Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
May 29, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Truthdig Bazaar more items

Email this item Print this item

War Is Sin

Posted on Jun 1, 2009
AP photo / Khalid Mohammed

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

There is a difference between killing someone who is trying to kill you and taking the life of someone who does not have the power to harm you. The first is killing. The second is murder. But in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the enemy is elusive and rarely seen, murder occurs far more often than killing. Families are massacred in airstrikes. Children are gunned down in blistering suppressing fire laid down in neighborhoods after an improvised explosive device goes off near a convoy. Artillery shells obliterate homes. And no one stops to look. The dead and maimed are left behind. 

The utter failure of nearly all our religious institutions—whose texts are unequivocal about murder—to address the essence of war has rendered them useless. These institutions have little or nothing to say in wartime because the god they worship is a false god, one that promises victory to those who obey the law and believe in the manifest destiny of the nation.

We all have the capacity to commit evil. It takes little to unleash it. For those of us who have been to war this is the awful knowledge that is hardest to digest, the knowledge that the line between the victims and the victimizers is razor-thin, that human beings find a perverse delight in destruction and death, and that few can resist the pull. At best, most of us become silent accomplices.

Wars may have to be fought to ensure survival, but they are always tragic. They always bring to the surface the worst elements of any society, those who have a penchant for violence and a lust for absolute power. They turn the moral order upside down. It was the criminal class that first organized the defense of Sarajevo. When these goons were not manning roadblocks to hold off the besieging Bosnian Serb army they were looting, raping and killing the Serb residents in the city. And those politicians who speak of war as an instrument of power, those who wage war but do not know its reality, those powerful statesmen—the Henry Kissingers, Robert McNamaras, Donald Rumsfelds, the Dick Cheneys—those who treat war as part of the great game of nations, are as amoral as the religious stooges who assist them. And when the wars are over what they have to say to us in their thick memoirs about war is also hollow, vacant and useless.


Square, Site wide
“In theological terms, war is sin,” writes Mahedy. “This has nothing to do with whether a particular war is justified or whether isolated incidents in a soldier’s war were right or wrong. The point is that war as a human enterprise is a matter of sin. It is a form of hatred for one’s fellow human beings. It produces alienation from others and nihilism, and it ultimately represents a turning away from God.”

The young soldiers and Marines do not plan or organize the war. They do not seek to justify it or explain its causes. They are taught to believe. The symbols of the nation and religion are interwoven. The will of God becomes the will of the nation. This trust is forever shattered for many in war. Soldiers in combat see the myth used to send them to war implode. They see that war is not clean or neat or noble, but venal and frightening. They see into war’s essence, which is death.

War is always about betrayal. It is about betrayal of the young by the old, of cynics by idealists, and of soldiers and Marines by politicians. Society’s institutions, including our religious institutions, which mold us into compliant citizens, are unmasked. This betrayal is so deep that many never find their way back to faith in the nation or in any god. They nurse a self-destructive anger and resentment, understandable and justified, but also crippling. Ask a combat veteran struggling to piece his or her life together about God and watch the raw vitriol and pain pour out. They have seen into the corrupt heart of America, into the emptiness of its most sacred institutions, into our staggering hypocrisy, and those of us who refuse to heed their words become complicit in the evil they denounce.

Chris Hedges, who spent nearly two decades as a war correspondent for The New York Times and other newspapers, is the author of “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” due out in July.  His Truthdig column appears every Monday.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 5, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Appreciate your comment Garth.

Just read an Andy Rooney article after my last posting, which amusingly dove tails in some ways with my experiencs as posted.  Difference being Rooney was relating to his WWII experiences and the makeup of the military before the draft,  his conclusion is we should reconstitute the draft, though he never thought he would say so,  I find myself in agreement and also would never have believed myself saying so!.

Maybe then war would not be so ready at the bit.

Report this

By garth, June 5, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

If I may,  and here’s to you Leefeller, wherever and whoever you may be.  Your realism always gives pause for thought.

Report this

By garth, June 5, 2009 at 8:55 am Link to this comment


I agree with you and salute your post.
You had the courage of taking issue with and remind us of the war(s) we are in.  Here, I want look to the causes of these wars.
Much has been made of the Cheney’s secret energy meeting and the reulting theories that we invaded Iraq for their oil,  But no attention has been given to the Bush’s and their freindship to the Saudi Royal Family.

According to the Petroleum Institute 2004, Saudi Arabia was much more in need of water (H20) than oil.  Their population is going to go from 25 million to 40 million in the near term. They built desalinization plants to convert salt water to potable water at $50 billion a whack but have have yet to find a source of water.  They do not want to spend that amount of money ($50 billion per plant) to keep the subjects of Saudi Arabia under their control.  For lack of water, the Saudis might revolt.
Look to east.  In a lot of Saddam Hussein’s films he is bathing in pools of the clear, cool water.  With his intense dislike for the Saudi Royal family, that alone must have driven King Abdullah crazy.
Like all good, Royal blood, their reaction was: If I can swindle it from them, then I’ll take it.
In steps George W. Bush and family, generational friends of the Saudi Royals and George was a debtor himself owing to his lackluster perfomance at Arbusto Oil.
George’s motives were alongside Cheney’s and the Neocons and certaintly in agreement with them.  Goerge’s mission was to invade Iraq and take command of the Euprhates and start to establish a water source for Saudi Arabia.
Bush’s friend, Bandar Bush, visited him on the evening of 9/11 to enjoy cocktails on the white house balcony. 
One of the most revolting anecdotes about this invasion is the Press Club’s reaction to Bush’s theatrics about not finding WMD in this WH cabinet or closet is that the WH press includig such notables as Howard Fineman and Al Franken actually thought it was funny and laughed.
Hence Obama’s visit to the Saudi Royals this week.  He assured them that we are not leving Iraq and that their wateer source will be secured.  (I’ve talked to military brass who’ve trained Saudis. They are incapable of defending themselves.)
Americans, as we like to call ourselves, are a nasty, callow people.  Perhaps, we need to be bombed a la Bosnia, Baghdad, Falujah and Afghanistan before we realize that dredging up a 2000 year old practice introduced by the Romans will not lead to peace.  Maybe technocrats and pharmacrats ought to give up their search for a plan or a pill to make war more tenable?

Oh yes, for those who harken back to WWII as the ‘just war’, the economic powers of Engalnd Germany and the US had prepared the groundwork and the setting for a German leader of their liking.  Then along came Adolph Hitler. In polite circles today, Hitler would be viewed as ‘quite a guy’.  Pulled himself up by the bootstraps to a position of world recognition, dontcha know?. (hmmmmmmm)
And all they have to do to control the US is to appeal to Joe Sixpack of the industrial North, the white trash Clell and Mabel of the South, the dilletante Jared and Ashley of the West, and the Jamal and Vanessa of the black diaspora.
And that as they say is that.

Report this

By Rontruth, June 5, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Anarcissi: “The ones who sustain life….are the ones who lose, and go on living.”

This statement, in some ways, shows how philosophically far adrift human society has become.
It sounds like you are saying that we humans have made heroes out of those who had their fifteen seconds in the sunlight, then slipped into nameless anonomity. In modern terms, if one becomes “great” enough, the pundits (usually his or her political, religious or philosophical enemies) destroy his or her reputation. Jealousy is one great equalizer.

Those who sustain life, and somehow become known for it, though they slip into anonimity, are remembered more fondly than the “heroes” whose secret sins were made known to everyone. Often their good deeds are long forgotten. Only those who paid that they might become heroes, keep the bounty made possible by the actions of their “heroes.”

Are heroes often really villains in disguise? I think I’ll choose being an unsung heroe who “goes on living.” That way, I can keep my secrets to myself.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 5, 2009 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Back then at 18 years old not all people were smart enough to flee to Canada, make the grade in college, have a daddy in high places or get married.

When I was 18 the draft was on, I was called, so I joined the Marines in order to select which service I would be in, sort of like Bush joining the National Guard.

When in Nam, news was not forthcoming about the protests, in my 18 year old limited mind, I never really knew why we were in Vietnam, must say back then I avoided politics and news like Vietnam evaders avoided the draft, obviously a handicap on my part. 

When in Vietnam, a concept of heroes never crossed my mind, only survival and the hope of returning home not in a box.  Heroes, seems to be a man made concept like patriotism, something to foster emotions, maybe Arty Murphy was a hero?  Hero seems to be an illusion to me, one of many floating around on the MSM.

The veteran in the wheel chair reminds me of how fortunate I am to only be mad and scared of mind, but able to walk, and brings back memories of those who did not survive. 

Beer Doctor asking for accountability in combat is most ludicrous, for the witnesses are usually dead?  “Warrior is not a hero” as a premise seems somewhat ambiguous, for in my ignorance, I have no concept of either.

If I had to do it over again in hindsight, I would have moved to Canada, back then in my limited knowledge of the world, I believed Canada was little different from Mexico.  For what it is worth, I never harbored any feelings against those who protested the war, in fact the opposite, so then why do perceive Beer Doctors tone discomforting while at the same time defensive? My perception may be wrong.

Beer Doctor I learned to love caramel popcorn with Beer while in Vietnam, probably because, we mostly had Budweiser but other beers also, which sat in the 120 degree sun for weeks before we got to them, not very good beer as I recall.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 5, 2009 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

... Warriors ain’t heroes….

Actually, the image of the hero is exactly the image of the warrior, although sometimes translated into other realms, even that of the pacifist.  The image of the hero is the image of the one who surpasses the others, who wins.  It is only very recently that the idea of the hero warrior has been questioned much.  Mostly we have heard one thing, from Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori to “How can men die better, than facing fearful odds / For the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods?”

But the idea of the hero is a delusion.  Every dog has his day, and then another dog comes along, and the day is over.  Winners are the biggest losers of all, because they’re deluded.  Victory is dust on the wind.

The idea of the hero is pernicious anyway, because it tells people they don’t have to do what needs to be done—some hero will come along and do it.  Or at least, some great hero leader will come along and tell them to do it.  That belief, that desire, is why we have great leaders and the wars they inevitably inspire.  They’re just doing their thing, exercising their métier.

The ones who sustain life are not the deluded heroes and winners; they are the ones who know how to lose, and go on living.

Report this

By Gary, June 5, 2009 at 2:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder” Albert Einstein

Report this

By TheBeerMaker, June 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Dateline: The Peoples Republic of Takoma Park, Md. July 4, 2008

It’s the annual Independence Day parade and I’m curbside with the fam. The usual South American dance groups salsa by. The fire trucks bright red flashed the lanes. Even the Precision Lawnmower Marching Team had it all together, altho it was a code orange day. Then came the vets. Warriors from bygone days. And this crowd, this radical, tie-dyed, vegetarian, crowd stood up and cheered. They mouthed “thank you” to the wheelchair riding, POW/MIA flag toting, guys from the great war in the jungle. And I’m amazed, ’cause….

..warriors ain’t heroes.

When did we start placing on a pedestal the folks that put on the uniforms of our military? When did the military transform from something to tolerate, into something to venerate? Why, oh why, do we continue to speak so highly of the military when they are just people that are doing the job they signed up to do? Jobs we pay for? Besides the last time you got a strike in bowling, when did someone get up and cheer for you? And how many families did you help wear black when you went to work. Nope….

..warriors ain’t heroes.

Ok, some say that those that went to fight in the big jungle war should be given a free pass. I know that they were conscripted into military slavery, but there were choices. I was 18 in 1969. Didn’t serve. Wouldn’t serve. And like a lot of others, worked hard to end the military monster’s path thru the jungle.

I lost buddies in that war. Some never came home. Others came home and lost it here. Doug Menish could only find relief with a shotgun in his mouth. How do you think he felt about his time there? I bet he’d say….

Warriors ain’t heroes

Warriors may do heroic things on the battlefield. And in saving a brother or sister, a warrior may go to extreme lengths. But bravery during combat is not what I’m talking about. And because a warrior dies on the battlefield, and believe me I know the pains of death on a family, does not make her a hero. It makes her a fallen warrior. nothing more. Because…

Warriors ain’t heroes

So what’s the trouble with just saying that all warriors are heroes? Don’t we owe them something? Especially the ones that don’t come back, or come back physically or psychologically wounded? For some odd reason I continue to believe that we are a nation where peace is as valued as freedom and prosperity. But over the last sixty years, that would be awfully hard to prove. Making our warriors out as heroes is an active part of our long march as military imperialists. Where violence and force are not the last resort, but the first. Where we create the environment for ‘justified’ conflicts and invasions. Warrior heroes make willing pawns in the game. To the glory of the state. But as we know…

Warriors ain’t heroes.

War creates an indelible imprint on people. Most never shake it. And it causes warriors to do outrageous things when they are in the combat zone. here. here. here. and here. But the best part is that no one is held accountable. Try and find cases where warriors are tried and convicted. What would be the effect on recruiting if our heroes were imprisoned for their actions? How sad if the military leadership were forced to come to grips with their decisions and be held responsible.

So the warrior hero plays an important role in the government’s military dance. They are the dance partners that fall by the wayside after they’ve done their part. Cast aside for another just as willing, just as foolish suitor. How sad. how avoidable. how much longer will we be told that warriors are heroes? And when will we wake up and yell back at them…

Report this

By Ashley, June 4, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

March Forward! A newly formed group of veterans and active duty service members

“March Forward! is an affiliate of the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). Along with others in the Coalition, we are organizing against the Iraq and Afghanistan war while fighting for social and economic justice at home—including the struggle against racism and all forms of discrimination and bigotry. March Forward! operates based on the belief that real change comes through struggle and mass action.”

Report this

By Sepharad, June 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, I neither enjoy pulling my hair out nor emoting when the truth—i.e. humans enjoy wailing, watching or wreaking violence, sometimes all of the above—is so evident. It’s a pleasure (and relief) to encounter another extraterrestial. Bring on the gladiators.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

... To accept war as inevitable is to say to ourselves that we are mere animals with brains similar to those of apes and monkeys. ...’

We are, in fact, animals with brains similar to those of apes and monkeys, although we are more violent than a good many kinds of apes and monkeys.

Religion doesn’t seem to be a good candidate as an antidote to the violence, since religions have been used by and have in fact inspired such a large proportion of organized violence from time immemorial.  Perhaps introducing something novel and mostly untried, like reason, would do some good.

I know my ideas are rather outré.

Report this

By Doc Ellis 124, June 4, 2009 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment


I have linked your article, “War is Sin” to and to my FaceBook page.

Thank you for writing this

Lion Doc Ellis 124

Report this

By PRGP, June 4, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Rontruth - thoughtful, concise and unfortunately true.  The problem is the system that allows this and the dispersal of the means to do anything about it except take to the streets with more violence.  What a shitstorm.

Report this

By Rontruth, June 4, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

War is an insult to any form of human intelligence. I’ve read some of the comments, from obviously educated people as well as from those who served who feel that they must defend that which their church leaders told them was grievious sin, because to do otherwise would be to admit they feel that, if they killed during the most recent “police actions,” they actually committed murder.

Now, who in his or her right mind would admit to committing murder for a government that told them they were doing “the right thing?” Does anyone recall that when “W” was asked why they were about to attack Iraq by his troops in Kuwait before he ordered them to illegally attack Iraq, and he had no concrete reasons for doing so, he finally told them: “Remember. They attacked us?”

He had contrived a story about the connections of Saddam to al Queda by that time. Bush obviously lied. After about seven months of the fighting in Iraq, Bush was being constantly asked about the lack of WMDs in Iraq. He finally realized the predicament he had put himself into, and answered in September, 2003: “Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of September the 11th, and never did.”

And, today, the military is numbed by the number of suicides within the ranks of those who served under Bush’s lies about Saddam’s Iraq!

To accept war as inevitable is to say to ourselves that we are mere animals with brains similar to those of apes and monkeys. We fight over everything, set up a new hierarchy as soon as the fighting is over, kill the leaders who have come along afterward when they decide to stand up to those among us who profit from the deaths of others among us in war, then lie to the rest of us about how good we are, but only so that we can generate more lies by our leaders so they can start more wars to benefit those who profited from past wars.

Are we really that helpless? If we are no better than what is described above, then we deserve nothing more than for those we fight to call us the animals that we are, which is no better than they are. Thus, we have no reason to fight at all.

If we could come to that reasoning, we would likely realize then that we are really not just animals with monkey brains. We would realize that Someone else created us for a higher calling. The choice is ours to make. Which will it be?

Are we a “nation of laws” (George W. Bush)? If we are, then isn’t it time we demanded of Obama and Congress at least a full-blown Grand Jury investigation into Bush/Cheney lying that got us into the international mess we are now in?

If we would but get the truth out there, and bring to justice those who so obviously violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution, any future leaders would quickly recall what happens when leaders violate their sworn oaths, costing Americans $Trillions of dollars of debt when the leaders’ wealthy corporate benefactors have lined their pockets with the ill-gotten booty from wars that should never have been fought!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 4, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Sepharad—I was completely serious.  Doris Lessing wrote an excellent book about the human propensity for violence, whose name I forget and which is of course omitted from lists of her works, in which she pointed out that, simply going by observation, we have to acknowledge that human beings really, really like violence and warfare, and that if we are going to do anything about it we have get beyond the sort of thing Hedges’s article and most of the responses here to it represent, the other side of the same coin, the wailing in sackcloth and ashes which of course is one of the most ancient decorations of war.  I mentioned the Iliad before; it’s a long poem about war, and the glories of war, but Homer doesn’t forget to make it a tragedy and repeatedly call war “hateful”.  That’s what people, especially the war leaders, like: we slaughter them and they slaughter us and ain’t it awful and how great we are to persist through all that awfulness.  War is hell, and as a drunken fool wisely said to me in the subway one day, “Everyone wants to go to Hell, but nobody wants to die to get there.”  So if humans are genetically inclined to organized violence, as they seem to be, some sort of outlet or diversion is going to have to be found for their desires.  And for the desire to bewail.  So I’ve thought of gladiatorial combat.  The killers could kill, the watchers could watch, and the wailers could wail about it.

But I’m just wasting my time writing this.  It’s much more fun to pull your hair out than to try to think of something to do about the problem.  Maybe it’s not a problem.  Murder, rape, pillage, burn; wail, wail; repeat da capo.  It could be everyone’s having a good time, and as usual, being an extraterrestrial, I’m just out of it.  I mean, we Neptunians like violence too, but we know when to stop.

Report this

By hippie4ever, June 3, 2009 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

Hawkeye, I really was serious in my post; if we as humanity refuse to voluntarily limit our population, nature will come in and do the job for us. Insofar as many religions prohibit contraception, the most socially acceptable alternative to limiting population growth is war. The problem was unacceptably high casualties; with drones they can pick and choose their victims. Sometimes they might kill their intended targets.

Getting shot hurts and being blown up must be momentarily horrible, but it sure beats death by bubonic plague. Painful, horrific—the living envy the dead in such circumstances.

As for your assertion that the public could handle the truth, I disagree. The more we know about our government the more disgusted and outraged we become. Congress is nothing less than a convention of bribery where any “lobbyist” (briber) with deep pockets can buy some Congressmen.

Many Americans still prefer to ignore this reality, as bald and upfront as it is, but if it were exposed (to its true extent) I doubt you’d find many of them marching behind Congress & singing the virtues of nonexistent democracy at home.

Report this

By Sepharad, June 3, 2009 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, I know you weren’t serious but maybe gladiatorial contests would be the least murderous way—perhaps the war-making and war-made-on countries could each field 3 gladiators, 1 to be a professional gladiator and the other two to be the countries’ decision-to-war-deciders and the stands-to-gain-the-most-money-from-the-war makers. A couple of journalists and foul regulators would be the only witnesses, and no tv coverage at all. Stakes would be established before beginning, and would have to include reasonable terms, not the utter beggary of the populations on the losing side. Religion would be off-limits as an issue.

Report this

By hippie4ever, June 3, 2009 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

The point of war is population control. The religious refuse contraception and we are now at 7 billion humans and counting. Disease also keeps the numbers down and we are overdue for a pandemic, but there’s nothing as effective as war to eliminate the “surplus people” and clear away obsolete urban zones.

War also keeps the social order intact, ensuring stability while the elites line their pockets from the spoils of war. The enemy keeps the masses focused and sacrificing; social control is easy under such circumstances.

As far as sin, isn’t that a fetish?

Report this
Palindromedary's avatar

By Palindromedary, June 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

Excellent article, Chris!

Report this

By garth, June 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

“But up close war is a soulless void. War is about barbarity, perversion and pain, an unchecked orgy of death. Human decency and tenderness are crushed. Those who make war work overtime to reduce love to smut, and all human beings become objects, pawns to use or kill. The noise, the stench, the fear, the scenes of eviscerated bodies and bloated corpses, the cries of the wounded, all combine to spin those in combat into another universe. In this moral void, naively blessed by secular and religious institutions at home, the hypocrisy of our social conventions, our strict adherence to moral precepts, come unglued. War, for all its horror, has the power to strip away the trivial and the banal, the empty chatter and foolish obsessions that fill our days. It lets us see, although the cost is tremendous.”

Writing of war might one of the few subject areas where you can’t run the risk of hyperbole.

When I see someone like Gen. Stanley McChrystal or Gen. Petreaus warning congress that the killing and murder will go on, I think of something I learned during the Vietnam War, the military brass loves war, almost as much as the war mongers do.  You see, this is where they earn their promotions.  And, the gung ho Green Berets and Special Forces types get to feel macho and feel more prepared than other fighting men or women in the world because they are practicing their trade, regularly.
What if the Rulers of the World let the thought exist that war was not necessary. In fact, maybe it isn’t as natural in the world order as we’d like to think.  Maybe there is another way to come to some resolution.  We don’t have to love each other and we don’t have to treat everyone like he or she were your brother or sister, just don’t start killing each other en masse.  As a teacher I once had said, “Let the thought exist.”
Did you ever wonder how much effort and thought went into developing some of these new weapons? Thermobaric bombs that have such a percussive shock that it can hit a floor in a building and kill everyone in it, or the Predator drone and all the electtronics that went to that.  Is that waste or what?
The story goes that the U.S. could avoid nuclear confrontation by making the USSR believe that we were crazy enough to use the ‘bomb’ and that we’d use it again.  Well, after the invasion of Ossettia, the Russians turned that around.  Lt Col Gardiner of the USAF reported that the Russians let the US know that they were bringing a few missiles with nuclear capability along with them in the invasion in case any US drones started killing Russian soldiers.  Instead of the missile gap, we have the insanity gap.
All this brings me to a story told by Seymour Hersh in his wrap up of the My Lai massacre.  Hersh went to visit one the soldiers involved in the massacre.  The soldier lived in the back woods of Indiana.  Hersh went to an old dilapidated house and knocked on the door.  An elderly looking woman answered the door.  When Hersh asked if he could talk to her son, she pointed to a run down shack and said ‘he’s in there.  I sent them a good young boy, and they sent me back a killer.’
It begins with a recruiter asking a boy, “Now, you’re going to want a nice car, aren’t you?’

Report this
Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, June 3, 2009 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

Blackspear even with all of those vaunted wars of yours we still have overpopulation (4 billion) an mass starvation, dirty water, disease, food losses, climate change, resource wars. Soon to have water wars and climate based migration too. We could still have another world war and it alone could kill billions.

Wasn’t it Thomas Aquinas who wrote about the absurdist idea of a “just war?” It certainly has been embraced here not just by the elites but the rank-and-file who wave those flags and kill and die for that flag. [When they are really dying for the oligarchs and their wants.]

The insect world is one of the places where wars are fought and slaves are taken. Ants do that. Some other species have territorial based battles for food and water access. Humans are the only naked ape to have wars for more abstract reasons, along with murder and mass destruction of the precious land for unimportant reasons. Political, religious and ethnic hatred. It is an evil. Only sentients like ourselves can do evil. It is done against ourselves and will be the death of us all if we do not stop it.

“If all fear could be eradicated for just one day, all killing would end. For that day.”Tahitifp

Actually it should be lust for power and egotism that would do that not fear. A certain amount of fear is good for survival, a surfeit of it leads to other evil things. Just as with emotion, a certain small amount enhances the analytical functions of the brain, too much and it shuts down the higher functions just leaving the reptilian R-complex and the territorial Limbic system running the show.

The 4-6% of psychopaths in our midst are attracted to power and their tendency is to mistrust all others and make war when there is no need to. The surround themselves with others of authoritarian mien and near similar turn of mind. They and those like them are giving us , here and all over the world, grief and hell on earth right now.

We need to stop helping that small segment of humanity from messing it up for the rest of us. And if the populace weren’t so easily fooled in to fighting wars for “God & country” when it tends to support nor benefit neither it will stop.

Sheparad, the Democratic-Socialists under Krensky over through the Tsar, the Reds over through the D-S and Krensky escaped to Europe, then killed the Tsar’s family. Lenin got his firing squads.

Tahitifp, the line starts from the bottom up. There is no way to change that. Just adjust to it.

War has always been used by some to take from others. Their land, resources, culture, slaves, territorial expansion of influence for commerce et. al. It is greed and lust for power that is at its black hard heart. It can where many clothes and carry many banners and speak many languages but it does the same thing, kill and destroy.  We may still have a little time to learn the lesson of Mutual Aid over Parasitical Capitalism. But not long.

Report this

By Virginia Hammon, June 3, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Excellent commentary.  I also highly recommend your book, WAR is a force that gives us meaning.  Thank you.

Report this

By rockinrobin, June 3, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Christians: STONGHOLDS are THOUGHTS; THIS nation is NOT a 2 party SYSTEM; it is NOT of the people, by the people FOR the PEOPLE! it is TARGET & HARM for PERSONAL GAIN & PROFIT: first HERE and now GLOBALLY. CAST DOWN this STRONGHOLD: GOD did NOT bring HIS PEOPLE (of whom my mothers ancestors were on the Mayflower) to THIS NATION to be ABUSED, OPPRESSED, to be under the UNHOLY one who seeks to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY! HERE and then GLOBALLY. The ROOT CAUSE of THIS NATIONS problem is THE LOVE OF MONEY in the POLITICAL SECTION of this NATION. & it is IN THE WORLD. In DANIEL it tells in the latter days one will arise who will SEEK TO CHANGE the TIMES & SEASONS: THIS is the USA; he will be STRUCK DOWN and the empire he tried to make will TOPPLE: world wide. THE KEY is that OUR THINKING has been WRONG. They SAY one thing & do ANOTHER. God was going to DESTROY this “unholy” Gov BACK in 1949; HIS people PREVENTED it; now it is going to be destroyed as the WORD of GOD cannot be BROKEN. Many pastors have said many things: I speak NOT against them; but THEY HAVE BEEN DECEIVED. THE #1 WEAPON is DECEPTION. When THIS gospel of John 3/16 is PREACHED thru out the WORLD: NOT that God so loved the world he weaponed up thru CRIMINAL ACTION the USA thru the GOV: PRETENDING to be one thing when in reality being ANOTHER; to OPPRESS, and ABUSE people everywhere so the POLITICAL & PENTAGON in the USA could get INCREDIBLE WEALTH thru the BLOOD of PEOPLE; and they have KILLED MORE PEOPLE in the USA thru the ILLEGAL USE OF CHEMICALS, MISUSE and ABUSE of laws; and NOW BRIBE other nations to “do it our way”; have WHATEVER you want, do WHATEVER you want, WHENEVER you CHOOSE to do so with UNLIMITED money: FORCE the PEOPLE to PAY; “if you do NOT pay in 3 days the AMOUNT we are going to bill you for water you will DIE”; they claim they own all water in USA including rain water; not 1 single AGENCY is FOR THE PEOPLE; nor will it be ANYWHERE. FAIR trade helps the PEOPLE and the ENVIRONMENT: “free” trade is the OPPOSITE. If we EVER can SEE and KNOW the TRUTH: in the USA we MIGHT not be “to late” when and if the AMERICANS ever WAKE UP as other nations say. EVERY NATION knows the TRUTH. Would that the PEOPLE WOULD!

Report this

By Rontruth, June 3, 2009 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

I fully agree with everyone who says they want American imperial wars, mostly facilitated by a president’s lying to his own people about why the US starts wars. This is what had happened that led to the time when I served during the Vietnam war, started as it was by CIA lies to a willing LBJ, who signed NASM 273, drafted five days BEFORE JFK’s death in Dallas, Tx., to reverse Kennedy’s withdrawal order from Vietnam, NASM 263, thereby fulfilling Johnson’s promise to give the Pentagon it’s ten year war in Vietnam.

Johnson stayed out of prison, as testified to in the affidavit of his criminal friend, Billy Sol Estes, who was in, according to the document, on LBJ’s ordering the deaths of eight Texans who were about to testify about Johnson’s illegal money-laundering schemes. This shows the depth of the corruption that has run our nation’s “democracy” for more than 45 years.

It was a Republican president who tried, after eight years in office, to show his successor (Kennedy), and us, the dangers inherant within the nexus called “the Military-Industrial Complex. He warned against allowing it to gain as much power as it now clearly displays. His televised “Farewell Address To The Nation” should be regularly shown throughout this nation.

What to do? Everyone who agrees that the current murder going on in our name and with our unwilling tax monies, should call 202-224-3121, ask for his or her elected US Representative, as well as Senator, and not just meakly request, but DEMAND that they STOP funding what is rapidly becoming “Obama’s wars.”

It is only through local “elections<” if you will, once called plebiscites (I believe that is the term)that tell Congress and the President that if they do not change their ways quickly, then we will vote them out of office as soon as the next real election comes around. As LBJ once told his mistress, Madeleine Duncan Brown the night before the JFK assassination when he said, “After tomorrow, those blankity-blank Kennedy’s will never again embarrass me.” He then said to her, “That’s no threat. That’s a promise.” (quote of Madeleine Duncan Brown, from her videotaped interview by Robert Gaylon, a local Dallas, Tx. talk radio host in June, 2001, two months before her death.)

We should make plain to Congress and the White House that in 2 or four years, they will be voted out of office if they do not comply with what most Americans have consistently said. We should then say:
“That’s no threat. That’s a promise.”

Report this

By Fadel Abdallah, June 3, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

By RAE, June 3 at 9:19 am #

By Anarcissie, June 3 at 8:40 am #
I read with great appreciation your two powerful comments with which I fully concur. Thanks!

Report this

By PRGP, June 3, 2009 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

What an excellent and insightful piece.  As a combat veteran of Vietnam (67-68), I fully agree with Hedges’ assessment of “war”.  USMC SAM misses the point - and Hedges’ analysis of why wars happen.  Doesn’t make them a good thing.  SAM - when America kills innocents, is that okay because we’re on the side of “good” - re-read the piece and then make peace with reality. Wars breed more warriors - of whatever stripe and humanity just keeps going down the tunnel of hate and murder.  Revenge, religion, all the excuses are used over and over again.  Perhaps humanity deserves to wipe itself out and leave the Earth to less sentient beings.

Report this
RAE's avatar

By RAE, June 3, 2009 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

I fully agree that war is neither glorious nor noble but neither is capitalism. We “in the west” don’t hesitate to celebrate both.

I never attend “Remembrance Day” services on November 11. It makes absolutely no sense to me, to borrow a phrase from the Christian homophobes, to “hate the sin but love the sinner.” To pin medals on the combatants, have them parade to a cenotaph in front of the gathered, brainwashed citizens and the TV cameras, and GLORIFY what they’ve done (murder & destroy) “for their country” is, in my opinion, a repugnant display of group hypocrisy.

War announces to all in the universe how INFERIOR, LIMITED and SMALL is the human brain and how profoundly it succumbs to self-delusions of grandeur.

I’ve read recently where there are actually those who advocate that what we need now to get us out of the economic abyss is a WAR (my wager is on them all being in a position to profit greatly from it). If I was King for a Day I’d round up this treasonous trash and ensure their presence on the FRONT LINES. Bet that would put an end to war as a solution pretty damn quick.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 3, 2009 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

A fine article, Mr. Hedges, but as war has always been with us and is the way the world has grown and governs and progresses since the very beginnings, shouldn’t we be trying to figure out a way to make war less (rather than more) lethal? ...

Well, we could have gladiatorial combat.  That might satisfy the cravings of those who actually want to practice war, except for the part where you get to slay, rape and rob civilians, burn cities to the ground, and so forth.  As a spectacle, it would also serve those who just want to watch, a considerable number.

Report this

By cltx09, June 3, 2009 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

A wonderful piece of writing by Hedges. He has shown in a very readable way, that America is “One hypocritical nation under God”, which many of us knew all along. I left the BEAST many years ago and have never regretted living in and being a citizen of a country that has been at peace for more than 200 years.

Well done, Chris!

Report this
Blueboy1938's avatar

By Blueboy1938, June 3, 2009 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

“War is a continuation of diplomacy using other means.”  Von Clausewitz, “Über den Krieg”

So long as there are nation-states there will be war and preparation for war as a deterrence. Even Hedges admits:  “There is a difference between killing someone who is trying to kill you and taking the life of someone who does not have the power to harm you. The first is killing. The second is murder.”

He then confuses that by saying the civilian casualties specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan are murder.  In some instances, that may be the case, but a charge of murder requires a proving of intent, and if the soldier has no intent to commit murder of civilians, then it is not murder when that happens incidentally to combat operations.

Of course war is a barbaric way to settle international or internascene issues.  Eventually, one hopes, it will cease to be necessary or even feasible.  Unfortunately, that time has not yet come.  Until then, it is futile to argue its immorality either as a way to discourage it or to deal with the consequences on a personal level.  Individual combatants who return from war have both physical and/or psychological consequences with which to deal.  Heaping a charge of immorality, which requires a personal decision to commit acts the person knows to be immoral, does nothing to help those individuals cope with the burdens of post-combat life.  Hughes does a great disservice in conflating their personal trauma with the overall justification for our nation’s engagement in conflict to settle its problems on a moral basis.

Report this

By KDelphi, June 2, 2009 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

I appreciate all the vets against the war in here…

It really is the road to redemption, for yourself as well as others.

As Ghandi said, it is the way out of hell.

Sounds corny, but its true.

Report this

By Sepharad, June 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

A fine article, Mr. Hedges, but as war has always been with us and is the way the world has grown and governs and progresses since the very beginnings, shouldn’t we be trying to figure out a way to make war less (rather than more) lethal? This may sound hopeless, naive, irrelevant to some, but we are never going to stop war so we’d better get a handle on making it smaller and more containable before it makes the earth unfit for habitation.

The West is not the only warlike society. Anarcissie has already mentioned the Eastern wars involving China, Japan, Russia etc. The warlike traditions and unthinkable massacres and human sacrifices of the Mexican, Central and South American civilizations make the Old World’s intrusion pale in comparison. And how do people throw off their oppressors except by revolution—which is also war?  Middle Eastern and Central Asian tribes have fought one another unrelentingly throughout history. Some people otherwise anti-war would justify the American Civil War as just, but the moral issue of slavery (a practice already on the way out) was not the basis for the war; economic issues and manifest destiny notions were the root. The Bolsheviks got rid of the Tsar and hence freed the country of its feudal order even if their economic experiment didn’t work in the long run. Sorbonne students agitating against the Vietnam War were less concerned with their own country’s colonial heritage.

I don’t believe that anyone loves war (except people who profit materially and politically, and for sure people who are not going to do the fighting—i.e. the political rulers and the elites). Human beings will never evolve beyond the need to go to war, particularly not as the world population grows and resources shrink.

We shouldn’t waste time going on about war being a sin, but move right to the real problem: how do we shrink it, minimize the occasions for it, contain it, reduce the human losses? E.g. we shouldn’t be designing weapons that will spare the infrastructure but kill people. That is exactly the wrong direction.

Report this

By tahitifp, June 2, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

Question:  What do we do to be able to read from the top down, instead of bottom up, or is it just me?

Thanks for answering.  grin

Report this

By Rontruth, June 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

In my last post, when I said that “the FBI and CIA, other than…., what I meant to say was that only those few agents, who made the decision to give Jimmy Files’ information to the private detective/investigative firm,  stood up to what many others up the FBI chain knew.

They got the hidden truth about the real shooter who killed Kennedy was/is, Oswald’s real role was to infiltrate, for the FBI that he thought was faitful to Kennedy, the group of assassins who planned to kill Kennedy. He reported on them to Hoover’s FBI office in Dallas.

But by that time, the assassins went up through the chain of command, stopping at Lyndon Johnson. Johnson told Hoover that one of his agents who was causing the illegal (in 1963) CIA/mob run Cuban exile training camps, to do a second invasion of Cuba after the failure at the Bay of Pigs, to be shut down, in accord with JFK’s agreement to end the Cuban missile crisis, made with the Russians.

James Files knew all the players in the scenario above, and told who they were back in 1989, two years before Oliver Stone’s movie, “JFK” was released. He knew of the first draft of National Security Action Memo 263 that ordered the beginning of the withrawal of US troops from Vietnam.

Johnson signed a National Security Action Memo a week after JFK’s death that reversed Kennedy’s withdrawal Memo. But, the Johnson Memo, saying the US should stay in Vietnam, was drafted 5 days BEFORE Kennedy’s death. Johnson signed it within days after Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy knew, because he was involved in killing Kennedy.

Thus, the final proof is in: LBJ, the CIA, Pentagon, anti-Castro Cuban exile veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion, hired thugs to kill JFK so they could have their war in Vietnam!

Report this

By Bboy57, June 2, 2009 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

This part is so true:

“It (war) promises to give us an identity as a warrior, a patriot, as long as we go along with the myth, the one the war-makers need to wage wars and the defense contractors need to increase their profits.

But up close war is a soulless void. War is about barbarity”.

Report this

By Rick F, June 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Chris Hedges.  Your work touches my heart…again.  Born of my war resistance experiences in the 1960s, my struggles to seek the truth and meaning that drive my country’s repeated cavalier forays into mindless violence continue to confound me.  Your writing instills in me the resolve to carry on, to make a difference, and to be heard.

Report this

By tedgresham, June 2, 2009 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

Incredible piece of writing!

A month ago I started climbing out of the troubles I’d had and thought it was time I got involved in the peace movement.  To my surprise I discovered there ISN’T Much of a peace movement.  Most folks have packed their bags and gone home.  Even the big guys don’t answer emails these days. 

SO, I fired up a website myself just to have a link to reference when I wrote our local paper.  This story by Chris Hedges just made the front page there: .

Everything he said I’ve said either on the website or in letters published by our local paper.

Go man, I wish somebody would actually LISTEN!


Report this

By paul bass, June 2, 2009 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

if your not conscripted you are a mercenary.
and if you don’t resist you are a slave

Report this

By Rontruth, June 2, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

Now, if we could all go to that website I listed about 7 or 8 hours ago, and read through the entire site, purchase the two dvds, “JFK 11” and “The Grassy Knoll,” we would know who the real shooter is who stood behind the white picket fence on the grassy knoll and fired from the right front of the Kennedy limousine and obliterated the right hemisphere of JFK’s head, we could send in requests to the site owner, a wealthy Dutch businessman, and ask him to ask Jimmy Files any questions you might want answers to.

He is 67 years old, alive and well, a prisoner at Stateville Prison, Joliet, Illinois for attempted murder of an undercover Chicago cop. The FBI knew about him all along. But, it was only when one daring Special Agent gave a tip to a private investigative firm, that Jimmy was found. He did not want to share that information with anyone. But, they had the goods on him and he finally talked.

The CIA and FBI, other than those few Special Agents who took on the task of uncovering what their boss, cross-dresser and homosexual, J. Edgar Hoover covered up, for Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, Conolly, and someone whose last name we are all recently familiar with. Then we would know how and why we have ended up in the financial, international, and foreign policy messes we are in today.

Report this

By Kesey Seven, June 2, 2009 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment


I guess if I could truly sum up my thoughts on war it would be to quote Jack Nicholson in his role as The Joker: “Never rub another man’s rhubarb.” 

That said, I like the Buddha quote you picked out. 

I’m not comfortable with the word “sin” myself. But having read Mr. Hedges book “American Fascists,” I respect his ideas, where he’s coming from, and his diction.  Besides, saying war is sin is much more comprehensible than saying war is an anachronistic manifestation of the violently insane and pathologically corrupt. Hell, I’m not even sure what the means.

I just know I’d like to see War Is Sin as a headline in The Wall Street Journal.

Report this

By tahitifp, June 2, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Well, I had to go and find this quote by Buddha.

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 2, 2009 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

As an ex marine who spent 13 months in Vietnam, while Bush was evading Vietnam service with Clinton, nor do have USMC tattooed on my forehead, though I am proud of my service as it was. 

I had my problems when I came back, my girl friend married a Republican, my sister joined the Catholic Church and my old boss held my job for me after 4 years.

It took me some time to adjust, we were lucky those that survived, our time spent in nam was only 13 months, we had the option to sign up for 6 more, combat pay was so good then.  Now the way they are screwing with the troops sending them back after little time off really sucks, and sending the National Guard?

After my service I still do not believe we should have been in Vietnam.  As for killing maybe some feel a need to threaten others for some reason?

One thing I can say about the USMC, after watching the Army operate in Nam, I was glad I was in the Marines.

Report this

By tahitifp, June 2, 2009 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment


Instead of a headline “War is Sin,” how about “War, What Would Buddha Say?”  grin

Report this

By Kesey Seven, June 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

I enjoyed this article and the commentary very much. So many ideas, so many thoughts, so many people for peace.  All good.

What I keep wondering is: How many failed and failing newspapers realize that if they would make their headline for tomorrow:  Chris Hedges States “War is Sin,” instead of “Racist A-holes Imply New Supreme Court Nominee Is Racist”—I wonder if those newspapers realize that they could stay afloat, indeed start being profitable again, if they would start judging what is newsworthy by what is relevant and true as opposed to what is simply sensational and false.

Report this

By tahitifp, June 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Bill, thank you for your post.  Every Nam vet I know tells the *same* story and yet the pols don’t hear.

When talking about war, I find it counter-productive to include words like “god, evil, sin, good or bad.”  The orginal definition of “sin” was simply *missing the mark.”  It was an archery term.  The whole concept of Christian *sin* makes me want to pull my hair out.

In war, I don’t think there are any good guys or bad guys; I think those who do the killing are all *fall* guys.

Since, like Bill, I believe in the inter-connectednes of things, when we kill others, we kill ourselves and gradually our souls rot.  War is the most life and soul destroying activity on the planet, keeping us slaves to our reptilian brains as well as to the pols we elect. 

If all fear could be eradicated for just one day, all killing would end. For that day.

R. Buckminster Fuller:

  Either war is obsolete or men are.

Report this

By sophrosyne, June 2, 2009 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges wrote a powerfull piece.  Bush warred against our Constitution and has done a huge amount of damage to our morals, our economy, our security and our way of life.  His 8 years were a horror.  He claims Israel and big oil and the arms industry manipulated him and his excuse is his ineptitude.  I don’t buy his excuse.

Report this

By Rosemary Molloy, June 2, 2009 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Every priest, every minister, every rabbi, every person who goes to a temple, mosque, church, every bible-reader, every theist, everyone who waves a flag on the 4th of July. every person who champions “patriotism” and religion—should read this. 
Then try to argue the opposite.

Report this

By Folktruther, June 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Intresting comment, KDelphi.

Report this

By truedigger3, June 2, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment


I worked and associated with a lot of former USMC men.
Most of them were mild mannered decent men. Many of them got good education up to Master degrees.
None of them gave any hint or displayed the hate and
anger and meaness of spirit you are displaying.
Believe me, I feel sorry for your and sympathise.
I don’t know what is the reason of your feelings.
Do you feel nobody understand or appreciate what you went through? Do you feel that you have been short changed and denied recognition for your service to
your country??
It is obvious that you deeply wish to pick fights
to release some of that anger and hate. Do you beat
your wife and kids regulary or do you have regular fights in the local bar.
The writers in this thread have nothing against you,
they are against war and its, sometimes, destructive effect on people. You are a good example of that. They want to spare additional men from your situation.
Please get help fast before you hurt yourself, your
family or an innocent bystander.

Report this

By Amon Drool, June 2, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

USMC SAM…ok, you’re a tuff guy.  u walk the walk.  only a fool would mess with u.  but, when u enter into a conversation on the web and people disagee with u, u begin threatening them.  don’t people have a right to make judgments about your opinions?

u say that forces have made u who u are.  since certain forces changed u once, can’t other forces change u again?.  you’re 42…aren’t u still becoming?  i suggest u google “smedley butler” and see how another marine was able to evolve throughout his lifetime.

Report this

By Rontruth, June 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Ardee: Just because the majority of the at that time ethnic Jewish population did not accept Yeshua, there were quite a number of Hebrew-speaking observant Jews who did accept Him as the Meschiach. Some historians say that as many as 100,000 Jews accepted him as Messiah. They, and His followers all called him: “Yeshua Ha-Maschiach” (Jesus, the Messiah). The Romans who crucified Him called Him “Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

He was an observant Jew who kept the written Torah, but decried the many additional regulations that the rabbi’s added to what Moses wrote in support of the Ten Commandments. At one point, they even made a regulation that allowed a young man to take his parents’ home and land away from them as long as he willed it, at his own death, to the Temple priests.

Yeshua said to them, “Why do ye break the Commandment of God with your traditions?”

It’s those man-made rules again that somehow allow mankind to break God’s Commandments. Still going on.

Report this

By ardee, June 2, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

USMC SAM, June 2 at 11:31 am #

You know, there are folks here who served as well, I am one such. It has been my experience that those who have seen the elephant seldom talk about it, though all are changed by the experience, in some way, small or large.

Your words speak to a divided nation where “folks like you” should be spoken to differently than others sharing the same citizenship if not the same politics. It makes me wonder what you fought for if not the freedom to speak as one believes?

I served in Viet Nam, I came home and began to work for an end to that awful war because I had seen, first hand, the futility of war itself and the way it destroys everyone involved. You came home believing in war as a solution apparently. Fine and dandy, we could debate that point with civilty or we could simply not speak of it.

But one thing you should understand, Marine, from an old Airborne guy ( yeah I know ARMY stands for Arent Ready to be Marines Yet), political discourse gets testy, people take their beliefs seriously and not everyone has the ability to consider all points of view dispassionately. But silly threats and visualizing this nation as “us vs. them” is not a way to resolve problems or a way to have a great nation either.

Report this

By KDelphi, June 2, 2009 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther—I submit that USMC Sam is another incredibly angry tool of US Imperialism, who has a great deal of trouble identifying the enemy. He has been brainwashed to do so.

Otherwise, he would be in a “military chat” or Sean Hannity’s site.

Whether he escapes this conundrum and uses his rage to fight the system that put him there, is up to him.

I would like to repeat to him that I am not the enemy, but the govt would like you to think that I am , so they dont have to go be cannon fodder.

Do you think that Pres. Obama would do for you what he is asking you to do for him, USMC??

Report this

By Rontruth, June 2, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

Mayor Daley did NOT conspire to kill President Kennedy. He was a Democrat and supporter of Kennedy. The Chicago mobsters, Acardo, Giancana, Nicoletti, and by dint of his beging a driver for Nicoletti, the former US Spec. Ops soldier, James Files, had presented to Daley their desires to kill JFK. They felt that Daley owed them favors. He turned them down because they also owed him favors, and Daley felt he could get by with saying “no” to the mobsters.

The fact that Daley said no, is why Giancana, without Accardo’s knowledge, sent Nicoletti and Files to Dallas. The mayor of Dallas just happened to be Earl Cabbel, the brother of Air Force Gen., Charles Cabbel whom Kennedy had fired along with Allen Dulles and Richard Bissel; the three heads of the CIA.

Report this

By Folktruther, June 2, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

USMC Sam you are obaviouly a psychopathic murderer who belongs in prison not in the military, and shouln ‘t be allowed to have guns, knoves or shouelaces in a civlized society.  you are obviously a dumb psychopathic murderer as well, thinking you can go through life threatening people to make them afraid because you are Tough.  What you are is obscene, part of an increasing number of obscenities who are mercenaries in the US militry, police and intelligence agencies, who are going to be turned loose on the American population as soon as Obama or his successor gets around to it.

Report this

By ardee, June 2, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Rontruth, June 2 at 10:38 am #

Christ (whose Hebrew name was, and is today, Yeshua Ha-Maschiach (Jesus, the Messiah) said to Pilate, the Roman pagan who ruled Palestine for the Roman Empire, “My kingdom is NOT of this world. Were it of this world, My followers would join armies and fight.”


The real truth Ron, is that the Jews do not recognise Christ as the messiah, thus his Hebrew name certainly would not have contained that term.

Try this:
Yeshua bar Yahosef bar Yaqub, Joshua, son of Joseph, son of Jacob

Report this

By Waldo, June 2, 2009 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Two comments:

1)  How long will America’s parents be willing to sacrifice the flower of their youth to Israel’s wars?

2)  Evangelical Christians and the Christian right have sacrificed the right be considered followers of Christ.  They are nothing more than Christianist fascists who should be looked upon as scum.

Report this

By KDelphi, June 2, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

USMC—I dont know who you think that I am, but, I can guarantee you, youve got it all wrong…

I have a sneaking suspicion that your definition of “freedom ” and “liberty” would be quite a bit different than mine.

If I have to “watch how I speak to you”, are we not a military/capitalist dictatorship?

I am not being facetious when I wish you luck. When I protest war, I do it as much for the people who becoming cannon fodder as I do for anything else. It is a class that I belong to, that serves the needs of the rich by getting blown to bits.

Everyone, including me, is not the enemy. I dont want you to get blown up.

Report this

By truedigger3, June 2, 2009 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Rontruth wrote:
“In November, 1963, he and his immediate boss went to Dallas after Mayor Daley of Chicago said “No” to Sam Giancana on plans to assassinate President Kennedy.”


This is a piece of utter nonsense. Why did Daley, a staunch Democrat, and a friend of the kennedies conspire to kill Kennedy? What was his motive?
About Sam Giancana, may be.
Yes, the full story about John F. Kennedy assassination is still hidden and might not be known
for a long time to come or may be forever, but your
story doesn’t make sense at all.

Report this

By USMC SAM, June 2, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Long ago my martial arts instructor asked me, “How do you fight a fire?”, and of course my answer was with fire. And he said, “no, you fight fire with water, you want to put the fire out.” So I tried to develop an understand of things that I don’t understand or agree with, to try and learn to be open minded about such things. You want to demand freedom and liberty, but on your own terms. If anyone’s belief is not your own, it must be wrong and argued. And as for being “long in the tooth”, at 42, I have had a chance to see how “educated” people judge us “cannon fodder”.

I could careless about your judgement of me, I am not asking your forgiveness of anything that I have done, in combat or otherwise. I make no claims to be a decent person who has followed the orders of bad people, only a decent man to my family. I follow my own beliefs. And while you are expression your opinions loud and strong, riding your white horse, take care of how you speak with “us”. We are content to live our lives in quite little towns, keeping to ourselves, but you don’t want to provoke us with you anti-isms. You go burn your flag, enjoy your freedom, but keep your judgement of me and mine to yourself or you may learn to regret it.

Report this

By USArmy CW4 Retired, June 2, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I salute you sir for articulating the feelings that are so difficult to face.  I have forwarded your essay to my children as an explanation for some of my actions. Thank you from the heartland.

Report this

By KDelphi, June 2, 2009 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

USMC—, “...cause I can take a life just as easy as tieing my shoe…”. Well, that’s not good..

I think that you mind not find it that simple, someday in the future. Hopefully, I am wrong.Honestly. But, that is not my experience.

This is a volunteer military now, is it not? But youve been in, did you say, 15 years? The draft has been “off” for a good long while.

Soldiers who can “take a life as easily as tying a shoe”, usually do not feel that way by the end of their lives. We stopped the
“high body count” medals, you know…

I wish you well, because what is done is done.

Report this

By M. Keene, June 2, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It may just turn out that that old adage, ” There was never a good war or a bad peace”, is at least 99.9 percent true.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 2, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Seems wars are like music, every generation feels their war was not as bad as the next. War’s may only seem seem worse and more atrocious, while there are no differences, it is all in the perception. As one becomes long of tooth appreciation of life is seen differently.

Guess we should rate wars with stars, like generals!

Report this

By Rontruth, June 2, 2009 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

The response, “they were given orders,” yet were good people who found themselves in such positions, tells the real story about why we are unable to extricate ourselves, as the human race, from fighting wars. I said that I, and all of us, are hypocrits. I helped fight a war, the one in Vietnam while in the Air Force in Thailand. I saw the dead bodies of American soldiers, and some of Vietnamese.

As far as the killing of President Kennedy, before you go off your rockers, you might go to the site mentioned, and check it out. JFK, after building up the forces in Nam for about two years after Eisenhower started the buildup, made an about-face and started withdrawing US troops from there. He left Castro in power in Cuba, and decided that working for peace was superior to leaders lying to their people about why wars are necessary, then violating the Constitution they swore to uphold, and starting such wars.

Or is it that, as you indicate by your apparent unbridaled acceptance of war as inevitable, that war is acceptable? Which is it?

Report this

By AbuMubarak, June 2, 2009 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, June 2 at 12:28 pm #

You insult USMC Sam with this crap, as well as anyone with a bit of gray matter.  Sam is telling what it’s like to be a DECENT man who’s had to kill and live with it,

Decent people kill innocent people because they were given orders by other decent people?

If you say so

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, June 2, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment


Not another tin-foil hat JFK conspiracy buff!

You insult USMC Sam with this crap, as well as anyone with a bit of gray matter.  Sam is telling what it’s like to be a DECENT man who’s had to kill and live with it, not about a supposed psychopath allegedly involved in a plot against JFK 46 years ago!

Report this

By Rontruth, June 2, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

USMC. I think I understand, not sure though, how you feel, or maybe why you feel as you do. Funny thing about Yeshua: He stood against much, or even most of the organized religious leaders of His time here on earth. They were hypocrits. I am a hypocrit. I think we all are. As a hypocrit, I am a “sinner.” I learned what I know about me not only from the Scriptures, but also from a man now doing a 50 year stint at Stateville Prison, Joliet, Illinois. His name is James Files. His story is found at

He has committed, and admitted doing so, many violent crimes. One of them was when, as a returned US Army Special Forces soldier back from Laos and Cambodia in 1959, he was a driver and hitman for the Chicago mob. In November, 1963, he and his immediate boss went to Dallas after Mayor Daley of Chicago said “No” to Sam Giancana on plans to assassinate President Kennedy. You and I both know what happened a week and a half after Jimmy and Chuck Nicoletti went to Dallas.

While Jimmy was in training at Fort Benning, Georgia, before he went to Laos, Jimmy wrote home to his sister and said, “They have turned me into a killer.” He had already, at age 11, killed a man who had raped and murdered his other sister. He did it with a double-barrel shotgun.

If you go to the site listed above, and click on “The Grassy Knoll” at left of the home page, it will take you to a page of photos of the knoll after the shooting of JFK. Under where it says, Was James Files captured on camera/,” click where it says to.
That will take you to a page with a large still photo of a shadow of a man walking away from Dealey Plaza, behind a white wall. Scroll down about half of the page. You will see a large still frame from the color home movie of the event by Orville Nix.

Take a good quality binoculars, turn it so that the eye-piece is close to the frame, and move it in so you get a close up of what is going on behind the fence. It will shock you. It did me. Then, after careful looking at the man holding the gun behind the fence (it will take some slight squinting), go to the page “Pictures of James Files.”

Jimmy was found. He did not want to tell what he did. The FBI found him while he is in prison for attempting to kill an undercover cop.

Report this

By johannes, June 2, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

Don’t think that if you write ” GOD IS WITH US ” that he is with you, o NO.

The day we where throwen out of the Paradies, he turned his back on us, he stopt helping us.

You can pray the whole day, but he is not anymore on our side, so we have to go the long road alone.

So you cannot trow all the killing an butchering from other humans before him, he has nothing to do with this, its humanity itself who has to take the responsesibility for all this criminal behavior.


Report this

By USMC SAM, June 2, 2009 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

I don’t think I could list all, answer all, but I will give you my thoughts.
Before I left for war, I told my wife, ” I am not sure how this is going to change me, but I know it shall “. I didn’t hunt before I left, wasn’t sure if I could take a life. As for religion, I accepted my fate after the fact. To the one who says there are no good guys, tell it to the policeman. As for the one who would say, it happened before 9/11, ask them what they didn’t like. I think about the bad guy breaking into a house, he doesn’t tell me why, but he is willing to bring pain and death to my family. I was unsure before war if I could take a mans life, even if he wasa threat to the lives of my family. I don’t fasinate myself with poems, poetry, thoughts of being a hero. I didn’t ask to become what I am, but now that I am, do you think your words can “unmake” me. Do you think telling me I am a big ole sinner, will make me cry in the middle of the night asking myself why? Or maybe, the term PTSD makes it easier for “ya” to bear. You say what you please, do as you please, but I exist, this thing I didn’t choose to be, but was made into. I don’t need you pity, your support, or anything else from you. And make no mistake, while you are passing judgement on “us”, keep your comments to yourself around my family, cause I can take a life just as easy as tieing my shoe.

Report this

By Rontruth, June 2, 2009 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

Christ (whose Hebrew name was, and is today, Yeshua Ha-Maschiach (Jesus, the Messiah) said to Pilate, the Roman pagan who ruled Palestine for the Roman Empire, “My kingdom is NOT of this world. Were it of this world, My followers would join armies and fight.”
“Jesus,” as His followers call him today, not knowing, or perhaps even caring about His actual words to them, obviously stood/stands firmly AGAINST ALL WARs and FIGHTING! He, thereby expanded the Commandment, “Thou shalt NOT kill.” He was the One who gave Moses that Commandment by writing it on tables of stone with His own finger.

Therefore it seems obvious that “Jews” or “Christians” should stand together and demand that our government STOP defending corporations in their efforts to steal the natural resources of other nations by using their influence and money to buy Congress and the President, thereby sending US troops to fight in wars of theft. Stealing is breaking another Commandment, by the way.

Report this

By samosamo, June 2, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

By AbuMubarak, June 2 at 6:35 am
““I have always wondered how do Christians, who pride themselves in being part of a religion of LOVE, and how “Thou shall not kill” can justify going to war for a secular government or even a religious government?”“

I refer you to ‘euphemistic’ language which is used to control most any organized religious fool that has been ‘trained’ not to think for him/her self and couple that with the desire for violence when there is little probability of being a participant and the media’s part of keeping pictures and video of real hard core violence from the people, then they will think that wars and killing are appropriate.

Try a ‘search’ on google for ‘pictures of death and violence in iraq or afghanistan to see what I mean because it isn’t a sin if you’re hoodwinked into believing it necessary.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 2, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment


“check out the body counts in the Sino-Japanese wars and the Chinese civil wars”.

After reading a little about the Japanese and what they did to the Chinese, one story is Japanese solders tossed babies in the air and caught them with their bayonets.

Difference may be now have the web as news conduit and maybe more information is available from other sources than just the MSM, Back in the 1940’s, though the media may have been controlled, we are hearing more about the death and destruction now, even compared to what was heard from Vietnam which had many more dead and wounded, especially US troops.

Virgina from Virgina,

An interesting premise. Supporting the troops in what ever they do is an unwitting part of war. The Germans and Japanese both did it or were taken care of.

Troops are the nations kids, cannon fodder for the elite.  As morals decline or becomes less apparent in troops endeavors it would seem harder to support them blindly, but my feeling is the nations morals have declined in unison. So what were atrocities yesterday are accepted today, example as torture becomes accepted and normal?

The premise of overpopulation is a good one, for in wars of old, boundaries were much closer and wars seemed frequent.  Opportunists as fanatics or fanatics as opportunists?

Report this

By Bill Bokamper, June 2, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think this is the best article Chris Hedges has ever done. I’m a Vietnam Vet., navy. Every word he said in this article is true. War is legalized mass-murder. You can’t be involved in it even indirectly and it not affect you. -(I was a cook on a destroyer, shelling Quang Tri province, “the streets without joy”). The NVA had dug in among the civilians, mostly women and children. The massacre went on for 5 months. Nixon was never held accounatble. Our chaplains never mentioned the slaughter going on in Vietnam, but they wanted us to avoid the brown-colored prostitutes of Olangapo, next to our base at Subic Bay, where we went for repairs and R & R.

I’ve been an anti-war nut since, I have no faith in Presidents or Congress who always rubber stamp their leaders. I left the Christian church in 1975, for Atheism, then for Eastern religions. There is no “Us versus them”, there is only “us”. We are all interconnected, which is why I am still heart broken over “Linebacker 1”, 37 years ago.

Report this

By Mac, June 2, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AbuMubarak said: “Regarding sin of war; I have always wondered how do Christians, who pride themselves in being part of a religion of LOVE, and how “Thou shall not kill” can justify going to war for a secular government or even a religious government?

I would think the mantra of “turn the other cheek” should be used in their government, as well as the individuals.”

Jesus gave us all the information we need in words and in deeds. He warned that there would be many people who would do evil in His name and He would call them on it. The Beatitudes essentially puts Jesus’ message into words; this was not merely “feel-good” rhetoric: they are words to live by:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
  For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
  For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
  For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
  For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
  For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
  For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
  For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
  For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, AND SAY ALL KINDS OF EVIL AGAINST YOU FALSELY FOR MY SAKE. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

A few short (HUGELY IMPORTANT) verses later, Jesus’ words should instill fear in the hearts of any Christian; a fear FAR greater than any delusional fantasies about “Islamofascists”:

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The people who condone and encourage war and torture in the name of God are placing their earthly allegiances before God. They’re making a choice and placing their souls in peril. They’re also turning others away from God who may have turned TOWARD Him instead. If salvation is one’s primary concern, as it should be, one should err very far from such blatant affronts to the teachings of Christ and from God’s commandments.

CHRISTIANITY IS a religion of love and supreme forgiveness and mercy. HUMANITY has an unlimited potential for depravity, hypocrisy, and pride. God gives us the tools and the template for salvation. He also gives us the free will to use them or abuse them.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 2, 2009 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

In the case I read about, the chimpanzees were living on an island, so space was limited.  There were three tribes, each with its territory, and more or less constant warfare along their boundaries.

Report this

By ardee, June 2, 2009 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, June 1 at 11:19 pm #

Actually, RD, the chimp wars ARE deadly—that was what made the zoologists and anthropologists take note.  Other intra-specie deadly battles are inevitably between individuals, or, very rarely over unusual conditions like too many wolf-packs in a restricted area because the wilderness was cut down.

What makes the chimp wars so unusual is that they are armies making war on their own species, indeed, within their own troop.


I had forgetton this research, but I was certain this issue to be in doubt. Chimp violence is usually directed at members of other “tribes” and not usually found within ones own circle..In any case there are dissenters among anthropologists who believe that the shrinking habitat and man’s depredations are the real cause of this violence, unique among the animal community.

some anthropologists question parallels between human and chimp violence.

The frequency of chimp killings “has been exaggerated,” said Brian Ferguson, a professor of sociology and anthropology at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J.

The first reports of chimp violence came in the 1970s in Tanzania, he said, when whole chimp communities were supposedly wiped out by others. But “in many cases, all we know for sure is that some chimps disappeared,” he said, adding that some researchers have “a tendency to take a disappeared chimpanzee as a killed chimpanzee.” Some of the animals might have just left, he added.

A possibly darker dimension to the tale is that human interference might have induced the violence, Ferguson added. This might have occurred because human activities put pressure on the chimps’ land and food resources, forcing them to duke it out over the dwindling remains.

The worst of the environmental depradations, such as logging, seems to have ended at the national parks housing the chimps in the studies, Ferguson added; but human pressure continues. For instance, he said, forest cover for chimps has vanished all around Kibale National Park, home of the chimps in Watts’ study, who accounted for eight of the 11 killings mentioned in the two new reports.

“They’re totally hemmed in now,” Ferguson said of the chimps at Kibale. “It’s a very human kind of situation: a population that’s growing, that can’t go anywhere, may be beginning to run down its resources.” The Ngogo chimp community, the one Watts reported on, is gigantic for a chimp community, he added; researchers have estimated its membership at more than 150.

If modern civilization is pushing chimps to battle each other, it wouldn’t be a totally unprecedented finding. It would fit a widely believed theory that war is basically a product of modern civilization. This view, first popularized by the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the mid-1700s, got a boost in 2002, when new research suggested Native Americans had been more peaceful before Europeans landed in America than afterward.

Anthropologists at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Ohio State University examined more than 5,000 Native American skeletons and found that those from after Christopher Columbus landed in the New World showed a rate of traumatic injuries more than 50 percent higher than those from before. Some researchers speculated that the increased violence evident in the bones might have stemmed from such factors as disputes over access to Western goods and weapons, and White people’s expansion forcing once-separate groups of natives together.


Like most subjects this one is complex and not easily determined.

Report this

By glinky, June 2, 2009 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

These words in Hedges article are deeply powerful.  They come from the soul and go to the soul.  I could not read them without crying…for the resonance they struck within me.

I have not seen war directly the way Mr. Hedges has..only the aftermath of WWII.. but I have seen suffering of many types and have the capacity to recogize truth.

Thank you, Chris Hedges, for sharing your own suffering with us.

Report this

By Dr. Rick Lippin, June 2, 2009 at 4:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is so powerful I would say that Chris Hedges has written a new patriotic national anthem.

Dr. Rick Lippin

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, June 2, 2009 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, June 2 at 12:50 am #

It’strue, Anarcisse, that there were enormous casualties of Chinese war, but from a much bigger population.  I suppose, though, that doesn’t support my argument.

Inherit said once that Troy controlled the Dardenelles and therefore there was a power reason for the Trojan war besides Helen’s face.

Inherit isn’t a hater, hawkeye, just combative and wrong, although not as wrong as you.

Sure I’m combative—and so is FT.  Nothing wrong with that.  Even though FT has made it his personal mission to be wrong as much as possible, he still doesn’t turn the corner into justifying war.  And FT is certainly not as wrong as you are, Hawkeye.  (How you soil that great M*A*S*H name)  Hawkeye NEVER justified war, and the only time he ever fired a gun it was straight up.  He did slug a couple of people though, but always warmongers.

Report this

By ardee, June 2, 2009 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

kanara, June 1 at 10:46 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

my father was a fighter pilot in WW11 and among the crew who dropped the bomb on Nagasaki.

Clarification please. There were no fighter planes involved in that sortee, only bombers.Two such bombers were flown over Nagasaiki, which was incidentally, a secondary target as the original was covered in fog.

Report this

By AbuMubarak, June 2, 2009 at 3:35 am Link to this comment


I asked you a question in the Bush Torture thread. I do not know if you read it.

Regarding sin of war; I have always wondered how do Christians, who pride themselves in being part of a religion of LOVE, and how “Thou shall not kill” can justify going to war for a secular government or even a religious government?

I would think the mantra of “turn the other cheek” should be used in their government, as well as the individuals.

Report this
prole's avatar

By prole, June 2, 2009 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

“The Rev. William P. Mahedy, who was a Catholic chaplain in Vietnam, tells of a soldier, a former altar boy, in his book… who says to him: ‘Hey, Chaplain ... how come it’s a sin to hop into bed with a mama-san but it’s okay to blow away gooks out in the bush?’”  He might also have asked, how come it’s a sin for an altar boy to hop into bed with a mana-san but it’s ok for a Catholic priest to hop into bed with an altar boy? Poor altar boys, if ther’re not getting screwed by priests they’re getting screwed by the government. Maybe that’s why Mahedy - like the Berrigans - left the Catholic Church and he has since become an Episcopal cleric. When it comes to immorality, the Catholic Church certainly runs neck-and-neck with the U.S. government. The Church at Rome obviously got off to a big head start, starting down the wicked path of sin a couple of millennia before the American Great Satan but they’re both still keeping up a furious pace in the Sin Olympics. Evangelicals will probably have to settle for a bronze. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a more venal institution in the whole history of the world than the Catholic monstrosity. It’s probably been involved in more dirty intrigue, more co-habitation with fascist dictators, more outright debauchery, more mercenary machinations than any other person, place or thing in creation. Even the sordid record of the self-Chosen People in the Old Testament and ever since can’t quite match it, at least not in quantity, although maybe in intensity. Protestants are a mixed bag. Obviously, there are the variety whose favorite hymn is ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ but then too there are some like The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser who condemned the invasion of Iraq as “immoral, illegal and ill-advised”. The WCC Central Committee, issued a formal statement in Sept.‘03 too, which among other things: 
“Deplores the invasion and occupation of Iraq by foreign forces as an act of aggression in violation of the United Nations Charter and International Law” and
“Declares that preventive and pre-emptive war violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter”.
  Rhetoric of religion which was not “melding” with the rhetoric of the state at the time - or now either, even after the recent U.S. regime change - but none of which, of course, had the slightest effect in changing anything. For all he cared, born-again Bush might just as well have paraphrased Stalin and asked, how many divisions does the WCC have?  But perhaps there is still some prescience in what the founder of Protestantism, the towering Martin Luther once opined, “No Christian shall wield or invoke the sword for himself or his cause. On behalf of another, however, he may and should wield it to restrain wickedness.” Sadly. that may be the only way Wickedness incarnate in the form of the American and Israeli aggressor states can ultimately be restrained. In the words of scripture, ‘Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.’  And as for the wickedness of the Catholic church which Luther was unable to reform from within, it can only be wondered if they haven’t so perverted scripture as to interpret the words of their savior not as, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me’ but to mean ‘the little children shall suffer under me’. May both the Church and state ‘meld’ in Hell!

Report this

By C. Curtis Dillon, June 2, 2009 at 1:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Common people are always victims of those who see political division as a vehicle for power and financial gain.  Think back through history ... when did legitimate grievances become political movements?  When did those movements become violent and confrontational?  At some point, a champion stepped forward and galvanized anger into something more powerful and potent.  He manipulated emotions and utilized strong images and words to mold scattered actions into a coherent army of discontent.  I’m sure he believed that violence was a logical outcome of this manipulation and was prepared to sacrifice as many of his followers as was necessary to achieve his political goals.  And therein lies the issue ... he sacrificed others to advance a personal agenda.  The common citizens of a country became the fodder fed into the cannon of his lust.

The events after 9/11 are classic in this regard.  America was wounded and angry.  Bush/Cheney stepped forward and filled the air with words of war and revenge.  We were more than willing to listen.  We wanted someone to pay for these transgressions against our national pride.  It didn’t matter that much of the rhetoric was manufactured and false.  We knew, deep down, that the Arabs did the dirty deed.  Few of us took time to question the reasoning which was obviously flawed.  Those who did were made to feel unpatriotic.  Even God was stridently in favor of revenge.

It was only much later that the fallacy of their arguments began to shatter the wall of solidarity.  We now know the facts were forged and the justification unsupported.  We sent our sons, fathers and husbands to die for a lie.  And the real reason for the wars has emerged, ugly and raw.  Power and greed drove the decisions, not national pride.  Oil and political influence in a volatile but essential part of the world were the real drivers of this movement.  Once again, personal lust for power turned our legitimate pain and suffering into something tainted.

Men like USMC SAM, I salute your patriotism.  A country needs those who are willing to sacrifice and fight for the liberties we all enjoy.  But you should be angry that your feeling for this country were used to advance a political agenda.  Afghanistan may have been justified although we failed to punish the actual masterminds of 9/11.  Iraq was not justified and to believe that we liberated those people from a despot is to misunderstand the muddled politics of the region.  We have not clarified anything in that country and probably killed more innocents than Saddam in all his years of brutality.  When we leave, the country will degenerate into civil war with many millions more sacrificed on the alter of democratic reform.  In the end, another murderer as vicious as Saddam will emerge and nothing will have changed except for the seething hatred of America and all she stands for.

War will end only when people realize that the justification for violence is never as concrete as our political leaders would like us to believe.  We have accomplished nothing in either Afghanistan or Iraq except teach more generations of people to hate America.  We are no safer today than we were before 9/11.  More attacks are almost a given in the current climate.  America squandered an opportunity to show the Islamic world that we are better than them and their politics of revenge but we didn’t and now the wheels of Arab revenge are turning once again.  Someone must break the continuing cycle of violence and reach out the the aggrieved on all sides.  I fear this is not possible.

Report this

By Folktruther, June 1, 2009 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

It’strue, Anarcisse, that there were enormous casualties of Chinese war, but from a much bigger population.  I suppose, though, that doesn’t support my argument. 

Inherit said once that Troy controlled the Dardenelles and therefore there was a power reason for the Trojan war besides Helen’s face.

Inherit isn’t a hater, hawkeye, just combative and wrong, although not as wrong as you.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, June 1, 2009 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

Hawkeye, June 1 at 11:43 pm #


You spew hate from deep, deep down. Must have been an intense indoctrination in your childhood. Bet you never knew.

What kind of idiocy is this, Hawkeye? Are you saying I should NOT hate leaders that falsely take us into wars?

Are you dyslexic, reversing things so they make no sense, or are you simply morally bankrupt?

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 1, 2009 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

Blackspeare—you forgot the great contribution of war to art, entertainment, philosophy, religion, medicine, science in general, and community spirit.  A hundred years ago people were so impressed that “the moral equivalent of war” was sought.  But it turned out that war wasn’t going away after all.

The big problem is that, due to the progress of technology, war is becoming increasingly dangerous even to bystanders.  It is really not inconceivable—in fact, it is virtually certain—that some military event will destroy most or all of the human race if this pursuit of death and destruction continues for very much longer.  This is mankind’s bitter fate—a happy life of banging around in the woods and beating others of one’s kind to death is no longer available.

“Once, man could not do as he desired.  Now, he can do as he desires—and he must change his desires, or perish.” 

Folktruther—check out the body counts in the Sino-Japanese wars and the Chinese civil wars.  They are really quite remarkable.  A couple of other non-Western places with impressive scores given their small populations are, of course, Cambodia and Rwanda, but I suppose these can be blamed on the West if you want to try hard enough.  Generally I think a talent for mass slaughter has been generously distributed among the nations; we needn’t think we have any monopoly on badness.

Report this

By Virginia from Virginia, June 1, 2009 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To USMC SAM, who wrote: “I wish someone would tell the bad guys not to attack us…... But as long as they do, people like me will be glad to hunt them down.”  Uh, SAM, the men who attacked us are dead.  You might ask yourself why they didn’t like us.  They said they disliked our policies which caused misery to their people.  So, even if you disagree with their views, things didn’t start with 9/11.

But what I started to write is:  I think it’s counter-productive for us Americans to “Support Our Troops” or to say “Thank you for your service.”

Such sentiments encourage our fellow citizens to think that joining the military is a noble thing to do and that their military service helps our nation.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, June 1, 2009 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

Actually, RD, the chimp wars ARE deadly—that was what made the zoologists and anthropologists take note.  Other intra-specie deadly battles are inevitably between individuals, or, very rarely over unusual conditions like too many wolf-packs in a restricted area because the wilderness was cut down.

What makes the chimp wars so unusual is that they are armies making war on their own species, indeed, within their own troop.

The problem with human war is it’s very easy to come up with a scenario to justify it—you are attacked, you pursue and destroy the attacker. 

Yet the pols all know this—and that’s how those murderous bastards in Bush’s WH got us into Iraq—which pretty much everyone posting at TD agrees was a criminal enterprise by the Bush gang, and a wrongful war (ie, not controversy on that point).

So when have the pols drummed up a false threat, and when are “we” (whatever nation that is) actually the attacked?  How do we know?  If Upper Slobovia’s leaders convince the Slobovians that the US is a threat and start attacking us, how do we know that the threat is real and not drummed up by our leaders?

I, for one, do not attribute better and higher motives to non-American leaders than to American ones.

So…how do we know it’s real or fake?

Report this

By kanara, June 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

my father was a fighter pilot in WW11 and among the crew who dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. he didn’t consider it an atrocity but a victory. what about all the hundreds of thousands of civilians who suffered and died?
that’s war. he said.
my brother was killed in vietnam. my parents in their 80’s support this middle east holocaust. they go to church every day.
something happens to people who have a collective mentality. they shut off their brains. they’re not cruel or stupid they’re just afraid to think for’s pitiful. what gives some of us the courage to be individuals? guess you’re born that way.

Report this

By rockinrobin, June 1, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Democracy it is NOT; nor even what our forefathers planned; you have no right nor are recognized in the USA unless you are a Corporation; FASCISM; “exploitation is the WAY democracy WORKS it is THIS or COMMUNISM”; Exploitation is the TARGETING & HARMING for PERSONAL PROFIT & GAIN; it is a CRIME; backed up in a court of law that is more criminal than any appearing before them;
MONSANTO, maker of AGENT ORANGE, WHITE Phosphorus, & many other chemicals; owned & operated by POLITICIANS like BUSH/CLINTON; close ties with RUMSFELD & many more: “population control” they claim pumping chemcials agressively into everything to profit again as they also own pharma; look again at the top: paid $1b to Pakistan to create & train a Taliban********because $1b is a tear drop compared to the trillions & trillions & trillions of $ in return; do whatever you want whenever you want with as much money as you will ever want and never be brought to justice! we have successfully gotten away with it in the USA for decades; all you have to do is say “you are free” to the PEOPLE; who are so incredibly stupid they will believe anything you say; bringing a very young 16 yr old boy over claiming “masterminded” the pirates of Somalia; in reality they are paid well by WEALTHY BUSINESSMEN; and guess who THEY might be??? when will the people of the USA ever learn? when will they ever learn?

Report this

By TheHandyman, June 1, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa who came home to get drafted to fight in Vietnam the irony of it all was not lost on me. I had already seen things done by our governement in our name that was appalling. So what I saw in Vietnam was the same thing except on a much more ferocious and grander scale. The military is not all that much different in their approach to human behaior than are corporations. There are always the illusionary threats be they corporate spies and the competition or those evil freedom haters from foriegn countries or religious extremist groups. As if there is nothing extremist about the Christians who want Muslims destroyed and Armegeddon and the Rapture to take place and to hell with the rest of humanity.

Wars have been fought for as long as one group of humans wanted something another group had. The religiously deluded keep telling us that without religion Evil would be the only way and yet I can’t help but remember what some ancient Greek had to say about GOD.

Is GOD willing to prevent Evil, but not willing?
Then He is not omnipotent!
Is is willing, but not able?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both willing, and able?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is He neither willing, nor able?
Then why call him GOD?

War has evolved rapidly to the point where it can now take place with military people leaving their homes and going to a base where they can command a robotic killing device, bombing, rocketing, shooting someone, anyone, whoever the designated enemy of the State is, and then return home at night to be with their family and act as if what they were doing has no consequences. The people flying these ummanned drones are finding out that it does not take the rigors of combat to take a toll on the human psyche. Suicides are mounting.

Kipling said it as well as anyone over a hundred years or so ago,

“when they ask why we died,
tell them it was because our father’s lied!”

Humans are very slow learners and that is why all signs point to us being a dead end species! And it is the people like Mr. Macho, probably never been in combat USMC Sam who will always answer the call to do what no sane or rational human should ever do, kill someone they don’t know for no good reason other than they were told to do so.

Report this

By TAO Walker, June 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

Is war still “A SIN” when waged for the greater glory of that “god of Abraham” who was in-fact the same tormentor (using yet another alias, ie: ‘Yahwey’) known to the Greeks as ‘Ares’ and the Romans as ‘Mars’?  The Arabs call “him” ‘Allah’. 

Neither is it any mere ‘coincidence’ that the “civilized” peoples everywhere have been reduced to gibbering idiocy in their dim-witted efforts to “rationalize” systemically insane behavior already well-along toward evicting them forcefully from further participation in the Song ‘n’ Dance of Life Herownself here in the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth….She being the same “Holy Spirit” one Hebrew prophet is said to’ve warned direly about “....blasphem(ing) against….,” a couple millennia ago.  Same fellah is supposed to’ve urged his followers to “Make peace in all matters.”  Go figure!

WAR is a symptom of the same disease decimating all the Peoples of the Earth here in these latter days….not even to mention Earth Herself.  Sure, it’s maybe the most immediately and lastingly traumatizing among them, but it’s hardly the only one.  That disease is domestication, and six-and-a-half billion members of the subspecies homo domesticus are its ‘carriers.’  There’s your real “crisis,” tame Sisters and Brothers….and yes, it is genuinely “existential.”

We’re all going through ‘The Eye of The Needle’ pretty soon.  Camels will make it easily.  Ideological, institutional, or any other kind of “baggage” won’t go through at all….especially true of all that UNNATURAL “male enhancement” known as “arms.”  No one will be bothering, either, to pry anybody’s “cold dead hands” from the damned things.

“It’s closing time.”


Report this

By Folktruther, June 1, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie- In the last half of the 20th century the US has killed about four million people in the Korena war, three milliion in the Vietnam war, and over a million in the Iraqi war.  That is the White Man killing non-White people, US being the dominant Western power.  This not including all other US massacres in the third world.

Any other countries you know with a similar record?

Report this

By ardee, June 1, 2009 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, June 1 at 10:22 am #

  <b>ardee: <b>
  ‘USMC SAM, June 1 at 8:10 am #

  I think your analysis superficial….’

I think Sam has it down to the essence.  To wit: “We are good, the others are bad, therefore we can kill as many of them as we like.”

“If they can convince you of absurdities they can coerce you into atrocities.”

Of course those who wage wars for conquest or profit or simply to stay in power must manipulate the minds of the cannon fodder. It becomes so much easier when we can limit participation to a small minority of the population too….A draft should be essential to a declaration of war, bring it home to everyone.

  In fact, tribes of chimpanzees have been discovered who wage war.  It’s an old game.

Yeah but monkey wars seldom result in death, or even injury, all display and show. Perhaps Darwin had it wrong then?

I will continue to believe that there is an evolutionary stage in which we will pass beyond the need for war at all. If not then perhaps the cockroach will do a better job once its their turn.

Report this
Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, June 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

WOW, every comment is anti-war.  There must be at least one individual out there with the gumption to present the virtues of warfare.  If not, let me be the first.  First, without wars, our world would be severely over-crowded with ensuing massive poverty, starvation and disease.  Second, wars cull the population and those generally less skilled and less fit are the victims.  Third, wars fuel the economy and are useful to provide full employment.  And like General Patton said, Don’t die for your country, make sure the enemy dies for his!”

Report this

By jonr, June 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our rationalization is exactly the same rationalization used by our enemies, “We are the good guys and God is on our side.  Any violence we do is only in the name of self-defense, pre-emptive or otherwise, and therefore necessary, and therefore justified.” 
It is always the fault of somebody else for threatening us, or or family, or our way of life.  If only “they” hadn’t been a threat to us in some way or other, “they” would still be alive.
We are the good guys, after all, and God is on our side.

It’s all so simple.

And, in case it’s not simple, in case no real threat exists, one may always be invented.  Keep trying, and eventually a justification can be found.  It worked in Armenia, it worked in Germany, it worked in Cambodia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Iraq… pretty much works every time.

The other guys are “the good guys” too, by the way, and God is on their side, also.  Just ask them.

Report this

By Spiritgirl, June 1, 2009 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

I appreciate your article, but it might have helped if you had done this, before the lies that got this nation into these last wars were begun.  Under the rube of “patriotic American” the last Mis-Administration with the yellow streaks down their backs (because none of them went to VietNam) they sent our children into “Wars of Empire”!  All for what OIL, Corporate Profits because it certainly wasn’t for those “WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION’!

No, these con artists used religion, and patriotism in the worst way and as a nation we must say ENOUGH!  The time has come for this war to end, not for our enemies, but to save ourselves! WAR is HELL!

Report this

By KDelphi, June 1, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

Everybody in , nobody out! (Bush, Cheney, Obama, their kids, over 16 yrs old)

“War is always about betrayal. It is about betrayal of the young by the old, of cynics by idealists, and of soldiers and Marines by politicians..  They nurse a self-destructive anger and resentment, understandable and justified, but also crippling. ..and those of us who refuse to heed their words become complicit in the evil they denounce.”

Amen, from a moral atheist…Af-Pak is Obama’s “war” now…

But, then again, it doesnt seem to bother others, and, the “support of out troops” mantra , in this “Overseas Contingency Operation” border on annointing sainthood…

Also, from one who has worked with former “war mongers” of the USMC,Sam—your behavior and, the behavior of the US should not be a reaction to others’ behavior—you should follow your moral code. At this rate,, you become what you claim to wish to destroy.

I agree with Leefeller—everybody in, nobody out!! Let the “Commander in Chief” lead “his troops” into war…

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

Being in agreement with the content of Hedges article, but not with the religious guides needed to speak in terms for some to understand. Sin, prophets for example. Will they work?

Horrors of war are worse than can be imagined, of course they are.  It would seem if everyone went to war their would not be some wars.  For example if Bush had gone to Vietnam, but my argument falls short when one looks at McCain. 

Notice how little public attention is afforded towards the war now, only difference is we can now see the flag draped coffins, where Bush wanted people to go shopping.

Hedges, article as a sermon may reach some dim witted religious folks, one can only hope.

Report this

Page 3 of 4 pages  <  1 2 3 4 >

Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide