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America’s Wars of Self-Destruction

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Posted on Nov 17, 2008
AP photo / Morry Gash

Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than a billion bullets a year.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

There are groups and people who seek to do us harm. The attacks of Sept. 11 will not be the last acts of terrorism on American soil. But the only way to defeat terrorism is to isolate terrorists within their own societies, to mount cultural and propaganda wars, to discredit their ideas, to seek concurrence even with those defined as our enemies. Force, while a part of this battle, is rarely necessary. The 2001 attacks that roused our fury and unleashed the “war on terror” also unleashed a worldwide revulsion against al-Qaida and Islamic terrorism, including throughout the Muslim world, where I was working as a reporter at the time. If we had had the courage to be vulnerable, to build on this empathy rather than drop explosive ordinance all over the Middle East, we would be far safer and more secure today. If we had reached out for allies and partners instead of arrogantly assuming that American military power would restore our sense of invulnerability and mitigate our collective humiliation, we would have done much to defeat al-Qaida. But we did not. We demanded that all kneel before us. And in our ruthless and indiscriminate use of violence and illegal wars of occupation, we resurrected the very forces that we could, under astute leadership, have marginalized. We forgot that fighting terrorism is a war of shadows, an intelligence war, not a conventional war. We forgot that, as strong as we may be militarily, no nation, including us, can survive isolated and alone. 

The American empire, along with our wanton self-indulgence and gluttonous consumption, has come to an end. We are undergoing a period of profound economic, political and military decline. We can continue to dance to the tunes of self-delusion, circling the fire as we chant ridiculous mantras about our greatness, virtue and power, or we can face the painful reality that has engulfed us. We cannot reverse this decline. It will happen no matter what we do. But we can, if we break free from our self-delusion, dismantle our crumbling empire and the national security state with a minimum of damage to ourselves and others. If we refuse to accept our limitations, if do not face the changes forced upon us by a bankrupt elite that has grossly mismanaged our economy, our military and our government, we will barrel forward toward internal and external collapse. Our self-delusion constitutes our greatest danger. We will either confront reality or plunge headlong into the minefields that lie before us.

Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. His column appears Mondays on Truthdig.

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By sd, December 3, 2009 at 1:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

love

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By Anarcissie, December 8, 2008 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

cann4ing:
‘Congratulations, Anarcissie.  You have posted perhaps the most inane, idiotic remark I have ever read at TD.’

I think your response might be more interesting if you read more widely.

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By cann4ing, December 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, December 7 at 10:51 am #

KDelphi, the state is war.

____________________

Congratulations, Anarcissie.  You have posted perhaps the most inane, idiotic remark I have ever read at TD.

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By Anarcissie, December 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

A state is a social institution by means of which a ruling class lays forcible claim to control territory and the people and activities which exist on the territory.

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By KDelphi, December 7, 2008 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie—It doesnt have to be.

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By Anarcissie, December 7, 2008 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

KDelphi, the state is war.

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By KDelphi, December 7, 2008 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie—Yes, but if you read the (too long) post, you would see that I asid, “Kucininch is sincere…if not a realist”.

Almost same/same

Norman Soloman said this AM, that perhaps he could be appointed to a new dept., suggested by him and others—a Dept of Peace. That would be hope indeed..

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By Anarcissie, December 7, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

If Kucinich was running in some expectation of actually winning the nomination and the election, then he is delusional.  There is no political infrastructure to support leftists!

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By KDelphi, December 6, 2008 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

If you met Kucinich,and spoke with him, you would see that he is sincere. Whether he is a realist , is another matter entirely. But, the saddest thing about Kucinich, is how the Democrats dissmiss him.

He had a speech prepared for the DNC, which, as many know, was cut mercilessly by the Dems. First off, he came out saying that his speech was for “Stephanie”.(Whom I loved very much—she was a personal heroine of mine)She had many doubts about continuing the “war on terror”, even about Obama—although, of course, in the end, she backed him—she was a Dem.. He had some things he wanted to say in her honor. He was not allowed to talk about the “war on terror”. It was cut. He back Dems anyway, because he thinks that they are better than the GOP. I would agree, (still? Now that THEY are the monied elite? who knows…), but, seeing people in my neighborhod, and all across the country, having so little voice in the process,while still paying the bills,continuing with the Dems, is not an option for me anymore. I just cannot do it.

There were turning points, but, I cant name them all. My diminishing “hope”,(after watching Clinton do welfare “reform”, sign NAFTA, etc) began with Dubya’a theft of the election in 2000 (and Gore’s asking the CBC to sit down, when they tried to stand up for him), jolted to attention at Hurricane Katrina, dipped lower still with FISA, the USA Patriot Act, etc. There is just a point,at which, to keep believing is to be a fool…“where else do progressives have to go”—nowhere yet. But, we shall have to create a place.

I respect Kunich, Feingold, Sanders, Kaptur, adn a few others. I would vote for them—-but my choice, year after year, seems to be Voinovich (not as bad as some Blue Dog Dems, actually), Turner or a Socialist. Why throw my vote away on Dems that dont even bother to campaign.Jane Mitakides ran against Turner this year—GAWD I wanted his ass gone! He “lives” in a gerrymandered district, and LOST as Mayor of Dayton, so he decided to buy hinmself a HofR seat. I called Dem Party Hdqrtrs. to volunteer for Mitakides—I figured, that, since, I had expressed a problem with “caampaigning for Obama”, I could help in other ways—-apparently not. My help was “not needed”. Would it have made a difference? Proably not, in the scheme of things—but it woud have made a difference to ME!

Obama has $30 million “leftover” right now. Why is he sitting on it? Could it have been put to use in Alabama, to win the Dem another seat? (Would he even have been allowed to do that? I dunno).

We have to GET THE MONEY OUT! Most politicans are already rich, by our standards. Have them make the jobs volunteer work. Youve done it, right? Makes you feel good. That’s your reward.Let it be theirs. It can count towards their Public Service Requirement, of we have to re-instate the draft.Even up your karma, Congerss.
Dont worry , it won’t happen—we’ll just keep using Blackwater et al…heres’ an application , peeps, if you like the war on terror, and cant find a job—-now THIS would be an ADVENTURE!)

LOL

https://secure.blackwaterusa.com/

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By cann4ing, December 6, 2008 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, I met Dennis Kucinich during the early stages of the campaign; spoke to him at some length.  I do not believe he was running simply to be a symbol for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.  To the contrary, he was quite serious in his attempt to pierce the corporate veil that prevents an airing of substance.

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By Anarcissie, December 6, 2008 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Because two things both have the same attribute, does not mean there is no difference between them.

Also, I think there is probably a significant difference between those who are actually trying to get elected with some chance of doing so and those who are engaged in symbolic candidacies.

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By cann4ing, December 5, 2008 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, December 5 at 6:46 am #

The main things politicians desire is power.
_______________________

I think you have to avoid overstatement, lest you reach the erroneous conclusion that there is no difference between politicians.  Ralph Nader & Cynthia McKinney both ran for president.  McKinney is a former member of Congress.  And, of course, Dennis Kucinich is both a member of Congress and a former presidential candidate.  That, by definition, makes all three of these individuals politicians.

Do you think a desire for power is the primary motivator for any of those three individuals?  Since they are all politicians and George W. Bush is a politician does that mean they are all alike—all thirsting for power?

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By Anarcissie, December 5, 2008 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

The main things politicians desire is power.  That is why they are politicians.  Bush used the opportunity afforded by 9/11 to vastly increase the powers of the government, especially the presidency.  The Democrats did not seriously oppose this project then, and now that they are in power, there is even less reason for them to oppose it.  Moreover, even if some of them did want to oppose it, it would run counter to the profoundly conservative instincts of the party to make many changes or to head off in some new direction.

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By KDelphi, December 4, 2008 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing—I took this article off my fridge the other day—I was throwing stuff out—Finally!! And this seemed to apply somewhat, and, even then, I thought it was worth “pasting up” (I put other stuff there—dont know why—I knew Bush would be really bad—my brother in law knew him when he was in S&B;, but, he was, of course, much worse)...I knew we were in for the shit of our lives. I just didnt know that the Dems, once they had regained a little power, would sell us so far up the river..now, the Dems have it all, essentially…the time is now to say, “Which side are you on”

Dayton Daily News, November 10, 2002, David Broder—“Lack of Nerve Hurt”  (By Refusing to speak out against his policies , Dems enhanced Bush’s image)
“Call if affirmation or reaffirmation, the midterm election has given a powerful boost to Pres Bush, the conservative agenda, and the long-term prospects of the Republican Party ...The GOP we met(at the polls) had a clear reason to back Bush; demonstrating their loyalty to the commander in chief of the war on terrorism… (Back then), Democrats had not received any similarly clear and compelling signal from their party leadership. And, in the end, the issues the Dem hierarchy hoped would energize its constituency—the shaky economy, coprporate greed, runaway drug prices—-never were given enough of a partisan dimention to work”

Note here that the word “partisan” is not a curse word…note also, that they are the SAME issues, and they are STILL not being given clear msesages as to how they would be resolved/helped…He goes on..

“Bush is the opposite of a status-quo conservative. Even without the benefit of a clear electoral mandate, he pushed for and largely achieveed sweeping and even radical changes in education , fiscal policy, defense and foreign-policy doctrine….also…shift (ed) the boundaries in church-state relations, changed Medicare and social security, (whew!—at least it wasnt privatized), and alter the makeup of the judicial branch…”

Do people realize just how far RIGHT we have gone?? I do NOT feel that now is the time for “consensus”

“The fecklessness of congresional Democrats—who lacked the nerve to say what most of them really believe about either the Bush tax cuts or his path to war with Iraq (Is that true? Do they really belive what we would like to think they believe?)—made it easier for the president to look like the rare politician with the courage of his own convictions…”

We do not want to show that the Dems are NOT—again—do we??

This is not a time for pragmatism. This is not a time for concensus. It would be a time for action—by all of us, but, most especially those with power and a bully pulpit.

People need to stop and think—-“faith based initiatives”? “war on terror”? Duopoly approved ultra-conservative judges? Huge gifts to the “insurance/medicaton ” industry—but we cannot afford single payer? The Wall St Bailout vs. Big Three Bailout? The Dems forsaking the Union?

The Dems have to decide. The things listed, above, did not exist before. We should do away with it now…

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By cann4ing, December 4, 2008 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

Others have come to similar conclusions, KDelphi:

As noted by Norman Solomon in War Made Easy, quoting the New Yorker’s Nicholas Lehman, “war on terror…has entered the language so fully, and framed the way people think about how the United States is reacting to the September 11 attacks, so completely, that the idea of declaring and waging war on terror was not the sole, inevitable, logical consequence of the attacks just isn’t in circulation.”  Indeed, Solomon continues, contracting “war on terrorism” into “war on terror” involves much more than saving headline space.  “’Terror’…is a word fraught with numerous meanings…; among the subtexts of the shortened term are vague notions to the effect that we can somehow effectively wage war on our own fear, a nuance that…hardly suggests an auspicious strategy.”  As noted by Bill Moyers, “the paradigm of the ‘war on terror’” is employed “to elicit public acquiescence in [the administration’s] policies while offering no criterion of success or failure, no knowledge of the cost, and no measure of democratic accountability.”

The corporate media role in ensuring that “public acquiescence” was pivotal.  The media had to choose between competing images.  One image, the one that would not be shown until years later in Fahrenheit 911, was captured at a time when the fires were raging and people were leaping to their deaths from the upper stories of the Twin Towers.  It was the unscripted and embarrassingly long moments when a stunned George W. Bush, having just been informed of the attack, sat motionless listening to a teacher reading My Pet Goat; a thunderstruck idiot who would spend the remainder of the day flying about the country, leaving the very able Richard Clarke in charge at the White House—a fortuitous circumstance which permitted the quick-thinking Clarke and Armitage to prevent a reckless Pentagon decision to go to DEFCON 3 from escalating into nuclear Armageddon.  Then there was the carefully scripted image—George W. Bush, leader of the free world, standing tall at Ground Zero, arm around a firefighter, bull horn in hand, ensuring that “the people who knocked down these buildings will hear from us real soon.”

The corporate media chose not to present the former just as it chose not to question the ambiguity in the words “war on terror.”  The rationale was explained by Dan Rather when interviewed by BBC television on May 16, 2002.  “It starts with a feeling of patriotism within oneself.  It carries through with a certain knowledge that the country as a whole—for all the right reasons—felt and continues to feel this surge of patriotism within themselves.  And one finds oneself saying:  ‘I know the right question, but you know what?  This is not exactly the right time to ask it.”

The message of the corporate media entailed much more than a failure to ask the right questions.  It was a statement that what was required of the American people was blind obedience, a point underscored by a remark made by Rather on David Letterman’s show just six days after the planes struck the Twin Towers:  “George Bush is president.  He makes the decisions….Wherever he wants me to line up, just tell me where.  And he’ll make the call.”  This call for blind obedience was made against a backdrop of near continuous renditions of The Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful sung not only before sporting events but at half-time or the seventh-inning stretch, often beneath the roar of streaking F-16s—televised spectacles reminiscent of 1930s German torch-lit parades, with the American flag not merely appearing as newsroom backdrop but in pin form on the lapels of commentators and guests alike.

Contrary to OM’s assertions, “war on terror” is not a legal concept.  It is a propaganda device.

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By Anarcissie, December 4, 2008 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Well, once upon a time there was a “war to end war”.

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By KDelphi, December 3, 2008 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Debbie Steele—Thanks—I am glad that someone else got a similar reaction to the books…

This seems to have gone off in the direction of whether there is any use in a “war on terror”—I am not an attorney (I dont play one on tv, either, and this is above my pay grade), but , you would have to admit , that, sometimes an outsider’s pov helps, right? It seems to me, that if you buy the concept of a war on terror, (a war on a concept or state of mind),you become what you are fighting. A ‘war on terrorists” is much the same-who gets to decide who is a terrorist? Who is an “enemy combatant”? This was originally a battlefield distinction.

If we leave it up to Reagan, (and apparently , both parties do today—cause he “brought us together!”), “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. We are not talking about battlefield logistics here. If you are “at war”, and , you are armed, and, a person points a gun at you—shoot them. Or, ask for conscientious objector status, because you will end up dead. Unless you wish to be dead..

Now, back to the “war on drugs”, the “war on fundamentalism”, the “war on fascism” and the ever popular, “war on communism”.

The best one I’ve heard, is the “war on hate”...how about a “war on anger”? Or a “war on ” the “war on terror”? I know that that is absurd, and, that is precisely the point…

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By cann4ing, December 2, 2008 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

Gotta do better than that, OM.  The “issue” when we began this colloquy is whether the logical response to 9/11 was a legal one or the waging of a so-called “war on terror.”

By cann4ing, November 27 at 9:34 am #

By optipessi mist, November 26 at 3:11 pm #

Chris- buddy Just two words Mumbai, India
__________________________

Short-sighted stupidity.  The question is not whether either 9/11 or Mumbai involve “acts of terrorism” but whether a “war on terrorism” is either an effective or even a logical response to what amounts to crimes—especially heinous crimes but crimes nonetheless.

By optipessi mist, November 27 at 2:38 pm #

The short-sigted stupidity is in your thinking that when facing men armed with weapons of violence(guns and bombs) we should direct them to the nearest court to face justice.

and:

It is one thing for an armed criminal(s) to commit illegal acts for personal gain, revenge, etc. It is quite another for armed men to commit illegal acts in order to overthrow a sovereign state, and state in no uncertain terms that this is their aim.  The former requires police action.  The latter requires armed conflict to defeat an enemy of the state.

By cann4ing, November 28 at 8:52 am #

...since when does the law enforcement entail merely “directing” armed men to the nearest court of law?  If a couple of guys stage an armed bank robbery and are then confronted by a SWAT team as they attempt to flee, the police don’t handle the situation by saying, “Gentlemen, please turn yourselves in at the nearest court.” They say, “Freeze!  Drop your weapons!” And if the perps fail to heed the command, or if they try to fire, the police shoot the perps right on the spot!

By cann4ing, November 29 at 11:56 am #

Anarcissie—the difference is not merely one of scale.  Optipessi mist is suggesting that it is motive that defines whether an act amounts to a crime or an act of war.  His definitional distinction means that if a single individual blows up a building to steal what is inside, the appropriate response entails law enforcement yet if an individual blows up a building with the established aim of overthrowing the government, then the response must be “war.” The short answer to this superficial distinction—Tim McVeigh.

There is a basic gap in Optipessi mist’s logic that arises from an illegitimate distinction.
————————————

Unable to meet the “issue” head on, OM, you resort to irrelevancy.  Pretty pathetic!

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By optipessi mist, December 2, 2008 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

You may confuse alot of people with your inability to state your issue clearly and concisely.  JD(1973), LLM International law(1976).  I am not here to conduct a law clinic on actus reus, mens rea, the principle of causation, or international law.

Your issue is you are not happy with the present status of the law.  Write your congressman. It is your opinion.  Opinions are like assholes.  Everybody has one.  And, everydoby thinks everyone else’s stinks.

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By cann4ing, December 2, 2008 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

OM—thanks for the primer on intent and motive.  I have not had to wade through something so basic since my first year in law school nearly 33 years ago.  Intent is a critical element in defining the type of homicide ranging from justifiable (self-defense) to first degree murder—premeditation.  However, even then the law will manufacture a fictionalized form of intent—e.g., the felony murder rule where, if a group of individuals are engaged in a felony, such as bank robbery, and a victim dies (e.g. a teller suffers a fatal heart attack) all of the conspirators in the robbery will be charged with first degree murder even if none intended to kill anyone.

But let’s turn to the issues at hand, shall we.

“You” were the one who offered the distinction between an act carried out to effectuate a change in government and an act carried out for pecuniary gain.  “You” were the one who suggested that only the former could qualify as an act of terrorism—making motive the key qualifier for determining the nature of the act—as opposed to intent as an element of the crime.  (If you blow up a building and someone dies, under the felony murder rule, you are guilty of murder irrespective of whether you intended to commit a robbery or intended to overthrow the government).

And you have deliberately ignored the core issue—that a so-called “war on terror” is an irrational and ineffective response to the issue of terrorism.  But that’s okay, OM.  I recognized early on that logic is not your strong suit, so I really didn’t expect a coherent response and why your incoherent mumblings about definitions contained in DoD guidelines do not come as a surprise.

“The [DoD] defines it as ‘An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.’”

So then did the DoD become a terrorist organization when it sought to overthrow the duly constituted government of Iraq by armed conflict?  And why would any thinking individual allow the Pentagon to define reality?

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By debbie steele, December 2, 2008 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Chris Hedges for your insight and wisdom.I read your book War gives us Meaning and it is true about the hysteria and false sence of comradeship when people chooce to murder.This type of patriotism to me is frightening and repulsive.Never glorious,only a terrible waste and causes vast sufferings.Major acts of terroism done by our government is not acceptable and does promote other types of terrorism by smaller groups of people.It is all based on using violence as a means of control. People can not be afraid to critisize what the military is doing.Unfortunately the military, along with the NSA has infiltrated a lot of institutions here in this country.Their “centers of excellence” are nothing more than the continous making of war.People ,taxpayers here in this country subsidizes the military.We can demand a great reduction in the vast amount of money that is given continously to this immoral and violent system.

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By optipessi mist, December 2, 2008 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing- “Motive” and “intent” are two separate concepts.  Motive is the possible why of a crime.  It can be incidental or irrelevant depending on the facts. However, without proving intent beyond a reasonable doubt you have a different crime. In other words, the individual insurgents may each have a different motive for committing the crime.  But the intent to commit the crime(to overthrow a sovereign state) is only one.  If you don’t believe me try reading some law books.  It is after all the method of law that you are espousing as the preferable method in dealing with insurgents.

Now regarding the word “insurgents” and its definition under present international law.

The distinction on whether an uprising is an insurgency or a belligerency has not been as clearly codified as many other areas covered by the internationally accepted laws of war for two reasons. The first is that international law traditionally does not encroach on matters which are solely the internal affairs of a sovereign state (although recent developments such as the responsibility to protect is starting to undermine this traditional approach). The second is because at the Hague Conference of 1899 there was disagreement between the Great Powers who considered francs-tireurs to be unlawful combatants subject to execution on capture and smaller states who maintained that they should be considered lawful combatants. The dispute resulted in a compromise wording being included in the Hague Conventions known as the Martens Clause after the diplomat who drafted the clause.[5]

The Third Geneva Convention, as well as the other Geneva Conventions, are oriented to conflict involving nation-states, and only loosely address irregular forces:

“Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements…”[6]

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) defines it as “An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.” [7] The new United States counterinsurgency Field Manual,[8] proposes a structure that includes both insurgency and counterinsurgency[COIN]. (italics in original)

Insurgency and its tactics are as old as warfare itself. Joint doctrine defines an insurgency as an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict.[7] These definitions are a good starting point, but they do not properly highlight a key paradox: though insurgency and COIN are two sides of a phenomenon that has been called revolutionary war or internal war, they are distinctly different types of operations. In addition, insurgency and COIN are included within a broad category of conflict known as irregular warfare.

This definition does not consider the morality of the conflict, or the different viewpoints of the government and the insurgents. It is focused more on the operational aspects of the types of actions taken by the insurgents and the counterinsurgents.

The Department of Defense’s (DOD) definition focuses on the type of violence employed (unlawful) towards specified ends (political, religious or ideological). This characterization fails to address the argument from moral relativity that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” In essence, this objection to a suitable definition submits that while violence may be “unlawful” in accordance with a victim’s statutes, the cause served by those committing the acts may represent a positive good in the eyes of neutral observers.

– Michael F. Morris[9]

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By cann4ing, December 2, 2008 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

OM, you pile one illogical statement upon another.  First, you advance the artificial distinction that makes murder an act of war based on motive—desire to overthrow a government rather than for pecuniary gain.  When that flaw is exposed, you pile on another artificial distinction—McVeigh was a U.S. national—a domestic terrorist who blew up a building killing many individuals—which you apparently believe can appropriately be handled as a federal crime—which is precisely how his case was handled.  You seem to imply, however, that if the same act were carried out by a foreign national, that would make it an act of war.  Where is the logic in that?  Nationality of the Oklahoma City bomber would have been irrelevant to prosecuting the individual under U.S. law for committing crimes that violate U.S. law.

As to international law, the U.S. has, to date, refused to become a signatory of the World Court—if it had, George Bush & Dick Cheney could be brought before the bar of international justice for the state terror campaign they unleashed on Iraq, violating the most fundamental of international laws established by the Nuremberg tribunals—the initiation of a war of aggression.

And, of course, you continue to ignore that waging a “war on terror” is an ineffective and illogical means for responding to the question of “terrorism” that increases rather than decreases the likelihood of future terrorist incidents.

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By Anarcissie, December 2, 2008 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

optipessi mist:
’... Please tell me again, “There is a basic gap in Optipessi mist’s logic that arises from an illegitimate distinction.”’

I wouldn’t call it a gap in logic so much as a bad definition which has dubious moral consequences.

You appear to want to define a lot of things as war that other people want to define as crime-and-police-work.  (We don’t seem to have a single noun for the latter but we need one here.)  As I pointed out, war and crime-and-police-work are politically similar.  However, the rules of engagement are different because wars take place between states and state-like entities, which are very powerful compared to individuals and small groups.  In war, one is allowed to kill, maim and terrorize large numbers of innocent non-combatants because, in theory, one has no choice, whereas in police work one is supposed to be careful to avoid harming the innocent.  This is what makes war such exciting fun and police work so dreary; in the former you can blow up buildings and machine-gun people, whereas in the latter the most tedious care must be taken with each act of force.  Most people would not think of hurling 2000 pounds of explosives on a crowded city to deal half a dozen bank robbers or child abusers, but such things are all right if the target is “Serbia” or “Iraq” or perhaps in the present case “Pakistan”.  War is morally excused (by some) because the defenders have no alternative: the whole power of a state has been thrown against them.  But non-state actors, while they can do a lot of damage, don’t fall into the same category, because they simply don’t have the same powers as a state.

Or maybe they do.  This is what you and your fellow believers still need to show—that war is a reasonable, moral and appropriate response to terrorism.  Reciting the horror of individual cases doesn’t get it—we’re discussing the future killing of thousands of more people who have had nothing to do with the terrorism and who will be disposed of verbally as “collateral damage” once the desired war has taken place.

This is to say nothing of the political risks of handing over a permanent war, and all that it excuses, to an executive.

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By optipessi mist, December 1, 2008 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing

Optipessi mist is suggesting that it is motive that defines whether an act amounts to a crime or an act of war.  His definitional distinction means that if a single individual blows up a building to steal what is inside, the appropriate response entails law enforcement yet if an individual blows up a building with the established aim of overthrowing the government, then the response must be “war.” The short answer to this superficial distinction—Tim McVeigh.

Are you so naive as to believe that the FBI and the military did not gather extensive intelligence on McVeigh prior to his trial?  McVeigh is a US national not a foreign national.  A distinction and its significance lost on those unfamiliar with matters of international law. 

The law is primarily concerned with establishing beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of “intent” as listed by statute and buttressed by centuries of case law.  Not motive. 

But all of that aside

  Then the toddler and the caretaker who rescued him from the terrorist attack boarded a jet along with the bodies of his parents and four other Jews slain at the Chabad House to fly to Israel — a place the curly-haired 2-year-old had never seen.
Tiny Survivor Leaves IndiaAP5 photos   A 2-year-old boy who saw his parents killed in the Mumbai massacre attended a memorial service for them Monday and then flew to Israel with his grandparents. Moshe Holtzberg clutched a toy basketball and wailed for his mommy throughout the service.

“There are going to be thousands of people at this funeral,” Katz said. “This couple wasn’t living in the West Bank. They weren’t settlers. They weren’t occupying anyone’s land. They were killed because they were Jews, simple and plain.”

So now we can add genocide to the crimes of these insurgents. 

Please tell me again,

There is a basic gap in Optipessi mist’s logic that arises from an illegitimate distinction.

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By KDelphi, November 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

Most of this is in the Project for the New Am Century—these ass clowns had it all planned , long before they decided Dubya woudl be a good ass-puppet.

Maybe we need to look back on this—to learn—as the “Rove Administration”. I dont think Dubya was classically stupid—I just think he wanted power—and, as always, with power—more money.. He said, that being a “war president” was the position to be most hoped for as CIC, because it gave him a chance at “greatness” (he actually said some of this stuff—I can try to find it)

We didnt “end up in the wrong country” as some assert. The neo-cons didnt “mess up”. Everything worked just as they had hoped. The only problem they MIGHT have is, fear of the people rising up (nope) or, the next Administration holding them accountable—looks definitely like nope!—-they fear being sued much more than prison.

We need to take their money. Who will do this for us?

The USAns need to sue the Bush family—anyone got a good lawyer? (My brother in law is not a trial lawyer) We had better do it before he GOP backed NEW (and deadlier to class action suits, which are necessaary because the US refuses to regulate sanely) Class Action Lawsuit Reform law is passed and signed!http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/003354.php
This is from 2006:

“In one of his first votes, Obama voted for the eminently sensible Class Action Fairness Act. This hypothetically annoys the litigation lobby (though they can be expected to support Edwards in 2008) and the cast of usual suspects who opposed the bill;...”

Until there is “fair” regulation,(we have almot nothing! Corporations walk all over citizens here, and the whole world knows it!) any attempt to reign in class action is unconscionable. If you arent harming anyone, why would you have anything to fear? That is what supporters of FISA say….

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By cann4ing, November 30, 2008 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

You make a momentous mistake in defining a criminal act as an act of war based on the number of criminal conspirators or the size and scope of the criminal act, Anarcissie.

9/11 produced an intriguing colloquy from a surprising source at Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s confirmation hearings.  Senator Lindsey Graham (R.SC):  “Do you believe the attacks on 9/11 against our nation were a crime or an act of war?”  Judge Alito:  “That’s a hard question to answer—“  Graham cut him off, making it clear this was not the answer he was looking for, then asked:  “Do you doubt that our Nation has been in an armed conflict with a terrorist organization since 9/11, that we have been in an undeclared state of war?”  Judge Alito:  “In a lay sense, certainly we have been in a conflict with a terrorist organization.  I am just concerned that in the law all these phrases can have particular meaning….”

While one can analogize “war” and “crime” from a lay perspective, the fundamental distinction between “war” (ordinarily entailing armed conflicts between nation-states, with revolutions and civil wars being noted exceptions) and criminal acts is of fundamental importance within the U.S. Constitutional and legal framework.  The Bush men understood this, which is precisely why they chose the phrase “war on terror.” 

An American president’s power is considered at its zenith in times of war.  While, as recognized by Gen. Odom, waging a “war on terror” is meaningless from a practical standpoint (as is a “war on drugs”) from both its propaganda value and from the maximization of presidential power, a “war on terror” is exceedingly effective precisely because it entails war without end—a permanent restructuring of the U.S. government towards dictatorial presidential power, unchecked by Congress or the Courts.  Alito, the author of Unitary Executive theory, understood this only too well, which is precisely why he evaded Sen. Graham’s question, lest revelation of his true designs prevent his being confirmed.

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By Anarcissie, November 29, 2008 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing:
Anarcissie—the difference is not merely one of scale.  Optipessi mist is suggesting that it is motive that defines whether an act amounts to a crime or an act of war. ...

I know what O.M. is saying (I think).  I was giving my view.  For me, what we generally call crime is a small-scale political act.  If I am robbed, for example, the robber has imposed a polity on both of us in which he gets to take my stuff.  It’s a little temporary state.  A bigger-deal robber, a mafiosi, might impose the robbery as a permanent condition—“protection money”.  And then there are taxes….  We are right to be especially concerned with those who use violence for ideological or religious ends, like terrorists and statesmen, because they aren’t satisfied with merely taking stuff for personal use, but want to impose their whole world on us.  But if they do not have state backing, then the appropriate response is still police work, not war (unless you consider the work of the police to be a kind of war, which is a possible interpretation).

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By cann4ing, November 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie—the difference is not merely one of scale.  Optipessi mist is suggesting that it is motive that defines whether an act amounts to a crime or an act of war.  His definitional distinction means that if a single individual blows up a building to steal what is inside, the appropriate response entails law enforcement yet if an individual blows up a building with the established aim of overthrowing the government, then the response must be “war.”  The short answer to this superficial distinction—Tim McVeigh.

There is a basic gap in Optipessi mist’s logic that arises from an illegitimate distinction.

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By Anarcissie, November 29, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

optipessi mist:’... It is one thing for an armed criminal(s) to commit illegal acts for personal gain, revenge, etc. It is quite another for armed men to commit illegal acts in order to overthrow a sovereign state, and state in no uncertain terms that this is their aim.  The former requires police action.  The latter requires armed conflict to defeat an enemy of the state.  One is an illegal act against persons or property.  The other is an ilegal act against a people’s freedom.  Two completely different acts. ...’

On the contrary, there is no distinction except one of scale.  Personal crime is an invasion of one’s personal rights; aggressive war on a state level is the same thing on a state level.  Conventional war is necessary if one’s community is attacked by the entire machinery of another state.  Terrorism is usually defined as state-like acts of hostility by non-state actors.  Since the terrorists are not backed by a state, there is no other state to attack as in conventional war. (If there is, then one is not dealing with terrorism as usually defined but acts of conventional war.)  Instead, they have to be suppressed by appropriate means, that is—on the level of what is usually defined as terrorism—police work.  I know police work isn’t as glamorous as full-blown war, but that’s show biz.

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By Sodium, November 29, 2008 at 2:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

CORRECTION:
============

Re:The Imperial Hubris is the Cause of Terrorism,
November 28 at $:25 pm.

Please correct the following paragraph from:

“I just wonder when those conservative fools are going to realize that because of their criminal agenda of wars against any country that disagrees with their evil policy of either you submit or we will destroy you the way we destroyed Iraq.”

to:

“I just wonder when the NEOCONSERVATIVE fools are going to realize that because of their criminal agenda of wars against any country that disagrees with their evil policy of either you submit or we will destroy you as we have destroyed Iraq HAD/HAS
BANKRUPTED THE UNITED STATES FINANCIALLY FOR FIGHTING WARS ON BORROWED MONEY-MONEY WE SIMPLY DO NOT HAVE.”

Thank you.

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By Sodium, November 28, 2008 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Subject:The Imperial Hubris is the Cause of Terrorism.

For anyone interested in an objective analysis of the cause/causes of terrorism,it is wiser to read the following book before passing judgment on the validity or invalidity of the Neoconservatives/Cheney/Bush’s war on terrorism:

Imperial Hubris
By
Michael Scheuer

The author,Michael Scheuer,spent more than 20 years at the CIA,as a political analyst.His specialty was the Middle East and its infection with the disease of
terrorism.He holds a Doctoral Degree in political science.His political analysis at the CIA was highly
regarded.That might have been why the CIA had allowed him to publish the book “Imperial Hubris” under,not his real name but under “By Anonymous”,while still working as an employee of the CIA.His real name was revealed only after his retirement from the CIA.Hence
the first edition of the “Imperial Hubris” carried the name of the author as “Anonymous” while the later editions of the book published after leaving the CIA carried his real name,Michael Scheuer.

Anyone who thinks that terrorism can be defeated live in the realm of the delusional world,if not the world of total hallucination.No one should take my word for
the last statement of mine,but should study the story of the French colonizers of Algeria or the story of the Italian fascists,under the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini,in Libya,or the history of the White European supremacists across the African continent.Terrorism had disappeared from these different geographical areas when justice,for the exploited people of these areas,ad prevailed.

Moreover,one may apparently defeats the phenomenon of terrorism in one specific geographical area,and yet to be confronted with it in another unexpected area, and by the time one thinks it is defeated in this new area,it appears in other areas and so on and on,ith no end insight,like a vicious circle without end,at all.All of a sudden,when one may realize that his/her own country at the verge of total bankruptcy because of this endless war against terrorism and one may
finally realize how unwise was the military option
for defeating ghosts and the phenomenon called terrorism.


The Soviet Union had occupied Afghanistan from 1979
till 1989 and were forced to leave by the terrorism of the Afghani Mujahideens(Reagan called them then Freedom Fighters and he even received some of them in the White House,for the whole world to see).The Soviet Union’s military adventure in Afghanistan was one of the main catalysts that helped in the demise of the financial collapse of the Soviet Empire.The Soviet Union’s experience in Afghanistan should be a lesson to all military adventurers every where.The military option has its limitations;and I must say that might does not necessarily make things right.In fact,such an option may make things worst for all of us.That is why it is so important to be aware of the content of a book like “Imperial Hubris”.

I just wonder when those conservative fools are going to realize that because of their criminal agenda of wars against any country that disagrees with their evil policy of either you submit or we will destroy you the way we destroyed Iraq.
At the same time,all Americans should forget about their basic rights,as expressed in the Constitution, because of the phony war on terrorism.How unwise!!

To caught Benjamin Franklin when he said that those who prefer security over liberty deserve neither certainly carries with it its own realistic irony…

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By cann4ing, November 28, 2008 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

A couple more points, my pessimistic friend, since when does the law enforcement entail merely “directing” armed men to the nearest court of law?  If a couple of guys stage an armed bank robbery and are then confronted by a SWAT team as they attempt to flee, the police don’t handle the situation by saying, “Gentlemen, please turn yourselves in at the nearest court.”  They say, “Freeze!  Drop your weapons!” And if the perps fail to heed the command, or if they try to fire, the police shoot the perps right on the spot!

How does “motive” (political vs. monetary gain) alter the character of the crime committed?  Murder is murder whether carried out as part of a robbery, sexual assault or for political purposes.

Logic doesn’t appear to be one of your greater strengths.

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By cann4ing, November 28, 2008 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

Short-sighted stupidity?  How’s that “war on terror” of yours working out after 8 years?  Is there less terror in the world today than there was on 9/11/01? (Hint—even our own NIE reveals a greater global threat from terrorism today than in 2001).  The same Afghan Mujahideen that Ronald Reagan once referred to as “freedom fighters” and who were supplied with U.S. made Stinger missiles by the CIA morphed into al Qaeda.  Assuming 9/11 was not, at least in part, an inside job, it was a case of blow back for U.S. imperialism and our military presence in other countries.  Do you really think invading other peoples’ countries, resulting in massive civilian deaths, is going to “reduce” the threat of terrorism, especially when it is our very presence on those countries that gave rise to it?

Your argument that international tribunals do not work in times of war assumes that 9/11 was an act of war rather than a crime.  You reveal yourself incapable of thinking outside the “war on terror” frame—a frame that envisions a perpetual war that never ends, thereby justifying, in your tiny mind, the end of the rule of law—which is precisely the illogic applied by the Bush men to justify torture, extraordinary rendition and the assault on our separation of powers.

Apply the word “terrorists” and the uninformed, like you, are so badly shaken they lose the ability to think.  You hear the word “terrorist” and it conjures in your mind an amorphous threat that is everywhere and anywhere at all times—the perfect “enemy” for the wealthy elites to justify endless military expenditures even though those military expenditures, in reality, make the world less safe—not more safe.

The word “terrorism” is often used by those in the position of power as a substitute for the more accurate description of the tactic of guerrilla warfare—the classic tactic of the weaker opponent against entrenched government forces.  The Nazis described the resistance fighters throughout occupied Europe as “terrorists.” (Others would refer to them as patriots).  Franco’s fascists applied it to the remnants of Republican Spain who continued the fight after Franco, with Nazi assistance, seized control of Spain.  The Israelis use the same word to describe any armed resistance in the illegally occupied West Bank & Gaza.  What you do not hear is the word “terror” used to describe the wholesale slaughter of thousands of civilians during the second assault that nearly wiped away Falluja, a town the size of Cincinnati.

No, optipessi mist, war is not the answer.  Genuine international cooperation, an end to U.S. imperial aggression and the application of the rule of law (which may require an armed international police action in which the armed criminals who carry out act of terror are killed our captured) is the answer.

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By optipessi mist, November 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing-

The short-sigted stupidity is in your thinking that when facing men armed with weapons of violence(guns and bombs) we should direct them to the nearest court to face justice.  What do you suggest we use, harsh words, as they shoot us down in the street.  Maybe you should ask the survivors in Mumbai.  Or the families of those who died on 9/11.

It is one thing for an armed criminal(s) to commit illegal acts for personal gain, revenge, etc. It is quite another for armed men to commit illegal acts in order to overthrow a sovereign state, and state in no uncertain terms that this is their aim.  The former requires police action.  The latter requires armed conflict to defeat an enemy of the state.  One is an illegal act against persons or property.  The other is an ilegal act against a people’s freedom.  Two completely different acts.

In conditions of conventional war , the time for international war crimes tribunals is after the enemy has been defeated.  Jeopardizing the security of a sovereign government and critical intelligence gathering by conducting them through a judicial process designed for times of peace is irresponsible.  It is too slow and cumbersome when matters of national security are involved.  It is designed to bend over backwards to protect the rights of the accused citizen of a country. Not hostile foreign nationals who do not recognize that country’s judicial process as legitimate or having jurisdiction over them.  Their acts against persons and property are designed to overthrow a sovereign government. That places them in a completely different category, outside the everyday criminal due process system. 

In the case of terrorists acts to overthrow a sovereign government the war crimes cases would of necessity extend any time deadline for speedy trial.  Issues of national security and intelligence gathering outweigh that right.

Finally, all of us have had to give up some of our personal right to privacy, etc. due to these acts of terrorism.  Our freedoms have been impaired.  So in some way these organized individuals have won a small victory.  This is a violent strategy of attrition that we cannot afford to lose.  Example, if you place a frog in boiling water it will jump out.  If you place it in room temperature water it will stay there as the temperature is slowly brought to boiling, and it will die.

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By cann4ing, November 27, 2008 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

By optipessi mist, November 26 at 3:11 pm #

Chris- buddy Just two words Mumbai, India
__________________________

Short-sighted stupidity.  The question is not whether either 9/11 or Mumbai involve “acts of terrorism” but whether a “war on terrorism” is either an effective or even a logical response to what amounts to crimes—especially heinous crimes but crimes nonetheless.

The Bush regime’s so-called “war on terror” merely created new generations of terrorists.  As Gen. Wm. Odom (U.S. Army-ret.) astutely observed, “Terrorism is not an enemy.  It cannot be defeated.  It’s a tactic.  It’s about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we’re going to win that war.  We are not going to win a war on terrorism.  And it does whip up fear.  Acts of terror have never brought down liberal democracies.  Acts of parliament have closed a few.”

As I noted earlier, the appropriate response to both 9/11 and now Mumbai is not “war” (or torture) whether waged in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan, but a coordinated, international application of the rule of law.  Those engaging in “acts” of terrorism must be brought before the bar of an international tribunal.

Finally, while the killing of innocent civilians in Mumbai is despicable, so too is the killing of innocent civilians by American-made bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza where the Israelis are engaged in a form of collective punishment.  Violence begets more violence.

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By optipessi mist, November 26, 2008 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

Chris- buddy Just two words Mumbai, India

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By cann4ing, November 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Joseph, your critique is misplaced.  The topic addressed by Chris Hedges entails “U.S.” imperialism and the military-industrial complex.  These are issues that predate the very creation of the state of Israel.  While it is perfectly valid to provide critical analysis of Israel, AIPAC and Zionism, there is no obligation to mention it in “every” article dealing with imperialism and the U.S. military-industrial complex—unless that is, you are anti-Semitic and are incapable of accepting “any” analysis that does not include some secret Jewish conspiracy. 

Believe it or not, there are many, many occasions in which the U.S. has engaged in military conquest, both covert and overt, over the past sixty years that have had absolutely “nothing” to do with Israel, AIPAC or Zionism.

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By Joseph, November 25, 2008 at 1:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, you forgot to mention the Israel lobby. Those people who prodded Bush to invade Iraq. What a cowardly article not to mention the neocons and AIPAC in general . How cowardly of you to write that oil and gas companies are hindering the developement of alternative energy. What nonsense ! That the pentagon
supports this policy of occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan ! Where have you been for the last six years ? The senior military brass has been fighting with the Bush neocon infested administration against attacking Iran. The whole intelligence community has been sabotaging the Israeli firsters efforts for a US attack on Iran in a region which the military feels the US should not interfere unless absolutely necessary. Chris stop being such a coward . It is time to confront the Israeli firsters head on before they bring complete ruin to our nation.

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By colin2626262, November 24, 2008 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Kdelphi,

I didn’t wish for it.  It was just a reaction.  In real life I wish for the opposite.  I would never join the military.

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By cann4ing, November 24, 2008 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

By robertsgt40, November 24 at 10:10 am #

You were doing pretty good til page two when you mention our problem with terrorism.  In fact the terrorists are inside the gates.  No nation can withstand treason from within.
________________________

By “terrorists…inside the gates” are you referring to George W. Bush & Dick Cheney?  Or are you asking that we surrender our civil liberties, turn the national treasury over to the weapons manufacturers and risk nuclear Armageddon on the “possibility” of some sleeper cell existing somewhere, everywhere?  Ooh, we should be scared!  There’s a terrorist behind every rock.  Surrender your freedoms to the neocons.  After all they know what’s best for us.

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By robertsgt40, November 24, 2008 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

You were doing pretty good til page two when you mention our problem with terrorism.  In fact the terrorists are inside the gates.  No nation can withstand treason from within.

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By KDelphi, November 24, 2008 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Sodium—Very well thought out, researched, and, best of all empathetic, arguments.

If you will look at my post again, I am obviously a “fan” of Hedges, and simply would not have lavished quite as much priase on this particular article. I agree with most of what you say about him. I have been following him for years, also.

I never fail to learn something, to feel, mostly,  that I have been “understood” , on some level, and, he always sparks great discussion—look at the thread!

Otherwise—thanks for the research, while still maintaining heart. Hedges may be brought to task by some for the first (alot of his work is not really amenable to statistical analysis, anyway), but hardly ever for the last. He most certainly DOES give a rat’s butt!

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By Sodium, November 24, 2008 at 5:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:MaryF, November 22 at 5:33 pm.

“It is regrettable that Chris Hedges’ understanding of terrorism is not as mature as the rest of his analysis”

You had almost convinced me of the correctness of the above statement of yours,until I reread the whole article again;and to make sure,I also reviewed other articles written by Hedges and subsequently realized that the only way to achieve a better comprehension of the the essence of any article is to accept the sum of all of its words, sentences and paragraphs as an integrated whole and avoid ending up being cherry-picking.

Hedges’ talk about “EMPATHY” within the body of the article may neutralize the statement of yours quoted above.

In time past,Hedges kept mentioning the importance of
“EMPATHY” in dealing with the human suffering and problems in our world.The following quote is taken from a Hedges’ article entitled"America in the Time
of Empire”,posted on Truthdig’s website on November 26,2007-almost a year ago:

Quote
======
Dying empires cling until the very end to the outward trapping of power.TheyThey mask their weakness behind a costly and technologically advanced military.They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions.They stifle dissent with efficient and often ruthless mechanism of control.They lose the capacity for empathy,which allows them to see themselves through the eyes of others,to create a world of accommodation rather
than strife.The creeds and noble ideas of the nation become empty cliches,used to justify acts of greater plunder,corruption and violence.By the end,there is only lust for power and few willing to confront it.

Unquote
========

Just to show how important “EMPATHY” is to the profound thinkings of Chris Hedges,I repeat from the above quote,capitalizing the alphabets for emphasis:

“THEY LOSE THE CAPACITY FOR EMPATHY,WHICH ALLOWS THEM TO SEE THEMSELVES THROUGH THE EYES OF OTHERS,TO CREATE A WORLD OF ACCOMMODATION RATHER THAN STRIFE.”

What does all that emphasis on “EMPATHY” mean?

It implicitly means that if the U.S policy makers have and sustain “EMPATHY” for the victimized people of the globe,our policy makers have to refrain from initiating,forming,facilitating or instigating policies that create terror and terrorists who seek vengeance for the injustice committed against them by us directly or by our puppets indirectly.That is the “matured” way and manner through which understanding the real cause of terrorism becomes possible

Based on the foregoing outline,it seems to me that Hedges understand the real causes of terrorism quite well.

For full review of the article I quoted from to stress the importance of “Empathy” in Hedges’ writings,please Google the following exactly as written below:

America in the Time of Empire by Chris Hedges,on Truthdig website.

In short,what I have tried to say from all of the above is that it is wiser to try to consider the article,any article,as an integrated whole,in order to fully comprehend the essence of the article.

Others may say:Do not lose the whole scene of the forest by staring on a single tree…..

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By Sodium, November 24, 2008 at 2:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:TAO Walker, November 22 at 1:32 pm.

TAO Walker,

Please read my two las posts addressed to KDelphi and
Cann-4ing,respectively to get a concise comprehension
of how I feel about,and what I think of,the writings of Chris Hedges.

I do not think that I have any serious disagreement with most of the views you have intelligently expressed on Truthdig’s forums,so far.Not at all.In fact,I do embrace the wisdom inherited in them.And for that alone,I am thankful and appreciative.

Hokahey!

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By Sodium, November 24, 2008 at 1:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Cann-4ing, November 22 at 11:08 am.

“Tao makes a convincing case for the Lakota concept entailing what Barak Obama refers to as co-responsibility which the Lakota extend not only to one another but to the earth and its creatures”

Cann-4ing:I can see the validity of the above statement as I recall that some European philosophers of the 18TH century called for a harmony between the humankind and Nature or Mother Earth.I have no problem with that.In fact,it is wiser to develop such kind of a healthy relationship through cooperation to achieve such a noble goal amongst all people of the world.It can be done,if there is a resolve to do so.But when every nation puts its national interest; and I must say greed and desire to subjugate others, for natural resources,or for just lust for political power and military hegemony as the U.S. has already militarized the space,according to some content in “Hegemony Or Survival” by Naom Chomsky of MIT,then the whole harmony concept between the human race and Nature/Mother Earth becomes a pipe-dream.

Perhaps the case becomes more compelling as one remembers the total blackout that had engulfed New York city,thirty years ago,where masses of people were trapped in closed and immovable elevators and disabled subways trains,etc…every technology depended on electric current stopped,leaving the “civilized” people of New York city in a rather total helplessness and complete bewilderment Luckily,it was solved in a few hours time.But the lesson will stand as a witness to the fact that complete and total reliance on technological advancement can have its disadvantages which can be scary,if not deadly en mass,if the desire to build atomic bombs is allowed to proliferate;and for national pride,nations start pushing the nukes triggers against one another.If any one can survive in such circumstances,it is TAO Walker and his Lakota.That is why it is extremely important that the people of the world should demand that their world should,rather must,be completely free from Weapons of Mass Destruction(WMD),including the atomic and nuclear weapons.Of course,there are other things that should be eliminated,or at least be placed under close scrutiny,if humanity to survive its own destructive deeds to the environment.The current situation of the Polar Bear,which is about to be extinct,is crying out loud for amend,if the human race wishes to repent its crimes against the environment.Be it:AMEND.

For your information,I hold the views expressed by TAO Walker on these Truthdig’s forums in profound respect.Many of his views I truly share in their basic tenants.

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By Sodium, November 23, 2008 at 10:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:KDelphi,November 22 at 10:44 am

KDelphi,

This is to inform you that I have followed the writings of Chris Hedges since he was the main reporter of the New York Times,for the whole Middle East.He was stationed then in Beirut,Lebanon.Through the years I have become addicted to read whatever he writes,since I could detect sincerity,honesty,high moral ground,passion and sheer eloquence in his writings.

As I read what Hedges writes,I feel that he actually writes what I have in mind.You may call it meeting of the minds.Therefore,I do not feel that my praise of his writings has been lavish.Not at all.In fact,I feel that my praise falls short of what he actually deserves.

As far as I am concerned,Chris Hedges’ writings are unique.His uniqueness stems from several factors.Some of theses factors have to do with his education and perhaps most importantly is the fact that he spent the younger years of his life living abroad and subsequently was exposed to other peoples cultures and other peoples histories.Such an exposure by itself is a profound kind of education.

KDelphi:This is not the first time I have made explicit comments about Hedges’ writings.If you are interested in reading exactly how I feel about the various POWERS effeciently used by Hedges in writing his articles/columns,please Google the following exactly as written below:

Subject:From the Hedonism Crowd to Al-Jazeera and BBC
by Sodium.

My comments about his POWERS of writing will shine through and through.Hope you will check it out and will enjoy reading.

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By KDelphi, November 23, 2008 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

colin—I was not talking about a “dream”. I still submit that, you have no idea what you might do.In REAL LIFE.

I would also say that your “dream” was a “nightmare”.

cann4ing might disagree. I would not speak for all troops. But, I did work at a Vet Center for two years.(I didnt play one on televion—just kidding) One of the guys still lives in this house. He says, “You have no idea what you wil do until you get there”. He says that,no, killling is NOT a dream, and, if you get to where you think nothing of it, you are in big trouble.I know the guys who got “high body count” medals. They are never the same again.

Until it happens to you—you do not know. I do not know what I wouldve done on a battlefield either. If you are so certain that you would wish for such a thing—sign up, by all means!

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By colin2626262, November 23, 2008 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

To cann4ing:

You make good arguments.  It’s better not to argue, though.  We should be friends.  I wasn’t aware of your military experience.  I’ve never been anywhere near a war.  I don’t find glory in it, however.  I said the U.S. military was sickening and out of control.  As far as loving America or leaving America, I also said I wasn’t really talking about America.  If you think about it, we were born in a country, but we didn’t choose to be born there.  That’s similar to being born as a human being anywhere, no matter what soil you happen to walk on.  So “love it or leave it” relates to the country you inhabit, but it also relates to your existence.  If you love your existence, you’ll stay in existence, working and living and doing what’s right to the best of your ability. 

If you don’t love your existence, you’ll leave, meaning you’ll commit suicide, either physically or spiritually, by refusing to work, renouncing what’s right and living only for yourself.  From a theological perspective, this can be summed up in Thomas Aquinas’ words:  Deus est esse (God is being).  So basically what I was saying was simply that we should believe in God, love our existence and work to do what’s right, so we can be happy and live together in peace.  I may have went about saying that in the wrong way, and I’m sorry if I offended you or anyone else.


To KDelphi:

I actually had a dream about that, about a man coming into my house and wanting to kill me.  I woke up, wishing I had a gun, so I could’ve shot him and saved my life.

To Anarcissie:

You’re right.  Parecon wasn’t a bad book.  It made some sense.  But, to most people, it would be too impractical to set up society that way, even if I agree it’d be a good idea to have an economy based on equality rather than profits for the few.

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By MaryF, November 22, 2008 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is regrettable that Hedges’ understanding of terrorism is not as mature as the rest of his analysis:

“There are groups and people who seek to do us harm…. But the only way to defeat terrorism is to isolate terrorists within their own societies, to mount cultural and propaganda wars, to discredit their ideas, to seek concurrence even with those defined as our enemies.” ??

Come off it, Chris.  Can you say “blowback”?  The way to “defeat” terrorism is to stop fomenting it in the first place—to end US imperialism and the carnage it has caused over decades in every part of the world.  The last thing we need is more phony “propaganda wars”.  Leave people in peace and they will have no reason not to leave us in peace.

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By TAO Walker, November 22, 2008 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

The Tiyoshpaye Way is how the Lakotah People refer to what the Dine, for example, call The Beauty Way and the Ancients came to see as simply The Way (Tao).  There’s no “sell-by” date on any of these, particularly one determined by the arbitrary designations assumed by that brand of “civilization” self-declared “Western.”  This old Indian’s own long personal experience has been altogether within The Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself….an actual sentient “description” of what’s really going on here that is, not surprisingly, the very “picture” of what the “scientific method” is revealing naturally, if somewhat fuzzily, to its present-day adherents.

This Person’s earlier comment here was not meant to hold-up Chris Hedges or anyone else in an unfavorable light, but rather to suggest, strongly, that the plain fact of peoples’ “civilized” condition is an immense (ultimately fatal) handicap when it comes to trying to find “solutions” to the perfect-storm of difficulties now overwhelming the institutional and ideological and technological arrangements within which our domesticated Sisters and Brothers are held captive….”....prisoners (quite literally) of (y)our own device.”  At-war with one another, our Mother Earth, all our Relations, and indeed with the content their own personal lives, tame Two-leggeds have no chance whatsoever of glomming onto anything originating within their confinement that can get them out of it alive.

It might help to see this old Man’s admittedly “off-the-wall” offerings here as “notes” from outside the very limited (and carefully sealed-off) “world” in which so many of you are feeling so increasingly squeezed these days….even as the false “promise” of “infinite space” is dangled before you as a distraction from the fact that the very air you all breathe is daily being effectively sucked-away by all the electro-mechanical gadgetry you’ve let yourselfs become so addicted-to.  Your received (and most cherished) idea that you and your “civilization” are just the hottest damned things that’ve ever come around isn’t really helpful, either.  Having bought and thought and shot your way into this mess, you continue to insist against all evidence that those same methods, and the motives behind them, will serve somehow to get you all out of it.

That’s just crazy, Amigos!  Take it from an old Hoss who’s been paying close personal attention to the heterodyne whine of your virtual-world bubble for a very long time now.  The Tiyoshpaye Way, though, remains open to you despite everything that tries to close it off.  That’s because it abides at the core of your essential nature as Human Beings.  Maybe few, if any of you will finally “access” it, but there’s no limit on how many of you might.

“C’mon People, NOW…...!!

Hokahey!

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By KDelphi, November 22, 2008 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing—Please explain to me, where, in my post, you saw that I “misunderstood this”? I would submit, that my post , stating that I thought he was referring to the culture , as a whole, should be interpreted as quite the opposite.(ie TAO Walker)

I am not certain that TAO would incorporate Obama’s theories of “co-responsibility”—but, theorising about ones’ relationship to the planet (except as concerns envitonmental and Green laws) is not really the purvey of a politician. I read TAO’s statements as more of a call for consensus that, what we have devised, and labeled “civilization”, is, in fact, killing us all, and, killing our environment. I belive he calls for a more “person based"existence, as opposed to capitalist materialism.

But I would not suppose to speak for him/her.

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By cann4ing, November 22, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi & Sodium, you need to understand where Tao is coming from.  He believes that the “only” natural form of human existence that can live in harmony with what he refers to as Mother Earth is the relatively primitive form of “free and wild” existence of the 19th Century Lakota, or what he refers to as the Tioshpaye way of life.  His world view, colored by the reality of the Anglo-American genocidal campaign that nearly wiped out his people under the racist mantra of Manifest Destiny, prevents him from accepting the possibility that civilization, with its many benefits, including the ability to sustain the human species in far greater numbers than that offered by the Tioshpaye way, can take on a non-exploitative form through application of green technology applied through a non-exploitative democratic Socialism that places the needs of the many, including living in harmony with Mother Earth, above the capitalist greed of the few.

Tao makes a convincing case for the Lakota concept entailing what Barack Obama refers to as co-responsibility—which the Lakota extend not only to one another but to the Earth and all its creatures.  However, Tao’s insistence that “all” forms of civilization amount to a “disease” lacks supportive scientific data.  Perhaps one could not expect scientific data from a self-described “Medicine Man.”

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By KDelphi, November 22, 2008 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Sodium—I share your views, for the most part, concerning Hedges…I dont believe my praise would be so lavish—but, then, I become suspicious of any one person who seems to be “set above all others” by his supporters.

But, for the most part, Hedges projects much wisdom…sometimes, you wouldnt see it , if you cannot relate it to what you know of him, through reading his books, etc.

Hedges tells people things, from the position of actual experience, that most people would rather not hear. Whether it is anti-war (not in the lofty, “pulling out soon, promise!“type of way), anti-death (he does flirt with Thanatos—I forgive that, as he has been there),pro-diety (which I disagree with, but hey…it doesnt seem to cause him to paint a rosy pic of everything), our gun/death culture, etc. He is also a graduate of an Ivy League school (which the over-educated seem to love), BUT it is Divinity School!! They do NOT like that!

As am agnostic, if someone will speak the truth, it does not matter to me. The Christianity he posits (not prostheletises), involves action, not just faith. That we try to live what we, as a nation, preach, of you will.

BTW—I do not feel that TAO Walker was referring to Hedges, specifically, in this post. I believe he was speaking to us as a culture. Could be wrong..

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By Sodium, November 21, 2008 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Subject:In Defense of the Writings of Chris Hedges…

Although the superb writings of Chris Hedges,in almost all fields of human endeavors,need no defense from me or anybody else,I intend to do,here,exactly that since I have felt that some comments are so negatively unfair to his beautiful eloquence,honesty, moral high round,excellent knowledge of the issues he explores,with down to earth humility as a genuine and outstanding journalist whose such abilities rarely matched by other journalists world wide.Yes,I repeat,world wide,since I had read several positive comments in some foreign countries’ newspapers and journals about his writings,some of which were made by some leaders ranging from political to social and religious leaders.But,what is more importantly is the fact that I strongly believe that Chris Hedges has done not just excellent but an outstanding one in calling the attention of his readers to the profound seriousness of the monumental problems facing America in almost all fields of human endeavors.

I also feel that I must remind those commenters who have expected Chris Hedges to offer solutions and remedies to the country’s ills that he is merely a POINTER,not a medicine man.He excels in POINTING OUT,with a touch of honesty,a touch of moral high ground,obvious passion,profound knowledge,and beautiful eloquence,rarely matched by other journalists.In my dictionary,the power of his mind and subsequently the thoughts his mind arranges them in such splendid eloquence is truly unique in American journalism and journalism as a whole,world wide.

As it is well known to those who follow the world’s
political events,on daily bases,the primary job of a good journalist is to report what he/she witnesses,
sees,observes,hears and knows concisely as he/she witnesses ,sees,observes,hears and knows,without any
deviation and to his/her best ability.And Chris Hedges has done so so outstandingly.

TAO Walker:Please do not expect Christ Hedges to be
the medicine man too.That is NOT his job as a hell of
an outstanding journalist writer.That responsibility
(medicine man)belongs to the realm of those,whether they are civilized or uncivilized,who run the country
In short blaming Chris Hedges for being too civilized and hence unable to act as the needed medicine man misses the mission of what Hedges is trying to do through his outstanding writings.

Hokahey…...

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By KDelphi, November 21, 2008 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Hit the wrong key (old keyboard)—hope I didnt just post a “z”! But, it might make more sense than some of my posts..

cann4ing—as a vet, you know what I am saying. But, as you said, they are mostly armchair warriors. And, many are cowards.

stonecutter—There is no knight—I’m sure you know that.And if there were one, he would probably just run you over..where to go from here is difficult to know. But, we have to try to keep going in the same direction. Toward a “war on terror” is just a road to more death, more money to war profiteers, etc.

Maybe the problem is not the direction of more open-minded people, but it may well be the speed…with people dying every day..

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By cann4ing, November 21, 2008 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

By Blackspeare, November 20 at 10:49 am #

Mussolini said that for a nation to remain strong it had to go to war every 25 years——people took this as words of a madman.  The USA goes to war on the average of every 15 years——who’s the mad one??
_______________________

The Bush regime’s “war on terror” far exceeds the concepts advanced by Mussolini.

As a practical matter, the concept of a “war on terrorism” borders on a meaningless oxymoron.  As noted by General William Odom (U.S. Army, retired):  “Terrorism is not an enemy.  It cannot be defeated.  It’s a tactic.  It’s about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we’re going to win that war.  We are not going to win a war on terrorism.  And it does whip up fear.  Acts of terror have never brought down liberal democracies.  Acts of parliament have closed a few.”

As a propaganda device, “war on terror” remains exceedingly effective.  As noted by the New Yorker’s Nicholas Lehman, early on, “war on terror…has entered the language so fully, and framed the way people think about how the United States is reacting to the September 11 attacks, so completely, that the idea of declaring and waging war on terror was not the sole, inevitable, logical consequence of the attacks just isn’t in circulation.”

This was, as astutely observed by Joan Didion, “the insistent use of September 11 to justify the reconception of America’s correct role in the world as one of initiating and waging virtually perpetual war.”  Antonia Juhasz adds that this perpetual war envisions an omnipresent “phantom menace” involving “shadowy networks of individuals;” a threat that is to be met “anywhere at any time, or everywhere all the time” thereby serving as justification for an ever-expanding military budget. 

While the core message to America was “be afraid; be very afraid,” there was a very different message conveyed to America’s ruling class.  As observed by Naomi Klein, while the war on terror may be “an unwinnable proposition” militarily, “from an economic perspective” the war on terror is “an unbeatable one; not a flash-in-the-pan war that could be won but a new and permanent fixture in the global economic architecture.” 

Its lasting impact is reflected by the fact that Barack Obama still speaks within the “war on terror” frame, whereas, as observed today on Democracy Now by Desmond Tutu, the appropriate course would have been to treat 9/11 as a despicable illegality carried out by a criminal enterprise, calling for an international effort to apply the rule of law, bringing the perpetrators to justice before an international court.

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By Virginia777, November 20, 2008 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

The left needs to focus its good energies with renewed energy, on their issues.

To point anger at Obama for decisions that remain to be seen are bad or good…

is counter-productive!

Just use the little bit of hope to “keep that roof up”...

we can actually help make it NOT fall!

Obama can only be as progressive and the Progressives show themselves to be.

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By TAO Walker, November 20, 2008 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges and some commentors here are unable to come-up with “What to DO?” mainly because they approach things as “civilized individuals.”  What they’re looking for is some way to keep what they see as the “benefits” (all that vanishing “comfort” and “convenience”) of their condition, while getting rid of (as much as possible) its “downside” (amply detailed here by Hedges and others).  That’s an exercise in FUtility, to put it kindly….a damned fools’ errand, to be more accurately blunt.

The only viable Human Beings within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth within the never-ending Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself are free wild ones living in the Tioshpaye Way.  The victims of exploitative captivity, including humans and all those subjected to it by the agency of domesticated humans, are all in a death-spiral to extinction as sub-species.

Having suffered ten-thousand-plus years of all-out war at the “hands” (co-opted two-legged people) of our tormentors, our Mother Earth and her surviving natural Children are now responding in a Way that will restore us all to our natural condition of health and wholeness.  The disease of civilization WILL be cured. 

Better to be part of The Cure, Sisters and Brothers, than the sickness.  Take it from this old Medicine Man, and your true Friend.

HokaHey!

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By jose, November 20, 2008 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So let me understand, you’re a believer in the conspiracy theory that 9/11 was carried out by 19 Ay-rabs with box cutters controlled by a man with a bicycle powered dialysis machine shuttling from one cave hiding place to another, yes?  I’ll probably never read you again, goodbye.

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By Blackspeare, November 20, 2008 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Mussolini said that for a nation to remain strong it had to go to war every 25 years——people took this as words of a madman.  The USA goes to war on the average of every 15 years——who’s the mad one??

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By stonecutter, November 20, 2008 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

At the beginning of a very bad epic movie made way back in 1964, “The Fall of the Roman Empire” (Sophia Loren and Stephen Boyd as lovers?!—what the hell was the director thinking?), the narrator solemnly intones, “The Fall of the Empire was not an event, but a process…it took hundreds of years”. He got that right. Question for us here in the present-day real-world U.S. is, are we in the middle of that process, or at (or near) it’s end?

If you read Chris Hedges’ latest column here on Truthdig, it sounds like were nearer the end than the vague middle. Over the last scene of the movie, the narrator says, “An empire doesn’t fall from without, but from within…”  Seems Hedges also saw this flick. 

We desperately want Obama to be our “white” knight, and save us from…what? Ourselves? Sure, we’re always going to have the Sarah Palin crowd with us, those ignorant, screaming, rabidly “pro-American” hyper-nationalists and bigots and manic-despressives and psychotics and religious fanatics, and a healthy cohort of well-meaning, passive simpletons and painfully gullible “real Amurikins”, who want to crush immigrants they don’t understand and deeply fear, and deport or kill any “Arab” or dark-skinned citizen presumed to be an enemy of the state, even if he and his family have been living in America for 50 years. Hell, we interred Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during WWII, but eventually let them fight and die for America in Europe before and after D-Day, only to have them come home to face even more rabid bigotry than American blacks. 

There’s enough irrational, sick hatred and fear-mongering free-floating through our present society that if it were swamp fog, it would blanket whole continents, and the stench would knock out millions.  And yet, despite this enduring reality about the underbelly of “freedom-loving” America,  we elected a black man president. Stunning. Does it prove that perverse desperation and fear can also sometimes fuel (apparent, not yet proven) the forces of enlightenment?  Only time and actions will tell if this near-miraculous election is real change, or just another “big con” orchestrated by the ruling elites.

Even Obama has said that now is the time for feeling disappointed by Obama, since he doesn’t expect to be able to live up to the impossible expectations of the electorate. Is that part of the con, or our own self-delusion, as Hedges writes about? Is a president Obama a step up out of the quagmire into a re-structured, revitalized nation, or just another rung of the downward spiral staircase into American oblivion, following in the historical footsteps of Rome and the British Empire?  Stay tuned.

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2008 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, KDelphi.  Note that Colin was at a lost for words when I, along with Strait Talk, exposed his “America, love it or leave it remarks” as pseudo-patriotic, fascist drivel that is indeed un-American.

His bravado is typical of the arm chair warrior who has never been in combat.  (I spent the better part of 1968 in Vietnam’s Central Highlands).  Only those who have never experienced it would find some level of glory in war.

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By MAR, November 19, 2008 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment

What an excellent article! I hope Obama reads it before it is too late. It is hard to understand why it is so clear to Mr. Hedges and many others outside the US and yet so obscure and misleading to those inside the country. The damage done by terrorists, even by those who took down the twin towers, is nothing compasred to the slaughter and destruction wreaked by the US Armed Forces in angry retaliation, or before the fact of 9/11 for that matter. It’s an old saying but the US should listen to it and act accordingly.


“Might does not make right.”

What happened to:

“Speak softly but carry a big stick.”

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By KDelphi, November 19, 2008 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

cann4ing—Excellent points.

colin262626262—Actually, although I am not a total pacifist, who won in the war between Ghandi (India) and the UK?

Yes, I know that I would rather die than kill, at least on a one-on-one basis.. Have you ever killed anyone? I know from working with vets, that it is not a “normal human response” and that it is not as “fun” as video games and movies would have one believe. People like to say, “I’d kill…(fill in thet blank) in a heartbeat”. Actually, you have no idea what you would do.

I had a gun, bought to defend myself from a guy who had promised to do me harm. (He already had). He broke into my house gagain, I pulled the gun, and, he walked up and took it away from me. He did not use it on me. That wouldve been my “excuse” to kill a guy in “self defense” who had greviously harmed me.

The truth is, you do not know what you would do.And you should hope to never have to find out. I dont know you.. If you DO respond with violence, to the tune of killing someone—be careful. It wil change your life forever.

I also always wonder why people who fel as you do, do not join the military. Maybe you have.

I believe in rational self defense. What we have been diong is certainly not that.

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By godistwaddle, November 19, 2008 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

The list of countries the U.S. has invaded, brutalized, occupied, and bullied since 1845 is long, indeed.  I doubt the U.S. could go more than a couple of years without provoking or flat-out starting a war (see Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.)

Whatcha wanna do, emasculate a nation where a deserter and coward (Bush) can make a comeback as macho man in the second act?

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By Anarcissie, November 19, 2008 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

colin2626262: ’... I read a book by Michael Albert awhile back.  He’s from Znet.  Anyway, it was called PARECON, short for participatory economics.  He tried to think up a blueprint for an ideal society, free from capitalism, militarism, etc.  The book made absolutely no sense.  It was like it was written by a madman.  Of course, anyone on the left would probably love it. ...’

I don’t want to waste a lot of time defending Michael Albert, but “parecon” makes a lot of sense—maybe too much sense.  The problem is not that it’s senseless, it’s that people, even us slavering, left-wing anarcho-communists, aren’t all that interested in the sort of world it projects.  In any case, it’s not a utopian blueprint.  I am surprised you got that out of it.  Are you sure you’re not mixing it up with something else?

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2008 at 1:05 am Link to this comment

What you “do about it,” Colin, is you educate yourself and others.  That is part of the responsibility of citizenship in a democratic society.  You expose those who are devoted to inequality and wasteful military expenditures.  You join groups like Progressive Democrats of America who are advancing a policy of “Health Care Not Warfare.” 

What you don’t do is come onto a site like this and try to tell every one to just shut up and accept things as they are.  You don’t put blinders on and imagine that each of us has no responsibility to attempt to effectuate change entailing a more peaceful and democratic society.  And you don’t close your eyes, shouting “doom & gloom,” and pretend it isn’t happening.

What you call “political garbage” is really a factual reality essential for one to gain a political and class consciousness which you obviously lack.

Your idea that individuals should worry only about themselves and not focus on the faults of the U.S. government is rather odd.  Last I checked, the preamble to the Constitution of that government begins with the words, “We the People.”  It is supposed to be “our” government, but it has been hijacked by the corporate elite.

Your attitude is both undemocratic and un-American.  Do you really believe that when the Bush regime robs the National Treasury, forking over billions to war profiteers, Americans should just shut up and mind their own business?

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By colin2626262, November 19, 2008 at 12:59 am Link to this comment

Hey, cann4ing,

Look, I get it.  War is bad.  Okay?  I understand, and I agree.  But if you don’t have a military, what do you think you’re going to do?  There’ve been a few people, a few idealists, who thought countries could have what’s called a peace-army, where it’d be composed of a bunch of nonviolent resisters.  I’m thinking of Gandhi here.  In WWII, when the Japanese were possibly going to invade India, Gandhi basically said Indians should en mass oppose the invasion nonviolently.  In other words, committ mass suicide.  He said, hey if a few million have to die, so be it.  That’s insane to most people.  Chris Hedges doesn’t support that.  He said war is a poison that we sometimes have to ingest.  He’s no pacifist.  It’d be nice if we all were, but that’s not reality.  We’re complicated beings.  We get angry, and we want to protect our bodies from harm. 

I agree with you that the U.S. military is sickening and out of control, but it’s there.  Reduce it if you can.  Get rid of nuclear weapons someday.  Do what you can, but unless you’re a pacifist, willing to die rather than kill, that is, willing to be killed rather than kill, you have accept the military, accept that you can’t abolish it.  It has to be there, as long there there’s a nation.  I wish that weren’t the case, personally, but, again, what can you or I do about it?  Pray to God.  I don’t know.  I have no clue.  Write articles.  Speak out.  Join demonstrations.  Try your best. 

Peace…salaam

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2008 at 12:47 am Link to this comment

To follow up on my last post, Colin, I would add that with every war comes war profiteering.  The trick was to find a way to justify continued military spending in the face of every war profiteer’s nightmare—peace!  For this there was a linguistic solution.  There would be no more War Department.  Instead, there was simply a Department of Defense.  Military expenditures were no longer required to successfully wage war.  Instead, an ever expanding percentage of the federal budget would thereafter be devoted to “military preparedness” in order to “maintain peace.”  One of the three major Party slogans in Orwell’s 1984 was “War is Peace.”  In June, 2002 President George W. Bush remarked:  “When we talk about war, we are really talking about peace.”

What Chris Hedges is addressing in his reference to an endless (and Orwellian) “war on terror” is an effort to create perpetual fear in order to justify endless war and limitless military expenditures.

The success of the fear-driven strategy is reflected in the fact that the U.S. has experienced a 30% increase in military spending since 2001, so that by February 4, 2008 the administration was poised to request an unprecedented $515 billion military budget, a figure which “does not include supplemental funding for nuclear weapons or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which has already topped $600 billion.”  Robert Scheer estimates that the combined annual expenditure when the DoD budget, nuclear weapons and these two wars of choice are combined is $700,000 billion and that the “U.S. already spends more than the rest of the world combined on its military, without a sophisticated enemy in sight.”

Scheer’s $700 billion estimate may well be well below the actual costs given that Columbia Professor Joseph Stiglitz estimates the actual cost of the war in Iraq through 2008 exceeds $3 trillion when hidden contractor costs, hidden costs for the disability and health care of wounded veterans and macroeconomics entailing the impact of the war on the price of oil are factored in.

Unlike producer goods (machines that are designed to produce other goods) or consumer goods, military expenditures represent a form of parasitic growth in that weapons can only be used for destructive purposes.  As Gore Vidal observed, the military budget is a black hole in that what goes in is lost to us forever.

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By colin2626262, November 19, 2008 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

Reply to cann4ing:

You’re not telling me anything I don’t know.  I read that book by Chalmers Johnson.  You think I don’t know these things?  I’m asking, what are you going to do about it?  You and your comrades can join in a revolution, if that’s what you want.  But that’s crazy.  I read a book by Michael Albert awhile back.  He’s from Znet.  Anyway, it was called PARECON, short for participatory economics.  He tried to think up a blueprint for an ideal society, free from capitalism, militarism, etc.  The book made absolutely no sense.  It was like it was written by a madman.  Of course, anyone on the left would probably love it.  Noam Chomsky gave his approval on the jacket cover. 

The point is, why are you complaining when you don’t have any answers?  It’s a nice intellectual exerecise to think up dissenting thoughts and post them online, but what does that accomplish?  It’s nothing, just a tantram.  If you add the doom and gloom hyperbole of Chris Hedges, you can go on a book tour like him.  But you won’t accomplish anything. 

I’m so sick of this political garbage.  It’s inhuman.  Just live your life.  Try to do what’s right.  Worry about your own faults, not the faults of others in the U.S. government.  Like I said earlier, quoting the Gospel, judge not, lest you be judged.  Why is that so hard to understand?  Do you think you’re going to change the world?  Do you think you’re going to stop evil?  Like Hedges said, it exists, and it will always exists as long as the world exists.  The purpose is to oppose evil in your own self, not through seeking out the faults of others.

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2008 at 12:31 am Link to this comment

With all due respect, Colin, your post reflects an ignorance of the scope and purpose of what President Eisenhower described as the military-industrial complex and its role in maintaining what George H. W. Bush described as the “new world order.”  The globalization you refer to is designed to ensure that a tiny class of economic elites, centered in the U.S., but spread throughout the world controls a disproportionate percentage of its wealth.

The enormity of the gap between rich and poor is reflected by the fact that, by 1999, the net worth of just three individuals, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Warren Buffet, was larger than the gross domestic product of the world’s 41 poorest nations and their 550 million people.

The gaping chasm between rich and poor translates into anti-democratic institutions where wealth controls the substance of the scope of political discourse.  Here, in the U.S., 95% of what people see, hear and read is under the control of a shrinking number of giant media conglomerates.

As astutely observed by Jim Hightower, “The military budget is a massive wealth transfer program from ordinary taxpayers to major corporations, and it has proven easy over the years to wrap this transfer in the red, white and blue and have a portion of the American people burst out in a rousing chorus of the national anthem and applaud their own mugging.”

The post WW II re-labeling of the War Department as the Depart of Defense has served to mask the fact that very little of our military expenditures are designed to protect the American homeland.  The U.S. spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined and we maintain nearly 800 bases in countries throughout the world.

In 2004, Chalmers Johnson observed, “If present trends continue, four sorrows…are certain to be visited on the United States….First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism…. Second, there will be a loss of democracy and constitutional rights as the presidency fully eclipses Congress…Third, an already well-imbedded principle of truthfulness will increasingly be replaced by a system of propaganda, disinformation and the glorification of war….Lastly, there will be bankruptcy, as we pour our economic resources into ever more grandiose projects….”

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By colin2626262, November 19, 2008 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

To straight_talk_11:

I appreciate your insights.  I was a history major.  I know about everything you mentioned.  I’ve considered it.  You make good points.  What happened to the indigenous population was a tragedy.  Most of the Indians died of disease, although there was considerable violence directed against them by European settlers.  However, let’s worry about the present.  What’s done is done and can’t be undone.

I have a special interest in Iraq because I recently got to meet a child from that country.  She’s a sixth grader, spent a year in Syria, then came over here.  She recently moved to Detroit to live with her dad, but I got to talk with her a few times.  She knew spoken English quite well.  We were sitting in class one day (I’m a teacher’s aide), and this was on Halloweeen.  The teacher handed the kids pencils with Halloween designs.  There was an image of a skull on one of the pencils.  So she turns to me and says, “I have a skull like this at my house.”  I said, “What?  You do?”  And she nodded, and with a sly grin, said, “Yeah, it’s George Bush.”  I looked at her and saw she was serious, but then she moved on to talking about some other topic with the other kids sitting by her.  I was thinking, “Did she just say what I think she said?”  She was a very small child.  She looked maybe nine years old, but she must’ve been older.  She was extremely nice to me, always smiling, putting her hand on my arm, things like that.  When she left last week for Detroit, she asked me to give her my phone number, and I did.  I don’t know if she’ll ever call, but I hope she does.  She was a beautiful person.

It’s terrible what happened in Iraq.  Saddam Hussein was a monster, though.  The people there are better off without him.  I grieve for all the Iraqis and Americans who’ve died in that conflict.  But that’s life.  You have to live with it.  I like what one person wrote on this site.  G.Anderson said: “War is a symptom of man’s delusions…But mankind is also the solution.”  That’s very true.  The only thing I’d add is God.  God is the answer.  That’s not a political statement.

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By colin2626262, November 18, 2008 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

To cann4ing:

I wish you had a real name to which I could respond.  First off, I can see you’re opposed to patriotism, or love of country.  You also seem to be opposed to violence and bloodshed.  You quote Emma Goldman (who, by the way, was definitely not committed to nonviolence), and you also quote Tolstoy.  You provide a short critique of the U.S. government, at least the past eight years of it, and you then make a general statement of disapproval regarding imperialism and the military-industrial complex.  In an earlier comment, you quoted Martin Luther King Jr. 

So you don’t like violence.  You don’t like war.  You don’t like greed.  Mostly, though, you don’t like people who have a different viewpoint than yours.  You say they’re going on rants.  Let’s stick to the facts, shall we?

Let’s assume capitalism is bad.  Capitalism, which now means globalization, with transnational corporations, which leads to economic imperialism, as well as outright occupation of foreign countries, or old-fashioned colonial rule, is bad.  This is why you’re against it.  Because you’re good. Because you’re so much more enlightened and moral than the people at the top, the policy-makers, the elite, the wealthy class that has power over the masses.

So, please, we need some answers.  What would you do differently?  Would you like the U.S. to try communism?  Marxism-Leninism?  Maybe Stalin’s reign of terror is your preferred choice for our society.  Maybe you’d like to abolish the armed forces, the evil military-industrial complex.  Then when another country comes to attack the United States, or a few terrorists with a nuclear weapon, the new nation of pacifists will be happy to lay down their lives with smiling faces and say, “Thank God we listened to the anarchists and other leftists.  They were right all along.  Now we go to meet our Maker.  Oh yeah, Death to America.” 

If you’re not suicidal, you should welcome the existence of the military.  Who’s going to protect you otherwise?  You should also welcome the relative freedom of American democracy.  Granted, mistakes have been made.  Iraq is an example.  But don’t complain so much.  It’s true, the catchphrase you used.  It really is “love it or leave it.”  I’m not talking about America per se.  I’m talking about myself.

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By yellowbird2525, November 18, 2008 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment

serious tips for serious times Fenwick: use a seal a meal or food saver; picked my up at thrift store; get generic bags for cheap off ebay; make your own mixes; check out drying; dry own fruits & veggies, even own eggs; don’t buy the radiated genetically modified complete with agent orange & pesticides our Gov wants you to: MREdepot on Ebay can get you lots of things; motto: be prepared everyone should have seen this coming: they want the Amero backed by silver shoved down our throats; can meat or dry it, along with “wet” things; don’t count on electricity, which they keep raising every single month is a new figure! Join groups like simplifymewithtips; frozen assets; budget101.com; join http://www.freecycle.org & other recycling & get & give things freely. Plant heirloom seeds & stay away from Pesticides & other nasties they are putting into drinks like Pepsi & Coke; Congress “passed a law"in the blink of an eye saying they no longer had to label anything. Make own laundry soaps & detergent; use baking soda & vinegar; use microfibers; go green to keep your green & stay healthy! (USA operates this way: chemicals in everything to make you sick & take your health so Pharmas get 600,000 xs the cost of your meds; cancer causing ingredients in deoderants & formaldehyde in babys shampoos & everything else they make for 1 purpose: to deliberately harm & kill you. Find organic farmers & enlighten them so we can help them win the war against the American people by our Gov & Corps & crooks working with them. (I am a granny warrior) and freedom is NOT dead: nor is America. We are going to keep our religion & our guns: and THEY can keep their “change”.

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By straight_talk_11, November 18, 2008 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

Reply to colin2626262, November 17 at 5:34 pm

“My country…love it or leave it,” sums up in a nutshell what you are saying. Well, you can love this country and want to fix it precisely for that reason. To pretend that the human beings who run this country, who wield power, whether financial, political or both, are infallible, free of corruption, ideal leaders just like the 1950s grade school history books had it, is absurd. Those books don’t mention anything about the massacres of the people who were here before the Europeans came. We still have signs at tourist sites that make heroes out of people the signs themselves still call “Great Indian Killers”.

This was only ONE of our holocausts. As late as the 1930s, there were companies that held blacks as indentured servants, paying them too little to meet their basic needs even at their poverty-stricken level, and forcing them to buy at company stores that sold at prices their pay could never keep up with. Some of these companies worked them to death because not do so was more expensive than simply replacing them. If you lived in a country that did that to you or your parents or grandparents, tell me, colin, would you still think your country was so perfect?

You should be amazed that so many people love their country anyway, and love it enough to want to fix what’s wrong with it. There are plenty of people who could very understandably hate this country but don’t. They feel it’s better than any other. Our founding forefathers didn’t trust government at all. That’s why they set up checks and balances. Many of these have been removed. We need to get them back.

Regarding the middle east and Iraq, how would you like it if Russia ran undercover operations in this country without even invading it militarily because they thought there were anti-Russian terrorists living in your neighborhood? Suppose they bombed your neighborhood and killed their alleged enemies, but took out some of your relatives, friends, and neighbors as “collateral damage” in the bargain. How would you feel about that? How would you feel even if our OWN MILITARY did that to you in order to “protect” you from Muslim terrorists?

The mindset that can see no evil even when it’s staring you in the face and calls unpatriotic anyone who can is exactly what allowed Hitler to get away with mass murder. It’s an old game…a very old game. Mindless suckers for this kind of garbage are the ones who don’t understand what real patriotism is or what real love of country is.

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By colin2626262, November 18, 2008 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

To Fadel Abdallah:

I’m sorry if what I wrote seemed hateful to you.  It certainly had nothing to do with your name.  I wouldn’t describe myself as a right-wing nut, although you’re free to do so.  I was simply trying to present another side to the problems we’re facing.  Honestly, I respect Chris Hedges a lot.  That’s why I read all his articles on this site.  I respect your opinion too, and everyone else’s.  I was being purposely confrontational.  It’s good to get a different perspective sometimes.  You have to admit that we’re lucky to live in this country, despite it’s faults.  That’s all I was saying.

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By sherwoodforest, November 18, 2008 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

So I wonder what the Nader kool aid drinkers would do to resolve the problems facing us? Because other than a lot of BS about getting rid of our self-delusions- Hedges does not say much of anything here but more old school hand wringing about our American empire. Chris Hedges is a one of the Puritanical progressives and every action is fraught with more negatives than positives; we are told to be more vulnerable and less gluttonous and that would solve our problems? That is a bit naive. What is wrong with diplomacy? Engagement? cooperation? If Hedges was honest he would admit that he just thinks Obama is wrong what ever he does or does not do- because he is a Democrat. Political parties are part of his evil empire scenario.
I frankly heard much more interesting analysis regarding Afghanistan on NPR yesterday from someone who is actually there. What Sarah Chayse said made more sense than this article’s prescription of immediate retreat:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97105433

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By aha, November 18, 2008 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the champ of democracy has only 2 parties. Isnt that 50-50? either, or?

i think even zimbabwe has more parties…..

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By thebeerdoctor, November 18, 2008 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

re: cann4ing

“I saw the many work for small wages which kept them always on the borderline of want for the few who made huge profits. I saw the courts, the halls of legislation, the press, and the schools—in fact every avenue of education and protection—effectively used as an instrument for safeguarding of a minority, while the masses were denied every right.”
EMMA GOLDMAN, 1934

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By nrobi, November 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

The future news report: Thanks for the memories America, I can now retire from public life, knowing that the changes I have wrought have completely altered the landscape of America. My only prayer is that the next administration will continue the policies that I have fought so long and hard for. We are now a nation free from dissent, looking for the right man to lead this country into a future of prosperity and economic soundness. Surely, you, the people must realize that I could not do everything that I promised and if I tried to fulfill all of them it would have bankrupted this country. Sorry, that I could not pass a health-care system worthy of our nation, I could not stop the building of coal-fired power plants and nuclear power plants, the environment is less sound than when I took office but look on the bright side, the people who work on Wall Street now have the largest salaries of any nation in the world. I know, I know, that most of you are out of work and cannot find meaningful labor, but that is the price we pay as a nation, for the luxury of having the greatest nation and economy in the World. Yeah, America, signed Barack Hussein Obama.

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By cann4ing, November 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

By Fadel Abdallah, November 17 at 7:30 pm #

By colin2626262, November 17 at 5:34 pm #

“One person who left a comment was looking for answers.  The answer is, if you don’t like living in America, you should move to a different country.  Keep in mind, some countries will have you tortured and executed just for writing a comment on a website that’s critical of government policy.”
===================================
Comments like yours are typical of the right-wing nuts we occasionally experience at this free-thinkers forum; irrelevant backwards who always have a knee-jerk reaction to some foreign name who speaks truths that encroach upon your false sense of your perfection and chauvinism!
__________________________

Isn’t it amazing, Fadel, how any criticism of U.S. imperialism or the military-industrial complex brings out rants from the “America—love it or leave it” crowd?  It’s as if people like colin actually believe that the cabal that hijacked the U.S. presidency and spent the past 8 years raiding the National Treasury while they carried out wars of aggression to expand Empire have a monopoly on the definition of what an American is.

As Emma Goldman observed some 100 years ago, quoting Dr. Samuel Johnson:  “‘Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels’....Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our times, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment for the exercise of man-killing than the making of the necessities of life….”

“We Americans claim to be a peace-loving people.  We hate bloodshed; we are opposed to violence….Yet our hearts swell with pride at the thought that America is becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that it will eventually plant her iron foot on the necks of all other nations….

“Such is the logic of patriotism.”

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By kloe, November 18, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

In my recent post, I mentioned that I saw a report last night on CNN stating that most of the people on Obama’s transition team are former lobbyists.  See the full editorial here - http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/17/campbell.brown.lobbyists/index.html#cnnSTCText

Also, note all the former Clinton employees that are slowly and steadily trickling in as appointees.  Oh yeah, there’s that Change thing happening.  He’s going to really turn things upside down.  Yeah, right.

This is why its imperative that we insist that the Media cover all viable third party candidates and press for serious reform in campaign finance laws to prevent the Republicrats from continuing to simply buy their why into offices without any real competition.  Otherwise, we will just continue to get a different version of the same thing every four or eight years.

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By Virginia777, November 18, 2008 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

to: Fadel Abdallah

“directing my sadism against my own-self because there aren’t enough comrades who are willing to join with me in a revolution to remove the yoke of perpetual ignorance”

Fadel, sure there are!! you need to be a Rilke-type optimist who believes that people can change.

Ensconced ignorances can and have been thrown off, one only needs to look to history for proof of that.

It just takes enough people who will not tolerate it any longer.

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By Virginia777, November 18, 2008 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

that said…

it is time for progressives to unite, not fracture.

Obama is not a childish delusion, he is a new president who brings potential for change.

Do we want to turn things around?

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By Virginia777, November 18, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

This essay is breathtakingly good

and the content (the Truth) is tragic.

Thank you so much, Chris Hedges, for having the courage to write it.

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By I.M. Small, November 18, 2008 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

PANDERED “HOPE” AS INSUFFICIENT

War is a poison we ingest—
I fear I feel it reaching
Unto the last extremity,
Beyond reason´s beseeching.

The limbs, as do a leper´s, now
On verge of falling off,
Seem numb, but numbness everywhere
Our proud physicians scoff.

A little poison may have been
Necessity; but whose
Will be the good in aftermath
Arrive an overdose?

It´s wars of self-destruction, these,
And rash of home foreclosures
Must cast the spirit from the corpse,
The virulent exposures

To too much distillated greed
At last must overmaster,
As we proceed in haste, proceed
More slowly or else faster.

The infrastructure crumbles as
Iron fragmentary bombs
Extend the spree centrifugally:
So hatred breeds pogroms.

To turn that which had been a crime
Into a cause for hatred,
Perpetual war unending, leaves
So much of theft unstated:

In self-delusion so we steal
Integrity most wholly
From our own selves, selves harming most
But not our own selves solely.

It is a death of spirit do
Such wars aggressive breed,
Due ever—and entirely due—
Unto distortive greed.

The worst of evil masks as good
Within the soul to linger,
Entrenched most deep when one does point
Accusatory finger.

It is the culmination of
Slander and demonizing—
To get that profit: history shows
The matter unsurprising.

I feel it coursing in my veins,
The shadowy elixir,
Yet no physician may come round
Of my grief to be fixer.

.

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By kloe, November 18, 2008 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

nrobi, you’ve expressed so clearly what I was attempting to write in my earlier statement.  See further down in the entries.  We live in a Corptocracy cleverly disguised as a Democracy by the Corporate Media Outlets.  Does anyone really believe We The People really have a say in the policies that effect us?  Look at what just happened with the economic bailout.  In spite of overwhelming opposition by the citizenry, the House, Senate and President passed it (Obama voted for it too - so much for real change).  Now, barely a month after the current bailout another bailout for the Automobile Industry is being queued up.  Obama is already pushing for that as well.  Again, in spite of overwhelming opposition by the citizenry a bailout for the failed executive leadership and poor Union Leadership (The UAW, one could argue is also a corporate power itself which doesn’t really represent the interests of it members but its executive board) the Automobile industry will also receive a bailout.  This will just get them back on their feet without filing for bankruptcy so they can build fossil fuel dependent cars again (albeit a bit more efficient but nonetheless still heavily dependent on oil).  This is just one example of who really holds the reigns of power.  The Dems and Republicans can pretend all they want that they are going to step up and start regulating how these bailout packages should be spent but in reality history tell us very little will change.  The automobile industry has known since the 70’s there were going to be problems.  What’s next, a bailout for the entertainment industry in Las Vegas?  I’m sure if they argue for it they will get it too no matter what WE THE PEOPLE demand.  As Ralph Nader stated, its WE THE PEOPLE not We the Corporations.  Sadly though, the majority of the citizenry bought the Obama Kool-Aid (I suppose it was somewhat better than the Republican choice but not by much).  Does anyone really believe Obama is going to “change” the corporate powers reign?  I saw a report just last night that stated that almost all of the people on his transition team were either former lobbyists or worked for lobbyists as recent as this past Spring.  Oh yeah, things have really changed…

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By nrobi, November 18, 2008 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

“The corporate forces that control the state will never permit real reform. This is the Faustian bargain made between these corporate forces and the Republican and Democratic parties. We will never, under the current system, achieve energy independence. Energy independence would devastate the profits of the oil and gas industry. It would wipe out tens of billions of dollars in weapons contracts, spoil the financial health of a host of private contractors from Halliburton to Blackwater and render obsolete the existence of U.S. Central Command.”
This is the reality of the US, governance is not of, by and for the people, but of, by and for the corporate structures that control the monetary exchanges. Would to heaven above that Barack Obama had some spine, but like all others who aspire to reach the pinnacle of power in the world, they have to make the faustian bargains of listening not to the people but the corporate oligarchs who dole out the power.
In this article, Mr. Hedges, has his the nail on the head. War may be poisonous to America, but if the corporate oligarchs demand that the US go to war, a trumped up way of starting or continuing a war will be found by whatever party is in power at the time and there is nothing that will stop the juggernaut of corporatism and government combined.
I find it difficult to believe that Barack Obama, can stand against the corporate machine that controls this country. We all should be aware of the book, “Jennifer Government,” written by Max Barry. for this is the wave of the future.
No longer will there be nation-states, but corporations running the world and these will be the system, that governs the world. Sadly this is all but true now, only we, the people hide our collective asses and heads in the sand and hope and pray, that no one will notice us.
Think twice before you vote next time, perhaps there may be a viable third party that is not beholden to the special interests, one which will govern of, by and for the people.

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By Henry Pelifian, November 18, 2008 at 5:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges has written a great column.

What kind of leaders has the United States had from the Vietnam and Iraq wars to create “wars of self-destruction”?  Can it be uttered and asked that the national leadership of both political parties really are not up to the job of managing the country well? 

Private sector monopolies serve the public ill,yet we have two monopoly political parties who primarily agreed on the Vietnam war, Iraq war,large national debt and deficits, and a less than effective foreign policy.

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By iska, November 18, 2008 at 4:44 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is back to his best. It must be hard to bear the burden of negative thoughts. I’m thankful for his sacrifice. Keep fighting for peace.

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By coloradokarl, November 18, 2008 at 12:23 am Link to this comment

911+Cruise missile+Pentagon budget office=War on Terror

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By abdo, November 17, 2008 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

if you do not like the war show it publicly. I participate regularly in a peace vigil every week since the end of 2003. take a cardboard and write on it “Barack end these wars”. find a highly visible corner stand their regularly, the more of you the better.

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By Fahrenheit 451, November 17, 2008 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

> dr. blah blah, November 17 at 5:21 pm;

Yes, and did you know they have tunneled under the Pacific ocean so they are good to go.  wink

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By MG, November 17, 2008 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama has already stated he wants the US out of Iraq, he only has to undo the contracts, road blocks, the Bush administration has put up to delay him from achieving this.  But that’s the easy war to get out of, getting out of Afghanistan is different story.  Since Obama has already stated he supports that war he’ll lose face by pulling out, however I think it would only be temporary.  Obama can use his new presidency to get us out of both wars, but the American people need to tell him to get us out.  Now is the time to write your congressmen and women, like your vote it counts to voice your opinion to congress and the President.

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By Fadel Abdallah, November 17, 2008 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

By colin2626262, November 17 at 5:34 pm #

“One person who left a comment was looking for answers.  The answer is, if you don’t like living in America, you should move to a different country.  Keep in mind, some countries will have you tortured and executed just for writing a comment on a website that’s critical of government policy.”
===================================
Comments like yours are typical of the right-wing nuts we occasionally experience at this free-thinkers forum; irrelevant backwards who always have a knee-jerk reaction to some foreign name who speaks truths that encroach upon your false sense of your perfection and chauvinism!

Since you can’t bear to hear such self-evident truths that are expressed by enlightened people like Chris Hedges and others, why don’t you find some other outlet that fits your closed mind and hateful propaganda?!

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By Guerilla Mystic, November 17, 2008 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We must, indeed, embrace a new lifestyle. In the coming months and years, this is going to become more of a necessity than an option. As the American economy becomes more and more untenable, the people in power will strive to consolidate their power, in the forms of wealth and resources, more and more drastically. That is what is happening right now. As the quality of life of the American citizenry plummets, it will become necessary for these elites to impose their economic paradigm - one which exploits the hundreds of millions of Americans who form its base - by means of military force. The only way out of this deplorable cunundrum is *not* by fighting them. It is to buy out of the system entirely. Anything else will lead to the same poisonous and degrading results as warfare. Therefore each one of us must now put as much energy as possible into exploring these new economic paradigms - and make no mistake, “economics” refers not to the etherealized realm of social science which modern academia, at the behest of its corporate sponsors, currently espouses, it is the crucial science of how we, as human beings, secure our livelihood. We must find ways of living that reflect our current, collective level of indescribable knowledge that we have attained as human beings. The best place to start is food. Become more connected to the food chain. Grow your own food as much as possible. What? You don’t live on a farm? Make your lawn into a garden. Chickens and goats are very easy for beginners to raise. Buy into community based farming initiatives, if they are available in your area. Foremost, learn about these things. The information is all out there, and as easy to access as was this website. Learn, before it becomes the most dire necessity in your life.

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By mike112769, November 17, 2008 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

American politicians are owned by Big Business. Big Business makes money off of wars. Why would Big Business make their politicians stop the money from coming in? The answer is: they won’t. Until the People take our government back, this country is screwed. Business runs our country; therefor Business says whether we go to war or not. Why are our children dying for Halliburton and friends? The answer is: because we let them.

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By yellowbird2525, November 17, 2008 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

The most asinine statement I have heard for years when folks wanted to bring back justice, have our “lawmakers” reside themselves within the laws of the USA, the laws of Congress, & international laws; to stop deliberate premeditated poisoning & killing of babies, & children as well has harming adults has been the “if you don’t like America leave it” BS. Put out by the political propaganda telling you that “you are free”: and “you have everything” BS. #1: it is OUR country & we need to FIX IT! #2: the political parties & wealthy who went & bribed them way back when & said hey hey hey let’s do it OUR way ; instead of the way decreed & set up by our ancestors! THAT is the reason that citizens are NOW paying the taxes of Corps who have been given free reign to do whatever they want without any process of justice being done. Consider THIS: WAR has been waged on the citizens of the USA for YEARS; it has gotten PROGRESSIVELY WORSE. Every LAW is FOR THE CORPS or BUSINESSES & AGAINST THE PEOPLE. Donald Rumsfeld, “powerful politician” just 1 of many who have had formaldehyde one of the most powerful & potent toxins on earth put into the FOOD: for profit. And will NEVER be brought to justice for making billions along with the rest of the group for deliberately poisoning & killing millions upon millions. NOW: they said folks are getting to smart; they can read the labels; done in 2 minutes, bipartisan, mandated: no longer have to list ingredients. Tell me: drank any soft drinks lately? Pesticides, & more put in: cuz THIS is the way this nation works: Chemicals to harm you to bring $ to Pharma’s who get 600,000 xs the cost of meds; THIS is the reason Americans will never have health care. Unlike Japan, Netherlands, Iceland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England, (who sued Coke for additional chemicals in it; said would stop in THAT country only); India sued Pepsi: Corps (who run the politicians in USA cuz they work hand n hand) stated: we will cut off aid. Democracy means run by the will of the people. Politician flat stated: the Gov is a “tool” for Business to tell it what they want done”; so YOU leave if you don’t give a d**n about the PLANET or the PEOPLE of the USA.

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By colin2626262, November 17, 2008 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

To the people commenting on Chris Hedges’ article here, maybe you’d like to read some excerpts from another article:

“What happened to America [on 9/11] was something natural, an expected event for a country that uses terror, arrogant policy, and suppression against the nations and the peoples, and imposes a single method, thought, and way of life, as if the people of the entire world are clerks in its government offices and employed by its commercial companies and institutions.”

“America is the reason for all injustice, oppression, licentiousness, or suppresssion that is the Muslims’ lot.”

“We have the right to kill 4 million Americans, 2 million of them children.”

The author of that article is Ayman al-Zawahiri.  He wrote it in 2002, before the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, which some say has led to at least a million Iraqi civilian deaths.  Chris Hedges says sometimes war is a necessary evil. Zawahiri says violence against Americans is justified in order to avenge the lives of Muslims killed by America.  Is it just me, or do Hedges and Zawahiri have something in common?  They both hate America, and they both believe in using violence if they feel the cause is just.

One person who left a comment was looking for answers.  The answer is, if you don’t like living in America, you should move to a different country.  Keep in mind, some countries will have you tortured and executed just for writing a comment on a website that’s critical of government policy.  Also, keep in mind that if America is evil, it follows that Americans are evil, so you should be careful what you say about your couontry—unless, that is, you support killing 4 million Americans, 2 million of them children.  I don’t think you want that, do you?

America is not perfect.  There have been many mistakes in foreign policy.  We can argue about whether going into Iraq was a mistake.  The best thing to do is keep your mind open, and don’t judge, lest you be judged.

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