William S. Burroughs said “I’m not a great writer. If I were a great writer I could write a book that if you read it, it would kill you.”

Chris Hedges is a great writer, and he’s written books that, if you read them, help end killing. But first they must be read, and so I urge everyone who can afford it to buy two copies of this book and give one to somebody who might never hear of it. A New York Times subscriber for example.

Shaw said: “If you have an apple, and I have an apple and we exchange apples then we each still have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea, and we exchange ideas, then we each have two ideas”

I feel deeply fortunate that I live in the same world as Chris Hedges, and I feel a duty share his ideas. Merry Christmas!

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I get emotionally devastated and laid low by reading much of Hedges' work - and then filled with rage at the corruption and greed and military madness running the US Empire.

The fact that this insanity is being not only enabled, but affirmatively supported by people who call themselves "left" or "progressives' is just sickening. Maybe after a mid-term wipeout, the Dems will be forced to reflect and change course.

But they didn't after 2016, so obviously I put not stock in any of that. But I also see little chance of an anti-war/anti-empire/climate sanity economic justice uprising. Bleak times, indeed.

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What happened was progressives were offered the whip hand. If Eternal War was the price of MIC support, all too many progressives were happy to fall in line.

Note how so many neocons seamlessly shifted their allegiances from Team R to Team D.

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And note how eagerly Team D welcomed them in. Ex-CIA, FBI hacks and flacks, former rightwing presidents from Team R, neo-con pundits who were top cheerleaders for the Iraq war, all sorts of neo-fascists are now card-carrying Democrats. Obama must be proud.

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There was a report on ABC early this morning that “the liberal wing of the Democratic Party sent a letter to the President, urging him to pursue diplomatic channels...”. By late afternoon it was reported in WAPO that the letter had been withdrawn. Pelosi has been the loudest jingoist in Washington, and she has a rep for being a very “effective” Speaker. She and Joe and Hillary and a few others are toxic Democrats who have given their lives to the empire....and copped some serious dosh in the process. The so-called progressives have been offensively lame. The Republicans, as defined by Trump, are all-in for fascism, and the Democrats will stand for nothing short of uncontested global domination. Tick-tock. Nero is definitely fiddling.

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So many disgusting people in power (I always found it lunacy to try to live on Mars - what a waste of money - I am changing my opinion, I book my ticket a s a p ...)

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The problem is the people who are likely to join you there.

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Don't worry, none of them will make it there. And if I'm wrong and they do, they won't live long. Humans can't live on the moon or another planet, that's just childish fantasy.

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Those progressives sure were quickly brought to heel.

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They're not real progressives. Their job is to sheep herd progressives into the Democratic Party, where they are neutered. These people clearly care far more about their careers than about advancing anything on the progressive agenda. Just look at the Force the Vote fiasco, for one example.

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Yeah, it makes me wonder just what they can be bought for.

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I doubt they got anything other than a proverbial cuff on the ear.

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I fully support your comments. But I would add anyone supporting the utter black swan of war is absolutely deranged. Right or left, it is unconscionable and only could be supported out of hubris, greed and, of course, ignorance. Sadly, those traits seems to span all political and even religious spectrums.

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The sad thing about war is that with one exception (self-defense) force of any kind is unnecessary in a CIVILIZED world. Are we uncivilized? Yes. Do the majority of people on this planet want war? No. Most people despise it. Humanity is peaceful by nature, it is only those in power who have a monetary goal or agenda that benefit was constant war and conflict. Humanity is cooperative by nature and would strive to cooperate in any endeavor to benefit the planet and itself. Evil exists, in the form of politicians and owners of Media outlets and huge Corporations that are intent on ruling the world. We have been lied to about virtually everything because the lies inure to the benefit of those in power. Most are fear based and threaten people so that they form opinions to avoid fearsome outcomes which are illusory and fabricated. This evil killed JFK, MLK, Bobby Kennedy JFK Jr. etc. Any person who received enough public recognition regarding issues such as peace, love, compassion etc., has been terminated. The Pope has not because he plays the game and is part of the elite system of dominance. Humanity must unify around the issue of global peace, universal peace, and consistent human rights worldwide. There is no reason why every person on this planet cannot have basic human rights, and not be subject to conflict, mayhem, and war. This evil is seen in comments attributed to people such as Winston Churchill who said: If it were not for the Yanks, we could have kept the war (WW2) going for another 10 years. One can easily see the intent behind such comments, and the evil in minimizing the value of human life. To people like Churchill, life was meaningless as long as it was not his own. We must demand more from our representatives /public servants and stop treating them and calling them "Leaders". They lead us nowhere. This has been the case for over 200 years. Don't you think it's time we changed the program? Namaste, EWC

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Hermann Goering on war, as he was lounging around his prison cell, waiting to be executed....

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."


Note that I am hardly a Goering fan, but it must be said that he did bring a certain practical experience into the matter.

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Sadly, it seems many of the world's leaders ARE fans of Goering

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Goering himself said "It works the same in any country."

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Exactly, FF. In Gabor Maté's book: The Myth of Normal - he makes a couple of references to Göring - including one which deals with the psychological fall-out for a woman who was a great niece to Göring. That interested me because I have/had a first cousin in North America married to another person also a similar connection to Göring - and an embarrassment (and worse) to the family in the US during the years HG operated with Hitler. Kurt Vonnegut was in Dresden during the dreadful napalm fire-bombing of that city when another kinship connection - a journalist and interrogator - was just outside the city "ferrying" Johnny Dodge - a cousin-by-marriage to Winston Churchill - and one of those who broke out of Stalag Luft III in what is known as The Great Escape - to Switzerland - as a kind of guarantee for his treatment post-war it would seem - and which was how it transpired. I did not read Slaughterhouse Five (1969) until the early 2000s - not understanding who Kurt Vonnegut was - nor that it was semi-autobiographical - rather naïvely imagining it as some kind of airport paperback. What a revelation it was when I came across it in the early 2000s during my many years in Japan. Around the time I was teaching Ian Serraillier's 1956 book The Silver Sword (published in the US as Escape from Warsaw) to a university prep. senior high school class - as GW Bush was raining his "precision" bombs down upon the citizens of a cowering Baghdad.

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It is precisely this attitude and truth that should have brought humanity to a point of Unity, such that the "common person" whomever that is, will not be duped into endless carnage.


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You'd think that people would have gotten wise to this game, but they haven't.

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I guess, we have to start flooding the President and Congress with Tweets advising them.

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Great comment EWC. It is way past time to change the program(s) of our mis leadership, if not, we are all toast. It is not looking good Ed.

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Thank you my friend, I am fortunate to have lived 64 years on this planet to have seen humanity treated like crap, and even worse over the years by an Imperialistic Elite class that wants to dominate the world through the use of force and technology. This sickens me, but its great to see people like you carrying the flag of change. Take care. Ed Case

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"The provision of more than $50 billion in weapons and aid to Ukraine not only means the Ukrainian government has no incentive to negotiate, but that it condemns hundreds of thousands of innocents to suffering and death."

The Ukrainian government is a puppet regime, and has already been instructed not to negotiate. Incentives have nothing to do with it, only orders.

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Thanks, Chris. I found this latest book of yours one of the most moving anti-war books I have ever read - though Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" is a good benchmark. I have been in many war-zones - though thankfully years after the conflicts have ended - or appeared to have ended. This week-end in Canberra I will attend the AWM-sponsored "Requiem for POWs" arranged etc - and conducted - by Christopher LATHAM - several other War-related Requiems already under his arrangement as a Cultural Officer-attachment at the Australian War Memorial. Some serve (and feel sullied), some are present to bear witness (you); others try to teach against the interests and destruction of the warmongers (me)! I hope you are okay...

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Thank you Chris, for the tenacity with which you have told the truth....I've never had to witness war personally, but I've always known that to kill another human being has to be an act of utter desperation...War creates that desperation, and I've always abhorred it.

Saddened and somewhat shocked to discover how few of my progressive friends and acquaintances share my revulsion.....amazed by how quickly some of them accuse me of being on Putin's side.

Even now, when negotiations would likely be a simple matter of finding an honourable exit for both parties.......even the President of Ukraine prefers the continued deaths of his people, and the unending destruction of needed infrastructure.

Extinction may be too good for us.

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It was disheartening to see that when I clicked on "Buy this book" I was sent to Amazon. Surely Substack /Hedges can do better than that.

I'll purchase it elsewhere.

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The culture war raging in North America helps he better understand the reasons for war. It is the human desire of social dominance that invites it. It is always the elites starting and perpetuating wars... and they direct the non-elites to fight and die in those wars.

Today the elites are out of control. They have taken to abuse their power and wealth to gain more power and wealth, and without any regard to civility nor morality. The modern media is filled with these people. So is our national government. War is a byproduct of this as it serves their power and wealth.

The remedy requires a majority of elites to grow self-awareness that they are prone to these destructive ego pursuits. The clash of titans needs to be constrained by the titans. Those of wealth and power that behave badly... without a high bar of civility and morality, need the harshest of punishments. And that punishment needs to be levied by their own class. The non-elites cannot make the changes needed. It is a myth that bottom-up revolutions ever happen. They are always perpetrated by elites.

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Oct 26, 2022·edited Oct 26, 2022

Chris, I read "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" shortly after it was published, and I can honestly say that your book changed me as a person and changed my life. I saw that the facade of glory and noble purpose that is wrapped around war is always a lie. There is no "good" war, because all war is bad without exception. In some cases, war may be an unavoidable necessity for one side or the other, but almost never for the aggressor.

Since becoming aware of all this, I have been skeptical and scrupulous in examining the rationales that are given for wars by the war planners and their mouthpieces in the media. In not a single instance have I been able to find an acceptable justification for any of the United States' many wars across the globe. The current conflict in Ukraine is the most egregious, in my opinion, and also the most fraught with danger of total annihilation. The aggressors in this war are the United States and NATO. Russia's invasion of Ukraine was in response to what it justifiably saw as threats to its very existence. Will the American Dr. Strangeloves be permitted to continue driving our nation and the world down the road to destruction? It remains an open question.

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Most Amerians are more interested in sports or engaging in happy vapid activities that learning about what is happening to the Empire. They will be shocked when it collapses! Once in awhile one finds another individual who is willing to listen and begins to see what is going on. Difficult search, but occasional success is rewarding. Hedges reminds me of Alec Barr in Ruark's Honey Badger.

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Thank you Chris for opening my eyes and mind to see past the fog of misinformation, to see behind the curtain that dances before us making sure we will never pull it back and view the machinations of the puppet masters.

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Humanity has no idea what it feels like to live one day without bloodshed somewhere on the planet. It is time we find out.

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I never know how to respond to ethnocentric drivel.

The British Empire is no more and all that is left is America's ethnocentric ignorant vile reactionaries.

The Holy Roman Empire created the war in Ukraine to end the 80 years war and in 1`794 the European Empires ruled the world.

By British standards the war in Ukraine is a minor skirmish.

The Russian Empire cannot stand it must follow the British Empire into the dustbin of history.

America is still fighting the British Civil War.

British and European civilization is one of constant bloodshed and tyranny and the USA is simply the latest chapter in what Lord Acton said "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

We all remember the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1853.

Russia decided they would possess Crimea and were routed by the English and Ottomans who considered the Crimea neutral territory free of Romanovs, Hanovers, Kaisers and Ottomans.

Russia helped destroy the Enlightenment which began not in Paris, London, or Rome but in Vilnius Lithuania and the USA must decide to put up with the end of Empire or destroy this small chapter in the life of the universe.

We are all Ukrainians

America is neither a nation nor an Empire. It is simply a military waiting for its Kings and Princes to decide whether our species has a future.

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In the interest of accuracy, Lord Acton's letter to the archbishop reads: "Power TENDS to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." This is immediately followed by, in my view, the equally profound words: "great men are almost always bad men ... ''


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Thank you,

Let us also recall who Lord Acton represented.

Those of us educated under the Union Jack and sang God save the Queen remember the Charge of the Light Brigade and realized it was Britain and the other Empires that divided up the world and The Romanovs represented the same Empires as the Ottomans, the Spanish, the Portuguese the Austro Hungarians, the Belgians and the French.

Blood and spoils were the legacy of European Empires to which I add America.

Mark Twain covered the Spanish American War and the slaughter of Filipinos.

"Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die."

Let us look at the Legacy of the Empires.

There was plenty of food inn Ireland its food export economy boomed during the potato blight. It was a genocide as Swift wrote in the early 18th century when Swift's Modest Proposal predated the potatoes arrival as a food for peasants.

Russia destroyed Vilnius in 1794.

Vilnius was the cradle of liberal democracy and Russia was in Crimea because it was allowed to destroy Vilnius.

I am not Hobbesian. I believe we are the product of culture and its myths.

Europe was never Christian whether Roman or Greek it was might makes right.

We are still fighting Acton's war in Crimea.

I remember what Twain wrote about Archbishops.

35 million Indians died. That is the population of Canada.

Britain spilt lots of blood and is still only semi civilized.

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Everything is so very true and tragic (I always wonder if it is not just the hormones in our youth that make us so 'fond of war') and beautifully said. I am a foreigner in this country, so I cannot vote, but after what happened today with the so-called progressives and their letter (I read it and did not like it, but if it would have achieved something, I guess I would have changed my opinion) to the president (who obviously is an old boneheaded war-hawk), I would never again vote for democrats (and I am raised a socialist ...). This country's government disgusts me as does the lunacy of germany and others in Europe. All these governments need to go!!! They are not speaking for US, THE PEOPLE!!!!

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"I was pulled back into the morass." I must have read this paragraph 50 times and copied it into my notebook to have it close at hand to read again. Thank you. Now I'll buy both books.


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Thank you Chris. I’ve learned a lot from you throughout the years.

Obviously US is planing to create another War in Iran.

US can not live without blood of innocent people on its hands.

You worked for years in the Middle East but you are not writing a simple article on the issue of the recent unrest in Iran .

Iran international, BBC, France 24, VOA and individuals such as Maasumeh Alinejad better known as Masi, Hamed Ismayli, Reza Pahlavi and the like , are encouraging Biden and his admin to impose even more sanctions on the Iranian people . These people are asking Biden to help Iran like he helped Ukrainian .

Please write about your opinion on this issue.

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