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War of the Whales


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Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War

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Posted on Mar 19, 2012
Illustration by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

(Page 3)

Steele had come to understand the reality of his work, a reality that stripped away the self-righteous, high-octane gloss. When he was in Sarajevo he was “in a place called Sniper’s Alley” and “filmed a girl there who had been hit in the neck by a sniper’s bullet,” he wrote. “I filmed her in the ambulance, and only after she was dead, I suddenly understood that the last thing she had seen was the reflection of the lens of the camera I was holding in front of her. This wiped me out. I grabbed the camera, and started running down Sniper’s Alley, filming at knee level the Bosnians running from place to place.”

A year after the end of the war in Sarajevo, I sat with Bosnian friends who had suffered horribly. A young woman, Ljiljana, had lost her father, a Serb, who refused to join the besieging Serb forces around the city. A few days earlier she had to identify his corpse. The body was lifted, water running out of the sides of a rotting coffin, from a small park for reburial in the central cemetery. Soon she would emigrate to Australia—where, she told me, “I will marry a man who has never heard of this war and raise children that will be told nothing about it, nothing about the country I am from.”

Ljiljana was young. But the war had exacted a toll. Her cheeks were hollow, her hair dry and brittle. Her teeth were decayed and some had broken into jagged bits. She had no money for a dentist; she hoped to have them fixed in Australia. Yet all she and her friends did that afternoon was lament the days when they lived in fear and hunger, emaciated, targeted by Serb gunners on the heights above. They did not wish back the suffering. And yet, they admitted, those may have been the fullest days of their lives. They looked at me in despair. I had known them when hundreds of shells a day fell nearby, when they had no water to bathe in or wash their clothes, when they huddled in unheated flats as sniper bullets hit the walls outside.

What they expressed was disillusionment with a sterile, futile and empty present. Peace had again exposed the void that the rush of war, of battle, had filled. Once again they were—as perhaps we all are—alone, no longer bound by a common struggle, no longer given the opportunity to be noble, heroic, no longer sure of what life was about or what it meant. The old comradeship, however false, had vanished with the last shot.

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Moreover, they had seen that all the sacrifice had been for naught. They had been, as we all are in war, betrayed. The corrupt old Communist Party bosses, who became nationalists overnight and got them into the mess in the first place, had grown rich off their suffering and were still in power. Ljiljana and the others faced a 70 percent unemployment rate. They depended on handouts from the international community. They understood that their cause, once as fashionable in certain intellectual circles as they were themselves, lay forgotten. No longer did actors, politicians and artists scramble to visit during the cease-fires—acts that were almost always ones of gross self-promotion. They knew the lie of war, the mockery of their idealism, and struggled with their shattered illusions. And yet, they wished it all back, and I did, too.

Later, I received a Christmas card. It was signed “Ljiljana from Australia.” It had no return address. I never heard from her again. But many of those I worked with as war correspondents did not escape. They could not break free from the dance with death. They wandered from conflict to conflict, seeking always one more hit.

By then, I was back in Gaza and at one point found myself pinned down in still another ambush. A young Palestinian 15 feet away was fatally shot through the chest. I had been lured back but now felt none of the old rush, just fear. It was time to break free, to let go. I knew it was over for me. I was lucky to get out alive.

Kurt Schork—brilliant, courageous and driven—could not let go. He died in an ambush in Sierra Leone along with another friend of mine, Miguel Gil Moreno. His entrapment—his embrace of Thanatos, of the death instinct—was never mentioned in the sterile and antiseptic memorial service held for him in Washington, D.C. Everyone tiptoed around the issue. But those of us who had known him understood he had been consumed.

I had worked with Kurt for 10 years, starting in northern Iraq. Literate, funny—it seems the brave are often funny. He and I passed books back and forth in our struggle to make sense of the madness around us. His loss is a hole that will never be filled. His ashes were placed in Sarajevo’s Lion Cemetery, for the victims of the war. I flew to Sarajevo and met the British filmmaker Dan Reed. It was an overcast November day. We stood over the grave and downed a pint of whiskey. Dan lit a candle. I recited a poem the Roman lyric poet Catullus had written to honor his dead brother.

By strangers’ costs and waters, many days at sea,
I come here for the rites of your unworlding,
Bringing for you, the dead, these last gifts of the living
And my words—vain sounds for the man of dust.
Alas, my brother,
You have been taken from me. You have been taken from me,
By cold chance turned a shadow, and my pain.
Here are the foods of the old ceremony, appointed
Long ago for the starvelings under the earth:
Take them: your brother’s tears have made them wet: and take
Into eternity my hail and my farewell.

It was there, among 4,000 war dead, that Kurt belonged. He died because he could not free himself from war. He had been trying to replicate what he had found in Sarajevo, but he could not. War could never be new again. Kurt had been in East Timor and Chechnya. Sierra Leone, I was sure, meant nothing to him.

Kurt and Miguel could not let go. They would have been the first to admit it. Spend long enough at war, and you cannot fit in anywhere else. It finally kills you. It is not a new story. It starts out like love, but it is death.

War is the beautiful young nymph in the fairy tale that, when kissed, exhales the vapors of the underworld.

The ancient Greeks had a word for such a fate: ekpyrosis.

It means to be consumed by a ball of fire. They used it to describe heroes.


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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, March 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

2.

There are scholars who devote their lives to the study
of religious texts and whose philosophy is dictated by
their studies, and there are scholars who devote their
lives to the study of science whose philosophy is dictated
by their studies, such, from both examples, are doctrinaire
in their thinking and believe only in the “authority” of their
respective fields of study, regardless of the harm that will
result from their thinking and dialectic.

Your observations are faulty, JDmysticDJ.  The difference between the
religious scholars and the scientific scholars is that the scientists are
open to revision of their empirical studies, they welcome challenges or
counterproofs of their conclusions, where the religionists are not and do
not admit skepticism, but are driven to fanaticism by dogma and who
catechize their “followers” to not think for themselves.  Science exalts
questioning, where religionists find it anathema.  Science encourages
serious investigation, religion does not.

Convincing mankind that war is: barbaric, extremely cruel, and
tragically and horribly counter productive, and to be avoided at all costs
might well be a mammoth task but convincing the American People that
our military activities are such is not at all beyond the realm of possibility
and that sentiment is growing little by little within the populace and
within our politics.

Completely vague and your usual windy rhetoric. 

Every voice that argues war is acceptable, or unavoidable, is a
voice that perpetuates war. Shenonymous belongs to the Sam Harris,
Christopher Hitchens, atheist school of liberalism that argues war is
unavoidable and in that respect justified.

You simply prevaricate, that means you are a liar.  You will have to prove
this or suffer being a complete ass instead of being only half-assed.

“Just war” is never just and the carpet bombing of civilian
populations with incendiary bombs which kill tens of thousands of
innocents in a single bombing mission, the indiscriminate use off
napalm, white phosphorus, death dealing explosives of all kinds
including nuclear weapons and the most barbaric kinds of massacre,
slaughter, and mutilations have been by-products of “Just war,” and
those by-products have not at all been anomalous, those by-products
are always present during “Just war.”

I completely agree.

Hedges may not be my favorite journalist or Truthdig writer, but
this time he did the congregation a generous and noble service in giving
as vivid an image of what war is like.  That is the best and closest we
who never have seen or felt war can get, an electrifying portrait of the
utter sorrow and disease of war.

By the way JD, have you ever been in the military or served in a war?

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

How about taking the Pledge?  ‘I pledge that I will not vote for, work for, give money to, or advocate the election of any politician who has ordered, voted for, or advocated war or imperialism.’

How about giving money to anti-war parties, like the Green Party?

How about joining groups who demonstrate and leaflet against the current and future wars?

That’s just a start.  Completely legal stuff.  Unmentioned here—we just get ‘My denunciation of war is better than your denunciation of war.’  Honorable exception: gerard.

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By Foucauldian, March 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Always meant to asked you, however.  What is the darn
logo a representation of?

I’ve been fascinated by it since day one.

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By balkas, March 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

john best,
you’ve posited your causes for what we do to one another on interpersonal, religious, and interethnic/int’l levels.
and i’d like to posit mine?
to me there is only one cause for most wrongs we commit against humans, animals, and biota: it’s the thinking. in it i would include everything
written/spoken, and all education.
i would also include in the education the thinking in quran, bible, talmud, torah or any other ‘religious’ writings.
in societies that think no war and thus don’t teach wars, such societies or ethnoses do not wage wars; allow exploitation of one
another/serfdom/slavery—just to mention some of the traits that characterize warlike societies like american, russian, german, persian, roman,
et al.

in short, war is thought. most of the teachers of war, say in US, appear most school teachers, media people, politicians, clergy.
swiss ceased with thinking war; thus, have not waged a war of aggression; probably since ca 1k ad.
there is also by far less abuse and exploitation, etc., in switzerland than, say, croatia—where i was born.
croatian 1% teach war, exploitation, theft corruption, hatred, intolerance.
i know that because i read their media and hear their priests and teachers.

now let’s look at indigenes of n. america. none have built empires, colonized land of other tribes, etc.
historians do not speak about any exploitation, say, of a hayda of another hayda or an apache of another apache.
these societies were by far more egalitarian and serfless than european.
that’s because n. american peoples had no schools [in order to teach injustice, crime, superiority] clergy, ‘nobility’, ‘laws’, politicians, ‘teachers’,
MSM, etc.
suppose one disagrees with what i say about first comers to n. america? but if i am wrong about first comers to n. america, why don’t the war
sellers use that knowledge to also stress that they were warlike, mean to each other, possessed slaves/serfs.
but we all know why they don’t accuse indigenous people of such antihuman practices: because they were totally unlike europeans in such
behaviors- they practiced little or none of what euros were doing.
===
about the seven deadly sins? what caused them? and aren’t they have been invented by priests? haven’t they simply come up with diseases that
actually never existed and do not exist even today. in other words, an invention like gulf of tonking, 9.11, pearl harbor, wmd in iraq, palestinians
not existing, etcetc.

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By Foucauldian, March 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Wow, Ana, do I detect a rift?  I always suspected
there was one, but now the signs of cheese point to
real cheese.

Seriously, though, what course of action do you
recommend other than overthrowing the government? 

I’m all for it, don’t get me wrong, as long as we
don’t resort to the same violent tactics.  I’m not
about “collateral damage.”

I agree with you in spirit, though.  Even the best
polemics goes only so far.  Meanwhile, state-
sponsored violence and terror continues.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, March 20 at 11:04 am:

‘This article by Hedges is Hedges at his best. This critique of war (and more specifically the war in Afghanistan) is, by my appraisal, the equal to anything I have read, ever. Hedges is doing his best to nurture people away from the acceptance of war. While Shenonymous is doing her best to convince people that war is “Natural” to the human psyche and that people can not be nurtured away from accepting war.’ ...

So what?  None of you are going to do anything about it, so your theoretical positions are rhetorical play at best.  At least for Shenonymous doing nothing is consistent with her theory.

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By truedigger3, March 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

I am sick and tired of the hypocrisy of those so called progressives.
Those so called progressives, rail against war and cry how horrible it is,  but lo and behold, when there is a run up to a war , they jump in and cheer and egg it on because it is a “humanitarian” war to “spread democracy”  and depose a “dictator” who is “killing his own people”.
Those so called progressives who rail continuously against the government and the MSM for its misdeeds , all of a sudden are eager to believe every lie and doctored report coming out of that government and that MSM about the justification for that war. They take any report coming out of “the freedom fighters” as if it is the absolute truth and not fabricated lies.
The most recent example is the complete destruction of Libya and killing tens of thousands of its people to “save” it from the Kadafi who was “killing his people“.
Even the honorable Chris Hedges joined in the attack against Kadafi???!!
Now Libya after it was a thriving modern society with free housing/health care/ education up to college level and advanced studies abroad is a crippled pile of rubble where in each area there are fighting competing factions of religious militias who are terrorizing and torturing and killing scores each day and there is a serious talk of dividing the country to several small states. But it is not all that bad. The old oil contracts have been cancelled and new contracts took their place and the oil is being pumped and shipped out 24/7!!!
I am afraid what happened to Libya will happen to Syria. It is the exactly the same pattern.!!

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, March 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

By JDmysticDJ, March 20 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

“This article by Hedges is Hedges at his best. This critique of war (and more specifically the war in Afghanistan) is, by my appraisal, the equal to anything I have read, ever. Hedges is doing his best to nurture people away from the acceptance of war. While Shenonymous is doing her best to convince people that war is “Natural” to the human psyche and that people can not be nurtured away from accepting war. Shenonymous relies on theoretical pseudo-science to influence her sycophants. I’m still waiting for legitimate scientific evidence that proves genetics influence human behavior to the extent that she asserts.”
====================================================
Well said JDmysticDJ! And thank you for saying what I managed to suppress about this old woman, Shenoymous, for fear of turning this thread into an ugly new exchange of hostilities. Several times in the past, this “she” was so nasty to me when I took issue with some of her perverted ideas and thought!

Sometime in the past I used to post under my real name and I even indicated which university I was teaching at. I will never forget, that this old woman of bad repute, suggested to one of her supporters to go and sit in my class to spy on me and prove that I was politically incorrect, and have me fired as a result. 

But remember that this old “She” has a grandson who is a marine and you don’t expect her to be honest enough to come against how some of her family members make their living, by being part of the war-mongering military establishment. So it is possible that “She” comes from a military family who could not find employment but in the business of death! At one time, I had a brother-in-law who came from such background and it was always hell to be a free thinker around him.

I really firmly believe that almost all military people are brainwashed beyond any hope to see the light of the truth!

Thank you again for encouraging me to say what I willingly suppressed for the sake of peace on these threads!

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, March 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

This article by Hedges is Hedges at his best. This critique of war (and more specifically the war in Afghanistan) is, by my appraisal, the equal to anything I have read, ever. Hedges is doing his best to nurture people away from the acceptance of war. While Shenonymous is doing her best to convince people that war is “Natural” to the human psyche and that people can not be nurtured away from accepting war. Shenonymous relies on theoretical pseudo-science to influence her sycophants. I’m still waiting for legitimate scientific evidence that proves genetics influence human behavior to the extent that she asserts.

I continue to be puzzled by the degree of credibility Shenonymous apparently has with some people who comment here at truthdig. If the issue discussed here wasn’t so important I would simply be annoyed with her comments. Shenonymous reminds me vaguely of Sheldon Cooper from the television sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” who grates on my sensibilities to no end. Her arrogance and essentially cold hearted pseudo-intellectual blathering frightens me, not because I give any credibility to her blathering but because she is the personification of a school of thought that can only serve to perpetuate the cruelties. There are scholars who devote their lives to the study of religious texts and whose philosophy is dictated by their studies, and there are scholars who devote their lives to the study of science whose philosophy is dictated by their studies, such, from both examples, are doctrinaire in their thinking and believe only in the “authority” of their respective fields of study, regardless of the harm that will result from their thinking and dialectic.

Convincing mankind that war is: barbaric, extremely cruel, and tragically and horribly counter productive, and to be avoided at all costs might well be a mammoth task but convincing the American People that our military activities are such is not at all beyond the realm of possibility and that sentiment is growing little by little within the populace and within our politics. Every voice that argues war is acceptable, or unavoidable, is a voice that perpetuates war. Shenonymous belongs to the Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, atheist school of liberalism that argues war is unavoidable and in that respect justified. “Just war” is never just and the carpet bombing of civilian populations with incendiary bombs which kill tens of thousands of innocents in a single bombing mission, the indiscriminate use off napalm, white phosphorus, death dealing explosives of all kinds including nuclear weapons and the most barbaric kinds of massacre, slaughter, and mutilations have been by-products of “Just war,” and those by-products have not at all been anomalous, those by-products are always present during “Just war.”

In the final analysis when the barbarians attack or invade claiming “Just war” as a justification; dealing, cruelty, death, and destruction they must be vanquished, and I believe their vanquishing will be an inevitable outcome, one way or another, according to this belief it becomes an imperative that we not succumb to being barbarians in our thinking or in our behavior.

Our military leaders are subject to civilian demands that they first and foremost accomplish objectives and secondly that they avoid civilian casualties, but those civilian casualties continue unabated and they are of the cruelest and most barbaric sort with innocent bodies being blown to bits and summary executions of the most innocent being a reality.

“Just War”? I have no tolerance for those who argue that war is unavoidable and natural to humankind, but I will agree that war is unavoidable and natural to those who argue such. Such need to be nurtured away from their murderous thinking and not be nurtured to believe that their murderous thinking is “Natural” or the result of genetic imprints.

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By Ed Romano, March 20, 2012 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

OOps. Got a line screwed up there…..please bring back my old typewriter.

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By Ed Romano, March 20, 2012 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

It’s not nice to make fun of the devil because, as my grandmother is reputed to have often said…God is good and the devil’s not so bad.
          Genesis
One day a long time before anything was
God was sitting around having a game
Of checkers with the Angel Gabriel when
Suddenly He upeneded the board and said
Damn it Gabe. This is getting awfully boring.
I think I’ll make Me a world with whirligigs
And thingamabobs, time clocks and hurricanes,
A world with people and mountains to climb,
Hand grenades and airplanes. ball games and
Saxophones, time clocks to punch and armies
To thin out the poppulation every so often and generally put on a really big show. And He was     Just aboout to snap His fingers when Gabriel said,
I’d be careful if I were you Boss because
Some of these birds are going to be pushing
The others around and making them work
For peanuts and hogging all the good stuff
For themselves and the next thing you know
Poof- there goes Your reputation. God sat down
Stroked His beard and thought about this for
A couple of centuries and finally He said, That"s
all well and good Gabe but you left out left out
The whoopee cushions and exploding cigars. On
Your way out tell Lucifer I want to see him.
......

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By elisalouisa, March 20, 2012 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

colin 26x3 March 19 3:46 pm

You can’t be spiritual, or good, or kind, or gentle, or loving, or anything without connecting to God, who is not just a word or a human idea, but a reality.  If more people understood this and followed it, Hedges wouldn’t have to write his columns opposing war because there wouldn’t be war.

That simple? No matter how much one “connects” with God on earth the less-than- desirable traits remain while the spiritual. That is the battle as described in “Dark Night of the Soul.”

Dark_night_of_the_soul

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_night_of_the_soul

I agree with Chris Hedges that perhaps we are all alone in that unity with God is not only not complete but not possible on this earth.

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By CanDoJack, March 20, 2012 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

@John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?, March 19 at
4:38 pm Link to this comment
“Well, colin2626262, your comment on March 19 at
3:46 pm causes me to think that on both sides of a
war is a chaplain of some sort sending his soldiers
to die for Gods purpose. To die and kill the heathen
enemy.  How can both chaplains be right? “
—-
Or, one might picture the chaplains both praying for
god to be on their side. God, getting the two
diametrically opposite prayer communiques, scratches
his head and asks himself, “What would the Devil
do?”

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 20, 2012 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

The troop handler was speaking to a squad of Marine trainees about the importance of following direct orders from any higher ranking person. If I recall the troop handler was a corporeal but as instructor in charge of the green squad of trainees where mostly pvt or pfc’s, supposed he was preparing them for Vietnam.

“Any questions asked the troop handler?” One recruit asked; Troop handler sir, when where you in Vietnam?” .... Troop handler reply; “What makes you think I have been to Vietnam?”

Fuzzy memeorys, but a true story, actually wanted to place myself on the comments list.

Wow! Interesting thread,  so many armchair experts on how combat and war should be or not be conducted?

General Butler had it right in my book, ‘War is a Racket’ really always just about the money.

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By Ed Romano, March 20, 2012 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Smedley Butler anyone ?

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By Roger Young, March 20, 2012 at 8:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris: Very strong post. Thank you.

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By DornDiego, March 20, 2012 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

“And, it’s one, two, three, four…
What are we fighting for?
Whoopee, we don’t give a damn
Next stop, Afghanistan.”

So that a 250-lb Zimmerman
A 9 ml. meter cannon in hand
Can kill an innocent young Trayvon
And become Florida’s Best Watch Captain

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

theway, Your grim and accurate depiction below(March 20 at 1:05 am) is of some fraction of the soldiers.  Let’s say they are outliers just for the sake of discussion.  Not to dismiss them at all, quite the opposite.

Let me make two statements.  One, how many more are close to being ‘outliers’, and what conditions will push those who appear fairly well adjusted to a place that’s perhaps not over the edge, but a place that isolates them. 

Two, these soldiers were once innocent children themselves.  I doubt they enjoy the things the’ve come to do.  I don’t make complete excuses for them, but there have been thousands and thousands of influences on them through life.  What are we doing to our children and students that when they enter the volunteer military they are homogonized in attitude, and farther refined by their training, desensitized, senses of loyalty taken to new heights?  We are seeing a distilling process.  Then we put those soldiers in impossible situations.  This is a meat grinder.

And one last thought, are these some of the new ‘service jobs’ they talked about when they sold out American Manufacturing for a more global approach starting in the 80’s?  This whole meat grinder trend is not new.

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By Foucauldian, March 20, 2012 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

I don’t know, Elisa.  I was always under the
impression that ER and JB were one and the same poster
using different aliases. 

It would take a great deal to convince me otherwise.

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By Daniel Levin, March 20, 2012 at 8:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris again writes the deepest, most serious, most
adult truths.  Please contrast his essay with David
Brooks’ in the NY Times today (3/20/12) on the same
subject…it is pale, superficial, and childlike by
comparison.  But I am sure Brooks’ column is the more
widely read.

I hate war, I hate permanent war, I hate the war on
terror, I hate the ‘war’ on drugs.  War of any kind
is a failure of imagination, a failure of empathy, a
failure of love, and a regression to our most
primitive, pre-evolved state as animals, as
creatures.  I am sickened to live in the most highly
armed country in the world, the most warlike, whose
economy and self-image depends on war, making war,
selling war, being at war, loving war.  It makes me
sick with shame and rage.  I cannot reconcile myself
to it, and I will not.  I wish to leave such a place,
but I do not, because I feel it is my obligation to
stay and try to make it better.  But it saddens me,
and pains me every day of my life.

Thank you Chris for knowing and speaking the truth
about war, and so much else. Your columns are a
refreshing, jolting, necessary splash of cool, clean
water to the face—you wake us up from our terrible
propaganda-induced dream/nightmare, and bring us back
to life.

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By elisalouisa, March 20, 2012 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

I must agree John Best and a good thread to offer the peace pipe.

For more information on this massacre:

http://holtvilletribune.com/tag/us-military

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sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, March 20, 2012 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

(never been to war…
but saw’n’heard some of its quicksand effects…
cave-in to express from much lesser breaths left)...

around their breath a heart did beat…
to thumping drums from marching feet…
cloned moans of suffering echo through…
a toughened ground where violence grew…

dead roots drew hold as overkilled blood…
spilled puddles of loot for footprints of…
a scouraged duty boots leave behind…
after uneven tread wipes out in line…

the air took sick as its stomach turned…
each churning chunk of memories burned…
by that hot iron torch tied to branded men…
from scorching hands who commanded them…

earthy dirt spots where the children once played…
cover potboy shots dropping bodies for graves…
as limping legs fall upon small plastic guns…
of kid toys pretending to blast all in fun…

the atmosphere thickens as horror clings…
on particles sparring to rinse fearful things…
dreadful needs head out to shower off grime…
by a mission accomplished in some record time…

a slower flow trickles up clogged nowhere drains…
resistant to bubbles cleaning troublesome pain…
brass spigots open for high-pressured valves…
to wash away doubt throwing in any towels…

recycled by dust stirring death’s molecules…
facades of refreshment get served up to fool…
amid corpses of chores letting time pass on by…
to hide uniform cries before their last dying sigh…

a ratified gain in moves of mistakes to destroy…
life gives itself living for future sacrifice ploys…
false notions breed faster than any disease…
and perpetuate motion that won’t let it be…

dismembered innocence cut to the core…
remembers each piece beaten up by a war…
taking thoughts past a way of unthinkable acts…
to claim curses far worse with rehearsed artifacts…

in syndromes of deeds upon hard tattered yards…
the battlefield remnants yield permanent scars…
as basket case caskets foretell ghostly tales…
that won’t cremate hell until eternity fails!...

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 20, 2012 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

She / Ed ....you two made my day.  There is reason for hope.

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Marietjie Luyt's avatar

By Marietjie Luyt, March 20, 2012 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

I had no luck changing my avatar. Here is a link to the relevant pictures:
http://turksvy.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/n-monument-vir-vroue/

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By theway, March 20, 2012 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

This is an excellent and most accurate summary of the “warriors’” psychology. After killing one person it does not matter anymore how many more are killed.
Self-hatred is associated with fear. Every shadow can punish you. You start killing the shadows, unnihilate yourself with alcohol and drugs, try to ridicule empathy and emotions as weak - continue on a skid row. It is much worse when you do not know (without admitting it) why you are there killing people who did you no harm.

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By Marietjie Luyt, March 20, 2012 at 1:52 am Link to this comment

Yesterday I wrote about the women and children who died in the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa a hundred years ago.

I have changed my picture to that of the two women and the dying child depicted in a sculpture at the foot of the Women’s Monument (1913) in Bloemfontein, in the old Orange Free State. The monument was erected in honour of “Our brave women and dear children who died in the concentration camps.”

The sculpture depicts a scene described by Emily Hobhouse, who worked tirelessly to improve conditions in the concentration camps, and who, in the First World War, travelled to and fro between Germany and England to try and stop the war.

Hobhouse described a mother camping out on a railway siding, holding her dying child on her lap, while her friend behind her wept at the brutality of war. The women had been brought there, in the freezing weather, in open railway cars. None of them had had anything to eat for days.

The Women’s Monument is believed to be the first to honour civilian deaths in war. Emily Hobhouse’s ashes were interred there in 1926.

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By m., March 20, 2012 at 1:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

about the only article to expose the core of the issue, not adding to the confusion.

m.

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By Palindromedary, March 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

Big Brother at the end of Beef Hollow Road.

“...the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”...smash those cell phones and computers, and go really, really dark.

But this spy center will have the capability to go really, really dark…into the “dark web”...the places where you think your data bases are protected by elaborate random passwords but are easily searched (crawled) by NSA. All of the searches you normally do are only accessible by say Google’s, or other search provider’s, web spiders crawling the web collecting data that wants to be found…or data that can be found and not protected. The “dark web” dwarfs the “visible web” and there is an incredible lot of data in the dark web….private data..business data..investment data…embarassing or “criminal” data. And the NSA wants it before Homeland Security can get it.

Construction is to be completed in September 2013 and cost about $2billion and encompass a million square feet…5 times larger than the US Capitol. It is being built at the end of Beef Hollow Road on Ft. Williams about 3 miles south of Bluffdale, Ut. It will be called “Utah Data Center”.

This is the most likely spot I’ve found on Google Earth 40deg24’17.54N 112deg03’02.00W elev 5450ft.  This salellite photo was taken on 12/31/2005 and you can see an area that is about 1000’ by 1000’ that looks like the ground has been broken and some foundation, of sorts, laid. It looks ready to build something huge (1 million square feet) at this site.

If you are big into cryptoanalysis and computers, and want more than one wife, you may be interested in a job here. The new site is about a mile from a polygamous reservation. Bon Appetite and My sympathies… but despite your gift for handling complicated riddles and algorythms you will realize that even one wife is complicated enough!

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

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By Palindromedary, March 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

@EmileZ..I don’t believe that the so-called “war on terror” was ever credible in the first place. It was a lie to begin with. The Bush regime started the lies and the Obama regime continued the lies. And like the war in Vietnam…it was just too profitable for the power elite to ever want to pull out. The MIC would love it if we stayed over there for the next 100 years and they would find all kinds of excuses and specious arguments for why we need to stay just a little bit longer.

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By EmileZ, March 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

@ Palindromedary

He… They… I think it is safe to assume that we will never know what happened unless the killer(s) come forward, and even then it is…

Unlikely their potential testimony will ever see the light of day.

But… it shouldn’t really matter as these kind of atrocities are happening on a regular basis.

Yet somehow this event seems relatively important.

Difficult to wrap one’s head around the reasons why.

I guess because it was not part of a mission… towards achieving what nobody seems to know.

A dignified exit strategy??? which is not in fact an exit??? only a drawdown of the politically expedient surge??? while special forces stick around to perform similar atrocities less fully reported and carried out for no better reason.

We must maintain a military presence otherwise this whole war on terror thing will no longer be credible.

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By WR Curley, March 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think it is odd that we do not recognize the self-
evident fact that debating each other in these posts
has no relevance to the real debate.

The Red Brigade came to the reluctant realization in
the tumultuous sixty’s that you have to knee-cap them
freakin’ CEO’s to get their attention. This got the
Reds killed, of course. It will get you killed as
well to suggest that the G-Sachs boys have earned the
same street justice.

But it was a course of action, not rhetoric. As is
the bombing of Gaza and of Tripoli.

Think about it. War is the act of working your will.
So what will you? Will you war for what you will? If
yes, you go. If not, stand down and learn.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Emile Z, I don’t what brought Johnny Hodges onto this site, but you have really made my evening with the comment. When I was about 14 I used to sell the New York Daily News and Mirror in bars around Paterson N.J. and suburbs. When I got home at night, usually around midnight, everyone was asleep. I would lay on the living room floor with radio on low and listen to an all night record show from the City. One night Fred Robbins played a record titled Wall Street Wail by the Ellington band of the late 20’s. Toward the end of the record Hodges comes wailing over the ensemble in a way that startled and affected me so much that I have never forgotten it…. I was fortunate enough later to hear him in person several times with the Ellington band. He was certainly a giant of American music and weren’t we lucky to have him…Now if you tell me you dig Lester Young I’ll never leave this site….. Thanks

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

Ciao, Ed.  Hopefully the next time we meet it will be with rapport
and will find a way to pull our intellectual resources instead of this
nonsense we got into. 

EmileZ - that was beautiful.  Merci beaucoup.

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By Palindromedary, March 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

And so Robert Bales remembers having a few sips of something but did not drink a whole drink….sounding really fishy here….was he drugged?  And look at how the officials handled this whole thing…first trying to hide any details of the massacre and then admonishing people at the Joint Base Lewis-McCord to keep a lid on it when the press questions them. But they found they couldn’t keep this thing quiet.

And I’d believe the accounts of the actual eyewitnesses over anything our proven habitual lying war criminal Military and politicians say.

“Afghan villagers said multiple US troops broke into their houses and asked about the Taliban.

Witnesses said that they told the troops that there were no Taliban there, but they started shooting at people anyway.

Ali Ahmed said, “It was 3:00 a.m. when they entered a room and shot my uncle after asking where the Taliban are. My uncle replied that he didn’t know.”

He added that the worst thing happened in the next room, where they entered and killed all the children there, including a two-month-old baby.”

http://presstv.com/detail/232513.html

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Shen, Thank you. I wish I had the words to express how happy I am to have this rift healed. Perhaps we have accomplished on very small scale what our hope is for world. Peace amd best wishes….Ed R

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By EmileZ, March 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

@ Shenonymous

Johnny Hodges & his Orchestra - Sophisticated Lady

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYfvgXHDGrA

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

Funny as usual radson!  You have been sorely missed. Patrick Henry,
thanks for asking.  Grandson Marine is just fine.  He was so neat and
called the other day for my birthday.  He just finished basic training,
ugh was he unhappy to go through that, but he has buffed up and is
happy now.  He will be on his way to South Korea fora spell then cushy
Hawaii.  Uh, I am sooo glad he won’t be going to the Middle East.  At
least not for a while.  Maybe it will simmer down, but it does not look
promising. War and the military are hell! But I know a few good Marines
and they are the highest caliber men I know. We don’t belong over there. 
We don’t belong anywhere except here.  But that would be waxing the
philosophy of war and I’m too tired right now.  You all can hash it out. 
I believe in the Earth and that it will take itself back from us someday. 
(Way…ell that little bit of chthonics has a nice sound to it!)

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By Anarcissie, March 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

gerard—In any case, we see what the answer is.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

Time for a peacepipe…  This is to be posted on the other forum as
well in order to kill two birds with two stones.  Since the discord was
born here, it has to be put out of its misery here in order for there to
be resolution.  So with the indulgence of the forum…this is how it
might end on my part.

Look Ed, I truly detest the kind of fray you and I got ourselves into. 
I feel it keenly when demeaned in any way and as a woman I do not
think it should be tolerated to any nth degree.  I almost always have
a visceral reaction.  For instance, I sense a taint of sexism Ed when
you take censures of Leefeller without dealing him the kind of vitriol
you have flung at me.  (This in no way means I don’t appreciate
Leefeller, as I do and have been one of his biggest fans through the
years, but he has a unique way of writing his disdain of those posters
he finds disagreeable). 

It is completely understandable you are insulted when being called
an asshole. It was a last resort on my part in name-calling exchange
for the previous accumulating offensive posts, by you and followed
by concurring posts by your debate mate, -bill, who more or less puts
a coda on your aggressive verbal battery.  You might look at his last
handshake with you on the Socialist forum where he rips at me like a
raptor.  He has never offered mitigation and usually acts like a
degenerate far as I am concerned.  I began to see you as litter mates.
It is not that I haven’t esteemed some things -bill said, but they do not
appease his contemptuous effrontery.  So much for -bill.

While I am a lady, I am also a gentleman…and see that the valorous
thing to do would be to end the acrimony.  I do not hold a grudge, at
least for very long.  Burying the hatchet seems to be the ritual, and that
I am always willing to do.  Unless hostility is renewed by an antagonist. 
I do not ever and never have initiated an offense on anyone.  This can
be seen from the thousands of posts I’ve made on TD.  I express my
ideology and it might anger someone with an opposite view and then
the insults begin to come my way.  Subtle sometimes but do not escape
notice.  It can build from there to a very ugly crescendo. 

I have respected your views, and have said so, Ed.  Those cannot be
erased whatever has happened.  I withdraw from further antipathy and
hope we can continue on our truthdipping way, perhaps having learned
a few things about other people’s character or at least each other’s as
well as our own.

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By diamond, March 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

The real question everyone should be asking is: why do the Afghan eyewitnesses say it was a GROUP of American soldiers who were both drunk and laughing and who went house to house and killed these people? One man lost eight of his nine children and his wife. Once they get you asking the wrong questions and answering them instead of the real questions they can publicize their version of events while everyone argues over the details of the lie instead of the truth. This soldier has been chosen as part of damage control because he had a severe concussion and had some kind of brain damage. As is usual in such cases he will never be allowed to speak to the media - for obvious reasons. The first casualty of war, as usual, is the truth.

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By Beltwaylaid, March 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As long as war is profitable and here profits are worshiped, as long as those that kill in our name are hailed as heroes, as long as the pulpits decry a continuation of the Crusades, as long as a politician is perceived as weak on defense if he eschews any war, as long as living on ground devoid of violent military conflict, destruction and collateral death of innocents prevents the populace from having any empathy for the war torn and ravaged of those we occupy we will continue to prosecute hell on earth, rend and conflict the minds of and dismember our military’s personnel and families.  Moral issues find no purchase in this poisoned soil.

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By Palindromedary, March 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

So, Ssgt Bales, according to his lawyer, remembers only a little before the massacres and a little after the massacres, but doesn’t have any memory of during the massacres. Sounds very similar to Sirhan Sirhan, doesn’t it?  Could it be that the military spiked his drink with psychotropics and made Bales think he committed the atrocities to cover up the 15-20 US Soldiers who actually committed the crimes?

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By PatrickHenry, March 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

Hey She,

How did that grandson of yours turn out? The Marine.

I hope he is well.

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By radson, March 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

Poor Shen she has her hands full with ED and EmileZ and radson simultaneously ,and not to forget the Grand Children .My goodness Shen I think TD will have to sick Glagla Klungly on ED ;I know its cruel but it may be the only medicine ;but that will depend whether you accept his apology or not .

ha ha ha cheers

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By heterochromatic, March 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

you might be good for a whole peck a taters….twasn’t
for the necrotic rancidity radiating throughout the
corpus.

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By moonraven, March 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

I am fed with the teeth with Chris Hedges and his platitude-ridden nostalgia for something that never existed.

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By PatrickHenry, March 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

I believe the los pepes phenomenon in Columbia best exemplifies this posts title.

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By moonraven, March 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

“...culture of atrocity.” Such an eloquently apt characterization of the U.S. in these times. Worth pondering.

Oh for Christ’s sake!  The US—even before it WAS the US—was a culture of atrocity!

Scalping, frying potatoes in the body fat of MY people, thieving, slaveholding, exterminating, commiting crimes against humanity.

European vermin.

Give me a break from this pimping for patriotism.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Well, colin2626262, your comment on March 19 at 3:46 pm causes me to think that on both sides of a war is a chaplain of some sort sending his soldiers to die for Gods purpose. To die and kill the heathen enemy.  How can both chaplains be right? 

The notion of God is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands.  It can give comfort and peace to the right people, and ministered by a decent minister.  But in the wrong hands, God can instill in men the hatred toward the enemy that allows them to do more horrible things than they would do on their own.  But they kill for God, so why not kill like hell? Kill with a vengeance?  Rape and intimidate and burn and torture, after all, you are God’s hand!  The enemy isn’t even human, they’re ‘evil’, or heathens, or unsaved or infidels.

See?  I’m not putting down your God, but there are people who can use your God as a terrible motivational tool.  Shit, your God told us to invade Iraq.  If Iraq hadn’t been neutralized we wouldn’t be on the verge of war with Iran.  Don’t believe some jerk who tell you ‘this is all Gods plan’.

I like Hedges and respect him generally, but he avoids this aspect of religion and the ugly history and psychologies that make God a mixed blessing at best.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Shen,Where can I start. First of all…my comment about the bottom was not a refernce to your rear end.I was refering to the bottom of the barrel as far as venom was concerned. You can at least give me credit for that…. I have no wish to degrade, diminish or destroy you in ANY way. You provide an important point of view, or reference, on these sites. But, as you can readily understand, because it is your own procedure, I am not going to sit by either when I am called something like “asshole”.
What do you expect as a reply when you call somebody a name like that?.... is not my style to belittle you. I don’t want to do it. I happen not to agree with your politics, but I think you make some points worth considering. What can I say other than prostrating myself at your feet. I DON"T want this war. If I have offended your person I humbly apologize….again. Will you accept that ? Can we agree to disagree without rancor ? I am more than ready. The ball is in your court.

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By EmileZ, March 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

@ Shenonymous

I don’t know what you two are fighting about, but I love you my dear sweetie though I don’t always agree with you.

I observed some of those short nasty comments and I couldn’t help wondering what is the problem with this guy???

Anyhow, I won’t go on, just wanted you to know.

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By gerard, March 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

Anarchissie:  Back to yours of way back when—3/19 at 8 a.m.—what’s to be done, and who? when? how?
where?
  Many hopeless sentences later—sentences that deny our need for encouragement and encourage our denial of possibilities—it seems to be that under all the confusion, the denial, the mismanagement, evasion and sorrow things are gradually turning, and will continue to turn simply because the human race—judging from history—is (perhaps and hopefully) indoomitable. (Freudian slip there but let it stand!)
  Things are stirring, and the world’s young people are struggling to get their act together. Whatever we do to help them is enough because they have the energy and the new ideas to make changes happen for the better.  I’m grateful for the doors they are opening worldwide. And—FREE BRADLEY MANNING.  FREE
JULIAN ASSANGE. SUPPORT WHISTLE-BLOWERS.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

I will be posting this on this and the other forum on Socialists
because Ed, you and I have commenced to be in a personal war
in both places.  I will not be belittled in any way, not one micrometer
and I will reciprocate more fiercely than my attacker if it will allow me
to “feel” better.  You are so bent on destroying me as much as you are
the Democats, Ed that I do believe you are making yourself sick.  You
would say anything to try to discredit me.  But you know what sweetie,
I am not such a bad a lady and I’ve been on this website for over five
years.  Everyone who is anyone on Truthdig knows me and some even
personally and know my professional credentials and what my career
has been.  Some appreciate me, others don’t.  Obviously you fall in the
latter category. It is all right.  I don’t expect everyone to appreciate me.
I certainly don’t appreciate everyone either.  But I do demand respect for
what I think even when it is not in agreement with another’s dogma. 
Disagreements are inevitable, and I give my opinion of concepts.  That is
part of why people blog.  But that doesn’t mean other’s may express
utter destruction of what I believe in.  As I said, I fight back and for my
beliefs.

If your wife of teaching 34 years had never heard of a course in critical
thinking it could be that where she checked they call it something else: 
Analytical Thinking, Conceptual Analysis, Active Thinking, Values in
Science, or Art, or Music, or Geography…and so forth.  Or it might be
subsumed under some Philosophy Class.  Or maybe those places she
checked just do not teach it.  But you cannot judge the entire educational
system in the United States by those few places!  Surely you can intuit
that!

You strike me as really a suffering man, and it is too bad because
I had started out with much respect for the way you expressed yourself
even if I did not agree with it.  But you do conveniently forget the evolu-
tion of our descent into the abyss of personal attacks.  You were not
alone, your comrade –bill was your side kick kicking Shenonymous as
hard as he could as well. 

But it is you who has bitterly pursued the attack on my person as
well as my political point of view.  You did not leave out any slight
you could sneak in.  And I’ve let you know every single time and so
I can understand your absolute rancor with me.  You do not like to be
called out and if I use some “bad” words well grow up.  Did I say I was
a lady?  Well I will qualify that.  I’m a lady in the right company

You are of a type and I’ve met a few on these forums.  You do not
intimidate me though you really try, it is a sign of a predator but one
unconscious of his predation.  Let’s take your latest snide comments
about my bottom!  What kind of an ossified mind do you have?  Well, I
shall try henceforth not to respond to what you post.  And that is as
much of a truce as I will offer.  Take it or leave it.

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By colin2626262, March 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

The reason Chris Hedges says we’re perhaps all alone is that he doesn’t have a relationship with God.  He thinks God is merely a word describing a human experience of transcendence.  Hedges is basically a humanist with an appreciation for Christian ethics, such as are found in the Sermon on the Mount, (“blessed are the peacemakers”).  But an appreciation for the morality that is based on God’s commands is not the same as a belief in the God who truly exists, the Being who gives us life and love and peace and, yes, meaning.  I appreciate Hedges’s anti-war stance, but I don’t accept his outlook on life, since it’s not truly spiritual.  You can’t be spiritual, or good, or kind, or gentle, or loving, or anything without connecting to God, who is not just a word or a human idea, but a reality.  If more people understood this and followed it, Hedges wouldn’t have to write his columns opposing war because there wouldn’t be war.

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By radson, March 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

EmileZ :The reference to the Gods of War is
metaphorical ;yet the significance is still pertinent
.Mr . Hedges does not delve into the episodes or
perhaps animosities leading towards this act that has
lead to the SSgt’s swift removal from Afghanistan.

cheers

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By CanDoJack, March 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

@ mattgiu1, 

“Most people (some?) have free will.”

Dear little boy. Have you learned nothing? Was that
the price of authoritative blathering about what
people should do with their anatomies?

Free will?
Oxymoron?
What is free is not will.
What is will is not free.

Time in the bathroom?

Probably cleaning up after very direct visitors.

You DO what YOU are conditioned to do and that
primarily by those who have been conditioning you
with propaganda for the past century.

You remind me of a sign I saw in a friend’s house in
Spain once. He had bought the sign while on a tech
course in the U.S. A picture of a lad peeing.
Caption = We aim to please. You aim too, please.

And please, sir, wipe and flush.

—-

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By Arabian Sinbad, March 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

By Marietjie Luyt, March 19 at 1:26 pm

“As a stripling of 17 my grandfather left school to fight on the side of the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902).”

“This war was instigated by the British who wanted to lay their hands on the mineral riches (gold, diamonds) that had been discovered on the Witwatersrand in the old Transvaal Republic. The Orange Free State, where my grandparents and great-grandparents lived, joined the Transvaal in their fight against the mighty British Empire.”

“Worst of all - it was mostly children who died in the camps: about 80 percent of all those who died were children. So today you can go to any of the many concentration camp graveyards in the Free State and the old Transvaal, and find the graves of thousands of infants and children who are buried there, for example, of little “Vluchtelina”, or little “Refugee-who-had-to-Flee”, aged 8 months.”

“When I read about the American army invading Iraq for the sake of its oil (we all know now, of course, that there were never any “weapons of mass destruction”) - and the weapons industry -, and the way thousands upon thousands of Iraqi children were displaced and died before, in and after that terrible war, I am reminded of another now much reduced ‘empire’ that couldn’t care less about its “collateral damage” to defenseless infants and children. Their imagined superiority proved to be a lie.
====================================================
Marietjie Luyt,

As a native of bleeding Palestine, whose original inhabitants are the victims of the evil perpetrated by Colonial British first, and is carried on now by the evil alliance of Zionist Israel and Zionist-controlled U.S., I read your post with sadness, as I found the tragic affinity between your native homeland and mine.

So thank you for sharing your story; a story which highlights the atrocities committed by the evil British empire and is now continued by its successor evil empire, the U.S.

True that the “imagined superiority proved to be a lie” for both the old British empire and the modern U.S. empire; however there is another way of paraphrasing your statement, “both the British empire and the U.S. empire share a superiority in evil, and that’s the most obvious truth!”

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By EmileZ, March 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

@ radson

I believe Hedges article was more or less devoted to the PAWNS of war, any reference to the gods was just incidental.

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By radson, March 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the reply Shen ; your inquisitiveness is correct towards the Gods of War ,Chris never used it himself in this article yet he elaborates on the outcomes of endless or unnecessary wars by encompassing many quotes of Humans that had to live through the quagmire of such perfidious undertakings for the benefit -in my opinion- of profligate enterprises.The Deity in America today amounts to some kind of confusion between the end of the world and the right to rule thereof ,where this is going to lead is perhaps beyond the Priests or the Gods of War.Grand Kids are ;well there’re grand .

cheers

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By CanDoJack, March 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

RE Marietjie Luyt’s comment:

Last night I saw the flick “Mississippi Burning”
which I always avoided so as to help me avoid
thinking of my childhood environment and why I felt
thrilled to be free when I left it at 17 YOA and
never looked back.

The setting was near Oxford and Sardis where my
father’s Faulnerian Family lived.

I am sorry that you have to live with your African
past.

Particularly with the destruction of the water
because it is such a metaphor for today’s world
without even the mention of war.

The ocean is about dead and will be the source of
the most horrible acid rains. The greed addicts are
stupidly trading water for oil as they frack the
hell out of the entire country.

After listening to my neighbors crowing the other
day about how they won’t be here for the destruction
of the planet because Jesus will take them home to
heaven. I am with Mark Twain in opining that the
epitome of horror would be listening to angels [who
have no feeling in their senses] sing praises to god
all day ... every day for eternity.

But, I replied to my neighbor that he would only
miss the destruction if the rapture of the saints
was a pretribulational rapture instead of a
posttribulational one. And in accordance with the
scriptural prophecy that people would pray for the
rocks to fall on them I suggested that he might be
yet be among those who will be praying for the
asteroid that will supposedly pass us by next winter
to instead make a direct hit.

Of course I also asked my neighbor if he had been
east of the Rockies recently like in Arkansas,
Kentucky, etc.

—-

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By CanDoJack, March 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

And this week’s coined word is ... [drum roll please]


BALEFUL

—-

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By BrilliantBill, March 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

“...culture of atrocity.” Such an eloquently apt characterization of the U.S. in these times. Worth pondering.

Thanks, CH.

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By balkas, March 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

shen,
i think you misread my comment about genetic factor being a factor [cause, is it?] in our warmaking [and not to mention calculating it
coldly and in good peace] and which thinking i equated with thinking of those who affirm it’s god’s will we MUST FOREVER WAGE WARS OR
UNTIL PRIESTS/NOBLES SAY NO MORE; or when GOD SIGNALED THEM [and only them] FROM HEAVEN THAT WE WAGE WARS NO MORE.
i have never accepted as true either premise.
but why are you so often personal? it shld not matter even if a person is blatantly wrong—one shld not attack even what a person writes,
let alone for merely saying what you don’t like to hear or you disagree with.
you have an inalienable right to say that genetics is a factor in war making. and i have the right to say that it is actually our thoughts [well
nurtured over millennia, btw] which are causes for all ills that befall us and not just wars.
===
as for those people who say our ancestors waged wars as far back as 200k yrs ago, let them bring evidence that that they waged them.
and what with? sticks, cudgels, rocks, fists, etc. was that warfare like we have today or warfare at all???
and why wage wars when there were so few of us then and with plenty of land and thus food, water, forest, fish, game, snakes, berries,
nuts, fruits?
but even if it could be proven that our ancestors waged wars [and for whatever reason] it does not prove that we are doomed to wage wars
today.
i cld have skipped everything i said this far and simply averred that because we waged wars long ago or even yesterday, we do not HAVE
TO to continue that practise.
for, if one assumes we MUST wage wars forever then one is right in saying i must go on lying, stealing, killing, raping, abusing, belittling
women because it’s genetically caused.
why wld war be genetic and, say, rape, etc.,? not

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Hi Radson, nice to see you again. According to one sourgrapes here,
I have no bottom!  Where did those grandchildren come from?  Shall
we have a laugh about it?  You have caught something in the article
that I missed.  I hadn’t seen where the Gods of War were blamed!  I’ll
have to go back and reread for the deities.  Problem with deities is as
long as any part of warring is laid in the lap of something supernatural,
humans will never take responsibility to end their rapacious nature and
end the killing in wars.  Still the article keeps the savagery of war right
up front where we need to see it in bold lights.

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By Marietjie Luyt, March 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

As a stripling of 17 my grandfather left school to fight on the side of the Boers in the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902).

This war was instigated by the British who wanted to lay their hands on the mineral riches (gold, diamonds) that had been discovered on the Witwatersrand in the old Transvaal Republic. The Orange Free State, where my grandparents and great-grandparents lived, joined the Transvaal in their fight against the mighty British Empire.

When the British conquered the towns but failed to stop the guerilla attacks by the Boers, they carted off thousands of women and children living on farms to 34 concentration camps dotted all over the countryside. Conditions in these camps were appalling. More than 34 000 women, children and old people died there in less than 18 months. At the time this constituted more than 15 percent of the entire population of the Free State and the Transvaal.

Worst of all - it was mostly children who died in the camps: about 80 percent of all those who died were children. So today you can go to any of the many concentration camp graveyards in the Free State and the old Transvaal, and find the graves of thousands of infants and children who are buried there, for example, of little “Vluchtelina”, or little “Refugee-who-had-to-Flee”, aged 8 months.

When I read about the American army invading Iraq for the sake of its oil (we all know now, of course, that there were never any “weapons of mass destruction”) - and the weapons industry -, and the way thousands upon thousands of Iraqi children were displaced and died before, in and after that terrible war, I am reminded of another now much reduced ‘empire’ that couldn’t care less about its “collateral damage” to defenceless infants and children. Their imagined superiority proved to be a lie.

Today, a hundred years later, a future generation has to pay for mining greed. Acidified and toxic mine water is seeping up from the abandoned mines into towns all over the Witwatersrand. If a way is not found to stop this process, there may quite soon be no water for drinking, washing, cooking in that former ‘mineral rich area”.

So one wonders where “the American Empire” will find itself a hundred years from now, and what will be the consequences of waging wars in distant countries. Who knows?

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By CanDoJack, March 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

Looks like a good time to employ my coined word of
the past week. So…

Isn’t that war an OBAMANATION??

The goal of the war, originally (though politics as
it is wont to do has provided greed addicts with
many other goals) was to build a pipeline across
Afghanistan and Pakistan to deliver the oil of the
previously USSR oil rich -stans to the gulf for
satiating the appetites of the oil rich
multinational masters of deceit and destruction.

Isn’t that the real reason why under no
circumstances will talk of blocking the strait of
Hormuz be tolerated.

And does that not beg another question? Isn’t all
the preparatory war on Iran propaganda leading up to
moving the plans for that pipeline from Afghanistan
to Iran?

Which is an OBAMANATION of an OBAMANATION, ISN’T IT?

Isn’t Slick Willy’s alternate color doppel gaenger
an OBAMANATION of the OBAMANATOR himself as well as
an affront to black and partially black people????

So, don’t we have an OBAMANATION OF OBAMA and part
of that constituent is the shame that Obama has done
nothing about bringing about a diminution of fossil
fuel use. Which would be more outstanding because
did not one of the promised changes have something
to do with reducing dependence on fossil fuels????

Isn’t that OBAMA OBAMANATION is more destructive
ultimately than the other OBAMA OBAMANATION, id est,
the additional cheapening of human life. Doesn’t
that in the murder department give the OBAMANATOR
a greater headcount than the idiot who proceded him
in the white house and his vice idiot who many
calculate spent tremendous time in the bunker
ensuring a) what the ultimate profits of Haliburton
would be and b) that September 11, 2001 was as on
schedule as the September 11, 1857 Mountain Meadow
Massacre????

... which could have been an OBAMANATION couldn’t it
except Obama wasn’t born yet and thus the word did
not yet exist.

Or am I missing something??

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By radson, March 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges :  Amy Goodman used the term ‘Allegedly’ in her recent article which was posted here on TD recently and your doing the same .Are you supposing that Staff Sgt Robert Bales did not act individually and that perhaps others may be accomplices to this crime.First of all the rhetoric or is it excuses expounded by the MSM lead to a conclusion of someone who had acted alone in a mental state of confusion possibly under the influence of alcohol and that ‘shit happened ’ so to speak .Secondly alcohol is extremely restrained on US bases in Afghanistan but SSgt Bales would have had some clout due to his rank ,therefore the possibility of him acquiring the booze is very real because proliferation exists at all four corners of the World .Beer and or hard liquor is banned from US soldiers on American bases and camps while the troops are training for an overseas deployment and I may add that this adds to frustration during weekend spare time especially during sporting events on pizza night.American service personnel are serving tours of duty of twelve to fifteen months duration ,which leads to a very lengthy time of high stress in a high stress environment which leads to a cumulative overloading of the senses ;combine that with family problems at home on the personal level and you have a recipe for disaster .Now I not exonerating SSgt Bales by any means for what was perpetrated ‘Allegedly’ by his supposed insanity but I do question the validity of the episode .SSgt Bales if he would have truly lost his mind there probably would be many dead Americans soldiers and not necessarily any Afghan civilians ,because a total loss of ones faculties would not entail the opposing populace per se .Now some basic investigative approaches are relevant in order to decipher the mystery ;before he left the base ,SSgt Bales would have been registered at the Exit Gate ;the personnel on duty would have noted the Time ,the Number of Passengers and or vehicles in the convoy along with the stated destination .There for did SSgt Bales act alone ? in this apparent loss off control or not ,does it have anything to do with the Burning of the Korans and the ensuing retaliation and death of several US soldiers ,was the warning by the US General in Afghanistan ;to not retaliate prematurely not heeded . In hindsight it would have been easier to have sent a Drone and called it Collateral Damage ,so what’s the point here .Chris you have been in and out of US and Nato bases and camps during your work as a journalist; your well aware of these operating procedures ,so why are you blaming this on the Gods of War ,hell you could proselytize about soldiers and the Power structures of the ‘time’ ,beginning when ? I daresay the Anglo-American Empire mimics the Roman Empire very well ,yet I don’t see a Severus coming out of either political party . Shen I didn’t know you were a Grandma ;you sneaky ,sneaky loveliness.


cheers

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Good Christ,It has no bottom.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

I’m happy to be posting this, mostly for the edification of our resident believer in fairy tales and the political promise of Never Never land.
Doubtom mentioned Maj.General Smedley Butler and his book -War Is A Racket. I think the famous quote from Butler deserves to be quoted in full.
  I spent 33 yrs. and 4 mos. in active military service and during that time I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for big business, for Wall St. and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico, amd especially Tampico, safe for American Oil interests in 1914.  helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in a half dozen Central Amer. Republics for the benefit of Wall St. I helped purify Nicaragua for the Intl. House Of Brown Bros….I brought light to the Dominican Republic for Amer. Sugar interets in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the Amer. Fruitcos. in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. Looking
back on it I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate his racket in 3 city districes. I operated on 3 continents….
  Okay. Put that in your cauldron and stir it up. If you are honest..really honest you will have to admit that this is exactly the kind of exposition you have been trying to deny for some time now. Of course, a nation with so many “liberals” in it would
never allow things like this to happen. This is the face of capitalism, lady. You can deny it ‘till cows give Pepsi Cola , but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck etc. etc.
  I can’t wait to see how you squirm out of this one.

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By moonraven, March 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

Murder is not an anomoly in war, huh?

So that makes it okay, I suppose.

Give me a break from talking out of both sides of your mouth.

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By mattgiu1, March 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Your readership seems to spend too much time alone in the bathroom. Most
people (some?) have free will. If one has the ability to think It’s difficult to be
manipulated into horrific acts. The instinct to survive and for your tribe to survive
doesn’t change. Most wars are immoral some are necessary. I urge Mr. Hedges and
his readers to get their heads out of their rear ends and deal as best they can in
the actual world. Stop whining and start doing.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

so sorry balkas you do not do more research.  Your philistinism
is showing.  I believe there is nothing about evolution that insists
on a god’s will.  Quite the opposite.  But you’ve a right to believe
what you want.

Oh, also sorry for forgetting to set the italics right.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano, March 19 10:07 am “Good Christ, Is there any
bottom to this woman’s venom ?”{/i]  What?  Too cowardly to
speak to me directly:?  You can dish it out but can’t stand it
when it is dished out to you.  Yeah, your type is well known.

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By EmileZ, March 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

@ heterochromatic

Hot Damn!!!

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By elidar, March 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is responsibility for this heinous act—and it lies with Robert Bales first—then our country full of hubris & war mongering

What true warrior shoots a two year old in the head? 

Those poor people deserve justice!—as imperfect as it may be—and I watch with disgust as the American public tries to make excuses and let him escape what he deserves.

The mainstream media talk and talk about him and his problems—who is talking about these 16 innocents who he slaughtered?  for what?  their lives, loves families, talents, abilities, futures? No more excuses—he must pay for his crimes.

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By heterochromatic, March 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Emile Z————rampant

http://mouseguns.com/observe/3balls.jpg

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By balkas, March 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

sorry, shen, to note your averment [please don’t hurt yourself now] that one factor in our warplanning [often years- or even decades-long]
and then launching it, is our genetics!
shen, this cannot be so. it amounts to saying that it’s ‘god’s’ [an unseen and unknowable entity’s] will and there is nothing we can do about;
even if we would exist forever.
i suggest firmly that 99.99% of earthlings often with great dread, panic, bloodcurdling, freezingly-in-fear, fear human violence of any kind.
now, that’s a genetic factor that warsellers either have not espied yet or have, but are deliberately sweeping it under the rug.
i do not call the ‘illuminati’ who plan wars and via their media teach war: “psychopaths”—for that would be an insult to a person like
dammler, manson, bundy, and the like brain-impaired people. [hey, kids there are CAUSES for it—let’s look for them, but not in afgh’n]

no, these people who plan wars in cold hatred/anger/supremacy, sleep like a baby, dine with others in plush restaurants, go to opera,
speak brilliantly, sing/dance/smile well, are not brain injured nor geneticaly-injured—they are injured or dehumanized solely by education
they receive as children, first of all, and then over a lifetime.
i posit that the only cause for all wars is propagation of false to fact knowledge.
and i have already said that all wars and other ills we do to one another arise from our thoughts.
they are passed from generation to generation by those who most profit from the ills we do to one another. these people who teach such
thoughts have been pavlovized in childhood. [that’s why there are schools; they teach blind obedience/allegiance to the ‘illuminati’]
and we need to depavlovize them. how? well, i think or hope OWS is doing that now]

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By SarcastiCanuck, March 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As Always,Mr.Hedges has seen deeply into mans dark side and articulates it back at us like a master.Great article…

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By heavyrunner, March 19, 2012 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

Chirs this is your most powerful piece in a long time. I wish I had $2000 so I could come to the retreat in Santa Fe.

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By allen, March 19, 2012 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

EmileZ wrote:

“I think we are in Afghanistan from the momentum of the war machine. It has permeated our economy, our culture, our political discourse, our entire way of life.”

No one I know captured the sentiment reflected in EmileZ’s comment better than George Carlin in his HBO special “Jammin’ in New York.”  Like much else, it’s available on YouTube, “We Like War.”

As George noted, it’s what we’re good at.  And he notes that if there are brown people in your country, tell them to watch the F out, we’ll bomb them.

In George Veritas.

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By Doubtom, March 19, 2012 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

War, its causes, its inevitability, seems in the main, to be the province of the thinkers
who despite their many treatments and theses, have failed to alter the course of
mankind’s involvement in butchering his fellow man, assuming that to be their intent. 
Why not spend more time in trying to understand war from the vantage point of those
more directly involved in the activity?  It seems to me that those who are expected to
prosecute these wars might be in a better position to reach accurate conclusions;
impending death has a way of sharpening the faculties a great deal more than say the
comfort of an academic setting.  In that vein, I recommend reading General Smedley
Butler’s book, “War is a Racket”; it’s a very short book, as curt and direct as the title
implies, with the additional benefit of originating from first hand experience in war. 
General Butler’s conclusion on war came late in his career as he grew in awareness and
saw more clearly the farce of heroics and the hypocrisy of those behind the curtain. 
This book, with its graphic depictions of the atrocities of war should be required
reading for every high school student prior to graduating; this requirement would do
more to curtail the lust for the adventure of war than any of the more ethereal
treatments emanating from the many well intended thinkers of the world.

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By robjira, March 19, 2012 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Fabulous column. What to do about it? For starters,
some good ol’ Thoreau style CD (and something most
people could get into); everyone refuse to file federal
income tax returns.

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By katsteevns, March 19, 2012 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

“are ALL volunteers who buy into
this horse-shit about “Valor-Honor-and The ‘Murican
Way”...so, in for a penny, in for a pound”

Not everyone buys into it. Most are looking for the promised payed education, the status, a place to be “a part” of something bigger than themselves or even just a job. At 18 years old, most will try and take on the principles of those who recruit them, trusting in the BS they are fed which emanates from supposedly mature adults who possess life experience. Many also join as an alternative to possibly winding up in prison in a country not geared to the worker but to those who exploit them. Their parents must share the blame in encouraging them.

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By vector56, March 19, 2012 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Again, at the risk of sounding anti-intellectual; war is not that deep!


All of the people we have labeled “bad guys” ;

Osama bin Laden
H? Chí Minh
Hezbollah
Che Guevara
Hamas
The Irish Republican Army (IRA)

are the poor slobs who are/were fighting back to keep us from taking their “stuff”; it is that simple. The fact that countless children are murdered in our quest for stuff is somewhat secondary.

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By Notsousefulidiot, March 19, 2012 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You all librals is crazy as hell. How can you live in the world and not see the way the world is? Let me aks yuh, is the lion gonna’ kill the baby deer? HELL YES HE IS! That’s just the way the world works. Look’it here, is the big lion gonna’ kill the little lion? HELL YES, HE IS! ARE YOUALL CRAZY?! HELL YES! YOU IS! Cain’t y’all see how the world works? It’s survival of the fittest, that’s the way it is and that’s the way it always has been and that’s the way its always gonna’ be and they ain’t a damn thing you liberals can do ‘bout it.

You liberals is nothin’ but commonists pretendin’ that you ain’t, everybody with a brain knows that. You all librals is weeklings and nerds that can’t win in the real world so you just wine an’ wine complainin’ about the way the world is. The world is the way it is and they ain’t nothin’ you little fags can do about it. You all stupid thinkin’ that you gonna’ change the world, the world is the way it is an’ they aint nothin’ you can do ‘bout it.

If y’all wants to make the world a better place fer yer children the bes’ thing you can do is get your children workin’ out real early so they grows up big an’ strong. The big guy always gets over on the little guy and that’s the way it works and the way it always gonna’ work.

Now let me tell you ‘bout libral women. If they isn’t gay then they phony as hell. A libral woman will tell herself I don’t want no big mean guy I want a nice little guy but fer sure she gonna’ be dissatisfied with her nice little guy an’ cheat on em with a big mean guy, first chance she gets, that’s jes the way the world works.

Now when yer talkin’ bout killin’ little brown children, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU EXPECT, YOU MORONS! War is hell and it always has been hell and that’s the way it always has been and if you thinkin’ any other way then you dumber than a chunk o’ mud. What you want? little brown children dead or little white children dead? Gotta’ be one way or tother an if you cain’t see that you’s crazy.

The bes’ way to fight a war is to clean em’ all out. Turn them arab cuntries into barren deserts, clean em’ all out and then go in and turn them barren deserts into growin’ fruits an vegables like the Jews did.

You all librals is crazy, an’ dumb mudheads, an you all oughta be cleaned out.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Good Christ, Is there any bottom to this woman’s venom ?

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By Artsy, March 19, 2012 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges,

Your brilliant article left me breathless! The eloquent cutting edge writing you have submitted has more REAL power than a million guns. Your work is the best I have ever read. It is vitally important, so please, never stop writing the truth.

The average US citizen has been successfully brainwashed to remain uninformed and stagnated by mainstream media propaganda. As long the population remains un-engaged, we remain a nation that is complicit to rampant murder via wars all around the World. It is OUR COLLECTIVE FAULT that we allow this to continue.

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By EmileZ, March 19, 2012 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

@ By John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?

RE: I am a man with big balls

I care. I hope that is OK with you.

P.S. I hope you have the good sense not to press me any further on this issue as I think it considerably detracts from the conversation.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Hello Sodium-Na, it is always a pleasure see you when it happens
on these forums and to read your very human comments.  Thank
you for your generous words.  But don’t you find it rather humorous
that some men have to tell about the size of their balls?  Does size
mean anything? 

Nothing is simple and too often a glib hit and run comment does not
do justice to the topic.  So for John Best and balkas a two part post: 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 (25): 9381–6. 
Also, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/  Do take the time to do
at least some research before blurting out your opinions.

I stand corrected from a human intelligence and behavior standpoint,
from 200,000 when homo sapiens started roaming the savannahs as
I was too quick to read one account.  It was earlier than 200,000.
Professor of anthropology the University of Illinois at Chicago, Lawrence
H. Keeley, War Before Civilization, , says that approximately 90–95% of
known societies throughout history engaged in at least occasional
warfare.  That is throughout history!  There is evidence that homo
sapiens continued to evolve from more than several hundred thousands
ov years. http://anthro.palomar.edu/homo2/mod_homo_2.htm

However, it is my thesis, and most anthropologists as well that physical
evidence has shown that low levels of serotonin (an organic compound
and powerful vasoconstrictor occurring in blood serum) is one basis of
aggression and, hence cellular, hence genetic, natural.  See Catherine A.
Newell - Southern Illinois University Carbondale - Genetic Influence on
Impulse and Aggression Related Crime: A Historical Review of Related
Research Data. and Field Research Project.  Also testosterone-aggression
research is theorized to also be involved, though there is some
challenge.  You know what testosterone is don’t you? Then individuals
with the so-called “warrior gene” display higher levels of aggression in
response to provocation, according to new research co-authored by Rose
McDermott, professor of political science at Brown University, was
reported January 21, 2009 in Science Daily.  While there might be some
contention, there is some “hard” evidence that genes are involved.  But
learned behavior enhances any genetic tendencies.  And that is my
bottom line, and I’m sticking with it.

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By Ed Romano, March 19, 2012 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Gulam, Masterful analysis. If I can say a little about the Civil War. Setting aside the slavery issue…what the south said was….we joined the union freely and now we are freely stepping out of it….Lincoln said, Oh, no. Once you’re in there’s no getting out. This has always struck me as a little twangy in a nation supposedly founded on the idea of freedom.
  On a similar note - John Kennedy’s statement- Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country - could have been spoken by Adolph Hitler. What it is saying is that the government does not exist to serve you, but you exist to serve it…. I suppose it takes someone with a bit of anarchism in him to see it this way.

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By Shenonymous, March 19, 2012 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

2.
I don’t mind disagreement John Best, as a matter of fact, I welcome
it as it provides me with an opportunity to learn something as I have
to hone up my own education and intellect…but only as long as it is
respectful and civil.  With passive aggressive thinking like Ed, who has
the audacity to call me a phantom thinker, he can go to hell far as I’m
concerned.  For as I’ve shown, I am like a tiger and bite back when crap
comes my way!  I appreciate your explaining your disagreement.  It is
a little nebulous in the first paragraph but I am interpreting it that you
don’t disagree with most of what I said.  Please correct me if I read you
wrong. 

As far as comparing us “moderns’” intelligence with the cavemen, I
have a counter disagreement.  Since you do not support your claim,
I will support mine, as I nearly always do…on The Evolution of Human
Intelligence,  “Human intelligence has evolved steadily over the course
of thousands of generations without drastic change in the environment…
There are clear genetic links that predispose people to have a larger
cerebral cortex, allowing them to better deal with the challenges of
the expanded work load modern life puts on our intelligence domain.”
http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/skottke.html  I am
compelled to say that we are many giant steps away from our cave
relatives.  So you might check out that theory you heard for it seems
at least from the data I can gather from reliable sources, you are wrong.

This is not the only research on the subject, but should serve to show
that I am not talking out of my padoopa as Ed and some other chap, -
bill, vaingloriously imply.  As to our penchant for war, I’ve already said I
think acts of aggression are genetic as well as learned.  In view of the
number of people on this planet, more than 7 billion (7,001,516,317 to
be exact at this very moment and increasing as we breathe), while there
are wars going on, and many atrocities which testifies to a less than
evolved emotional state at least, from a global view, humans are not at
war.  So we have to be careful not to get into fallacious thinking by
judging the whole (of humanity) by a part (those engaged in just or
unjust wars), and yes, generalizing from the specific.

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By Palindromedary, March 19, 2012 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

There’s another “alegedly killed” story here that is more likely. That Robert Bales did it, like the lone assassin story that the authorities almost always shows us, is not very credible. He may have participated, but it is way more likely that up to 20 US soldiers did this dirty deed. And the US is trying to cover up an even greater criminal deed that would continue to show that our continued occupation is even more sinister and criminal than they want us to realize. As the ruling elite, who act with impunity against it’s own citizens and who seem to be giving us all the finger on the economy, they know they can get away with Hitlerian type atrocities against defenseless civilians. There is no longer any legal system, or justice, that has any authority or power to keep these wolves from making sport and ripping us apart. Glenn Greenwald’s speech at KPFA event says much of what needs to be said. He is right on the mark. And other than getting the real news from RT (Russia Today) and a few others, the main stream media, as usual, are putting out the damage control propaganda and pinning playing along with the militaries claim that Robert Bales was the only lone soldier who went kinda wacky for a while. The investigators who went into the villages, after the carnage, got a completely different picture from the eyewitnesses of those villages. They said that two groups of up to 20 US soldiers did this dirty deed…raping the females and then trying to hide evidence of rape, perhaps, by burning them..especially their lower extremities. All this happened within about an hour. Who are you going to believe? The US Army and politicians, who do nothing but lie, over the relatives of the victims? Since we haven’t yet heard from Robert Bales we don’t know what his story is…and even if we hear him say he did it all by himself…can we really rely on that?  Was he bribed with lots of money (he was having financial problems with two houses under water). Since all those other US soldiers got off Scot-free 7 years ago for their atocities in murdering civilians…why would Robert Bales not believe he would also get off..and with a lot of bribery money to play the game…take the fall? Unlike falling on a grenade, he would survive all the richer. Or, maybe he was, Manchurian Candidate-like, manipulated into thinking he did it all.  Who knows, but again, the relatives of the victims and the tribal elders tell a different story than the US Army and I will believe them.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

‘Emile’, not ‘Emily’  my bad.  Apologies, and fine, but who cares about anybodies balls?  I think your point is no better or worse for the presence of the swinging brass bastards.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, March 19, 2012 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

@ By John Best asks, “What IS Progress”?

Actually I am a man.

A man with big balls.

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By DornDiego, March 19, 2012 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges, you are a classic writer.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 19, 2012 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

wrt balkas, March 19 at 8:56 am
You want causation?
1. The seven deadly sins
2. game theory on the individual level multiplied through the machinery of institutions of society.

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By gerard, March 19, 2012 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges:  Humane, insightful and inspiring.

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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, March 19, 2012 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

The opening paragraphs of this article are wonderfully to the point and right on
target. I only wish Chris Hedges were not so enthusiastic about the American
Civil War and what a great moral cause that was, for it was in many ways the
beginning of this on-going nightmare. That event set the tone, gave Americans
the pattern, and the notion that every war is a grand service project. The
machine need periodic feeding, and a very long list of peoples have been
sacrificed to keep it going. First they murdered the tribes of the West, then they
stole a chunk of Mexico. Next they faked an incident in Havana, using that false
flag incident as an excuse to take all of Spain’s remaining colonies. Through the
course of the 20th century Americans have occupied nation after nation, all
with ludicrous justifications. It all goes back to the Civil War, and that
assumption of self-righteousness justifying US wars.

No military commanders who wanted to win the hearts and minds of a
conservative Muslim nation would immediately build a string of whore houses
and bars in the capital city as the Americans and their European camp followers
did in Kabul. Winning in Afghanistan is as beside the point as winning was in
Vietnam. The corporate contracts get paid in any case, and that is what drives
these wars. How much did Americans care once Vietnam was completely
Communist? The whole rationale behind that war was as bogus as the reasons
behind the attacks on this long string of Muslim nations.

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By balkas, March 19, 2012 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

ed romano,
i agree with you that there is nothing in value reading even CH pieces let alone most of the posters.
and why do i say this? because not one poster, media person ever lays down, affirms, or even postulates
causative factors for all ills that befall us on interpersonal, inter-religious, interethnic, intercultural
levels.
hedges in not the only person who dwells only on sensationalism and never ever on causationalism. and
if you do not posit causes for fire, war, cancer, exploitation, hatred between pious people of diff cults;
you cannot prevent most fires, wars, abuse of all kinds.
i’ve already affirmed a few times that CH, as far as i know, always leaves sacerdotal class out of it all!
yet he appears by far more intelligent and knowable than me!! so, what gives?
does he think all that is in ‘god’s’ hands?
if that is case, why don’t we all shut up and let ‘god’ fret about it??? and that is priestly position of all
three major cults even today!?!?

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vector56's avatar

By vector56, March 19, 2012 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Caveman “A” kills Caveman “B”; eats his offspring, rapes his wife and picks up their positions. Odds are Caveman “A” as he walks away from this morbid scenario is thinking. “life is good!”

Country “A” invades Country “B” to take their Natural Resources (Oil, Minerals, Water…). Country “A” kills “millions”, wrecks the economy and social order of Country “B”, only to later exploit their citizens (men women and children) as “cheap ” labor in global industrial “sweat” shops.

War is and has always been about killing that other person and taking their “stuff”! After you snuff out the other guy, his family(people) are yours to do with as you please. Was is the thug in a dark parking Garage who smiles as he slips the blade into your chest!

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