|Upon the Gardens of Epicurus, or…
Of Gardening in the Year 1685
by Sir William Temple (1628 – 1699)
Original English Text
|THE same faculty of reason, which gives mankind the great advantage and prerogative over the rest of the creation, seems to make the greatest default of human nature; and subjects it to more troubles, miseries, or at least disquiets of life, than any of its fellow creatures: it is this which furnishes us with such variety of passions, and consequently of wants and desires, that none other feels and these followed by infinite designs and endless pursuits, and improved by that restlessness of thought which is natural to most men, give him a condition of life suitable to that of his birth; so that, as he alone is born crying, he lives complaining and dies disappointed.
Since we cannot escape the pursuit of passions and perplexity of thoughts which our reason furnishes us, there is no way left, but to endeavour all we can either to subdue or to divert them. This last is the common business of common men, who seek it by all sorts of sports, pleasures, play, or business. But, because the two first are of short continuance, soon ending with weariness, or decay of vigour and appetite, the return whereof must be attended before the others can be renewed; and because play grows dull if it be not enlivened with the hopes of gain, the general diversion of mankind seems to be business, or the pursuit of riches in one kind or other; which is an amusement that has this one advantage above all others, that it lasts those men who engage in it to the very ends of their lives; none ever- growing too old for the thoughts and desires of increasing his wealth and fortunes, either for himself, his friends, or his posterity.
In the first and most simple ages of each country, the conditions and lives of men seem to have been very near of kin with the rest of the creatures: they lived by the hour, or by the day, and satisfied their appetite with what they could get from the herbs, the fruits, the springs they met with when they were hungry or dry; then, with what fish, fowl, or beasts they could kill, by swiftness or strength, by craft or contrivance, by their hands, or such instruments as wit helped or necessity forced them to invent. When a man had got enough for the day, he laid up the rest for the morrow, and spent one day in labour that he might pass the other at ease; and lured on by the pleasure of this bait, when he was in vigour, and his game fortunate, he would provide for as many days as he could, both for himself and his children, that were too young to seek out for themselves. Then he cast about, how by sowing of grain, and by pasture of the tamer cattle, to provide for the whole year. After this, dividing the lands necessary for these uses, first among children, and then among servants, he reserved to himself a proportion of their gain, either in the native stock, or something equivalent, which brought in the use of money; and where this once came in, none was to be satisfied, without having enough for himself and his family, and all his and their posterity for ever; so that I know a certain Lord who professes to value no lease, though for an hundred or a thousand years, nor any estate or possession of land, that is not for ever and ever.
From such small beginnings have grown such vast and extravagant designs of poor mortal men: yet none could ever answer the naked Indian, why one man should take pains, and run hazards by sea and land all his life, that his children might be safe and lazy all theirs: and the precept of taking no care for tomorrow, though never minded as impracticable in the world, seems but to reduce mankind to their natural and original condition of life. However, by these ways and degrees, the endless increase of riches seems to be grown the perpetual and general amusement or business of mankind.
Some few in each country make those higher flights after honour and power, and to these ends sacrifice their riches, their labour, their thought, and their lives; and nothing diverts nor busies men more than these pursuits, which are usually covered with the pretences of serving a man’s country, and of public good. But the true service of the public is a business of so much labour and so much care, that though a good and wise man may not refuse it, if he be called to it by his Prince or his country, and thinks he can be of more than vulgar use, yet he will seldom or never seek it, but leaves it commonly to men who, under the disguise of public good, pursue their own designs of wealth, power, and such bastard honours as usually attend them, not that which is the true, and only true reward of virtue.
The pursuits of ambition, though not so general, yet are as endless as those of riches, and as extravagant; since none ever yet thought he had power or empire enough: and what Prince so ever seems to be so great, as to live and reign without any further desires or fears, falls into the life of a private man, and enjoys but those pleasures and entertainments which a great many several degrees of private fortune will allow, and as much as human nature is capable of enjoying.
The pleasures of the senses grow a little more choice and refined: those of imagination are turned upon embellishing the scenes he chooses to live in; ease, conveniency, elegancy, magnificence, are sought in building first, and then in furnishing houses or palaces: the admirable imitations of nature are introduced by pictures, statues, tapestry, and other such achievements of arts. And the most exquisite delights of sense are pursued, in the contrivance and plantation of gardens; which, with fruits, flowers, shades, fountains, and the music of birds that frequent such happy places, seem to furnish all the pleasures of the several senses, and with the greatest, or at least the most natural perfections.
Thus the first race of Assyrian Kings, after the conquests of Ninus and Semiramis, passed their lives, till their empire fell to the Medes. Thus the Caliphs of Egypt, till deposed by their Mamalukes. Thus passed the latter parts of those great lives of Scipio, Lucullus, Augustus, Dioclesian. Thus turned the great thoughts of Henry II. of France, after the end of his wars with Spain. Thus the present King of Morocco, after having subdued all his competitors, passes his life in a country villa, gives audience in a grove of orange-trees planted among purling streams. And thus the King of France, after all the successes of his councils or arms, and in the mighty elevation of his present greatness and power, when he gives himself leisure from such designs or pursuits, passes the softer and easier parts of his time in country houses and gardens, in building, planting, or adorning the scenes, or in the common sports and entertainments of such kind of lives. And those mighty Emperors, who contented not themselves with these pleasures of common humanity, fell into the frantic or the extravagant; they pretended to be Gods or turned to be Devils, as Caligula and Nero, and too many others known enough in story.
Whilst mankind is thus generally busied or amused, that part of them, who have had either the justice or the luck to pass in common opinion for the wisest and the best part among them, have followed another and very different scent; and instead of the common designs of satisfying their appetites and their passions, and making endless provisions for both, they have chosen what they thought a nearer and a surer way to the ease and felicity of life, by endeavoring to subdue, or at least to temper their passions, and reduce their appetites to what nature seems only to ask and to need. And this design seems to have brought philosophy into the world, at least that which is termed moral, and appears to have an end not only desirable by every man, which is the ease and happiness of life, but also in some degree suitable to the force and reach of human nature: for, as to that part of philosophy which is called natural, I know no end it can have, but that of either busying a man’s brains to no purpose, or satisfying the vanity so natural to most men of distinguishing themselves, by some way or other, from those that seem their equals in birth and the common advantages of it; and whether this distinction be made by wealth or power, or appearance of knowledge, which gains esteem and applause in the world, is all a case. More than this I know no advantage mankind has gained by the progress of natural philosophy, during so many ages it has had vogue in the world, excepting always, and very justly, what we owe to the mathematics, which is in a manner all that seems valuable among the civilized nations, more than those we call barbarous, whether they are so or no, or, more so than ourselves.
How ancient this natural philosophy has been in the world is hard to know; for we find frequent mention of ancient philosophers in this kind, among the most ancient now extant with us. The first who found out the vanity of it seems to have been Solomon, of which discovery he has left such admirable strains in Ecclesiastes. The next was Socrates, who made it the business of his life to explode it, and introduce that which we call moral in its place, to busy human minds to better purpose. And indeed, whoever reads with thought what these two, and Marcus Antoninus, have said upon the vanity of all that mortal man can ever attain to know of nature, in its originals or operations, may save himself a great deal of pains, and justly conclude, that the knowledge of such things is not our game; and (like the pursuit of a stag by a little spaniel) may serve to amuse and to weary us, but will never be hunted down. Yet I think those three I have named may justly pass for the wisest triumvirate that are let us upon the records of story or of time.
After Socrates, who left nothing in writing, many sects of philosophers began to spread in Greece, who entered boldly upon both parts of natural and moral philosophy. The first with the greatest disagreement, and the most eager contention that could be upon the greatest subjects: as, whether the world were eternal, or produced at some certain time? whether, if produced, it was by some eternal Mind, and to some end, or by the fortuitous concourse of atoms, or some particles of eternal matter? whether there was one world, or many? whether the soul of man was a part of some ethereal and eternal substance, or was corporeal? whether, if eternal, it was so before it came into the body, or only after it went out? There were the same contentions about the motions of the heavens, the magnitude of the celestial bodies, the faculties of the mind, and the judgment of the senses. But all the different schemes of nature – that have been drawn of old, or of late, by Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Des Cartes, Hobbs, or any other that I know of, seem to agree but in one thing, which is, the want of demonstration or satisfaction to any thinking and unpossessed man; and seem more or less probable one than another, according to the wit and eloquence of the authors and advocates that raise or defend them; like jugglers tricks, that have more or less appearance of being real, according to the dexterousness and skill of him that plays them; whereas perhaps, if we were capable of knowing truth and nature, these fine schemes would prove like rover shots, some nearer and some further off; but all at great distance from the mark; it may be, none in sight.
Yet, in the midst of these and many other such disputes and contentions in their natural philosophy, they seemed to agree much better in their moral; and, upon their inquires after the ultimate end of man, which was his happiness, their contentions or differences seemed to be rather in words, than in the sense of their opinions, or in the true meaning of their several authors or masters of their sects: all concluded that happiness was the chief good, and ought to be the ultimate end of man; that, as this was the end of wisdom, so wisdom was the way to happiness. The question then was, in what this happiness consisted? The contention grew warmest between the Stoics and Epicureans; the other sects, in this point, siding in a manner with one or the other of these in their conceptions or expressions. The Stoics would have it to consist in virtue, and the Epicureans in pleasure; yet the most reasonable of the Stoics made the pleasure of virtue to be the greatest happiness, and the best of the Epicureans made the greatest pleasure to consist in virtue; and the difference between these two seems not easily discovered. All agreed; the greatest temper, if not the total subduing of passion, and exercise of reason, to be the state of the greatest felicity; to live without desires or fears, or those perturbations of mind and thought which passions raise; to place true riches in wanting little, rather than in possessing much; and true pleasure in temperance, rather than in satisfying the senses; to live with indifference to the common enjoyments and accidents of life, and with constancy upon the greatest blows of fate or of chance; not to disturb our minds with sad reflexions upon what is past, nor with anxious cares or raving hopes about what is to come; neither to disquiet life with the fears of death, nor death with the desires of life; but in both, and in all things else, to follow nature, seem to be the precepts most agreed among them.
Thus reason seems only to have been called in to allay those disorders which itself had raised, to cure its own wounds, and pretends to make. us wise no other way than; by rendering us insensible. This at least was the profession of many rigid Stoics, who would have had a wise man, not only without any sort of passion, but without any sense of pain as well as pleasure; and to enjoy himself in the midst of diseases and torments, as well as of health and ease: a principle, in my mind, against common nature and common sense; and which might have told us in fewer words, or with less, circumstance, that a man, to be wise, should not be a man; and this perhaps might have been easy enough believe, but nothing so hard as the other.
The Epicureans were more intelligible in their notion, and fortunate in their expression, when they placed a man’s happiness in the tranquillity of mind and indolence of body; for while we are composed of both, I doubt both must have a share in the good or ill we feel. As men of several languages say the same things in very different words; so in several ages, countries, constitutions of laws and religion, the same thing seems to be meant by very different expressions: what is called by the Stoics apathy, or dispassion; by the Sceptics indisturbance; by the Molinists quietism; by common men peace of conscience; seems all to mean but great tranquillity of mind, though it be made to proceed from so diverse causes, as human wisdom, innocence of life; or resignation to the will of God. An old usurer had the same notion, when he said, “No man could have peace of conscience, that run out of his estate;” not comprehending what else was meant by that phrase, besides true quiet and content of mind; which, however expressed, is, I suppose, meant by all to be the best account that can be given of the happiness of man, since no man can pretend to be happy without it.
I have often wondered how such sharp and violent invectives came to be made go generally against Epicurus by the ages that followed him, whose admirable wit, felicity of expression, excellence of nature, sweetness of conversation, temperance of life, and constancy of death, made him so beloved by his friends, admired by his scholars, and honoured by the Athenians. But this injustice may be fastened chiefly upon the envy and malignity of the Stoics at first, then upon the mistakes of some gross pretenders to his sect (who took pleasure only to be sensual) and afterwards, upon the piety of the primitive Christians, who esteemed his principles of natural philosophy more opposite to those of our religion, than either the Platonists, the Peripatetics; or Stoics themselves: yet, I confess, I do not know why the account given by Lucretius of the Gods, should be thought more impious than that given by Homer, who makes them not only subject to all the weakest passions, but perpetually busy in all the worst or meanest actions men.
But Epicurus has found so great advocates of his virtue, as well as learning and inventions, that there need no more; and the testimonies of Diogenes Laertius alone seem too sincere and impartial to be disputed, or to want the assistance of modern authors: if all failed, he would be but too well defended by the excellence of so many of his sect in all ages, and especially of those who lived in the compass of one, but the greatest in story, both as to persons and events: I need name no more than Cæsar, Atticus, Mæcenas, Lucretius, Virgil, Horace all admirable in their several kinds, and perhaps unparalleled in story.
Cæsar, if considered in all lights, may justly challenge the first place in the registers we have of mankind, equal only to himself, and surpassing all others of his nation and his age, in the virtues and excellencies of a statesman, a captain, an orator, an historian; besides all these, a poet, a philosopher, when his leisure allowed him; the greatest man of counsel and of action, of design and execution; the greatest nobleness of birth, of person, and of countenance; the greatest humanity and clemency of nature, in the midst of the greatest provocations, occasions, and examples of cruelty and revenge: it is true, he overturned the laws and constitutions of his country, yet it was after so many others had not only begun, but proceeded very far, to change, and violate them; so as, in what he did, he seems rather to have prevented others, than to have done what he himself designed; for though his ambition was vast, yet it seems to have been raised to those heights, rather by the insolence of his enemies than by his own temper; and that what was natural to him was only a desire of true glory, and to acquire it by good actions as well as great, by conquests of barbarous nations, extent of the Roman empire; defending at first the liberties of the plebeians, opposing the faction that had begun in Sulla and ended in Pompey; and, in the whole course of his victories and successes, seeking all occasions of bounty to his friends, and clemency to his enemies.
Atticus appears to have been one of the wisest and best of the Romans; learned without pretending, good without affectation, bountiful without design, a friend to all men in misfortune, a flatterer to no man in greatness or power, a lover of mankind, and beloved by them all; and by these virtues and dispositions, he passed safe and untouched through all the flames of civil dissentions that ravaged his country the greatest part of his life; and, though he never entered into any public affairs or particular factions of his state, yet he was favoured, honoured, and courted by them all, from Sylla to Augustus.
Mæcenas was – the wisest counselor, the truest friend both of his Prince and his country, the best Governor of Rome, the happiest and ablest negotiator, the best judge of learning and virtue, the choicest in his friends, and thereby the happiest in his conversation that has been known in story; and I think, to his conduct in. civil, and Agrippa’ s in military affairs, may be truly ascribed all the fortunes and greatness of Augustus, so much celebrated in’ the world.
For Lucretius, Virgil, and Horace, they deserve, in my opinion, the honour of the greatest philosophers, as well as the best poets of their nation or age. The two first, besides what looks like something more than human in their poetry, were very great naturalists, and admirable in their morals: and Horace, besides the sweetness and elegancy of his Lyrics, appears, in the rest of his writings, so great a master of life, and of true sense in the conduct of it, that I know none beyond him. It was no mean strain of his philosophy, to refuse being Secretary to Augustus, when so great an emperor so much desired it. But all the different sects of philosophies seem to have agreed in the opinion of a wise man abstaining from public affairs, which is thought the meaning of Pythagoras’s precept, to abstain from beans, by which the affairs or public resolutions in Athens were managed. They thought that sort of business too gross and material for the abstracted fineness of their speculations. They esteemed it too sordid and too artificial for the cleanness and simplicity of their manners and lives. They would have no part in the faults of a government; and they knew too well, that the nature and passions of men made them incapable of any that was perfect and good; and therefore thought all the service they could do to the state they lived under, was to mend the lives and manners of particular men that composed it. But where, factions were once entered and rooted in a state, they thought it madness for good men to meddle with public affairs; which made them turn their thoughts and entertainments to any thing rather than this; and Heraclitus, having, upon the factions of the citizens, quitted the government of his city, and amusing himself to play with the boys in the porch of the temple, asked those who wondered at him, Whether it was not better to play with such boys, than govern such men? But above all, they esteemed public business the most contrary of all others to that tranquillity of mind, which they esteemed and taught to be the only true felicity of man.
For this reason, Epicurus passed his life wholly in his garden: there he studied, there he exercised, there he taught his philosophy; and, indeed, no other sort of abode seems to contribute so much to both the tranquility of mind and indolence of body, which he made his chief ends. The sweetness of air, the pleasantness of smell, the verdure of plants, the cleanness and lightness, of food, the exercises of working or walking; but above all, the exemption from cares and solicitude, seem equally to favour and improve both contemplation and health, the enjoyment of sense and imagination, and thereby the quiet and ease both of the body and mind.
Though Epicurus be said to have been the first that had a garden in Athens, whose citizens before him had theirs’ in their villas or farms without the city; yet the use of gardens seems to have been the most ancient and most general of any sorts of possession among mankind, and to have, preceded those of corn or of cattle as yielding the easier, the pleasanter, and more natural food. As it has been the inclination of Kings and the choice of philosophers, so it has been the common favourite of public and private men; a pleasure of the greatest, and the care of the meanest; and indeed an employment and a possession, for which no man is too high nor too low.
If we believe the Scripture, we must allow that God Almighty esteemed the life of a man in a garden–the happiest he could give him, or else he would not have placed Adam in that of Eden; that it was the state of innocence and pleasure; and that the life of husbandry and cities came after the fall, with guilt and with labour.
Where paradise was, has been much debated, and little agreed; but what sort of place is meant by it may perhaps easier be conjectured. It seems to have been a Persian word, since Xenophon and other Greek authors mention it, as what was much in use and delight among the Kings of those eastern countries. Strabo, describing Jericho, says, “Ibi est palmentum, cui immixtæ sunt etiam aliæ stirpes, hortenses, locus ferax, palmis abundans, spatio stadiorum centum, totus iriguus, ibi est Regiet Balsami paradisus.” He, mentions, another place, to be”prope Libanum et Paradisum.” And Alexander is written to have seen Cyrus’s tomb in paradise, being tower not very great, and covered with a shade of trees about it. So that a paradise, among them seems to have been a large space of ground adorned and beautified with all sorts of trees, both of fruits and of forest, either found there before it was inclosed, or planted after; either cultivated like gardens, for shades and for walks, with fountains or streams, and all sorts of plants usual in the climate, and pleasant to the eye, the smell, or the taste; or else employed like our parks, for inclosure and harbour of all sorts of wild beasts, as well, as for the pleasure of riding and walking: and so they were of more or less extent, and of different entertainment, according to the several humours of the Princes that ordered and inclosed them.
Semiramis is the first we are told of in story, that brought them in use through her empire, and was so fond of them, as to take one where-ever she built, and in all, or most of the provinces she subdued; which are said to have been from Babylon as far as India. The Assyrian Kings continued this custom and care, or rather this pleasure, till one of them brought in the use of smaller and more regular gardens: for having married a wife he was fond of, out of one of the provinces, where, such paradises or gardens were much in use, and the country lady not well bearing the air or inclosure of the palace in Babylon, to which the Assyrian, Kings used to confine themselves, he made her gardens, not only within the palaces, but upon terraces raised with earth, over the arched roofs, and even upon the top of the highest tower, planted them with all sorts of fruit-trees, as well as other plants and flowers, the most pleasant of that country; and thereby made at least the most airy gardens, as well as the most costly, that have been heard of in the world. This lady may probably have been native of the provinces of Chasimer or of Damascus, which have in all times been the happiest regions for fruits of all the East, by the excellence of soil, the position of mountains, the frequency of streams, rather than the advantages of climate. And it is great pity we do not yet see the history of Chasimer, which Monsieur Bernier assured me he had translated out of Persian, and intended to publish; and of which he has given such a taste, in his excellent Memoirs of the Mogul’s country.
The next gardens we read of are those of Solomon, planted with all sorts of fruit-trees, and watered with fountains; and though we have no more particular description of them yet we may find, they were the places where he passed the times of his leisure and delight, where the houses as well as grounds were adorned with all that could be of pleasing and elegant, and were the retreats and entertainments of those among his wives that he loved the best; and it is not improbable, that the paradises mentioned by Strabo were planted by this great and wisest Wing. But the idea of the garden must be very great, if it answer at all to that of the gardener, who must have employed a great deal of his care and of his study, as well as of his leisure and thought, in these entertainments, since he wrote of all plants, from the cedar to the shrub.
What the gardens of the Hesperides’ were,’ we have little or no account, further than the mention of them, and thereby the testimony of their having been in use and request in such remoteness of place and antiquity of time.
The garden of Alcinous, described by Homer, seems wholly poetical, and made at the pleasure of the painter; like the rest of the romantic palaces in that little barren island of Phæcia or Corfu. Yet, as all the pieces of this transcendent genius are composed with excellent knowledge, as well as fancy; so they seldom fail of instruction as well as delight, to all that read him. The seat of this garden, joining to the gates of the palace, the compass of the inclosure being four acres, the tall trees of shade, as well as those of fruit, the two fountains, the one for the use of the garden, and the other of the pa. lace, the continual succession of fruits throughout the whole year, are, for aught I know, the best rules or provision that can go towards composing the best gardens; nor is it unlikely, that Homer may have drawn this picture after the life of some he had seen in lonia, the country and usual abode of this divine oet; and indeed, the region of the most refined pleasure and luxury, as well as invention and wit: for the humour and custom of gardens may have descended earlier into the Lower Asia, from Damascus, Assyria, and other parts of the eastern empires, though they seem to have made late entrance and smaller improvement in those of Greece and Rome; at least in no proportion to their other inventions or refinements of pleasure and luxury.
The long and flourishing peace of the two first empires gave earlier rise and growth to learning and civility, and all the consequences of them, in magnificence and elegancy of building and gardening; whereas Greece and Rome were almost perpetually engaged in quarrels and wars either abroad or at home, and so were busy in actions that were done under the sun, rather than those under the shade. These were the entertainments of the softer nations, that fell under the virtue and prowess of the two last empires, which from those conquests brought home mighty increases both of riches and luxury, and so perhaps lost more than they got by the spoils of the East.
There may be another reason for the small advance of gardening in those excellent and more temperate climates, where the air and soil were so apt of themselves to produce the best sorts of fruits, without the necessity of cultivating them by labour and care; whereas the hotter climates, as well as the cold, are forced upon industry and skill, to produce or improve many fruits that grow of themselves in the more temperate regions. However it were, we have very little mention of gardens in old Greece or in old Rome, for pleasure or with, elegance. nor of much curiousness or care, to introduce the fruits of foreign climates, contenting themselves with those which were, native of their own; and these were the vine, the olive, the fig, the pear, and the apple: Cato, as I remember, mentions no more; and their gardens were then but the necessary part of their farms, intended particularly for the cheap and easy food of their hinds or slaves employed in their agriculture, and so were turned chiefly to all the common sorts of plants, herbs, or legumes (as the French call them) proper for common nourishment; and the name of hortus is taken to be from ortus, because it perpetually furnishes some rise or production of some-thing new in the world.
Lucu1lus, after the Mithridatic war, first brought cherries -from Pontus into Italy, which so generally pleased, and were so easily propagated in all climates, that within the space of about an hundred years, having traveled westward with the Roman conquests, they grew common as far as the Rhine, and passed over into Britain. After the conquest of Africa, Greece, the Lesser Asia, and Syria, were brought into Italy all the sorts of their mala, which we interpret as apples, and might signify no more at first, but were afterwards applied to many other foreign fruits: the apricots, coming from Empire, were called mala Epirotica; peaches from Persia, mala Persica; citrons of Media, Medica; pomegranates from Carthage, Punica; quinces, Cathonea, from a small island in the Grecian seas; their best pears were brought from Alexandria, Numidia, Greece, and Numantia; as appears by their several appellations: their plums, from Armenia, Syria, but chiefly from Damascus. The kinds of these are reckoned, in Nero’s time, to have been near thirty, as well as of figs; and many of them were entertained at Rome with so great applause and so general vogue, that the great Captains, and even consular men, who first brought them over, took pride in giving them their own names, (by which they run a great while in Rome) as in memory of some great service or pleasure they had done their country; so that not only laws and battles, but several sorts of apples or mala, and of pears were called Marilian and Claudian, Pompeian and Tiberian, and by several other such noble names.
Thus the fruits of Rome, in about an hundred years, came from countries as far as their conquests had reached; and, like learning, architecture, painting, and statuary, made their great advances in Italy about the Augustan age. What was of most request in their common gardens in Virgil’s time, Or at least in his youth, may be conjectured by the description of his old Corycian’s gardens in the fourth of the Georgics; which begins,
Namque sub Œbaliæ memini turribus altis.
Among flowers, the roses had the first place, especially a kind which bore twice a-year; and none other sorts are here mentioned besides the Narcissus, though the violet and the lily were very common, and the next in esteem; especially thebreve Illium, which was the tuberose. The plants he mentions are the apium, which though commonly interpreted parsley, yet comprehends all sorts of smallage, whereof celery is one; cucumis, which takes in all sorts of melons, as well as cucumbers; olus, which is a common word for all sorts of pot-herbs and legumes; verbenas, which signifies all kinds of sweet or sacred plants that were used for adorning the altars; as bays, olive, rosemary, myrtle: the acanthusseems to be what we called pericanthe; but what their hederæ were, that deserved place in a garden, I cannot guess, unless they had sorts of ivy unknown to us; nor what his vescum papaver was, since poppies with us are of no use in eating. The fruits mentioned are only apples, pears, and plums; for olives, vines, and figs, were grown to be fruits of their fields, rather than of their gardens. The shades were the elm, the pine, the lime-tree, and the platanus, or plane-tree: whose leaf and shade, of all others, was the most in request; and, having been brought out of Persia, was such an inclination among the Greeks and Romans, that they usually fed it with wine instead of water; they believed this tree loved that liquor, as well as those that used to drink under its shade; which was a great humour and custom, and perhaps gave rise to the other, by observing the growth of the tree, or largeness of the leaves, where much wine was spilt or left, and thrown upon the roots.
It is a great pity that the haste which Virgil seems here to have been in, should have hindered him from entering farther into the account or instructions, of gardening, which he said he could have given, and which he seems to have so much esteemed and loved, by that admirable picture of this old man s felicity, which he draws like so great a master, with one stroke of a pencil in those four words:
Regum æquabat opes animis.
That in the midst of these small possessions, upon a few acres of barren ground, yet he equaled all the wealth and opulence of Kings, in the ease, content, and freedom of his mind.
I am not satisfied with tile common acceptation of the mala aurea for oranges; nor do I find any passage in the authors of that age, which gives me the opinion, that these were otherwise known to the Romans than as fruits of the eastern climates. I should take their mala aurea to be – rather some kind of apples, so called from the golden colour, as some are amongst us; for otherwise, the orange-tree is too noble in the beauty, taste, and smell of its fruit; in the perfume and virtue of its flowers; in the perpetual verdure of its leaves, and in the excellent uses of all, these, both for pleasure and health; not to have deserved any particular mention in the writings of an age and nation so refined and exquisite in all sorts of delicious luxury.
The charming description Virgil makes of the happy apple, must be intended either for the citron, or for some sort of orange growing in Media, which was either so proper to that country as not to grow in any other, (as a certain sort of fig was to Damascus) or to have lost its virtue by changing soils, or to have had its effect of curing some sort of poison that was usual in that country, but particular to it: I cannot forbear inserting those few lines out of the second of Virgil’s Georgics, not having ever heard any body else take notice of them.
Media fert tristes succos, tardumque saporem
Felicis mali; quo non præsentius ullum,
Pocula si quandò sævæ infecere novercæ,
Auxilium venit, ac membris agit atra venena
Ipsa ingens arbos, faciemque simillima lauro;
Et, si non alios late jactaret odores,
Laurus erit: folia haud ullis labentia ventis;
Flos apprirna tenax: animas et olentia Medi
Ora fovent illo, ac senibus medicantur anhelis.
Media brings pois’nous herbs, and the flat taste
Of the bless’d apple, than which ne’er was found
A help more present, when curs’d step-dames mix
Their mortal cups, to drive the Venom out:
‘Tis a large tree, and like a bays in hue;
And, did it not such odours cast about,
‘Twould be a bays; the leaves with no winds fall,
The flowers all excel: with these the Medes
Perfume their breaths, and cure old pursy men.
The tree being so like a bays or laurel, the slow or dull taste of the apple, the virtue of it against poison, seem to describe the citron: the perfume of the flowers and virtues of them, to, cure ill scents of mouth or breath, or shortness of wind in pursy old men, seem to agree most with the orange: if flos apprima tenax mean only the excellence of the flower above all others, it may be intended for the orange; if it signifies the flowers growing most upon the tops of the trees, it may be rather the citron; for I have been so curious as to bring up a citron from a kernel, which at twelve years of age began to flower; and I observed all the flowers to grow upon the top branches of the tree, but to be nothing so high or sweet-scented as the orange. On the other side, I have always heard oranges to proper soil, being there extended under the best climate for the production of all sorts of the best fruits; which seems to be from about twenty-five, to about thirty-five degrees of latitude. Now the regions under this climate in the present Persian empire (which comprehends most of the other two, called anciently Assyria and Media) are composed of many Provinces full of great and fertile plains, bounded by high mountains, especially to the north; watered naturally with many rivers, and those, by art and labour, derived into many more and smaller streams, which all conspire to form a country, in all circumstances, the most proper and agreeable for production of the best and noblest fruits. Whereas if we survey the regions of the western world, lying in the same latitude between twenty-five and thirty-five degrees, we shall find them extend either over the Mediterranean sea, the ocean, or the sandy barren countries of Africa; and that no part of the continent of Europe lies so southward as thirty-five degrees. Which may serve to discover the true genuine reason, why the fruits of the East have been always observed and agreed to transcend those of the West.
In our north-west climates, our gardens are very different from what they were in Greece and Italy, and from what they are now in those regions in Spain or the southern parts of France. And as most general customs in countries grow from the different nature of climate, soils, or situations, and from the necessities or industry they impose, so do these.
In the warmer regions, fruits and flowers of the best sorts are so common and of so easy production, that they grow in fields, and are not worth the cost of inclosing, or the care of more than ordinary cultivating. On the other side, the great pleasures of those climates are coolness of air, and whatever looks cool even to the eyes, and relieves them from the unpleasant sight of dusty streets, or parched fields. This makes the gardens of those countries to be chiefly valued by largeness of extent (which gives greater play and openness of air) by shades of trees, by frequency of living streams or fountains, by perspectives, by statues, and by pillars and obelisks of stone scattered up and down, which all conspire to make any place look fresh and cool. On the contrary, the more northern climates, as they suffer little by heat, make little provision against it, and are careless of shade, and seldom curious in fountains. Good statues are in the reach of few men, and common ones are generally and justly despised or neglected. But no sorts of good fruits or flowers, being natives of the climates, or usual among us nor indeed the best sort of plants, herbs, salads for our kitchen gardens themselves and the best fruits, not ripening without the advantage of walls and palisades, by reflexion of the faint heat we receive from the sun, our gardens are made of smaller compass, seldom exceeding four, six, or eight acres; in closed with walls, and laid out in a manner wholly for advantage of fruits, flowers, and the product of kitchen gardens in all sorts of herbs, salads, plants, and legumes, for the common use of tables.
These are usually the gardens of England and Holland, as the first sort are those of Italy, and were so of old. In the more temperate parts of France, and in Brabant (where I take gardening to be at its greatest height), they are composed of both sorts, the extent more spacious than ours; part laid out for flowers, others for fruits; some standards, some against walls or palisades, some for forest trees, and groves for shade, some parts wild, some exact; and fountains much in request among them.
But after so much ramble into ancient times, and remote places, to return home and consider the present way and humour of our gardening in England; which seem to have grown into such vogue, and to have been so mightily improved in three or four and twenty years of his Majesty’s reign, that perhaps few countries are before us, either in the elegance of our gardens, or in the number of our plants; and, I believe, none equal us in the variety of fruits which may be justly called good; and from the earliest cherry and strawberry, to the last apples and pears, may furnish every day of the circling year. For the taste and perfection of what we esteem the best, I may truly say, that the French, who have eaten my peaches and grapes at Sheen, in no very ill year, have generally concluded, that the last are as good as any they have eaten in France, on this side Fontainebleau; and the first as good as any they have eaten in Gascony; I mean those which come from the stone, and are properly called peaches, not those which are hard, and are termed pavies; for these cannot grow in too warm a climate, nor ever be good in a cold; and are better at Madrid, than in Gascony itself. Italians have agreed, my white figs to be as good as any of that sort in Italy, which is the earlier kind of white fig there; for in the latter kind, and the blue, we cannot come near the warm climates, no more than in the Fontignac or Muscat grape.
My orange-trees are as large as any I saw when I was young in France, except those of Fontainebleau, or what I have seen since in the Low-Countries, except some very old ones of the Prince of Orange’s; as laden with ‘flowers as any can well be, as full of fruit as I suffer or desire them: and as well tasted as are commonly brought over, except the best sorts of Seville and Portugal. And thus much I could not but say in defence of our climate, which is so much and so generally decried abroad, by those who never saw it; or, if they have been here, have yet perhaps seen no more of it, than what belongs to inns, or to taverns and ordinaries; who accuse our country for their own defaults, and speak ill, not only of our gardens and houses, but of our humours, our breeding, our customs and manners of life, by what they have observed of the meaner and baser sort of mankind, and of company among us, because they wanted themselves, perhaps, either fortune or birth, either quality or merit, to introduce them among the good.
I must needs add one thing more in favour of our climate, which I heard the King say, and I thought new and right, and truly like a King of England, that loved and esteemed his own country: it was in reply to some of the company that were reviling our climate, and extolling those of Italy and Spain, or at least of France: he said, he thought that was the best climate, where he could be abroad in the air with pleasure, or at least without trouble or inconvenience, the most days of the year, and the most hours of the day; and this, he thought, he could be in England, more than in any country he knew of in Europe. And I believe it is true, not only of the hot and the cold, but even among our neighbours in France, and the Low-Countries themselves; where the heats or the colds, and changes of seasons, are less treatable than they are with us.
The truth is, our climate wants no heat to produce excellent fruits; and the default of it is only the short season of our heats or summers, by which many of the latter are left behind, and imperfect with us. But all such as are ripe before the end of August, are, for aught I know, as good with us as any where else. This makes me esteem the true region of gardens in England, to be the compass of ten miles about London; where the accidental warmth of air, from the fires and steams of so vast a town, makes fruits, as well as corn, a great deal forwarder than in Hampshire or Wiltshire, though more southward by a full degree.
There are, besides the temper of our climate, two things particular to us, that contribute much to the beauty and elegance of our gardens, which are the gravel of our walks, and the fineness and almost perpetual greenness of our turf. The first is not known anywhere else, which leaves all their dry walks, in other countries, very unpleasant and uneasy. The other cannot be found in France or in Holland as we have it, the soil not admitting that fineness of blade in Holland, nor the sun that greenness in France, during most of the summer; nor indeed is it to be found but in the finest of our soils.
Whoever begins a garden, ought in the first place and above all to consider the soil, upon which the taste of not only his fruits, but his legumes, and even herbs and sail ads, will wholly depend; and the default of soil is without remedy: for, although all borders of fruit may be made with what earth you please (if you will be at the charge), yet it must be renewed in two or three years, or it runs into the nature of the ground where it is brought. Old trees, spread their roots further than any body’s care extends, or the forms of the garden will allow; and, after all, where the soil about you is ill, the air is so too in a degree, and has influence upon the taste of fruit. What Horace says of the productions of kitchen-gardens, under the name of caulis, is true of all the best sorts of fruits, and may determine the choice of soil for all gardens.
Caule suburbano, qui siccis crevit in agris,
Dulcior; irriguis nihil est elutius hortis.
Plants from dry fields those of the town excel;
Nothing more tasteless is than watered grounds.
Any man had better throw away his care and his money upon any thing else, than upon a garden in wet or moist ground. Peaches and grapes will have no taste but upon a sand or gravel; but the richer these are, the better; and neither sallads, peas, or beans, have at all the taste upon a clay or rich earth, as they have upon either of the others, though the size and colour of fruits and plants may, perhaps, be more upon the worse soils.
Next to your choice of soil, is to suit your plants to your ground, since of this every one is not master; though perhaps Varro’s judgment, upon this case, is the wisest and the best; for to one that asked him what he should do if his father or ancestors had left him a seat in an ill air, or upon an ill soil? he answered, “Why sell it, and buy another in good.” “But what if I cannot get half the worth?” “Why, then take a quarter; but however sell it for any thing, rather than live upon it.”
Of all sorts of soil, the best is that upon a sandy gravel, or a rosiny sand; whoever lies upon either of these may run boldly into all the best sort of peaches and grapes, how shallow so ever the turf be upon them; and whatever other tree will thrive in these soils, the fruits shall be of a much finer taste than any other: a richer soil will do well enough for apricots, plums, pears, or figs; but still the more of the sand in your earth the better, and the worse the more of the clay, which is proper for oaks, and no other tree that I know of.
Fruits should be suited to the climate among us, as well as the soil; for there are degrees of one and the other in England, where it is to little purpose to plant any of the best fruits, as peaches or grapes, hardly I doubt beyond Northamptonshire, at the furthest northwards; and I thought it very prudent in a Gentleman of my friends in Staffordshire, who is a great lover of his garden, to pretend no higher, though his soil be good enough, than to the perfection of plums; and in these (by bestowing south walls upon them) he has very well succeeded, which he could never have done in attempts upon peaches and grapes; and a good plum is certainly better than an ill peach.
When I was at Cosevelt, with that Bishop of Munster that made so much noise in his time, I observed no other trees but cherries in a great garden he had made. He told me the reason was, because he found no other fruit would ripen well in that climate, or upon that soil; and therefore, instead of being curious in others, he had only been so in the sorts of that, whereof he had so many, as never to be without them from May to the end of September.
As to the size of a garden, which will perhaps, in time, grow extravagant among us, I think from four or five to seven or eight acres is as much as any Gentleman need design, and will furnish as much of all that is expected from it, as any Nobleman will have occasion to use in his family.
In every garden, four things are necessary to be provided for, flowers, fruit, shade, and water; and whoever lays out a garden, without all these, must not pretend it in any perfection: it ought to lie to the best parts of the house, or to those of the master’s commonest use, so as to be but like one of the rooms out of which you step into another. The part of your garden next to your house (besides the walks that go round it) should be a parterre for flowers, or grass-plots bordered with flowers; or if; according to the newest mode, it be cast all into grass-plots and gravel walks, the dryness of these should be relieved with fountains, and the plainness of those with statues; otherwise, if large, they have an ill effect upon the eye. However, the part next to the house should be open, and no other fruit but upon the walls. If this take up one half of the garden, the other should be fruit-trees, unless some grove for shade lie in the middle. If it take up a third part only, then the next third may be dwarf-trees, and the last standard-fruit; or else, the second part fruit-trees, and the third all sorts of winter greens, which provide for all seasons of the year.
I will not enter upon any account of flowers, having only pleased myself with seeing or smelling’ them, and not troubled myself with the care, which is more the ladies’ part than the men’s; but the success is wholly in the gardener. For fruit, the best we have in England, or, I believe, can ever hope for, are, of peaches, the white and red maudlin, the minion, the chevereuse, the ramboullet, the musk, the admirable, which is late; all the rest are either varied by names, or not to be named with these, nor worth troubling a garden, in my opinion. Of the pavies, or hard peaches, I know none good here but the Newington, nor will that easily hang till it is full ripe. The forward peaches are to be esteemed only because they are early, but should find room in a good garden, at least the white and brown nutmeg, the Persian, and the violet musk. The only good nectarins, are the murry and the French; of these there are two sorts, one very round, and the other something long, but the round is the best: of the murry there are several sorts, but, being all hard, they are seldom well ripened with us.
Of grapes, the best are the chasselas, which is the better sort of our white muscadine (as the usual name was about Sheen); it is called the pearl-grape, and ripens well enough in common years, but not so well as the common black, or currand, which is something a worse grape. The parsley is good, and proper enough to our climate; but all white frontiniacs are difficult, and seldom ripe, unless in extraordinary summers.
I have had the honour of bringing over four sorts into England; the arboyse, from the Franche Compté, which is a small white grape, or rather runs into some small and some great upon the same bunch; it agrees well with our climate, but is very choice in soil, and must have a sharp gravel; it is the most delicious of all grapes that are not muscat. The Bnrgundy, which is a grizelin or pale red, and of all others is surest to ripen in our climate, so that I have never known them to fail one summer these fifteen years, when all others have; and have had it very good upon an east wall. A black muscat, which is called the dowager, and ripens as well as the common white grape. And the fourth is the grizelin frontignac, being of that colour, and the highest of that taste, and the noblest of all grapes I ever ate in England; but requires the hottest wall and the sharpest gravel; and must be favoured by the summer too, to be very good. All these are, I suppose, by this time, pretty common among some gardeners in my neighbourhood, as well as several persons of quality; for I have ever thought all things of this kind, the commoner they are made, the better.
Of figs there are among us the white, the blue, and the tawny: the last is very small, bears ill, and I think but a bauble. Of the blue there are two or three sorts, but little different, one something longer than the other; but that kind which smells most is ever the best. Of the white I know but two sorts, and both excellent, one ripe in the beginning of July, the other in the end of September, and is yellower than the first; but this is hard to be found among us, and difficult to raise, though an excellent fruit.
Of apricots, the best are the common old sort, and the largest masculin; of which this last is much improved by budding upon a peach stock. I esteem none of this fruit but the Brussels apricot, which grows a standard, and is one of the best fruits we have; and which I first brought over among us.
The number of good pears, especially summer, is very great, but the best are the blanquet, robin, rousselet, rosati, sans, pepin, jargonel. Of the autumn, the buree, the vertelongue, and the bergamot. Of the winter, the vergoluz, chasseray, St. Michael, St. Germain, and ambret. I esteem the bon-cretien with us good for nothing but to bake.
Of plums, the best are St. Julian, St. Catherine, white and blue pedrigon, queen-mother, Sheen plum, and cheston.
Beyond the sorts I have named, none I think need trouble himself, but multiply these rather than make room for more kinds; and I am content to leave this register, having been so often desired it by my friends, upon their designs of gardening.
I need say nothing of apples, being so well known among us; but the best of our climate, and I believe of all others, is the golden pippin; and for all sorts of uses: the next is the Kentish pippin; but these I think are as far from their perfection with us as grapes, and yield to those of Normandy, as these to those in Anjou, and even these to those in Gascony. In other fruits the defect of sun is in a great measure supplied by the advantage of walls.
The next care to that of suiting trees with the soil, is that of suiting fruits to the position of walls: grapes, peaches, and winter-pears, to be good, must be planted upon full south, or south-east; figs are -best upon south-east, but will do well upon east and south-west: the west are proper for cherries, plums, or apricots; but all of them are improved by a south wall both as to early and taste: north, northwest, or north-east, deserve nothing but greens: these should be divided by woodbines or jessamines between every green, and the other walls by a vine between every fruit-tree; the best sorts upon the south walls, the common white and black upon east and west, because the other trees. being many of them (especially peaches) very transitory; some apt to die with hard winters, others to be cut down and make room for new fruits: without this method the walls are left for several years unfurnished; whereas the vines on each side cover the void space in one summer, and when the other trees are grown, make only a pillar between them of two or three foot broad.
Whoever would have the best fruits, in the most perfection our climate will allow, should not only take care of giving them as much sun, but also as much air as he can; no tree, unless dwarf, should be suffered to grow within forty foot of your best walls, but the farther they lie open is still the better. Of all others, this care is most necessary in vines, which are observed abroad to make the best wines, where they lie upon sides of hills, and so most exposed to the air and the winds. The way of pruning them too is best learned from the vineyards, where you see nothing in winter, but what looks like a dead stump; and upon our walls they should be left but like a ragged staff, not above two or three eyes at most upon the bearing branches; and the lower the vine and fewer the branches, the grapes will be still the better.
The best figure of a garden is either a square or an oblong, and either upon a flat or a descent; they have all their beauties, but the best I esteem an oblong upon a descent. The beauty, the air, the view makes amends for the expence, which is very great in finishing and supporting the terrace-walks, in leveling the parterres, and in the stone stairs that are necessary from one to the other.
The perfectest figure of a garden I ever saw, either at home or abroad, was that of Moor-Park in Hertfordshire, when I knew it about thirty years ago. It was made by the Countess of Bedford, esteemed among the greatest wits of her time, and celebrated by Doctor Donne; and with very great care, excellent contrivance, and much cost; but greater sums may be thrown away without effect or honour, if there want sense in proportion to money, or if nature be not followed; which I take to be the great rule in this, and perhaps in every thing else, as far as the conduct not only of our lives, but our governments. And whether the greatest of mortal men should attempt the forcing of nature, may best be judged by observing how seldom God Almighty does it himself, by so few true and undisputed miracles as we see or hear of in the world. For my own part, know not three wiser precepts for the conduct either of Princes or’ private men, than
…Servare modum, finernque tueri,
Because I take the garden I have named to have been in all kinds the most beautiful and perfect, at least in the figure and disposition, that I have ever seen, I will describe it for a model to those that meet with such a situation, and are above the regards of common expence. It lies on the side of a hill (upon which the house stands) but not very steep. The length of the house, where the best rooms and of most use or pleasure are, lies upon the breadth of the garden, the great parlour opens into the middle of a terraced gravel-walk that lies even with it, and which may be, as I remember, about three hundred paces long, and broad in proportion; the border set with standard laurels, and at large distances, which have the beauty of orange-trees, out of flower and fruit: from this walk are three descents by many stone steps, in the middle and at each end, into a very large parterre. This is divided into quarters by gravel walks, and adorned with two fountains and eight statues in the several quarters; at the end of the terrace-walk are two summer-houses, and the sides of the parterre are ranged with two large cloisters, open to the garden, upon arches of stone, and ending with two other summer-houses even with the cloisters, which are paved with stone, and designed for walks of shade, there being none other in the whole parterre. Over these two cloisters are two terraces covered with lead, and fenced with balusters; and the passage into these airy walks is out of the two summer-houses, at the end of the first terrace-walk. The cloister facing the south is covered with vines, and would have been proper for an orange-house, and the other for myrtles, or other more common greens; and had, I doubt not, been cast for that purpose, if this piece of gardening had been then in as much vogue as it is now.
From the middle of the parterre is a descent by many steps flying on each side ‘of a grotto that lies between them (covered with lead, and flat) into the lower garden, which is all fruit-trees, ranged about the several quarters of a wilderness which is very shady; the walks here are all green, the grotto embellished with figures of shell-rock-work, fountains, and water-works. If the hill had not ended with the lower garden, and the wall were not bounded by a common way that goes through the park, they might have added a third quarter of all greens; but this want is supplied by a garden on the other side the house, which is all of that sort, very wild, shady, and adorned with rough rock-work and fountains.
This was Moor-Park when I was acquainted with it, and the sweetest place, I think, that I have seen in my life, either before or since, at home or abroad; what it is now, I can give little account, having passed through several hands’ that have made great changes in gardens as well as houses; but the remembrance of what it was is too pleasant ever to forget, and therefore I do not believe to have mistaken the figure of it, which may serve for a pattern to the best gardens of our manner, and that are most roper for our country and climate.
What I have said, of the best forms of gardens, is meant only of such as are in some sort regular; for there may be other forms wholly irregular that may, for aught I know, have more beauty than any of the others; but they must owe it to some extraordinary dispositions of nature in the seat, or some great race of fancy or judgment in the contrivance, which may reduce many disagreeing parts into some figure, which shall yet, upon the whole, be very agreeable. Something of this I have seen in some places, but heard more of it from others who have lived much among the Chineses; a people, whose way of thinking seems to lie as wide of ours in Europe, as their country does. Among us, the beauty of building and planting is placed chiefly in some certain proportions, symmetries, or uniformities; our walks and our trees ranged so as to answer one another, and at exact distances. The Chineses scorn this way of planting, and say, a boy, that can tell an hundred, may plant walks of trees in straight lines, and over-against one another, and to what length and extent he pleases. But their greatest reach of imagination is employed in contriving figures, where the beauty shall be great, and strike the eye, but without any order or disposition of parts that shall be commonly or easily observed: and, though we have hardly any notion of this sort of beauty, yet they have a particular word to express it, and, where they find it hit their eye at first sight, they say the sharawadgi is fine or is admirable, or any such expression of esteem. And whoever observes the work upon the best India gowns, or the painting upon their best screens or purcellans, will find their beauty is all of this kind (that is) without order. But I should hardly advise any of these attempts in the figure of gardens among us; they are adventures of too hard achievement for any common hands; and, though there may be more honour if they succeed well, yet there is more dishonour if they fail, and it is twenty to one they will; whereas, in regular figures, it is hard to make any great and remarkable faults.
The picture I have met with in some relations of a garden made by a Dutch Governor of their colony, upon the cape de Bonne Esperance, is admirable, and described to be of an oblong figure, very large extent, and divided into four quarters, by long and cross walks, ranged with all sorts of orange-trees, lemons, limes, and citrons; each of these four quarters is planted with the trees, fruits, flowers, and plants that are native and proper to each of the four parts of the world; so as in this one inclosure are to be found the several gardens of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. There could not be, in my mind, a greater thought of a gardener, nor a nobler idea of a garden, nor better suited or chosen for the climate, which is about thirty degrees, and may pass for the Hesperides of our age, whatever or where-ever the other was. Yet this is agreed by all to have been in the islands or continent upon the south-west of Africa: but what their forms or their fruits were, none, that I know, pretend to tell; nor whether their golden apples were for taste, or only for sight, as those of Montezuma were in Mexico, who had large trees, with stocks, branches, leaves, and fruits, all admirably composed and wrought of gold; but this was only stupendous in cost and art, and answers not at all, in my opinion, the delicious varieties of nature in other gardens.
What I have said of gardening is perhaps enough for any Gentleman to know, so as to make no great faults, nor be much imposed upon in the designs of that kind, which I think ought to be applauded, and encouraged in all countries; that and building being a sort of creation, that raise beautiful fabrics and figures out of nothing, that make the convenience and pleasure of all private habitations, that employ many hands, and circulate much money among the poorer sort and artisans, that are a public service to one’s country, by the example as well as effect, which adorn the scene, improve the earth, and even the air itself in some degree. The rest that belongs to this subject must be a gardener’s part; upon whose skill, diligence, and care, the beauty of the grounds and excellence of the fruits will much depend. Though if the soil and sorts be well chosen, well suited, and disposed to the walls, the ignorance or carelessness of the servants can hardly leave the master disappointed.
I will not enter further upon his trade, than by three short directions or advices: first, in all plantations, either for his master or himself, to draw his trees out of some nursery that is upon a leaner and lighter soil than his own where he removes them: without this care they will not thrive in several years, perhaps never; and must make way for new, which should be avoided all that can be; for life is too short and uncertain, to be renewing often your plantations. The walls of your garden, without their furniture, look as ill as those of your house; so that you cannot dig up your garden too often, nor too seldom cut them down.
The second is, in all trees you raise, to have some regard to the stock, as well as the graft or bud; for the first will have a share in giving taste and season to the fruits it produces, how little soever it is usually observed by our gardeners. I have found grafts of the same tree, upon a bon-cretien stock bring chasseray pears that lasted till March, but with a rind green and rough: and others, upon a metre-john-stock, with a smooth and yellow skin,, which were rotten in November. 1 am apt to think, all the difference between the St. Michael and the ambrette pear (which has puzzled our gardeners) is only what comes from this variety of the stocks; and by this, perhaps, as well as by raising from stones and kernels, most of the new fruits are produced every age. So the grafting a crab upon a white thorn brings the lazarolli, a fruit esteemed at Rome, though I do not find it worth cultivating here; and I believe the cidrato (or hermaphrodite) came from budding a citron upon an orange. The best peaches are raised by buds of the best fruits upon stocks growing from stones of the best peaches; and so the best apples and pears, from the best kinds grafted upon stocks from kernels also of the best sorts, with respect to the season, as well as beauty and taste. And I believe so many excellent winter-pears, as have come into France since forty years, may have been -found out by grafting summer-pears of the finest taste and most water upon winter-stocks.
The third advice is, to take the greatest care and pains in preserving your trees from the worst disease, to which those of the best fruits are subject in the best soils, and upon the best walls. It is what has not been (that I know of) taken notice of with us, till I was forced to observe it by the experience of my gardens, though I have since met with it in books both ancient and modern. I found my vines, peaches, apricots, and plums upon my best south-walls, and sometimes upon my west, apt for several years to a soot or smuttiness upon their leaves first, and then upon their fruits, which were good for nothing the years they were so affected. My orange-trees were likewise subject to it, and never prospered while they were so: and I have known some collections quite destroyed by it. But I cannot say that ever I found either my figs or pears infected with it, nor any trees upon my eastwails, though I do not well conjecture at the reason. The rest were so spoiled with it, that I complained to several of the oldest and best gardeners of England, who knew nothing of it, but that they often fell into the same misfortune, and esteemed it some blight of the spring. I observed after some years, that the diseased trees had very frequent, upon their stocks and branches, a small insect of a dark-brown colour, figured like a shield, and about the size of a large wheat-corn; they stuck close to the bark, and in many places covered it, especially about the joints: in winter they are dry, and thin-shelled, but in spring they begin to grow soft, and to fill with moisture, and to throw a spawn like a black dust upon the stocks, as well as the leaves and fruits.
I met afterwards with the mention of this disease, as known among orange-trees, in a book written upon that subject in Holland, and since in Pausanias, as a thing so much taken notice of in Greece, that the author describes a certain sort of earth which cures pediculos vitis, or, the lice of the vine. This is of all others the most pestilent disease of the best fruit trees, and upon the very best soils of gravel and sand (especially where they are too hungry): and is so contagious, that it is propagated to new plants raised from old trees that are infected, and spreads to new ones that are planted near them which makes me imagine, that it lies in the root, and that the best cure were by application there. But I have tried all sorts of soil without effect, and can prescribe no other remedy, than to prune your trees as close as you can, especially the tainted wood, then to wash them very clean with a wet brush, so as not to leave one shell upon them that you can discern: and upon our oranges to pick off every one that you can find by turning every leaf, as well as brushing dean the stocks and branches. Without these cares and diligences, you had better root up any trees that are infected, renew all the mould in your borders or boxes, and plant new sound trees, rather than suffer the disappointments and vexation of your old ones.
I may perhaps be allowed to know something of this trade, since I have so long allowed myself to be good for nothing else, which few men will do, or enjoy their gardens, without often looking abroad to see how other matters play, what motions in the State, and what invitations they may hope for into other scenes.
For my own part, as the country life, and this part of it more particularly, were the inclination of my youth itself, so they are the pleasure of my age; and I can truly say, that, among many great employments that have fallen to my share, I have never asked or sought for any one of them, but often endeavoured to escape from them, into the ease and freedom of a private scene, where a man may go his own way and his own pace, in the common paths or circles of life.
Inter cuncta leges et per cunctabere doctos
Qua ratione queas traducere leniter ævum,
Quid minuat curæ, quid te tibi reddet amicum,
Quid pure tranquiliet, honos, an dulce lucellum,
An secretum iter, et fallentis sernita vitæ.
But above all the learned read, and ask
By what means you may gently pass your age,
What lessons care, what makes thee thine own friend,
What truly cares the mind; honour, or wealth,
Or else a private path of stealing life.
These are questions that a man ought at least to ask himself, whether he asks others or not, and to choose his course of life rather by his own humour and temper, than by common accidents, or advice of friends; at least if the Spanish proverb be true, that a fool knows more in his own house than a wise man in another’s.
The measure of choosing well is, whether a man likes what he has chosen; which, I thank God, has befallen me; and though, among the follies of my life, building and planting have not been the least, and have cost me more than I have the confidence to own; yet they have been fully recompensed by the sweetness and satisfaction of this retreat, where, since my resolution taken of never entering again into any public employments, I have passed five years without ever going once to town, though I am almost in sight of it, and have a house there always ready to receive me. Nor has this been any sort of affectation, as some have thought it, but a mere want of desire or humour to make so small a remove; for when I am in this corner, I can truly say with Horace,
Me quoties reficit gelidus Digentia rivus,
Quid sentire putas, quid credis, amice, precari?
Sit mihi, quod nunc est, etiam minus, ut mibi vivam
Quod superest ævi, si quid superesse volunt Di.
Sit bona librorum, et provisæ frugis in annum
Copia, ne fluitem dubiæ spe pendulus horæ,
Hoc satis est orasse Jovern, qui donat et aufert.
Me when the cold Digentian stream revives,
What does my friend believe I think or ask?
Let me yet less possess, so I may live,
Whate’er of life remains, unto myself.
May I have books enough, and one year’s store,
Not to depend upon each doubtful hour;
This is enough of mighty Jove to pray,
Who, as he pleases, gives and takes away.
That which makes the cares of gardening more necessary, or at least more excusable, is, that all
men eat fruit that can get it; so as the choice is only, whether one will eat good or ill; and between
these the difference is not greater in point of taste and delicacy, than it is of health: for the first I
will only say, that whoever has used to eat good will do very great penance when lie comes to ill:
and for the other, I think nothing is more evident, than as ill or unripe fruit is extremely
unwholesome, and causes so many untimely deaths, or so much sickness about autumn, in all
great cities where it is greedily sold as well as eaten; so no, part of diet, in any season, is so
healthful, so natural, and so agreeable to the stomach, as good and well-ripened fruits; for this
I make the measure of their being good: and, let the kinds be what they will, if they will not
ripen perfectly in our climate, they are better never planted, or never eaten. I can say it for myself at least, and all my friends, that the season of summer fruits is ever the season of health with us, which I reckon from the beginning of June to the end of September: and for all sicknesses of the stomach (from which most others are judged to proceed), I do not think any that are, like me, the most subject to them, shall complain, whenever they eat thirty or forty cherries before meals, or the like proportion of strawberries, white figs, soft peaches, or grapes perfectly ripe. But these after Michaelmas I do not think wholesome with us, unless attended by some fit of hot and dry weather; more than is usual after that season: when the frosts or the rain hath taken them, they grow dangerous, and nothing but the autumn and winter-pears are to be reckoned in season, besides apples, which, with cherries, are of all others the most innocent food, and perhaps the best physic. Now whoever will be sure to eat good fruit, must do it out of a garden of his own; for, besides the choice so necessary in the sorts, the soil, and so many other circumstances that go to compose a good garden, or produce good fruits, there is something very nice in gathering them, and choosing the best, even from the same tree. The best sorts of all among us, which I esteem the white figs and the soft peaches, will not carry without suffering. The best fruit that is bought, has no more of the Master’s care, than how to raise the greatest gains; his business is to have as much fruit as he can upon a few trees; whereas the way to have it excellent is to have but little upon many trees. So that for all things out of a garden, either of salads or fruits, a poor man will eat better, that has one of his own, than a rich man that has none. And this is all I think of necessary and useful to be known upon this subject.
Video Interview: Chalmers Johnson on American Hegemony : Information Clearing House: ICH.
Goodbye, Chalmers Johnson. Condolences to his friends and family. He was a clear-sighted intellectual and US foreign policy analyst who revealed the facts predicting the downfall of the US empire and explained their import. He tried to warn those in power. He seemed to be, in this interview, a gentle, patient, reflective person with a strong sense of history.
Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope (American Empire Project)Chalmers Johnson, the renowned political scientist of Asia, died on Saturday. Steve Clemons, who worked closely with him, has written awarm and generous tribute. It is fully deserved.
Thanks to Steve I first met Chalmers over a decade ago, spending some time with him in Washington and San Francisco and Tokyo. It didn’t take more than a few seconds to realize that Chalmers was an inimitable figure–corruscating, engaging, witty, alert, cantankerous. He had the ability of many great professors to treat anyone’s question or assertion with the greatest seriousness–and then patiently elucidate his response. With the higher-ups, though, he wasn’t always so patient–I remember him referring to one member of the American embassy in Japan as an “intellectual geisha.” Johnson’s attitude, I think, could be summed up in the 1960s phrase “question authority.” Chalmers did a lot of questioning.
For much of his career, Johnson was a scholar. His doctoral dissertation called Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power compared the mobilization of the pesantry in communist China and Yugoslavia. It’s a deeply researched book. In focusing on the power of nationalism in both countries, Johnson was ahead of the curve, to use the kind of cliche that he would have shunned. He probably would have used a word like “percipient.” He went on to cause a stir in the 1980s and 1990s with his analyses of Japan, which he saw as controlled by the state bureaucracy–a kind of hybrid capitalism (the forerunner of what would emerge in China). Others, including Steve Clemons, can chronicle the history of these disputes over Japan more ably than I can.
Though I do remember a fascinating conversation between Murray Sayle, the Australian expatriate and crack journalist who lived for years in a small fishing village in Japan, and Chalmers at the Tokyo press club over whether America could survive without an industrial base. Murray, like Chalmers, was a contributor to the National Interest–he, too, had a penchant for upending conventional wisdom, arguing, as I recall, that the number of dead at Tiananmen Square, which he visited, had been greatly exaggerated. Murray died this September.
Steve Clemons explains Johnson’s academic ascension and upheavals better than I can. One thing that bears noting, however, is that Chalmers, I think, was greatly influenced by his service to the CIA as a consultant during the 1960s. He was a champion of the Vietnam War. He lost his faith. As I understand it, Chalmers made the reverse evolution of the neoconservatives, from the right to the left. He became a sharp and trenchant critic of what he dubbed the American empire.
In fact, Chalmers became a fierce foe of America’s presence at Okinawa and, more generally, what he saw as the inevitable “blowback,” to quote the title of one of his books, that accompanied America’s expansion around the globe. Chalmers would have none of it. Not for him the temptations of empire, the swagger, the braggadoccio that took off after the end of the Cold War and culminated in the George W. Bush presidency. I recall introducing him for a talk early on during the Bush presidency at the New America foundation. I think much of the audience thought he had gone off his rocker as he denounced America’s foreign policy. But by the end of the Bush presidency, much of what he espoused had become conventional wisdom. One of his best essays appeared in 2007 in the London Review of Books, where he reviewed a book called Ghost Planes. Chalmers discussed how spotters had traced CIA transports of terrorism suspects to secret prisons around the world–the rendition program, to use the government euphemism. WIth Washington sanctioning torture, Chalmer’s once-radical critique was starting to appear commonplace. He was, you could say, being overtaken by events. Now that America’s economy has been battered, his critique looks even more telling.
In a sense, it may be a mistake to say that Chalmers moved to the “left.” He personified many of the “old right” themes as well. But to try and categorize Chalmers is probably a mistake. Some would classify him as anti-American. To the contrary, he was an American original. His was the pain of a patriot who saw his country debasing and debauching the very ideals it purported to uphold. He thought it could do better.
Whether he will be fully vindicated in his dire view of the fall of the American Republic remains unclear. But this clairvoyant figure made a lasting contribution to the debate about American foreign policy. His command of English and sweeping analyses will not be soon forgotten. His cautions about American foreign policy will be continued by Steve Clemons and other admirers. Chalmers may have passed away, but the questions he raised will not. He didn’t simply leave behind a body of work. He has left a legacy.
Sunday, Nov 21 2010, 12:30PM
Next week, Foreign Policy magazine and its editor-in-chief Susan Glasser will be releasing its 2nd annual roster of the world’s greatest thinkers and doers in foreign policy. I have seen the list — and it’s impressively creative and eclectic.
There is one name that is not on the FP100who should be — and that is Chalmers Johnson, who from my perspective rivals Henry Kissinger as the most significant intellectual force who has shaped and defined the fundamental boundaries and goal posts of US foreign policy in the modern era. [gimme a break..]
Johnson, who passed away Saturday afternoon at 79 years, invented and was the acknowledged godfather of the conceptualization of the “developmental state“. For the uninitiated, this means that Chalmers Johnson led the way in understanding the dynamics of how states manipulated their policy conditions and environments to speed up economic growth. In the neoliberal hive at the University of Chicago, Chalmers Johnson was an apostate and heretic in the field of political economy. Johnson challenged conventional wisdom with he and his many star students — including E.B. Keehn, David Arase, Marie Anchordoguy, Mark Tilton and others — writing the significant treatises documenting the growing prevalence of state-led industrial and trade and finance policy abroad, particularly in Asia.
Today, the notion of “State Capitalism” has become practically commonplace in discussing the newest and most significant features of the global economy. Chalmers Johnson invented this field and planted the intellectual roots of understanding that other nation states were not trying to converge with and follow the so-called American model.
Johnson for his seminal work on Japanese political economy, MITI and the Japanese Miracle was dubbed by Newsweek‘s Robert Neff as “godfather of the revisionists” on Japan. Neff also tagged Clyde Prestowitz, James Fallows, Karel van Wolferen and others like R. Taggart Murphy and Pat Choate as the leaders of a new movement that argued that Japan was organizing its political economy in different ways than the U.S. This was a huge deal in its day — and these writers and thinkers led by the implacable Johnson were attacked from all corners of American academia and among the crowd of American Japan-hands who wanted to deflect rather than focus a spotlight on the fact that Japan’s economic mandarins were really the national security elite of the Pacific powerhouse nation.
In the 1980s when Johnson was arguing that Japan’s state directed capitalism was succeeding at not only propelling Japan’s wealth upwards but was creating “power” for Japan in the eyes of the rest of the world, Kissinger and the geostrategic crowd could not see beyond the global currency and power realities of nuclear warheads and throw-weight. The revisionists were responsible for injecting the economic dynamics of power and national interest in the equation of a nation’s global status.
To understand China’s rise today, the fact that China has become the Google of nations and America the General Motors of countries — the US being seen by others as a very well branded, large, underperforming country — one must go back to Chalmers Johnson’s work on the developmental state.
Scratch beneath these Johnson breakthroughs though and go back another decade and a half and one finds that Chalmers Johnson, a one time hard-right national security hawk, deconstructed the Chinese Communist revolution and showed that the dynamic that drive the revolutionary furor had less to do with class warfare and the appeal of communism but rather high octane “nationalism.” Johnson saw earlier than most that the same dynamic was true in Vietnam. His work which was published asPeasant Nationalism and Communist Power while a UC Berkeley doctoral student launched him as a formidable force in Asia-focused intellectual circles in the U.S.
Johnson’s ability to launch an instant, debilitating broadside against the intellectual vacuousness of friends or foes made him controversial. He chafed under the UC Berkeley Asia Program leadership of Robert Scalapino whom Johnson viewed as one of the primary dynastic chiefs of what became known as the “Chrysanthemum Club”, those whose Japan-hugging meant overlooking and/or ignoring the characteristics of Japan’s state-led form of capitalism. Johnson was provocatively challenged graduate students in the field to choose sides — to work either on the side where they acquiesced to a corrupt culture of US-Japan apologists who wanted the quaint big brother-little brother frame for the relationship to remain the dominant portal through which Japan was viewed or alternatively on the side of those who saw Japan and America’s forfeiture of its own economic interests as empirical facts.
When Robert Scalapino refused to budge despite Johnson’s agitation, Johnson who then headed UC Berkeley’s important China Studies program abandoned the university and became the star intellectual of UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. There is no doubt that Johnson but UCSD’s IRPS on the map and gave it an instant, global boost.
But as usual, Johnson — incorruptible and passionate about policy, theory, and their practice — eventually went to war with the bureaucrats running that institution. Those who had come in to head it were devotees of “rational choice theory” — which was spreading through the fields of political science and other social sciences as the so-called softer sciences were trying to absorb and apply the harder-edged econometrics-driven models of behavior that the neoliberal trends in economics were using.
Johnson and one of his proteges, E.B. “Barry” Keehn, wrote a powerful indictment of rational choice theory that helped trigger a long-running and still important intellectual divide that showed that rational choice theory was one of the great ideological delusions of the era. I too joined this battle and wrote extensively about the limits of rational choice theory which I myself saw dislodging university language programs, cultural studies, and more importantly — the institutional/structural approaches to understanding other political systems.
Johnson once told me when I was visiting him and his long-term, constant intellectual partner and wife, Sheila Johnson, that the UCSD School of International Relations and Pacific Studies no longer either really taught international relations or pacific studies — and that a student’s entire first year was focused on acultural skill set development in economics and statistics. To Johnson, this tendency to elevate econometric formulas over the actual study of a nation’s language, history, culture and political system was part of America’s growing cultural imperialism. Studying “them” is really about “us” — as “they” will converge to be like “us” or will fall to the way side and be insignificant.
It was that night that Chalmers Johnson, Sheila Johnson and I agreed to form an idea on had been developing called the Japan Policy Research Institute. Chalmers became President and I the Director. We maintained this working relationship at the helm of JPRI together for more than 12 years and spoke nearly every week if not every other day as we tried to acquire and publish the leading thinking on Japan, US-Japan relations and Asia more broadly. We became conveners, published works on Asia that the official journals of record of US-Asia policy viewed as too risky, and emerged as key players in the media on all matters of America’s economic, political, and military engagement in the Pacific. Today, JPRI is headed by Chiho Sawada and is based at the University of San Francisco.
However, this base of JPRI gave Chalmers Johnson the launch pad that led to the largest contribution of his career to America’s national discourse. From his granular understanding of political economy of competing nations, his understanding of the national security infrastructure of both sides of the Cold War, he saw better than most that the US had organized its global assets — particularly its vassals Japan and Germany — in a manner similar to the Soviet Union. Both sides looked like the other. Both were empires. The Soviets collapsed, Chalmers told me and wrote. The U.S. did not — yet.
The rape of a 12 year-old girl by three American servicemen in Okinawa, Japan in September 1995 and the statement by a US military commander that they should have just picked up a prostitute became the pivot moving Johnson who had once been a supporter of the Vietnam War and railed against UC Berkeley’s anti-Vietnam protesters into a powerful critic of US foreign policy and US empire.
Johnson argued that there was no logic that existed any longer for the US to maintain a global network of bases and to continue the occupation of other countries like Japan. Johnson noted that there were over 39 US military installations on Okinawa alone. The military industrial complex that Eisenhower had warned against had become a fixed reality in Johnson’s mind and essays after the Cold War ended.
In four powerful books, all written not in the corridors of power in New York or Washington — but in his small home office at Cardiff-by-the-Sea in California, Johnson became one of the most successful chroniclers and critics of America’s foreign policy designs around the world.
Before 9/11, Johnson wrote the book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. After the terrorist attacks in 2001 in New York and Washington, Blowback became the hottest book in the market. The publishers could not keep up with demand and it became the most difficult to get, most wanted book among those in national security topics.
He then wrote Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, and most recently Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope. Johnson, who used to be a net assessments adviser to the CIA’s Allen Dulles, had become such a critic of Washington and the national security establishment that this hard-right conservative had become adopted as one of the political left’s greatest icons.
Johnson measured himself to some degree against the likes of Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal — but in my mind, Johnson was the more serious, the most empirical, the most informed about the nooks and crannies of every political position as he had journeyed the length of the spectrum.
Chalmers Johnson served on my board when I worked at the Japan America Society of Southern California. He and I, along with Sheila Johnson — along with Tom Engelhardt one of the world’s great editors — created the Japan Policy Research Institute. Johnson served on the Advisory Board of the Nixon Center when I served as the Center’s founding executive director. We had a long, constructive, feisty relationship. He helped propel my career and thinking. In recent years, we were more distant — mostly because I was not ready, as he was, to completely disown Washington.
Many of Johnson’s followers and Chal himself think that American democracy is lost, that the republic has been destroyed by an embrace of empire and that the American public is unaware and unconscious of the fix. He may be right — but I took a course trying to use blogs, new media, and a DC based think tank called the New America Foundation to challenge conventional foreign policy trends in other ways. Ultimately, I think Chalmers was content with what I was doing but probably knew that in the end, I’d catch up with him in his profound frustration with what America was doing in the world.
Chalmers and Sheila Johnson saw me lead the battle against John Bolton’s confirmation vote in the Senate as US Ambassador to the United Nations — but given the scale of his ambitions to dislodge America’s embrace of empire, Bolton was too small a target in his eyes. He was probably right.
Saying Chalmers Johnson is dead sounds like a lie. I can’t fathom him being gone — and with all of the amazing times I’ve had with him as well as the bouts of political debate and even yelling as we were pounding out JPRI materials on deadline, I just can’t imagine that this blustery, irreverent, completely brilliant force won’t be there to challenge Washington and academia.
Few intellectuals attain what might have been called many centuries ago the rank of “wizard” — an almost other worldly force who defied society’s and life’s rules and commanded an enormous following of acolytes and enemies.
Wizards don’t die — and I hope that those who read this, who knew him, or go on reading his works in the decades ahead provoke, inspire, jab, rebuke, applaud, and condemn in the way he did.
In one of my fondest memories of Chalmers and Sheila Johnson at their home with their then Russian blue cats, MITI and MOF, named after the two engines of Japan’s political economy — Chal railed against the journal, Foreign Affairs, which he saw as a clap trap of statist conventionalism. He decided he had had enough of the journal and of the organization that published it, the Council on Foreign Relations. So, Chalmers called the CFR and told the young lady on the phone to cancel his membership.
The lady said, “Professor Johnson, I’m sorry sir. No one cancels their membership in the Council in Foreign Relations. Membership is for life. People are canceled when they die.”
Chalmers Johnson, not missing a beat, said “Consider me dead.”
I never will. He is and was the intellectual giant of our times. Chalmers Johnson centuries from now will be seen, I think, as the intellectual titan of this past era, surpassing Kissinger in the breadth of seminal works that define what America was and could have been. [NO COMPARISON. Johnson never overthrew a government nor murdered innocent people]
My sincere condolences to Sheila, to others in his extended family — particularly among all of his students and colleagues who were part of the Johnson dynasty — and to his friends in San Diego who were a vital part of the texture of the Johnson household.
— Steve Clemons
Originally published August 15 2009 by Hesh Goldstein, citizen journalist
d(NaturalNews) The aspartame horror began in 1981 due to Donald Rumsfeld, as head of the G.D. Searle pharmaceutical company, when he used his political clout to put a known carcinogen on the market to poison a nation all in the name of money [and mind and population control].
In a Washington Post article of December 12, 2001 about Donald Rumsfeld, there was a one liner that was so incredibly relevant. That sentence was:
“He could be swilling Diet Coke with the secure knowledge that if not for his turnaround of Big Pharma giant G.D.Searle & Co. and successful touting of the sweetener aspartame, the beverage would not be possible”.
If Donald Rumsfeld had never been born think of how many millions of people the world over would not suffer headaches and dizziness. Thousands blind from the free methyl alcohol in aspartame would have sight, and there would be much fewer cases of optic neuritis and macular degeneration. Millions suffering seizures would live normal lives and wouldn`t be taking anti-seizure medication that won’t work because aspartame interacts with drugs and vaccines. Think of the runner, Flo Jo, who drank Diet Coke and died of a grand mal seizure. She, no doubt, would still be alive. Brain fog and memory loss, skyrocketing symptoms of aspartame disease, would not be epidemic.
Millions suffer insomnia because of the depletion of serotonin. Think of Heath Ledger. He took that horrible drug, Ambian CR for sleep, which makes your optic nerve and face swell and gives you horrible headaches. Plus, he drank Diet Coke and took other drugs and died of polypharmacy.
Since aspartame has been proven to be a multi potential carcinogen, would Farrah Fawcett still be alive?
Consider the constant plague of fallen athletes. Aspartame triggers an irregular heart rhythm and interacts with all cardiac medication. It damages the cardiac conduction system and causes sudden death. Thousands of athletes have fallen. Doctors H.J. Roberts and Russell Blaylock wrote these alerts:
http://www.wnho.net/aspartame msg scd.htm
http://www.wnho.net/aspartame and arrhythmias.htm
Epidemiological studies should be done on MS and lupus because of their link to aspartame use. Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from aspartame induced multiple sclerosis and lupus, and if not warned in time could lose their lives as many have. Hospice nurses have reported Alzheimer`s disease in 30 year olds as it skyrockets from Rumsfeld`s plague. Think of Michael Jackson, a former Diet Pepsi spokesman. He developed lupus, then came the drugs, then came the serious joint pain, and then he died of cardiac arrest which aspartame causes.
As the phenylalanine in aspartame deletes serotonin, it triggers all kinds of psychiatric and behavioral problems. The mental hospitals are full of patients who are nothing but aspartame victims. If Donald Rumsfeld had never been born, the revoked petition for approval of aspartame would have been signed by FDA commissioner Jere Goyan and the mental hospitals would house probably 50% less victims. Jere Goyan would never have been fired at 3:00 AM by the Reagan transition Team to over-rule the Board of Inquiry. Instead, FDA commissioner Jere Goyan would have signed the revoked petition into law. See: http:/www.mpwhi.com/fda petition1.doc. The FDA today would still be Big Pharma`s adversary instead of being their “hooker”.
If aspartame had not been approved, Lou Gehrig`s Disease, Parkinson`s and other neuro-degenerative diseases would not be knocking off the public in record numbers. Michael Fox, a Diet Pepsi spokesman, would never have gotten Parkinson`s at age 30. He would probably still be making movies, young and healthy. Aspartame interacts with L-dopa and other Parkinson drugs. Parcopa has aspartame in it and the pharmaceutical company refuses to remove it.
One has to take a deep breath when you think how heartless it is that there is not even a warning for pregnant women. Aspartame triggers every kind of birth defect from autism and Tourettes` Syndrome to cleft palate. Aspartame is an abortifacient (a drug that induces abortion). As an example, out of 9 pregnancies, 8 were lost and the one that survived is schizophrenic. Multiply that all over the world due to Rumsfeld`s Plague. ADD and ADHD would be rare instead of rampant.
It`s normal for young girls to look forward to marriage and children. Yet, many sip on diet soda or use aspartame products not realizing that aspartame is an endocrine disrupting agent, stimulating prolactin, which is a pituitary hormone that stimulates milk production at childbirth, changes the menstrual flow and causes infertility. Many go through life never knowing why they couldn`t have children. Aspartame even destroys marriages because it causes male sexual dysfunction and ruins female response.
Aspartame causes every type of blood disorder from a low blood platelet count to leukemia. Because aspartame can precipitate diabetes the disease is epidemic. To make matters worse, it can simulate and aggravate diabetic retinopathy and neuopathy, destroy the optic nerve, cause diabetics to go into convulsions and interact with insulin. Diabetics lose limbs from the free methyl alcohol; professional organizations like the American Diabetes Association push and defend this poison because they take money from the manufactures. How many millions would not have diabetes if Rumsfeld had never been born?
Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal/Spoonful/E951/Candere/Benevia, etc) and MSG, another one of Ajinomoto`s horrors, are responsible for the epidemic of obesity the world over. Why? Because aspartame makes you crave carbohydrates and causes great toxicity to the liver.
http:/www.mpwhi.com/ aspartame makes you fatter.htm
The FDA report lists 92 symptoms from unconsciousness and coma to shortness of breath and shock. Medical texts list even more: “Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic”,www.sunsetpress.com by H.J. Roberts, M.D., and “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” by neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., www.russellblaylockmd.com. There is simply no end to the horrors triggered by this literal addictive, excitoneurotoxic, genetically engineered carcinogenic drug. This chemical poison is so deadly that Dr. Bill Deagle, www.nutrimedical.com , a noted Virologist once said it was worse than depleted uranium because it is found everywhere in food.
The formaldehyde converted from the free methyl alcohol embalms living tissue and damages DNA according to the Trocho Study done in Barcelona in 1998. Even with this devastating study showing how serious a chemical poison aspartame is, the FDA has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. With Monsanto attorney Michael Taylor now appointed as Deputy Commissioner to the FDA by Obama, it`s nothing more than Monsanto`s Washington Branch Office. Even before the Ramazzini Studies showing aspartame to be a multi-potential carcinogen, the FDA knew it. Their own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, even admitted that it violated the Delaney Amendment because of the brain tumors and brain cancer. Therefore, no allowable daily intake ever should have been able to be established. Aspartame caused all types of tumors from mammary, uterine, ovarian, pancreatic and thyroid to testicular and pituitary. Dr. Alemany, who did the Trocho Study, commented that aspartame could kill 200 million people. When you damage DNA you can destroy humanity.
Dr. James Bowen told the FDA over 20 years ago that aspartame is mass poisoning the American public and likewise in more than 70 countries of the world. No wonder it`s called “Rumsfeld`s Plague”.
Big Pharma knows all about aspartame and they add it to drugs, including the ones used to treat the problems caused by aspartame. Big Pharma has made America a fascist government. People are so sick from aspartame and yet they keep selling these dangerous pharmaceuticals at outrageous prices.
Dr. H.J. Roberts said in one of his books that you have to consider aspartame with killing children. We are talking about a drug that changes brain chemistry. Today children are medicated instead of educated.
Death and disability is what Donald Rumsfeld has heaped on consumers just to make money [and establish a fascist police state in America]. Think of the death of Charles Fleming who used to drink about 10 diet sodas a day. Then he used creatine on top of this, which interacts, and is considered the actual cause of death. Yet his wife, Diane Fleming, remains in a prison in Virginia convicted of his death, despite being the very one who tried to get her husband to stop using these dangerous products containing aspartame in the first place.
The list never ends. At least six American Airlines` pilots, who were heavy users of aspartame, have died with one in flight drinking a Diet Coke. When American Airlines was written about removing aspartame they said, “leave the flying to us”. Pilots too are sick and dying on aspartame, and when you fly your life is in the hands of the pilot. There was a case with a Delta pilot that died from esophageal cancer and had a history of consuming huge quantities of diet sodas. This was brought to the attention of the Delta management that refused the pilot`s wife`s request to alert other pilots.
Then there`s the Persian Gulf where diet sodas sat on pallets daily in temperatures in the 100 to 120 degree range for as long as 9 weeks at a time before the soldiers drank them all day long. Remember, aspartame converts to formaldehyde at 86 degrees; it interacts with vaccines and damages the mitochondria or life of the cell, and the whole molecule breaks down to a brain tumor agent.
There`s a book out there called, “Rumsfeld, His Rise, Fall and Catastrophic Legacy”, by Andrew Cockburn that will substantiate all of this. And fittingly, Rumsfeld appropriately lives in a place called Mount Misery.
In the video, “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World”, which you can view at www.healthtalkhawaii.com, attorney James Turner explains how Rumsfeld got his poison marketed for human consumption. To learn about how the CDC investigation was covered up – The Rumsfeld-Pepsi-Nixon Connection, go to http://www.sweetremedy.tv/pages/rum… or view it in its entirety atwww.healthtalkhawaii.com.
For over a quarter of a century there has been mass poisoning of the public in over 100 countries of the world by aspartame because Donald Rumsfeld, as he put it, “called in his markers”. The aspartame industry has paid front groups and professional organizations to defend them and push it on the very people it can cause the most harm to. A suit was filed against the American Diabetes Association in 2004 for racketeering but they got out of it.
The hands of physicians are tied. Most are clueless that a patient is using aspartame, and the drugs used to treat the aspartame problem will probably interact and may even contain aspartame. This is the world that Donald Rumsfeld is responsible for!
My eternal thanks to Dr. Betty Martini, Founder, of Mission Possible International for her undying efforts in exposing this heinous crime against humanity.
About the author: Hesh Goldstein: Vegetarian since 1975, vegan since 1990. Moderator of a weekly radio show in Honolulu called, “Health Talk” since 1981. To obtain a state of good health, if it had a face or a mother or if man made it, don’t eat it.
For more information: www.healthtalkhawaii.com
NOTE: All this is in addition to Rumsfeld’s “career” as one of the most malevolent war criminals in history.… Another point: the original purpose
of Aspartame was as a chemical weapon; it’s a weapon that Rumsfeld has used against all the people in the world for 20 years. Why is he
getting away with it? He should be tried for crimes against humanity.
From October 12 to 15, 2010, I had extensive and detailed discussions with Fidel Castro in Havana, pertaining to the dangers of nuclear war, the global economic crisis and the nature of the New World Order. These meetings resulted in a wide-ranging and fruitful interview.
The first part of this interview published by Global Research and Cuba Debate focuses on the dangers of nuclear war.
The World is at a dangerous crossroads. We have reached a critical turning point in our history.
This interview with Fidel Castro provides an understanding of the nature of modern warfare: Were a military operation to be launched against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US and its allies would be unable to win a conventional war, with the possibility that this war could evolve towards a nuclear war.
The details of ongoing war preparations in relation to Iran have been withheld from the public eye.
How to confront the diabolical and absurd proposition put forth by the US administration that using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran will “make the World a safer place”?
A central concept put forth by Fidel Castro in the interview is the ‘Battle of Ideas”. The leader of the Cuban Revolution believes that only a far-reaching “Battle of Ideas” could change the course of World history. The objective is to prevent the unthinkable, a nuclear war which threatens to destroy life on earth.
The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Against this backdrop, Fidel’s message to the World must be heard; people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war.
The “Battle of Ideas” is part of a revolutionary process. Against a barrage of media disinformation, Fidel Castro’s resolve is to spread the word far and wide, to inform world public opinion, to “make the impossible possible”, to thwart a military adventure which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.
When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.
Fidel’s “Battle of Ideas” must be translated into a worldwide movement. People must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda.
This war can be prevented if people pressure their governments and elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens regarding the implications of a thermonuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.
What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.
In his October 15 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war:
“There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”
The “Battle of Ideas” consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, in breaking the US-led consensus in favor of a global war, in changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, in abolishing nuclear weapons. In essence, the “Battle of Ideas” consists in restoring the truth and establishing the foundations of World peace.
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG),
Montreal, Remembrance Day, November 11, 2010.
“The conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is no alternative for anyone. On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global”
“I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear. And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons. We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction
“In a nuclear war the collateral damage would be the life of humankind. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”
“It is about demanding that the world is not led into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life.”
Fidel Castro Ruz, Havana, October 2010.
Professor Michel Chossudovsky: I am very honored to have this opportunity to exchange views concerning several fundamental issues affecting human society as a whole. I think that the notion that you have raised in your recent texts regarding the threat against Homo sapiens is fundamental.
What is that threat, the risk of a nuclear war and the threat to human beings, to Homo sapiens?
Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz: Since quite a long time –years I would say- but especially for some months now, I began to worry about the imminence of a dangerous and probable war that could very rapidly evolve towards a nuclear war.
Before that I had concentrated all my efforts on the analysis of the capitalist system in general and the methods that the imperial tyranny has imposed on humanity. The United States applies to the world the violation of the most fundamental rights.
During the Cold War, no one spoke about war or nuclear weapons; people talked about an apparent peace, that is, between the USSR and the United States, the famous MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) was guaranteed. It seemed that the world was going to enjoy the delights of a peace that would last for an unlimited time.
Michel Chossudovsky: … This notion of “mutual assured destruction” ended with the Cold War and after that the nuclear doctrine was redefined, because we never really thought about a nuclear war during the Cold War. Well, obviously, there was a danger –as even Robert McNamara said at some point in time.
But, after the Cold War, particularly after September 11 , America’s nuclear doctrine started to be redefined.
Fidel Castro Ruz: You asked me when was it that we became aware of the imminent risk of a nuclear war, and that dates back to the period I talked to you about previously, barely six months ago. One of the things that called our attention the most regarding such a war danger was the sinking of the Cheonan during a military maneuver. That was the flagship of the South Korean Navy; an extremely sophisticated vessel. It was at the time when we found on GlobalReasearch the journalist’s report that offered a clear and truly coherent information about the sinking of the Cheonan, which could not have been the work of a submarine that had been manufactured by the USSR more than sixty years ago, using an outdated technology which did not require the sophisticated equipment that could be detected by the Cheonan, during a joint maneuver with the most modern US vessels.
The provocation against the Democratic Republic of Korea added up to our own earlier concerns about an aggression against Iran. We had been closely following the political process in that country. We knew perfectly well what happened there during the 1950s, when Iran nationalized the assets of the British Petroleum in that country- which at the time was called the Anglo Persian Oil Company.
In my opinion, the threats against Iran became imminent in June , after the adoption of Resolution 1929 on the 9th of June, 2010, when the United Nations Security Council condemned Iran for the research it is carrying out and the production of small amounts of 20 per cent enriched uranium, and accused it of being a threat to the world. The position adopted by each and every member of the Security Council is known: 12 member States voted in favor –five of them had the right to veto; one of them abstained and 2 –Brazil and Turkey- voted against. Shortly after the Resolution was adopted –the most aggressive resolution of of them all– one US aircraft carrier, embedded in a combat unit, plus a nuclear submarine, went through the Suez Canal with the help of the Egyptian government. Naval units from Israel joined, heading for the Persian Gulf and the seas nearby Iran.
The sanctions imposed by the United States and its NATO allies against Iran was absolutely abusive and unjust. I cannot understand the reason why Russia and China did not veto the dangerous Resolution 1929 of the United Nations Security Council. In my opinion this has complicated the political situation terribly and has placed the world on the brink of war.
I remember previous Israeli attacks against the Arab nuclear research centers. They first attacked and destroyed the one in Iraq in June 1981. They did not ask for anyone’s permission, they did not talk to anybody; they just attacked them and the Iraqis had to endure the strikes.
In 2007 they repeated that same operation against a research center that was being built by Syria. There is something in that episode that I really don’t quite understand: what was not clear to me were the underlying tactics, or the reasons why Syria did not denounce the Israeli attack against that research center where, undoubtedly, they were doing something, they were working on something for which, as it is known, they were receiving some cooperation from North Korea. That was something legal; they did not commit any violation.
I am saying this here and I am being very honest: I don’t understand why this was not denounced, because, in my opinion, that would have been important. Those are two very important antecedents.
I believe there are many reasons to think that they will try to do the same against Iran: destroy its research centers or the power generation centers of that country. As is known, the power generation uranium residues are the raw material to produce plutonium.
Michel Chossudovsky: It is true that that Security Council Resolution has to some extent contributed to cancelling the program of military cooperation that Russia and China have with Iran, especially Russia cooperates with Iran in the context of the Air Defence System by supplying its S-300 System.
I remember that just after the Security Council’s decision, with the endorsement of China and Russia, the Russian minister of Foreign Affairs said: “Well, we have approved the Resolution but that is not going to invalidate our military cooperation with Iran”. That was in June. But a few months later, Moscow confirmed that military cooperation [with Iran] was going to be frozen, so now Iran is facing a very serious situation, because it needs Russian technology to maintain its security,namely its [S-300] air defence system.
But I think that all the threats against Russia and China are intent upon preventing the two countries from getting involved in the Iran issue. In other words, if there is a war with Iran the other powers, which are China and Russia, aren’t going to intervene in any way; they will be freezing their military cooperation with Iran and therefore this is a way [for the US and NATO] of extending their war in the Middle East without there being a confrontation with China and Russia and I think that this more or less is the scenario right now.
There are many types of threats directed against Russia and China. The fact that China’s borders are militarized –China’s South Sea, the Yellow Sea, the border with Afghanistan, and also the Straits of Taiwan- it is in some way a threat to dissuade China and Russia from playing the role of powers in world geopolitics, thus paving the way and even creating consensus in favour of a war with Iran which is happening under conditions where Iran’s air defence system is being weakened. [With the freeze of its military cooperation agreement with Russia] Iran is a “sitting duck” from the point of view of its ability to defend itself using its air defence system.
Fidel Castro Ruz: In my modest and serene opinion that resolution should have been vetoed. Because, in my opinion, everything has become more complicated in several ways.
Militarily, because of what you are explaining regarding, for example, the commitment that existed and the contract that had been signed to supply Iran the S-300, which are very efficient anti-aircraft weapons in the first place.
There are other things regarding fuel supplies, which are very important for China, because China is the country with the highest economic growth. Its growing economy generates greater demand for oil and gas. Even though there are agreements with Russia for oil and gas supplies, they are also developing wind energy and other forms of renewable energy. They have enormous coal reserves; nuclear energy will not increase much, only 5% for many years. In other words, the need for gas and oil in the Chinese economy is huge, and I cannot imagine, really, how they will be able to get all that energy, and at what price, if the country where they have important investments is destroyed by the US. But the worst risk is the very nature of that war in Iran. Iran is a Muslim country that has millions of trained combatants who are strongly motivated.
There are tens of millions of people who are under [military] orders, they are being politically educated and trained, men and women alike. There are millions of combatants trained and determined to die. These are people who will not be intimidated and who cannot be forced to changing [their behavior]. On the other hand, there are the Afghans –they are being murdered by US drones –there are the Pakistanis, the Iraqis, who have seen one to two million compatriots die as a result of the antiterrorist war invented by Bush. You cannot win a war against the Muslim world; that is sheer madness.
Michel Chossudovsky: But it’s true, their conventional forces are very large, Iran can mobilize in a single day several million troops and they are on the border with Afghanistan and Iraq, and even if there is a blitzkrieg war, the US cannot avoid a conventional war that is waged very close to its military bases in that region.
Fidel Castro Ruz: But the fact is that the US would lose that conventional war. The problem is that nobody can win a conventional war against millions of people;they would not concentrate their forces in large numbers in a single location for the Americans to kill them.
Well, I was a guerrilla fighter and I recall that I had to think seriously about how to use the forces we had and I would never have made the mistake of concentratingthose forces in a single location, because the more concentrated the forces, the greater the casualties caused by weapons of mass destruction….
From left to right: Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon, Fidel Castro Ruz
Michel Chossudovsky: As you mentioned previously, a matter of utmost importance: China and Russia’s decision in the Security Council, their support of Resolution 1929, is in fact harmful to them because, first, Russia cannot export weapons, thus its main source of income is now frozen. Iran was one of the main customers or buyers of Russian weapons, and that was an important source of hard currency earnings which supported Russia`s consumer goods economy thereby covering the needs of the population.
And, on the other hand China requires access to sources of energy as you mentioned. The fact that China and Russia have accepted the consensus in the UN Security Council, is tantamount to saying: “We accept that you kill our economy and, in some ways, our commercial agreements with a third country”. That’s very serious because it [the UNSC Resolution] not only does harm to Iran; is also harms those two countries, and I suppose –even though I am not a politician –that there must be tremendous divisions within the leadership, both in Russia and in China, for that to happen, for Russia to accept not to use its veto power in the Security Council.
I spoke with Russian journalists, who told me that there wasn’t exactly a consensus within the government per se; it was a guideline. But there are people in the government with a different point of view regarding the interests of Russia and its stance in the UN Security Council. How do you see this?
Fidel Castro Ruz: How do I see the general situation? The alternative in Iran –let me put it this way –the conventional war would be lost by the US and the nuclear war is not an alternative for anyone.
On the other hand, nuclear war would inevitably become global. Thus the danger in my opinion exists with the current situation in Iran, bearing in mind the reasons you are presenting and many other facts; which brings me to the conclusion that the war would end up being a nuclear war.
Filming of Fidel’s message on October 15. From left to right: Fidel Castro, TV crew, Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon
Michel Chossudovsky: In other words, since the US and its allies are unable to win the conventional war, they are going to use nuclear weapons, but that too would be a war they couldn’t win, because we are going to lose everything.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Everyone would be losing that war; that would be a war that everyone would lose. What would Russia gain if a nuclear war were unleashed over there? What would China gain? What kind of war would that be? How would the world react? What effect would it have on the world economy? You explained it at the university when you spoke about the centralized defence system designed by the Pentagon. It sounds like science fiction; it doesn’t even remotely resemble the last world war. The other thing which is also very important is the attempt [by the Pentagon] to transform nuclear weapons into conventional tactical weapons.
Today, October 13th, I was reading about the same thing in a news dispatch stating that the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were drawing up strong protests about the fact that the US had just carried out subcritical nuclear tests. They’re called subcritical, which means the use of the nuclear weapon without deploying all the energy that might be achieved with the critical mass.
It reads: “Indignation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki because of a United States nuclear test.”…
“The Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that suffered a nuclear attack at the end of WW II, deplored today the nuclear test carried out by the US on September last, called sub critical because it does not unleash chain nuclear reactions.
“The test, the first of this kind in that country since 2006, took place on September 15th somewhere in Nevada, United States. It was officially confirmed by the Department of Energy of that country, the Japan Times informed.”
What did that newspaper say?
“I deeply deplore it because I was hoping that President Barack Obama would take on the leadership in eliminating nuclear weapons”, the governor of Nagasaki, Hodo Nakamura, stated today at a press conference.
A series of news items related to that follows.
“The test has also caused several protests among the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including several survivors of the atomic bombs attacks that devastated both cities in August of 1945.
“We cannot tolerate any action of the United States that betrays President Barack Obama’s promise of moving forward to a world without nuclear arms, said Yukio Yoshioka, the deputy director of the Council for the Victims of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb.
“The government stated that it has no intention of protesting.” It relegates the protest to a social level and then said: “With this, the number of subcritical nuclear tests made by the United States reaches the figure of 26, since July 1997 when the first of them took place.”
Now it says:
“Washington considers that these tests do not violate the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) since they do not unleash any chain reactions, and therefore do not release any nuclear energy, and so they can be considered to be laboratory tests.”
The US says that it has to make these tests because they are necessary to maintain the “security of its nuclear arsenal”, which is the same as saying: since we have these great nuclear arsenals, we are doing this in order to ensure our security.
Michel Chossudovsky: Let us return to the issue of the threat against Iran, because you said that the US and its allies could not win a conventional war. That is true; but nuclear weapons could be used as an alternative to conventional warfare, and this evidently is a threat against humanity, as you have emphasized in your writings.
The reason for my concern is that after the Cold War the idea of nuclear weapons with a “humanitarian face” was developed, saying that those weapons were not really dangerous, that they do not harm civilians, and in some way the nuclear weapons label was changed. Therefore, according to their criteria, [tactical] nuclear weapons are no different from conventional weapons, and now in the military manuals they say that tactical nuclear weapons are weapons that pose no harm to civilians.
Therefore, we might have a situation in which those who decide to attack Iran with a nuclear weapon would not be aware of the consequences that this might have for the Middle East, central Asia, but also for humanity as a whole, because they are going to say: “Well, according to our criteria, these [tactical] nuclear weapons [safe for civilians] are different from those deployed during the Cold War and so, we can use them against Iran as a weapon which does not [affect civilians and] does not threaten global security.”
How do you view that? It’s extremely dangerous, because they themselves believe their own propaganda. It is internal propaganda within the armed forces, within the political apparatus.
When tactical nuclear weapons were recategorized in 2002-2003, Senator Edward Kennedy said at that time that it was a way of blurring the boundary between conventional and nuclear weapons.
But that’s where we are today; we are in an era where nuclear weapons are considered to be no different from the Kalashnikov. I’m exaggerating, but somehownuclear weapons are now part of the tool box –that’s the word they use, “tool box” –and from there you choose the type of weapon you are going to use, so the nuclear weapon could be used in the conventional war theatre, leading us to the unthinkable, a nuclear war scenario on a regional level, but also with repercussions at the global level.
Fidel Castro Ruz: I heard what you said on the Round Table [Cuban TV] program about such weapons, presumably harmless to people living in the vicinity of the areas where they are to be targeted, the power [explosive yield] could range from one-third of the one that was used in Hiroshima up to six times the power [explosive yield] of that weapon, and today we know perfectly well the terrible damage it causes. One single bomb instantly killed 100,000 people. Just imagine a bomb having six times the power of that one [Hiroshima bomb], or two times that power, or an equivalent power, or 30 per cent that power. It is absurd.
There is also what you explained at the university about the attempt to present it as a humanitarian weapon that could also be available to the troops in the theatre of operations. So at any given moment any commander in the theatre of operations could be authorized to use that weapon as one that was more efficient than other weapons, something that would be considered his duty according to military doctrine and the training he/she received at the military academies.
Michel Chossudovsky: In that sense, I don’t think that this nuclear weapon would be used without the approval, let’s say, of the Pentagon, namely its centralised command structures [e.g. Strategic Command]; but I do think that it could be used without the approval of the President of the United States and Commander in Chief. In other words, it isn’t quite the same logic as that which prevailed during the Cold War where there was the Red Telephone and…
Fidel Castro Ruz: I understand, Professor, what you are saying regarding the use of that weapon as authorized by the senior levels of the Pentagon, and it seems right to me that you should make that clarification so that you won’t be blamed for exaggerating the dangers of that weapon.
But look, after one has learned about the antagonisms and arguments between the Pentagon and the President of the United States, there are really not too many doubts about what the Pentagon decision would be if the chief of the theatre of operations requests to use that weapon because he feels it is necessary or indispensable.
Michel Chossudovsky: There is also another element. The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons now, as far as I know, is being undertaken by several European countries which belong to NATO. This is the case of Belgium, Holland, Turkey, Italy and Germany. Thus, there are plenty of these “little nuclear bombs”very close to the theatre of war, and on the other hand we also have Israel.
Now then, I don’t think that Israel is going to start a war on its own; that would be impossible in terms of strategy and decision-making. In modern warfare, with the centralization of communications, logistics and everything else, starting a major war would be a centralized decision. However, Israel might act if the US gives Israel the green light to launch the first attack. That’s within the realm of possibilities, even though there are some analysts who now say that the war on Iran will start in Lebanon and Syria with a conventional border war, and then that would provide the pretext for an escalation in military operations.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Yesterday, October 13th, a crowd of people welcomed Ahmadinejad in Lebanon like a national hero of that country. I was reading a cable about that this morning.
Besides, we also know about Israel’s concerns regarding that, given the fact that the Lebanese are people with a great fighting spirit who have three times the number of reactive missiles they had in the former conflict with Israel and Lebanon, which was a great concern for Israel because they need –as the Israeli technicians have asserted – the air force to confront that weapon. And so, they state, they could only be attacking Iran for a number of hours, not three days, because they should be paying attention to such a danger. That’s the reason why, from these viewpoints, every day that goes by they are more concerned, because those weapons are part of the Iranian arsenal of conventional weapons. For example, among their conventional weapons, they have hundreds of rocket launchers to fight surface warships in that area of the Caspian Sea. We know that, from the time of the Falklands war, a surface warship can dodge one, two or three rockets. But imagine how a large warship can protect itself against a shower of weapons of that kind. Those are rapid vessels operated by well-trained people, because the Iranians have been training people for 30 years now and they have developed efficient conventional weapons.
You yourself know that, and you know what happened during the last World War, before the emergence of nuclear weapons. Fifty million people died as a result of the destructive power of conventional weaponry.
A war today is not like the war that was waged in the nineteenth century, before the appearance of nuclear weapons. And wars were already highly destructive. Nuclear arms appeared at the very last minute, because Truman wanted to use them. He wanted to test the Hiroshima bomb, creating the critical mass from uranium, and the other one in Nagasaki, which created a critical mass from plutonium. The two bombs killed around 100,000 persons immediately. We don’t know how many were wounded and affected by radiation, who died later on or suffered for long years from these effects. Besides, a nuclear war would create a nuclear winter.
I am talking to you about the dangers of a war, considering the immediate damage it might cause. It would be enough if we only had a limited number of them, the amount of weapons owned by one of the least mighty [nuclear] powers, India or Pakistan. Their explosion would be sufficient to create a nuclear winter from which no human being would survive. That would be impossible, since it would last for 8 to 10 years. In a matter of weeks the sunlight would no longer be visible.
Mankind is less than 200,000 years old. So far everything was normalcy. The laws of nature were being fulfilled; the laws of life developed on planet Earth for more than 3 billion years. Men, the Homo sapiens, the intelligent beings did not exist after 8 tenths of a million years had elapsed, according to all studies. Two hundred years ago, everything was virtually unknown. Today we know the laws governing the evolution of the species. Scientists, theologians, even the most devout religious people who initially echoed the campaign launched by the great ecclesiastical institutions against the Darwinian Theory, today accept the laws of evolution as real, without it preventing their sincere practice of their religious beliefs where, quite often, people find comfort for their most heartfelt hardships.
I think nobody on Earth wishes the human species to disappear. And that is the reason why I am of the opinion that what should disappear are not just nuclear weapons, but also conventional weapons. We must provide a guarantee for peace to all peoples without distinction, to the Iranians as well as the Israelis. Natural resources should be distributed. They should! I don’t mean they will, or that it would be easy to do it. But there would be no other alternative for humanity, in a world of limited dimensions and resources, even if all the scientific potential to create renewable sources of energy is developed. We are almost 7 billion inhabitants, and so we need to implement a demographic policy. We need many things, and when you put them all together and you ask yourself the following question: will human beings be capable of understanding that and overcome all those difficulties? You realize that only enthusiasm can truly lead a person to say that he or she will confront and easily resolve a problem of such proportions.
Michel Chossudovsky: What you have just said is extremely important, when you spoke of Truman. Truman said that Hiroshima was a military base and that there would be no harm to civilians.
This notion of collateral damage; reflects continuity in [America’s] nuclear doctrine ever since the year 1945 up until today. That is, not at the level of reality but at the level of [military] doctrine and propaganda. I mean, in 1945 it was said: Let’s save humanity by killing 100,000 people and deny the fact that Hiroshima was a populated city, namely that it was a military base. But nowadays the falsehoods have become much more sophisticated, more widespread, and nuclear weapons are more advanced. So, we are dealing with the future of humanity and the threat of a nuclear war at a global level. The lies and fiction underlying [US] political and military discourse would lead us to a Worldwide catastrophe in which politicians would be unable to make head or tails of their own lies.
Then, you said that intelligent human beings have existed for 200,000 years, but that same intelligence, which has now been incorporated in various institutions, namely the media, the intelligence services, the United Nations, happens to be what is now going to destroy us. Because we believe our own lies, which leads us towards nuclear war, without realizing that this would be the last war, as Einstein clearly stated. A nuclear war cannot ensure the continuation of humanity; it is a threat against the world.
Fidel Castro Ruz: Those are very good words, Professor. The collateral damage, in this case, could be humanity.
War is a crime and there is no need for any new law to describe it as such, because since Nuremberg, war has already been considered a crime, the biggest crime against humanity and peace, and the most horrible of all crimes.
Michel Chossudovsky.- The Nuremberg texts clearly state: “War is a criminal act, it is the ultimate act of war against peace.” This part of the Nuremberg texts is often quoted. After the Second World War, the Allies wanted to use it against the conquered, and I am not saying that this is not valid, but the crimes that they committed, including the crimes committed against Germany and Japan, are never mentioned. With a nuclear weapon, in the case of Japan.
Michel Chossudovsky.- It is an extremely important issue for me and if we are talking about a “counter-alliance for peace”, the criminalization of war seems to me to be a fundamental aspect. I’m talking about the abolition of war; it is a criminal act that must be eliminated.
Fidel Castro Ruz – Well, who would judge the main criminals?
Michel Chossudovsky.- The problem is that they also control the judicial system and the courts, so the judges are criminals as well. What can we do?
Fidel Castro Ruz I say that this is part of the Battle of Ideas.
It is about demanding that the world not be spearheaded into a nuclear catastrophe, it is to preserve life.
We do not know, but we presume that if man becomes aware of his own existence, that of his people, that of his loved ones, even the U.S. military leaders would be aware of the outcome; although they are taught in life to follow orders, not infrequently genocide, as in the use of tactical or strategic nuclear weapons, because that is what they were taught in the [military] academies.
As all of this is sheer madness, no politician is exempt from the duty of conveying these truths to the people. One must believe in them, otherwise there would be nothing to fight for.
Michel Chossudovsky .- I think what you are saying is that at the present time, the great debate in human history should focus on the danger of nuclear war that threatens the future of humanity, and that any discussion we have about basic needs or economics requires that we prevent the occurrence of war and instateglobal peace so that we can then plan living standards worldwide based on basic needs; but if we do not solve the problem of war, capitalism will not survive, right?
Fidel Castro Ruz.– No, it cannot survive, in terms of all the analysis we’ve undertaken, it cannot survive. The capitalist system and the market economy that suffocate human life, are not going to disappear overnight, but imperialism based on force, nuclear weapons and conventional weapons with modern technology, has to disappear if we want humanity to survive.
Now, there something occurring at this very moment which characterizes the Worldwide process of disinformation, and it is the following: In Chile 33 miners were trapped 700 meters underground, and the world is rejoicing at the news that 33 miners have been saved. Well, simply, what will the world do if it becomes aware that 6,877,596,300 people need to be saved, if 33 have created universal joy and all the mass media speak only of that these days, why not save the nearly 7 billion people trapped by the terrible danger of perishing in a horrible death like those of Hiroshima or Nagasaki?
Michel Chossudovsky. -This is also, clearly, the issue of media coverage that is given to different events and the propaganda emanating from the media.
I think it was an incredible humanitarian operation that the Chileans undertook, but it is true that if there is a threat to humanity, as you mentioned, it should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world because human society in its totality could be the victim of a decision that has been made, even by a three-star general who is unaware of the consequences [of nuclear weapons].
But here we are talking about how the media, particularly in the West, are hiding the most serious issue that potentially affects the world today, which is the danger of nuclear war and we must take it seriously, because both Hillary Clinton and Obama have said that they have contemplated using nuclear weapon in a so-called preventive war against Iran.
Well, how do we answer? What do you say to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama regarding their statements pertaining to the unilateral use of nuclear weapons against Iran, a country that poses no danger to anyone?
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Yes, I know two things: What was discussed. This has been revealed recently, namely far-reaching arguments within the Security Council of the United States. That is the value of the book written by Bob Woodward, because it revealed how all these discussions occurred. We know the positions of Biden, Hillary, Obama, and indeed in those discussions, who was firmer against the extension of the war, who was able to argue with the military, it was Obama, that is a fact.
I am writing the latest reflection, actually, about that. The only one who got there, and gave him advice, who had been an opponent because of his Republican Party membership, was Colin Powell. He reminded him that he was the President of the United States, encouraging advice.
I think we should ensure that this message reaches everybody; what we have discussed. I think many read the articles you have published in Global Research. I think we need to disclose, and to the extent that we have these discussions and harbor the idea of disclosure. I am delighted every time you argue, reasonably, andput forth these issues, simply, in my opinion, there is a real deficit of information for the reasons you explained.
Now, we must invent. What are the ways to make all this known? At the time of the Twelve Apostles, there were 12 and no more, and they were given the task of disseminating the teachings a preacher transmitted to them. Sure, they had hundreds of years ahead of them. We, however, we do not have that. But I was looking at the list of personalities, and there are more than 20 prominent people who have been working with Global Research, prestigious people, asking the samequestions, but they do not have hundreds of years, but, well, very little time.
Michel Chossudovsky. – The antiwar movement in the United States, Canada and Europe is divided. Some people think the threat comes from Iran, others say they [the Iranians] are terrorists, and there is a lot of disinformation in the movement itself.
Besides, at the World Social Forum the issue of nuclear war is not part of the debate between people of the Left or progressives. During the Cold War there was talk of the danger of nuclear conflict, and people had this awareness.
At the last meeting held in New York on non-proliferation, under the United Nations, the emphasis was on the nuclear threat from non-state entities, from terrorists.
President Obama said that the threat comes from Al Qaeda, which has nuclear weapons. Also, if someone reads Obama’s speeches he is suggesting that the terrorists have the ability of producing small nuclear bombs, what they call “dirty bombs”. Well, it’s a way of [distorting the issues] and shifting the emphasis.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – That is what they tell him [Obama], that is what his own people tell him and have him believe.
Look, what do I do with the reflections? They are distributed in the United Nations, they are sent to all governments, the reflections, of course, are short, to send them to all the governments, and I know there are many people who read them. The problem is whether you are telling the truth or not. Of course, when one collects all this information in relation to a particular problem because the reflections are also diluted on many issues, but I think you have to concentrate on our part, the disclosure of essentials, I cannot cover everything.
Michel Chossudovsky. – I have a question, because there is an important aspect related to the Cuban Revolution. In my opinion, the debate on the future of humanity is also part of a revolutionary discourse. If society as a whole were to be threatened by nuclear war, it is necessary in some form, to have a revolution at the levels of ideas as well as actions against this event, [namely nuclear war].
Fidel Castro Ruz .- We have to say, I repeat, that humanity is trapped 800 meters underground and that we must get it out, we need to do a rescue operation. That is the message we must convey to a large number of people. If people in large numbers believe in that message, they will do what you are doing and they will support what you are supporting. It will no longer depend on who are those who say it, but on the fact that somebody [and eventually everybody] says it.
You have to figure out how you can reach the informed masses. The solution is not the newspapers. There is the Internet, Internet is cheaper, Internet is more accessible. I approached you through the Internet looking for news, not through news agencies, not through the press, not from CNN, but news through a newsletter I receive daily articles on the Internet . Over 100 pages each day.
Yesterday you were arguing that in the United States some time ago two thirds of public opinion was against the war on Iran, and today, fifty-some percent favored military action against Iran.
Michel Chossudovsky .- What happened, even in recent months, it was said: “Yes, nuclear war is very dangerous, it is a threat, but the threat comes from Iran,” and there were signs in New York City saying: “ Say no to nuclear Iran, “and the message of these posters was to present Iran as a threat to global security, even if the threat did not exist because they do not have nuclear weapons.
Anyway, that’s the situation, and The New York Times earlier this week published a text that says, yes, political assassinations are legal.
Then, when we have a press that gives us things like that, with the distribution that they have, it is a lot of work [on our part]. We have limited capabilities to reverse this process [of media disinformation] within the limited distribution outlets of the alternative media. In addition to that, now many of these alternative media are financed by the economic establishment.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- And yet we have to fight.
Michel Chossudovsky .- Yes, we keep struggling, but the message was what you said yesterday. That in the case of a nuclear war, the collateral damage would be humanity as a whole.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- It would be humanity, the life of humanity.
Michel Chossudovsky.- It is true that the Internet should continue to function as an outreach tool to avoid the war.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Well, it’s the only way we can prevent it. If we were to create world opinion, it’s like the example I mentioned: there are nearly 7 billion people trapped 800 meters underground, we use the phenomenon of Chile to disclose these things.
Michel Chossudovsky .- The comparison you make with the rescue of 33 miners, saying that there are 33 miners below ground there to be rescued, whichreceived extensive media coverage, and you say that we have almost 7 billion people that are 800 meters underground and do not understand what is happening, but we have to rescue them, because humanity as a whole is threatened by the nuclear weapons of the United States and its allies, because they are the ones who say they intend to use them.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- And will use them [the nuclear weapons] if there is no opposition, if there is no resistance. They are deceived; they are drugged with military superiority and modern technology and do not know what they are doing.
They do not understand the consequences; they believe that the prevailed situation can be maintained. It is impossible.
Michel Chossudovsky. – Or they believe that this is simply some sort of conventional weapon.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – Yes, they are deluded and believe that you can still use that weapon. They believe they are in another era, they do not remember what Einstein said when he stated he did not know with what weapons World War III would be fought with, but the World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones. I added there: “… there wouldn’t be anyone to handle the sticks and stones.” That is the reality; I have it written there in the short speech you suggested I develop.
Michel Chossudovsky .- The problem I see is that the use of nuclear weapons will not necessarily lead to the end of humankind from one day to the next, because the radioactive impact is cumulative.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – Repeat that, please.
Michel Chossudovsky. – The nuclear weapon has several different consequences: one is the explosion and destruction in the theater of war, which is the phenomenon of Hiroshima, and the other are the impacts of radiation which increases over time.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Yes, nuclear winter, as we call it. The prestigious American researcher, University of Rutgers (New Jersey) Professor Emeritus Alan Robock irrefutably showed that the outbreak of a war between two of the eight nuclear powers who possess the least amount of weapons of this kind would result in “nuclear winter”.
He disclosed that at the fore of a group of researchers who used ultra-scientific computer models.
It would be enough to have 100 strategic nuclear weapons of the 25,000 possessed by the eight powers mentioned exploding in order to create temperatures below freezing all over the planet and a long night that would last approximately eight years. Professor Robock exclaims that it is so terrible that people are falling into a “state of denial”, not wanting to think about it; it is easier to pretend that it doesn’t exist”. He told me that personally, at an international conference he was giving, where I had the honor of conversing with him.
Well, but I start from an assumption: If a war breaks out in Iran, it will inevitably become nuclear war and a global war. So that’s why yesterday we were saying it was not right to allow such an agreement in the Security Council, because it makes everything easier, do you see?
Such a war in Iran today would not remain confined to the local level, because the Iranians would not give in to use of force. If it remained conventional, it would be a war the United States and Europe could not win, and I argue that it would rapidly turn into a nuclear war. If the United States were to make the mistake of using tactical nuclear weapons, there would be consternation throughout the world and the US would eventually lose control of the situation.
Obama has had a heated discussion with the Pentagon about what to do in Afghanistan; imagine Obama’s situation with American and Israeli soldiers fighting against millions of Iranians. The Saudis are not going to fight in Iran, nor are the Pakistanis or any other Arab or Muslim soldiers. What could happen is that the Yanks have serious conflicts with the Pakistani tribes which they are attacking and killing with their drones, and they know that. When you strike a blow against those tribes, first attacking and then warning the government, not saying anything beforehand; that is one of the things that irritates the Pakistanis. There is a strong anti-American feeling there.
It’s a mistake to think that the Iranians would give up if they used tactical nuclear weapons against them, and the world really would be shocked, but then it may be too late.
Michel Chossudovsky .- They cannot win a conventional war.
Fidel Castro Ruz .- They cannot win.
Michel Chossudovsky. – And that we can see in Iraq; in Afghanistan they can destroy an entire country, but they cannot win from a military standpoint.
Fidel Castro Ruz. – But to destroy it [a country] at what price, at what cost to the world, at what economic costs, in the march towards catastrophe? The problems you mentioned are compounded, the American people would react, because the American people are often slow to react, but they react in the end. The American people react to casualties, the dead.
A lot of people supported the Nixon administration during the war in Vietnam, he even suggested the use of nuclear weapons in that country to Kissinger, but he dissuaded him from taking that criminal step. The United States was obliged by the American people to end the war; it had to negotiate and had to hand over the south. Iran would have to give up the oil in the area. In Vietnam what did they hand over? An expense. Ultimately, they are now back in Vietnam, buying oil, trading. In Iran they would lose many lives, and perhaps a large part of the oil facilities in the area would be destroyed.
In the present situation, is likely they would not understand our message. If war breaks out, my opinion is that they, and the world, would gain nothing. If it were solely a conventional war, which is very unlikely, they would lose irretrievably, and if it becomes a global nuclear war, humanity would lose.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Iran has conventional forces that are …significant.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Millions.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Land forces, but also rockets and also Iran has the ability to defend itself.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- While there remains one single man with a gun, this is an enemy they will have to defeat.
Michel Chossudovsky.- And there are several millions with guns.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Millions, and they will have to sacrifice many American lives, unfortunately it would be only then that Americans would react, if they don’t react now they will react later when it will be too late; we must write, we must divulge this as much as we can. Remember that the Christians were persecuted, they led them off to the catacombs, they killed them, they threw them to the lions, but they held on to their beliefs for centuries and later that was what they did to the Moslems, and the Moslems never yielded.
There is a real war against the Moslem world. Why are those lessons of history being forgotten? I have read many of the articles you wrote about the risks of that war.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Let us return to the matter of Iran. I believe that it is very important that world opinion comprehends the war scenario. You clearly state that they would lose the war, the conventional war, they are losing it in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has more conventional forces than those of NATO in Afghanistan.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Much more experienced and motivated. They are now in conflict with those forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and one they don’t mention: the Pakistanis of the same ethnic group as those in the resistance in Afghanistan. In White House discussions, they consider that the war is lost, that’s what the book by Bob Woodward entitled “Obama’s Wars” tells us. Imagine the situation if in addition to that, they append a war to liquidate whatever remains after the initial blows they inflict on Iran.
So they will be thrust into a conventional war situation that they cannot win, or they will be obliged to wage a global nuclear war, under conditions of a worldwide upheaval. And I don’t know who can justify the type of war they have to wage; they have 450 targets marked out in Iran, and of these some, according to them, will have to be attacked with tactical nuclear warheads because of their location in mountainous areas and at the depth at which they are situated [underground]. Many Russian personnel and persons from other nationalities collaborating with them will die in that confrontation.
What will be the reaction of world opinion in the face of that blow which today is being irresponsibly promoted by the media with the backing of many Americans?
Michel Chossudovsky.- One issue, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, they are all neighbouring countries in a certain way. Iran shares borders with Afghanistan and with Iraq, and the United States and NATO have military facilities in the countries they occupy. What’s going to happen? I suppose that the Iranian troops are immediately going to cross the border.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Well, I don’t know what tactic they’re going to use, but if one were in their place, the most advisable is to not concentrate their troops, because if the troops are concentrated they will be victims of the attack with tactical nuclear weapons. In other words, in accordance with the nature of the threat as it is being described, the best thing would be for them to use a tactic similar to ours in southern Angola when we suspected that South Africa had nuclear weapons; we created tactical groups of 1000 men with land and anti-air fire power. Nuclear weapons could never within their reach target a large number of soldiers. Anti-air rocketry and other similar weapons was supporting our forces. Weapons and the conditions of the terrain change and tactics must continuously change.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Dispersed.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Dispersed, but not isolated men, there were around 1000 men with appropriate weapons, the terrain was sandy, wherever they got to they had to dig in and protect themselves underground, always keeping the maximum distance between components. The enemy was never given an opportunity to aim a decisive blow against the 60,000 Cuban and Angolan soldiers in southern Angola.
What we did in that sister country is what, a thousand strong army, operating with traditional criteria, would have done. Fine, we were not 100 000, in southern Angola there were 60,000 men, Cubans and Angolans; due to technical requirements the tactical groups were mainly made up of Cubans because they handled tanks, rockets, anti-aircraft guns, communications, but the infantry was made up of Cuban and Angolan soldiers, with great fighting spirit, who didn’t hesitate one second in confronting the white Apartheid army supported by the United States and Israel. Who handled the numerous nuclear weapons that they had at that moment?
In the case of Iran, we are getting news that they are digging into the ground, and when they are asked about it, they say that they are making cemeteries to bury the invaders. I don’t know if this is meant to be ironic, but I think that one would really have to dig quite a lot to protect their forces from the attack which isthreatening them.
Michel Chossudovsky.- Sure, but Iran has the possibility of mobilizing millions of troops.
Fidel Castro Ruz.- Not just troops, but the command posts are also decisive. In my opinion, dispersion is very important. The attackers will try to prevent the transmission of orders. Every combat unit must know beforehand what they have to do under different circumstances. The attacker will try to strike and destabilizethe chain of command with its radio-electronic weapons. All those factors must be kept in mind. Mankind has never experienced a similar predicament.
Anyway, Afghanistan is “a joke” and Iraq, too, when you compare them with what they are going to bump into in Iran: the weaponry, the training, the mentality, the kind of soldier… If 31 years ago, Iranian combatants cleaned the mine fields by advancing over them, they will undoubtedly be the most fearsome adversaries that the United States has ever come across.
Our thanks and appreciation to Cuba Debate for the transcription as well as the translation from Spanish.