”

Maintaining Order

But the international order can be maintained if like-minded nations stick together, he said.

One of the tools, he said, is NATO — the most successful international security pact in history. “Since its foundation, NATO has been a resolute guardian of the international order,” Stoltenberg said. “That order is being challenged, and we must do our utmost to protect it.”

NATO must change to address the threats of the 21st century, and it must maintain and increase its strength, the secretary general said…

NATO and allied forces must be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice and must be able to deter any threat from any direction, Stoltenberg said, including countering the so-called “hybrid warfare” that Russia has used in Ukraine.

‘We Cannot Do More With Less Forever’

This is going to require resources, the secretary general said, noting that since the end of the Cold War, European defense spending has fallen steadily. “We cannot do more with less forever,” he added.

At NATO’s summit in Wales, alliance leaders agreed to increase defense spending as their nations’ economies grow. “It cannot be done overnight,” Stoltenberg said, “but it can be done.”

“We are stepping up our support for Jordan, and Iraq has asked us to help improve its defense capacity,” he added. “In this way, we can project stability without deploying large numbers of troops, because most of the time, it will be more effective to help countries look after their own security.”

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Germany: U.S. Army’s No. 2 Inspects New Anti-Russian Capabilities

February 9, 2015 1 comment

U.S. Army Europe
February 6, 2015

Allyn visits Army Europe, praises role in Operation Atlantic Resolve
By Sgt. 1st Class John S. Wollaston, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

WIESBADEN, Germany: Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn recently visited U.S. Army Europe headquarters and received several briefings there.

Allyn received updates from commanders throughout Army Europe’s theater of operations on topics ranging from Operation Atlantic Resolve to ongoing training missions with NATO allies and partner nations.

“Training with our partners and the leader development that is happening across the multi-national forces is exactly what makes our Army great,” Allyn said. “It enables us to not only be Army Strong but to also exemplify and demonstrate Strong Europe.”

Allyn also praised the job Army Europe Soldiers are performing with their counterparts from other nations to ensure security and stability there.

“The missions that our young commanders, sergeants major and first sergeants are performing are exactly the types of missions that they’ve been trained for,” Allyn said. “They’re having effects well beyond the tactical and operational environment; they’re truly having strategic effects. It’s an exciting time to be a Soldier in Army Europe.”

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

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Bulgarian Protesters Denounce Planned NATO Base

February 9, 2015 1 comment

Press TV
February 9, 2015

Bulgarian protesters censure NATO base plans

Bulgarian protesters have held a demonstration to condemn the government’s plan to allow the setting up of a NATO military command base on the country’s soil.

The demonstrators assembled in front of the presidency building in the capital city of Sofia on Sunday and later marched to the parliament, carrying banners that bore anti-EU and NATO messages.

“25 years of American democracy – robbery, ruin, destruction of the state,” read one banner.

The demonstrators also called for the resignation of Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev.

The protest came after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced earlier this month that NATO would immediately be establishing command and control units in six eastern European states, including Bulgaria.

The Western military block has over the past year increased its presence and conducted several drills in Eastern Europe amid the crisis in Ukraine. In 2014, NATO forces held some 200 military exercises with Stoltenberg promising that such maneuvers would continue.

Russia has also condemned NATO’s exercises and military buildup toward its borders on numerous occasions.

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Samuel Lover: The demon of war casts his shadows before

February 9, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Samuel Lover: The trumpet and the sword

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Samuel Lover
From He Would Be a Gentleman (1844)

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It was a beautiful morning in spring, when the active inhabitants of two neighbouring villages in the province of Hainau, adjoining French Flanders, had just finished their morning meal, and were outgoing again to the fields, to continue the healthful industry with which the morning opened, when the blast of a trumpet attracted their attention, and the peaceful peasants were startled at the sound; for who could live in that province and not know that any day might bring the horrors of war to their door, and, though the little villages of Fontenoi and Antoine had hitherto escaped that perennial scourge of the Lower Countries, the sinking heart of every inhabitant foreboded that their hour was come at last; and the happy hamlets which hitherto had known no greater excitement than a wedding-feast or a christening, were about to have a burial-service celebrated on a large scale. The implements of husbandry, which had been cheerfully flung over the shoulders of sturdy men as they went a-field, were suddenly cast downwards again, and the listeners to the trumpet leant thoughtfully on spade and hoe, as they caught the first glimpse of the party whence the warlike warning proceeded, and some squadrons of French horse were seen approaching! Women and children now crowd the village streets, as the cavalry ride in and dismount, and appropriate houses and stables to their use, as they are billeted by the proper officer, – and when houses and stables can hold no more, the horses are picketed and the men bivouac.

When all is, so far, settled, the peasants go to work, but they cannot work with that heart-free spirit which makes toil pleasing. The demon of war

“Casts his shadow before,”

and all is darkened beneath it. The women in the villages are busy with ordinary cares; they are preparing “sops for Cerberus,” and hope to soften the hearts of the men of war by roasting and boiling. So far, so well. But, in another hour, the engineers arrive, and, shortly after, a group of officers of the higher rank gallop into the town, — rapid orders are given, and the officers depart swiftly, as they came, and then a terrible work of destruction commences. Whole families are turned out of their houses ; the engineers set to work, the rafters of the cottages are sawn through — in tumbles roof after roof, and each house is made the platform for a piece of artillery. Yes, the smoke of the happy hearth that curled in the golden mist of evening, and invited the weary traveller from afar, was to be replaced by the repellent vapour of the cannon’s mouth!

“The war clouds rolling, dun.
Where furious Frank and fiery Hun
Shout in the sulphurous canopy.”

The hospitable village that afforded welcome and healthful fare, and wholesome slumber to the wayfarer, was preparing to hurl destruction on all who should approach it. The homes that heard the first fond whispers of bride and bridegroom, and the after holier blessings of fathers and mothers on their children, were soon to hear the roar of cannon thundering above their ruins.

When this work of destruction began, the men ran back from the fields, while the women and children stood in the streets into which they were turned, and looked on, — some with horror, others with the clamour that bereavement will produce in the most patient. Here was a woman, in silent despair, looking on at her dwelling tumbling into rubbish, – there was some youthful girl, struggling with a swarthy pioneer, endeavouring to stay the upraised axe, about to fell some favourite tree. The men, returning breathless from the field, add to the clamour in a different fashion; but curses or prayers are alike unavailing, – the work of destruction goes on.

Far apart, sitting by the road-side, was a woman, whose tears fell fast, as she held her baby to her bosom, — the fountains of life and of sorrow were both flowing. The unconscious baby smiled ever and anon, and looked up with its bright eyes at the weeping mother, while an elder child, who could just lisp its thoughts, was crying bitterly as she told her little grief -that the soldiers had trampled down all the pretty flowers in the garden…

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Georgian Defense Chief Leaves NATO Headquarters After Commission Meeting

February 8, 2015 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
February 6, 2015

Defence Minister of Georgia Completed Visit to Brussels

Defence Minister of Georgia completed three-day long official visit to Brussels. Mindia Janelidze took part in NATO-Georgia Commission in NATO HQ.

Within NATO Defence Ministerial, Mindia Janelidze held bilateral meetings with his American, British, Polish, Belgian, Romanian and Lithuanian counterparts. At the meetings the sides highlighted the importance of deepening cooperation in defence sphere. Foreign colleagues expressed readiness to Georgian Defence Minister to support the implementation process of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package.

Mindia Janelidze positively evaluated the official visit to Brussels: “NATO-Georgia Commission was very fruitful, interesting and very hopeful as the most part of Georgia’s partner countries expressed readiness to participate in the implementation process of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. On the sidelines of the Ministerial, I held meetings with my foreign counterparts. We discussed bilateral cooperation issues, future cooperation directions and initiatives. The visit was very interesting and fruitful. The results of the visit will be aimed at developing capabilities of Georgian Armed Forces and the MoD, as well as deepening and strengthening relations with our partners”.

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