- Conflict & Crisis
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
March 14, 2013
Is it a coincidence?
In recent history, from the Vietnam war to the present, the month of March has been chosen by Pentagon and NATO military planners as the “best month” to go to war.
With the exception of the War on Afghanistan (October 2001), all major US-NATO led military operations over a period of almost half a century –since the invasion of Vietnam by US ground forces on March 8, 1965– have been initiated in the month of March.
The Ides of March (Idus Martiae) is a day in the Roman calendar which broadly corresponds to March 15. The Ides of March is also known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC.
Lest we forget, the month of March (in the Roman Calendar) is dedicated to Mars (Martius), the Roman God of War.
For the Romans, the month of March (Martius) marked “the time to start new military campaigns.”
As in the heyday of the Roman Empire, the US Department of Defense has a mandate to plan and implement a precise “timeline” of military operations.
Does the month of March –identified by the Romans as a “good time” to initiate new military undertakings–, have a bearing on contemporary military doctrine?
Throughout history, seasons including the transition from Winter to Spring have played a strategic role in the timing of military operations.
Do Pentagon military planners favor the month of March?
Do they also –in some mysterious fashion– “idolize” Mars, the Roman God of War?
March 23 (which coincides with the beginning of Spring) was the day “Romans celebrated the start of the military campaign and war fighting season.”
“Homage was paid to Mars the god of war with festivals and feasting. … For the Romans March 23 was a huge celebration known as Tubilustrium”.
Under these festivities which celebrated the Roman god of war, a large part of the month of March “was dedicated to military celebration and preparedness.”
Timeline of March Military Interventions (1965- 2011)
Recent history confirms that with the exception of Afghanistan (October 2001), all major US-NATO led military operations over a period of almost half a century –since the invasion of Vietnam by US ground forces on March 8, 1965– have been initiated in the month of March.
The Vietnam War
The US Congress adopted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized President Lyndon Johnson to dispatch ground forces to Vietnam on March 8, 1965.
On 8 March 1965, 3,500 U.S. Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam marking the beginning of “America’s ground war”.
NATO’s War on Yugoslavia
NATO’s war on Yugoslavia was launched on March 24, 1999.
The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia code-named by the US Operation “Noble Anvil”. started on March 24, 1999 and lasted until June 10, 1999.
The Iraq War
The War on Iraq was launched on March 20, 2003. (Baghdad time)
The US-NATO led invasion of Iraq started on 20 March 2003 on the pretext that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
(The 1991 Gulf War on Iraq began on 17th January. However, after the 28th February ceasefire was agreed and signed – following the Basra Road massacre of withdrawing soldiers and fleeing civilians on 26th/27th February – the US 24th Mechanised Infantry Division slaughtered thousands on 2nd March.“)
The Covert War on Syria
The US-NATO Covert War on Syria was initiated on March 15, 2011 with the incursion of Islamist mercenaries and death squads in the southern city of Daraa on the border with Jordan. The terrorists were involved in acts of arson as well as the killings of civilians. This incursion of terrorists was from the very outset supported covertly by the US, NATO and its Persian Gulf allies: Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
NATO’s “Humanitarian” R2P War on Libya
NATO commenced its bombing of Libya on March 19, 2011. The United Nations Security Council passed an initial resolution on 26 February 2011 (UNSC Resolution 1970), (adopted unanimously).
A subsequent United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 was adopted on 17 March 2011. It authorized the establishment of “a no-fly zone” over Libya, and the use “all necessary measures” “to protect the lives of civilians”.
Libya was bombed relentlessly by NATO warplanes starting on March 19, 2011 for a period of approximately seven months.
The US and its NATO allies, not to mention Israel, are on a war footing.
Several military operations are currently on the drawing board of Pentagon.
We cannot speculate, however, regarding US-NATO war plans pertaining to the Ides of March 2013.