Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Militarism Category
Of Cats and Dogs

Of Cats and Dogs

  • August 31, 2021
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Given the scale of the disaster unfolding in Kabul right now, it might seem a little frivolous to write about Paul ‘Penn’ Farthing, the ex-Marine Sergeant and founder of the Nowzad animal rescue charity, who has just arrived back in the UK on a plane filled with cats and dogs – and no people.

So let me explain.  I have great affection for cats and dogs, but I don’t feel any particular joy in the fact that Farthing managed to get his rescue animals safely out of Afghanistan.

Of course I’m glad the animals weren’t shot...

The Return of Saint Tony

The Return of Saint Tony

  • August 23, 2021
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It’s a truth not universally acknowledged in British politics, that if you have men like Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab in government, everyone who isn’t them can look good, or at least better,  by comparison.  In a (dis)United Kingdom sinking ever deeper into multiple crises of its own making, this tendency can make it difficult,...

Spain and the Origins of ‘People’s War’

Spain and the Origins of ‘People’s War’

  • August 19, 2021
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Watching the collapse of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, I’ve been rereading Albert Jean Michel de Rocca’s powerful memoir of the Peninsular War In the Peninsula with a French Hussar.  This might seem a little tangential, but bear with me.  Sous-Lieutenant de Rocca was a Swiss soldier who enlisted in Napoleon’s army, whose regiment the...

Imperial Sunset on the Rocks Please

Imperial Sunset on the Rocks Please

  • August 18, 2021
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Some empires take a long time to die.  The Roman Empire was already in decline centuries before the final collapse of the Western Empire in c.376-476.   By the end of the seventeenth century the weaknesses of the Spanish/Hapsburg Empire that spanned Europe and Latin America from the late fifteenth century onwards were already apparent, but...

Through a Kaleidoscope Darkly: Afghanistan’s Groundhog Day

Through a Kaleidoscope Darkly: Afghanistan’s Groundhog Day

  • August 16, 2021
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To anyone who wants to look, it is clear that the grim scenes unfolding in Afghanistan are not just another tragedy for a country that has been repeatedly smashed and abused in the latest variations on the ‘great game’ for more than forty years now.   The ignominious collapse of the US-led ‘nation-building’ project also marks...

Ventilator Blues

Ventilator Blues

  • March 21, 2020
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When the coronavirus nightmare ends – as it will end one day – there are many things those of us who survive it will want to remember, and there are things that governments – including our own – will want us to forget.  One of them is the chronic lack of medical ventilator machines available...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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