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Introduction The use of the word war today is ambiguous. The recent occupation of Iraq by members of a coalition led by the USA is frequently referred to as an act of war. It is hardly that when the world's most powerful nation militarily sweeps into a country which is unable to offer any effective or meaningful resistance. Some call such an act a turkey shoot. Matters military dominate our so-called civilization. Venture into the British countryside on any weekday and you are almost certain to encounter some form of military exercise. Intensive low-flying training has been going on there for several decades. The Ministry of Defence in cahoots with NATO ensures that vast resources are poured into the military. It is all very high tech stuff but most of it is about keeping a vested interest in motion. Military policy is shrouded in secrecy but it needs no high intelligence to work out that supersonic fighter jets have nothing to do with protecting us against terrorism. These poems allude to war in this broader understanding of the word. John Vetterlein Orkney June 2005