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Bitter Memories of War on the Way to Jail

Posted on Dec 20, 2010
AP / Susan Walsh

One hundred thirty-one demonstrators, Chris Hedges among them, were arrested in front of the White House on Thursday.

By Chris Hedges

The speeches were over. There was a mournful harmonica rendition of taps. The 500 protesters in Lafayette Park in front of the White House fell silent. One hundred and thirty-one men and women, many of them military veterans wearing old fatigues, formed a single, silent line. Under a heavy snowfall and to the slow beat of a drum, they walked to the White House fence. They stood there until they were arrested.

The solemnity of that funerary march, the hush, was the hardest and most moving part of Thursday’s protest against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It unwound the bitter memories and images of war I keep wrapped in the thick cotton wool of forgetfulness. I was transported in that short walk to places I do not like to go. Strange and vivid flashes swept over me—the young soldier in El Salvador who had been shot through the back of the head and was, as I crouched next to him, slowly curling up in a fetal position to die; the mutilated corpses of Kosovar Albanians in the back of a flatbed truck; the screams of a woman, her entrails spilling out of her gaping wounds, on the cobblestones of a Sarajevo street. My experience was not unique. Veterans around me were back in the rice paddies and lush undergrowth of Vietnam, the dusty roads of southern Iraq or the mountain passes of Afghanistan. Their tears showed that. There was no need to talk. We spoke the same wordless language. The butchery of war defies, for those who know it, articulation.

What can I tell you about war?

War perverts and destroys you. It pushes you closer and closer to your own annihilation—spiritual, emotional and, finally, physical. It destroys the continuity of life, tearing apart all systems, economic, social, environmental and political, that sustain us as human beings. War is necrophilia. The essence of war is death. War is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. It is organized sadism. War fosters alienation and leads inevitably to nihilism. It is a turning away from the sanctity of life.

And yet the mythic narratives about war perpetuate the allure of power and violence. They perpetuate the seductiveness of the godlike force that comes with the license to kill with impunity. All images and narratives about war disseminated by the state, the press, religious institutions, schools and the entertainment industry are gross and distorted lies. The clash between the fabricated myth about war and the truth about war leaves those of us who return from war alienated, angry and often unable to communicate. We can’t find the words to describe war’s reality. It is as if the wider culture sucked the words out from us and left us to sputter incoherencies. How can you speak meaningfully about organized murder? Anything you say is gibberish.


Square, Site wide
The sophisticated forms of industrial killing, coupled with the amoral decisions of politicians and military leaders who direct and fund war, hide war’s reality from public view. But those who have been in combat see death up close. Only their story tells the moral truth about war. The power of the Washington march was that we all knew this story. We had no need to use stale and hackneyed clichés about war. We grieved together.

War, once it begins, fuels new and bizarre perversities, innovative forms of death to ward off the boredom of routine death. This is why we would drive into towns in Bosnia and find bodies crucified on the sides of barns or decapitated, burned and mutilated. That is why those slain in combat are treated as trophies by their killers, turned into grotesque pieces of performance art. I met soldiers who carried in their wallets the identity cards of men they killed. They showed them to me with the imploring look of a lost child.

We swiftly deform ourselves, our essence, in war. We give up individual conscience—maybe even consciousness—for the contagion of the crowd and the intoxication of violence. You survive war because you repress emotions. You do what you have to do. And this means killing. To make a moral choice, to defy war’s enticement, is often self-destructive. But once the survivors return home, once the danger, adrenaline highs and the pressure of the crowd are removed, the repressed emotions surface with a vengeance. Fear, rage, grief and guilt leap up like snake heads to consume lives and turn nights into long, sleepless bouts with terror. You drink to forget.

We reached the fence. The real prisoners, the ones who blindly serve systems of power and force, are the mandarins inside the White House, the Congress and the Pentagon. The masters of war are slaves to the idols of empire, power and greed, to the idols of careers, to the dead language of interests, national security, politics and propaganda. They kill and do not know what killing is. In the rise to power, they became smaller. Power consumes them. Once power is obtained they become its pawn. Like Shakespeare’s Richard III, politicians such as Barack Obama fall prey to the forces they thought they had harnessed. The capacity to love, to cherish and protect life, may not always triumph, but it saves us. It keeps us human. It offers the only chance to escape from the contagion of war. Perhaps it is the only antidote. There are times when remaining human is the only victory possible.

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By ThirstyJon, January 31, 2011 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

Chip, when you addressed your comment to “Jon” do you mean me?

If you did I’m having trouble making the connection or understanding your point relative to my comment.

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By drbhelthi, January 31, 2011 at 4:27 am Link to this comment

Chip, the original hole in the pentagon was made by a
Tomahawk (Cruise) missile, fired from U.S. naval
vessel.  The missile exploded a minimum load,
fortunately.  With a maximum load, that entire section
of the pentagon, if not the pentagon and that area of
DC, would have been leveled and polluted.  An internal
explosion, afterwards, took out the general, who was a
genuine American, and caused the building collapse. If
you take a look at the original fotos, you will clearly
notice the difference.

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By chip, January 31, 2011 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

In my lifetime we had Vietnam then the Iranian hostage thing that I probably would have supported war for (without knowing the facts) but all the hostages
are probably grateful to Carter for not getting ANY of them killed.
Maybe WW2 was necessary.

Now that we got Hydrogen bombs on hair trigger alert we really can’t play war anymore.

The only thing that has attacked America is Wall Street.

These folks that blow themselves up over here do so
because we are doing something to motivate them,
(if you poke it with a stick it will bite you).

I guess we have killed so many innocent people that we are pretty much guaranteed some of their relatives will seek revenge. Wouldn’t you?

If we do attack some place we would have to kill em all. I don’t think you can bomb someone into liking you.   

Also it’s a little hard to believe we are so incompetent as to let those idiots fly around the country for hours on 911. We only got 28 minutes to launch our nukes if attacked.

Then they used 911 to justify all the Illegal,
Un-American crap they have pulled since.

We are acting like the biggest asshole on the block and I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the world decided it would be better off without us and Israel.

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By ThirstyJon, January 30, 2011 at 2:01 am Link to this comment


The article was primarily against war in general.  It does not address the possibilities (in fact it seems to ignore them) surrounding the WHY and HOW of going to war.  It appears to assume only bad motives and reasons.

Your comment doesn’t even address what I said but merely tries to discredit me with the phrase “kool aid ... drinking” and by mentioning specific conflicts where you assume I will disagree with you.

If that is to be your approach I doubt there is much point in us having any discussion.

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By chip, January 30, 2011 at 1:50 am Link to this comment

Hey Thirsty Jon, I see that kool aid your drinking don’t even quench your thirst.

War for self defense, like if some country was flying remote control airplanes over us and killing our citizens?

War to defend the weak, like the Palestinians?

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By ThirstyJon, January 30, 2011 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

It is interesting that this article completely ignores the possibility of a war that is necessary for self-defense or the defense of the weak.  In other words, it doesn’t address what to do if the atrocity of not going to war is worse than the horror of war.

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By Jim Goodson, December 28, 2010 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Chris, As an old soldier I salute you. If you or I get any respect we must demand it. Free men must keep marching against tyranny. Our children are the cannon fodder for corporations, and we must march where we stand.

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By Nixon is Lord, December 26, 2010 at 2:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And seeing Ramsay Clark standing there only adds to the feeling of how irrelevant and how self-important and pointless these actions are.

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By TAO Walker, December 24, 2010 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

Peter Knopfler rightly recognizes the epidemic ‘broad-spectrum’ degeneration among captive Humans for the pervasive sickness it is.  He acknowledges that a diseased society cannot and will not produce healthy members, rather quite the CONtrary…though whether he sees “individual”-ization itself as a primary product/propagator of the disease process is not altogether clear.

He points-out the stress-to-destruct effects of a CONglomeration of heterodyning positive-feedback-loops run completely out of any CONtrol by the hapless fools who’ve been so instrumental in getting (and keeping) these vicious-cycles going.  He doesn’t say whether he knows of any cure for what ails our Mother Earth and All Her Children.

There is such Medicine, of course.  It is in our own Essential Nature as Human Beings, vital components in Her natural immune system whose given organic function is being suppressed at-present by an invasive retro-viral form which has co-opted much of Humanity and turned it against the very Living Arrangement by which we’ve been engendered in the first place….and apart from which the “huddled masses” of the subspecies homo domesticus are just so much dead meat.

The parasitic ‘mechanism’ of this immuno-suppression regime is the “civilization” syndrome, with its entirely “self”-referential ‘operating-system’ known these days as the “global” eCONomy.  It’s process CONsists of degrading our Natural Vitality into the various kinds of degenerate “energy” upon which the thing subsists.

So it’s really ironic how much precious Human attention is being squandered, here in the sickness’s terminal stages, in feckless, futile efforts to “revive” the eCONomy and “save” “civilization.”  The desperate drive to make more-and-more “energy” would be merely pitiful, if the CONsequences weren’t bound to be even more disastrous than they’ve been for us already. 

Our tame Sisters and Brothers are trapped in their manufactured “individual” IDentities, suffocating singly inside the shrinking CONfines of their very own miserable “self.”  Once free of these devices they can coalesce naturally and spontaneously into the given organic Form of Humanity, which (for want of any better word in English) we’ll have to call “community.”  The organic functional integrity all-but erased from our Living Arrangement will be restored to both Persons and Peoples.  Unimaginable possibilities will open-up to all of us and All Our Relations.  This is the very essence of The Tiyoshpaye Way.

The whole Living Universe helps those who help one another.  Even their gods, in the final analysis, can’t help those who help their “self.”

This is exactly what our tormentors are finally finding-out….the hard Way.


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By Owen, December 24, 2010 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s all just journalist’s words if you yourself haven’t the stomach to tell Noam Chomsky the truth about Prijedor.

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By Peter Knopfler, December 24, 2010 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

War is an addiction we pass on to our children, and
for generations we produce killers of others killers
of the self. Early childhood stress does not allow
brain development, addiction to everything including
violence. Add a war every 20 years and you have
millions of children with ADD ADHD, poor immune
system which will increase autism,asthma etc. How
many children are raised by single parents, divorced.
military, death accident or on purpose like 9-11,
single parenting does not grow proper brain response
and vital circuits are not developed. Therefore to go
to war, to have violence in sports,violence of play
stations all this negative brain activity, supplies
society with brainless killers, because they have not
developed the part of the brain that can experience
the pain of others, so killing becomes an addiction
like alcohol cigarettes sugar coffee etc. The war on
drugs is a war against the children we abused. And
then we send them off the war where they get some
really good drugs, and if they come home in one
piece, they have multiple addictions, pain, pills,
sleeping pills,alcohol,cigarettes, cocaine,
heroin,etc. These children come back to us damaged
however we ignore that we send damaged kids to do
battle and they get more damaged.

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By Brad Heckman, December 24, 2010 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

Chris, I want to believe.  Help me out here, which
societies that have degraded into debauchery have
recovered through internal forces?

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By Mary, December 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All warmongering politicians are psychopaths.

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By TAO Walker, December 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

Sometimes the masters of war and their pals the merchants of death are all just out for a good time, to be had by any means necessary at the expense of anyone handy.  Sometimes they’re in a “romantic” mood, and will take the time to wine and dine their latest target-of-opportunism, though still on anybody’s tab but their own.  Either way, by hook or by crook, rape or seduction, somebody’s gonna get fucked.

Despite his customary heartfelt eloquence here, however, Chris Hedges continues to misdiagnose the syndrome.  Even war itself, for all its horrors, is just another symptom of the “civilization” disease.  He’s sure right, nevertheless, about everyone being infected.

The Medicine is in the last place the domesticated peoples are going to look for it, too….in their own essential Human Nature as vital components in the natural immune system of our Mother Earth.


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By martingugino, December 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Were you charged with violating one of the Park Service regulations?
Or was it failure to obey a police officer, to disperse.
I suppose it doesn’t matter.

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By gerard, December 22, 2010 at 12:27 am Link to this comment

diamond:  Sorry you competely misunderstood what I said.  It hardly seems worthwhile to restate it.

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By chip, December 22, 2010 at 12:24 am Link to this comment

Thanks Chris and the rest of you all.

Sorry to our children who went to war believing the lies we let be sold to them by our
“so called” leaders and press.

To you folks who seem to suggest armed revolution.
We are slightly “out gunned”.

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By Peter Knopfler, December 22, 2010 at 12:09 am Link to this comment


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By elisalouisa, December 21, 2010 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

Thanks to Chris Hedges for the action taken on Dec. 16 and for this moving narrative describing the tragedy of war. War does indeed pervert and destroy you, something you won’t hear on msm.

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By moonraven, December 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment


You nailed it.

There’s always an excuse for why a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

Newton’s always availble to be used, for one.

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By Fat Freddy, December 21, 2010 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Another truckload of contemplative cant to cover up the obvious reality, which is:  Revolution or Nothing.

Revolution through Agorism!!!


101 Things To Do ‘Til The Revolution

Oh but wait, I need more unemployment compensation. :(

his book is based upon the premise that, when government turns bad,
the best people ultimately become criminals. The people don’t change;
the laws
do. Initiative, dissent, individual pleasures and exercise of one’s
basic rights become “crimes”....

The ideal citizen of a tyrannical state is the man or woman who bows
in silent obedience in exchange for the status of a well-cared-for
herd animal. Thinking people become the tyrants worst enemies.

Before their thunder roars, there is a period of anticipation, in
which more occurs than the literal-minded tyrant can ever understand.
A few overt acts of sedition shatter the heavy peace. But the greater
force, unrecognized, rolls forward in near silence, as millions of
individuals quietly withdraw their consent from the state. The pundits
call it apathy.They could not be more wrong.

That time is now. And we are those people.

This book is dedicated to you, the enemy of the state.

On but wait, I need more unemployment compensation and free healthcare :*(

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By diamond, December 21, 2010 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

Gerard you’re mistaking truth for religion and genuine morality for religious fervour. They are not the same and Chris Hedges knows that but you seem to think that any passionate belief in morality must spring from religious belief. That is completely untrue and is not the case with Chris Hedges.

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By gerard, December 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

Patriot 10101:  There is truth in what you say here, but it is hidden for most Truthdig readers because your use of language and religious effusion dominates the tone and probably most people on Truthdig do not respond well to that particular idiom.
  May I suggest that you find some blog that is specifically Christian and speaks commonly in the same tone as you use here.  I believe many such Christians need desperately to hear what you have to say, and your words might fall on friendly ears there. Just a thought.

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By oktomoro, December 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Your woven words evangelize a connection.  Will the
worlds of foregoing and governing powers, tempered
and primed by China wavelengths, bring solution? 
Will it have moved me to a forward look and allow me
to step outside myself to consider the want for a
better word to define G-d and allow me to overcome
the minor and major hubris and the seeing of being
hated in the universe?

If there were values replaced by your eloquent
expression, it is difficult to discover if stepping
outside myself works for any place of connect to go
and there is the right place.  There to here and back
is the punishment by remote view of people who are
declaring themselves to survive for their sense of
humanity while pleading they do not deserve to die.

Wanting to be credible even if it is within this
raffle of comment is interspersed with a hearing for
“don’t and “no”.  Who one really is, sometimes mitigates on fear
of the surveillance state and makes for performance with a test of being in ways
the subtlety of Foundation creatures in the promoting
of desires, status, a symbolic seeking, based on age
and economic bracket, reproductive worth or some
other forward look about me. That is an undercurrent
of the exclusive in militarism.  It is also its

One always can become lesser in their category—
taught to us by religion and the only reason the
secular shifts according to new moralities learned by
mistakes—the history of nations and the heritage of
the population. 

Without a child, time could go in the direction of
play and past time of another kind. The infinitive
for production and show of humanity by teaching and
bringing a more positive future in which secrecy does
not create societies, is a process and product.  As I
have sometimes lived my life in this way with the
time and again ancestral tempo as a part, maybe the
project should be to simply obtain all the records of
all other countries on the subject of the time at
which America lost its last President who believed
much as you do on the subject of war and weapons of
mass destruction.  Connecting that could produce a
much needed dialogue in the international community
that has come to use pity toward people until their
pride must be asserted.  This would be no small
production.  It would take the veil from the
intelligence war that is the rising factor to all
others.  That includes the religious states or any
use of threat of guilt as a currency within religion
for the taking of life.

Punishment in that connection isn’t difficult to
fully understand and prevent.  That’s the secret of
the numbering and pre-occupation with the counter. 
Punishment is in the vastness of the issue.  States
do it to states, people do it to others and the fear
of it controls us.

This response does not meet the desire to compliment
you and the 130 others and if it does not comfort you
for your belief and expression, what may I say of
this terrible war and its machinery that includes
people as experiments for a lifetime?  For that,
defense is needed.  For the loss of it something else

Excuse me, now.  I must consider true love and
affection and the denominator of society—money,
somewhere in the rubble of space law, or “Who has
your throat?”, until you find it’s electro-mechanico

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By sallysense, December 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

(to use the excuse that news is more for feeding discussion than anything else… doesn’t give news the justice it deserves!)... smile

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By David J. Cyr, December 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (unregistered Rob’s quotation of 1983 CIA prisoner interrogation guidelines):

“The routine use of torture lowers the moral caliber of the organization that uses it and corrupts those that rely on it….”

Yes, the word “routine” was the problem.

Clinton solved that problem by making torture something “extraordinarily” done… in renditions.

But then Bush enraged liberals, when he made the mistake of placing legal limits upon torture.

Obama provided the “change” needed to calm the liberals, by removing all limitations on torture done out-of-sight and out-of-mind.

The “progressive” liberals routinely get whatever greater evil done that conservatives can’t.

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By gerard, December 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

Public nonviolent protest is one way.  Exposing governmental abuses and the insolent cruelty of wars is another.
  December 21 London Guardian under the headline ‘TRANSCRIPT: THE ASSANGE INTERVIEW” publishes a long interview with Julian Assange by BBC Today’s program presenter John Humphrys.  Much needed information is published in this interview, and Assange speaks out clearly. In the last paragraph, when questioned: “You want to change the world?”, he concludes:
  JA: “Absolutely. The world has a lot of problems and they need to be reformed. And we only live once. Every person who has some ability to do something about it, if they are a person of good character, has the duty to try and fix the problems in the environment which they’re in.
  “That is a value, that, yes, comes partly from my temperament. There is also a value that comes from my father, which is that capable, generous men don’t create victims, they try and save people from becoming victims. That is what they are tasked to do. If they do not do that they are not worthy of respect or they are not capable.”
  Which is it with us—“not worthy of respect”?
              or “not capable?

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By Inherit The Wind, December 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Here in Mexico there is a new film playing:  Somos lo que hay.  It translates to We are what there is to eat.  Cannibalism, in other words.

Sounds like your kind of place.

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By moonraven, December 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment


This is a forum for schizophrenic fantasies?

Guess I should have known.

Frankly, it has been a while since I have read so much sniveling and cowardice on one internet thread.

Everybody has an excuse to suck his thumb.

Very soon there will be no food, so your thumbs will be it.

Here in Mexico there is a new film playing:  Somos lo que hay.  It translates to We are what there is to eat.  Cannibalism, in other words.

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By rap, December 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

Garth, your angry perception of Jerome Wright and Barack Obama has given me an opportunity to say something I’ve wanted to say for a long time. Much has been said about Rev. Wright, President Obama’s former pastor, since the presidential campaign in 2008.

Like many people, I watched the videos of him giving sermons at his church in Chicago. When I heard a Republican politician describe the contents of his sermons as “Transformational Theology”, I couldn’t help but laugh because, as he uttered this correct phrase, he bristled with false contempt and indignation. By doing so, he was attempting to say that Rev. Wright was evil and unamerican when all he was doing was acknowledging white prejudice against blacks as a prelude to telling his parisheners that what they are is good, and that they are as deserving of success as anyone.

He was villified for speaking the obvious in a passionate voice. In his sermons, he was not expressing anger at black prejudice in America just to express anger; he was using it as a reminder and a reason for blacks, or anyone else who feels downtrodden, to rise up and overcome their fear and self-doubt. He was encouraging people to overcome their false sense of limitation and make something of themselves! Wouldn’t it be nice if more preachers in America did same, instead of oppressing people by telling them how bad they are and that they cannot trust themselves? By doing so, they disarm us, short circuit our imagination and make us dependent on outside authority.

We’re free to do so, if we choose, but we don’t have to let our minds become poison wells of negativity. How we define ourselves, and the world around us, forms our intent, which, in turn, forms our reality. To know how you feel about yourself, pay attention to how you feel about others, for we are both one AND separate. We are not bad, it is our ideas about who we are and what reality is that are bad.

Instead of “do as you’re told”, make it your goal to seek the greatest understanding and serve the highest good in life. We are not only the products of creation, we are creation itself; we are gods becoming!

Every day, in every way, we’re getting better and better! What can be more exciting, or worth doing, than changing ourselves, and the world, for the better?

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By REDHORSE, December 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

I admire Hedges and look forward to his articles. What I have a problem with is the fractures in the American psyche that allow nut case conspiracy theorists and death wish “christian” apocalyptics who control dialogue and distract from the simple truth: The people in Washington are not supernatural forces of universal doom, they are simply avaricious criminals bent on looting the tax dollars of the American people with no regard to consequence.

    The protest represented the kind of ORGANIZED DIRECT ACTION we all need to be involved in. We all applaud Mr. Hedges and it’s time to get out of the grandstand. With all due respect to the many posters here, I’m not sure we’re even having the right conversation. Endless discussion of symptomology isn’t active solution. Intellectual opinion isn’t result. Our journalists need to expose the guts of the machine and give us the faces of those greasing the wheels—not “red meat” and “kneejerk”.

    Americans style themselves as a great people and representative guardians of Liberty and Freedom when in fact petty thugs and puppets like Obama, Clinton and Boehner openly laugh in their faces.

    Most here have real insight and I enjoy reading their comments. But, TRUTHDIG is a news discussion board, not a platform for revolution. Real change and action will happen when the energy and rage expressed here gets channeled into the local community and national organizations who so desperately need it. At least then we’ll all be on the same page.

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By sallysense, December 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

each time news brings things of unfairness from big shots…
and more lives and resources lay wasting away somewhere…
may your conscience be the wikileaks inside your own mind…
to either expose to you a hypocrite or show a human who cares!...

folks there’s lotsa places in need where you can take your voice to be heard!... lend a helping hand!... help to make a difference!... stand up for what you believe in!...

(or does this commenter’s creed ?... apply to you instead ?)...

i do my best to better things by sharing my opinions!...
so i’ll leave it up to others to give bad events good riddance!...
don’t look for me near worthy deeds in need of hands to help them!...
but follow these columns as things get worse and watch me comment again!...

the best of wishes’n’ways’n’todays for doing something to help situations that need help!... smile

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By Rob, December 21, 2010 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oft-quoted, but here it is again, war correspondent Robert Fisk :
“...war is about the total failure of the human spirit.”

from the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual (1983) , which used KUBARK (CIA) prisoner interrogation guidelines :
“The routine use of torture lowers the moral caliber of the organization that uses it and corrupts those that rely on it….

It is easy to gloss over those words without fully taking in what they mean.  Some of us apparently do know, though.

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By PatrickHenry, December 21, 2010 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Hundreds of thousands have made the same trip.

From the pre civil war marches to the million man march in the past decade, demonstrators of the various causes have been the guests of the DCPD over a couple of centuries.

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By LocalHero, December 21, 2010 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Powerful, Mr. Hedges.

It’s unfortunate, though, that some on here (uhm, moonraven) who understand least how the Universe works, are so quick to vilify the peaceful efforts of these wizened folks. I know this is difficult to understand for such types but success only requires changing your mind (dreams, thoughts, aspirations) not changing the Halls of Power. And it only requires a scant few to grasp this to undo it all. In fact, the wheels are in motion and the outcome has already been determined. THAT is why they are cracking down so hard at this time. They are well aware that their days are numbered yet they don’t know any other way to respond. They only know evil.

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By drbhelthi, December 21, 2010 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

Take Germany and WWII, for example.

Germany and much of Europe was destroyed.  The German
folk were seduced and defrauded from the inside, and
thus destroyed.  Yet, the NAZIs in the U.S. and
Germany simply transferred their H.Q. from Berlin to
D.C., and other locations.  The identity of Georg Jr.
was fraudulently altered by the NAZIs.  He joined the
U.S. forces, was ultimately elevated to “hero” status
(fraudulent influence of the CIA again), drug into
the “oil” industry where his dishonesty made him
wealthy, entered formally into politics.  He advanced
the NAZI desire for world domination to its current
status in the USA.  Before her death, Mrs. Mae
Brussell called the US the IV Reich. 

“We see it more clearly now, the rain is gone.”

Meanwhile, Hitler retired to South America, where he
lived like a prince til the ripe old age of 104.  Of
course, he travelled to the USA several times, had to
personally take a look around, and rub elbows with
old colleagues.  His last bodyguard, Lieutenant
Colonel Otto Skorzeny, was transplanted to Florida,
where he lived in a beach-town til his death in Dec.
1999.  At the expense of U.S. Taxpayers.  Meanwhile,
he performed a few assassinations.

House-cleaning works better and lasts longer, when
done from the inside.  The rightful owners are able
to be again proud of themselves. 

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By drbhelthi, December 21, 2010 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

A further word on “democracy” in parentheses.
the more recent voice of the republican party in
Florida, encourages readers to contact their
congressional representatives and demand “NO” with
the “START” nuke agreement.  Editors of NEWSMAX
write that this is the best way to accomplish our basic
goal: to bring down a Russia increasingly focused on
domination and replace it with a democratic nation
that lives at peace with the world, or similar verbiage.

Russia is focussed on “domination”?  Since when? 
Russia has lost territory, while the NAZI, New World
Order terrorists have tried to overtake Iraq,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and are secretively trying to
undermine the leadership of Iran.  Not to mention
overtaking the opium market with U.S. soldiers in the
Afghanistan area.  Not to mention the CIA support of
Shakashvili in his attack on South Ossetia in 2008. 
Insiders reported that over forty, yes 40, U.S.
“military advisors” were assisting him when his
forces attacked.  The identity of these 40 is of
course closely guarded, and must have been CIA,
MKUltra-brain-damaged types. . 

Implying that the U.S.A. is “- - democratic and at
peace with the world” reflects the CIA Disinformation
Program, not the Florida Republican party.  Florida
republicans are still trying to locate their anus,
which family Bush misused for abnormal purposes in

NEWSMAX actively attempts to offset its 50%
“disinformation” with 50% accurate information on
health and the various health frauds, such as
“Oncology.”  An accurate picture of the NAZI SS Dr.
Mengele medical industry, vastly enlarged in the
U.S., with the Rumsfeld prostitution of the FDA, is
useful.  However, the attempt to present Russia as
being focussed on world domination, and implying the
U.S. to be democratic and at peace with the world ? 
Obviously a function of the CIA Disinformation
Program, as revealed by the American Patriot, Mrs.
Mae Brussell in 1982.  The vast majority of us non-
residents of Florida, and many Floridians, have not
juxtaposed our brains with our anus. 

Reminds me of one question put to me, and one
overheard statement, from 2007. 
“Doc, did you know that under the Patriot Act, you
could disappear, and no one would ever know what
happened to you”? 
“The Russians would do the world a favor, if they
dropped a six meg on D.C. when congress is in full-

My view is that house-cleaning must be done from the
inside.  This way, the house stays cleaner, longer. 
And the ones doing the cleaning are very pleased with
themselves!  Get with it, Patriots !!!

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By Elroy, December 21, 2010 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

Some posters here try to discredit Hedges with snide
remarks. One even wondered why he didn’t show such
outrage when he was with the NY Times, ignoring that
Hedges left mainstream journalism just so he could
speak his mind as freely as he does now.

This sniping backfires. People who grow indignant
over humanitarian words and actions will never earn
my respect.

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By elisalouisa, December 21, 2010 at 1:33 am Link to this comment

Just lay off the beans and start your revolution.

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By Alan Attlee, December 21, 2010 at 1:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dec 20, 2010. NYT announces U.S. efforts to
penetrate deeper into Pakistan.
Somewhere in the ether(net), packets collide:
(1970)(The White House)
-Well what do ya think about it Haig?
—Nuke ‘em
-No, no, that’s not right, but an incursion, a sanitary strike,
a pursuit mission to… what’s that quirky name for that area?
—Parrot’s Beak
-Yeah, that’s it Cambodia, let’s get moving on this,
I mean we’ll mop them up in Cambodia, what could go wrong?

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By Inherit The Wind, December 20, 2010 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

“Another fart in the whirlwind.”

Projecting again. Nothing describes her own posts better.

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By Igloo, December 20, 2010 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While Hedges’ essay is inspiring and humane, what good is it when the majority population is still dreaming of becoming filthy rich one day just like the corporate masters who run their lives? I submit that the brainwashing is so extensive that the pleas of intelligent people will fall on the deaf ears of the mindless automatons that daily toil away hoping to strike it rich. It is this delusion that somehow keeps America going. Were the population to wake up one day and realize that they’ve been duped all these years, the game will be over in a snap.

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By Leo Wong, December 20, 2010 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

There you go, REDHORSE. moonraven made your day.

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By moonraven, December 20, 2010 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment


We seem to be a distinct minority on this thread.

The rest of the folks were taken in by the Dickensian maudlinity of Hedges’ prose.  Overjoyed to be so, apparently.

Another fart in the whirlwind.

Another truckload of contemplative cant to cover up the obvious reality, which is:  Revolution or Nothing.

And for the poster who believes all revolutions are definitionally violent and only resolve themselves in dictatorship and repression of the people, I suggest he has watched too much Fox News anti-Chavez hatespeech and should spring for a plane ticket to Venezuela.

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By moonraven, December 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is a deluded dilettante.

Or he is on the US government payroll.

Really doesn’t matter, as what he does is defuse any meaningful action.

There is a time to contemplate.

And a time to act meaningfully.

Revolution or Nothing!

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By fightback, December 20, 2010 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

I am compelled to point out just how thorough the right’s control of the power wielding in this country has become. Like the 12 days of Christmas - let me list 12 new ideas and creative euphemisms that the last 10 years of our governments have brought into our collective consciousness: 1.) Keep an all volunteer standing army so that draft-related opposition can never build mass anti-war movements like happened with vietnam - augment this army with mercenaries (“contractors”) outside of US legal authority, 2.) spread concepts of open-ended perpetual war against an ever growing world-wide conspiratorial threat from “enemies of freedom” (add to this list the “enemies”” of that allied governments would like to have eliminated), 3). allow mass media to get concentrated into fewer hands owned by the rich to control and confuse the message - right wing propaganda as “news” like Fox, 4.) establish the concept of “premptive attack” as justifiable US foreign policy and the-ends-justifys-the-means approach to invading other nations - and disguise the murder of civilians as “collateral damage”, 5.) Establish the concept of torture as “legal” through illegal decrees 6.) establish the concept of “enemy combatant” who has no rights and can be keep imprisoned forever 7.) Establish the concept of “extraordinary rendition” so you can have other nations torture individuals in ways you don’t want to get caught doing 8.) get telecommunications companies to break current laws so that the government can spy on US citizens, 9.) remove regulations that prevent banks and financial insitutions from fraudulently swindling investors, 10.) Hire the leaders of Wall street responsible for the financial disaster to advise your the president on how to handle financial matters 11.) Continue to funnel unlimited funds to the banks/insitutions that created this crisis without requiring even cosmetic aid to home owners or people that have lost their retirement savings 12). criticise the left for not being willing to “compromise” - telling them to instead celebrate a cultural victory: the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” so that, regardless of sexual orientation, all Americans will get the opportunity to kill and die for the political interests of the ruling class and their puppets in Washington.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Well put.

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By gerard, December 20, 2010 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind: “But if you cannot find a solution without starting the violence YOU AREN’T TRYING HARD ENOUGH! “
  Among many illustrations, this is the main truth that Manning and Assange hoped to make clear with the WikiLeak documents.  The kind of “diplomacy” that shows up clearly in the leaks is hardly trying at all.  It’s buying, lying, concealing, and pushing people around on what is coldly regarded as a “chessboard” or “the great game.” 
  Clearly, we must not let Manning and Assange be sacrificed for revealing just a small part of the chicanery that passes for “international relations” in this country—at one time perhaps the greatest democracy in the world, but now sadly falling from Grace.

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By garth, December 20, 2010 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

In reality

Zbig is President Bumptious’s war consiglieri and ZBig said the war could go on for another 30 years. So that’s it.

In media speak that means that the wars will go on until they’ve achieved their goals.  Whatever they are.

I’m agin’ war. But that’s not the issue here.  We’ve got a war profiting business going on here and a madmman at the helm.  Bumpy is their nice little guy.  Talk about racism.

Mr Bumptious and the the guy with the chicklets teeth said in 2008 that this is what they had they mind.

Let me segue here a bit.

My father used to come home drunk and we’d antagonize him until he did something so self-destructive that he could not recover quick enough without learning a lesson.

returning to your news

Chalmers Johnson recently died and, (God bless his soul and his cat’s), said that the British came to this point after WWII.

Their question was: Did they want Democracy or Empire?  Empire demands a tyranny.  Democracy and Empire cannot co-exist.

It’s as simple as that.

In Paul Simon’s words, “We’re slip slidin’ away.

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By kerryrose, December 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

I just watched Hedges on Democracy Now!.  Amy Goodman needled him about ‘not talking the talk while he was working for the New York Times.’

He looked uncomfortable.

Interesting.  I guess the when someone is displaced from the corporate institutions they have nothing less to lose.

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By carh8r, December 20, 2010 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

It’s great that they are protesting now but where was their moral indignation before they started killing?
“What if they gave a War and no one came?”

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By politicky, December 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

“The tears and grief, the halting asides, the catch in the throat,
the sudden breaking off of a sentence, is the only language
that describes war.”

Thank you for the eloquence.

I’m pushing 50 and since I live in a place with many veterans I
have witnessed this countless times.  As long as half the
discretionary spending in the country feeds the massive maw
of the Military-Industrial-Complex I fear that there may never
be an end to this.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps you ought to actually READ the attached article.  I’m a vehement and frequent critic of Hedges, but in this one article he is talking about something that EVERYONE I’ve ever met who has been in combat has said.

I met an old man many years ago, a WWI vet who had been in the trenches in France and Belgium.  He said “I swore I’d never go to war again. I’d rather DIE than go to war again!”

Imagine that!  A warrior who would rather lay down his life than fight again!

What’s the lesson? Going to war when there is any other option is insane and immoral.

Oh, and in case you forgot—our founding father were ATTACKED and defended themselves.  I’ll never say you can’t fight back.  But if you cannot find a solution without starting the violence YOU AREN’T TRYING HARD ENOUGH!

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By firefly, December 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

Mr Hedges

I’m a huge fan. Every word you’ve written, perfectly
articulates my feelings about war.

Recently, I was reading an article about asymmetrical
warfare, as in unmanned drones and various robotic
killing machines designed so that the perpetrators of
war need never travel to the distant lands where they
can kill at the touch of a button. The US government
only needs to name some group as a terrorist target
and that’s it, they can be annihilated without any
authentication or corroboration at all.

Not long ago, I heard a discussion on NPR about new
guns and robotic mines. The program discussed these
vile weapons as though they were discussing the
latest ipod or gadget phone. What shocked me most was
how they calmly talked about the advantages of being
able to program remote control machines from the US
and then go home and eat with their families (while
the killing machines fulfilled their purpose
thousands and thousands of miles away). To them,
these machines are fascinating. What they can do, is
so cool and so amazing. The fact that the ensuing
results are gruesome, cruel, unjust, unethical and
morally repugnant seems to be beside the point. I
find it hard to believe that these people are
incapable of understanding that killing machines are
arbitrary, do not distinguish between combatants or
civilians, and unable to identify real weapons from
umbrellas and ploughs.

What comes across is that the manufacturers of
weapons and their users have become robots
themselves, unable to feel like a real human being.

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By Tim Trotochaud, December 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

War is never justified.  Mostly if not always in the modern age war has been
used to keep those in power in power.  Is violence ever justified?  Some people
say that violence should not be used.  Were the native people justified in
fighting back?  Were slaves justified in fighting back?  Are prisoners unjustly
held justified in fighting back?  The water is unfit to drink, and the air is unfit to
breathe, and the food is unfit to eat, yet those responsible are not stopped. The
US war machine is enslaving and killing the third world.  The corporations
responsible actually control the governing body that is supposed to prevent
them.  Those same corporations are the same ones that were responsible for
the horrible acts in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s.  How do we stop them when
they control the courts, the government, the police, the money,  and the media. 
Many americans are truly the walking dead.  They seem completely enable to
question anything.  I think I know how Crazy Horse felt.  He was completely
surrounded and knew that victory was impossible.  He knew he could never win. 
He fought anyway.  I am not saying that we should use violence.  It is telling
that the largest monument in the US is of Crazy Horse.  The true legacy of this
country is resistance to the abuses of power not Democracy.

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By drbhelthi, December 20, 2010 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

In the U.S.A., citizens who demonstrate peacefully against the war policy of the allegedly-elected leaders, are jailed.  Yet another article, bearing the name, Barry Londo, reports a band of indigenous murderers, LRA, in his African homeland.  They frequently attack villages, rape, pillage and murder.up to 100 innocent folk per event.  Yes, this is very tragic.  He would like Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, to send troops to destroy the LRA.

Apparently, Barry Londo is not aware that Mr. Obama is too busy carrying out the NAZI-Bush-CIA “New World Order” mandate, implementing the IVth Reich in the U.S.A.  One of the extended functions, genociding Moslem folk in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and secretively in Iran, encompasses 100 deaths/murders sometimes in one day, several times per week, viewed historically.  This is occurring in four Mid-East countries, historically recognized to be independent, self-governing entities.  This is very internationally tragic.  And the membership of LaHague have become peons to the GHWBSr entourage.  Very, very, internationally tragic.

However, Mr. Obama´s “troops” do not use machetes and clubs, and murder by striking victims in the back of the head.  They use sophisticated equipment, to include radio-controlled drones, that fire rockets that explode entire buildings.  These explosions rip the bodies of residents into pieces.  Some of the “U.S. troops” operate computer-controlled machine-guns from helicopters.  The sicker among them enjoy shooting indigenous folk who try to rescue their wounded, who were shot simply because they were visible, indigenous folk.  This is a violation of international and Red Cross agreements.  One of these troops fired a 3-round burst into the head of Pat Tillman, from close range.  How many American soldiers have been murdered similarly ?  Who did it ?

The drones in subject can be equipped to use special cameras to spy on the citizenry, and specific persons, and remain airborne for over 12 hrs.  All without a court order, and in total disregard of the law.  This type of drone was recently solicited for display, by the Houston, Texas, police department.  Journalists were actively banned from the demonstration.  Houston police warned a TV station to remove its news helicopter, or the FAA would take action against the station; which proved to be a fear tactic.  Totally unsubstantiated.  Like the attack on Iraq.  Like the artificial “War on Terror.”  Like Osama bin Laden´s videos every 6-8 months, even though he died of renal failure, Winter 2002-2003.  After two unsuccessful kidney transplants, organized by U.S. authority.  Osama bin Laden submitted, but his Moslem body said, “NO THANKS ”!

The CIA “Disinformation Program.”  Revealed 1982 by the American Patriot, Mrs. Mae Brussell, of the Jewish belief.  Recently, Mr. John Stockwell blew the whistle on the CIA, after having been employed as a higher level manager.  Erik Orion, one NAZI-hunter still alive, reveals the background of the CIA and the entire GHWBushSr stench, at the link:

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By Lee Oates, December 20, 2010 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Excellant article Chris, couldn’t have said it better. I wish I could have been there.

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By ray, December 20, 2010 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“A former campaigner & fund-raiser to Obamas Presidential bid”.
In looking back on Obamas refusal from Playgirl to become a centerfold,long before heading to Washington, I don’t think he has ever gotten over his rejection from Playgirl & hence that is why he feels he must assert his manhood through wasted young American lives in a war w/o measure or end & no legitimate reason why we are there instead of addressing Americas woes?
We all should know by now that Obama is bought & paid for by the powers that are & a second term is irrelevant. He is a pretty butterfly but he sows seeds of decent into the abyss, not the peoples will!
Obamas actions may result in why we will be the #1 target when the nukes start being used- we as Americans immersed in our daily lives & w/o time to descent & express our beliefs- Have earned #1 target status through refusing to curtail our elected leaders insanity.

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By rap, December 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

Chris, this is your greatest piece yet because it is from the depth of your soul, not your intellect.

“As long you you fight for greed and gain, there will be no peace.” - Seth

In life and business, how many of us ask if what we are doing is good? Do our actions improve the quality of life or undermine it? Do they increase humanity’s chances for survival or threaten it?

Instead of creating a world of predators and victims by letting thoughts of fear, separation and competition (what’s going to work best for ME?) dominate our thinking, why don’t we start asking:

* What’s going to work best for ALL of us? This question takes YOU, ME and US (everyone and everything) into consideration.

* What’s going to work best for ALL of us in personal terms? (What is the best way for us to fulfill our own unique potential in support of the world AND ourselves?)

* What’s going to work best for ALL of us in terms of business? (What is the best way for us to maintain the health and well-being of the planet, and humanity?)
* What’s going to work best for ALL of us in terms of education? (What is the best way for us to learn and grow? What are the most important things for us to learn?)

* What’s going to work best for ALL of us in terms of the environment? (What is the best and most sustainable way for us to relate to nature and the earth?)

* What’s going to work best for ALL of us in terms of peace? (What is the best way for us to treat ourselves and what is the best way for us to treat each other, as individuals and nations?)

The growing collapse of our economic and social system (increases in the number of people in the world and in jail, homelessness, joblessness, food shortages, disease, wars, global warming, unsustainable growth and the loss of wealth), can be laid at the feet of putting individuality and self-interest (ego) ahead of oneness and the common good (soul). A similar imbalance occurs when we put the common good ahead of self-interest. Why not create a system that values both equally?

By giving equal value to both our oneness and individuality, we make it possible to cooperate, not compete with one another. And by asking questions that include ALL of us, we not only acknowledge our oneness and individuality, we acknowledge our individual and collective roles, and responsibility, in co-creating our shared reality.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

We create our own reality from what we choose to believe about ourselves, and the world around us.

Until we understand that consciousness forms matter, that thought precedes action, we will continue to rely upon brute force to change our reality from the outside-in, instead of the inside-out, by subtle changes in our perceptions and beliefs. As we think, we create. Change what we think, and we change what we create!

“When every young man (and woman) refuses to go to war, you will have peace.” - Seth

Almost all of the responses to Chris’s article, so far, are great!

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By REDHORSE, December 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

Calls by TRUTHDIG posters for Hedges to lead the way were answered. Yet, it mustered a mere 130 people willing to face arrest for protest. Is more action coming?

    Washington is a transparent criminal conspiracy of tax looters, bag men and war profiteers. Is that not obvious? The same criminals who line the pockets of the Republicans line the pockets of the Democrats. What are we discussing here? Obama is beyond redemption and Boehner is at the plate. Want cheese and fries with that?

    Maudlin sentimentality: “—-awwwww Chris it’s such a beautiful article—right on Brother—” isn’t organized action. High emotion and intellectual opinion isn’t resistance. Capitulate at your own risk.

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By Trotboy, December 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

“Hedges may make an admirer of me yet.  But there is
one posting here who in other threads calls for the
abomination of violent revolution, which is war and
leads to civil war.

I am more and more convinced over time that violence
must ONLY be used in self-defense and that ANY
attacks made as “Protective reaction” pretending to
be “self-defense” is abominable.”

Well, I am sincerely glad that the founding fathers
of the US didn’t follow your bizarre logic. Indeed I
think all of them repeated many times that if the
Constitution they created ever failed and became a
fig leaf for despotism and Imperialism, the American
people should not hesitate to take up arms and
overthrow the rotten State. If now is not that time,
then I wonder when will be?

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By garth, December 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

The ‘white guy’ Hedges said all the right things on DemocracyNow!. And he was right.

But he volunteered the information that he was a friend of Jeremiah Whight. 

Wright’s not just the guy who posed as Mr. Bumptious’s pastor at some concocted ‘church’ in Chicago.  He’s a guy who drives a brand new Porsch every year and lives in a gated community, thanks to the Ford Foundation. 

He also oversaw the so-called New-this or New-that church, and covered up the murders of two of his acolytes in the church while he was Pastor.

Ford Foundation’s anti-insurgency money drips from his every word.  Incite.  Then look around and take names.  If you are prone to idignation, go see Pastor Wright!

And now, Chris Hedges has linked himself to Pastor Wright as a ‘good friend’.

The old axiom comes clear.

With friends like that who needs enemies.

Or as Dr. Rossi, my high school chemistry teacher, used to say, “Consider everyone an enemy.  At least, then you know what to expect from your enemies.

Enjoy the added typos.

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By Peter Manso, December 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A very moving piece. Hedges is nothing less than that rare combination of heart
and head.

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By John Graham, December 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I want to send Chris a copy of my memoir which is described at  Please tell me how to do that.
My thoughts on war mirror his. My book focuses on why young men want to be

John Graham
Giraffe Heroes Project
In Hue, Vietnam January 1971-June 1972

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By balkas, December 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

u.s system of governance had been established by supremacists: personal,
cultural, regional, religious, ethnic, in lawmaking, and governing.
constitution they wrote had received a status of a holy writ; an unemendable,
perfect, god-inspired, god-like document.

thus any attempt to change a perfection is punishable by many ways.
no u.s administration cld commit any wrong as long all its acts respect

in u.s lying is legal if it defends or obeys laws.
in china lying is punishable if it tends to hurt peasants and workers. china’s
constitution or laws do not permit talk that calls for reversion to a untimocratic or
plutocratic governance.

guess which system receives A+ grade and which one H or lesser grade.

in one system, deceiving, lying, exploiting is a constitutional demand and the
other lying is illegal.

however, with 99.9999% of americans deeming u.s constitution a godly writ, we
can expect even worsenings on our planet.

actually, one god=one planet. u.s, supremacists=god and neither god nor planet
is divisible.

we’re trapped. the only way out wld be to go to another planet! alas, none
available at this time.

complaining, marching, talking ain’t gonna change the ‘perfection’. no folks, not
stop talking and start walking. organize in one political party! unless even that is
to late. it may not be allowed!

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By Leo Wong, December 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

@fughtback You may not be wrong, but ideology is not your answer.

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By gerard, December 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges very best essay!  Remember this if nothing more:  “There are times when remaining human is the only victory possible.”

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By Dean Taylor, December 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

“No sacrifice too great!” Right?

Where is your sacrifice, Forwardlooking?

Where is your sacrifice, Gates?

Where is your sacrifice, Clinton family?

Where is your sacrifice, Biden?

Where is your sacrifice, Lieberman?

Where is your sacrifice, Bush?

Where is your sacrifice, Fortune 500 CEOs?

Where is your sacrifice, Goldman Sachs?

Where is your sacrifice, Bank of America?

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By fightback, December 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

I have been criticized lately by some whom I am friends with (and even my wife), that I need to lighten up and get with the spirit of the holiday season. What I apparently am unable to stop thinking about and cursed to dwell more on is that all the activity around me is nothing more than simply a pseudo-religious “holiday season” of capitalist manipulation of the masses to worship at the alter of yet more corporate profits. Moreover, what I see is a country of over 300 million that has denied it’s common responsibility for the taking lives of hundreds of thousands people the world over - the blind eye turned from the suffering of others that our “leaders” cause so that we can enjoy our petty comforts like fancy TVs and Cell phones and facebook fame with mindless abandon while not accepting responsibiity for the blood on all our hands. As Americans we either support or have come to accept a helplessness that allows perpetual war, rape of our environment, corporate violence against our food sourced animals and the poisoning of that food, sexism and open encouragement of racism and xenophobia. All this masked by the neo-facism of the ignorant narcissistic proclaimations of “the greatest nation on earth” sloganeering. Faced with the fake democracy of a tweedle dee, tweedle dum 2 party system with a single class puppeteer - we continue to believe in the illusion that electing another shill for the ruling class with different promises and a different skin color will actually make any difference. Finally, the rich have brought about the economic desctruction of working peoples livelihoods by rampant corporate greed and collaboration with the worst white-collar criminals imaginable - many elected to serve the people the collude with the rich to impoverish. And still - no mass movement arises, no rebellion of like minded true patiots more than similiar scenes like that few hundred last week in Washington. I know others have made other attempts to fight back and make changes but I don’t have much faith in the basic nature of most of humanity and I also know who in this country controls the machinery of power - police, army, courts etc…
I remember back in the 1990s when the Bosnian people were being slaughtered and the US govt. would not refer to it as genocide UNTIL the war ended and Clinton was out of office. Our reality in the US is a complex web of illusion made up of lies and false beliefs that most of us never challenge and often prefer to ignore. I wish I had Mr. Hedges’ optimism but it looks alot like Germany in the 20s and 30’s to me. Please show me how I am wrong - I’d love to believe that the ideological middle and left have not so easily been extinguished.

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By HelenWheels, December 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Bravo for all of you brave protesters. I have been a fan of Chris Hedges for years, and this just goes to show he doesn’t just talk the talk.

We need strong opposition leaders to wake up the country and begin more and more of these protests, or we are doomed.

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By Leo Wong, December 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

I am still hoping to see the names of the 131.  Peacemakers should be honored and remembered.

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By Steve R, December 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Arrested for failing to comply with a “police order”!

The legal basis for this “police order” was what??

So much for the first amendment - but are we surprised? America is no longer the land of the free.

Welcome to the police state!

Keep up the good work Chris. Truth is becoming very scarce.

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By COinMS, December 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

I can add nothing. I can only thank God that there are still a few sane people who
have not been absorbed into the great maw of the
military/corporate/entertainment complex.
I hope that next time, a more robust protest will happen. This has sown the seed;
next the seed needs to watered and cared for by informing more people and
gathering momentum. The MSM may not want to cover these acts, but they will
have to if a critical mass of people are involved.
Do not despise the day of small beginnings.

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By Maani, December 20, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

(Oops, hit the wrong button…)

“There was never a good war, or a bad peace.”  Ben Franklin

“The world is full of enough hurts and mischance without wars to multiply them.”  JRR Tolkien

“War is not an adventure: it is a disease.  It is like typhus.”  Saint-Exupery

“I cnanot believe that war is the best solution.  No one won the last war, and no one will win the next.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

“Don’t talk to me about atrocities in war.  All war is an atrocity.”  Lord Kitchener

“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.”  JFK


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By Maani, December 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”  Einstein

“If war is ever lawful, then peace is sometimes sinful.”  C.S. Lewis

“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”  MLK

“I asm prepared to die.  But there is no casue for which I am prepared to kill.”  Gandhi

“There was never a good war,

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By M L, December 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree Chris
We need to stop the killers and liars responsible for wars and begin a quest for peace and justice

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By Michael Kominsky, December 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment
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Brilliant…the non-violent efforts of these men and women to tell the truth, are truly heroic…they are the true face of patriotism…

Although I am not affiliated with Truthdig, I urge you to please help keep the lights on at Truthdig and Democracy Now, to continue to shine the harsh light of truth…by making a contribution…any amount…or buying the books of Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer et al.

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By entropy2, December 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

I was dubious at first about the effectiveness of your planned protest, but I was wrong. You are planting seeds all the time. The rest of us need to spread those seed far and wide. Spring will come.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Hedges may make an admirer of me yet.  But there is one posting here who in other threads calls for the abomination of violent revolution, which is war and leads to civil war.

I am more and more convinced over time that violence must ONLY be used in self-defense and that ANY attacks made as “Protective reaction” pretending to be “self-defense” is abominable.

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By stephen geller, December 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a rhythm to this insanity, and writing and protesting and speaking out
breaks up the madness. After Washington, what’s next? What about a date of
protest for every city in the United States?

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By Bill Wolfe, December 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Painful truth - words are deficient, yet so movingly deployed here.

Most of your work comes as a body blow - but this piece hits the soul.


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By Memory_Hole, December 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

“War perverts and destroys you. It pushes you closer and closer to your own annihilation—spiritual, emotional and, finally, physical.”

And what does war do to us collectively? Martin Luther King said something about America being close to losing its soul due to investing so much in war.  We become numb—literally, “numbskulls.” 

Thank you Chris Hedges for reminding us all what war is REALLY about, for cutting through all the romanticized bullshit we are continually inundated with, and getting to the heart of the matter.

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By elisalouisa, December 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

“The tears and grief, the halting asides, the catch in the throat, the sudden breaking off of a sentence, is the only language that describes war. . . . . If it was understood by the masters of war who build the big guns, who build the death planes, who build all the bombs and who hide behind walls and desks, this language would expose their masks and chasten their hollow, empty souls.”

Intellect does not go there.  A bell curve that can detect a lack of understanding as to this language is what we are in need of; especially when choosing a presidential candidate.

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By Devon J. Noll, MPA, December 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment
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Seldom in any generation where war is the defining factor of everyday life in every community do we find words that say so much in such a limited space.  Chris Hedges has defined the immorality of war, the wages of war, and the results of war in an essay that is so strong in its clarity that there are few words to describe it.  He and the other 130 individuals arrested last Thursday are heroes in this world.  In their silence, they spoke more loudly than any gun for those who give so much with so little in return from the rest of us.

Bravo, Mr. Hedges!

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By Carlos, December 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Democrat need to end the ward and they need to send the soldier back home. First they need to rebuild Irag and Afghanistan country. I am with the pain of the families who died or passaway

Carlos Marino

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By Don Krotee, December 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
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Chris is right. War perverts and destroys you. But, the perpetuation is in the wars making billions in profit for war contractors.  Chris is right, for the barter chips of humans on the ground, it pushes one closer to annihilation—spiritual, emotional and, finally, physical. But, at the same time it’s making millions for people back home who are involved at the top of brokering the betterment of war contracting.  War may be destroying the continuity of life but, it is also one of the few economies that are blossoming home and abroad.  The essence of war is net profit.  No one wants death.  But the perpetuation of the military industrial complex and its enormous profit, along with the lobbying that prods law makers to aid and abet all of it, is the key to unraveling the need for war. 
If there was a way to wean the profit makers into an economy of building, rather than tearing apart, then war, having lost the base of profit, would cease to exist.

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By PrematureFactulation, December 20, 2010 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

Thank you Chris Hedges. Your profound and moving piece on war reminds me of
the words of Blaise Pascal in his remarkable Pensées:

“Can there be anything more ludicrous than a man have the right to kill me
because he lives over the water and his king has a quarrel with mine even though I
have none with him?”

The answer, of course, is “No, there is nothing more ludicrous.” Chris Hedges
made that eloquently clear in this essay.

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By martingugino, December 20, 2010 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As the event moves away in time, it only grows larger and more consuming.

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By G.Anderson, December 20, 2010 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

It is impossible to hurt others without hurting yourself. To believe that you are immune
from your actions that hurt others, is the mother of all lies.  The pain is additive,
competing in your body with every thought and feeling and experience you have ever
known for your attention. A one way ticket to creating a hell inside. The fires of PTSD
guard every moment from peace of mind from what you have done, no matter how

But there is one redemption, and it’s not counseling, or therapy, or powerful drugs, or the
heroin of hope. It is in protest, and in non violent political action against the devils who
stole your soul.

High in their lofty towers built of greed, the masters of war, they count their money daily.
Each and every penny with the greatest care.  They have no more room in their
calculations for the tears, of eaters

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By Stevan Hammond, December 20, 2010 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right of free speech and right of assembly? Bah! Humbug!

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By lasmog, December 20, 2010 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

What is most striking about Hedges’ beautiful piece on war is the fact that I can’t remember reading anything remotely like it before.  Our culture churns out so much overt and covert war propaganda that Hedges very personal reflections on war seem all the more jarring and moving.

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By Paco, December 20, 2010 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“...they were handcuffed, dragged through the snow, photographed for arrest, and frog-marched into police vans”

I’ve long had difficulty reconciling the way our police treat protesters with the First Amendment of our Constitution which reads:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Is it that police are acting outside of the law when the assembly is peaceful?

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By Dalmazio, December 20, 2010 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

@Chris Hedges: Bravo! The sad and painful poetry of experiential truth.

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By Rob Di Zio, December 20, 2010 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What resonates most true about your article, “Bitter memories of War on the way to Jail” is the truth that our warring culture has hijacked and rendered powerless the only language that has the power to refute it.  The language of love, the language of scripture has been redefined as pathetic, weak and cowardly.  Speak up against war and be called a “bleeding heart”.  How tragically ironic that an expression initially coined to pay hommage to the powerful and redeeming compassion of a saviour is now used by so-called believers as a put down.

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By David J. Cyr, December 20, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (Chris Hedges):

“War perverts and destroys you.”

Yes. The people who regularly, routinely vote for the corporate (R) and (D) perpetual war party’s candidates are perverted. It is the self-destruction of their own humanity that compels them to casually destroy others to bring comfort and pleasure to themselves.

The conservatives believe it’s not fascism, when “good” Christians engage in wars of aggression to murder and pillage in the “other’s” nations.

The liberals think it won’t be fascism, if their “best and brightest” manage it “better” to make it perhaps less messy, more effective, more efficient, and less costly to them.

Which are the greater evil?

Is it the stupid, ignorant and crude Republicans, who like rats in Skinner Boxes reflexively march to support the beat of any drum?

Or, is it the well informed, intelligent and refined Democrats, who first change the label on a “dumb” war to instead be considered “necessary” wars; and then provide legislation to use the “others” here to abuse the “others” over there — to recruit gays and undocumented immigrants to be the soldiers sacrificed to get the crimes done by proxy, for those voters, against people having the misfortune to live elsewhere over valuable resources?

Voting for Democrats is how closet fascists don’t “waste” their votes.

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By still trying, December 20, 2010 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

Thank you Chris Hedges for your dedication to truth, however bitter it sometimes is. Your life is a testimony in service to goodness.

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By Druthers, December 20, 2010 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

This declaration of life is the strongest I have read. I had many old friends, survivors of the camps, Jewish or political who carried the same images to the end.
A very dear friend who had been tortured by the Gestapo in Paris cried in my arms on her death bed that after coming back from Buchenvald she had not had the courage to imform the family of a close friend how she had died; devoured by the dogs of the SS in the middle of the night during a roll call.
She never forgave herself to have left the family ignorant of her death.  These wars and camps and torture chambers are all alike, degrading life and humanity.
I wish I could have been with you all.

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By kerryrose, December 20, 2010 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

It’s true.  My grandfather’s Division, the 82nd Airborne, during War War II was routinely put on the Front for 2 weeks, into the mental hospital for 2 weeks, Front for 2 weeks, mental hospital for 2 weeks.

The military acknowledged that war will make you crazy, and tried to find the pattern that might retain sanity.

Dede turned his nose up at any kind of parade, veteran’s proud gathering while I was growing up. ‘I did what I had to, but I’m not proud of it.’

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