15/07/2014

George Bernard Shaw: War and the sufferings of the sane

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The Sufferings of the Sane

The mental distress of living amid the obscene din of all these carmagnoles and corobberies was not the only burden that lay on sane people during the war. There was also the emotional strain, complicated by the offended economic sense, produced by the casualty lists. The stupid, the selfish, the narrow-minded, the callous and unimaginative were spared a great deal. “Blood and destruction shall be so in use that mothers shall but smile when they behold their infantes quartered by the hands of war,” was a Shakespearean prophecy that very nearly came true; for when nearly every house had a slaughtered son to mourn, we should all have gone quite out of our senses if we had taken our own and our friend’s bereavements at their peace value. It became necessary to give them a false value; to proclaim the young life worthily and gloriously sacrificed to redeem the liberty of mankind, instead of to expiate the heedlessness and folly of their fathers, and expiate it in vain. We had even to assume that the parents and not the children had made the sacrifice, until at last the comic papers were driven to satirize fat old men, sitting comfortably in club chairs, and boasting of the sons they had “given” to their country.

No one grudged these anodynes to acute personal grief; but they only embittered those who knew that the young men were having their teeth set on edge because their parents had eaten sour political grapes. Then think of the young men themselves! Many of them had no illusions about the policy that led to the war: they went clear-sighted to a horribly repugnant duty. Men essentially gentle and essentially wise, with really valuable work in hand, laid it down voluntarily and spent months forming fours in the barrack yard, and stabbing sacks of straw in the public eye, so that they might go out to kill and maim men as gentle as themselves. These men, who were perhaps, as a class, our most efficient soldiers (Frederick Keeling, for example), were not duped for a moment by the hypocritical melodrama that consoled and stimulated the others. They left their creative work to drudge at destruction, exactly as they would have left it to take their turn at the pumps in a sinking ship. They did not, like some of the conscientious objectors, hold back because the ship had been neglected by its officers and scuttled by its wreckers. The ship had to be saved, even if Newton had to leave his fluxions and Michael Angelo his marbles to save it; so they threw away the tools of their beneficent and ennobling trades, and took up the blood-stained bayonet and the murderous bomb, forcing themselves to pervert their divine instinct for perfect artistic execution to the effective handling of these diabolical things, and their economic faculty for organization to the contriving of ruin and slaughter. For it gave an ironic edge to their tragedy that the very talents they were forced to prostitute made the prostitution not only effective, but even interesting; so that some of them were rapidly promoted, and found themselves actually becoming artists in wax, with a growing relish for it, like Napoleon and all the other scourges of mankind, in spite of themselves. For many of them there was not even this consolation. They “stuck it,” and hated it, to the end.

George Bernard Shaw
From Preface to Heartbreak House (1919)

George Bernard Shaw: Selections on war

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

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07/07/2012

Syria News: An article without American war propaganda...

US.Egypt.Libya.Syria.jpgDemocracy just excuse in Western plans for Syria

By Xiao Xian*

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Syria has a very important geopolitical position at the heart of the Middle East. Big issues in this region, such as the Palestinian issue, terrorism, energy security, and nuclear non-proliferation are all closely related to Syria. At the moment, Syria’s surrounding countries, like Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Iraq and Lebanon, are all semi-democratic countries or have pro-US rulers, so that only Syria stands out.

Western countries have repeatedly adopted “human rights” and “democracy” as an excuse to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, and even used armed forces to topple legitimate governments. Hegemony and power politics will prevail. 

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Recently Syria passed its new constitution, abolishing the president’s life tenure and changing its one-party system to a multi-party one. This is indeed an important reform in Syria’s political system, and a compromise that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made under both internal and external pressure.

Nevertheless, the new constitution can have little effect on easing current tensions in Syria. The opposition’s appetite for power isn’t any smaller than before, and anti-government campaigns across the nation are still ongoing, with even more bloody conflicts. At the same time, Western countries and hardliners in the Arab League are exerting greater pressure on the Assad administration, while expanding their support for the Syrian opposition. The situation in Syria is escalating, and the nation is on the brink of civil war.

There is a fable that a wolf met a sheep at the riverside. The wolf wanted to eat the sheep, and thus blamed it for polluting the water. The sheep explained that it was only drinking at the lower reaches of the river, but was still eaten by the wolf.

The goal of the West and hardliners in the Arab League is to change the current regime in Syria. So-called human rights, democracy and freedom are no different from the excuse of “polluting the water.” No matter what efforts the Assad administration makes, it’s no different from explaining to a wolf that “you are at the higher reaches of the river while I’m at the lower ones.”

There are several reasons why the West insists on toppling the Syrian government. After the former regimes of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen collapsed one after another, Syria is one of the few authoritarian survivors in the Arab world. Its consistent anti-US position also makes it unattractive to the West.

Syria has very close connections with Iran. The two have been backing and helping each other in political, security, economic and other important regional affairs.

Iran has a very tough attitude and tends to make no compromise with the West over its nuclear issue. Iran’s strength has some deterrence effect. In comparison, Syria is much weaker. Crumpling up Syria would mean cutting off an important arm of Iran, and it would be much easier for the West to deal with Iran in the future.

Moreover, Syria has a very important geopolitical position at the heart of the Middle East. Big issues in this region, such as the Palestinian issue, terrorism, energy security, and nuclear non-proliferation are all closely related to Syria. At the moment, Syria’s surrounding countries, like Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Iraq and Lebanon, are all semi-democratic countries or have pro-US rulers, so that only Syria stands out.

The Assad administration is a legitimate government of a sovereign country. A country’s internal affairs should be dealt with by itself, and its future path can only be selected by its own people. This is a basic rule of modern international relations, and the fundamental spirit of the UN Charter.

Western countries have repeatedly adopted “human rights” and “democracy” as an excuse to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, and even used armed forces to topple legitimate governments. Hegemony and power politics will prevail. The international community can’t help but feel grieved about this reality.

Last month, China and Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution over Syria. Russia probably had its own considerations. For China, it was very important to firmly veto the resolution, based on the considerations of protecting the basic rule of international relations, caring about the vital interests of the Syrian people, as well as upholding justice and opposing power politics.

China’s veto may not prevent Syria from an escalating situation or entering a post-Assad era. Nevertheless, the exercise of its veto has shown the rationality of China’s diplomacy, as well as the justice and independence of China’s standpoint.

*The author is professor of the School of International Studies at Yunnan University and vice president of this university.

Global Times 

March 5, 2012

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06/07/2012

Breaking News Syria: Terrorists use NATO-weapons

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July 6, 2012 - Syrian security authorities seized amounts of weapons and explosive devices in a terrorists' den in the city of Haffeh in Lattakia countryside.
An official source told a SANA reporter that the seized arms included Nato sniper rifles, machineguns, hunting rifles, explosive devices of various weights, devices for remote control detonation and an amount of batteries and electrical wires.

Yesterday, the Swiss Authorities announced that they are investigating into information published by Sonntags Zeitung newspaper about hand grenades used by armed terrorist groups in Syria.

War-maker NATO that has 24 military bases in Turkey and estabished in January a missile radar site in Turkey for the realization of its continent-wide missile interception system, continues to provoke Syria.
On July 7, it organizes so called 'anti-terrorism drills' in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The NATO Maritime Group currently consists of three frigates from Turkey, Germany and France. It comes as relations between Turkey and its neighbor Syria remain tense following a recent cross border incident. 
 
 
 

Syrian official news agency, SANA

Breaking News: NATO war game

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NATO that provides Syrian terrorists of weapons, provokes Syria now with a so called 'anti-terrorism' war game.

The  'anti-terrorism' war game will be heading from Istanbul further into the Mediterranean on July 7. The force currently consists of three frigates from Turkey, Germany and France.

NATO's German Rear Admiral Thorsten Kahler told the Turkish daily Hurriyet: 'We are here and providing security for NATO member states'.

The naval drills come as relations between Turkey and its neighbor Syria remain tense following a recent cross border incident. Syrian troops shot down a Turkish jet last month after it violated the country’s airspace.

On 22 June 2012, Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan told a group of journalists that Syria had apologized for the downed Turkish warplane.
On 23 June 2012, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul,admitted that the jet 'may have unintentionally violated Syrian airspace'. "The incident should not be regarded as a hostile action against Turkey in any case," Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, told Turkey's A-Haber TV. "It was only the protection of our sovereignty. It is an incident, not an attack."

But the head of the NATO military alliance, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, called it a "completely unacceptable act" that the alliance condemned "in the strongest terms" after a meeting with Turkish officials and ambassadors to the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Alliance.
It is on this way that NATO that, because military-strategic interests in the regio, abused the incident to escalate the tension between Syria and Turkey.

Meanwhile, the New York Times newspaper reported that 'US intelligence operatives in Turkey were vetting the flow of weapons to Syrian 'rebels'.
The Times cited unnamed US officials and Arab intelligence officials as saying the weapons were being paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and taken across the Turkish border.
There are also NATO weapons in the hands of Syrian terrorists.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that NATO provocation (and further arming of Syrian terrorists), leads to further violence and ultimately a very big war”. “This is either an unscrupulous attempt to mislead serious people who shape foreign policy or simply a misunderstanding of what is going on,” he said.
The minister also said representatives of the Syrian opposition will visit Moscow next week.
On Wednesday, Moscow urged Syrian opposition groups to unite to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis.
Russia and China have refused to support any plans for outside interference in Syria.

NATO has 24 military bases in Turkey.  In January it estabished a missile radar site in Turkey for the realization of its continent-wide missile interception system.
Turkey joined NATO in 1952 and serves as the organization' s eastern anchor, as it controls the straits leading from the Black Sea to the Aegean and also has borders with Syria and Iraq.

NATO was originally founded to provide a strategic counterbalance to the Soviet Union. Its founding purpose no longer exists, but NATO continues to circumvent the authority of the United Nations and to provoke independant nations.

Before the costly war against Libya, some newspapers reported: 'Nato's new headquarters in Brussels will cost its members €1billion (£841 million) at a time of deep cuts to British defence budgets and despite promises by the Alliance to cut its costs'.
Europe is in a deep financial crisis today but it continues to spend money on wars.

Photo: NATO-weapons for Syrian terrorists

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'NATO launches war games in Mediterranean amid tension with Syria'

July 5, 2012 - NATO’s joint maritime group is flexing its muscle in the eastern Mediterranean Sea by conducting anti-terrorism drills as tensions between NATO member Turkey and its neighbor Syria escalate.

The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is determined “to give a clear message to terrorists in the region that NATO is on duty,” German Rear Admiral Thorsten Kahler told the Turkish daily Hurriyet.

“What we have to make sure is to tell the terrorists to be careful; we are here and providing security for NATO member states,” he said.

The admiral said the group will be heading from Istanbul further into the Mediterranean on July 7. The force currently consists of three frigates from Turkey, Germany and France. The ships are armed with 76-mm and 27-mm guns, Mark 46 anti-submarine torpedoes, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles and carry helicopters. They are manned by 545 sailors in total.

Kahler took over command of the group from his Turkish colleague Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun on June 15.

The naval drills come as relations between Turkey and its neighbor Syria remain tense following a recent cross border incident. Syrian troops shot down a Turkish jet last month after it violated the country’s airspace.

Damascus says their military acted in self-defense, but offered an apology for the incident and the subsequent death of the two Turkish pilots onboard.

Ankara said it was an act of aggression on Syria’s part, claiming that the plane crossed the border by incident and was shot down without warning after flying back into the international airspace.

Turkey called a NATO meeting to discuss the incident. The alliance condemned the incident, but refrained from taking any more serious action against Syria.

Syria and Turkey has increasingly been at odds recently over Ankara’s vocal criticism of the Syrian crackdown on its domestic opposition. Following the downing of the jet, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan pledged support to the Syrian opposition in their bid to topple the government.

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/mediterranean-...

Photo: German V2 rocket