“In fifteen short chapters, Chris Hedges astonishes us with his clear and cogent argument against war, not on philosophical grounds or through moral arguments, but in an irrefutable stream of personal encounters with the victims of war, from veterans and parents to gravely wounded American serviceman who served in the Iraq War, to survivors of the Holocaust, to soldiers in the Falklands War, among others. Hedges reported from Sarajevo, and was in the Balkans to witness the collapse of the Soviet Union.
If there is a solution to the madness, Chris Hedges is a part of it. Will purchase the book, mostly to support that solution.
The question is how to stop war. Moral arguments are wasted on sociopaths. Reward and punishment is the only language that they understand, although they understand it quite well.
Quote Bible verses to a robber, if a little girl tells the Bad Man to Let Daddy Go! and he will laugh in your face, delighted at your impotence. A loaded .357 Magnum pointed at his head and the sure knowledge that you will without hesitation pull that trigger elicits a very different response.
Jeffrey Sachs Testimony at the UN Security Council Meeting - November 20, 2023
Fighting For Peace, Making More Wars
Evidence is in the history of WWI, which was supposed to be "the war to end all wars." What led to that war is murky (wasn't just assassination,) but a major cause was Europeans squabbling over empires. We still live with the effects of that war: 1.) Enabling formation of the Soviet Union. 2.) The harsh treatment of Germany led to the rise of Hitler. 3.) Establishing the boundaries of countries to serve Euro empire and not local peoples, like in Africa and especially in the Middle East. 4.) The USA, previously little interested in overseas affairs, got a taste of what it was to be a global military power...and power is addicting.
As the anti-Vietnam war slogan had it, "Fighting for peace is like f*cking for virginity." Or Edwin Starr's famous soul song "War. Unh. What is it good for? Absolutely nothin'" War doesn't end war; it makes more of them. Oppressed peoples strike as guerilla warfare. The biggest powers, with all the weapons and a sense of superiority, aren't "winners" as history makes clear. But no way can the macho power addicts ever face that reality. To keep the charade going, they invent enemies, foreign and domestic. Constantly reinforced by propaganda, along with either/or thinking. If you're not 100% with us, then you must be against us. Unpatriotic to doubt the Truth and Goodness and Righteousness of our side, "our" meaning whoever holds political power, "side" assumed to be the entire nation.
But truth is that Truth is the first victim of war. Such that millions of dead or maimed humans and ruined environments are rendered invisible. What's another dead peasant? Especially those by definition evil; the enemy's children would only grow up to be threats. The maimed among our own troops are abstracted into "heroes" and the horror of their real lives not talked about. Never mind the suicides; that doesn't fit the propaganda.
Having massive stocks of WMD is MAD, crazy. One group of coldly calculating sociopaths justifying the armaments as necessary to protect against another set of evil psychopaths. I'm not saying unilateral disarmament is the way to go, but the chemical and nuclear weapons reduction negotiations were working. As for moral (and psychological) arguments, they are needed! Implicitly, we already have them--like asserting only harsh punishment will work; reasons for behavior "we" don't like never considered. Instead, how about making explicit the ways the current political and econ systems are structured to reward the worst among us? Calling them out for the power seeking and $ worshiping monsters they are. Who deserve scorn and derision, not respect.
War is excess resources applied in a gamble by some in a society to try and grab more via violence. If we didn't have an excess of wealth, resources, and energy to build bombs, missiles, and aircraft carriers, our warmaking capabilities would be reduced. Feeding and clothing the million plus personal in our military and intelligence services (not to mention feeding and clothing the people who manufacture our weapons) is an enormous commitment of surplus to absolutely no benefit. As Eisenhower said, it is a theft from other commitments that could use those resources. As Marx said, it is like dropping capital to the bottom of the sea. I would add, it is like dropping resources to the bottom of the sea, but attaching thousands and millions of human lives to it. Not just wasted resources, but wasted human lives. The powerful ending of "Johnny Got His Gun" is in my opinion the best solution. If anybody gives you a gun and says 'go kill those people over there who have never harmed you' we should immediately turn the guns on those in society who make the demands for war. Read the last few pages of Johnny Got His Gun :) Peace!
War is downstream from greed.
Great book. Have had it for years.
Hedges has more years (20) of front-line combat experience than most, if not all, members of the sitting Joint Chiefs, including 7 years in Gaza. His reporting from those pits of hell on Earth merits not only the Pulitzer he earned for foreign correspondence, but a Medal of Freedom from a POTUS, if not a Nobel Peace prize. Warmongering presidents and private citizens have received the last two of those three. The prophetic authenticity of Hedges' ongoing journalism, activism, speaking, and writing honor truth, justice, and peace far more honestly than most, if not all, of those routine ceremonial recipients do.
Yes, Chris, certainly, as you write, "The Greatest Evil is War" -- however the disguise, camouflage, propaganda, and insane infantilism of continually 'ginning-up wars' is the magical faux-pregnancy of all Wars.
IMHO, the birthing of all Wars, from inception to death, is dependent on hiding behind the most deadly concept of EMPIRE --- and today it appears that this last secret pregnancy of "The Quiet American" global AIPAC [American and Israeli pact of a final War] against China.
According to news reports, 'earlier in the week, Pope Francis denounced the unleashing of Israeli violence in Gaza, saying that “we have gone beyond wars. This is not war. This is terrorism.”'
This ceasefire must be extended for more than a day or two. It must be made permanent. Not back to the status quo under oppressive conditions, but as a place where all live with peace and equality. It is time for Pope Francis to do more than talk. He must go to Gaza and make a stand for peace and freedom.
Please sign the petition and share widely.
This is one small thing we can do. If we can do more, let us do more.
Unless we eliminate this very real evil, there is no solution to climate change...or any of the threats that beset humanity. What gobsmacks me, is how many people, reasonable and kindly in their own little circles, still fall into cheerleading for it.
I pre-ordered and can't wait to read it.
I think the primary cause of modern wars is debt. We are fine example. We have tons of debt and none of our rulers want to be taxed so as to pay off the debt. Now if inflation goes up because of higher commodity costs, interest rates go up, bond values go down, home and stock market values go down, and paying off the debt becomes even more expensive because interest rates are up. Then the dollar collapses, and inflation really goes up. So maybe containing Russia, China, India, Arab, South American and African nations, higher commodity prices, and the use of other currencies could be an "existential" threat a strong dollar and to our way of life. I think our self inflicted debt is our primary enemy keeping fighting for economic advantage in an era where the war sellers keep losing wars and we can't recruit enough soldiers to keep our outposts and ships manned.
Chris Hedges is a "voice of reason and morality crying out in the wilderness". Although the subject matter is very upsetting, his calm presence and the moral authority from which he speaks is a balm for the spirit in this very chaotic of times.
Accountability? It will eventually bite u in the butt. No one is exempt; no one gets off "scott free". ("Karma's a bitch".) We humans have an innate sense of morality enshrined in their "hearts". One can not escape it's condemnation. One way or another "we pay" for our crimes.
Listening to Hedges is like getting an education