Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Militarism Category

Syria and the pith helmeted bombardiers

  • February 28, 2012
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On 2 September 1898 a British expeditionary force in Sudan defeated the armies of the Caliph Abdullah al-Tashi,  the successor to the ‘Mahdi’ Muhammad Ahmad, who had overwhelmed the British garrison at Khartoum thirteen years before.    Armed with artillery, Maxim machine guns and Lee-Metford magazine rifles fitted with dum dum bullets, British troops killed more than 9,000 of the Caliph’s soldiers in a single day.

It was, wrote  the young Winston Churchill, who was present at the battle,   ‘ the most signal triumph ever gained by the arms of science...

It’s Raining Threats, Hallelujah

It’s Raining Threats, Hallelujah

  • February 23, 2012
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Is it time to start scraping the moss off  those decommissioned nuclear bunkers left over from the Cold War,  or dig my own?   Should I stockpile food with a view to staying indoors for the next twenty years?  After all it’s bad enough, as William Hague warned last week, that the UK is within...

Peter Beaumont on the Folly of Good Intentions

Peter Beaumont on the Folly of Good Intentions

  • February 19, 2012
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With the new post-Gaddafi order in Libya disintegrating into violent chaos,  Peter Beaumont examines the pitfalls of ‘humanitarian intervention’ in today’s Observer.   He quotes from an article by former State Department official Stewart Patrick in Foreign Affairs last September, which described the fall of Tripoli as “the first unambiguous military enforcement of the Responsibility...

Into the Abyss: Israel and the West Prepare the Next War

  • February 18, 2012
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In the last few weeks the prospect of a war with Iran has begun to assume a terrifying inevitability.  It is now clear that Western politicians, with the  support of the mainstream media, are preparing public opinion for the military option, using the same techniques that preceded the Iraq war.

As in Iraq, the current propaganda...

If You All Love Special Forces Clap Your Hands

If You All Love Special Forces Clap Your Hands

  • February 14, 2012
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The New York Times had  an interesting piece yesterday  which reveals a great deal about how the world works, or rather how the U.S. military believes the world should work.  The subject of the article was a proposal from Admiral William H. McRaven ( Joseph Heller eat your heart out for that name), the head...

His Master’s Voice: the Media and the Afghan war

His Master’s Voice: the Media and the Afghan war

  • February 12, 2012
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Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel L. Davis will not be a very popular man in the Pentagon or the White House right now.  His report on the Afghanistan war Dereliction of Duty II, which has just been leaked by Rolling Stone magazine, is a lucid, compelling and ultimately devastating analysis of the discrepancy between what politicians and generals...

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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