Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wanda Haan

Today is ‘my’ 34th wedding anniversary. I really mean ‘our’ anniversary but my wife, Wanda Haan, died three and a half years ago. She was 59 when she had the sudden heart attack that killed her on January 30, 2003 at 6:00 pm. We were talking when it happened but she was gone before I could reach her. She was executive editor of Southfarm Press and edited most of the books we published from 1996 to 2002.

She was complimented by author Daniel Ford when he reviewed our 1998 title, Janey: A Little Plane in a Big War by Alfred W. Schultz for Ford is the author of Incident at Muc Wa which is the basis for the Burt Lancaster film, Go Tell the Spartans. Ford said this in his review of Janey:

“'Dawn's first light crested the eastern hills and gave the earth a rosy glow. Flying on such a day was pure joy. Smooth, dense, misty morning air slowly released its grip as light emerged from the countryside, fulfilling the promise of another day. Our fears vanished as we soared above the sleeping ground. We were immortal. From our perch above the commotion, we watched the world come to life to begin another day of killing.'

“Normally I'm turned off by the High Literary Style, but the way that passage ends with the knife-twist—‘another day of killing’--redeems it with room to spare. Time and again in Schultz's book, he and his collaborator pull off that neat trick: loving memories entangled with the ordinariness of war.”

Wanda was the editor of the book and she had added those words, ‘…another day of killing.’

Wanda also wrote children’s poetry and we published a children’s picture book of 19 of her poems after she died. The book is titled The Macaroon Moon: A Book of Poems and Rhymes for Children (ISBN: 0-913337-51-X). The book’s Web Site is

Here is one of her poems for children that is not in The Macaroon Moon but is also about flying:

Did I just then see the Sun blink?
No. A big old crow blacker than ink
Flew past the Sun to take a drink
From the big blue pond,
Which is nature’s sink.
(Copyright © 2006 by Walter J. Haan. All rights reserved.)

Happy anniversary, Wanda. I miss you. ---Walter Haan,

NOTE: Heart disease is the number one killer of women, eight times more deadly than breast cancer. Thousands of women like Wanda die every year without any warning and without any history of heart disease.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What it takes to get Iraq off the front pages.

Another war is what it takes to get Iraq off the front pages.

By allowing our client state, Israel, to attack Lebanon with impunity and to kill innocent Lebanese at will, we've gotten Iraq out of the headlines. We've also been able to sneak in Iraqi news under the radar. Like we're going to put more troops in Baghdad.

Hezbollah is bad news. But so is Israel. I'm 65 years old. All my life, the headlines have been about Israel "defending" Israel. As comedian Susie Esman used to say in her comedy act: "It's Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew." Our media and government never acknowledge the fact that Israel routinely commits aggression "defending" Israel.

I suppose I shouldn't complain. As a publisher of military history, the Middle East is again supplying another gold mine of material for me.

One regret: I recently passed on a manuscript by a Dutchman about his experiences as a "Peacekeeper" in southern Lebanon. Looked interesting but at the time I didn't think it would interest Americans. It still might not given our unyielding, blind support of anything that Israel does.

One last thought. Bill Clinton, that great draft dodger, was in Connecticut yesterday to shore up his buddy Joe Lieberman's faltering senate primary campaign. He told us Connecticut voters we should ignore the war in Iraq and Joe's support of it. That is vintage Clinton. As a young man he ignored the war in Vietnam, did everything possible to make sure he wasn't drafted, making sure that some poorer, less educated young man with less opportunities would have to take his place in the military. And perhaps die in Vietnam in his place.---Walter Haan,

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why the Arabs think we are responsible for war in the Middle East.

Have you ever considered why the Arabs think we are responsible for the upheaval in the Middle East?

The Israeli air force fighter squadrons are composed of Lockheed Martin F-16I Fighting Falcons and Boeing F-15Is, which fire US-manufactured AMRAAM, Sidewinder, and Sparrow missiles. From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel at least $1.062 billion of spare parts, engines, and missiles for its F-15 and F-16 fighter planes.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to the Israeli navy more than $572 millionworth of patrol boat, ship, and submarine components and spare parts, torpedoes, and sonar equipment.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel more than $348 million worth of tanks, components, and spare parts.

From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel $69,163 worth of M-109 spare parts and 155mm artillery shells.

These are some reasons why.

These statistics for US weapons licensed to Israel are compiled from the State Department's annual report to Congress pursuant to Sec. 655 of the Foreign Assistance Act. They have been published by War Times. You can reach them at

The Israeli assault has drawn mounting international criticism but the White House said US President George W. Bush would not press Israel to halt its military operation. Asked whether Bush had agreed to a request from Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora that he rein in the Israelis, White House spokesman Tony Snow said: “No. The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel.”

That is bull. We already made military decisions for Israel by supplying them with the means to rain death upon civilians. In our name! In our name!
---Walter Haan,

Friday, July 07, 2006

Books that everyone should read

According to Britain's librarians, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird is the book that everyone should read.

To Kill a Mocking Bird has topped a World Book Day poll conducted by the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), in which librarians around Great Britain were asked the question, "Which book should every adult read before they die?"

The chairman of the MLA, commented, "This goes to show that if you are stuck for something to read, you should ask a librarian."

Well, I'm not sure I agree with that. Librarians in the US, at least, do very little for small publishers such as Southfarm Press. They generally ignore books from small publishers, even if well reviewed, when they order. So there's a huge chunk of books published that they know little about.

The top 30 must read books in Britain (I wonder what the list would be from American librarians?):

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. The Bible
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
4. 1984 by George Orwell
5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
8. All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque
9. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
10. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
11. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
12. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
14. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
15. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
16. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
17. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
18. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
19. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
20. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
21. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
22. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
23. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
24. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
25. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
26. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
27. Middlemarch by George Eliot
28. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
29. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
30. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

Only number eight on the list is a military book: All Quiet on the Western Front by E. M. Remarque. I wonder what you, reader of this war-books blog, would place in a list of the top 10 military books that we should all read. The list can contain both fiction and nonfiction. Let me know. As the publisher of military history nonfiction, I'm definitely interested. If a Southfarm Press book shows up on your list, I'll know you're sucking up. --Walter Haan,

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Shakespeare and our 230th Independence Day

Shakespeare wrote that "...whoever had shed his blood with me shall be my brother." On this 230th Independence Day, let us especially honor those brothers who went in harm's way under the American flag, from the American Revolution to the Iraqi War.

Whoever lives past today and comes
home safely will rouse himself every
year on this day, show his neighbor his
scars, and tell embellished stories of all
their great feats of battle.

These stories will teach his son and
from this day until the end of the world,
we shall be remembered.

We few, we happy few, we band of
brothers; for whoever has shed his blood
with me shall be my brother.

And those men afraid to go will think
themselves lesser men as they hear of
how we fought and died together.

--William Shakespeare
---Walter Haan,

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's ignorance, stupid, that causes atrocities.

The following was reported by the news media since my last posting:

“BEIJI, IRAQ, July 1 --- Investigators believe American soldiers spent nearly a week plotting an attack in which they raped an Iraqi woman, then killed her and her family in an insurgent-ridden area south of Baghdad, a US military official said Saturday.

“The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the attack appeared ‘totally premeditated’ and that the soldiers apparently ‘studied’ the family for about a week before carrying out the attack.

“According to the official, the Sunni Arab family had just moved into a new home in the religiously mixed area about 20 miles south of Baghdad. The Americans entered the home, separated three family members from the woman, then raped her and set fire to her body, the official said. The three others were also slain. A senior Army official who also requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing said one of the victims was a child.”

If these allegations are true, they speak of a situation out of control regarding human rights. The US invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein because of his record of human rights violations. Oh, and because he supposedly had weapons of mass destruction and ties to the terrorists of 09/11/2001.

We know the last two reasons were lies spread by George W. Bush’s government.

But Saddam Hussein’s government DID have a documented record of human rights violations going back 20 years. The problem now for the US is that a record of human rights violations by the US in Iraq is being documented.

How could this happen? Why have Americans possibly become terrorists themselves?

Ignorance of the world has a lot to do with it. Americans simply are not educated about the rest of the world. We know nothing about other world religions, are not taught any other important language besides English, are in the dark about the customs of other peoples, cannot tell the difference between Tibet and Timor and couldn’t find Kuwait or Qatar on a map if our lives depended on it.

With education comes respect. We are not educated to respect others. Our servicemen and women are products of our poor educational system. When I was interviewed to become a sergeant E-5 in the Army in the sixties, my first sergeant, Russell Pearl Painter, Jr. asked me:

“If a soldier is a screw up, is it the Army’s fault or is it the fault of what he was taught and not taught in the civilian world before he joined the military?” In other words, is a screw up the product of his civilian environment, lack of education and parental training? The answer is yes.

What doesn’t help is that our enlisted men and women are almost all just high school graduates. We need better educated men and women in their ranks to help the less educated. And that is another reason why we need a universal draft of all young men in this country, with no loopholes. We have a better chance of having less atrocities committed in the name of the US if our enlisted forces contain college graduates.

But our military system currently looks suspiciously upon anyone in its ranks that might know something. Can you imagine what would happen to a soldier if it was discovered that he or she had Muslim or Iraqi friends and/or had worshipped in a Muslim mosque in Kabul? He would be investigated for his political proclivities.

How do I know that? Because when I was in the Army in the sixties, I was hauled before special agents of the Army intelligence service because I had met at least one Communist when I was serving my country in the Peace Corps.

The Communists were the Muslim terrorists of the sixties and the Army found out I had talked to the secretary of the local Communist Party organization in Jabalpur, India in December 1963 when serving in the US Peace Corps. I was forced to sign a statement that I wasn’t a Communist and that no one in my family was a Communist.

I thought you’d like to read the statement I had to sign and it follows. It says that I wasn’t forced to sign it but you can imagine what the remainder of my life in the Army would have been like if I hadn’t signed it. All of the facts in the 40 year old statement were uncovered by the Army and not supplied by me. The photos above right are of my friend V. P. Mohanan and me in 1964 in India.

(AR 190 451; AR 600-140)
Place: Cambrai-Fritsch Kaserne, Darmstadt, Hesse, German Federal Republic
Date: 15 February, 1966
Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial: HAAN, Walter J.; Grade: PFC E-3
Organization: Company B, 93d Signal Battalion, APO US Forces 09175

I have been informed by Frank E. Kyper
Who Stated He is: (an) Intelligence Corps Special Agent
of the United States (Army), and that he’s conducting an investigation of
my association with Sri Mehrotra and my political proclivities.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 31 (has) been read and explained to me by Frank E. Kyper. I understand that I do not have to make any statement whatsoever and any statement I make may be used as evidence against me. I, Walter J. HAAN, Private First Class E-3, (service number here), assigned to Company B, 93d Signal Battalion, APO US Forces 09175, and being interviewed at the Darmstadt Resident Office, 165th Military Intelligence Company, 66th Intelligence Corps group, APO US Forces 09175, do make the following statement of my own free will without threat, coercion or unlawful influence:

My sole association with Shri Mehrotra, introduced to me as the secretary of the local Communist Party organization in Jabalpur (nca), India, for a period of approximately one-half hour in December 1963. At the time, I was working as a school teacher for the US Peace Corps in Allahabad, (nca), India. I was in Jabalpur with the friend of mine, V. P. Mohanan, a.k.a, Mohanan Panikkassery, born in approximately 1937, an Indian citizen. We were visiting with a friend of Mohanan’s, a lawyer whose name I cannot remember, in the lawyer’s house. While there, I was introduced to Mehrotra. For approximately a half-hour, Mehrotra and I discussed several subjects, including Goa, President Kennedy’s assassination, and several other subjects which I cannot remember. Mehrotra felt that the United States government was endeavoring to withhold information concerning President Kennedy’s death, an opinion I endeavored to refute. I never saw Mehrotra after this, although Mohanan did mention in several of his subsequent letters to me that Mehrotra was continuing to hold his belief that information was being withheld on President Kennedy’s assassination. In approximately March or April 1964, I mailed a booklet of collected newspaper accounts of the assassination prepared by the United States Information Service (USIS) to Mohanan, and requested that he forward it to Mehrotra. I never heard anything more from Mohanan concerning Mehrotra. I have continued to maintain contact with Mohanan, both through occasional exchanges of visits while I was still in India, and also through correspondence. I still correspond with Mohanan approximately once a month. His current address is Mohanan Panikkassery (address was inserted here). I do not believe that Mohanan is a communist or communist sympathizer.. I believe his father was killed by communists in India in the late 1940s and harbors a definite dislike for communists as a result of his father’s death and because of the disruption caused by the communists in Kerala state of India. I cannot explain his association with Mehrotra. I am not aware of any other persons I associated with in India, or any other persons with whom I have been in contact being communist or communist sympathizers. I have never corresponded with Mehrotra or received any literature from him. I have never been involved in any communist activities, nor have members of my family. I am not willing to undergo a polygraph examination concerning the affore-mentioned information because I believe there is a possibility that such an examination may give an incorrect reading, which may prove damaging to me in my later life. END OF STATEMENT.

I signed this statement and it was witnessed and signed by both:
Special Agent, INTC
Darmstadt Resident Office
165th MI Company, 66th INTC Group
APO US Forces 09175

Special Agent, INTC
Authority to administer oaths: Article 136b, UCMJ, 1951
---Walter Haan,