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A Culture of Atrocity

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Posted on Jun 18, 2007
child in coffin
AP Photo / Karim Kadim

Mohammed Saleem, 18 months old, and four family members were killed when U.S. forces opened fire on their vehicle in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood in June 2004 during fighting between Americans and followers of a radical cleric.

By Chris Hedges

All troops, when they occupy and battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are swiftly placed in what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton terms “atrocity-producing situations.”  In this environment, surrounded by a hostile population, simple acts such as going to a store to buy a can of Coke or driving down a street means you can be killed.  This constant fear and stress leads troops to view everyone around them as the enemy.  The hostility is compounded when the enemy, as in Iraq, is elusive, shadowy and hard to find.  The rage that soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed over time to innocent civilians who are seen as supporting the insurgents.  It is a short psychological leap, but a massive moral one.  It is a leap from killing—the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm—to murder—the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you.  The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder.  There is very little killing. American Marines and soldiers have become, after four years of war, acclimated to atrocity. 

The American killing project is not described in these terms to the distant public.  The politicians still speak in the abstract of glory, honor and heroism, of the necessity of improving the world, in lofty phrases of political and spiritual renewal.  The press, as in most wars, is slavishly compliant.  The reality of the war—the fact that the occupation forces have become, along with the rampaging militias, a source of terror to most Iraqis—is not transmitted to the American public.  The press chronicles the physical and emotional wounds visited on those who kill in our name.  The Iraqis, those we kill, are largely nameless, faceless dead.  Those who kill large numbers of people always claim it as a regrettable but necessary virtue. 

The reality and the mythic narrative of war collide when embittered combat veterans return home.  They find themselves estranged from the world around them, a world that still believes in the myth of war and the virtues of the nation. 

Tina Susman in a June 12 article in the Los Angeles Times gave readers a rare glimpse into this side of the war.  She wrote about a 17-year-old Iraqi boy killed by the wild, random fire unleashed by American soldiers in a Baghdad neighborhood following a bomb blast.  These killings, which Iraqis say occur daily, are seldom confirmed, but in this case the boy was the son of a local Los Angeles Times employee.

Iraqi physicians, overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, published a study last year in the British medical journal The Lancet.  The study estimated that 655,000 more people than normal have died in Iraq since coalition forces invaded the country in March 2003.  This is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech last December.


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Of the total 655,000 estimated “excess deaths,” 601,000 resulted from violence.  The remaining deaths occurred from disease and other causes, according to the study.  This is about 500 additional violent deaths per day throughout the country.

Lt. Col. Andrew J. Bacevich, a Vietnam veteran who is a professor of international relations at Boston University, estimated last year that U.S. troops had killed “tens of thousands” of innocent Iraqis through accidents or reckless fire. 

Official figures have ceased to exist.  The Iraqi government no longer releases the number of civilian casualties and the U.S. military does not usually give reports about civilians killed or wounded by U.S. forces.

“It’s a psychological thing. When one U.S. soldier gets killed or injured, they shoot in vengeance,” Alaa Safi told the Los Angeles Times.  He said his brother, Ahmed, was killed April 4 when U.S. troops riddled the streets of their southwestern Baghdad neighborhood with bullets after a sniper attack.

War is the pornography of violence.  It has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque.  The Bible calls it “the lust of the eye” and warns believers against it.  War allows us to engage in primal impulses we keep hidden in the deepest, most private interiors of our fantasy life.  It allows us to destroy not only things but human beings.  In that moment of wholesale destruction, we wield the power of the divine, the power to give or annihilate life.  Armed units become crazed by the frenzy of destruction.  All things, including human beings, become objects—objects to either gratify or destroy or both.  Almost no one is immune.  The contagion of the crowd sees to that.

Human beings are machine-gunned and bombed from the air, automatic grenade launchers pepper hovels and neighborhoods with high-powered explosives, and convoys tear through Iraq, speeding freight trains of death.  These soldiers and Marines have at their fingertips the heady ability to call in firepower that obliterates landscapes and villages.  The moral universe is turned upside down.  No one walks away uninfected.  War thrusts us into a vortex of barbarity, pain and fleeting ecstasy.  It thrusts us into a world where law is of little consequence. 

It takes little in wartime to turn ordinary men and women into killers. Most give themselves willingly to the seduction of unlimited power to destroy.  All feel the peer pressure to conform.  Few, once in battle, find the strength to resist gratuitous slaughter.  Physical courage is common on a battlefield.  Moral courage is not.

Military machines and state bureaucracies, which seek to make us obey, seek also to silence those who return from war and speak the truth.  Besides, the public has little desire to puncture the mythic, heroic narrative.  The essence of war, which is death, is carefully masked from view.  The few lone journalists who attempt to speak the truth about war, to describe the experience of constantly being on the receiving end of American firepower, soon become pariahs, no longer able to embed with the military, dine out with officials in the Green Zone or get press credentials.  And so the vast majority of the press lies to us, although not overtly; it is the lie of omission, but it is a lie nonetheless. 

The veterans who return, even if they do not speak about the atrocities they have committed or witnessed in Iraq, will spend the rest of their lives coping with what they have done.  They will suffer delayed reactions to stress.  They will endure, as have those who returned from Vietnam, a crisis of faith.  The God they knew, or thought they knew, failed them.  The high priests of our civic religion, from politicians to preachers to television pundits, who promised them glory and honor through war betrayed them.

War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians.  This bitter knowledge of betrayal is seeping into the ranks of the American military.  It is bringing us a new wave of enraged and disenfranchised veterans who will never again trust the country that sent them to war.

We make our heroes out of clay.  We laud their gallant deeds.  We give them uniforms with colored ribbons for the acts of violence they committed or endured.  They are our false repositories of glory and honor, of power, of self-righteousness, of patriotism and self-worship, all that we want to believe about ourselves.  They are our plaster saints, the icons we cheer to defend us and make us and our nation great.  They are the props of our demented civic religion, our love of power and force, our belief in our right as a chosen nation to wield this force against the weak.  This is our nation’s idolatry of itself. 

Prophets are not those who speak of piety and duty from pulpits—there are few people in pulpits worth listening to.  The prophets are the battered wrecks of men and women who return from Iraq and find the courage to speak the halting words we do not want to hear, words that we must hear and digest in order to know ourselves.  These veterans, the ones who dare to tell the truth, have seen and tasted how war plunges us into barbarity, perversion, pain and an unchecked orgy of death.  And it is their testimonies, if we take the time to listen, which alone can save us.

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By GrammaConcept, June 22, 2007 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

NAHIDA…......I Thank You For Your Courageous Eloquence….......

..................Your words will be seen by Many….............

I will help that to happen.


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By Leefeller, June 21, 2007 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

#80250 by Osama Bombsalot on 6/21 at 6:05 pm

Couldn]t you come up with a better name, what are you like 12 years old?  You sound like a stupid idiot, which means you are really an imbecile.

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By nahida, June 21, 2007 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Osama Bombsalot

What an imagination!!  smile

Couldn’t you try a bit harder though

just to be a little more convincing?? grin grin grin grin grin

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By Osama Bombsalot, June 21, 2007 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How DARE the infidels defend themselves against the holy Jihad of Allah, as instructed by the prophet Mohammed? They shall feel our wrath—and all our Muslim brethren support us, either openly or in secret!
Who needs your modern civilization or silly advancements over the 7th century, when we each shall have 70 palaces each with 70 virgins in the afterlife for dying to kill those who oppose us?

And your pacifist fools think we want peace with you, if you just leave us alone—- you, the infidels who deny the true Islamic faith! We want you DEAD!
We cannot lose!

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By bogi666, June 21, 2007 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
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Bush has declared this to be a war of Good Vs. Evil and we, the U.S., being the Good has been concocted into a perverse logic, which is: Whatever Bush does is to protect us from the Evil is Good even if our Good must engage in Evil to protect our Goodness, because it is Good.This presupposes that our Good is innate even though the Good can only be protected by the Evil, which is inherently bad.But if our inherent Good necessitates using Evil, that is Good. Robert Greenwald discusses this topic. This is the reason for our Constitution which means that the Good vs. Evil argument was a topic when the Constitution was written and it was written, especially the Bill of Rights,so as preserve the presence of mind necessary for the continuation of a country of laws, Constitutional law, rather than the invoking of situational ethics which is what Bush and the Republicans are doing now. Thus we’ve become a lawless nation without principals. The Bush maladministration is reinventing the wheels of law where it already exists in the very Constitution they have sworn to preserve and protect. They are mental pygmy’s.This is what happen when a country is ruled by ego, it becomes authoritarian promising to protect us from Evil because we are Good even if we employ Evil for our own Good, a perverse logic.

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By Palli, June 21, 2007 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment


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By Chris, June 21, 2007 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
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I think the bottom line is this:  The fault lies with the current fascist regime in the White House that orchestrated the events of 9/11 as an excuse to unconstitutionally invade the Middle East in order to spread U.S. hegemony and Empire into the region, on its way to global domination.  Our fascist Bush-o-lini has sent our troops to their deaths and the fault lies with him and the shadow government which controls him and every other U.S. politician and European leader in the world.  Bush has created the Patriot Act in order to dismantle our Constitution and strip us of our liberties, to make it easier to carry out his plans of global domination with or without his citizen’s approval.  All other atrocities and crimes follow from this man.  and yes, our troops are indeed committing crimes because they’ve been placed into a hostile environment which warps the perception and thus the moral code of each individual combatant.  It’s about time we stop goose-step marching to the beat of our American government’s propaganda songs, and wake up to reality, before it is too late.

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By Daniel Newby, June 21, 2007 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
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In Iraq, soldiers paid, in part, for every stupid vote, every bureaucrat’s tolerated lie, and every other dismal political decision made in America. In time, many will realize , as we do, that our politicians do not support the ideals they claim to believe in public settings. And few of us — military soldier or activist soldier — will ever enjoy the Souza fluff-world of flag waving and apple pie the way we used to.

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By Robert, June 20, 2007 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment


#79585 by Robert on 6/20 at 8:25 am
(104 comments total)

Comment #79445 by “lefty/ephraim” on 6/19 at 8:31 pm

“But tell me this, how do you feel about the systematic brain washing of Arab and Pakistani muslim children in the business of racial hatred, bigotry, terrorism and suicide bombing?”

  Lefty/Ephraim, your zionist name…

Your above question has already been answered to about 2-3 weeks ago.Peter RV, responded to it very effectively. Did you already forget about it? Surely you haven’t already…Ephraim?

Don’t you remember the response from {Peter RV} which came at you from no where. It was described as a 20 pounds sledge hammer left hook…knockout!

  So now you are still spewing your zionist lies & propaganda…and still trying to spread hatred for Arabs,Islamics, Palestinians…etc…

  Peter RV, responded to your juvenile post in clear & convincing words.

  Well…I am going to ad on to [Peter RV’s] response with a little more details for truthdig’s readers.

  Part One: Images of the Day.

  Very cute Israeli girls/children writing and sending messages on missiles, bombs and/or shells.

So who is telling these little Israeli girls / children to writesuch messages on such destructive American made weapons. These weapons killed and murdered so many Lebanese children, women, men and caused so much destruction. Who is teaching these Israeli children racial hatred,bigotry, terrorism…etc…?

  One can see Israel’s brutal IDF and other Israeli adults standing by the children as they writeand sign these bombs/shells. These children are just doing what they have been told to do by their teachers, brain washers and parents…and others.

  So here the link for 3 images of Israeli little girls writing, conveying and sending their hatred on American made missiles & bombs to Lebanon’s Arab children/civilians:

Part Two: The Results of Israel’s American Made Signed Weapons.


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By Jeremiad, June 20, 2007 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is one of the few voices who speaks to the moral issues of war and Christian fascism destroying the fabric of this nation.  Few reporters, like Chris Hedges (and Robert Fisk), put themselves in the line of fire in the Anglo/American tragic misadventures and occupations (including Palestine) to bring the reality of war to us through their writing and interviews. This reality is gut-wrenching.  We need to listen and become a voice.  “If Americans Only Knew” ....We know!!!  It is time to face the truth—prosecute those who bring preemptive war and stop illegal, immoral occupation!  Thank you, Chris Hedges!!

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By moni, June 20, 2007 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#79507 N*a*h*i*d*a

Thank-you, very poignant poetry.  The poetry, the image, the verse, the once-colorful child in the casket ,,, one can only weep.

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By nahida, June 20, 2007 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Let figures speak:

-There are no civilians in “Israhell”, every man and woman over the age of 18 MUST serve in the army for 2-3 years, and then they serve as “reserve soldiers” until they retire.

Israhell is not a state with an army; it is an army with a state.

-Since September 2000; Israelis killed 943 Palestinian children, and at least 4,160 Palestinian civilians, and injured 31,403.

-Over a period of 60 years of brutal, barbaric, and racist occupation of Palestine by Israhell; Palestinians (regrettably) killed 118 Israeli children.

-1 Israeli is being held prisoner by Palestinians, while 10,756 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel

-0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 4,170 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since September 29, 2000.
and over 18,000 homes have been demolished since 1967.

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By Brian Armstrong, June 20, 2007 at 8:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This story destroys its own credibility by claiming that US troops are deliberately killing innocents—which is the definition of “murder.” Otherwise he’s insisting that every war be free of innocent deaths—which is equally ridiculous. If the Iraqis want Americans gone, they have yet to vote for it.

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By Peter RV, June 20, 2007 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
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Ref.#79348 by Rob
You are either a victim of our Psychological Warfare or a part of it.
What you dont seem to know is that all ‘sectarian strife’ in Iraq is performed by the death-squads of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, notoriously under control of the CIA, and little to do even with the puppet Iraqi Government.
You probably don’t even know that there are over one hundred thousand “contractors” armed to the teeth, who occasionally go into open rampage killing civilians -for fun. How many of them are arab speeking Mossad agents? ( In Basra, not long ago, two British- arab speaking-Special Force members were caught ,desguised as Arabs,carrying explosives. The British immediately destroyed the Iraqi Police compond to liberate them, before Iraqi Police had chance to identyfy them).
You can’t be unaware,by now, of the most heinous crimes ‘Our Boys’ have commited against defenseless Iraqi Population, and their regular cowardice to report or to protest them (it is quite possible that Pat Tillman was ‘fragged’ precisely for that). You prefer to believe that some ‘wahabist’ or Al Qaeda are responsible , without thinking that this might be exactly our propaganda mythology to justify the planned mayhem to destroy the Iraqi Society.
Do you realize that well over one million of Iraqi would still be alive today if we didn’t attack that country? Or, are you one of those who still believe that those famous Weapons of Mass Destruction will be found? Finally, do you believe that our Govrnment,faced by one of the most hideous crime committed in History,can give us anything but lies and vituperations?
  Hedges is wrong, though, even in conceding Our Boys some ‘physical combat courage’. What physical courage can be exibited being protected by tanks, helicopters, F-16 and artillery,(never mind personnal armor)which enter in action as soon as the sniper shoots are fired?
By kicking the doors, previously sprayed with mashingun fire, of the homes of frightened Iraqi families?
No, this is the most cowardly war ever fought in History, as Aroundathy Roy pointed out. It was initiated and fought by our cowardly and lying Government and carried out mercilessly against the weak and defenseless by our mercenary Army of “buddies”, devoid of any notion of gallantry.
They have made crimes the Nazies would be ashamed of.
America has sunk itself morally into such pits that would take generations of decents to pull it out.

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By EE Roberts, June 20, 2007 at 5:17 am Link to this comment
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““how would all these right wing and knee jerk patriots feel if the foriegn army was in our country”

  They would be making excuses for the occupiers and sucking up to them.  The faux patriots who love war as long as they aren’t in danger are cowards, lickspittles who grovel before whoever they see as holding the whip.

  They would be the first to claim that the occupiers were the true American authorities and that anyone resisting them are “terrorists"or unpatriotic.

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By nahida, June 20, 2007 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

Thank you

So, let me get this straight:

You tear my veil to free me

You jail me to rid me of my terror

You kill my beloved to liberate me

You shoot my baby to erase my misery

You starve me to show me how to vote

You threaten me to bring me to my senses

You wage war on me to help me find peace

You slay my people to teach me compassion

You humiliate me to aid me live with dignity

You insult me to illustrate freedom of speech

You crush my bones to save me from my evil

You demolish my home to elevate my morality

You uproot my tree to raise my ethical standard

You steal my resources to bring me social justice

You assassinate my leaders to bring me security

You bomb my town to train me into democracy

You destroy my history to educate me about progress

You dehumanise me to coach me into humanity

You wipe me out to push me to civilisation

You scorn my faith to bring me salvation

Thank you sir

How can I -ever- pay you back?

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By Robert, June 20, 2007 at 12:34 am Link to this comment

Lefty/ephraim, your zionist name,....!


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By bear47, June 19, 2007 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment

Having served honorably in the Marines and done my time in Viet Nam, I can tell all of you that war is the MOST pornographic thing human kind has ever devised.
Glory? In war? Bullcrap! Wars are fought in a garbage dump. The smell of the rotting dead can never be cleansed from memory. The sight and sounds and smell of an air strike never go away. Glory? That is for the movies and the liar politicians who have never been to war.

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By Robert, June 19, 2007 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

Comment #79437….

Lefty/ephraim, your zionisty name,... your intelligent(?) posts just keep on increasing in numbers(#s). You are really impressing these intelligent crowds of readers/people on truthdig. You are knocking their damn socks off with your…intelligent BS!

I just saw your cartoon picture on truthdig’s home page again…Have mercy on those Palestinian children in that IDF torture cage…Will you?

BTW, lefty/ephraim… you do NOT represent the true Judaism religion. True Judaism represents TRUTH, compassion, fairness, love, love thy neighbor, justice, forgiveness, kindness.

You only represent “Nazi Zionism” the BRUTAL religion of your Israeli IDF. Your religion represents murder of children, bloody killings, torture, state terrorism, lies & propaganda, racism, Apartheid, oppression, human rights violations, house demolitions, assasinations…and much more gruesome representations.

Your brutal IDF needs you to supervise their many Israeli…TORTURE CHAMBERS…for the more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners…and many of them women and children.

Just keep flashing your “cute” gas chambers, and your zionist mein kampf copies…on these threads.

Lefty/ephraim… you really would make a great zionist IDF guard officer. You would just show those Palestinian children who has that SUPERIOR zionist blood. Those children will be at your mercy…eh!

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By Robert, June 19, 2007 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

Comment #79321 by lefty/iphraim on 6/19

“lefty/iphraim”, your zionist name, just keep plopping your green horse manure right on top of the rest of your manure piles, for intelligent people of your status symbol…eh!, in that lonely…jackass stall…that you have been shackled in ...for quite some time now!!!

You lie so much that your illusions and cofusions have totally blinded you & and your pus filled skull. I don’t think that you know what TRUTH is. You zionism’s ideologies of racism, hatred, apartheid systems are all printed in your version of Zionism “Mein Kampf”.

You just keep flashing those “cute” sound bites about that mein kampf . What…are you giving out sample copies? You sure are advertizing about it a whole lot!  Just keep spewing “nuke Arabs/Palestinians and cry anti-semitism & Mein Kampf”! That is one of your preditable zionist methods!

Every time I see that cartoon picture of Ehud Olmert on the home page of truthdig…I just wonder if you resemble him. May be you have a couple of Palestinian children in that cage instead of those dogs…eh! You zionist humanity is glowing…lefty/ephraim!

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By Rob, June 19, 2007 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Peter RV, it might be a bit too much to claim that an Iraqi insurgent is a superior moral human being than an American soldier. I agree more or less with your point, the insurgent certainly has much greater reasons for fighting(land and/or family) than the American soldier(college money, jingoistic patriotism, or the the thrill of combat). However, the problem is that no two or three insurgents are the same.

The Sunni wahhabist fighter who blows up a Shiite wedding reception outside of a mosque is not a superior human being. Nor is the Baathist loyalist who kidnaps a politically neutral foreign journalist who is simply there to report on the strife of his country with the intent to decapitate that journalist on tv. The insurgent who instructs children to act as decoys or distractions during an attack cannot possibly hold any moral ground. Neither does the Arab insurgent who attacks Kurds purely out of blind racism.

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By bigjimbo, June 19, 2007 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

As a vietnam vet, and father of an army son who will be returning to Iraq next month, I am in agreement with Chris Hedges.  I support the initial action in Afghanistan but the war in Iraq is an enormous crime.  Crime, not a mistake!  Bush did not go mistakenly into Iraq.  It was on his agenda before he took office.  As someone who took an oath to defend the Constitution, I am confronted by an administration that has declared war on the Constitution. It is a truism that all governments govern with the consent of the governed, even in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR.  Have we had enough yet?  All it takes is for the populus to non-violently and peacefully take to the streets and end this insanity.

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By Matt, June 19, 2007 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: #78995 by Matt on 6/18 at 11:49 am
(Unregistered commenter)


“That’ll teach ‘um not to try to steal Dick Cheney’s oil!”

No, Lefty.

For the fanatically pro-Israel neoconservatives (including gentiles like Cheney and Woolsey) who planned this war and lied us into it, this is all about Israel and about hating Arabs and Muslims. The racist book “The Arab Mind”, by Zionist supremacist Raphael Patai, was their bible on how to “deal with” these inferiors.

The murderous Zionist hatred of Arabs and Muslims is written all over the whole enterprise. Your lovely “progressive” Israel-firsters are the prime culprits.
Matt, you’re an IDIOT!

Lefty: either you do not know the importance of that noxious racist book in the literature of zionism and neoconservatism, or you are being disingeniuous. Which is it?

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By Peter RV, June 19, 2007 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges’ analysis of the American war psychology is good as far as it goes but it misses an entire dimension - It is strictly from the American point of view.
Of course, our war culure is not only of atrocity, but also of torture, murder and lies ( main ingredients of our History, BTW)and the War does deform the psychy of the participants, especially of soldiers.
  However, if one looks at war from the point of view of the victims of American agressions, one ought to see a different picture - War also ennobles.
Far from being a degrading human activity it becomes often a supreme level of spiritual and moral accomplishment. To put it bluntly, an Iraqi freedom fighter is a far superior human being to an American soldier. The first one defends his country against the agressor fully aware that he can die at any instant. He has no choice of arms, if any, and he bears with his family an incredible hardship insisting that his cause is a devine justice. And -it is.
Against him, he has an extremely well armed (and paid),pampered creature, totally inhibited by his superiority complex, and warped by his personnal resentment, either that he isn’t apreciated as a ‘kultur-trager’, or, because his “buddy” has just been blown up- and he goes hysterically on rampage shooting everybody on sight (one can’t help thinking that we sent these people there to reduce crime at home)
  Let’s start supporting the removal of our boys from Iraq (and Afganistan)-ASAP!

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By Dale Headley, June 19, 2007 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You won’t see this picture in the mainstream, corporate-run media.  Why? because the military doesn’t care; which doesn’t care because Bush doesn’t; who doesn’t care because Congress doesn’t; which doesn’t because the American people don’t.  After all, what’s one more “towel-head” more or less?

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By Bert, June 19, 2007 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
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Bluntly spoken, democracy’s in the outhouse when Exxon’s in the White House, and it’s too bad that there’s not more people who’ve served in the service with similar levels of intestinal fortitude as exemplified by Lt. Watada, who bluntly refused to serve in what he deemed to be an immoral war. There is an impeachment movement, one website to reference is, but there’s others you can find on your own, and yes, to push for impeachment is to swim against the political and economic tide, and might end up being a futile gesture, yet it is also a principled gesture, and without principles, the whole of our country is nothing but a bunch of Bernanke’s consumers willing to hire mercenaries to rob resources from other countries for money. In THAT context, life IS irrelevant, specifically the lives of the people in those countries. Page back in the history books to Vietnam, and read about dear old American Standard Oil, and Dick ‘5 deferments’ Cheney, as well as George ‘awol’ Bush. Indeed, there are some Serious Problems with this administration, at least to the eye of the outside observer, the uncompensated, unco-opted masses, the people that do not partake in the petroleum industry’s blatant self-enrichment at-all-costs enterprise. ‘L’etat, c’est Texaco’ just doesn’t cut it, and more and more people are becoming increasingly disenfranchised with the entire business, yes, business, of the Iraq war.

If you really think about it, in one way the real culprit, the real killer here, is something that Ralph Nader has been talking about for years. Yes, the automobile. THAT thing you have to drive in everyday to get to your job because that’s about what our country’s set up for, these days, and in addition to the cars, you also have to look at economic inertia. The direction our country is headed in, Bush’s magic ‘growth’(malignant growth, by some people’s measure), implies more roads, more cars on those roads, and more people dying in/under those cars, some 40,000 people a year, by some estimates, as well as the NHTSA people’s educated guess, ask your insurance agent for the Real Story, which you’ll probably only get under BushCo-brand ‘rendition’, but bottom line is that speed kills, and it’s because of the cars, and frankly the Iraq war is because of the cars too, indirectly, because without gasoline, which is derived mostly from these oil imports, the whole show comes to a short halt, businesses grinding to a halt, cats and dogs sleeping together, the whole 9 yards, and we can’t have THAT, now, can we? Indeed, not. So, we’re left with a moral choice, and something of an engineering challenge as well, how do you move a 3,000 pound vehicle from point A to point B without importing petroleum from any number of a list of 3rd world countries? Ethanol’s one answer, hydrogen’s another, bio-diesel, electricity, I’ll bet there’s even someone working on a solar-flywheel system or something, I’d buy one of those in a hot second, go park under a street light and recharge your car, let’s see em charge you for THAT! LOL

Bottom line is, if you don’t like seeing people get shot by greedy oil companies using our military to give them legitimacy, go out and take a Good Hard Look at what’s parked in your driveway, go make some coffee, and have an hour-long sit-down with friends and family, and start working on a new ‘way forward’ for yourself that doesn’t involve adding fuel to the flames in Iraq by giving money to oil companies who’ve got a ‘conscience deficit’ etc…if you think you can master basic horsemanship, you can probably find someone willing to sell you a worthy steed capable of carrying you off into the energy independence sunset. Warning: Some shovel-work required, and horses respond poorly to riders with bad manners. Sometimes violently. Ow! LOL

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By TruthSeeker, June 19, 2007 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

What we are witnessing in Iraq, at the hands of the US military, is a complete and utter destruction of an entire society and nation.  But is this not simply the normal operating procedure any time America decides to launch war against a weak, innocent and non-threatening third world nation? Look at Vietnam and its 3 million dead. 

Combined with the sanctions of the 1990’s, with depleted uranium, and two wars, Iraq has probably now had 3 million dead. Quite an accomplishment, America. We should be so proud of our country and military. We are the Evil Empire.

For a scathing and intelligent look at what we have done in Iraq, I highly recommend “Holocaust Redux” and “Of the Evil Empire”. Well worth your time, along with other articles from this excellent writer.

Link to Holocaust Redux:

Of the Evil Empire:

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By Fed-Up, June 19, 2007 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
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Aside from the ideological/moral arguments I have read on this post, please consider the pragmatic arguments for not waging unnessary war. Ask yourself who profits? Certainly not the poor grunt and his/her family, not the average taxpayer, and certainly not the unwitting civillian in the middle of the carnage. The defense industry of course. Its a cancer on our nation. Read “War is a Racket” by General Smedly Butler. It was written long before the military industrial complex became the unruly beast it is today. Old Smeds had it right on way back then.

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By michael, June 19, 2007 at 9:35 am Link to this comment
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MARIAM RUSSELL   As a texan and with family in south I have heard all that crap about how bad the south was treated how their rights where trampled and how unfair it was.  My response has allways been how many rights did the slaves have how where they treated ????  War is hell and all the south had to do was let the slaves go and there would have been no war.  But the where greedy and did not want to give up the lifestyle.  Just like today most americans wont give up the hummers and other gas guzzlers for the good of the world.  Instead we back the rape of another country just for cheap gas.

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By Dan Stewart, June 19, 2007 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
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Mike Mid-City:

I appreciate you and other vets speaking out against the Iraq war.

As for Pope John-Paul II, yes he did speak against the war several times, not as much as he did about certain social issues, however.  But, what he didn’t do was tell Catholics that the Iraq war failed to meet the principles of Just War and therefore to participate in or support it constitutes mortal sin.

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By John Lowell, June 19, 2007 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
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Lest Hedges make a mockery of this piece, let him not forget the most basic of killings visited upon human beings: Embryonic stem-cell research and abortion. Miss those and you’ve missed ‘em all Mr. Hedges.

John Lowell

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By Hammo, June 19, 2007 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Hedges’ article cuts to the heart of the matter. This is the kind of information, insight and perspective that Americans need to take very seriously.

The “blowback” from what has happened in Iraq—politically, militarily, psychologically, morally and spiritually—is bound to be very significant.

Americans must face some unpleasant facts about the invasion and occupation of Iraq and show courage in the face of these realities.

More on this in the articles ...

‘Dumbing down’ of Americans may not be working  
Populist Party of America

-  -  -

Gathering intelligence: Grassroots intel by and for the people
Populist Party of America

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By Robert, June 19, 2007 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

Comment #79121 by “lefty=ephraim pesach” on 6/18 at 8:43 pm

“Also masquerading as someone they are not, post on any other subject ordinarily of interest to intelligent people concerned with the goings of the world.”

Lefty/ephraim,(is your zionist name),...all that needs to be done is for anyone to check the record on the following ‘truthdig’s’ threads to see your comments/posts regarding your “subject(s) ordinarily of interest to to ‘intelligent’ people”:

- ‘President’ Lieberman:A Cautionary Tale

- Looking Back on 40 years of Occupation

- Palestinians’ Hard Choice: An Interview with Sari Nusseibeh

- Sheinbaum: Carter’s ‘Apartheid’ Mistake

Lefty/ephraim…the bulk of your posts/comments can be found on the above threads.

The bulk of your posts/comments, if not all, are plainly deceptive lies, zionist propaganda, racist, anti-Arab/Islamic, crudeness, hollow baseless remedial hatred sound bites.

There is absolutely “NOTHING” you spewed on these     forums & others that can even come close to be called intelligent or for use by intelligent people. Let the readers check!

You may think that you are intelligent…with your current confused state of mind and events. Your posts of lies/propaganda were proven “WRONG” so many times that one cannot even begin to count them.

You were told that a “BABOON” with only 2 weeks of training can out perform your idiotic record on truthdig. Its almost always…those same impacted comments. NOTHING NEW!

Its always the same tactics…anyone who comments/criticizes your zionism “NAZI” racism/Israel’s apartheid policies and record…you and your zionist pals get hysterical and start calling them…Arabs, Islamists, terrorists…and that same familiar zionist patterns/methods…your ways are predictable!

Let’s see you put something for intelligent people to read. Let’s see you put something that is constructive and promotes harmony, understanding, humanity, love and NOT hatred/racism. Let’s see you post comments out of concern for ALL people and NOT just for Israel/Jews!

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By Diane Anderson, June 19, 2007 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
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If you are so prescient, Anonomous Coward, about what you think some poor dead baby would grow up to do, perhaps you could save the rest of us all the heart-searching and hand-wringing and tell us how this war is going to end.

‘Anonymous Coward’? Very apt.

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By Melissa, June 19, 2007 at 3:14 am Link to this comment
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When I see that dead baby, all I can think of is my grandchildren.  If an army of invaders came to my country and killed one of them , I would fight them until they left or until I died.  Would you not all do the same?

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By aileench, June 18, 2007 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

The U.S should not forget the committment made towards the U.N. Millennium Goals in 2000. According to The Borgen Project, an annual $19 billion dollars is needed to end world hunger by the year 2025. To my sense, it is almost unacceptable to have spent so far more than $340 billion in Iraq only, when we have more than war immunities to change the world and eliminate poverty

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By Elizabeth J. Young, June 18, 2007 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment
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What nobody has mentioned except NamViet is “we are going to pay big time for all this”. We teach this young kids to fight and kill and they do.  When they get home, how do they “forget” what they have done?  How do they become “normal” again.  They don’t.  That is the point; we have destroyed the moral balance and innocence of a lot of our young people.  Where is our plan to help them come to terms with what they have done?

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By keith22, June 18, 2007 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Excellent essay.  Contrary to what Bush said, British Defense Ministry said the Lancet/Johns Hopkins study was sound and robust.  And the 655,000 figure only covers through July 2006.
    Only one is eight Iraqi children now live to age of five.  In Afghanistan, it is only one in four.
    When asked their reaction to news of the 24 civilians killed in Haditha, Iraqis said “it happens every day.  Why do you only ask about the one?”
    My brother was two tours in Vietnam.  He said there was nothing rare about My Lai.  He said it happened all the time.  He came back pretty screwed up.  It took eighteen months of effort to get the MSM to report on the My Lai story.  Colin Powell helped cover it up for the Army.
    Two to three million died in Vietnam.  And they didn’t follow us home when we left—-although all conservatives at the time said they would.
    How many millions of Native Americans did we kill?  It goes back a long way.

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By Frikken Kids, June 18, 2007 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

Max Shields,

You still seem to think that I somehow suggested that without religion there would be no violence in the world.  I didn’t say that.  Repeat - I didn’t say that.  To explain once more, I simply said that using the bible as a citation against war or violence is not a good idea - the bible has too much deplorable violence in it.  It would be like citing Barry Bonds saying that steroids are bad while he is widely regarded as a major user.  Do you see?  It would be like arguing against profanity in movies and using a quote from Quentin Tarantino about how much swearing in movies sucks.  There is no credibility in the reference.

That’s all I was saying.  I did not in any way, shape or form suggest that without the bible there would be no more violence.

As for twentieth century wars killing the most people…that’s a ridiculously common straw man you’re putting up there.  It has been well argued by people much more articulate than me that Nazism was more like a religion than unlike.  Almost every person fighting (on both sides of both of the big wars) was religious.  And you do have to give a lot of credit for the death tolls to the wonders of more modern weaponry which puts incredible killing power in the hands of every soldier. 

Of course, what’s even the point of me making this argument?  You’ve got me defending a position I never even took in the first place.

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By Robert, June 18, 2007 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

RE: Lefty=Zionist Zealot (aka) Ephraim Pesach

Comments #79067, #79068 on 6/18



“A 19-year old Swedish human rights worker had her cheekbone broken by an Israeli settler in Hebron today. Tove Johanson from Stockholm walked through the Tel Rumeida checkpoint with a small group of human rights workers to accompany Palestinian schoolchildren to their homes.

They were confronted by about 100 settlers in small groups, who started chanting in Hebrew “We Killed Jesus, we’ll kill you too!”, a refrain the settlers had been repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day.”


Folks…these fanatic zionist zealots are friends of “zionist=lefty”. Their hatred, racism is what Zionism is all about.


Take a good at the horrific bloody pictures & the killing rage on the faces of these zionist Israeli settlers with the brutal IDF.

Here is the link for the details of this article & who the bloody culprits are?:

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By Sean O'Keefe, June 18, 2007 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
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I have not read such trash in a long time!! Having been over there and going back again, the Iraqis only hate toward us is the fact that we did it half assed and did not put enough troops into beign with!! The things that you descibe are not typical, they happen, yes, but are rare and most of the civilian deaths are caused by the insurgents and Al Queda, well over a simple majority!! I have never seen such terrible un-truths!!
Look, if you want to argue that the war has been run wrongly, you have a point but come up with a solution don’t just complain
If you want to say that innocents are killed, your right, but to portray it like the Iraqis are more scared of us then the isurgents or Al Queda, your just not being honest. Every complaint I got while there was “Why do you not stay here!!” “Why have you not gotten rid of them!!!” (Insurgents). IF you want to minimize what loss of life does happen from us, give an idea!
If you want to say that there things that go on that are horrible, fine, but put the blame where it belongs, at the feet of the insurgents and Al Queda groups. Yes, you can also put some of it at the feet of the Civilian leaders at the Pentagon but to go on like you have is both ignorant and dishonest.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 18, 2007 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment
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Tom Doff, please tell me you are not comparing a bunch of desparate people coming North looking for work so they and their families can survive in the dog´s world we have built with our own hands, with a trained to kill, overwhelmingly armed, army, and airforce whose aim is to deal death and destruction.

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By PatrickHenry, June 18, 2007 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

If this “collateral” damage happened in this country by foreigners there would be a million people under arms the next day…......don’t give up your guns.

In that part of the world, the family of this dead child is honor bound to avenge his death.  We call it terrorism, they call it culture.  One that preceeded ours.

The war has gone on too long and shoot first ask questions later reigns the day.

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By joshua welch, June 18, 2007 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
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This “Culture of Atrocity” has nothing to do w/ religion.  I know that’s what you learned in your divinity program.  If these people lived their lives based on evidence they would of course still be blowing each other to smithereens.

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By Anonymous Coward, June 18, 2007 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One less little boy to grow up and stone a young girl to death.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 18, 2007 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks for the Schell, Max. Have read the others.

Now, for anyone who thinks we have recently developed this penchant for the slaughter of civilians, and believe the myth of the moral US spreading good, you will be sad to learn we did not shrink from doing it to our own, so if marshall law is ever declared, find a hidey hole…....

The state funding and control of higher education that have produced the totalitarian regime of political correctness has all but guaranteed that there will be few (if any) publications that illuminate, rather than obfuscate, some of the more devious deeds of the American state throughout its history. But historian Walter Brian Cisco, who is not an academic and is not on any state payroll, has recently written a book – War Crimes Against Southern Civilians – that blows the lid off the conspiracy of silence about the violent, mass-murdering origins of the American Leviathan state (or “The New Birth of Freedom,” as both left-wing and right-wing statists put it).

In the name of “restoring the union” the U.S. Army, under the micromanagement of Abraham Lincoln, waged war on its own people, shelling and burning entire cities populated only by civilians and engaging in acts of plunder, forced evacuation, and mass murder. It is all documented in gory detail by Mr. Cisco, who quotes conservative icon Richard M. Weaver in his introductory chapter as having remarked that “from the military policies of Sherman and Sheridan there lies but an easy step to total war of the Nazis, the greatest affront to Western civilization since its founding.”

Lincoln cultists are fond of dismissing all of this by reciting Sherman’s “war is hell” slogan. But as Cisco points out, murders, rapes, and robberies are also inevitable in human society, and are likely to happen much more often if we cease to regard them as reprehensible. Those who idolize General Sherman in this way are not “hearing the totalitarian echo in their words.”

Lincoln was always aware of what was going on; waging war on civilians – his own citizens – was his own policy from the very beginning, as Cisco proves. In May of 1861, for example, Captain Nathaniel Lyon recruited some seven thousand new German immigrants (mostly without uniforms) to eliminate suspected secessionists in St. Louis. They rounded up some six hundred men and paraded them through the streets playing the Star Spangled Banner (which must have been completely foreign to the mostly non-English speaking Germans). When the citizens of St. Louis protested, the recruits fired on them, killing twenty-eight civilians and wounding seventy-five. Lyon was promoted to brigadier general a week later, while some ten thousand civilians fled St. Louis.

By 1863 Missouri, under U.S. Army occupation, was a place were “arson, theft, and murder became so common that vast sections of the state were uninhabited.” Cisco quotes Union General James H. Lane as saying, “We believe in a war of extermination. I want to see every foot of ground in Jackson, Cass and Bates counties burned over – everything laid waste.”

Another practice of the Union Army that is reminiscent of totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century was forced relocation of suspected dissenters. Cisco gives chapter and verse of how this occurred in Missouri, Tennessee, and elsewhere, as thousands of civilians were forced to leave their homes. This even included Ohio Congressman Clement Vallandigham.

Plunder and pillage was also the Official Policy of the Lincoln regime from the start of the war, as Cisco shows. Before being defeated in the Battle of Fredericksburg the Union Army occupied the town for a short while. Cisco quotes a Union Army officer as saying that “the men had emptied every house and store of its contents, and the streets, as a matter of course, were filled with chairs and sofas, pianos, books, and everything imaginable. . . .”

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By Tom Doff, June 18, 2007 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment
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Bullsh*t, Hedges, your theory is full of cr*p.

Look at all the millions of young men and women Mexicans invading the US, you don’t see a lot of stories of them killing and raping US kids.

Or is the US MSM just hiding that truth from us too?

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By Max Shields, June 18, 2007 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

#79027 by Frikken Kids on 6/18 at 1:55 pm

Well now I’m a “tool”. Before it was “twit”.

I understood your comment. You seem to think that his rather longish essay was very good, but should not have included a phrase from the Bible.

I think the biggest mistake we can make is not to understand the causes of war. Rather than studying the Bible for associations in ancient times with tribal warring, I’d suggest you re-consider 20th century war that killed more humans than all of the wars/conclicts throughout history combined. And then show me exactly where religion was the cause.

I’m not defending religion - I’m just not interested in faux history based on anti-religious beliefs. Hedges used a poignant phrase and pow it’s back to religious fanaticism….

You may want to take a look at the links I suggested to Mariam Russell. I do think we agree on the bigger issue about the atrocities of this immoral and criminal war - that continues to go on in our name. The detachment most Americans have - or denial - from what is being paid for by them and in their name is part and pracel of the atrocity.

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By namvet67, June 18, 2007 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
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I know first hand of the environment that creates these “atrocity-producing situations.” I come from a culture of atrocity. Da Nang and most of 1 Corps was a free-fire most of the time during the Vietnam War. I was 17 when I joined the Marines. I was a true believer. My government as well as my religion sanctioned it, so all I had to do was fight. Kind of what I always had wanted to do. I had outgrown playing war and thought I was ready for the real thing. But, by a month after my 19th birthday I didn’t know what I believed in. I just knew that I didn’t want to be a Marine anymore. As badly as I had wanted in the Marines I now wanted out with even more desire. I was in a military hospital recovering from gunshot wounds to my back, but I was more confused mentally than I was wounded physically. My body would take care of the damage the bullets caused but the damage to my mind was ignored. I had just spent almost a year in a place where the war was there when you woke up in the morning and it was there when you fell asleep that night. To survive in that environment you have to discard anything that makes you vulnerable. Eventually this will include your god, your country and maybe even your family. Things like justice and emotions have no place. At first you could justify atrocities that happened in a strictly military situation involving only military members. But seeing civilians, especially children and women involved in atrocities wasn’t part of my definition of war. All my war games growing up only involved heroic military men. My twelve years Catholic schooling hadn’t prepared me to deal with seeing children and babies as part of the game. Soon your baggage consists only of you. Everything you brought to the war you have given up. The goal now is just to survive and you tell yourself that you will do anything to survive. When you miraculously make it home you’re immediately shocked to discover that most Americans don’t even care about what you were doing or what you went through. So don’t blame, or only cry for the grunt or the insurgent or the collateral damage. But also try and learn from the survivors.
Hoa binh

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By Frikken Kids, June 18, 2007 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Max, I really don’t think you understand.  Hedges has written an excellent essay - and I said so.  I took exception to one small part of that essay - where in his grand condemnation of the war in Iraq, Hedges uses a reference to the bible as if the bible were a legitimate source to cite for condemnation of violence.  It isn’t.  The bible is probably one of the most brutal collection of documents ever ammassed.  I think that to make such a citation when so much of the bible is about gleeful slaughter is irresponsible.  I commented that is seemed out of place and transparent of Hedges’ pro-religous tendencies that he would include it. 

You then read my comment and decided that I was saying that without the bible, there would be no violence in the world.  I was saying nothing of the sort.  That should be obvious.  For coming to that rediculous conclusion, you are a tool, as I explained in a further post and have now spelled out even further.

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By Max Shields, June 18, 2007 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

#78996 by MARIAM RUSSELL on 6/18 at 11:49 am

Hedges book on war is certainly a good place to start. But this is not new. This kind of organized murder, as Hedges rightly calls it, has always been part of the drum beat of war. Barbara Ehrenreich has done some great work in “Blood Rites, Origins and History of the Passions of War”.

Here’s an essay by Ehrenreich that I think captures the complexity of war and what it takes to get people to march off and kill other human beings - it’s not easy task. But the kind of civilian “wars” that the US has engaged in makes the atrocities even more blatant.

Howard Zinn has also written eloquently on war and how it is not an innate desire to kill. His essay, “Just and Unjust War”:

Simplton explanations like a “war gene” or “religion” are not the cause of war as provided by reasoned historians and scholars on the subject.

I would also recommend the Unconquerable World by Jonathan Schell. An excellent book that takes out the myths, and provides hope.

Indoctrinating young men and women to go off and kill unknown people, requires a complete psychological breakdown (boot camp) and the demonization of the those “foreign enemies” who become anyone and everyone not wearing a US uniform.

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By Chaseme, June 18, 2007 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Remember this one?

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By Max Shields, June 18, 2007 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

#78992 by Frikken Kids on 6/18 at 11:37 am
(11 comments total)

Max Shields…

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying, you twit.  By offering a mild criticism Hedges trying to say his bible is against war, I am therefore asserting that without the bible there would be no war.”

You used an entire paragraph to “refute” a phrase form the Bible. So, the Bible as a source is off limits and if used will be litmus tested by your convoluted logic. You really should read what you writebefore venting.

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By Leefeller, June 18, 2007 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

“Warning” incoherent rant following:

“Right to Life, “  Blow up another doctors office.

“War on Terror” for whom?  The Helpless.

News speak, mind speak

slime bags,


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By moni, June 18, 2007 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
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Chris Hedges . . .  what a succinct summation and how can it get more excrutiatingly obvious.  War is NOT the Answer.

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By Greetings, June 18, 2007 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment
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Why can this President use our dearest national treasure, young lives, and destroy all the good our great county has done to fulfill some warped neo-con view?  I do what I can do to change this wrong as many of us do but still the war and the arrogant neo-cons and dysfunctional religious attitudes persist.  No one will win this war.  We all are losers.  I along with the majority of the American people will continue to do what I can to stop this war.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 18, 2007 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
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And Then we make excuses…..

It was a ¨MISTAKE¨
They are young.
They were afraid.
They are not ¨DISCIPLINED¨.


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By MARIAM RUSSELL, June 18, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
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This needs saying, over and over and over. If we create the situation, yes, we can allow our own children to be turned into murdering monsters.

Do high school teachers even have the latitude to use a book like WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANING?

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By Matt, June 18, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
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“That’ll teach ‘um not to try to steal Dick Cheney’s oil!”

No, Lefty.

For the fanatically pro-Israel neoconservatives (including gentiles like Cheney and Woolsey) who planned this war and lied us into it, this is all about Israel and about hating Arabs and Muslims. The racist book “The Arab Mind”, by Zionist supremacist Raphael Patai, was their bible on how to “deal with” these inferiors.

The murderous Zionist hatred of Arabs and Muslims is written all over the whole enterprise. Your lovely “progressive” Israel-firsters are the prime culprits.

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By GrammaConcept, June 18, 2007 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Thank you so much for this very clearly stated and very well-written essay…..I was particularly impressed with this line:

........“War is the pornography of violence.”...........

This sentence is enlightening…especially when one understands the actual definition of pornography…graphic depictions of ‘power over’ opposed to erotica…graphic depictions of sensual existence for savoring like a beautiful banquet (so to speak)........I am reminded of Susan Griffen’s book “Pornography And Silence”..........

God Is Love, war is hell…..Strive On, All..Oh please..Strive On….

Warmth, Courage, and Love,

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By Frikken Kids, June 18, 2007 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Max Shields…

Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying, you twit.  By offering a mild criticism Hedges trying to say his bible is against war, I am therefore asserting that without the bible there would be no war.  Just like somebody who doesn’t like speeders thinks that if nobody sped there would be no car accidents, and just like a person who doesn’t like red meat thinks there would be no more heart disease if we all stopped eating cow.


Did you even concider that I meant exactly what I wrote.  That I think an otherwise excellent piece of writing was mildly tainted by Hedges’ attempt at saying the bible doesn’t condone war.

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By Max Shields, June 18, 2007 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

#78926 by Frikken Kids on 6/18 at 7:39 am

“He just had to stick in something about the bible.  And what he sticks in, a statement about the bible warning against war, is in stark contrast to pretty much the entire old testament which has the god of Isreal gleefully sending his people to war after war.  An otherwise excellent article detailing the horrible realities of this war shouldn’t be given such an obvious Achilles’ heel.”

So, then, by this reasoning if there were no formal religions - no old or new testaments, there’d be no war?

Do I catch your drift?

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By hatchcover, June 18, 2007 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and there is no end in sight!  Why do I continue reading articles like this?  I feel ashamed of my country.

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By Michael Boldin, June 18, 2007 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

atrocity-producing situations…

It holds a strong truth.  By waging optional wars, these people are placed in a position to kill or be killed.  But, as aggressive war was once prosecuted as a war crime back at Nuremburg.

This aggressive war in Iraq holds serious moral and legal implications for all those involved.  The time for this insanity to end is now.

Will anyone be held responsible for the killing?  It’s murder….

Some follow up reading:

“Collateral Damage is Murder”

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By atheo, June 18, 2007 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

I highly recommend Hedges book War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. Order it for any young family member who may lack direction before it’s too late. You may wish that you had when they are in boot camp. High school teachers should include it in their course planning. Anyone that needs to understand veterans (most of us) needs to read this book.

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By carlito paquito, June 18, 2007 at 10:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

BRAVO BRETT KAN !!! Could not agree with you more.  Who here among us, children or not, cannot reason enough to realize the above photo says more than just collateral damage.  Veteran for Truth

MARSHALL, to answer your query last week on evidence of offshoring, outsourcing, etc., Answer:  Blackwater, everything MADE IN CHINA, and every tech who answers my calls on tech issues with everything I own in my home. Thanks for the challenge though at least we’re communicating.

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By Fed-Up, June 18, 2007 at 10:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the kind of photo I should carry around with me, and whip out every time I hear some asshole defend the war and the “surge” and try to justify it using the simplistic talking points handed down from on high from “Dick” and “Shrub”.  Take a good look-this is what the rest of the world is seeing, but our media hides these images from us. We are more concerned about whether Paris Hilton got a body cavity search when she was put in the slammer. Makes us look like a bunch of morally banckrupt cowards.

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By ctbrandon, June 18, 2007 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

I commend this site as well as the author and photographer for having the courage to put this picture up. As a father of a 15 month old girl, seeing a picture like this reminds me that of all the evil in this world, there is nothing more horrible, more disgusting, than war.

I am shocked any and every time I hear someone attempt to say that we are actually doing a wonderful thing for the people of Iraq.


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By Frikken Kids, June 18, 2007 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges really impresses me with essays like this one.  However, I think he could be much more effective if he stopped trying to convince people that religion isn’t a bad guy. 

This essay doesn’t have much of this problem, but one bit really struck me as unnecessary and obviously biased:

“War is the pornography of violence.  It has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque.  The Bible calls it “the lust of the eye” and warns believers against it.”

He just had to stick in something about the bible.  And what he sticks in, a statement about the bible warning against war, is in stark contrast to pretty much the entire old testament which has the god of Isreal gleefully sending his people to war after war.  An otherwise excellent article detailing the horrible realities of this war shouldn’t be given such an obvious Achilles’ heel.

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By James Yell, June 18, 2007 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have mentioned this situation before. We find ourselves in a country that did nothing to us, killing people who are in their own country, their own houses and frequently minding their own business. They and or their children, wifes, parents neighbors are supposed to be faceless collateral damage, but if this device works at all it is only when we are actually in a defensive situation in our own country, not when we have acted like a bully, have left only the motive of Oil as a reason for these innocent deaths. People need to keep pointing out, “how would all these right wing and knee jerk patriots feel if the foriegn army was in our country and our people were considered necessary collateral damage and not what the actually are people killed needlessly?

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By Frikken Kids, June 18, 2007 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

What does the former Pope have to do with this story?  Sure he spoke out against the war - what a great guy. But he also conspired to conceal the identity of and protect child rapists in his church and sentenced hundreds of thousands of people to horrible deaths from AIDS by telling deliberate lies about condoms. 

I couldn’t agree more with jfior…pictures like that should be everywhere.  Let the president give a speach about the necessity of his continued war with that picture behind him instead of some bull-shit slogan.

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By jfior, June 18, 2007 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Photos like the one attached to this article should be made front page news in every paper in the United States….not least of all because this child looks like my own 23 month old, but because he likely looks like the child of many other parents to ...

the die hards will say they would rather have the fight in Iraq than here in the streets of the US…and have their kids instead of ours dying…this is a very selfish stance stoked by the fear mongers among us..not the least of which are within the Christian right…but really..the “Christian Nation” we live in should welcome death not only of themselves but also their children if they truly believe in an afterlife with god and that life here is meant to be temporary…

it is sad…

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By brettkan, June 18, 2007 at 7:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“killing—the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm—(to) murder—the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you”

Based on this definition, the whole war can be seen as murder.

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