Chris Hedges – USA

Linked with truthdig.com.

Christopher L. Hedges (born 18 September 1956 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont) is a journalist and author, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and society. Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years. Hedges was part of The New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism … and: He … describes war as “the most potent narcotic invented by humankind” … and: he says (about Iraq): “We are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security” … (full text).

Videos with Chis Hedges:

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Chris Hedges – USA

Welcome Home, Soldier: Now Shut Up, June 28th, 2008.

Six months ago, veteran war reporter Chris Hedges and I embarked on an intensive project to answer these questions. We wanted to document and reveal the ugly, under-acknowledged underbelly of the occupation. To do this, we interviewed more than 50 Iraq war combat veterans on the record about their experiences with Iraqi civilians. Many of them described witnessing, and even participating in, atrocities against unarmed Iraqis. Chris and I discovered that war crimes against Iraqi non-combatants have been far more widespread than is commonly known … (full long text, June 12, 2008).

Obama Falls into Bush’s Iran Trap, June 9, 2008.

He writes: … All governments lie, as I.F. Stone pointed out, and it is the job of the journalist to do the hard, tedious reporting to shine a light on these lies. It is the job of courtiers, those on television playing the role of journalists, to feed off the scraps tossed to them by the powerful and never question the system. In the slang of the profession, these television courtiers are “throats.” These courtiers, including the late Tim Russert, never gave a voice to credible critics in the buildup to the war against Iraq. They were too busy playing their roles as red-blooded American patriots. They never fought back in their public forums against the steady erosion of our civil liberties and the trashing of our Constitution. These courtiers blindly accept the administration’s current propaganda to justify an attack on Iran. They parrot this propaganda. They dare not defy the corporate state. The corporations that employ them make them famous and rich. It is their Faustian pact. No class of courtiers, from the eunuchs behind Manchus in the 19th century to the Baghdad caliphs of the Abbasid caliphate, has ever transformed itself into a responsible elite. Courtiers are hedonists of power … (full text, June 23, 2008).

The real consequences when America is at war, June 5, 2008.

Washington has become Versailles. We are ruled, entertained and informed by courtiers. The popular media are courtiers. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are courtiers. Our pundits and experts are courtiers. We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games. We are being had … We cannot differentiate between illusion and reality. We trust courtiers wearing face powder who deceive us in the name of journalism. We trust courtiers in our political parties who promise to fight for our interests and then pass bill after bill to further corporate fraud and abuse. We confuse how we feel about courtiers like Obama and Russert with real information, facts and knowledge. We chant in unison with Obama that we want change, we yell “yes we can,” and then stand dumbly by as he coldly votes away our civil liberties. The Democratic Party, including Obama, continues to fund the war. It refuses to impeach Bush and Cheney. It allows the government to spy on us without warrants or cause. And then it tells us it is our salvation. This is a form of collective domestic abuse. And, as so often happens in the weird pathology of victim and victimizer, we keep coming back for more. (full text, June 29, 2008).

His bio on wikipedia; on truthdig.

The assignments may sometimes turn a reporter into a relentless critic of war, as happened to Chris Hedges, the former New York Times correspondent. But for all too many reporters, as Hedges put it in the title of his book, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Few might admit the dirty secret, but it’s all too true. Reporters do get killed and injured during wars, but for many it is an exhilarating adventure that involves considerably less danger than is faced by the actual soldiers … (full text, June 23, 2008).

He says also: … “War waged for empire or wealth in an age when those arrayed against us can also get apocalyptic weapons means we dance with our own destruction. We thrill in our own annihilation. In war, we suffer as much destruction as we wreak. When we unleash war’s awful power, we become its pawn, its tool” … (full text, March 20, 2003).

America’s Democratic Collapse, June 3, 2008.

He writes also: … The instant we attack Iran, oil prices will double, perhaps triple. This price increase will devastate the American economy. The ensuing retaliatory strikes by Iran on Israel, as well as on American military installations in Iraq, will leave hundreds, maybe thousands, of dead. The Shiites in the region, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, will see an attack on Iran as a war against Shiism. They will turn with rage and violence on us and our allies. Hezbollah will renew attacks on northern Israel. And the localized war in Iraq will become a long, messy and protracted regional war that, by the time it is done, will most likely end the American empire and leave in its wake mounds of corpses and smoldering ruins … (full text, June 08, 2008).

… The events of 9/11 have indeed politicised faith like no other past event — in a country where faith is already a powerful player in political affairs. Chris Hedges writes: “Dominionism, born out of a theology known as Christian reconstructionism, seeks to politicise faith. It has, like all fascist movements, a belief in magic along with leadership adoration and a strident call for moral and physical supremacy of a master race, in this case American Christians” … (full text, June 24, 2008).

The he tells: … I had never covered a conflict in which the U.S. military was directly involved. When we all got off the plane, they handed us a piece of paper that said, in essence, “You’ll do everything you’re told by the U.S. military, you’ll never go anywhere unless we tell you, you’ll never report anything…” And it was garbage. It was unbelievable. So I sat in the room and signed it like everyone else, and then promptly ignored it. The next day I ran into a bunch of friends of mine, all of them of dubious moral character; they worked for tabloids in London, and I’d met a lot of them during the Falklands War, when I was in Buenos Aires. They had gotten a jeep, and they were all going to go up to this town of Khafji [a Saudi Arabian town captured by Iraqi forces, then recaptured], so I went with them. I wrote a story about this abandoned border town; it wasn’t a great story, but it had mood and color, and I came back and filed it. It was a complete violation of everything I had signed a few hours before, and was not a pool report, and this immediately started to create problems with my colleagues who were abiding by the rules … (full text, 2003).

He knows: … Prophets are not those who speak of piety and duty from pulpits but are the battered wrecks of men and women who return from Iraq and speak the halting words we do not want to hear, words that we must listen to and heed to know ourselves. And it is their testimonies that have the redemptive power to save us from ourselves. (full text).

… The relentless efforts of corporations to maximize profit has a human cost. For example, when Rebecca J. Rowlands was diagnosed with cancer, her insurance company, Blue Shield of California, promptly cut off her benefits in a process known as “post-claims underwriting,” or “rescissions.” Rowlands, her health deteriorating, fought back and won a settlement. But during that legal fight, as Gosselin notes, her chemotherapy was delayed for a prolonged period, saddling her with “increasingly severe medical problems” that are likely to leave her with “a six-figure medical debt.” High Wire is filled with such tales: of people crushed by credit card debt, mortgages they should never have been granted, predatory lenders, as well as sudden and catastrophic unemployment caused by “outsourcing.” Gosselin estimates that 60% of American homeowners no longer have enough insurance to replace their houses in the event of fire or other disasters but may not know it until they try to file a claim … (full text, June 29, 2008).

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Chris Hedges, Lee Zaslofsky, June 15, 2008.

And he says: … “These are the pillars of the occupation, and we wanted to give readers a kind of lens or view into the gritty details of how these mechanisms works, such as convoys. I mean, these are just freight trains of death. You have to remain moving once you leave what they call the wire, once you leave the safe perimeter of a base. And so, these heavily armored convoys will drive at breakneck speeds, fifty, sixty miles an hour down the middle of roads, smashing into Iraqi cars, shoving Iraqi vehicles to the side, running over Iraqi civilians, and then, of course, any time an IED goes off, unleashing withering what they call suppressing fire with belt-fed weapons—these are light machine guns like SAWs, .50-caliber machine guns—into a densely populated areas. And so, I think that rather than sort of do a Studs Terkel kind of memoir, we wanted to focus specifically on sort of key mechanisms that make the occupation work, how these mechanisms function, and the effect that these mechanisms have on Iraqi civilians … (full interview text, June 10, 2008).

About his book: War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.

Find him and his publications on wikipedia/books; on wikipedia video- and audio-links; on Google Video-search; on Google inauthor search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

And he writes: The battle under way in America is not a battle between religion and science. It is a battle between religious and secular fundamentalists. It is a battle between two groups intoxicated with the utopian and magical belief that humankind can perfect itself and master its destiny. We live in an age of faith. We are assured we are advancing as a species toward a world that will be made perfect by reason, technology, science or the second coming of Jesus Christ. Evil can be eradicated. War has been declared on nebulous forces or cultures that stand as impediments to progress. Religion, if you are secular, is blamed for genocide, injustice, persecution, backwardness and intellectual and sexual repression. Secular humanism, if you are born again, is branded as a tool of Satan … (full text, April 07, 2008).

links:

Juan Enriquez and the Break Up of Nations, March 17, 2007;

Literary Calendar, June 29, 2008;

Letter: An honest broker, June 27, 2008;

‘New Atheists’: Enlightened guides to perdition, June 21, 2008;

Industrial Slaughter in Iraq, June 17, 2008;

Dramatic pause, June 26, 2008;

Bomb Iran? What’s to stop us, June 28, 2008;

Bomb Iran? What’s to Stop Bush, June 20, 2008;

Pure Insanity, June 4, 2008;

End-time for the theofascist agenda, June 27, 2008.

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