Chris Hedges: Worthy & Unworthy Victims

The life of a Palestinian or an Iraqi child is as precious as the life of a Ukrainian child. No one should live in fear and terror. No one should be sacrificed on the altar of Mars.

A child in front of a damaged tower block in Lysychansk, Lugansk, July 28, 2014. (Pryshutova Viktoria, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Chris Hedges

Rulers divide the world into worthy and unworthy victims, those we are allowed to pity, such as Ukrainians enduring the hell of modern warfare, and those whose suffering is minimized, dismissed, or ignored. The terror we and our allies carry out against Iraqi, Palestinian, Syrian, Libyan, Somali and Yemeni civilians is part of the regrettable cost of war. We, echoing the empty promises from Moscow, claim we do not target civilians. Rulers always paint their militaries as humane, there to serve and protect. Collateral damage happens, but it is regrettable.

This lie can only be sustained among those who are unfamiliar with the explosive ordinance and large kill zones of missiles, iron fragmentation bombs, mortar, artillery and tank shells, and belt-fed machine guns. This bifurcation into worthy and unworthy victims, as Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky point out in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, is a key component of propaganda, especially in war. The Russian-speaking population in Ukraine, to Moscow, are worthy victims. Russia is their savior: the resistance are unworthy “Nazis.” [Ed.: part of that resistance incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard under the Interior Ministry are the self-described neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.]

Worthy victims allow citizens to see themselves as empathetic, compassionate, and just. Worthy victims are an effective tool to demonize the aggressor. They are used to obliterate nuance and ambiguity. Mention the provocations carried out by the western alliance with the expansion of NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, a violation of promises made to Moscow in 1990; the stationing of NATO troops and missile batteries in Eastern Europe; the U.S. involvement in the ouster in 2014 of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych, which led to the civil war in the east of Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukraine’s army, a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, and you are dismissed as a Putin apologist.

It is to taint the sainthood of the worthy victims, and by extension ourselves. We are good. They are evil. Worthy victims are used not only to express sanctimonious outrage, but to stoke self-adulation and a poisonous nationalism. The cause becomes sacred, a religious crusade. Fact-based evidence is abandoned, as it was during the calls to invade Iraq. Charlatans, liars, con artists, fake defectors, and opportunists become experts, used to fuel the conflict.

Celebrities, who, like the powerful, carefully orchestrate their public image, pour out their hearts to worthy victims. Hollywood stars such as George Clooney made trips to Darfur to denounce the war crimes being committed by Khartoum at the same time the U.S. was killing scores of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war in Iraq was as savage as the slaughter in Darfur, but to express outrage at what was happening to unworthy victims was to become branded as the enemy, who of course, like Putin or Saddam Hussein, is always the new Hitler.

Saddam Hussein’s attacks on the Kurds, considered worthy victims, saw an international outcry while Israeli persecution of the Palestinians, subjected to relentless bombing campaigns by the Israeli air force and its artillery and tank units, with hundreds of dead and wounded, was, at best, an afterthought. At the height of Stalin’s purges in the 1930s, worthy victims were the republicans battling the fascists in the Spanish civil war. Soviet citizens were mobilized to send aid and assistance. Unworthy victims were the millions of people Stalin executed, sometimes after tawdry show trials, and sent to the gulags.

El Salvador in 1984

While I was reporting from El Salvador in 1984, the Catholic priest Jerzy Popietuszko was murdered by the regime in Poland. His death was used to excoriate the Polish communist government, a stark contrast to the response of the Reagan administration to the rape and murder of four Catholic missionaries in 1980 in El Salvador by the Salvadorean National Guard. President Ronald Reagan’s administration sought to blame the three nuns and a lay worker for their own deaths. Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations, said, “The nuns were not just nuns. The nuns were also political activists.” Secretary of State Alexander Haig speculated that “perhaps they ran a roadblock.”

For the Reagan administration, the murdered churchwomen were unworthy victims. The right-wing government in El Salvador, armed and backed by the United States, joked at the time, Haz patria, mata un cura (Be a patriot, kill a priest). Archbishop Óscar Romero had been assassinated in March of 1980. Nine years later it would gun down six Jesuits and two others at their residence on the campus of Central American University in San Salvador. Between 1977 and 1989, death squads and soldiers killed 13 priests in El Salvador.

Canonization ceremony of Monsignor Romero in Saint Peter’s Square, San Salvador, El Salvador, Oct. 14, 2018. (Presidencia El Salvador, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)

It is not that worthy victims do not suffer, nor that they are not deserving of our support and compassion, it is that worthy victims alone are rendered human, people like us, and unworthy victims are not. It helps, of course, when, as in Ukraine, they are white. But the missionaries murdered in El Salvador were also white and American and yet it was not enough to shake U.S. support for the country’s military dictatorship.

“The mass media never explain why Andrei Sakharov is worthy and Jose Luis Massera, in Uruguay, is unworthy,” Herman and Chomsky write.

“The attention and general dichotomization occur ‘naturally’ as a result of the working of the filters, but the result is the same as if a commissar had instructed the media: ‘Concentrate on the victims of enemy powers and forget about the victims of friends.’ Reports of the abuses of worthy victims not only pass through the filters; they may also become the basis of sustained propaganda campaigns. If the government or corporate community and the media feel that a story is useful as well as dramatic, they focus on it intensively and use it to enlighten the public.”

“This was true, for example, of the shooting down by the Soviets of the Korean airliner KAL 007 in early September 1983, which permitted an extended campaign of denigration of an official enemy and greatly advanced Reagan administration arms plans,” Herman and Chomsky write.

“As Bernard Gwertzman noted complacently in The New York Times of August 31, 1984, US officials ‘assert that worldwide criticism of the Soviet handling of the crisis has strengthened the United States in its relations with Moscow.’ In sharp contrast, the shooting down by Israel of a Libyan civilian airliner in February I973 led to no outcry in the West, no denunciations for ‘cold-blooded murder,’ and no boycott. This difference in treatment was explained by The New York Times precisely on the grounds of utility in a 1973 editorial: ‘No useful purpose is served by an acrimonious debate over the assignment of blame for the downing of a Libyan airliner in the Sinai Peninsula last week.’ There was a very ‘useful purpose’ served by focusing on the Soviet act, and a massive propaganda campaign ensued.”

It is impossible to hold those responsible for war crimes accountable if worthy victims are deserving of justice and unworthy victims are not. If Russia should be crippled with sanctions for invading Ukraine, which I believe it should, the United States should have been crippled with sanctions for invading Iraq, a war launched on the basis of lies and fabricated evidence.

Imagine if America’s largest banks, J.P Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo were cut off from the international banking system. Imagine if our oligarchs, Jeff Bezos, Jamie Diamond, Bill Gates and Elon Musk, as venal as Russian oligarchs, had their assets frozen and estates and luxury yachts seized. (Bezos’ yacht is the largest in the world, cost an estimated $500 million and is about 57 feet longer than a football field.) Imagine if leading political figures, such as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and U.S. “oligarchs” were blocked from traveling under visa restrictions. Imagine if the world’s biggest shipping lines suspended shipments to and from the United States.

Imagine if U.S. international media news outlets were forced off the air. Imagine if we were blocked from purchasing spare parts for our commercial airlines and our airliners were banned from European air space. Imagine if our athletes were barred from hosting or participating in international sporting events. Imagine if our symphony conductors and opera stars were forbidden from performing unless they denounced the Iraq war and, in a kind of perverted loyalty oath, condemned George W. Bush.

Rank Hypocrisy 

The rank hypocrisy is stunning. Some of the same officials that orchestrated the invasion of Iraq, who under international law are war criminals for carrying out a preemptive war, are now chastising Russia for its violation of international law. The U.S. bombing campaign of Iraqi urban centers, called “Shock and Awe,” saw the dropping of 3,000 bombs on civilian areas that killed over 7,000 noncombatants in the first two months of the war. Russia has yet to go to this extreme.

“I have argued that when you invade a sovereign nation, that is a war crime,” a FOX News host said (with a straight face) recently to Condoleezza Rice, who served as Bush’s National Security adviser during the Iraq War.

“It is certainly against every principle of international law and international order and that is why throwing the book at them now in terms of economic sanctions and punishments is also a part of it,” Rice said. “And I think the world is there. Certainly, NATO is there. He’s managed to unite NATO in ways that I didn’t think I would ever see after the end of the Cold War.”

Rice inadvertently made a case for why she should be put on trial with the rest of Bush’s enablers. She famously justified the invasion of Iraq by stating: “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Her rationale for preemptive war, which under post-Nuremberg laws is a criminal war of aggression, is no different from that peddled by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who says the Russia invasion is being carried out to prevent Ukraine from obtaining nuclear weapons.

And this brings me to RT America, where I had a show called “On Contact.” RT America is now off the air after being de-platformed and unable to disseminate its content. This was long the plan of the U.S. government. The invasion of Ukraine gave Washington the opening to shut RT down. The network had a tiny media footprint. But it gave a platform to American dissidents who challenged corporate capitalism, imperialism, war, and the American oligarchy.

RT America Vs. The New York Times

My public denunciation of the invasion of Ukraine was treated very differently by RT America than my public denunciation of the Iraq war was treated by my former employer, The New York Times. RT America made no comment, publicly or privately, about my condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine in my ScheerPost column. Nor did RT comment about statements by Jesse Ventura, a Vietnam veteran and former Minnesota governor, who also had a show on RT America, and who wrote: “20 years ago, I lost my job because I opposed the Iraq War and the invasion of Iraq. Today, I still stand for peace. As I’ve said previously, I oppose this war, this invasion, and if standing up for peace costs me another job, so be it. I will always speak out against war.”

RT America was shut down six days after I denounced the invasion of Ukraine. If the network had continued, Ventura and I might have paid with our jobs, but at least for those six days they kept us on air.

The New York Times issued a formal written reprimand in 2003 that forbade me to speak about the war in Iraq, although I had been the newspaper’s Middle East bureau chief, had spent seven years in the Middle East and was an Arabic speaker. This reprimand set me up to be fired. If I violated the prohibition, under guild rules, the paper had grounds to terminate my employment. John Burns, another foreign correspondent at the paper, publicly supported the invasion of Iraq. He did not receive a reprimand.

My repeated warnings in public forums about the chaos and bloodbath the invasion of Iraq would trigger, which turned out to be correct, was not an opinion. It was an analysis based on years of experience in the region, including in Iraq, and an intimate understanding of the instrument of war those in the Bush White House lacked. But it challenged the dominant narrative and was silenced. This same censorship of anti-war sentiment is happening now in Russia, but we should remember it happened in the U.S. during the inception and initial stages of the invasion of Iraq.

Those of us who opposed the Iraq war, no matter how much experience we had in the region, were attacked and vilified. Ventura, who had a three-year contract with MSNBC, saw his show canceled.

Those who were cheerleaders for the war, such as George Packer, Thomas Friedman, Paul Berman, Michael Ignatieff, Leon Wieseltier and Nick Kristof, who Tony Judt called “Bush’s useful idiots,” dominated the media landscape. They painted the Iraqis as oppressed, worthy victims, who the U.S. military would set free. The plight of women under the Taliban was a rallying cry to bomb and occupy the country. These courtiers to power served the interests of the power elite and the war industry. They differentiated between worthy and unworthy victims. It was a good career move. And they knew it.

Afghan refugees in Iran, 2013. (EU/ECHO Pierre Prakash, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There was very little dispute about the folly of invading Iraq among reporters in the Middle East, but most did not want to jeopardize their positions by speaking publicly. They did not want my fate to become their own, especially after I was booed off a commencement stage in Rockford, Illinois for delivering an antiwar speech and became a punching bag for right-wing media. I would walk through the newsroom and reporters I had known for years looked down or turned their heads, as if I had leprosy. My career was finished. And not just at The New York Times but any major media organization, which is where I was, orphaned, when Robert Scheer recruited me to write for Truthdig, which he then edited.

What Russia is doing militarily in Ukraine, at least up to now, was more than matched by U.S. savagery in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Vietnam. This is an inconvenient fact the press, awash in moral posturing, will not address.

Technowar & Wholesale Slaughter

No one has mastered the art of technowar and wholesale slaughter like the U.S. military. When atrocities leak out, such as the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese civilians or the prisoners in Abu Ghraib, the press does its duty by branding them aberrations. The truth is that these killings and abuse are deliberate. They are orchestrated at the senior levels of the military. Infantry units, assisted by long ranger artillery, fighter jets, heavy bombers, missiles, drones, and helicopters level vast swaths of “enemy” territory killing most of the inhabitants. The U.S. military during the invasion of Iraq from Kuwait created a six-mile-wide free-fire zone that killed hundreds if not thousands of Iraqis. The indiscriminate killing ignited the Iraqi insurgency.

Commemoration of the U.S. Air Force bombing on Feb. 13,  1991, of a shelter in the Amiriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, where at least 408 civilians, including many children, were incinerated. (Faisal1904, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

When I entered southern Iraq in the first Gulf War it was flattened. Villages and towns were smoldering ruins. Bodies, including women and children, lay scattered on the ground. Water purification systems had been bombed. Power stations had been bombed. Schools and hospitals had been bombed. Bridges had been bombed. The United States military always wages war by “overkill,” which is why it dropped the equivalent of 640 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs on Vietnam, most actually falling on the south where our purported Vietnamese allies resided. It unloaded in Vietnam more than 70 million tons of herbicidal agents, three million white phosphorus rockets — white phosphorus will burn its way entirely through a body — and an estimated 400,000 tons of jellied incendiary napalm.

“Thirty-five percent of the victims,” Nick Turse writes of the war in Vietnam, “died within 15 to 20 minutes.” Death from the skies, like death on the ground, was often unleashed capriciously. “It was not out of the ordinary for US troops in Vietnam to blast a whole village or bombard a wide area in an effort to kill a single sniper.”

Vietnamese villagers, including women, children, and the elderly, were often herded into tiny, barbed wire enclosures known as “cow cages.” They were subjected to electric shocks, gang raped and tortured by being hung upside down and beaten, euphemistically called “the plane ride,” until unconscious. Fingernails were ripped out. Fingers were dismembered. Detainees were slashed with knives. They were beaten senseless with baseball bats and waterboarded.  Targeted assassinations, orchestrated by C.I.A. death squads, were ubiquitous.

Wholesale destruction, including of human beings, to the U.S. military, perhaps any military, is orgiastic. The ability to unleash sheets of automatic rifle fire, hundreds of rounds of belt-fed machine-gun fire, 90 mm tank rounds, endless grenades, mortars, and artillery shells on a village, sometimes supplemented by gigantic 2,700-pound explosive projectiles fired from battleships along the coast, was a perverted form of entertainment in Vietnam, as it became later in the Middle East.

U.S. troops litter the countryside with claymore mines. Canisters of napalm, daisy-cutter bombs, anti-personnel rockets, high-explosive rockets, incendiary rockets, cluster bombs, high-explosive shells, and iron fragmentation bombs — including the 40,000-pound bomb loads dropped by giant B-52 Strarofortress bombers — along with chemical defoliants and chemical gases dropped from the sky are the calling cards. Vast areas are designated free fire zones — a term later changed by the military to the more neutral sounding “specified strike zone” — where everyone in those zones is considered the enemy, even the elderly, women and children.

Soldiers and marines who attempt to report the war crimes they witness can face a fate worse than being pressured, discredited, or ignored. On Sept. 12, 1969, Turse writes in his book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, George Chunko sent a letter to his parents explaining how his unit had entered a home that had a young Vietnamese woman, four young children, an elderly man, and a military-age male. It appeared the younger man was AWOL from the South Vietnamese army. The young man was stripped naked and tied to a tree. His wife fell to her knees and begged the soldiers for mercy. The prisoner, Chunko wrote, was “ridiculed, slapped around and [had] mud rubbed into this face.” He was then executed.

A day after he wrote the letter, Chunko was killed. Chunko’s parents, Turse writes, “suspected that their son had been murdered to cover up the crime.”

All of this remains unspoken as we express our anguish for the people of Ukraine and revel in our moral superiority. The life of a Palestinian or an Iraqi child is as precious as the life of a Ukrainian child. No one should live in fear and terror. No one should be sacrificed on the altar of Mars.

But until all victims are worthy, until all who wage war are held accountable and brought to justice, this hypocritical game of life and death will continue. Some human beings will be worthy of life. Others will not. Drag Putin off to the International Criminal Court and put him on trial. But make sure George W. Bush is in the cell next to him. If we can’t see ourselves, we can’t see anyone else. And this blindness leads to catastrophe.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show “On Contact.” 

This column is from Scheerpost, for which Chris Hedges writes a regular columnClick here to sign up for email alerts.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

16 comments for “Chris Hedges: Worthy & Unworthy Victims

  1. Hans Meyer
    March 11, 2022 at 13:40

    Hello Mr Hedges,
    Very good articles with a lot of informations to go back to. I agree entirely with you on all points. The whole story could be caricatured as a fight between powerful and rich people, the famous oligarchs of both camps. The problem I have is the general policies of some. For example, stirring up Chinese muslim provinces is going to trigger a typical reaction from a centralize (capitalist) government. The Chinese are not stupid and know what they are trying to do. As always, the human cost will fall on the proxies and the targeted state, not the puppet masters. On the other side, Chineses are not saint and have policies in Africa, for example, that are in part with the Western states. To go back to Ukraine and Russia, this thing was on the back burner for 8 years, 8 long years when the conflict and their victims were of no concern to the Western media (as is Yemen, Somalia,…). The sudden interest for Ukrainian victims has nothing to do with human compassion and everything to do with strategy and mass manipulation. They do need these victims for their plan to work and the Russians are playing their game pretty well. Now, the Russian have a competent foreign minister in the person of Mr Lavrov. He is aware of the not-so-sweet stories between Ukraine and Russia (as with Poland and the Baltic States). The war on Ukraine will surely antagonize Western Ukraine for generations to come. A lot of people expected at worst an occupation of the Russian speaking provinces, not a mess in a nuclear energy dependent state that is also an agronomic center for the region. The question remains, for what reason did the Russian change their plan (from a diplomatically “reasonable” to a potentially disastrous – more than what it is now). Biden was pretty sure, apparently. that the Russian will invade. Was it that he was in possession of informations saying so or that a (putative) concocted provocation could not end upon anything but a Russian invasion of Ukraine? That the kind of questions that the media like the NYT, Newsweek, PBS,… should try to answer. Another important question, I think, is what is the purpose of all of this human sacrifice. Who is going to benefit from it, the populations in Ukraine and the Western countries???? The Cold War Phase 2 is a clash between the Western financial and speculative economic system and mostly a Chinese capitalist system based on production (with Iran, Russia, Venezuela,… to be aligned with one system or the other). In that sense, NATO is used to pressure not only Russia but China and other countries (see the involvement of Germany and France in Afghanistan on humanitarian pretexts) with a human cost (apparently use economic sanction to pressure the civilian population to oust the current leader. They do know that economic sanctions will affect everyday people, that the purpose – to show the incompetence of the current leader). The endgame is that the neoliberals want China, Iran, Russia to be dependents of their system, a second category partner (see how the USA, UK and France reacted to Libya trying to create a Western African economic system or Greece trying to leave NATO). The danger for the neoliberals is that these states found a way out in creating their own financial and manufacturing economic sphere based on their money. Russia should have known about the economical risks involved in this “adventure” (not that they would not have happened if it limit its excursion to the Russian speaking area of Ukraine) and was ready to take the risk. Is it because the base for this supposed economic system is strong enough to justify these risks?

  2. Eugenia Gurevich
    March 11, 2022 at 10:37

    I wonder if Chris Hedges ever opposed a war in Donbass, or he did even consider that a war. What exactly was Russia to do about it? Russia tried for a diplomatic solution for 8(!) years. How much longer it should’ve waited and for what, I don’t know. Apparently, until many more people died and Ukraine openly attacked Donbass.
    “Ukrainians enduring the hell of modern warfare” – No, they aren’t; so far, they haven’t seen modern warfare. Russia isn’t using its arsenal of modern weapons precisely to avoid targeting civilians as much as possible. Actually, a lot of civilian deaths come from the hands of the Ukrainian Nazi’s as happened in Mariupol and Volnovakha.

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    March 11, 2022 at 09:41

    And the colour of their skins matters too…and so do their religions. What hypocrites we Westerners are.

  4. Peter Stevenson
    March 11, 2022 at 02:38

    Can’t RT keep producing Chris’s show “On Contact” for people who watch it on the RT website rather than on cable TV?

  5. March 10, 2022 at 21:12

    For the depravity of our country, you rightly could start with the Indians we decimated and our legal practice of owning people we considered to be sub-human. For at least a little glimmer of light, in fact we keep evolving, where all that occurs is grist for honing ourselves to where we see ourselves as one humanity, caring about each other as much as we care about ourselves.

    As we try to understand this Ukraine grist, how about stopping calling it a war? Russia is warring on Ukraine. Ukraine is defending itself. In operating from some rules-of-war perspective, law-abiding peoples as we are, we aren’t cognizant of the madman we are contending with. The idea that something we do might send us over Putin’s edge, as if he has an edge, seems naive to me. We’re strategizing against someone who’s not following any strictures. He doesn’t need provocation for him to do anything he wants to do, so why operate as if he does?

    I think about that no-fly zone. This is a planetary emergency. It’s not a time to be polite or even law-abiding to deal with the other side that’s not law-abiding. And, for further clarification, it’s not Russia that’s invading Ukraine, it’s Putin. Russian soldiers are the puppets Putin turns into mercenaries to kill people with whom they have no beef and who, to a significant degree, include members of their own families.

    May the depravity of this be impelling enough for us to get it that we have to change our ways, from being oppositional to celebrating our mutuality. We are so stuck in an old reality that even the pandemic couldn’t free us, but maybe the horror of Ukraine will.

  6. Aaron
    March 10, 2022 at 05:18

    The New York times, “the toilet paper of record”. You should have been praised and earned a raise from the Times for doing what a great journalist is supposed to do, telling the truth. Shame on them and those dipshits in Rockford.
    Rice on Fox is a new low, even for that channel. Thinking back on all of our disastrous, lost wars, I see one thing in common with the Ukraine situation. In every one of them, the American public was lied to, and told over and over and over, that we had to go to war before it spread and reached us here on our soil. It’s happening again right now. In Vietnam, we had to stop the communist domino effect they said. In Iraq, we had to stop his WMD and ties to Al Quaeda. Now, Zelensky and the media are telling us, that Putin will not stop at Ukraine, he will come after NATO next. There is no reason whatsoever to think Putin will attack NATO after Ukraine. I’m terrified that the lies will not stop until he gets his damn no-fly zone and then that’s the same as attacking Russia and that will be the end of the world because of the nuclear winter and mutually assured destruction.

  7. David Otness
    March 9, 2022 at 23:04

    The Russian Army doctrine is the OPPOSITE of “Shock and Awe.” It accounts for the slower progress and much lower casualty figures—absent the ones the Russians are purposely, heroically, and inevitably taking while trying (and largely succeeding) in minimising civilian casualties. They have not deployed their heavy artillery, an expected action based on their standard military doctrine, i.e. overwhelming barrages. Their destructive force has been aimed at military targets and has largely succeeded, some 90% of Ukraine’s airfields have been made unusable, along with air defenses, and military aircraft. The Azov Battalion is using their own people as human shields, they are in every Ukrainian Army unit in force in order to enforce “discipline” which includes shooting anybody presuming to surrender.

    And I can’t be any sicker of war than I am. It marks every decade of my life. Unnecessarily. But those who feel differently and who not so coincidentally own our abjectly corrupt government feel have the means and the apparently unbreakable grip on turning it on or off.
    Others may differ in thinking they can change this, I certainly hope so. We must never stop trying, ultimately by any means necessary, to end this vicious cycle, in spite of my generation’s less than stellar accomplishments in doing so.

    Yes, of course this ongoing madness is horrible for everyone but the Owners who merely count profits and losses by whatever currency they use, human lives are mere incidentals to the scorekeepers—including the 14,000 who died in Donetsk over the past 8 years. What about them? Yes, what about them? And this latest cycle is about preventing more of them in the future from meeting the same fate.
    Evil must be fought on the only terms it truly understands. Extirpation of the evil is no sin in my book. In this book, this chapter, there is Hell to pay and it is being paid.
    But the blame for this resides in the people effecting the will of the present Commander in Chief, his rabid neocon underlings, Wall Street, and that body of money-enthralled zombies who condone and perpetrate evil in their daily deeds of inertia from the Duopoly—that cover act that underwrites their Congressional seats.

  8. alley cat
    March 9, 2022 at 19:48

    “…until all who wage war are held accountable and brought to justice, this hypocritical game of life and death will continue.”

    All wars are not created equal, and as much as I respect Chris, I reject any attempt to equate Russia’s assault on Ukraine to wars instigated by the U.S. to further U.S. global hegemony, usually based on lies. Just ask yourself who has 800 military bases worldwide to put the whole matter into perspective.

    Putin has called the growing US-NATO encirclement of Russia with nuclear missile bases an “existential threat,” and all you have to do is look at a map of NATO expansion to know that Putin is right.

    How can anyone expect a country like Russia to sit on its hands because “all wars are evil,” while America and its vassals ransack the planet? If the Russians see the U.S. turning Ukraine into an anti-Russian fortress, they have a right to take action to stop it. And that includes violent action—since Russia has tried everything else and gotten nowhere.

    • zhenry
      March 10, 2022 at 20:33

      I agree with alley cat, Sam F, and some others here the Russians have to defend against the US and UK aggression. Many journalists think Russia should have acted sooner.
      Essentially its the US relentless drive for world financial hegemony, its military bases, regime change, sanctions and insisting other countries do what they want regardless.
      Then of course the World Economic Forum whos core membership are the 1000 or so global multinational corporations, mostly US and the Young Leaders WEF program (the Trojan infiltrators) of local and national politicians, since 1992; an all out world attempted domination program.
      Chris Hedges mentions these things or hints at them but he too prominently tries to balance what US does against what Russia does. I have much sympathy and admiration for such journalists of the calibre of CH, they have to compromise in varying degrees if they want their articles accepted, (even alternate and independent media). As well I think they get caught up in the habit of covering their tracks. Just my view.

  9. Jimm
    March 9, 2022 at 18:56

    Instead of our leaders facing war crimes justice they hang medals around each others necks all the while protected by the great firewall of “classified information”. It is difficult for me to see what course of action Russia was supposed to take after patiently observing events in Ukraine for the last decade. How do they prevent becoming swallowed by US hegemony? I don’t know. Nevertheless, Chris Hedges ability to present the effects of war on the countries described as well as never ending U.S. hypocrisy to his readers is special indeed.
    Thank you CH and CN.

  10. Drew Hunkins
    March 9, 2022 at 17:49

    The reason Ukrainian civilian deaths are being slashed across the Western mainstream media non-stop 24/7 is because they’re unfortunate collateral damage of the villain du jour.

  11. renate
    March 9, 2022 at 16:58

    Sam F, I do agree with all you said. I do understand Chris Hedges’s position too. Some inner little voice tells me, he would have liked to add Joe Biden next to Bush, and H.W. Bush and other presidents, they are war criminals by any moral standard. There should be a Nurnberg type war crime tribunals.

    • Sam F
      March 10, 2022 at 10:59

      Yes, I agree with Chris Hedges in principle, although difficult to apply in grey areas of defense against aggression.
      Perhaps he does not foresee a fairly clean exit of Russia from Ukraine.

  12. Sam F
    March 9, 2022 at 12:55

    Tribal tyrants find all good in their tribe and all bad beyond its fence. “We are good. They are evil” so our war is always to defend good, even when clearly aggression for private gain.

    But defensive war is necessary if an unavoidable response to aggression. The question is whether the defender minimizes violence, a difficult task. The fault is of the aggressor.

    Chris Hedges seems forced to criticize Russia to attack the far greater crimes and provocations of the US: “If Russia should be crippled with sanctions … the United States should have [been] for invading Iraq… on the basis of lies…”
    But the Ukraine invasion was thoroughly provoked by US violence over eight years, unlike the US Iraq invasion.

    • Lois Gagnon
      March 9, 2022 at 19:06

      Agreed. The right to self defense exists.

    • renate
      March 9, 2022 at 22:57

      Chris Hedges describes what little it takes to get fired in the free press. Hate speech is always protected under free speech, not so anything not fitting the government’s political propaganda.

Comments are closed.