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Confronting the Terrorist Within

Posted on Dec 1, 2008
AP file photo

A mother tends to her injured child in a hospital 35 miles northeast of Baghdad after a U.S airstrike that killed three civilians and wounded five others.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

The tactic of suicide bombing, equated by many in the United States with Islam, did not arise from the Muslim world. It had its roots in radical Western ideologies, especially Leninism, not religion. And it was the Tamil Tigers, a Marxist group that draws its support from the Hindu families of the Tamil regions of Sri Lanka, who invented the suicide vest for their May 1991 suicide assassination of Rajiv Ghandi

Suicide bombing is what you do when you do not have artillery or planes or missiles and you want to create maximum terror for an occupying power. It was used by secular anarchists in the 19th and early 20th centuries, who bequeathed to us the first version of the car bomb—a horse-drawn wagon laden with explosives that was ignited on Sept. 16, 1920, on Wall Street. The attack was carried out by an Italian immigrant named Mario Buda in protest over the arrest of the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti. It left 40 people dead and wounded more than 200.

Suicide bombing was adopted later by Hezbollah, al-Qaida and Hamas. But even in the Middle East, suicide bombing is not restricted to Muslims. In Lebanon, during the attacks in the 1980s against French, American and Israeli targets, only eight suicide bombings were carried out by Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were the work of communists and socialists. Christians were responsible for three. 

The dehumanization of Muslims and the willful ignorance of the traditions and culture of the Islamic world reflect our nation’s disdain for self-reflection and self-examination. It allows us to exalt in the illusion of our own moral and cultural superiority. The world is far more complex than our childish vision of good and evil. We as a nation and a culture have no monopoly on virtue. We carry within us the same propensities for terror as those we oppose.


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The Muslim Indian Emperor Akbar at the end of the 16th century filled his court with philosophers, mystics and religious scholars, including Sunni, Sufi and Shiite Muslims, Hindu followers of Shiva and Vishnu, as well as atheists, Christians, Jains, Jews, Buddhists and Zoroastrians. They debated ethics and belief. Akbar was one of the great champions of religious dialogue and tolerance. He forbade any person to be discriminated against on the basis of belief. He declared that everyone was free to follow any religion. His enlightened rule took place as the Inquisition was at its height in Spain and Portugal, and in Rome the philosopher Giordano Bruno was being burnt at the stake in Campo de’ Fiori for heresy.

Tolerance, as well as religious and political plurality, is not exclusive to Western culture. The Judeo-Christian tradition was born and came to life in the Middle East. Its intellectual and religious beliefs were cultivated and formed in cities such as Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople. Many of the greatest tenets of Western civilization, as is true with Islam and Buddhism, are Eastern in origin. Our concept of the rule of law and freedom of expression, the invention of printing, paper, the book, as well as the translation and dissemination of the classical Greek philosophers, algebra, geometry and universities were given to us by the Islamic world. The first law code was invented by the ancient Iraqi ruler Hammurabi. One of the first known legal protections of basic freedoms and equality was promulgated in the third century B.C. by the Buddhist Indian Emperor Ashoka. And, unlike Aristotle, he insisted on equal rights for women and slaves. 

The East and the West do not have separate, competing value systems. We do not treat life with greater sanctity than those we belittle. There are aged survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who can tell us something about our high moral values and passionate concern for innocent human life, about our own acts of terrorism. Eastern and Western traditions have within them varied ethical systems, some of which are repugnant and some of which are worth emulating. To hold up the highest ideals of our own culture and to deny that these great ideals exist in other cultures, especially Eastern cultures, is made possible only by historical and cultural illiteracy.

The civilization we champion and promote as superior is, in fact, a product of the fusion of traditions and beliefs of the Orient and the Occident. We advance morally and intellectually when we cross these cultural lines, when we use the lens of other cultures to examine our own. The remains of villages destroyed by our bombs, the dead killed from our munitions, leave us too with bloody hands. We can build a new ethic only when we face our complicity in the cycle of violence and terror. 

The fantasy of an enlightened West that spreads civilization to a savage world of religious fanatics is not supported by history. The worst genocides and slaughters of the last century were perpetrated by highly industrialized nations. Muslims, including Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime, have a long way to go before they reach the body count of the secular regimes of the Nazis, the Soviet Union or the Chinese communists. It was, in fact, the Muslim-led government in Bosnia that protected minorities during the war while the Serbian Orthodox Christians carried out mass executions, campaigns of genocide and ethnic cleansing that left 250,000 dead. 

Those who externalize evil and seek to eradicate that evil through violence lose touch with their own humanity and the humanity of others. They cannot make moral distinctions. They are blind to their own moral corruption. In the name of civilization and high ideals, in the name of reason and science, they become monsters. We will never free ourselves from the self-delusion of the “war on terror” until we first vanquish the terrorist within.

Chris Hedges’ Truthdig column appears on Mondays. Hedges was Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times.

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By TAO Walker, December 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

Civilization, like everything else, IS what it DOES.  Us surviving Savages are no more favorably impressed, as cann4ing surmised a ways back, with those versions of the thing used to corral our Sisters and Brothers here on Turtle Island (Aztec and Maya, eg.) and on HummingBird Island (most notably Inca), than we are with the imported contraption that displaced them. 

Having raised questions he’s not prepared to answer, cann4ing’s latest rejoinder here seems calculated to divert us from matters of substance to those of happenstance.  That this old Indian has relatives among many different Native Nations here is really more the “norm” than the exception, and has been for many generations.  Those include Lakotah, Dinee (both north and south), Piegan and Blood, TsiTsitsas (Northern Cheyenne), “Nez perce,” Shoshoni, Taos, Hopi, and others in no particular order. 

One reason for the use of some common Lakotah terms here is that it’s been made somewhat accessible to English-speakers who will make the effort to hunt-up the books.  Also, this old Seeker has gone several times to the Paha Sapa Wakan to participate in Ceremonies and more informal get-togethers.

While it’s true many of our People have fallen-prey to the temptations laid-out like bait by those who propagate and “profit” from the civilizing process, and so have had foisted-off on them, among other equally crippling things, an IDentity (often called “tribal”), there remain those of us who’ve kept out of that trap.  So cann4ings assumptions about this Person’s ties of kinship and “geography,” though partly correct, fail considerably to cover the actual extent of either.

It would still be good to get from him some germane responses to the real “issues” raised in our exchange here….independent corroboration of his assumptions about the true nature of both Humanity and “civilization,” for instance.


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By cann4ing, December 12, 2008 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

By TAO Walker, December 11 at 2:05 pm #

Us free wild Native Peoples, on the other hand, have been around these parts since long before civilization…


By “these parts” you appear to be referring to the Black Hills of the Dakotas.  By “Native Peoples” did you intend to exclude your southern brothers and sisters, the Inca and Maya, who erected complex civilizations that are as old as the free and wild Lakota?

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By TAO Walker, December 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Virtually everything cann4ing thinks he “knows” about the nature and “history” of civilization he has received from sources encapsulated entirely within the framework of that same self-referential civilization….likewise with everything he “knows” about his own Human nature and its place within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  If he can cite for this old Indian a single unbiased witness (ie., a Person who is NOT a domesticated two-legged) to support his homo-centric conceits, he should do it. If he has any objective evidence at all (ie., proof NOT generated solely from inside the contraption itself) as to civilization’s origins and nature and purposes, he should offer it.

It is abundantly clear right now, though, that when it comes to civilization as such, and to Humanity both inside and outside its confines (but most especially the latter), cann4ing has no respectable claim, really, to KNOWING anything at all.  He has received-opinions and inculcated-beliefs and unconfirmed-suspicions galore, as do pretty nearly all of his co-captives, but until he actually gets outside the thing, he can only guess blindly at such things as its CONstruction, extent, current CONdition, and probable fate.

Us free wild Native Peoples, on the other hand, have been around these parts since long before civilization (Vladimir Putin-like?) “....reared (its) head….over Alaska.”  We’ve watched its “progress,” endured its depradations, learned its inherent contradictions, and come-up with beneficially effective organic responses (ie., ones we might ALL go on living with) to the lethally destructive “CONclusion” it is designed to force upon our Mother Earth and all Her Children.

So maybe a little well-deserved modesty might give cann4ing pause before he again presumes to lecture us surviving Savages on what “civilization” really is.  We’ve come by OUR knowledge of it honestly and THE-HARD-WAY….which is why we often refer to its perpetrators here as our “tormentors.”

Here’s a question for cann4ing.  If he and his loved-ones were off a beach somewhere caught in a strong riptide about to sweep them all into oblivion (which in a ceratin way they are), and they’d gotten into that predicament at least in-part by proudly ignoring the cautions of those who’d been living with the “sea” there for generations (which on-the-record they certainly have), would he haughtily tell one of these Natives offering a way to save him and his loved-ones that it was the Native who was “....miss(ing) the point” (unless, of course, “the point” is murder/suicide)?

Our friend cann4ing has his pride, which is part of why we don’t just rush into the maelstrom and drag him out by main-force.  We KNOW how he can return safely to firm “ground.”  He and his, however, must make the choices, and the effort, that’ll get ‘em here….back in Indian Country.

Good luck, Sisters and Brothers.


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By cann4ing, December 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

As I stated, TAO, you confuse “civilization” with imperialism, the military-industrial complex and predatory capitalism.  It is the later which Gore Vidal takes aim at, not the former.  Thus, Vidal wrote:  “The Pentagon is like a black hole; what goes in is forever lost to us, and no new wealth is created.”

As a member of a people who were early victims to imperial conquest, I can well understand, TAO, how you could so easily confuse the so-called Western Civilization which carried out a genocidal expansion under the racist doctrine of Manifest Destiny with the concept of “civilization” itself.  But the existence of “civilization” is not inextricably linked to war, death, conquest or the unsustainable drive to pillage Mother Earth.  At the core of our present malaise, you will find the vice-into-virtue philosophy which extols as a virtue the vice of greed and inequality.

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By TAO Walker, December 10, 2008 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

That “civilization” is co-temporal with “recorded history,” as cann4ing asserts here, is really an admission that it in-fact hasn’t been around these parts very long at all.  The particular version rampant today (for awhile called “western” but lately gone “global”), f’r instance, has been plaguing us here for only about ten-thousand-or-so years now….a blink of the eye, in the aeons-long concert/cotillion Life Herownself conducts here.  Some of its all-but-vanished (even though orders-of-magnitude more sophisticated) predecessors lasted much longer….though even they were the “historical” equivalent of some gotta-have, one-day wonder in today’s fad-driven “marketplace” of industrial waste-products. 

While his abiding faith in some as yet over-the-event-horizon benign “technologies” is as understandable as it is touching, given that cann4ing evidently has no memory-of nor any actual experience-with anything not inextricably bound-up in the civilization process, it might not be this old Indian who is “....missing the point.”  It may be his own bald-faced claim that Humans civilized theirownselfs, contrary not only to all the objective evidence of how the process works, but to plain common sense, that is way wide-of-the-mark here.

Apologists for what domestication hath wrought here all suffer from the amnesia Gore Vidal sees as particularly virulent in theamericanpeople….and their “leaders.”  That this “acumen-deficit-disorder” is one of the much-intended “by-products” of the same process that also degrades Persons into “individuals,” is of course a vital bit of knowledge completely inacessible to its subject/victims….unless brought-in from outside the contraption by some sentimental old Savage who would like to see these captives among our People finally let go “Free at last!”

The thing is, cann4ing’s hopeful(?) expectation that this latest killing-machine will just keep on doing its thing here for “thousands of years” more is doomed to disappointment.  We’re past-due for a long break from training hard-core tormentors away-from their self-glorifying lunacies. 

So get ready for some real “Ch…ch…ch…CHANGES!”


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By cann4ing, December 10, 2008 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

I think you miss the point, TAO.  My post was not intended to “defend” civilization.  It merely reflects recognition of a basic reality.  “Civilization” is as old as recorded history.  It has been around for thousands of years and will be here long after you and I have departed.

To rail against civilization, as you do, repeatedly, is like complaining that the ocean is filled with water.  The number of individuals actually living what you describe as “free and wild” is so small as to scarcely receive recognition by the billions who do accept the benefits of civilization, and The Way, while consistent with a more balanced ecology, simply will not sustain life for the billions of people you refer to as “tame two-leggeds.”

Your statement that domestication is not a natural event in any other species ignores the basic fact that while other species are capable of congregating in herds, the only species that is capable of creating civilizations is the human species.  Civilizations are the product of their ability to divide labor, providing sub-fields of specialization so that while a segment of society is devoted to food gathering and cultivation, others are engaged in a wide range of endeavors, both cultural and scientific, within civilization.

This was true even for the 19th Century Lakota, who divided tasks between male and female.  What you condemn as “civilization” merely takes that division of labor to a more complex level.  And while you make the perfectly valid point of the harmonious relationship between the free and wild human being and nature afforded by The Way, you fail to demonstrate how The Way could be made a viable option for the billions of your “domesticated brothers and sisters” in the 21st Century.

I think you confuse “civilization” with the products of imperialism and exploitative capitalism, which blinds you to the possibility of a non-exploitative form of human relationships within a civilization that turns to environmentally sustainable technologies.


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By sarah, December 9, 2008 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

The awfulness of our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq is now almost a truism. It seems kind of ridiculous to discuss them as such at this point, and yet I do think this article raises a really interesting question: how do we keep terrorist networks from proliferating on our own soil?

Futhermore, what can we do to keep weapons of mass destruction out of their hands? Talk all you want about ideology and the sowing of hate; it seems at the end of teh day, free speech will always prevail. The problem remains, though, how the Bush administration in response to 9/11 enacted policies that expanded our bioterrorism research facilities, and hence put more access to terrorists to place an informant researcher. All we need is one terrorist to get their hands on Ebola in our country (and they can) and we’re completely helpless. You can’t stop the terrorist mindset, but you can limit their access to deadly weapons.

This great story over at FLYP ( talks about how the Bush policies—argued on the notion that we need to research deadly pathogens to make us safer from attacks that originate abroad—have only made us less safe. Check it out, it might change your idea of how we should justly and safely fight the war on terror.

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By TAO Walker, December 9, 2008 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

(C)ann4ing’s concern for the fate of billions of tame two-legged “individuals” is no doubt as sincere as it is….well, “Much ado about nothing.”  His hopes for some institutionally and technologically benign arrangment that will afford them all the “opportunity” to realize their “individual dreams” can persist only by studiously ignoring the obviously destructive consequences already wrought upon our Living Arrangement here by ten millennia or-so of just exactly that lethal combination of motives, methods, and mis-direction.

His assumption that this old Indian’s use of the term “sub-species” is meant to suggest the domesticated peoples, as such, are inferior to us free wild Human Beings, is as gratuitous as it is mistaken.  If cann4ing has in fact been following this old Man’s offerings here as claimed, then he should know it is the CONDITION our captive Sisters and Brothers are in that is as degenerative as it is degrading to its subjects….and yes, they are a lot worse-off in that respect than we are.

Persons so thoroughly indoctrinated in the fundamental conceits of “civilization” as cann4ing seems to be, though, cannot be faulted for taking-up-for-it when these are called into question.  It is….ironic(?), nevertheless, that someone who would probably easily recognize some disease running rampant through some population for the (by-definition) abberrant and undesirable condition it would be, is unable to make that “connection” between their own adored “civilization” and the obviously sickening effects it is having not only on our Living Arrangement as a Whole, but even more severely on its Human and other inmates in-particular.  Again….no blame, just fact.

Maybe this old Savage’s working assumption here (that people caught in some kind of catastrophic combination of events and circumstances overwhelming the “safeguards” they believed were in-place to deal with such things might welcome some assistance from others not so entrapped) is overly optimistic.  Maybe cann4ing’s obsession with sheer numbers just won’t give-way to a plain statement that the “numbers” are….functionally irrelevant.  If “civilization” is not merely a process, but some kind of maybe divinely-ordained or humanly-inevitable “project,” then its “true believers” will likely prefer to go-down with it rather than concede that the whole damned contraption has been a terrible mistake.

It sure wouldn’t (and won’t) be the first time.

Sepharad may not be as deeply embedded in the virtual “world” of civilization as those who effectively worship it.  She still appears to remain, though, sufficiently confused by its habits and usages not to be able to see the inherent contradiction in a term like “wild civilization,” or the inescapable redundancy in one like “domesticated civilization.”  She does have the good fortune to live every day, anyway, with Equines still being Horses….even while having to accomodate their essential nature to the circumstance of their (at-least) semi-captivity. 

This, too, shall pass.


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By Sepharad, December 9, 2008 at 12:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tao Walker, You’re right that every other issue is moot until we stop sabotaging our life-support system—i.e. everything that exists not contrived by man but susceptible to his predations and excesses—but aren’t we “domesticateds” (if that’s what we are, though my husband and I don’t feel particularly tame) rapidly learning to use the world’s air, water, land, sustainably? We are capable of learning, and behave somewhat more humanely than our species did 100, 200 years ago.

In your world, which you distinguish from ours, is there no war, no conflict? Isn’t conflict natural?
In wild horses, you see hierarchies, conflicts, jockeying for position, etc. In our own small herd, more or less domesticated horses, when a horse is sick, or giving birth, all the others gather and watch from a distance until the situation is back to what the horses consider normal. And when the old lion (passing through the area on his roughly 100-mile territory circuit; you can tell, when calves and pets along the river begin to disappear) is not so far away the lead mare whinnies in a special way and the mares and gelding all stand in a circle, facing out, with the foals inside the circle. (When we hear that particular whinny, we keep the big flashlight and shotgun outside our bedroom door, facing pasture and woods, just in case. But the horses manage nicely without us.)     

The difference between animal conflict and peoples’ seems to be that the animal gets right down to it, does as much as necessary but no more. It depends on how stubbornly a contender keeps at it: sometimes a broken leg results, but in the wild defeated horses have an alternative—to leave the herd entirely or remain at a respectful distance. On the other hand animals don’t seem to have regrets about prevailing, and offer no particular kindness to the vanquished except allowing them to exist and share food and water as long as the victor’s rules are followed. Once in awhile a particular horse—and a Bedouin told me the same is true among camels—never accepts his/her place post-fight and keeps challenging the leader (my mare is like that) despite the leader’s superior size or agility. The Bedouin said he trades such animals because they cause too much trouble; we separate the mare and put her with younger horses not apt to challenge her who benefit from her teaching.

And if there is conflict in your world, how is it resolved? As far as I know from books anyway, some so-called “wild” civilizations are at least as harsh as the “domesticated” civilizations in battles over resources. This partly depends on how benign an environment is, though; some native California tribes were not as warlike as their kindred on the plains and up north because the year-round temperate climate and growing season made survival much easier.

What would “domesticateds” learn re living and resolving conflicts in your world that they can’t learn in their own? Could you explain why you think our worlds—on the same planet, after all—are so different? I’m not a mystical or religious person, but several native Americans at different times have told us that there are old spirits where we live, that they are glad we’re here, but I never took their observations seriously until one of those spirits visited me when I was gravely ill, not expected to recover. (Without recounting the details,suffice it to say that my husband, a scientist through and through who normally scoffs at the idea of any non-material occurence, decided that this was one of those realities of the universe that scientists have yet to discover.) So I’m not as sure as you are that the worlds are that far apart, or different. We don’t follow any religious practice—except for a few special Jewish prayers and holidays, the grizzly bear as the family’s totem and, of course, our horses which are not religious but definitely a better class of beings, and closer to us than most people.

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By Robert, December 8, 2008 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

The Freaks of Hebron

A Must See Video: Israeli Terrorist Settler Shooting Palestinians in Hebron

12.06.2008 |
By Haitham Sabbah

Spread and distribute WIDELY!

“Footage filmed by Jamal Abu-Sa’ifan, a Palestinian resident of Hebron, documenting a terrorist Israeli settler shooting two members of his family.

The event occurs following the eviction settlers from a Palestinian house they occupied in Hebron. Settlers attacked the nearby house of the Abu-Se’ifan family, and during ensuing clashes, a settler fired his handgun at Hosni Abu-Se’ifan (40), who was hit in the chest and is in stable condition, and his father, ‘Abd al-Hai Abu-Sa’ifan (65) who was moderately wounded in his arm. The two were taken to a Hebron hospital. The video shows other members of the family manage to overcome the shooter, later more terrorist settlers from the nearby settlement Kiryat Arba arrives and the scene, and fires their weapon toward the Palestinian family.”

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By cann4ing, December 8, 2008 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Tao, as much as there is to admire in the Lakota people and Tiyoshpaye, I have to tell you that I am concerned there is also, in your posts, a degree of provincialism, perhaps even racist sentiments of superiority, combined with a world view that leads you to dehumanize the vast bulk of humanity, which you have, at various times, demeaned as “two-legged domesticated” types or, which, in one instance, you referred to as a “sub-species.”

Your rail against the evils of “civilization” ignoring the fact that civilization is as old as the written word.  Even among the native populations, there were the great ancient civilizations, e.g. Maya, Inca, which no doubt you, as a Lakota Medicine Man, look down upon.

You skillfully use both the internet and the English language which are both products of “civilization,” yet see no contradiction in your choice of the products of civilization as the means for communication by one who is “free and wild.”

More importantly, you have repeatedly ignored the central point of my past critiques—that “The Way” of the Lakota provided a much admired, sustainable existence for the Lakota people in the small numbers that existed in the 19th Century but would not and could not sustain the mass of humanity in the 21st Century.  While you deflected this by noting that “The Way” does not have an expiration date, you ignore the reality that of the world’s billions of peoples alive today, only a handful, perhaps some thousands, actually live free and wild.

I think the world would be better served by not only understanding what worked for the Lakota but what clean technological solutions and cooperative/equitable socioeconomic relationships can be applied to both assure a sustainable planet and the quality of life for the greatest number of individuals.  Those billions of individuals cannot be reduced to a “sub-species” or compared to domestic animals like dogs and cats.  They are living, breathing human beings, each with his or her own hopes and desires for a decent life.

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By TAO Walker, December 8, 2008 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Mike W’s characterizations of what our Lakotah cousins call the Tiyoshpaye Way as some sort of ethno-specific social configuration maybe reveals again the tendency of domesticated peoples to try to force everything into the CONtext of their own captivity….even though that condition accounts for a vanishingly miniscule proportion of ALL-There-Is.  This old Turtle Clan member, in other offerings here-and-there around this site, has tried (no doubt inadequately, given the “language barrier” and whatever personal limitations come into play) to show that “Tiyoshpaye” is, rather, a word some of us use to describe the organic Human FORM within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  Other Peoples have other words for it.  The English “community” would serve if it weren’t being applied so promiscuously these days to every random collection of “individuals” around, rendering it semantically devalued.

It is common among our tame Sisters and Brothers to mistake their own atomized and “individuated” two-legged SHAPE for our actual form….to believe that as “individuals” they represent the fundamental expression of Humanity here, even though not one of ‘em ever popped into existence all by their self, nevermind made it out of infancy even, or can make it through a single day all on their own self-generated devices.  Mike W is onto something though when he likens the natural Human form of Tiyoshpaye to the natural form of Wolf, which is called (but not by Wolves) a “pack.”

Mike W, like virtually all his fellow (‘n’ gal) prisoners, seems pre-disposed to insist that all “conditions” are “created equal.”  Yet few of them are unable to make the critical distinction between a pack of wild Wolves just being freely what they are, and a similarly-sized collection of “individual” Canis Lupus on-display in a Zoo.  Most people will also acknowledge that (at least from the Wolves’ point-of-view) the free wild ones, taking their chances in the ages-old Way of their kind, have by-far the much better and more desirable life.

When it comes to applying the same considerations to their own degraded estate, however, tame Two-leggeds have a real hard time getting past the programming to which they and their ancestors’ve been subject for at least five-or-six-hundred generations….no blame, just fact.  It is obviously true that all Lifeforms will, as best they can, accomodate to whatever ambient conditions they must live with.  Humans who’ve been corralled in this “civilizing” contraption go on being “consumers.”  Wolves go on being “dogs.”  Turkeys go on being “dinner.”

It is also as obvious that no “species” ever domesticates itself.  Some “alien” agency is active in such a process in every case.  Humans here have, of course, subjected quite a few of our Relatives to the degradation of taming and exploiting them for the “exclusive benefit” of their selfs….supposedly with no knowledge or understanding on the part of the “victims” as to the nature or degree of their subjugation.  It is maybe a testimony to the cleverness of our tormentors that their Human pets and livestock are every bit as clueless about their own “inferior” position in the pyramid-scheme pretending to be the “dominant paradigm” in these parts.

That’s all coming to THE END, though.  Call it what he will, Mike W will one of these Good Days find him and his “clan” back in the Tiyoshpaye Way.


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By Mike W, December 7, 2008 at 9:08 am Link to this comment


At this moment, I just read a paragraph of Obama’s “Dreams from my Father”. I see a possible parallel to our discussion and your story.

He writes of his visit to Kenya, a city built by outsiders, a place where locals struggle with outside and self-discrimination, prejudices, identity, and way of life. He writes of a worker, a waiter…

“…he (the waiter) learned that the same people who controlled the land before independence still controls the same land, that he still cannot eat in the restaurants or stay in the hotels that the white man has built. He sees the money of the city swirling above his head, and the technology that spits out goods from its robot mouth. If he’s ambitious, he will do his best to learn the white man’s language and use the white man’s machines, trying to make ends meet the same way the computer repairman in Newark or the bus driver in Chicago does, with alternating spurts of enthusiasm or frustrations but mostly with resignation. And if you say to him that he’s serving the interests of neocolonialism or some other such thing, he will reply that yes, he will serve if that is what’s required. It is the lucky ones who serve; the unlucky ones drift into the murky tide of hustles and odd jobs; many will drown.”

TAO, this passage jumped out to me – strikingly similar to our very exchange of thoughts here. You, me, Bin Laden maybe, Barrack Obama, this waiter…, all beings trying to understand the true path and the correct way of life (Tiyoshpaye Way?).

My guess is that Barrack did not choose the “Tiyoshpaye Way”. He chose the path of the waiter. The path to better his family which includes “the people”. He served, serves and lives the life of the “domesticated” a “caged livestock” as you would say. He follows a path that you insinuate and indicate to mean the broken path. I suspect that Barrack Obama was not “beaten” but rather adapted to our new and evolved life system. He is finding and found his place in “The Natural Human Form”. If our Lakotah Cousins live in their specific and individual clan pack, I believe that they may have misunderstood the true Tiyoshpaye Way. But then again, I am simply still learning. I seek the true way to happiness. If I shall find it before the sun sets for good, I will consider myself to be a lucky one.

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By Mike W, December 7, 2008 at 6:26 am Link to this comment


In my last posting, my cells were altered from the liquids and music that united our different clans that night. Today, my senses slightly clearer, I see and understand that one possibly should not “give in” and abandon their way of life and personal beliefs. Hearing that you never separated from Mother Earth and that you refuse to “walk down the new trail” is comforting (but also slightly disturbing). I find it difficult to agree or disagree on this. My “clan” was transplants from Europe. The old ones brought with them their “values” and their “prejudices” too (to “their New World”). I could suppose that their ways were/are just as “sacred” as your ways and your traditions. I broke from these ways and opened my eyes and my heart to others outside “the clan”.

To embrace your “Tiyoshpaye Way”, I would again be “giving up” and “beaten” and accepting something outside my original beliefs. I lean toward “One with Nature”. This is our true roots. However, clans and family go back just as far as roots for our seed stems from “Mom and Dad.”

So, the terrorist is from within all of us TAO. It is our natural and instinctive survival abilities and traits that enable us and that proves us to be one with Nature. It could be said then that us domesticated animals struggle with our identities because we struggle with who we are. We became smart enough to be domesticated but at the same time, we have our “wild traits” that unavoidably controls our very aggressive, yet necessary, actions and behavior. I suspect you have followed your path with a certain “clan”. A clan that you believe lives free and wild, and true to man and nature. I also suppose that you may respect all and know that we are all ONE people under Mother Earth. But, you all believe that it is the other clans (not yours) that has swayed from the true path.

So, the question to myself is:
Which clan and way of life does one turn from or toward? Joining your way of life, to be free and wild and to find my way back to Mother Earth makes me “beaten” or “enlightened”? Free and wild must not mean free and passive for wild is wild. To get back to who we are, you and I must embrace our natural selves. We can not have it both ways…we are the wolves in the wild prairies…grouping in similar packs…and attacking the weaker and slower moving prey……

I wish I had the answers to a brighter day. The rising Sun brings comfort to the one who takes the time to meet Her. She rises and the day is bright. But, she leaves us and it all becomes dark, dark for us to ponder if it will be bright again soon.

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By TAO Walker, December 6, 2008 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

This old Indian does indeed remember “Mike W” from when we were both making these “tracks” along another “trail” here.  There was sure no intention to suggest that Sepharad has nothing worthwhile to offer us.  She has plenty.  That earlier comment was meant only to illustrate how difficult it is for Persons stuck INSIDE this contraption Mike W seems to think we must all surrender-to, to see their Way at all clear of it.

Their predicament is compounded by an induced inability to even imagine there might be some of us who are not in-fact inmates of the “global” prison that appears to’ve “conquered” the world here in the waning days of the present “age.”  Mike W seems to believe that because he himself admits to having been “beaten,” so must’ve been everyone else….and so we ought to just accept that and make the-best of it.

The thing is, not all of us have been made subject to the self-declared “dominant paradigm.”  Some of us surviving free wild natural Human Beings are actually continuing to respond to its rapacious and murderous presence here according to our given organic function within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  We don’t need to “get back to (Her)” for the good reason that we’ve never been separated from Her….unlike our unfortunately domesticated Sisters and Brothers, two-legged and otherwise….who are only cut-off in their own mistaken beliefs about The Way of things here.

Anyhow, it looks like underneath his own apparent resignation, Mike W remembers it’s ALL just the neverending Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself….Good Times had by all.  There is in fact a place for Humanity in this Beauty Way….filling our place with integrity contributes greatly to the health of The Whole.  Even the domesticated peoples are doing the best they can in that regard….given the extreme handicaps they’re afflicted with.  They might do even better, though, if they remembered what exactly it is they’re given to do here.

This old Savage “logs-in” here occasionally in hopes of stirring some of that “genetic” memory in those who seem presently out-of-touch with it.  No “moral” or “value” judgements of a Personal nature are intended….ever.


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By Mike W, December 6, 2008 at 1:35 am Link to this comment

T. Walker,

I wonder if you remember me from previous discussions on thee atheist dig here.

I hear you but do not understand your signs. I see Sepharad as a guest here and I would love to hear more and learn more from her point of view. To me, she seems to view conflicts and life in a realistic manner. I see you may run a parallel with the native americans and the palestinians but as you know the American Indians did not have a choice in their struggles with the white man. I admit that I am not too educated on the Palestinian conflict but I do realize that when one has been beat, they should give it up. So, as Sepharad mentioned in regards to Bin Laden… he should just give it up and take care of his family or at the very least, live in peace and make the most of his life, family and situation.

…if the big Guy wants to screw around, he may just end up like a couple of mangled up kids like our old friend, Saddam Hussein (and his sons).  Where did their choices get them as a family?

My redblood brother or sister, we can not get back to Mother Earth. Our worldly society needs to implode and life needs to start from scratch again. I beg you to accept life as we have it now. Stop living in a past that will not return - in your lifetime. You, Bin Laden and any other idealist of a simpler day will take that dream, with you, to your graves. It is a shame but this is reality.

Tonight, I have just returned from a restaurant outing. My wife and I unexpectively ended up in the bar area and “partied” with the band, their family members and other mixed breed patrons. T, it brought tears to my eyes as we all sang, drank, danced and laughed together. My wife is Asian, me white, band, family and friends black… Temps in the teens and snowing outside as the evening turned into morning. My friend, I am not a preacher by no means… but when all become ONE, life becomes the TRUE “natural Human form”. Today was a good day. Tomorrow, I could hope and strive for better. Death will be easier if my memory is filled with these “good” days. I wish you the same. Peace to your heart.

Ego ga han

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By TAO Walker, December 5, 2008 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

It’s not difficult to understand why so many here latch onto this that or another feature of “the situation” in hopes it offers a “key” to some over-arching resolution.  Sepharad and the trumped-up Palestinian/Israeli “conflict,” offer us an example of that.  Inevitably, though, it is only some ideological or institutional or electro-mechanical sub-system that gets this focus….none of which are anywhere near the core of what ails the domesticated peoples.  All of that completely UN-natural “male enhancement,” in fact, is merely symptomatic of the uderlying dis-ease, which is the very process of “civilization” itself.

All the goodwill in the world will not serve for anything but “temporary relief” from some particularly destructive part of the process.  Only abandoning the death-dealing contraption and returning to the integrity of our organic form and function within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth offers the tame two-leggeds presently milling about in terrified confusion a viable alterNATIVE to the thing that is, by design and intent, attempting to murder them AND or Mother.

The “problem,” at its roots, is essentially biological.  A sub-species (and domesticated humans are just that) attempting to wage war on its own life-support-system is doomed.  There is no way americans or anyone else can survive such monumental and mostly self-inflicted insanity.

There is, always, the Tiyoshpaye Way, as our Lakotah Cousins call the natural Human form.  There surely isn’t any other, Sisters and Brothers.


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By Folktruther, December 4, 2008 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

You are bascially right, Yellowbird, so you have to expect to get attacked by fake Progressives who identify with oppressive power. You have a lot of important things to say, but people could read them easier if you used paragraphs and skipped a line after every few sentences.

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By Mike W, December 4, 2008 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment


Your very presence here screams that you are an active participant in the corporate game. You purchase electricity, coal, natural gas, oil, all type of food and other products etc…You also pollute the air, ground and water. Your electromagnet generating hands are just as dirty as the ones you seek to expose.

“You have been around for a long, long year.
Stole many a man’s soul and faith.
You were round when Jesus Christ,
had his moment of doubt and pain.
You made damn sure that Pilate
washed his hands and sealed his fate.”

Yellowbird, I suspect that you see a glass of formaldehyde half full rather than half empty. I rather have had you spent the last seven years counting your blessing and being grateful that your country (or another) did not send another attack in your direction.
Focus your energy toward the heroic efforts of those passengers that went down in that field rather than toward the building that may have been supposed to be hit.

“You held a general’s rank when the blitzkrieg rank, and the bodies stank”

“You watched with glee while your kings and queens, fought for ten decades, for the gods they made.”

“You shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys’ but after all, it was you and ME”

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By yellowbird2525, December 4, 2008 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

The “men in white hats” so “busy protecting” as a “force for good” is FABRICATION folks made up on “fabricated” enemies: in reality, the women & children of not only THIS nation but every country THEY have been to with their Corps overthrowing any Gov who wants to do social good for their country or cares for the people & refuses their money: they ALWAYS put in “dictatorships” who are as corrupt & polluted as they are. Our nation is the one who trains torturers folks: they are there behind the genocides: just like they sent folks to train torturers in Mexico: who is involved in civil war since Clinton while Pres bribed THEIR Pres with $, & the USA Corps went in & took away the peoples land & water rights; Clinton did it because Bush Sr could not get it thru; HE did; So TELL ME that there is a “2 party” system in the USA: when they are in total agreement following a preset agenda AGAINST the people of the USA & the world, taking it globally cuz they have gotten away with it in the USA for so many years. Afghanistan: “women” being abused???? PLEASE! Let me explain to you: that the way this nation is run is this: CHEMICALS added to the food; foods processed CHEMICALLY to cause SICKNESS & DISEASE: making them the #1 country in killing babies. THIS is the reason for USA being #1 in infants deaths for years; Congress passed in 2 seconds flat at their request to NO LONGER HAVE TO LIST all ingredients put into FOOD. CBS.COM log onto 700 Club: eat THIS don’t eat THAT when eating out; almost 1000 to 2000 milligrams of CHEMICALLY TREATED SALT which turns to poison 15 minutes after hitting your system: now causing kidney stones rapidly: causing excrutiating & agonizing pain for CHILDREN!

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By yellowbird2525, December 4, 2008 at 2:17 am Link to this comment

oh yes: 9-11: perhaps YOU can explain how it was that the WTC 7 building had black smoke pouring out of it, & “collapsed” just like the twin towers did, & was REPORTED doing so prior to it actually happening on Corp owned ABC who works with the Gov on “telling” the “people” the news: note: THEY also had the 75 retired military men with connections to Pentagon & contractors who 6 months PRIOR to 9/11 were being trained on “how to speak” as authorities on why Saddam Hussain whom our lawless leaders had agreed to remove from power in 1996; you can also gto youtube & view “the stuff nightmares are made of” if it hasn’t already been removed showing exactly how the “men in white hats, a “force for good” combatting evil” came about: PEOPLE PERCEPTION; military terminology: perception management: by controlling what is SEEN on TV, READ in print, & misdirection, “authorities” supposedly, stating something that of course, MUST be true: when it is all a fabrication of LIES, DECEIT, & “false” reports appearing REAL. BEST RECENT EXAMPLE: melamine found in infants formula in USA. FORCED to release information by AP thru FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: read at; & of course, the FDA immediately issuing a statement saying “it is in trace amounts, will do NO HARM to infants”; of course, little RAT POISON is AOK for BABIES, ISN"T IT!!!!! and of COURSE they are TRUTHFUL: listen the REPORT: the chemicals found in the BPA is nonharmful: (written by the CHEMICAL COMPANY who MAKES IT!

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By Sepharad, December 4, 2008 at 1:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Super-rich Osama bin Laden’s “humiliations” really don’t move me. (He wasn’t too humiliated to take all the help the CIA could give him in defeating the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.) The Sykes-Picot Agreement was a thoughtless Brit-French scramble for power in the petroleum-rich Middle East, part of the whole sick Great Game, and later the five Arab nations humiliated themselves when they attacked but were repelled by the just-reborn nation of Israel, but that humiliation they brought that on themselves. If they HADN’T attacked and accepted the partition of Palestinine they would’ve ended up with more land. For 400 years the Ottoman Empire (Turks) humiliated and harshly ruled the Arabs. Before that there were the humiliating encroachments by everyone in the Mediterranean world and European world—Alexander, Egyptians, Babylonians, Sassanians, Romans etc—so Bin Laden should get over his humiliation and start thinking about the welfare of his people instead. Or his wives or his horses or camels. Anything but senseless jihad. There is greatness and beauty in Islam, but it’s drowning in the sea of all the hatred spewed out around the world, not least in these truthdig rants. nahida, you have found exactly the right place to dump all your jihadi Jew-hating propaganda, where people like eileen, Folktruther and others slouch around all too eager to just suck it up. (PS - the rant on the Iraqi Jews killing each other in the ‘50s is totally bogus: they were driven out as part of the million or so Jews expelled by Arab countries as part of what the Arab League’s Iraqi delegate described as a “population exchange”, referring to the Palestinians, some driven from their homes and some urged by Haj Amin Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem—a real sweetheart; you ought to look up his history some time, including his sojourn in Germany during WWII helping the Gestapo as well as arranging Arab aid to the Axis fighting in Egypt, Libya etc.—to leave during the Arab attack on Israel in 1948. My grandfather’s grandfather came to Palestine on the run from a Romanian pogrom in 1828, though Zionism per se didn’t begin until Herzl gave it a name later that century. There were all different kinds of relationships between Arabs and Jews in Palestine—good, bad, just practical—and I know there were some bad things done by Jews to Arabs and by Arabs to Jews, but that mufti really screwed up the two peoples in a way that has yet to remedy itself, though people of good will on both sides keep trying, despite the venomous fanatacism now injected into the whole Arab world. 

It’s a shame, too, because Chris Hedges has offered a thoughtful article that invites reflections and analysis yet gets only stupid self-absorbed conspiracy-theory rhetoric.

Mike: Yellowbird is, in at least one case, an Indian name. Cherokee. John Rollin Ridge was a post-gold rush Cherokee who came to California where he settled on San Francisco Bay and put out a newspaper, also, using his Cherokee name Yellowbird, wrote “Joaquin Murietta”—a novel that brought a wandering legend into the California zeitgeist. His cousin, Chief Standwatie, was the last Confederate general to surrender, four months after Lee surrendered at Appomatox. Before coming to California he had a rather tragic history growing out of a tribal conflict that ended in his stabbing to death a Cherokee rival for leadership of their clan. (My husband is half-Cherokee and I’m a historian, so I got interested and turned up quite a bit of information on him. But he was an articulate, clear-thinking man of careful judgment, so it’s not likely he’s related to the “yellowbird” character who rants on and on incoherently on this site. Tao Walker sounds more like the real Yellowbird, though he has a slightly different mythos.)

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By colin2626262, December 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

Interesting article.

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By Mike W, December 3, 2008 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

Yellowbird is a name of a drink. One that affects the brain’s logic system and which usually brings one, happiness.  Yellowbird could be an American Indian. One who may have difficulty moving past their ancestors’ struggles, defeats and the injustices imposed against them? 

First off, Americans and the Allies almost lost World War II. Disregarding some important players (who profited before, after and during the war), the people and most leaders were in the fight of their life. Our location, with the oceans protecting us, probably saved us from defeat. Who on this forum believes that we would still be in existence today if we have not taken the steps that we did toward victory? There was a race to the atomic bomb and the USA came in first – luckily. Do not drop the bombs and invade Japan (a country who would never have surrendered)? Is this what you truly believe Eileen Fleming? War is a monster and in 1945, we were deep in her belly.  Yes, by dropping those bombs Eileen, today you are able to have your website and freedom instead of a slumped over back, slouched over and working a godforsaken rice paddy field. Look at the land grab from the victors after the war. It has taken years for countries to regain their countries back from the Soviets. Imagine Japan and the USA fighting conventially for years after 1945. Also, imagine us losing possibly.

Now, imagine 9/11/2001. Not planes loaded with fuel and passengers but with terrorists supplied anthrax, atomic destructive energy, virus killing and infectious diseased living beings etc…You all forget too well the fear in you on that day. You would have sent your smiling grandmother to the end of the world if it would save mankind from that terror. You hooted and cheered when the first bombs were launched and you glowed with immense pride as our president outlined his expectations to the world, our attackers and their supporters.

Then came Iraq. It was a statement and an attempt to continue our way of life here in the States. I ask you to dig deep in your hearts and minds. There, if you are truly honest with yourself, you will find an ingrained and evolutionary gift. This inherent gift kept and keeps our species alive for thousands and thousands of years. Our brains try to trick and try to convince ourselves and others that our primal thoughts are a thing of the past. But, they are not gone; they are still with us. We were satisfied and felt safer when the Taliban were mercilessly slaughtered. When Saudis showed up instead of Afghans, we wondered but did not cry out loud. When Iraqis became the next targets, we no longer felt the need to attack, for our stomachs were already filled and our vengeance was already satisfied. So, we needed a little thoughts of Anthrax and WMD weapons in the hands of a crazy dictator, a dictator who pays money to suicide bomber families, so we were told, and who would certainly sell it to our enemies. If these were all lies, they may be lies for the American good. They may be lies from leaders who followed their own fears and duty to protect their people in the future.

Instinctive skills for survival – leaders with the courage to follow and act on these skills… Financially, we Americans are in trouble but we live on another year for ourselves and for our offspring to grow, seed and continue life into the future. Try to convince yourself that you do not have comfort knowing that we are close to our “enemy” in that region. Try to convince yourself that you are better than the corporate greed or military might. Try to convince yourself that you would not embrace your inner and original traits and behavior in that moment of desperate survival. You, me, them; Yes, we all are human terrorists with similar and exact genetic makeup. We should be thankful and fearful at the same exact moment. It is only when you realize this that inner peace could be achieved. The peace knowing that all man is equal to each other and also to other beasts.

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By Eric, December 3, 2008 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For someone who says we should embrace complexity, Mr. Hedges seems to have a very simple world view. West (especially the U.S. and Israel, natch) good, the noble Third World “other” good.

You wouldn’t know from reading this that the great Akbar’s fanatical Muslim grandson, Aurangzeb, destroyed his legacy by trying to stamp out Hinduism. Or that Europe progressed from the Inquistion to the Enlightenment, which Islam has yet to do. Not to mention his fanciful catalogue of Islamic gifts to the benighted West. Paper? Tell it to the Chinese.  Freedom of expression and democracy? When? 

I suppose it’s progress that the vast crimes of Stalin and Mao can finally be admitted. But not before a new sacred cow has been put in place.

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By cvd, December 3, 2008 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

usual hubris and nonsense about Muslim led government in Bosnia protecting people and protecting minorities while Serbian Orthodox Christians (go on the rampage - killing 250 000) how many people died in Bosnia cannot be blamed on anyone in particluar and Hedges knows that - plenty of Muslims died under Croatian firepower over Sarajevo and Bosnian Serbs and Croats ganged up more or less to kill anyone - Muslims for their part also give as good as they take - there are no good guys in this fight - to consistently refer to the ruthless tactics and defenses used by Bosnian Serbs for whatever reasons and in the name of whatever state - or state of affairs - is to essentialize and summarily condemn an entire nation and people - the Ku Klux Klan are Americans - but who would say that Americans like yourself are resonsible for Klan activity - plenty of Serbs refused to condone the actions of a bunch of hillbillies and rednecks speaking Serbian and going to church and busying themselves with aggresiing their former neighbors ( who in turn did the same thing) while at the same time seeing the Western “outrage” over the “genocide” (sic.)and subsequent “humanitarian intervention” (barked on about by windbags like Hitchens and Rieff)as pure calculated modulated careful reinvestment and reallignment of the Balkans to stave off Russian control (sic.) and have NATO and the American presence in once again sovereign lands and indeed - the USA’s largest military base in Europe is now in ... surprise Chris ... Kosovo!

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By Sepharad, December 3, 2008 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

TaoWalker—Do you think it might be possibile that some humility, realism, honesty, and good will among warring “domesticateds” might forestall more disasters? For example, the justice (not just peace, for no peace is possible if both sides don’t believe there is also justice) advocate Amos Oz suggested recently that though well-meaning Euros keep asking him to come to neutral pleasant places and sit down for coffee with his Arab counterparts so they can learn to love each other, there is not enough coffee-togethers to change anything one whit. He says he and his peers DO understand each other, though most of the world does not, and nothing will change until each side recognizes the predicament as one right versus another equally valid right, and only then can two states be an actual solution. Israelis must first recognize the justice of Palestinian claims to the land, and the Palestinians must recognize the Jews’ equally legitimate claims and connection to the land. Palestinians must admit that they would not be in such terrible condition today had the ‘47 Arab leadership accepted the UN partition lines instead of combining to try to massacre every Jew in Palestine. He adds that Jews do have the right to a nation, however small, in which they are a majority, so that right of return for all Palestinina descendants is not possible. But Israelis also must take responsibility for providing each still-refugee with a passport or home and job, because the Arab governments have made it clear they do not want the Palestinians because of their very Palestinian-ness—- i.e. higher expectations, ironically because of their observation of life for Israeli Arabs in the hated “Zionist entity.” Arab governments should also be exposed as responsible for driving out their Jewish citizens during and after the ‘48 war in what the Arab League Iraqi ambassador described as a “population exchnge”—but whether or not Arabs make recompense to those refugee Jews now settled in Israel, Israelis should nevertheless do what is possible to be done for the Palestinians. Israelis should also cooperate in building a sustainable economy with the second Palestinian state, see that it is armed and can police itself and defend itself (UN troops are useless, as recently seen in Rwanda and other parts). Then, and only then, will there be time for drinking coffee together and learning to be friends and equals. (Arabic coffee is better than Jewish coffee.) Both sides have fantasies of many additional wrongs perpetrated by the other, but on a recent visit to Israel I was able to talk with a large variety of Arabs—from Bedouin to Arabic poetry professor to a young man in East Jerusalem to a West Bank imam—and they all more or less said that Oz’s version is accurate, all seemed surprised that a Sabra (native Israeli) would say such things—though they agreed that it does not take into consideration the high, hot feelings and resnentments on both sides. Negotiation of access to religious sites was seen to be especially problematical as neither side believes the other truly has spiritual roots in the land. Have things deteriorated to the point where you believe that no such effort would yield good results?

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By claudia, December 3, 2008 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Thank you so much for this wonderful, even if painful, piece. It is comforting to think that there must be many out there who think the way you do, even if we lack the talent to write it so compellingly or the historical knowledge to back it up.

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By godistwaddle, December 3, 2008 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

When you think about it, it takes a lot more guts to be a suicide bomber than a U.S. bomber crew.  I mean, both types kill innocent civilians, but the one has demonstrated courage while the other has demonstrated technological proficiency, eh?

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By Jim, December 3, 2008 at 10:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Chris, great article. One issue. You write:

“The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were our response to feelings of vulnerability and collective humiliation after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. They were a way to exorcise through reciprocal violence what had been done to us.” 

Was it so much a response to the terror of 9/11, or did 9/11 act as a springboard to enact a plan of regime change in the MidEast?

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By truedigger3, December 3, 2008 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges wrote:

“The world is far more complex than our childish vision of good and evil.”

I am not sure what that nonsense means??!! I thought
the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan were for oil and
oil pipe lines routes and for good locations for military bases.

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By csavage, December 3, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s easy…..

Usury is contrary to Islamic law and credit is what our economic wheels are turning on now

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By Alan MacDonald, December 3, 2008 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Simply amazing!

In this one brief essay, Chris Hedges has both educated us broadly, historically, and morally, and has extended the end-of-life revelations of another great moral leader, Dr. Martin Luther King!!

In the year before Dr. King was assassinated he had greatly expanded his thoughts and teachings regarding the economic oppressions, militarist tyranny, and inhuman unfairness of the entrenched ruling empire upon the civil rights of Black Americans living in our ‘democracy’, as he recognized and spoke-out about similar injustices wrought, by the same empire, upon poor, ‘working class’ whites being forced into war against poor, ‘working class’  Vietnamese.

King’s spark of non-violent actions against the entire structure of oppressive, militarist, and sometimes murderous ruling-elite empire against all “God’s people”, on the universal basis only of class, was a revelation that was quickly extinquished with King’s murder.

In this one brief essay, Hedges has reignited a flame of real ‘hope’; in democracy against empire, that Obama would be wise to recognize as the kind of “change we can all TRULY believe in.”

In this one brief essay, Hedges has reignited and universalized the ‘hope’ that our founding American fathers recognized in rebelling against an economically oppressive and politically tyrannical British Empire that also humiliated, degraded, and oppressed our own ancestral patriots for democracy against empire.

Now, when so clearly a ruling-elite ‘corporate financial Empire’ controls our country behind the facade of its two-party, ‘Vichy’ sham of faux-democracy, prosecuting illegal and immoral imperialist wars ‘abroad’, while pauperizing our own citizens with economic oppression and looting ‘at home’, Hedges is clearly connecting with Hannah Arendt’s timeless warning that, “Empire abroad (always) entails tyranny at home”.

Chris speaks to us today, and educates us today, through the prophetic truth that both Arendt, and Dr. King, as earlier moralists and pragmatists against empire, championed for America.

Let’s hope that Obama hears these voices and truths of real democratic change against empire.

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By nestoffour, December 2, 2008 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges, I always learn from your eloquent essays.  Thank you.

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By Xntrk, December 2, 2008 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges wrote an important and moving article - One that should have gotten some actual thought and perhaps meditation going about the conundrum of being guilty of such atrocities while disagreeing with most of what is done in our name…

What is my responsibility for these actions? And, more importantly, what do I do to stop them?

Imagine my surprise when skimming the replies to discover that rather then guilt and suggestions to change things, it is a lot like attending Yom Kippur Services at a Conservative Temple - If you’d attended in the past, you will recognize the comparison: An unending list of all the possible sins ever committed by mankind, or ever contemplated by man!

They list sins I had never imagined, all the while asking God’s forgiveness for these crimes.

Is there a similar Day of Atonement in Islam? I know the Christians don’t have one, Christ died for their sins, so they don’t have to worry about it…

But, the list of all the crimes seems endless: The Nazis; The Jews [especially the current Jews]; Muslims; Anarchists; Commies; Chinese; Russians; on and on and on. Even a few Americans, along with the British.

How could anyone and everyone forget to list the blowing up of the Battleship Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898? That was our excuse to grab Puerto Rico, attach the Philippines for 50 some years, and colonize Cuba thru subterfuge. The embargo of Iraq by Clinton is mentioned, but we have embargoed Cuba for fifty years. Somehow, maybe because of the Monroe Doctrine, killing and maiming people in the Western Hemisphere is ok.

Hell, they are mostly Blacks and Indians anyway - Not that much different from those damn Arabs and Jews!

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By Crimes of the State Blog, December 2, 2008 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

As usual, not one word about governments (like our own in D.C.) SPONSORING, ARMING, TRAINING, FUNDING, PROTECTING known terrorists and groups. 

Ample evidence exists that this happens all the time.  However, the icons of “the left” never tread there.  Ever.  I can count on one hand the journalists who cover these issues.

It renders the rest of the article superficial, vapid, chatter.

If you won’t face the evidence of false flag attacks, protection of terrorists and the deliberate cultivating of this new “enemy”, then you really don’t have much to say.

The terror games are becoming ever more blatant, yet reams and reams of facts won’t be acknowledged (here), instead opting for a neo-lib interpretation of the ‘war on terror,’ that if honest, is woefully ignorant.

“Terror” is big business, Chris.  Terrorism has replaced Communism as the world’s boogey man.  This was by design, not from haphazard chance.

US allies by the name of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have actively created the “Al Qaeda” network and a variety of spinoffs, while being protected by CIA and a succession of white houses over several decades.  This is a grand strategy, and intentionally so.

I could easily put forth a few thousand words and loads of sources to back it up, but Mr. Scheer isn’t inviting me to do so.

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By Virginia777, December 2, 2008 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

“A just world must demand that Bush, Feith, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, and most of the congresspersons who voted for the invasion of Iraq hang at Nuremberg alongside the ghosts of their Nazi brethren.

I will change my view when someone manages to persuade me that Bush’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq differ in some way from Hitler’s invasion of Poland.”

Beautifully put (and true!)

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Frederick Douglass, 1857

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By TAO Walker, December 2, 2008 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges here again sketches for us one of the more degenerative symptoms of the disease afflicting ALL of the domesticated peoples.  Here again, however, he is not prepared to make the leap from reflexive apologist for “civilization, as such,” to clear-eyed, strong-stomached chronicaller of its ten thousand years of relentless terror and ruthless depradations among us.

The ideological and institutional and technological mechanisms by which supposedly decent humans are driven to commit upon one another and this Living Earth such things as described in the article, and in many of the comments (and, of course, much more and worse besides), all have their origins and “justifications” in this idiotically infernal contraption bidding mono-maniacally here in these latter days to “end” Life in these parts.  Even so, tame two-legged Sisters and Brothers, take heart.  Only four more of our Mother’s Beauty Way pirouetttes around our Father’s omni-dimensional center, plus a few of His Good Days, will see us at THE END of this ordeal, once and for all.

Meantime, more-or-less well-intentioned people will continue nevertheless to waste their own lives (and others’) trying to perpetuate the “system” that is even now tearing itself to pieces around its own self-contradictory and rotten “fundamentals.”  Politicians who’ve never even done The Ceremony for it will again attempt to lay-claim to a “vision” that will somehow find some way for the domesticated people (allamerican and otherwise) to go-on warring upon each other and our Mother Earth even while allowing their selfs and their civilized subject/citizens’ to continue wallowing in the excesses that’ve finally erupted into such frightening prospects these days.

To any who recognize all that craziness for the terminal exercise-in-FUtility that it is, your Old Indian Guide here suggests you consider the only Viable Alternative truly left to you here….The Tiyoshpaye Way.  Turn from the empty cliches and false promises of those who are in fact no more able to prevent what is coming than are the most down-and-out “street people” (much less able, truth be told).  Turn to one another, where you actually LIVE, for the organic “community” that is itself the true Human Form within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth within the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself. 

Recognize these “words” as simple description, rather than poetic metaphor or some other kind of rhetorical device.  Those who pay all their precious attention to our given place in the actual Living Arrrangement, who pay none of it any longer to the fraudulent virtuality exposing itself stupidly and desperately all over the shredding “screen” that is the only place it exists outside the fevered imaginations of the deluded and misled, have a better-than-even chance of someday telling the Tale of these “interesting times” to their GreatGrandChildren.

To those who see no other course but to go-down with this wastepaper “product” of titanic aspirations and monumental ignorance, your Old Friend here urges you to take what comfort you can in the fact of us free wild natural Human Beings never having lost any of you yet.  We will catch you later….if not sooner.


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By Folktruther, December 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Your comments, Framk, remind me of Martin Luther Kings remark that our age produces guided missiles and misguided men.

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By yellowbird2525, December 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

our high moral standards? our sanctity of life????? let me educate you: THESE are MILITARY OPERATIONS in the USA to cause the PEOPLES PERCEPTIONS: to be what YOU state. TRUTH: Day of deceit: book, is one of MANY showing the TRUTH: OUR NATION was the one who KNOWING we had the atomic bomb & wanting to FORCE it’s MIGHT on the world: deliberately set up & provocked the attack on Pearl Harbor; for one reason only: to use the atomic bomb. #2. THIS country has the HIGHEST death rates of infants & causes excruciating pain & agony thru CHEMICALLY TREATED SALT used in EXCESS in “processed foods” for 1 reason only; MONEY in the politicians & Corps pockets. THIS country spends $30m a YEAR to get the PEOPLES PERSPECTIVE to BELIEVE the DECEPTION that causes obesity, diabetes, & all kinds of other problems thru using high fructose syrup CHEMICALLY TREATED in everything. THIS nation uses CHEMICALS in WARFARE against it’s own people for PROFIT to the political groups in THIS nation who pretend to be two; the reason for so much ASTHMA & breathing problems can be TRACED to the CHEMICALS used to CLEAN YOUR HOMES, causing deaths just from the fumes. THIS nation uses one of the most deadly & dangerous chemicals on the planet FORMALDEHYDE in EVERYTHING to cause HARM, DEATH, to humans: including CHILDREN for PROFIT for THEM! THINK the FDA is ANYTHING other than a FRONT for the Chemical companies & Pharmas? THINK AGAIN! Do NOT DARE talk to me of HIGH MORAL STANDARDS when THIS COUNTRY sent the AIDS virus to Africa: then “want to be known for it’s generosity & compassion” for AIDS: when in reality the Politicians, Pentagon pirates & profitteers NEVER use protection & prefer paying high $ for prostititutes with NO FEAR of getting AIDS. Do not TALK about THIS COUNTRY having ANY MORAL STANDARDS! THIS country TRAINS TORTURERS! overthrowns ANY GOV not willing to be MEAN to it’s people! Perhaps YOU can explain to me WHY wtc7 building burst into black smoke & collapsed without the airplane crashing into it & was SPOKEN OF on ABC prior to it’s collapsing. on 911: THIS country is so corrupt even the COPS in this country do not go after or TOUCH the biggest drug dealers cuz they are paid off: WHERE is this “high moral standards”??????

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By cann4ing, December 2, 2008 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Your comment about “smart bombs,” Frank, also suggests that you lack an appreciation for the awesome power of the U.S. conventional arsenal.  Take, for example, Dr. Helen Caldicott’s description of the 15,000 lb. fuel air explosive (FAE) which the Pentagon has given the cute little name, “Daisy Cutter.” 

“Dropped by parachute…, they detonate just above the ground   creating a wide area of devastation.  The first explosion bursts the container at a predetermined height, disbursing the fuel which mixes with the atmospheric oxygen.  The second charge then detonates this fuel-air cloud, creating a massive blast that kills people and destroys un-reinforced buildings.  Near the ignition point people are obliterated, crushed to death with overpressures of 427 pounds per square inch, and incinerated at temperatures of 2500 to 3000 degrees centigrade.  Another wave of low pressure—a vacuum effect—ensues.  People in the second zone…are severely burned and suffer massive internal injuries before they die.  In the third zone, eyes are extruded from their orbits, lungs and eardrums rupture, and severe concussion ensues….  Up to 200 civilians died 20 miles away from the cave complex
in…Tora Bora when U.S. planes attacked.  They suffered blast trauma—ruptured lungs, blindness, arms and hands blown off, almost certainly from FAEs.”

An Italian documentary, “Star Wars in Iraq,” contained significant evidence that the United States has deployed experimental microwave and laser directed-energy weapons in Iraq.  One incident involving their possible use was alleged to have occurred in the battle for Baghdad airport.  A few weeks after the battle, Majid al Ghezali, first violist of the Baghdad Orchestra accompanied American filmmaker Patrick Dillon to the site, showing him “traces of fused metal” and the “irregularly sized ditches where the bodies were buried before they were exhumed.”  He reported seeing three dead passengers in a car.  Their bodies were in tact but their heads, faces and teeth were burnt and their eyes were gone.  Dr. Saad Al Falluji, a physician at the General Teaching Hospital in Hilla told of a bus carrying twenty-six people that was turned away at a checkpoint only to be fired on by a mysterious weapon.  Most of the victims did not survive.  Those who did had no evidence of bullets or shrapnel.  The driver was the only one who was not injured, but Dr. Falluji said he didn’t “know how he reached the hospital because one arm was in his lap, one head beside him.  It was a very, very strange, horrible thing.  In the roof of the car there was parts of bodies: omentum, intestines, brains…”  Dr. Fulluji said that the survivors he treated said “they did not hear any noise…; there was no explosion…” 

I would suspect that if you had been on the receiving end of any of these terrible weapons, Frank, you would have a better understanding of the meaning of “state terrorism.”

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By cann4ing, December 2, 2008 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

Your commentary, Frank, is decidedly uninformed.  It fails to appreciate the terror and atrocity inflicted by the tactic of counter-insurgency.

In an article published in London’s Guardian, independent journalist, Dahr Jamail wrote:  “In the 1930s the Spanish city of Guernica became a symbol of wanton murder and destruction.  In the 1990s Grozny was cruelly flattened by the Russians; it still lies in ruins.  This decade’s unforgettable monument to brutality and overkill is Fallujah, a text-book case of how not to handle an insurgency and a reminder that unpopular occupations will always degenerate into desperation and atrocity.”

In November 2004 the United States laid siege to the City of Fallujah, an Iraqi town about the size of Cincinnati—the second such siege in seven months.  The city was sealed off to relief workers and un-embedded reporters.  While the American forces contend that a large insurgent force was trapped inside, a significant question exists as to whether most of the insurgents had fled the city in advance of the deadly assault—an assault which Jamail contends resulted in the massacre of between 4,000 and 6,000 people.  Ali Fadhil, one of the first independent journalists permitted to enter the city some two months after the siege had ended, noted how shocked he was by the devastation.  “I couldn’t believe it.  The whole city is destroyed.  It was a big shock.  I wasn’t prepared for this much destruction.  I was here just before the American attack.  It’s hard to believe this is the same city.  Falluja used to be one of the modern Iraqi cities, and now there is nothing.”

Mr. Fadhil claimed that those killed were mostly civilians.  “They were men who stayed behind in the city to protect their homes.  I say this because we found bodies in groups of two or three or four.  It was Ramadan, and people naturally gather together for Iftar, the first meal after fasting.  We found bodies right behind their front doors.  It looked to me as if they had opened their front doors to the Americans and had been immediately shot dead.”

Prior to the April 2004 siege, Fallujah had stood out as a symbol of the Iraqi resistance.  It was the site where the four Blackwater mercenaries were killed and where their bodies were burned and left hanging on a bridge.  Given the “shock and awe” mentality of the US military and especially Donald Rumsfeld, and considering the devastation that followed, there is every reason to believe that the US military and Rumsfeld had intended that the two assaults on Fallujah involve such a deadly and massive display of force as to strike fear in the hearts of Iraqis everywhere:  Resist and we will destroy you, your cities, your families.

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By omniadeo, December 2, 2008 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

“The vast majority of civilian casualties in Iraq are not due to US military attacks, but due to attacks on by Sunni and Shiiite militias as well as other groups allied with Al Qaida.” - Frank

You do not have a shred of hard evidence for this assertion, Frank. If I am wrong show it to me. There is very little evidence of any type allowed to filter into the media when it comes to the civilian casualties in Iraq and their causes, but what there is contradicts you. And since it is well known that that curious brand name “Al Qaeda” was not applied to any force in Iraq until after we attacked your assertion is self contradictory on its face.

Thanks to Truthdig for publishing Hedges. As koe points out below, Obama’s use of the WOT and his curious enthusiasm for more bloodshed in Afghanistan makes it very evident that we cannot expect real change. This has nothing to do with the typical left right center b.s. that goes for analysis on this site much of the time. These are terms by those arguing over how to rule the empire and divide its spoils. The real argument is about why we have to have an empire and who will get hurt most when it falls.

And they all fall.

Now, Mr. Hedges, please use your voice to speak up and call for more investigations of these curiously well financed and well timed terrorist incidents that have been, are, and will be used to justify more troops in Afghanistan and incursions into Pakistan.

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By Walter Appling, December 2, 2008 at 5:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey Chris,
Why did you fail to mention the genocide practiced by the Christian yerrorists against the indiginous people of this country as they colonized it from east coast to west coast.

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By Frank, December 2, 2008 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

cann4ing, my post was about Afghanistan, not Iraq. I for one think the Iraq was was a mistake and one of the reasons I support and voted for Obama is because of his plans for US withdrawal from that conflict and refocusing the US war effort on Al Qaida where they are actually based.

The vast majority of civilian casualties in Iraq are not due to US military attacks, but due to attacks on by Sunni and Shiiite militias as well as other groups allied with Al Qaida. While the US has been working and spending billions to rebuilt Iraq’s infrastructure and economy and protect civilians there, the Sunnis and Al Qaida allied groups have been working to destroy the infrastructure that supports the civilian population and spread as much destruction and terror as possible among anyone that opposes them.

The US under Bush’s guidance cannot be absolved of those deaths, as the US invasion and poorly manage occupation made them possible, but the US policy there certainly does not constitute terrorism as the term is defined most.

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By thebeerdoctor, December 2, 2008 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

For those who attempt to justify war, you are lying to your soul… if you have a soul to lie to.
The United States government cries out against terrorism, but as intelligent people have pointed out on this thread, it still refuses to acknowledge that the game ending strategy of World War Two, was, and continues to be, two of the greatest acts of state sponsored terrorism in the history of humanity. As the late Kurt Vonnegut once pointed out, the bombing of Hiroshima might have had some weird justification about seeing if “the gadget” really worked, but the bombing of Nagasaki revealed the true intention. Not only was it to terrorize Japan with vaporization, but was also a hideous convenient way to lay down the gauntlet for Uncle Joe and the Soviets, to let them know Who Exactly Is In Charge In This World.
President-elect Obama said yesterday that he wants the United States to have the greatest military force on the planet. Comforting? I thought that the U.S. spends more on weapons than the rest of the world combined. Apparently, according to Barry, that is still not enough.

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By cann4ing, December 1, 2008 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

By Frank, December 1 at 4:29 pm #

If the United States wanted to practice terrorism in Afghanistan, they could carpet bomb the country into oblivion in no time, for far less money than the use of precision-guided weapons cost.

Smart bombs?  Estimates of civilian casualties in Iraq exceed one million with some four million displaced, half of that number in exile.  But let’s take an earlier example of U.S. terrorism inflicted from above, delineated by Herman & Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent with resect to the U.S. use of chemical weapons in Vietnam. 

“Between 1961 and 1971…the U.S. Air Force sprayed 20 million gallons of concentrated arsenic-based and dioxin-laden herbicides (mainly Agent Orange) on 6 million acres of crops and trees, besides using large quantities of…CS and vast amounts of napalm and phosphorus bombs.  An estimated 13 percent of South Vietnam’s land was subjected to chemical attacks….A 1967 study prepared by the head of the Agronomy Section of the Japanese Science Council concluded that U.S,. anticrop warfare had already ruined more than 3.8 million acres of arable land…, killing almost 1,000 peasants and over 13,000 livestock….Laos was also subjected to chemical attacks….And in Cambodia, some 173,000 acres of rubber plantations, crops and forests were heavily sprayed with Agent Orange in the spring of 1969….Although the U.N. General Assembly did strongly condemn the use of chemical agents as contrary to international law by an 83-to-3 vote in 1969, it was powerless to act against the United States….During the Vietnam war, the use of chemicals was reported and criticized in the U.S. media when first disclosed in 1966, but the subject was quickly dropped.  The illegality of chemical warfare and a policy of starvation, and their effects on the victim population, were virtually unreported.”  Just as exposure of the Iraqi WMD canard had to await an invasion that was already a fait accompli, even then with the chiseling excuse that the administration and media had been “misled” by bad intelligence, so also the focus of mainstream media on U.S. chemical warfare in South Vietnam had to wait until the significance of the exposure was substantially reduced.  Thus, Herman and Chomsky report that some 522 articles appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and Time concerning Agent Orange during the 1990s.  The “vast majority focused on the harm done to U.S. service personnel; only nine articles acknowledged the targeting of food crops…; only eleven discussed in any detail the impact on Vietnamese environment; only three characterized the use of Agent Orange as a ‘chemical weapon’…; and in only two articles was it suggested that its use might constitute a war crime.”

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By Ed Ciaccio, December 1, 2008 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for this article, Mr. Hedges.  It is the perfect complement to your powerful book War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning.  Both this article and that book should be read by everyone, but especially by policy-makers. Modern war IS terror, regardless of who perpetrates it.  Only the power-mad, the delusional, and those in denial refuse to understand this fact.

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By Fadel Abdallah, December 1, 2008 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Chris Hedges! It’s really refreshing to read such words of wisdom and free thought from a courageous and enlightened warrior for peace and justice.

Your calling the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine state-sponsored terrorism is the epitome statement of calling a spade a spade! I have said this many times before, and it’s very comforting to hear it from you.

I am wondering how it’s possible that this country can simultaneously produce such noble enlightenment like yours Chris Hedges, and, at the same time, can produce the pure evil of Bush and the fanatical narrow-mindedness of people like Inherit The Wind, and the fascist mentality of people like Frank who post on these threads!

If those types will not benefit from your deeply-felt, well-rounded and well-documented exposition of the subject of terrorism, then nothing can be done to reform their permanently damaged souls, hearts and brains!

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By eileen fleming, December 1, 2008 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

The fact that a bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and two hundred thousand lives were vaporized within twenty minutes has not prevented man from dreaming up more ways to fill space with weapons of mass destruction.

On Armistice Day, 1948 General Omar Nelson Bradley warned, “We live in a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on The Mount. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than we know about living.”

This August 6th and 9th marks the 63rd anniversary of the most brutal act of terrorism upon innocent people; America’s atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the time is now to shed some light upon it.

At 2:45 AM, on August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber flew north from Tinian Island toward Japan. Three and a half hours later, the Enola Gay dropped “Little Boy” an 8,900-pound atomic weapon upon civilians in Hiroshima and leveled almost 90% of the city. On August 9, “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki, and one third of that city was destroyed.

“Little Boy” was fuelled by highly enriched uranium-235 and generated a destructive force of about 15 kilotons—the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT. “Fat Man” consisted of a plutonium core surrounded by high explosives wired to explode simultaneously and yielded a 22 kiloton explosion.

As a child, I could not comprehend how my country could cold bloodedly target and murder Japanese citizens in order to ‘save’ American lives, which was the response I always received from every adult I questioned.

As an adult, I am outraged over the rhetoric to bomb Iran and aggrieved that no government official has yet ever expressed sorrow for the lives that were vaporized and all those that were traumatized from living through the devastation in 1945.

If THAT DAY, we call 9/11 taught us anything, it should be that America’s nuclear arsenal cannot defeat ‘terrorism’ or provide security from the actions of a few violent mad men who target and murder innocent ones.

America has a nuclear arsenal of over 10,000 weapons and nearly 2,000 remain on hair-trigger alert ever since the end of the Cold War.

An estimated 150 – 240 tactical nuclear weapons remain based in 5 NATO countries and the United States is the only country with nuclear weapons deployed on foreign soil.

American taxpayers provide $54 billion annually to maintain WMD’s, which is but a drop in the bucket of the overall U.S. military spending. The U.S. is also a co-conspirator in international nuclear apartheid and collaborator in Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity.

American money is imprinted with “IN GOD WE TRUST” but reality is we have become a nation of hypocrites, for by our foreign policy we expose that we live by the sword…

The Rest:

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By bachu, December 1, 2008 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is only one theory in war and that is might is right. Ask any Japanese they will tell you that the war made model citizens of its population.

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By Big B, December 1, 2008 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

By the way, a couple of ex-military buddies of mine told me a couple years back that we could never bomb Afghanistan back toi the stone age, for they never left it. The fundamentalist muslim community suffers the same problem that our own fundamentalist wacko christians do, they long to stay in a past where all men were free to oppress women and worship whatever worldly king they want. A place where technology is evil, and eating of the tree of knowledge is veboten.
It’s why they(the Muslims) never really left the 12th century, and our wacko christians want to return there.

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By Big B, December 1, 2008 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment


I have always felt that liberalism died near the end of Vietnam. I tend to mark the death of true liberalism as the 1968 Chicago convention. Protestors were beaten and jailed by thug cops at the behest of the filthy beast Daley, and his neoliberal allies, Humphrey, Muskey, and LBJ himself. That was the moment in time when the Dimmos officially abandoned liberalism, for a more pragmatic middle of the road stance. By doing so, they giftwrapped the election for Nixon, and subsequent elections for Reagan, BushI and BushII. The dimmos forgot that you have to excentuate your differences, not dwell on your similarities, with your opponent. This election they couldn’t help but win. Jesus, Dukakis could have won this election! But by embracing the neo-liberal foreign policy agenda of the Clintonians we face more of the same, war without end.

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By Anar-peace, December 1, 2008 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

By Frank, December 1 at 4:29 pm #
If the United States wanted to practice terrorism in Afghanistan, they could carpet bomb the country into oblivion in no time, for far less money than the use of precision-guided weapons cost.


I may be incorrect; but I think—most of the country — has already been carpet bombed; by the Russians, Americans, and Taliban—leaving the country a wasteland.

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By Frank, December 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

If the United States wanted to practice terrorism in Afghanistan, they could carpet bomb the country into oblivion in no time, for far less money than the use of precision-guided weapons cost.

Terrorists target civilians intentionally, as a primary target, and seek to maximize casualties, to spread terror in order to coerce a political concession from a larger, more powerful group. The US could kill millions in a week if they wanted to spread terror. The US instead spends billions on precision-guided weapons and intelligence-driven targeting to avoid civilian deaths whenever possible while waging warfare against an enemy that intentionally imbeds itself in civilian populations. The US military does this precisely because killing civilians and spreading terror among the population is completely counter-productive to it’s strategic goals.

But why am I wasting my time. The word has been stretched and twisted for political means to the point that has become virtually ubiquitous and consequently meaningless as a distinction (both morally and tactically) from warfare.

So have at it. And while you are at it you can call me a terrorist for disputing the meaning of the term. Might as well, it’s become such a handy ubiquitous term to throw around.

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By nrobi, December 1, 2008 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

Part 2:  Why in the face of such overwhelming evidence will the neo-conservative leaders of the last administration not be brought before the bar of justice?  One reason, the new administration wishes to continue some of the very same policies that have contributed to the economic and social disaster that is
now the United States of America.
President-elect Barack Obama, has stated for the record that he will not allow any prosecution of the war criminals that are the Bush administration.
This is an outrage, not only to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, but also to the people of the U.S.
How in the world, does someone justify the lack of response to such atrocities? Is there any logical reasoning that persuades a person to forget the past misdeeds and misfeasance of a whole administration?
If someone can persuade me that this is a logical and reasonable path to pursue, then I would certainly
shut my mouth. Until then, I will continue to shout from the rooftops that the shrub and Darth Vader are the leading war criminals of this or any generation.
We are living in perilous times, should Barack Obama,
continue the policies of G.W.Bush, we as a nation are doomed to war with the whole world, for one thing
is clear, the whole world, is now against the trumped
up wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are no longer any nations that are willing to stand along side Amerikkka, and fight this losing battle.
Diplomacy, must now take the forefront of our policy as a nation, if not, then we can surely count on more
attacks on American soil.
We have become that which we have despised for so long, a lawless and rogue nation, that stands alone against the world with no friends and with little if any redeeming qualities about it. We are lost in the morass of immorality and illegality, that is the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan. No other course need be taken, we must remove our troops and forthwith do so.
If not we will be entangled in civil wars and strife for the next hundred years.
Our economy is in ruins, because of these policies, we no longer are the leading nation in the world. We cannot even afford health care for our most vulnerable citizens, those who cannot work, and children.  We are near the bottom of the ladder as far as educational systems go. Many will starve and die for lack of shelter and food, because of the inadequate and immoral policies of the ruling elite.
Should we now, give to them the reins of power, we will certainly lose whatever is left of “the Grand Experiment.” 
Give peace a chance, learn peace starting with yourselves. Fight no longer, love your neighbour as yourself.

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By Jonathan Bennett, December 1, 2008 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s a side issue to Hedges’ essay, but I think it’s important to set the record straight about anarchists’ use of bombs in general and the September 16, 1920 Wall Street bombing in particular.

According to Hedges, “Suicide bombing is what you do when you do not have artillery or planes or missiles and you want to create maximum terror for an occupying power. It was used by secular anarchists in the 19th and early 20th centuries, who bequeathed to us the first version of the car bomb—a horse-drawn wagon laden with explosives that was ignited on Sept. 16, 1920, on Wall Street. The attack was carried out by an Italian immigrant named Mario Buda in protest over the arrest of the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti. It left 40 people dead and wounded more than 200.”

In the first place, very few of the 19th- and early 20th-century bombings that were blamed on anarchists were suicide bombings.  In almost every case, the bomber left the scene before the explosion. 

Secondly, while it is true that Mario Buda has been alleged to have planted the Wall Street bomb, neither he nor anyone else was ever indicted for the crime, despite that fact that the bombing took place in the jurisdiction where prosecutors are said to be able to indict a ham sandwich.  There is an unconfirmed report that Buda, 35 years after the Wall Street bombing, admitted to having been involved, but whether Buda in fact confessed and whether his alleged confession was based on the truth has never been established.  Even though Buda could have been indicted during the eight years he lived after his alleged confession, no indictment was ever sought.

Someone certainly set off a bomb on Wall Street, but neither the bomber’s identity nor motive has ever been conclusively established.

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By nrobi, December 1, 2008 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when viewed from the receiving end, are state-sponsored acts of terrorism. These wars defy every ethical and legal code that seek to determine when a nation can wage war, from Just War Theory to the statutes of international law largely put into place by the United States after World War II. These wars are criminal wars of aggression. They have left hundreds of thousands of people, who never took up arms against us, dead and seen millions driven from their homes. We have no right as a nation to debate the terms of these occupations. And an Afghan villager, burying members of his family’s wedding party after an American airstrike, understands in a way we often do not that terrorist attacks can also be unleashed from the arsenals of an imperial power.”
This is an apt and true statement if there ever was one. The idea of any war being just, is beyond the reach of logic and compassion. For us as a nation, to
have started wars of aggression, for reasons that I will make clear is an absolute abomination and certainly not within the framework of what this nation stands for.
Our ideals as a nation were not to invade and conquer any other nation, we were founded upon the principle of peaceful relations with others, not wars of aggression and humiliation.
As a nation, we have slid into the rabbit-hole of double-speak thinking, where peace becomes war, love and compassion are seen as weak and peace is a dirty word, especially to those of the military-industrial complex.
President Dwight David Eisenhower, warned against the
military-industrial complex taking over the economy, this after the Second World War, that he prosecuted with vigor. Why did someone whose whole life was based upon war, state that? Because he foresaw the heavy toll that this country would pay, spiritually as well as internationally.
As a nation, we are now ostracized and reviled for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have become the pariah that we have sought to defeat. We as a nation are no longer, the moral and spiritual leader of the world.
How in the hell, did we the people, allow the situation to get this bad? Are we as Duhhhhhhhbya, puts it, sheeple, who after Sept. 11. told to go out and spend money and reverse the economic slide that was coming?  How did Congress, the balance of the government and the voice of the people in our democratic republic, allow without oversight, these atrocities to happen? Abu-Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, secret rendition to countries that are known to use torture in the questioning of people who dissent from the stated policies of the government?
Many have died, hundreds of thousands of people, classified as collateral damage, millions displaced all for the policies of an administration that is by far the most criminal since the Nazi’s. We have invaded countries, that have nothing to do with, “a war on terrorism,” Iraq, was and is a sideshow of military might that was criminal in its motives and operation. Should the people who planned and sought this war, be tried as war criminals? Absolutely! Will they be brought before the bar of justice for their actions in regards to the untold number of dead and wounded, both American and Iraqi? Never!

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By Anar-peace, December 1, 2008 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

By nahida, December 1

Why are they demonizing Islam?


After the end of the cold war with the USSR; the military and politicians had to create a new enemy to justify the reason for their existence. So, they created a new enemy—even when one was not there.

The liberals in the the United States have there scam down to a science; but we were kicked of the Democratic Party after Kennedy was shot.

And, we were also kicked out of the black civil rights movement; when the more fanatical Malcolm X and Farrakhan movements took-over.

Now, after they voted Obama into office ironically racism will become—stronger.

As we liberals were forcing the politicians to give everyone equal rights; half the blacks wanted to remain separate but equal. That half; that wanted the racism to remain legal are the Malcolm X and Obama cult followers that voted him in.

Liberalism — as a movement — has not been around from around shortly before the end of the Vietnam war.

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By cann4ing, December 1, 2008 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

By P. T., December 1 at 11:57 am #

Ah, but the U.S. has found out a way not to be terrorist.  Terrorist has been redefined to be a “non-state” actor.  The U.S., being a country, is therefore not terrorist, no matter what it does.

One can accept your thesis, P.T., only if one adopts an Orwellian world view in which the state is permitted to re-define reality.  Within the realm of political science there is nothing either remarkable nor new about Hedges’ discussion of “state terrorism,” which is a fairly basic and unassailable observation.  Recall that during WW II, the Nazis labeled all armed resistance in occupied Europe as “terrorists.”  Others would see those same individuals as “patriots.”

Hedges’ observations regarding the Obama position on Iraq must be measured against the details of the new Status of Forces Agreement, which envisions a total withdrawal over the next several years and the elimination of immunity from Iraqi law for the mercenaries as well as U.S. forces—a fact on the ground that will compel our withdrawal sooner rather than later, as can continued grass roots pressure on both Congress and the POTUS.

Obama’s position on Afghanistan is a disappointment, though what Hedges leaves off is Obama’s recognition that there can be no military solution.  It seems rather obvious that there will have to be direct negotiations with the Taliban.  Resolution of the al-Qaeda question as well as the recent murderous assault on civilians in Mumbai, requires a legal solution that would envision a joint U.S./Pakistani/India venture into capturing both al-Qaeda and those responsible for Mumbai and bringing them before an international court of justice—as opposed to an endless and futile “war on terror.”

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By nahida, December 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

4) Islam calls for EQUALITY and brotherhood of mankind and outlaws racism :

‘O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honoured of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware’. (49.13)

“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know”.(30-22)

“An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white” saying of Muhammed

5) Islam calls for FREEDOM OF THOUGHT and protection of the individual’s right to choose his/her ideology:

“no compulsion in religion or ideology” (2:256).

“No soul shall be made to bear the burden (liability) of another.” (35:18 )

Furthermore, Islam constitutes a threat to their “new world religion” (New Age) that they have been paving the ground for, and shoving down the throats of spiritually parched people in the West, which on the surface looks appealing as it calls for unity of all religions, peace, and love, but upon closer inspection its dark core would be exposed
They start with the concept of “we humans have the divine within us” and end up with: “you are gods in the making” and of course they the “masters” are gods already, hence a hierarchical system of superior beings and slaves would be established

The idea of “gods in the making” leads to an immensely blown up ego and arrogant and selfish individuals

They start with “Peace and love” and end up criminalizing any voice of resistance or dissent, hence turning the masses into brainwashed artificially smiling zombies

They start with “duality” and end up with “there is no good or evil, both are the same and equally valued”

That’s what they are cultivating the earth for, and that’s why Islam is a REAL THREAT


A BIG THANK YOU for all those who can see beyond the smog of deceit, and please get informed, be vigilant and alert

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By nahida, December 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

Dear Truth Seekers, now we come to the crox of the matter:

Why are they demonizing Islam?

Why do the zionists and the NWO orchestrators fervently fighting Islam as an ideology?

Why are they spending so much time, money and energy to disfigure this belief system and to dehumanize its followers?

Is it simply because the Muslim world has some rich resources which they deem theirs and they are hell bent to control?

Or is it because the Muslims constitute a large section of humanity (almost ¼) which they want to reduce and cut down in their mad genocidal plans for the future?

Though the above reasons contain some truth and carry some weight in them, but that they are not the only reasons

They fight Islam because they know that the ideology within it could potentially threaten the elitists’ objectives and jeopardize their plans of total control of world economy, media, politics and power

1) Islam FORBIDS USURY and rejects financial systems which are built upon interest, debt and the exploitation of the poor:

“O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied; but be God-conscious. That ye may (really) prosper” (3:130)

“Woe to those that deal in fraud, Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, But when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due. Do they not think that they will be called to account?”(83:1-4)

“If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew”. (2:280)

“God will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: For He loveth not creatures ungrateful and wicked. Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. O ye who believe! Be God-conscious, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers.”(2: 276-278 )

2) Islam calls for JUSTICE and gives the permission to fighting BACK and resisting oppressive and tyrannical regimes:

“Ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the desires (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight back), because they are wronged; and verily, God is most powerful for their aid; (22:39-40)

‘Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not initiate aggression. God does not love transgressors.’ (2.190)

“Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” (7:199)

“O ye who believe! be steadfast firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, Let not a group’s hostility to you cause you to deviate from justice. Be just, for it is closer to piety. Be God conscious; for God is Well Aware of what you do.” (Quran; 5-8 )

3) Islam goes beyond the concept of SOCIAL JUSTICE to compassion and GENEROSITY

“So he who gives (in charity) and is God-conscious, and (in all sincerity) confirms the good, We will pave his way to bliss. But he who is a greedy, stingy and thinks himself self-sufficient, and denies the good, We will indeed pave his way to Misery. His wealth will not be of any help to him when he falls headlong (into the Pit)” (92:1-11)


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By nahida, December 1, 2008 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Israelis support nuking Iran


Poll: 71% of Israelis want U.S. to strike Iran

Poll: Most Israelis support using nukes


The zionazi criminal fools don’t realize that the world would never be as merciful or as compassionate as the Palestinians when retribution comes to plague them

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By nahida, December 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

7/7 London Bombings

“Ludicrous Diversion - 7/7 London Bombings”, Documentary, 28mn
You probably think you know what happened that day. But you don’t.


More Israeli False Flag Operations?


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By nahida, December 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment


BBC Reported Building 7 Collapse 20 Minutes Before It Fell

</b>Israeli 911 terrorism ties FOX news report now CLASSIFIED</b>

It is now official: Israeli spies fed fake evidence to US government

Netanyahu: 9/11 attacks good for Israel


The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

“We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.


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By nahida, December 1, 2008 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

USS Liberty

On June 8, 1967 Israel used unmarked fighters and torpedo boats to launch an hour and one-half attack on the American Navy ship the USS Liberty, costing 34 American lives and 171 wounded. The Israelis first attacked the Liberty’s radio towers in an attempt to stop the Sixth Fleet from learning that the Israelis were the attackers. After unmarked Israeli fighters horrendously bombed and strafed the Liberty, Israel sent in torpedo boats to finish the job. They even machine gunned the deployed life rafts in an effort to ensure that there would be no survivors (witnesses) who could expose them. Just as in the Lavon Affair, Israel hoped to blame this act of war on their enemy, the Egyptians. This time, only the courage and resourcefulness of the Liberty’s crew prevented a further compounding of the travesty.

The air strike on Libya

On April 15, 1986 US war planes bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. They destroyed the home of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and killed at least 30 civilians, including many children. Gaddafi himself, the main target of the air strike, was not hurt.

According to Victor Ostrovski, a defector from the Israeli Mossad, the US was tricked into bombing Libya when the Israeli Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Tripoli which sent out fake orders to “terrorists” which the US could intercept. The faked orders caused Libya to be blamed for a German disco bombing. As a result of this fake transmission, Reagan used it as evidence to bomb Libya killing 30 innocent people including Qaddhafi’s baby daughter.


Attempt to blow the Mexican Congress

It was Israelis who were armed with 9mm pistols, nine grenades, explosives, three detonators and 58 bullets and caught in Mexico in an attempt to blow the Mexican Congress up on October 10, 2001, one month after 911. Curiously these Israelis were found not with Israeli passports in their possession but with Pakistani passports. The Israelis were booked for conspiracy to destroy a building by means of an explosive by the Mexican police. If they were successful in blowing up the Mexican Congress then like 911 it would have been blamed on Muslim terrorists, especially if Pakistani passports were found at the scene of the crime. They got caught red-handed here and only God knows how many other incidents that innocent Muslims are being blamed for that was really done by Israelis. See the following link for more on this:

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By nahida, December 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment


by the Iraqi Jew Naeim Giladi

The Iraqi Jew Naeim Giladi wrote a book detailing how Israelis performed terrorist actions and caused the deaths of many Jewish Iraqis during the 1950s so that Arab Iraqis can be blamed for it. The purpose of these terrorist actions was to cause Jews to migrate to Israel from Iraq. All but 6,000 of the 125,000 Jews in Iraq fled to Israel.

“I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book:
to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews; and that to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors.

I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called “cruel Zionism.”

I write about it because I was part of it.


King David’s hotel

On the morning of July 22, 1946, a group of 15-20 Irgun terrorists dressed as Arabs entered the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. They unloaded 225 kilograms of explosives hidden in milk churns.(1) The King David Hotel housed the Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and Headquarters of the British Forces in Palestine. When a British officer became suspicious, a shootout took place and the Irgun lit the fuses and fled. The explosion destroyed part of the hotel and killed 91 people. Most of the victims were British but 15 innocent Jews also died. It must not be felt that Begin was merely suspected of being behind these murderous deeds. Begin admitted that the Irgun committed these acts and that they were necessary for the establishment of a Jewish state.


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By Peter, December 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sorry to spoil the game but Lenin was very much against the individual terror (read his _What Is To Be Done?_). Your confusing the Bolsheviks with the Socialist-Revolutionary Party is like taking Sunnies for Shiites.

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By nahida, December 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

Only for truth-seekers who care about justice and humanity;


The zionist not only that they have their hands dripping of the blood of Palestinians since they decided to STEAL our Palestine, they murdered their own “friends” and “allies”; as when they bombed the USS Liberty in order to blame it on Egypt

They even did it against their own people, as they did to Iraqi Jews to force them to flee their homes

And they are doing again with commendable achievement in Iraq to flare up a civil war:

DIVIDE AND CONQUER is their best game

Iran mosque blast plotters admit Israeli, US links: report

AFP – May 23, 2008


Operation Susannah

In 1956, as reported by the Times Of London, during one of Israel’s perpetual wars with its neighbors, the Israeli Mossad tried to trick the United States into siding with Israel against Egypt by blowing up a US facility in Cairo and blaming the Egyptians for it. The plot was wrecked when the operatives were caught and confessed, creating a huge scandal. This event was referred to as the Lavon Affair named after the Israeli Defense Minister, Pinhas Lavon, at that time.

{……….In 1954, Israel sponsored bombings against US and UK interests in Cairo aiming to cause trouble between Egypt and the West.[4] This operation, latter dubbed the Lavon Affair cost Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon his job. Israel (where it is known as “The Unfortunate Affair”) finally admitted responsibility in 2005.[5]………}

Operation Susannah was a false flag operation conducted in 1954 by Israeli operatives in Egypt against American and British targets, designed to appear as though Egyptian Arabs had carried out the attacks. Israeli agents had infiltrated Egyptian society and recruited Egyptian-born Jews to carry out the operation. The U.S. Information Agency libraries in Alexandria and Cairo as well as a British-owned theater were bombed on July 14, 1954. No injuries or casualties occurred during the bombings, except to one of the operatives, when his bomb exploded prematurely. Egyptian authorities uncovered the operation, initially not realizing it was an Israeli operation. After the Israeli spy ring was broken up, trials followed. Two suspects were acquitted, while two culprits were hanged, and several others were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. One or two other operatives committed suicide.

Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon was forced to resign in 1955. Consequently, the aftermath of Operation Susannah is often called The Levon Affair.


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By diamond, December 1, 2008 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

A deeply insightful piece but I would have liked Hedges to refer to the bombing of the King David Hotel by Jewish ‘freedom fighters’ in Pre-Israel Palestine which was front page news all over the world. This can really be seen as the beginning of the use of terrorism as a publicity stunt and it was avidly covered by the world media. These days attacks like these are talked about for weeks by talking heads on TV and radio as well as passionately discussed in the blogosphere and they provide the justification for the creation of police states all over the world. The people who carried out the attack on the King David Hotel had a very particular purpose: they dressed as Arabs to blow up the hotel. They wanted the blame to be put on the Arab population which is why they chose the King David Hotel with its Old Testament name, wanting to stir the Jewish population to a desire for hatred and revenge which would result in the Arab population being killed and driven out of land they wished to occupy.

Terror has always been used by two groups: the ones Hedges mainly refers to, such as the poor and powerless, the idealistic educated middle class and those with fanatical religious beliefs,but terror has also been used ‘in cold blood’ as it were, by governments and by the intelligence services for geo-political purposes. This is not even ‘state-sponsored terror’ - it’s much more covert than that. When the Nazis set fire to the Reichstag on February 27 1933 they blamed it on the Communists -  Hitler had said that the Reichstag ‘looked like a synagogue’ and ‘someone should burn it down’- it created a model for such attacks. But the most important part of the Reichstag attack is often overlooked: Hitler and Goebbels went to a newspaper office in the middle of the night and took it over. They worked all night to make sure that their version of events went into a paper with one of the biggest circulations in Germany. Hitler wrote the copy. The difference between media stunt and terror attack was obliterated on 9/11 and I’m sure in certain quarters the copy on that had already been written before a single plane hit a building. An even more obvious example is the anthrax attacks which were done solely to ensure the passage of the Patriot Act into law. Despite the hubbub over the attacks in Mumbai and the spectacular media event they became, the damage done by the government/ intelligence service-planned and executed attacks is always much bigger and the consequences are usually more momentous than those of attacks carried out by enthusiastic amateurs. After all, the intelligence services have state of the art technology and weaponry and can play with the facts as they see fit. This is why it’s so essential for the truth about 9/11 to be told. If it isn’t we’re on a slippery slope to worldwide anarchy at the hands of people who are paid with tax money and who can orchestrate terror attacks at will.

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By eileen fleming, December 1, 2008 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

“The methods and photos from Abu Grahib and Guantanamo were no shock to any Palestinian who had been in prison between 1967 and the ‘80’s. All the methods used in Abu Grahib were normal procedures against Palestinians. In 1999 Internationals, Palestinians and Israelis for human rights threatened a boycott against Israel and that is what forced the Supreme Court to address the torture issue. They did not ban torture and the General Prosecutor can choose not to prosecute those who still use it.”-Ala Jaradat to me, January 5, 2006 at Ramallah Headquarters of ADAMEER [Arabic for conscience]

There is dire need for Conscience.
A Revolution of Love + Reflection on the 63rd Anniversary of USA Terrorism:

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By prole, December 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

Political theories of immanence of a quasi-theological tinge may ring true with the choir but realpolitik sinners will probably still ask, in the famous logic of Stalin, “how many divisions does the pope have?”  It’s all well and good to confront the “terrorist within” but that doesn’t obviate the need to confront the terrorist(s) from without. Chief among them in the here and now will be the second coming of JC himself, the new progressive messiah, Obama. Keeping with seminarian symbology, St. Barack will play the role of Adam to George W.”s Eve, such that, “George W. Bush has handed Barack Obama a poisoned apple. Obama has bitten it.” Tut, tut, it’s not St. Barack’s fault, the devil made him do it. “The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were our response to feelings of vulnerability and collective humiliation after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. They were a way to exorcise through reciprocal violence what had been done to us.”  They were also, hardly the beginning of our sordid status as “a rogue nation”, and while ending “these criminal wars of aggression” is imperative, it hardly atones for “our” numerous other past sins, nor does it prevent state terrorism by other means. While undeniably and unforgivably, these most recent wars of aggression “have left hundreds of thousands of people, who never took up arms against us, dead and seen millions driven from their homes”, it was rivaled in many ways, in terms of sheer human suffering by Bill Clinton’s criminal sanctions regime against Iraq that likewise, “left hundreds of thousands of people, who never took up arms against us, dead and seen millions” malnourished and uprooted. The roots of American perfidy in Afghanistan go back, of course, to the CIA’s secret war against the Soviets, instigated by born-again Jimmy Carter, and prominent Obama adviser, Zbigniew Brezinski.  So, ‘Adam’ Obama’s “decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and leave behind tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines in Iraq” should come as no surprise. No one could possibly be handed the nomination of either major party if he (or she) seriously contemplated “confronting the terrorist[s] within” both of these god-forsaken parties. It was something that was “codified” in both parties long before the bumbling Bush rode recklessly onto the scene. The installation of Obama Copacabana as the new Terrorist-in-Chief by the real power brokers who pull the strings behind the scenes is obviously intended to quell popular dissent and go about the ‘project for a new American century’ in a more “pragmatic” fashion, to use the bland terminology of media apologists for American realpolik terrorism (within and without), like the Washington Post claque. The appointment of known stalwarts of state terrorism like Biden, Hillary, Emanuel, Gates, Ross, (all of whom supported the sanctions and Bush’s use of force) etc., is all the “proof in the pudding” anyone could need without waiting for them to cook up anymore “criminal wars of aggression” or genocidal sanctions, or increased lethal aid to Israel or Columbia or Indonesia, etc.  By merging the aims of American empire with superficial identity politics it enables them to concoct a witches brew of politically correct imperialism. After all, if the “wars of aggression” or genocidal sanctions are presided over by a black, or half-black, president and female Sec. of State and there’s a feel-good multicultural “consensus” about the whole dirty business then there’s nothing for ‘progressives’ to protest, right?  Was Immanuel Kant right in other ways, is this another twisted instance of “absolute moral imperatives that are used to carry out immoral acts”? Is it the “worst type of self-deception”? Does it provide “a moral façade for terror and murder”? Is the incoming regime of St. Barack – “a radical evil”?

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By nosefornews, December 1, 2008 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

If we wish change we will need to demand it.  Obviously we can’t count on our “representatives” to do what we wish. 
Obama was allowed the Presidency, but, with strings.  That being the continuation of not one but two unjust wars.  God help him when he tries to explain to his girls why he is perpetuating this disastrous course.  All hope is lost as far as I can see.  We have sealed our fate and we are now circling the drain.

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By Rosemary Molloy, December 1, 2008 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve never read anything, anywhere on political or national matters as intelligent, penetrating, and perfectly clear as Chris Hedges’ essays.  That includes this one, of course.

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By P. T., December 1, 2008 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Ah, but the U.S. has found out a way not to be terrorist.  Terrorist has been redefined to be a “non-state” actor.  The U.S., being a country, is therefore not terrorist, no matter what it does.

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By godistwaddle, December 1, 2008 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

A just world must demand that Bush, Feith, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, and most of the congresspersons who voted for the invasion of Iraq hang at Nuremberg alongside the ghosts of their Nazi brethren.

I will change my view when someone manages to persuade me that Bush’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq differ in some way from Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

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By ZachP, December 1, 2008 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Not true coloradokarl, Serbia had a McDonald’s when we bombed them over the Kosovo crisis.

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By felicity, December 1, 2008 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Mr. Hedges. What seems to be operating that blinds us to our own acts of terror in the world might be something as simple as we launch our terrorism from the air.  Any innocents killed in our attacks, we call colateral damage, not people, mere accidents that happen in the process of doing good, of liberating the oppressed. 

(Reminds me of an old ‘Mash’ episode where a bomber pilot being treated for an injury in the Mash Unit faces, for the first time, a victim of an American bomb, a severely injured Korean child.  Implied in the segment is that pilot’s subsequent AWOL from his air unit.)

As you have noted, shaming a people evokes more passion, more need for revenge than any other act. We should remember this: From 1798-1956 scarcely 5 years went by when the Muslin world did not suffer a major assault or encroachment by the West. We’re operating from 9/11 while they’re operating from two-centuries plus.

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By thebeerdoctor, December 1, 2008 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

To add to this thread, I quote Deepak Chopra, of all people, when asked about the recent Mumbai troubles:
“What we have seen in Mumbai has been brewing for a long time, and the war on terrorism and the attack on Iraq compounded the situation. What we call collateral damage and going after the wrong people actually turns moderates into extremists, and that inflammation then gets organized and appears as a disaster in Bombay. Now the worst thing that could happen is there’s a backlash on the Muslims from the fundamental Hindus in India, which will then perpetuate the problem. Inflammation will create more inflammation.
Ultimately the message is always toward Washington because it’s also the perception that Washington, in their way, directly or indirectly funds both sides of the war on terror. They fund our side, then our petrol dollars going to Saudi Arabia through Pakistan and ultimately these terrorist groups which are very organized…
The money is coming from the vested interests. I’m not talking about conspiracy theories, but what happens is, our policies, our foreign policies, actually perpetuate the problem. Because, you know, 25% of the world’s population is Muslim and they’re the fastest growing segment of the population of the world. The more we alienate the Muslim population, the more the moderates are likely to become extremists.”

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By Southern Gal, December 1, 2008 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When people from different countries and religions talk to one another, work together and respect each other as individuals, they understand that we are the same in very basic ways such as love of family and children, but we have cultural differences. As long as the Pentagon, the military industrial complex and multi-national corporations hold power and influence over politicians, we can expect to continue our various “wars”. I do not support terrorists of any country and truly hope that we can somehow stop this spiral of violence and death in the name of countries, religions, resources and power.

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By dick, December 1, 2008 at 10:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The War Party always wins; the write-ins, such as Nader, always lose. If and when the masses get organized, energized, and activated, there may be some positive change; not before.

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By Mary Jane Jill Pipkin, December 1, 2008 at 10:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is profound in its grasp of the situation… Humiliation of others will always be
rewarded with hate by those who have been humiliated.  Hitler was profoundly humiliated by rejection and found his vengeance a million fold, terrifying and eventually leading to the subjugation of eastern Europe for more than a generation.  I visited east Berlin before the wall came down, and the humiliation was evident in the sad tragic faces of the older people. 
How much sorrow is planted by those who feel they must humiliate others…witness even close to home, the attempt to humiliate and marginalize Obama at the Republican Convention.
It won’t end until there is nothing to be gained by humiliation…

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By troublesum, December 1, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

“Everything in this world is upside down.
He who should be hanged in the public square
  is crowned emperor instead.
People stand and applaud”

If terrorists from Pakistan had carried out attacks on the US last weekend, there wouldn’t be anything left of that country this morning, but India is being told it must carry out an investigation and deal with the perpetrators as criminals.  The US should try to live by the advice it gives to other countries.  There would be far less misery in the world if it did.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, December 1, 2008 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I used to be a big fan of Hedges, but it is if he has become a fool, he writes ...

“Those who externalize evil and seek to eradicate that evil through violence lose touch with their own humanity and the humanity of others.”

... indicating that he accepts the premise that what motives Bush and the neo-cons (soon to be Obama and the neo-libs) is the desire to ‘eradicate evil’. 

Hedges has lost, if he ever had it, the ability to separate reality and the charade thrown up by the ruling class.  Not too surprising I suppose for a former NYT bureau chief.

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By kloe, December 1, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

A profound article, one that goes to the very heart of why things will not really “change” when we put so much faith and hope in elected politicians.  Whether its a new President who promises a “new hope” or the current one who is not at all reticent about waging war and state sponsored terrorism on innocents, Chris Hedges exposes the real root of this nations collective blindness about its own failure to take responsibility for the “terror” WE have unleashed, pre and post 9/11 as well as allowed and supported allies to do the same.  This statement in particular is in my opinion, gets to root of this article:

“The dehumanization of Muslims and the willful ignorance of the traditions and culture of the Islamic world reflect our nation’s disdain for self-reflection and self-examination.”

It wouldn’t be to much of a leap to ask ourselves how different are we from German citizens who sat passively by and chose to remain ignorant, if not willfully supported the Nazi’s while they invaded the countries around them?  Goebbels propaganda machine told Germans that German citizens were under attack in Poland and the Czech Republic and this gave them the justification for invading these sovereign nations.  The parallel to the United States invading Iraq and Afghanistan under the claim that we are protecting Americans and building “democracies” in these nations is frighteningly similar.

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By I.M. Small, December 1, 2008 at 8:15 am Link to this comment


“Curst be the dullards, whom no cannon stuns
That they should be like stones,”
I curse you as complicit with the guns
That drill life out of bones.

The flesh that had been vibrant, drained of life
Upon the roadside wastes,
While torment, in a world of torments rife
Unto conclusion hastes.

O, I may not befriend you anymore
That counseled war’s aggression:
Alone so be it that my tears must pour
Sans heaven’s intercession.

I curse you as a dullard and I curse
Humanity we share:
Within this life, a death could not be worse
Than mutual love we bear.


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By coloradokarl, December 1, 2008 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

Terrorism’s driving force is unemployed youth with no hope for the future. I read a blog post yesterday: A country with a McDonalds won’t attack another country with a McDonalds….....Classic!!

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By Benjamin Tasker, December 1, 2008 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

That was an excellent piece, Mr. Hedges.

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By thebeerdoctor, December 1, 2008 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges makes a very significant observation, that by President-elect Obama’s embracing the concept of “the war on terror” means inevitable foreign policy failure. Such hubris (Rahm Emanuel is a prime example), will allow this nation to slide down into a newly formed (actually it has just been refitted) neoliberal rat hole.

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