God, this is a heart-breaking account. Most Americans have forgotten the idiocy of the Iraq War, Bush and Cheney strolled off into comfortable retirement, and nobody was held to account for the death, destruction, and failure. It was a giant stride on our road to fascism.

Expand full comment

The more I learn, the more evil I see. Self-serving leaders, corrupted institutions, horrendous outcomes. Fascism, as defined by Mussolini, is the shared governing between Big Industry and elected government. The idea that Fascism has a Red or Blue bias, or a religious bias is absurd within the current context. Both Republicans and Democrats, the self-proclaimed religious and atheists, we see variants of all these identities participate in the coordinated stealing from the national coffers to self-enrich under the guise of precautionary and preemptive action. “Safety” is the disguise these thieves and murderers don most frequently, and the tithe is a never ending inflation that erodes the global standard of living for all those not directly involved; the broken bodies that fight the wars and serve as lab rats for Big War and Big Pharma; and on and on to serve Big Banks/Tech/Media/Food/Energy. We need commerce, business, jobs, trade, but the unfettered growth of these entities has led to an aggregation of public and private power that is unprecedented (and corrupted). If we, the electorate, don’t start demanding better through the ballot box, I fear things will only get worse.

Expand full comment

Tears running down my face the whole read . So shameful and evil this American Empire has turned out to be

Some friends were mad at me for not supporting “ our troops” during this and other empire building , human murdering wars -but they were blinded by lord and propaganda- and most of them know it now

I’ve just bought your book - and it will be a tough read - but I want to pass it on to others who NEED to open their eyes ...AND I want to support you so you can keep on fighting the good fight Chris

We love you

Expand full comment

Tomas was mistaken to think that the Afghanistan war was justified. It was not. No more than the Iraq war. R

Expand full comment

Well done. And note that the US is involved the same by proxy in funding the war of Ukraine against Russia. There are Americans fighting in that war and being injured or killed. But there are also young Russian and Ukrainian men having the same outcome. And just like the Iraq war, the wealthy elites calling the shots are doing it for similar reasons… all for political power and money for the industrial war industry that the elites have a lot of holdings in.

Expand full comment

The God of Abraham always wants certain people dead. War and Empire are his blessing, if you believe his words in Deuteronomy, Numbers, and Leviticus as well as in his book of Revelations. He loves to smite. Abrahamic religion is responsible for more innocent deaths, including Thomas's, than any other ideology in history. In God we're fucked.

Expand full comment

How to people of goodwill go from being gadflies to becoming a force? One story outdoes the last story that was unbearable to listen to. We’ve got to think bigger, like NO MORE WAR. So how do we get there? That should be a question. I’d see you pundits adressing that together. Let’s have a major event with you and Robert Reich and Thom Hartmann and Noam Chomsky and Robert Scheer and Greg Palast and Michael Moore and Heather Cox Richardson and Marianne Williamson (we need females) and more. Show “The Day After,” where civilization is over thanks to nukes, as part of the event to get everyone’s attention to the immediate urgency of changing our ways. We need a voice that everyone listens to in order to make impact, and someone with clout, like you, would need to organize it.

Expand full comment

Pure evil; It is about when we're nailed to the cross, as we all will be, it is for something worthwhile.

Especially not for some one's political advantage, or some body else' s financial gain, or because we were just, briefly, mis-informed and mislead - too young to mistrust authority.

He was ignorant about the Afghanistan war; that one wasn't worth fighting either. The high-jackers - so called - were almost entirely Saudis and they very, very probably had help for the inside, That's us.

Expand full comment
Sep 29, 2022·edited Sep 30, 2022

A little more from Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun":

“To fight that war they would need men and if men saw the future they wouldn’t fight. So they were masking the future they were keeping the future a soft quiet deadly secret. They knew that if all the little people all the little guys saw the future they would begin to ask questions. … Remember it well we we we are the world we are what makes it go round we make bread and cloth and guns we are the hub of the wheel itself without us you would be hungry naked worms and we will not die. We are immortal we are the sources of life we are the lowly despicable ugly people we are the great wonderful beautiful people of the world and we are sick of it we are utterly weary we are done with it forever and ever because we are the living and we will not be destroyed.

If you make a war if there are guns to be aimed if there are bullets to be fired if there are men to be killed they will not be us. … It will be you – you who urge us on to battle you who incite us against ourselves you who would have one cobbler kill another cobbler you who would have one who works kill another man who works you who would have one human being who wants only to live kill another human being who wants only to live. Remember this. Remember this well you people who plan for war. Remember this you patriots you fierce ones you spawners of hate you inventors of slogans. Remember this as you have never remembered anything else in your lives.

We are men of peace we are men who work and we want no quarrel. But if you destroy our peace if you take away our work if you try to range us one against the other we will know what to do. If you tell us to make the world safe for democracy we will take you seriously an by god and by Christ we will make it so. We will use the guns you force upon us we will use them to defend our very lives and the menace to our lives does not lie on the other side of a nomansland that was set apart without our consent it lies within our own boundaries here and now we have seen it and we know it.

Put the guns into our hands and we will use them. Give us the slogans and we will turn them into realities. Sing the battle hymns and we will take them up where you left off. Not one not ten not ten thousand not a million not ten millions not a hundred millions but a billion two billions of us all the people of the world we will have the slogans and we will have the hymns and we will have the guns and we will use them and we will live. Make no mistake of it we will live. We will be alive and we will walk and talk and eat and sing and laugh and feel and love and bear our children in tranquility in security in decency in peace. You plan the wars you masters of men plan the wars and point the way and we will point the guns.”

Expand full comment

Tears about to flow, nobody should go through this. I was driving taxi in DC in 80s and would often pick up a Vietnam veteran who lived in my neighborhood. I always drove him to Soldier’s Home, a compound about 10 minutes from the seats of government, for services (not a country club, mind you). He regularly told me what Tomas said:

“If I had known then what I know now,” Tomas said, “I would not have gone into the military.” My passenger added also said nobody should ever join the military. And he concluded similar to what Chris wrote, “Tomas was not the first young man to be lured into war and then callously discarded.”

Expand full comment

The Greatest Tax in America, which must be assessed on Corporations, is a 'Negative Externality Cost" DUMPING TAX.

The scale of 'Negative Externality Cost' Dumping --- measured in the many Trillions, are the costs of all forms of Negative Externality Costs which are dumped by all polluting; corporations, banks, Private Equity Pirates, Hedge Fund Whores, Defense Industries (aka "Merchants of Death"), The Meta Disinformation Industry, and Costs of Wars.

I wrote this article which Ralph Nader used in his campaign in 1996:

Externalities – The Hidden Corporate Tax On America

Alan MacDonald

In this era of debate over gas taxes, and tax structure in general, there is a single minded focus on public taxes which are imposed by government.

This viewpoint is blind to the fact that the greatest tax is not levied by government, it is imposed as an invisible and private tax by corporations.

The tax debate for the American people must first address the issue of visible government taxes, vs. hidden corporate taxes.

Debate about visible government taxes is open to public discourse, and subject to political review by elected representatives.

Not so with private taxation by corporations, which is imposed in a hidden, and surreptitious manner, not subject to representative review.

There is no debate about private corporate taxes. No informing of the people of the taxes invisibly imposed on them. Nor is there any media, political, or public discussion related to these oppressive, private taxes.

Therefore, such private corporate taxes on the American citizens are extreme taxation without representation. They are a tyranny of taxations without awareness, let alone representation.

King George's taxation, though tyrannical, was at least visible, and thus could be fought. Today's private tax burden is not even visible, and thus this tax tyranny is more difficult for the American people to throw off.

The secret tax by corporations upon the American people is only now being exposed as an indirect tax that is automatically imposed upon our society.

Corporations have successfully avoided any discussion about the tax that they impose, by disguising it as a normal function of the economy --- et. al.

Since 1996, it is now known that the scale of 'Negative Externality Costs' dumped to produce these Faux Profits, can not only be as great as the Total Profits of such Corporations, but now approaching the 'Total Revenue' of many Corporations --- which is why repairing or re-building our entire earthly society could well be impossible, and require the arrogantly self-appointed "Masters of the Universe" to need to "Move On" --- as McKay, Sirota, and Suskind's "Don't Look UP" analogizes.

Expand full comment

Chris, while War is the greatest, shocking, visible, and awful violence that imposes death and destruction on 'We the citizens of our fragile little world', IMHO, we might well have a dystopian tie of horror, in the form of the Greatest underLYING Evil being tied together with Empire.

While WAR certainly can be the most massively destructive of all life on Our Earth, and while the vast majority of people seeing that all WARS are awful --- not all people have a sufficient understanding of Empire (and "Empire-thinking") being the causal factor in creating WARS.

While all WARS are 'Viewed' as maximally awful and destructive, particularly in this age of viewing the horrors of War on their TVs --- as Neil Postman presciently described in his very early 1985 "Amusing Ourselves to Death" --- which IMHO bests Huxley's dystopia and Facebook's reality of maximal 'Negative Externality Cost' Dumping in the form of "Accumulation by Dispossession", to enforce "The Quiet American Empire" [apologies to Graham Greene].

WARS are visibly horrible, but EMPIRE is camouflageable -- and often not understood as anything but buried in the historical "FOG of history", compared to the seemingly more violent "Fog of War".

The ignition point of all WARS, when studied carefully is Empire qua "EMPIRE-THINKING"

It's as old as Adam and Eve.

Expand full comment

Although certainly would have no made any difference , I hope Mr. Tomas's last letter was read by Bush in his rare sober times.

Expand full comment


We the working class have been degraded from "personnel" as if real people, into "human resources." Like everything else on the planet, things to be strip-mined and clear-cut for the benefit of plutocrats and oligarchs. We're economic cannon fodder--absolute worst, the victims of war.

Chris Hedges is right. It IS the greatest evil. I wasn't raised with religion, but a series of spiritual encounters meant taking Christianity seriously, including grad school in theology in my late 50s. Though I really tried, I didn't fit in anywhere. Around Easter, I'd had it. I started to rip down the icons from my walls when a crucifix seemed to talk to me.

This Jesus image broke me open; I was allowed to feel what he had felt while on the cross. Only for a few seconds, all a finite being can stand. The hurt, fear, loneliness, anguish, devastation, alienation, bewilderment, and pain of all creation while simultaneously going through that most human of experiences: abandonment by Deity. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" I was devastated, falling on my knees overwhelmed.

For the second time, I have had that Easter experience. For the first time, understanding this same sacrifice is the brutalized body and mind of an ordinary human, Tomas Young.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Expand full comment

Well, Chris, you sure as hell don't pull any punches. And that's a good thing. Maybe someone will listen. Who knows?

Expand full comment