Mark Twain: Epitome of war, the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity

Antiwar literary and philosophical selections


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

American writers on peace and against war

Mark Twain: Selections on war


Mark Twain
From The Private History of a Campaign That Failed (1885)


There was a veiled moonlight which was only just strong enough to enable us to mark the general shapes of objects. Presently a muffled sound caught our ears and we recognized the hoof-beats of a horse or horses. And right away, a figure appeared in the forest path; it could have been made of smoke, its mass had such little sharpness of outline. It was a man on horseback, and it seemed to me that there were others behind him. I got a hold of a gun in the dark, and pushed it through a crack between the logs, hardly knowing what I was doing, I was so dazed with fright. Somebody said “Fire!” I pulled…

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BRICS Bank, Not ISIS, Driving Middle East War Planning?

Posted on September 17, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

World Map1In business, monopoly means exclusive control. In Brazil, days before the July shooting down of Malaysian Flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine where all 298 people on board died, the BRICS Alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) met and announced establishment of a new global development bank to rival the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Federal Reserve, European Central Bank (ECB), Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and other privately owned, largest central banks on Earth.

Until July 2014 and BRICS’ announcement, the world’s wealthiest corporate, personal and family stockholders in the international banking system enjoyed virtual exclusive control of the world’s financial market – in other words, a monopoly. Imagine another business sector company, say a grocery chain, which had no competitors in a major metropolitan area like Los Angeles, London, Paris, Mumbai, or other large population city on Earth. Imagine that grocery chain with 30 stores blanketing the city, without any competition whatsoever, and then another company decided to invest and build 30 stores in every sub-market which the formerly free-of-competition grocery chain had all for/to itself.

The grocery business example describes the BRICS/private central bank global competition which has begun; an international business competition on a scale the world has never seen. We are talking about the largest financial transactions, and the largest potential profits for those bankers who get the business, on this Earth. For  monopolistic banking institutions, nations have historically been their largest customers for loans.

In large part thanks to the information revolution and the internet, knowledge about international banking giants has become disseminated to every nation and region of the world; including criminal and greed related historical facts/aspects. Millions have become aware how entire nations have become drawn into high, often un-payable, levels of $multi-billion debt through arrangement of loans from the largest international financial institutions. Those same millions of men and women the world over have come to understand the corrupt motives too often involved in these highest dollar amount, national-debt-producing loans.

Through recent decades, these transactions of the greatest amounts have become surrounded with varying forms of negative circumstances in nations that have entered into this high-risk, high-stakes financial arena. Some of those negative consequences have included assassinations/overthrowing of democratically elected leaders, covert destabilization operations, overt warfare, government funds’ embezzlement/bribery, misdirection of loan proceeds to people/projects not in the interest of citizens, austerity inducing national debts, privatization of national industries/natural resource wealth, favorable-to banking/resource-extractive corporation laws/legislation, reduced social expenditures on health, education, nutrition, housing, etc., and other less-consequential but still negative actions.

As a direct result of millions of men and women becoming aware of these negative consequences of the historically monopolistic international banking mega-institutions, BRICS became formed, developed and announced an alternative global financial system, and it is this threat of losing market (nations) share that is behind military aggression/provocations today – including Ukraine, Israel-Gaza, the Middle East (Iraq and Syria), and elsewhere.

If the top managers from the grocery company mentioned – the company which previously enjoyed control of 100% of the market – decided to carry out violent actions against its new, formidable competitor company by destroying one or more of their physical, just-opened, store locations – killing innocent employees and customers in the process – that would obviously result in tremendously hot legal issues and life imprisonment for those responsible.

In small-scale examples like this, in the majority of instances where a competitor entertains thoughts of possible criminal action(s) against their strongest competitor(s) for market share, the law provides an effective deterrent and results in stable, competitive co-existence. International law, namely the agreed upon rules of the United Nations Security Council regarding military actions against sovereign member states, and the language contained in the United States Constitution requiring consent from Congress for acts of war – provide the same deterrent effect concerning state-generated wars of aggression (the supreme criminal act) and crimes against humanity.

The “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” was something which never occurred. It was a lie about a Vietnamese torpedo attack on an American ship in Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin – a “false flag event” – which launched the Vietnam War leading to some 58,000 American soldiers and millions of Vietnamese deaths. Only two out of 100 United States Senators voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and one of them was Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, who later remarked:

“Many Senators who accepted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution without question might well not have done so had they foreseen that it would subsequently be interpreted as a sweeping Congressional endorsement for the conduct of a large-scale war in Asia”.

J. William Fulbright (1905-1995) said the following about international law:

“Law is the essential foundation of stability and order both within societies and in international relations. As a conservative power, the United States has a vital interest in upholding and expanding the reign of law in international relations. Insofar as international law is observed, it provides us with stability and order and with a means of predicting behavior of those with whom we have reciprocal obligations. When we violate the law ourselves, whatever short-term advantage may be gained, we are obviously encouraging others to violate the law; we thus encourage disorder and instability and thereby do incalculable damage to our own long-term interests”.

In his book “The Arrogance of Power” (1966) Fulbright wrote:

“To criticize one’s country is to do it a service… Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism – a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals and national adulation”.

And: “My question is whether America can overcome the fatal arrogance of power”.

Decades later, in 2003, the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration, with cooperation from Britain’s Tony Blair, lied to the world about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Hussein having responsibility for the attacks/events of September 11, 2001, and then launched a war, killing, according to some estimates, more than 1 million Iraqi men, women, and children. Some members of the United States Congress, like Senator J. William Fulbright before the Vietnam War historic catastrophe, voted against granting authorization for the use of military force to the Bush administration.

Of course, hindsight is always 20-20. If a lengthy, real debate had taken place to unveil the lies told by the Bush/Cheney/Blair group of war criminals, the horrific Iraq War II would never have been authorized, and the resentments and hatred which lead to formation of violent organizations bent on revenge would never have become developed. Can America now, in the words of J. William Fulbright, “overcome the fatal arrogance of power”?

Before this situation escalates militarily out-of-control like Vietnam and Iraq in the recent past, it is urgent for the people of America and the world to demand the truth about what is driving this movement toward war. To arrive at the truth, all viewpoints must become included in a serious, lengthy, and real debate focused on all relevant facts; on who is using their power to push for violence and war, why they are calling for war, and if it is out of true concern for the health and well-being of all men, women, and children living in Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East region.

It is unacceptable for humanity to allow any possibility of repeating the overwhelmingly horrific, destructive, dishonorable Vietnam or Iraq wars – where millions of innocent human beings perished in military conflicts initiated and perpetuated with deceptions. 

End it here. End it now.


(Thank you to PressTV News Videos at YouTube)

Which Syrian Narrative Is The Truth?

Posted on September 17, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

P1000889-1Australian priest Dave Smith is known as the “Boxing Priest” for his years of involvement in the sport of boxing. In this talk at an Islāmic Center in Australia from early August he describes the two narratives of the war and violence in Syria, which since 2011 – longer than three years – has claimed the lives of over 190,000 and displaced one-third of the Syrian population.

The situation in Syria is the largest humanitarian crisis on Earth.

After listening to U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and head of the U.S. military General Martin Dempsey speaking to the Senate, where a larger part of the questions and answers than one would expect was about Syria – then hearing Father Dave Smith describe the separate (Western and alternative) Syria narratives – one becomes forced to think long and hard on what exactly is the “mission” for the United States and its “coalition of the willing”.

Should Father Dave Smith be part of an alternative narrative/truth panel that is given the opportunity to speak to the U.S. Senate? Will the U.S. Congress listen to all perspectives before taking any actions of war and peace – from distinguished, intelligent men and women who are sincerely concerned about potential escalation of violence in the Middle East?

Mr. Dempsey told the Senate committee that there are an estimated 31,000 ISIL fighters. If these fighters average $500/month in salary, that’s $15,500,000/month. ISIL has been able to come up with the financial means to pay their soldiers, plus pay for food, guns, mortars, ammunition, vehicles, fuel, and other necessities of life for months, but only now are Senators considering ways to block their money supply.

The question all Americans need to deeply consider, before giving their government the approval for yet another potentially destructive, ill-considered, years-long, foreign policy catastrophe/war in the Middle East, is – which Syrian narrative is the truth? 


(Thank you to (Father) Dave Smith at YouTube)