A Culture of Atrocity

Even since the publication of War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, Chris Hedges has been one of our clearest voices on the dangerous logic of war-think. Here’s everything that’s gone wrong in Iraq  summed up in one paragraph:

This constant fear and stress leads troops to view everyone around them as the enemy.  The hostility is compounded when the enemy, as in Iraq, is elusive, shadowy and hard to find.  The rage that soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed over time to innocent civilians who are seen as supporting the insurgents.  It is a short psychological leap, but a massive moral one.  It is a leap from killing—the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm—to murder—the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you.  The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder.  There is very little killing. American Marines and soldiers have become, after four years of war, acclimated to atrocity.

This is the reality that legislators and their constituents must accept as inevitable when they give their approval to any war. However urgent the “threat,” and however high-minded the hoped-for outcome, war always reduces to a series of ever-worsening crimes against humanity.

Michael Sky

In for a “good cause,” in for the soul-sapping atrocities.