Chris Hedges: The Age of Self-Delusion

You can’t drain and impoverish the nation to feed an insatiable military machine unless you make its people afraid, even of phantoms.

“Portion Control,” original illustration by Mr. Fish.

By Chris Hedges

Blinded by what Barbara Tuchman calls “the bellicose frivolity of senile empires,” we are marching ominously towards war with Russia.

How else might we explain Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s public declaration that the U.S. goal is to “weaken Russia” and Joe Biden’s request for another $33 billion in “emergency” military and economic aid (half of what Russia spent on its military in 2021) for Ukraine?

The same cabal of generals and politicians that drained the state of trillions of dollars in the debacles in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Somalia and learned nothing from the nightmare of Vietnam, revel in the illusion of their omnipotence. They have no interest in a diplomatic solution. There are billions in profits to be made in arms sales. There is political posturing to be done. There are generals itching to pull the trigger. Why have all these high-priced and technologically advanced weapons systems if you can’t use them? Why not show the world this time around that the U.S. still dominates the globe? 

The masters of war require an enemy. When an enemy cannot be found, as George Orwell understood in Nineteen Eighty-Four, an enemy is manufactured. That enemy can become an ally overnight – we allied ourselves with Iran in the Middle East to fight the Taliban and later the Caliphate – before instantly reinstated Iran as the incarnation of evil. The enemy is not about logic or geopolitical necessity. It is about stoking the fear and hatred that fuels perpetual war. 

In 1989, I covered the revolutions that toppled the communist dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe.  President Mikhail Gorbachev, like his successor Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin in the early stages of his rule, hoped to integrate Russia into the Western alliance.

War Industry Needed Antagonistic Russia

But the war industry places profits before national defense. It needed an antagonistic Russia to push the expansion of NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany in violation of a promise made to Moscow. There were billions of dollars to be made from a Russian enemy, as there are billions more to be made from the proxy war in Ukraine.

There would be no “peace dividend” at the end of the Cold War. The war industry was determined to continue to bleed the U.S. dry and amass its obscene profits. They provoked and antagonized Russia until Russia filled its preordained role.

The humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan and two decades of military disasters in the Middle East have magically been atoned for in Ukraine, although the U.S. and its allies have yet to place any troops on Ukrainian soil. The U.S. has taken ownership of the Ukrainians, as it did with the mujahideen it funded to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcoming Ukraine President Volodymr Zelensky to a meeting at the Pentagon, Aug. 31, 2021. (DoD, Jack Sanders)

“For the first time in decades, an American president is showing that he, and only he, can lead the free world,” wrote George Packer, one of the most ardent cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq, in The Atlantic magazine.

“NATO has been revitalized, the United States has reclaimed a mantle of leadership that some feared had vanished in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the European Union has found a unity and purpose that eluded it for most of its existence,” The New York Times crowed.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, The New York Times wrote, carries around a map of Ukraine, marked with tactical details. “With aides, he drills down for details about the location and combat readiness of specific Russian ground units and ship movements,” the paper noted.

Former NATO commander Richard Shirreff told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program the West should prepare to fight Russia.

“The worst case is war with Russia,” he said. “By gearing itself up for the worst case, it is most likely to deter Putin because ultimately Putin respects strength.”

More Weapons Mean More Fighting

War is a drug. It cripples your body. It fogs your brain. It reduces you to poverty. But each new hit sends you back to the euphoric heights where you began.  

More weapons mean more fighting. More fighting means more death and destruction. More death and destruction mean more antagonization of Moscow. More antagonization of Moscow means we circle closer and closer to open warfare with Russia.

Following Ukraine’s strikes on Russian military and energy facilities, Moscow threatened to attack incoming NATO weapons shipments. Reeling from sanctions, Moscow halted gas supplies to two European countries. It warned that the risk of a nuclear war is very “real” and that any direct foreign intervention in Ukraine would provoke a “lightning fast” response.

As Finland and Sweden debate joining NATO, Russia has called further expansion of NATO another dangerous act of aggression, which of course it is. There is mounting pressure for a no-fly zone, a move that would trigger direct confrontation between Russia and NATO, as would a Russian attack on a NATO arms convoy in a Ukrainian neighbor country. Putin’s revanchism is matched by our own.

The disorganization, ineptitude, and low morale of the Russian army conscripts, along with the repeated intelligence failures by the Russian high command, apparently convinced Russia would roll over Ukraine in a few days, exposes the lie that Russia is a global menace.

Russia’s 40-mile long convoy of stalled tanks and trucks, broken down and out of fuel, on the muddy road to Kiev was not an image of cutting-edge military prowess.

Russia has been unable to overwhelm a poorly equipped and numerically inferior force in Ukraine, many of whose troops have little or no military training. Russia poses no threat to the NATO alliance or the United States, barring a nuclear attack.

“The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself,” historian Andrew Bacevich writes.

But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public. Russia must be inflated to become a global menace, despite nine weeks of humiliating military failures.

A Russian monster is the raison d’être for increased military spending and the further projection of American power abroad, especially against China. Militarists need a mortal enemy. That enemy may be a chimera, but it will always be led by the new Hitler. The new Hitler was once Saddam Hussein. Today it is Vladimir Putin. Tomorrow it will be Xi Jinping. You can’t drain and impoverish the nation to feed an insatiable military machine unless you make its people afraid, even of phantoms.

Climate, the Real Existential Crisis

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres at the climate meeting in Glasgow, Nov. 12, 2021. (UNclimatechange, Flickr)

The war in Ukraine is intimately linked to the real existential crisis we face — the climate crisis. The latest U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns that greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025, and be nearly halved this decade, to thwart global catastrophe.

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres characterized the report as “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.” Triggered by war in Ukraine, soaring energy prices have pushed the U.S. and other countries to call on domestic oil producers to increase fossil fuel extraction and exacerbate the climate crisis. Oil and gas lobbyists are demanding the Biden administration lift prohibitions on offshore drilling and on federal lands.

Black and brown people, who suffered in the brutal wars in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria, without the Western support and sympathy shown white Ukrainians, will again be targeted. The Indian subcontinent is currently plagued with temperatures as high as 116.6 degrees, power outages of 10 to 14 hours a day and dying fields of crops. An estimated 143 million people will be displaced over the next 30 years, nearly all from Africa, South Asia and Latin America, the IPCC writes.

These endless conflicts will inevitably militarize our response to the climate breakdown. Absent measures and resources to halt the rise in global temperatures, curtail our reliance on fossil fuels, foster a plant-based diet and curb profligate consumption, nations will increasingly use their militaries to hoard diminishing natural resources, including food and water.

Russia and Ukraine account for 30 percent of all wheat traded on world markets. Since the invasion, the price of wheat has gone up by between 50 and 65 per cent in commodities exchanges. This is a hint of what is to come.

The Ukraine war is part of a world order where the rule of law has been jettisoned for aggressive, preemptive war; a criminal act of aggression. These wars bring with them black sites, kidnapping, torture, targeted assassinations, censorship and arbitrary detention.

Rogue private contractors, along with covert intelligence paramilitary units, carry out off-the-book-war crimes. Russia’s Wagner Group (The name Wagner is supposedly the call sign of its founder and commander, an ex-GRU officer called Dmitry Utkin, who reportedly has Waffen-SS insignia tattooed on his collarbones) or the U.S. mercenary group Academi, founded by the Christian Right leader Erik Prince, function as little more than death squads. 

War is a spectacular form of social control. It secures a blind, unquestioning mass consent propped up by what Pankaj Mishra calls an “infotainment media” that “works up citizens into a state of paranoid patriotism,” while “a service class of intellectuals talks up the American Revolution and the international liberal order.”

In The London Review of Books, Mishra wrote:

“Humiliation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at home by Trump, demoralised the exporters of democracy and capitalism. But Putin’s atrocities in Ukraine have now given them an opportunity to make America seem great again. The Russian bear has long guaranteed, more reliably than ‘Islamofascism’ or China, income, and identity to many in the military-industrial and intellectual-industrial complex. An aging centrist establishment — battered by the far right, harangued by post-Occupy and post-BLM young leftists, frustrated by legislative stalemate in Washington — seems suddenly galvanised by the prospect of defining themselves through a new cold war.”

This world of fantasy is sustained by myths — the myth that the people of Afghanistan and Iraq would welcome invading forces as liberators, that Ukraine is not a real nation, that Ukrainians see themselves as pan-Russians, that all that stands between Iraqis, Afghans, Syrians, Somalis, Yemenis and Libyans and ourselves are terrorists, that all that stands between Putin and Ukrainians are neo-Nazis and their supporters in the West.

Those that challenge these fantasies, whether in Russia or the U.S., are attacked, marginalized, and censored. Few notice. The dream is more appealing than reality. Step-by-step these blinded, bloodied cyclops of war stumble forward leaving mounds of corpses in their wake.

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 News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show The Chris Hedges Report.

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57 comments for “Chris Hedges: The Age of Self-Delusion

  1. Jake StopNato
    May 5, 2022 at 01:27

    I remember Mr. Fish from Truthdig and he’s still a douche.

  2. Caliman
    May 4, 2022 at 14:52

    Not that this author needs a defense but to respond to some commenters who cannot seem to notice the crimes of Russia while they are appropriately full of sound and fury re the crimes of the USUK empire:

    Of course Russia’s war is going badly. There is absolutely no doubt that Russia had convinced itself that a good show of force early would lead to Ukrainian capitulation, esp when the Russian Ukrainians welcomed the Russian army with open arms and flowers for their liberation. You know, very much like what the USUK expected in Iraq: open arms, flowers and sweets from the happy to be democratic citizenry. Now, does this mean Russia is going to lose? No, they totally outclass Ukraine and, given the investment made, cannot afford to let themselves lose. But there’s no doubt they did not expect they’d be in this hard a slog here.

    And of course Russia had a choice. Re Donbas, what they could have done was produce one last ultimatum, delivered openly at the UNSC, listing the crimes of the Ukrainian govt against the people of Donbas and their lack of movement re Minsk. And if that did not work, move the army into the republics and do what they are belatedly doing now: utilize their superior artillery to move any and all Ukrainian forces away from the Donbas borders. In other words, don’t fight an offensive war; fight a much more politically defendable defensive war.

    Re NATO, obviously Russia has serious issues with troops and rockets stationed in Ukraine. But are such concerns materially different from troops and rockets stationed in the Baltics? How and why? The distance to Moscow from the Baltics and Ukraine is basically the same. If I’m Russia, I’m more worried about conventional attacks over the Russian plains adjacent to Ukraine. But does a NATO conventional attack on Russia have a reasonable possibility of action? I would not think so.

    Never forget: Russia has its own MI Complex, its own rich bastards robbing the poor and middle class, its own power hungry bureaucrats … Just because our leaders are magnitudes worse in volume does not make them angels.

    • Nigel Lim
      May 5, 2022 at 10:56


      I don’t know what metric(s) you have in mind for the war “going badly” – if you mean relative to Russian expectations, I would ask how you know what those were. Certainly it would have been ideal to them to get a quick capitulation, but that doesn’t mean it was expected.

      I doubt there would have been any real difference between the proposed “defensive war” and the current “offensive war”, since as you say one of the stated primary goals is to remove Ukrainian forces from the Donbass, which they are doing (with maneuvers beforehand to deter sending in more Ukrainian forces). I think also that the point of being “more politically defendable” is questionable (the Donbass war and existence of neo-Nazis have been completely ignored by the mainstream media for 8 years, and are downplayed or spun as myths / excuses for aggression).

      I think that if Russia had been able (economically and militarily) to take action to prevent the earlier inclusion of its other neighbours in NATO, it would have (it expressed objections repeatedly all the way from 1989), but after they joined, it became impossible to intervene. This does not mean Ukraine would pose a ‘redundant’ threat through NATO – presumably, the fewer potential battlefronts and enemy forces in the event of a conflict, the better. The point about a NATO conventional attack being not ‘reasonably possible’ is hard to objectively argue one way or another – for instance, I would not put it past the US (under a sufficiently irrational administration) to try to engineer something, even in the face of a nuclear weapons threat.

      I agree that all this “does not make them angels”, in view of Russia’s own problems with corruption and inequality.

      • Caliman
        May 6, 2022 at 00:28

        Thanks for the considered reply. I really appreciate it.

        You’re right about the metrics … I cannot know what Russia expected. But I have to assume it was not a meat grinder campaign … I mean, why would they voluntarily put themselves in such a situation given the rather slim potential success profile (eastern Ukraine pacified and Donbas safety assured at the cost of tens of thousands of soldiers and possibly strengthened the moribund NATO)? It seems logical to assume they expected (or at least hoped for) an easier situation.

        The difference between the defensive and offensive posture in Donbas would be one of narrative building ability. The difference between a logical and consistent story of defense of a beleaguered population in Donbas versus a story (painted falsely by the west) of an indiscriminate offensive war bombing civilian cities in all of Ukraine.

        Yes, more NATO closer would be worse than some NATO close; but the difference is surely marginal? Wouldn’t a better “defense” against NATO be a long term campaign to ensure Russia is not considered a danger and enemy so that NATO obsolescence is clear to all, especially the Germans and French? With this offensive war, Russia has given NATO a new lease of life, though I sincerely hope it’s not long lasting.

    • UncleDoug
      May 5, 2022 at 11:07

      >>> “Not that this author needs a defense . . .”

      Chris doesn’t need a defense, but those of his assertions and understandings that are challenged, if not defended rationally and analytically and with evidence, will likely be considered indefensible. That’s how debate works.

      >>> “Of course Russia’s war is going badly. There is absolutely no doubt that Russia had convinced itself . . .”

      There’s no “of course” about it and the fact that there is no doubt in your mind does not mean that reasonable doubt does not exist in the minds of others, who may know at least as much about the situation, its history, and the “art and practice of war” as you do. Or as Chris does.

      >>> “And of course Russia had a choice. Re Donbas, what they could have done was produce one last ultimatum . . .”

      Oh, please. Russia issued an open, public and unmistakable final warning in December, after an increasingly-stern series of warnings beginning with Putin’s address to the Munich Security Conference in 2007.

      >>>”Re NATO, obviously Russia has serious issues with troops and rockets stationed in Ukraine. But are such concerns materially different from troops and rockets stationed in the Baltics? How and why? The distance to Moscow from the Baltics and Ukraine is basically the same. If I’m Russia, I’m more worried about conventional attacks over the Russian plains adjacent to Ukraine. But does a NATO conventional attack on Russia have a reasonable possibility of action? I would not think so.”

      I’m not sure why this is so hard to understand: It does not matter AT ALL what you think about the relative seriousness of the cited threats and concerns. It does not matter what anyone other than Russia thinks, because it is what Russia thinks that guides Russian action. And Russia has been telling the world what it thinks about these things, in simple, straightforward language, for 15 years.

      There’s a good reason that the word “real” is the root of “realism” — as in the Realism school of international relations.

      >>> “Never forget: Russia has its own MI Complex, its own rich bastards robbing the poor and middle class, its own power hungry bureaucrats … Just because our leaders are magnitudes worse in volume does not make them angels.”

      So? If that were true, it would constitute another very good reason to avoid provoking a nation that just happens to possess the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear warheads.

      • Caliman
        May 6, 2022 at 00:50

        Sure, if you (and others) feel it’s reasonable for Russia to not consider an interminable war of artillery and trench warfare burning through billions of dollars or weapons and tens of thousands of personnel a failure (because presumably the end results are worth it) then yes we can agree to disagree. Reasonable people do disagree. But it seemed from the comments below that people were calling Chris’s logic into question and I though it was quite defensible. Given Russia’s weaknesses in numbers and funds compared to the west, a protracted war of attrition is unlikely to be beneficial.

        As for “I’m not sure why this is so hard to understand: It does not matter AT ALL what you think about the relative seriousness of the cited threats and concerns. It does not matter what anyone other than Russia thinks, because it is what Russia thinks that guides Russian action.”

        Well, sure, Russia is a military superpower and will do what it does. That’s why others need to consider carefully how they act towards it. Other normal nations don’t have the option to demand their near neighbors don’t make alliances with adversaries, align their economies a certain way, etc. … but superpowers do; that’s Realpolitik.

        But this is Cheney’s 1% doctrine in action: if a country is even a 1% risk to us, we can take action to eliminate it. So the question is not whether Russia CAN do it; of course it can. The question is whether the offensive war engaged in is justified and moral and whether it’s to Russia’s advantage in the short or long term. I feel that an offensive war is never justified. Now whether it will work to Russia’s advantage in the short and long term I have no idea. We shall see.

  3. Ned Djordjevic
    May 4, 2022 at 14:14

    I agree with most of the people. I’ve read Chris books. They are good. This is not the first instance he had wrong understanding of issues. He tends to boast about his “experience” reporting for NYT from wars in former Yugoslavia. His understanding of those wars did not differ from NYT even after 30 years and tons of evidence available showing that his understanding is wrong. I see same pattern here.

  4. britzklieg
    May 4, 2022 at 11:27

    Is Hedges holding a gun to his own head these days to stay out of Putinapologistan? This essay is way beyond disappointing, it is factually INCORRECT. Hedges needs to offer proof of his expressed certainty that Russia is failing. There may be manY battles left to fight but the war was over within days after RF disabled Ukaines air and naval forces -AND HEDGES KNOWS THAT. AS IF UKRAINE WAS EVER GOING TO DEFEAT THE RUSSIANS. Russia has been obviously fighting with one hand behind its back, in an effort at what can only be the closest version of “humanitarian intervention” I’ve ever seen during the 60 years of western wars of choice and aggression. Which doesn’t mean it wasn’t an “invasion” or isn’t in some way “illegal” – all war is “illegal” in the simplest way one can define it. But Hedges, quoting Bacevich, has joined the side of the liars and scoundrels and dares to call Russian forces “conscripts” while seeming to encourage the genuinely credulous conscripts (as well as the elderly ones who can not say to to AZOV) of the UA, sided with the NAZIS, to waste their lives in a war that was over before it began.


    • ray Peterson
      May 4, 2022 at 13:47

      Blitz, I hope Chris reads your indictment because
      he is an ordained minister of the Christian church;
      and authentic Christian journalists will tell the
      truth even if it means their suffering for it: “If I
      tell the truth, why do you not believe me? ” (Jn.8.46).

      • Bob McDonald
        May 5, 2022 at 23:16

        The US military is untested. It has not fought a real war since WWII. The Russians have a missile system for which there is no defense and a state-of-the-art army that has not been mobilized in Ukraine. Any journalist who thinks they would be a cake walk for the Nato needs his head examined.

    • May 4, 2022 at 14:16

      You hit the nail on the head except that the gun to hedges head might be from another source. Over the years, we have listened, but now it might just turn out to be platitudes.

      They ally themselves with Iran to fight the Taliban is not correct. First they overthrew Mossadieh and installed the Shah to grab the oil. When overthrown, they instigated and funded Sadam to war with Iran. At no time was sanctions ever lifted.
      If they could ever have defeated Iran, they would have done so, but they can’t. Which leads to hedge’s take on America’s military might. Bacevich, who used to moan about America’s military incompetence now says what?

      America’s military has to declare to congress all the new weapons they have to justify the military budget. What weapons is hedge’s referring to? Putin said they have weapons that you will never have for years to come. I believe Putin and I believe that China can destroy all your freedom warships off the coast of China.

      This was always a sanctions and economic war, and of course the lies and propaganda, but guess who lost.

      These people always had an audience outside of America, but inside no one was listening. Many websites chose to go the other way, fearing being banned. However they might regain some decency, in the coming months talking about food shortages etc., Rising prices and inflation , and the subjugation of all protests. America will teach them for they are masters at that.

    • Kent Emery
      May 4, 2022 at 14:55

      Your comments are exactly correct. Hedges knows perfectly well what the military status in Ukraine is, the analysis of the likes of Scott Ritter, et al. ‘The weakness and incompetence of the Russian army’ is a lame, sophistic argument which, inter alia, people at the Quincy Institute have devised (or adopted from the Pentagon, CIA and obliging MSM) to use as an argument against escalation while at the same time maintaining their ‘creds’, by staying within the permissible parameters, with other Think Tank denizens in D.C., and with the erstwhile ‘respectable press’. Hedges has another block: from ancient, embedded habit, he can’t bring himself to say anything that might agree with the ‘Right’; but Joe Lauria and many others have pointed out, in the USA and Europe there are more people from what can be construed as ‘the Right’ who are protesting and fighting against restrictions on speech, the Ukraine hysteria, than on the so-called ‘Left’ (but now, neo-Fascist). I have read Chris Hedges and admired his thinking for a long time, but he has not been able to adapt well to the fast-changing political alignments, and as a result, much of his analysis has become “past sell by” date.

  5. Cara
    May 4, 2022 at 10:53

    I am waiting for Chris Hedges, or indeed anyone, to convince me (and I want to be convinced) that there was another way for Russia to handle the escalating crisis/threat in Ukraine. The Minsk agreements failed because Russia was dealing with bad faith actors. This is the same reason peace negotiations have stalled. The Russians understand the game of chess. They know who their real opponent is (the U.S.) and they know which piece the Ukraine is in this war game. It is truly sickening. Sadly, Hedges’s generalizations and his faulty comparison between America’s wars of aggression and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shed almost no light on the situation. I find myself in agreement with other commenters here and especially with Gregor Sirotof.

    • Ray Peterson
      May 4, 2022 at 13:40

      No Cara, see Drew’s comment, he’s laconic as
      as the Spartan’s “If”

  6. Peter Loeb
    May 4, 2022 at 10:46

    JUST A NOTE: Thank God for those commenters who disagreed with Hedges’ mistaken characterization of the war.
    I have added my own take in a comment which I circulated. In short: “There is no Russia-Ukraine war. There is a war
    by Russia against the US and NATO.” This is the way the war is perceived in Moscow and it is also the way this proxy war
    is characterized in Washington with its goal being to weaken Russia.

  7. Drew Hunkins
    May 4, 2022 at 10:44

    Chomsky, Goodman/DN crowd, and Hedges just can’t get it through their heads that Russia had no choice! The Kremlin was left with no alternative but to embark on its SMO, otherwise Ukraine would be a NATO member with nukes 10 minutes from Moscow and the ethnic Russians would have been slaughtered by 100,000 Ukie forces.

  8. Paine
    May 4, 2022 at 10:40

    Sad that the mainstream press neither investigates nor discloses whether some of the madman in the US national security apparatus want to create a pretext in order to see the Ukrainian war escalate into a US first-strike nuclear attack on Russia, and will create a pretext for doing so. The American people need to know that.

    Fearing a loss they may seek drive to dramatically up the ante, as presently Russia is likely to win the war in Ukraine given the large number of Ukrainian soldiers and neo-nazi fighters being killed.

    They may seek direct US intervention with US combat troops, but such a land-war with Russia, according to Lt. Col. Wilkinson (former aide to US Defense Secretary Colin Powell) would result in 40,000 US troops killed the the first week of combat.

    There is no sane end to this war without diplomacy-something the US and Ukrainian government officials are have taken off the table. So what is their end game?

    • Realist
      May 5, 2022 at 03:03

      Indeed, your last paragraph is the crux of the matter. So far the US response suggests some things I find very hard to believe: that Lord Biden himself is actually deciding American policy on this war, that the fool actually believes our actions will allow fascist (NOT democratic!) Ukraine to defeat Russia (As if THAT would be a desirable outcome!) and that Putin will be chased from office and even tried as a war criminal for acts America’s forces exceed routinely in its many gruesome wars of choice.

      Subsequent projects would then entail installing an American-chosen puppet as president of the Russian Federation and the resumption of the privatisation of Russian resources by American oligarchs and corporate heads as conducted under Yeltsin.

      With that situation normalised, Washington’s focus would turn to disabusing China of the notion that it acquired free agency as a world power just because Washington moguls chose to resituate our entire manufacturing infrastructure within the borders of their country, and that they no longer had to take orders from their Yankee overlords. As our latest feisty war president, Biden rants about these objectives while his snappy executive officer Blinken issues orders to make it so.

      Thus their end game is a dangerous delusion. One might even imagine their newly appointed Chief Disinformation Governance Officer strutting around her headquarters belting out an inspirational ditty based on Gilbert & Sullivan’s “I am the very model of a modern major general!” as she officially governs disinformation for all Americans.

  9. Anonymous
    May 4, 2022 at 09:45

    I’m quite shocked to read so many mainstream media talking points regarding Ukraine coming from Chris Hedges.

    I’m also extremely sad to hear the same coming from Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, as well as several other of the more progressive news outlets. It’s very strange to witness this.

    I’d love to see some reporting on the methods used to influence independent journalists.

    • Julio Santos
      May 7, 2022 at 19:47

      Well, sad that you didn’t give your name otherwise I would have suggested you to replace our extremely bright secretary of state. In the mean time please keep watching Fox News and other media which also keep their sources anonymous.

  10. Ray Peterson
    May 4, 2022 at 08:44

    Not to hedge on firmly blaming the U.S. for all Ukraine’s death and destruction and especially the horrors of its possibly being nuclear bombed by Russia. Putin’s honest diplomatic expressions of U.S./NATO’s long planned and determined military efforts to destroy the rightful security of Russia’s national sovereignty, for American global hegemony especially in Eurasia, Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard, is the injustice, not Putin’s “revanchism.”

  11. Grazing Elk
    May 4, 2022 at 08:38

    Mr. Hedges,
    Of all people, you should be fully aware of the leaked Jake Sulivan’s email to then the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in which he wrote “AQ is on our side!”

    The Shamabolic withdrawal in Afghanistan was preceded by a series of discussions held by the Taliban and Trump’s point-men in Qatar, followed by an open meeting between Mike Pompeo and the new Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

    The Taliban finally acquiesced to safeguard the trans Turkmenistan gas pipeline which has to run through Afghanistan to the Pakistani port of Karachi:
    That is why freezing Afghan assets in the West is a bit baffling!

  12. Anton
    May 4, 2022 at 08:21

    “the bellicose frivolity of senile empires”

    Senile, yes, but not frivolous. This was never about Ukraine, which is no more than a pawn sacrifice in Biden’s geopolitical game of empire. He’s desperate to sink Russia no matter what it does to our European vassal states, and he will soon turn his attention to China and do the same there. This is the “new world order” that he will lead, which has been the neocon goal since the sixties, when the first neocons saw the path to an American global empire. Their manifesto of 2000 names China and Russia as the two main obstacles, but then Bush went off and attacked countries that were friends of Russia but not Russia herself. Now Biden and his neocons are correcting their past mistakes and going after their real enemies. Unfortunately Biden is senile and Blinken is not very bright, so this has disaster written all over it.

  13. Joe Mars
    May 4, 2022 at 08:20

    The only self delusion I can see is your own. You seem to have been bought and paid for by the MSM. I have read and respected many of your articles and this one so off the mark I can’t agree with any of it.

  14. Henry Smith
    May 4, 2022 at 07:02

    “For the first time in decades, an American president is showing that he, and only he, can lead the free world,”
    Really !!! What are these people smoking ? Sleepy Joe, poopy pants is the saviour we have really been waiting for ?
    Where are the true leaders ? Has the CIA killed them all, with just Putin and Xi Jinping left to save us ?

    • ray Peterson
      May 4, 2022 at 13:34

      Yes Henry, I think the CIA will assassinate every world
      leader that dares to bring a modicum of peace and
      possibly genuine socialism into the world; and they began
      their devilish murder (Jn.8.44), on November 22, 1963.

  15. Stierlitz
    May 4, 2022 at 05:33

    Yuri Andropov (remember him?) told Helmut Kohl that the SS-20 missiles were a wall and if any NATO member tried to cross it he wouldn’t hesitate to start WWIII. But Gorbachev was his chosen successor. Both he and Andropov understood that the USSR’s survival depended on Deng Xiao Ping like economic reforms, which were only possible if the USSR’s economy pivoted towards the consumer. Bush sabotaged the economic lifeline Gorby needed to do this and so began the spiral. Popular Russian culture is soaked in the idea that foreigners are devils out to carve up Mother Russia. We could even go back to 1945 and American collusion with the German Nazis in Operation Sunrise immortalized in 17 Moments of Spring. Very ignored is a not too good American film directed by Sam Peckinpah, “Cross of Iron.” As I watched it, I realized it took place on the Crimean peninsula. (typical Peckinpah drenched in blood). All this is part of the Russian popular psyche – that is why the Americans are playing with fire.

  16. Gregor Sirotof
    May 4, 2022 at 01:48

    I agree with I Stevenson that Chris Hedges Has done wonderful, loving things in his teaching of prisoners in state prisons. It is very moving to hear his true stories of his honest caring for them. They are people like the rest of us, who have had a harder time. He has written great books. He has done great news reporting. That is where his talent lies. However on Russia he seems to be susceptible to some western propaganda. He is not an expert on Russia or Propaganda. Shakespeare was great at writing plays. He didn’t attempt to paint works of fine art. Chris Hedges is appreciated for what he is good at. I don’t admire his views on Putin or Russia. He is no Steven F. Cohen.

  17. Drew Hunkins
    May 4, 2022 at 00:07

    Hedges’ piece is frustratingly wrong on several key points.

    I’m too tired at the moment to expound at length about each one, but quickly:

    Russia’s not revanchist, Russian “conscripts” aren’t suffering from low morale, the officers haven’t been disorganized and inept, there haven’t been 9 wks of military failures, White Ukrainians are shown much more support than the White Serb victims of US imperialism, citing the Wagner Group is a disturbing and deliberate distraction from the real Ukie Russophobic fascists, equating the Soros and Wall St funded ID politics obsessed BLM with Occupy is a sick distortion, and finally the Russian protesters in Moscow who challenged Putin’s SMO were given saturation coverage in the West.

    • Nigel Lim
      May 4, 2022 at 07:05

      Agreed. I suppose Chris Hedges probably felt the need to ‘equalize’ the wrongs / failings of each side in keeping with an “all sides are (equally) bad / wrong” position.

      I recommend searching for Andrei Martyanov on the Duran (Youtube channel) for an excellent discussion of the actual military situation in Ukraine.

      • Drew Hunkins
        May 4, 2022 at 11:08

        No excuses for Hedges.

        I’m very familiar with Martyanov, I’ve read two of his books over the past four yrs. He’s a treasure.

  18. bobzz
    May 3, 2022 at 21:40

    Well, I agree with most of what Chris said. I do hate the fact that Putin felt the need to attack, but what else could he do? This is not two kids on the playground where the one that takes the first swing gets the “he started it” chant. Russia and the US are dealing in realpolitik. Does anyone really think Putin should have waited until Ukraine, with American reinforcements, retakes all of the Donbass? Then just wait and accept Ukraine’s membership in NATO? And then wait for the US to set up nuclear missile sites before doing anything? By then, the game is over, and he would be blamed for letting it happen.

    And this from former NATO commander Richard Shirreff, “The worst case is war with Russia. By gearing itself up for the worst case, it is most likely to deter Putin because ultimately Putin respects strength.” Shirref is flat wrong. Putin would never have attacked if Ukraine had accepted the terms of Minsk. It was only when Zelenski talked about accepting nuclear weapons that Russia put his nuclear forces on alert. Putin does not respect strength so much as he recognizes a threat, and he will not let it pass. He will rise to the occasion, and if the US does not think so, it is badly, perhaps fatally, mistaken.

    • bobzz
      May 4, 2022 at 09:23

      I guess I should express agreement with the other commenters that Chris misses it on the Russian military conduct of the war. Even a few western sources are saying that it is slowly dawning in some quarters that Russia is winning, and the propaganda is the same as we put out during Viet Nam and Afghanistan: “we are winning; victory is at hand; they are being defeated.” Some, at least, know the drill.

  19. Izyaan Latif
    May 3, 2022 at 21:01

    Chris Hedges’ article here is shockingly ignorant and misplaced. For an individual with many credentials and first hand experience of war and its causes he actually intimates the mainstream media of which he has supposedly been an ardent critic of over several years. How an individual of his stature fails to mention the 8-year long and well documented fact of near-genocidal war crimes of the neo-Nazis in the East of Ukraine is perplexing to say the least (isn’t that what the mainstream media are supposed to be doing and have been doing not just with Ukraine, but Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc)? I’ve come to realise, especially now, with the Ukraine war that war has a marvellous way of revealing, or even exposing, the true nature of individuals ie who they really are and what they really stand for. Does Chris Hedges really think that Russia has been dismally incompetent in its campaign in Ukraine; does he seriously think that NATO/US can bring Russia to its knees? This is the same NATO/US that has miserably failed over 20 years in the Middle East and, most recently, in Afghanistan against villagers armed with low-level weapons. Russia today stands over a bunch of de-facto NATO rats holed up in the Azovstal steelworks plant and is progressing towards securing a land bridge all the way up to Transnistria. How is that a failure. If Russia was so weak and incompetent it would have been swallowed up by now by the collective West with its oppressive tool called the NATO. And to utter pure garbage that Russia is using conscripts that are badly trained etc or to insinuate that Russia is aiming for a land grab (like the West) is just unbelievable coming from Chris Hedges. Unfortunately Chris this is not journalism – this is sadly what we find in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper or virtually all the other news outlets in the West. This is tabloid level journalism from Chris Hedges, shocking.

    • Ian Stevenson
      May 4, 2022 at 11:05

      I think you do Chris Hedges an injustice. He points out the poor performance of the Russian Army. Comparisons with the Middle East are doubtful. Western forces in those areas had it all their own way at first but then failed to occupy successfully, over a long period.
      The weapons are more matched in Ukraine although the Ukrainians have not got the population. The methods and tactics of the Russian Army are similar to the other conflicts in which they have been involved. There is little doubt that the Russian tactics of long road bound logistics proved a weakness which the defenders have exploited with modern weapons.
      They are also resisting fiercely and if they were oppressed by Nazis, there would not have the resolution they have shown.
      You criticise his not mentioning the east and “near genocidal war crimes’ of Ukraine. Hedges does not hesitate to pass judgement but he does not restrict it to one side ; citing the Wagner group. He is aware of the American Blackstone organisation and has criticised them too elsewhere.
      He recognises the nature of the war and that it is mot as one sided as you assert. A little digging reveals that there is substance to the other narrative of separatist violence and repression, sponsored by Russia. Hedges has written truth matters. That is why sites like Consortium news are important. I agree with him and that means trying to find the big picture while not losing sight of the detail. Reports by the UN (albeit quoted by radio Free Europe ) and Human rights watch are just two sources. The OSCE is another.
      I am putting up two of these and it is up to you what you make of them.


      [Admin note: link goes to “Access Denied”]

      • UncleDoug
        May 5, 2022 at 11:14

        Please be aware that is Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a CIA-founded US propaganda organ (that should have been disbanded, along with NATO, when the USSR and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist).

  20. Realist
    May 3, 2022 at 20:05

    How can we sue our government to stop this?

    Voting the bastards out of office never has any effect, the new boss is always the same as the old boss.

    The US Supreme Court would say the entire idea is unconstitutional, not their magisterium.

    Who could represent the PEOPLE of the United States in the UN?

    I know, NOW they say the people of the US WANT this conflict… to teach Russia a lesson.

    Give it time. That will change, if we survive.

  21. Aaron
    May 3, 2022 at 19:07

    According to Brown University report, American taxpayers have been billed 8 TRILLION dollars for that war in Afghanistan. And it also took the lives of 900, 000 people. To see the enthusiasm of most Americans, after that total disaster, to go to war with the superpower Russia over a non-NATO country, makes me think that the end of the world is nigh. If our nation is so completely deluded and historically ignorant and easily deceived, then there can be no way out of this it seems. And consider the bizarre contradiction of this: One one hand, we are told daily that Russia is incompetent and terrible military strategists. Then after that, we are told that we MUST give more and more and more weapons and no-fly zones to help Ukraine beat….the country that we were just told is screwing up everything and has low morale and all that…..Makes no sense to me. If they are that bad at war, Ukraine surely can beat them by themselves. And it isn’t our job to do it in the first place. Hedges has documented better than anybody how much America is falling apart at the seams in so many, many ways. And what’s Biden doing? Going to cheerlead our weapons manufacturing in Alabama for Ukraine!! I’m incredibly disappointed in his administration. Wait and see, if we survive the war with Russian, American taxpayers, suffering horribly and forgotten and ignored for decades, will actually be billed for the reconstruction of the whole country of Ukraine, a NON-NATO Country, we will pay for all of it. Trillions and Trillions More, even while homeless encampment sprout up everywhere in our cities, it matters not to the greedy elites.

  22. Jesika
    May 3, 2022 at 19:04

    I admire Chris Hedges usually, but he can tend to generalize and does so here. There are specific reasons for Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, not least of which is killing of 14,000 or more Ukrainian Russians since the 2014 Maidan coup and ignoring the Minsk agreements, the killing and shelling done by CIA trained neo-Nazis; the Donbas people asked Russia for help. Chris Hedges ignores this just as the Western press omits it. And, these neo-Nazi militants and military are vicious. Furthermore, how did Ukraine get so many (I have read numbers from 11 to 39) bioweapons labs in one country? Russia has been treated abominably by the US ever since the USSR collapse and tried a friendly stance to no avail.

    The climate crisis as excessive CO2 ignores all parameters that good science considers,
    Earth’s place in the solar system and galaxy.. Mr Hedges sounds like all the leftists who see naught but CO2, which is necessary for trees and other plants respiration. The real crisis is excess of everything, which oligarchs consume far more than their share. We should all learn to conserve but don’t leave it to politicians lack of knowledge.

    The author also seems to have imbibed the Ukraine is winning, Russia is losing story,
    which is the US/West propaganda. So long as the West props up Ukraine with weapons, Russia is given the disadvantage. But Russia knew all of this and decided to undertake the military operation once they knew Russia is much stronger than previously. And this time the US has no real money but a mountain of debt. War is their only weapon of mass distraction. China is watching this closely

  23. I Stevenson
    May 3, 2022 at 18:43

    Chris paints a grim picture of the destructiveness of man’s will to power. Over the last two months I began to think I was out of line with most contributors to this site when I wrote about the brutality of the Russian invasion. He recognises it is not restricted to the West. The drivers of economic greed, narrow nationalism and personal pathology are not peculiar to any one country or even alliance.
    He is a man of faith who takes his skills into prisons to work with those who many want locked up and the key thrown away. Chris looks for light in the darkness and the redeeming factors.
    Can we see any in this wretched war? What I have seen is the way that when the refugees started pouring out , ordinary people across Europe , without any direction by the state, so many people have stepped up to help. Families have been taken into people’s homes and even in my little English village, far away from Ukraine, people have filled a van with clothes, toiletries and other things and volunteers have driven across the continent to deliver them. Nationalities matter so much less to the young ( despite the growth of right wing parties) A sentiment often expressed is that it is incredible that this is happening inEurope in the 21st century. There is a mood that Russia must be stopped but little enthusiasm for war, at least from what I see and read.
    Perhaps when the war finishes ( hopefully sooner than later) the opposition to military adventures will be strengthened. Consequences of great events are hard to predict. The people of 1914 would have been amazed at the world of 1919. Empires fell, new politics emerged and women were enfranchised- for a start. We have to hold to hope.

  24. Richard
    May 3, 2022 at 17:53

    Hedges has no understanding of Putin or Russia. He makes the same mistake of underestimation as US politicians.

    • rosemerry
      May 4, 2022 at 08:38

      “The disorganization, ineptitude, and low morale of the Russian army conscripts, along with the repeated intelligence failures by the Russian high command, ”
      Obviously Hedges has been reading the Western media, whose every comment is either from US armchair generals from Raytheon etc or from Ukrainians without exception. The Russian Minister of Defence and many others give alternative views, and site like CN, the saker, moon of alabama, the duran, and the inestimable Andrei Martyanov for military matters would balance the ridiculous opinions shown here. People like Liz Truss in the UK add to the terrible toll of Ukrainian deaths of soldiers, like BoJo, van der leyen, Blinken by encouraging them to think of winning militarily over Russia. what a tremendous waste of human life, just for overweening pride of the USA?UK?EU.

  25. Drew Hunkins
    May 3, 2022 at 16:47

    “President Mikhail Gorbachev, like his successor Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin in the early stages of his rule, hoped to integrate Russia into the Western alliance.”

    Gorby was a naive nitwit to ever put his trust in the Washington-militarist empire. The world is paying dearly for his gullibility.

  26. David Otness
    May 3, 2022 at 16:35

    This (below) does it. Hedges has lost his grip on reality, or chooses which reality suits his perceptions. Every statement he makes regarding the disposition of Russian forces is demonstrably wrong. W.r.o.n.g.! Right out of the NYT, WaPo-BBC-NPR-CBC field of dreams and altered perceptions. He has not done his homework and this is not a unique mistake as of late. That’s mis-take, wrong-take.
    There is but one sentence here that resonates truthfully: “Russia poses no threat to the NATO alliance or the United States, barring a nuclear attack.”

    I’ve paid close attention to Hedges for years, decades now, have held him up as a moral standard bearer, a fact-bringer, but what am I left to conclude now with such sloppy reporting but that he has elevated himself onto his own pedestal, laurel wreath and all. Man self-made into myth.

    “The disorganization, ineptitude, and low morale of the Russian army conscripts, along with the repeated intelligence failures by the Russian high command, apparently convinced Russia would roll over Ukraine in a few days, exposes the lie that Russia is a global menace.

    Russia’s 40-mile long convoy of stalled tanks and trucks, broken down and out of fuel, on the muddy road to Kiev was not an image of cutting-edge military prowess.

    Russia has been unable to overwhelm a poorly equipped and numerically inferior force in Ukraine, many of whose troops have little or no military training. Russia poses no threat to the NATO alliance or the United States, barring a nuclear attack.

    “The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself,” historian Andrew Bacevich writes.”

    Bacevich too. Succumbed to moral death by think tank cash. It’s a sad day. Everything quoted above is but for sentence fragments flat wrong. I’m flabbergasted by these two formerly iconic to me once-greats decline.

    • Realist
      May 4, 2022 at 00:39

      Unfortunately, the way Hedges constructed this essay was to repeatedly say about a number of things that no matter how inept, ruthless, stupid or depraved Russia’s actions they still did not warrant the extreme, violent, insanely expensive and likely futile response such as America answered with. He really exaggerated the acts committed, their rationale and the menace posed by Russia. Rather than trying to characterise battle scenes he has no firsthand knowledge of, he should have confined himself to commentary on the greed, folly and over reach of Washington’s politicians and war profiteers, especially as both obviously failed to learn what should have been another major lesson in Afghanistan. So, I agree with you and several others who made similar points.

    • Ian Stevenson
      May 4, 2022 at 04:03

      David, if we are going to comment on factual events, as opposed to expressing our feelings, we need to be able to give sources or arguments to back up our comments.
      Almost all reporters have given an account of the way the Russian army has struggled. You may dismiss all western accounts as propaganda but I have seen comments on CN such as ‘Russian forces are not shelling civilian areas’. Sunday I saw footage of Mariupol with extensive devastation. It was shown on the BBC but it had Cyrillic letters in the corner and I know enough to transliterate them as RIA Novesti, the Russian news agency. I do not know if it is shown in Russia where censorship is reported as much more extensive, but it does back up the western reports of what is happening to that town.
      What would be your evidence that his assessment of the Russian army is “flat out” wrong?

      • David Otness
        May 4, 2022 at 13:32

        To Ian, Realist, and Grazing Elk (and likely many more.) Okay, I asked for it, and am now doing the scut work of going back through half a dozen or so sources since February 25th which will document my assertions. Let me just say I would not have thrown out what I did without being reasonably assured that Mr Hedges had not seen these reporters’ investigative results and not that he disregarded them.

        This will take me some time, I can only hope the time window for comments remains open; I can see several hours of re-research ahead of me. Expect material from Scott Ritter (in CN,) Mint Press News, Pepe Escobar, The Saker, The Gray Zone, Moon of Alabama, and others.

        • David Otness
          May 5, 2022 at 01:23

          To Ian, Realist, and Grazing Elk (and likely many more.)

          “The disorganization, ineptitude, and low morale of the Russian army conscripts, along with the repeated intelligence failures by the Russian high command, apparently convinced Russia would roll over Ukraine in a few days, exposes the lie that Russia is a global menace.”

          First of all, Russia is not supposed to be using conscripts in this “Special Military Operation.” Russia turned down many volunteers in the first weeks of the war, deeming their professional forces adequate to the task in how this SMO would take place. The annual draft into the Russian military is either taking place now or soon-enough. Some 180,000 annual recruits form the backbone of this draft.
          It was my understanding that no conscripts were to be involved prior to this. And this was official Russian government saying so. The 99% of the time I don’t have access to television has now given me the 1% exception to the rule on this issue.

          From Moon of Alabama- March 10, 2022

          Small problem with the presence of Russian conscripts in the field was acknowledged by the Ministry of Defense. That was a problem because Putin assured the Russian public that no conscripts or reserves were in the field.

          (Ministry of Defense on Telegram)—
          Unfortunately, several facts of the presence of conscripts in the units of the Russian Armed Forces participating in a special military operation on the territory of Ukraine have been revealed.

          Almost all such servicemen have already been withdrawn to the Russian territory.

          At the same time, one of the units performing combat service support tasks was attacked by a sabotage group of the nationalist battalion.
          A number of servicemen, including conscripts, were captured.

          Comprehensive measures are currently being taken to prevent conscripts from being sent to combat areas and to release captured servicemen.

          Moon of Alabama thread—
          Richard Steven Hack | Mar 10 2022 3:17 utc | 231 —-I think Putin specifically ordered that there would be no conscripts. I see he has ordered and investigation there. I guess somebody will be busy cleaning latrines before too long.

          So, I’ll concede a point here based on not knowing conscripts had been deployed. Can I say if Putin or the upper levels of the Russian command were aware of this? I just plain don’t know. But I admit it.

          “Repeated intelligence failures” is a big field offering few specifics. That the Ukrainian population had been propagandized into believing what the NATO psyop specialists had ordained seems to be a very real matter of concern. Eight years of sowing division and intimidating daily the Russian-speaking Ukrainians most certainly took its toll. The brunt of the Azov Bn Command was placed in Mariupol precisely because of the residents’ known pro-Russian sympathies. Eight long years of intimidation that not only eroded their collective and many individuals’ will, but it was accompanied by hopelessness that help would ever come. But its origins were always and constant fear. They were actually prisoners in an urban concentration camp from all I can gather. (From reports by Patrick Lancaster, Eva Bartlett, and Graham Phillips on EeewToob.)

          Insofar as other “major failures,” what specifically can be held up against Putin’s mission statement of “DeNazify Ukraine. Disarm Ukraine.”
          And that did not entail some kind of “We’re just going to march in and take over Ukraine, hold its largest cities’ populations under military occupation” with so few personnel to begin with. It is glaringly evident Russia never intended to hold Ukrainian cities under martial law or occupation.
          And its timetable for getting its defined mission goals accomplished was never stated nor presumed-to-be-enacted by U.S.-style “Shock and Awe,” It was precisely opposite. Which is why the war is now one of relentless, grinding and inevitable attrition—as most probably planned for considering the size of the country and the nominal numbers of resources, in particular manpower, committed to a victorious ending.

          “Russia’s 40-mile long convoy of stalled tanks and trucks, broken down and out of fuel, on the muddy road to Kiev was not an image of cutting-edge military prowess.”

          “…broken down and out of fuel…” Sez who?

          As Scott Ritter so ably explained on CN Live and on many subsequent appearances, this was one of the greatest feints (mindfucks) in the annals of modern warfare. There they sat. Day after day. Week after week. ‘Sitting ducks,’ right?
          No. Not at all. Ukraine’s entire offensive and defensive air war infrastructure in the eastern part of the country was not a threat. It was essentially wiped out in the first hours of the war. What the convoy to nowhere was doing was their job. Sowing uncertainty and ergo: paralysis of major troop movements. Same thing in Kiev. To the same ends. The Russian military is widely known among professional military everywhere to have utilized deception very, very effectively throughout its history.

          Why those sitting duck/fat targets to my knowledge were never once fired upon. But there they sat, an unthinkable physical “in yo face” anomaly that even got Nancy Pelosi’s “deer-in-the-headlights” discomfiture level activated as she was ready to lead the mission in to attack them herself. Fat chance. The world watched spellbound, a bunch of presumptuous and full of themselves monkeys contemplating Yorick’s skull. And obviously, some still don’t “get” it.

          “Russia has been unable to overwhelm a poorly equipped and numerically inferior force in Ukraine, many of whose troops have little or no military training. Russia poses no threat to the NATO alliance or the United States, barring a nuclear attack.”

          Totally assbackwards, Chris. First of all, Ukraine has been being stuffed with Western arms to overflowing since 2014. It would only be noticeable now had not Russia dispatched with so much and so many of them already, beginning in the war’s opening hours.
          NATO has had a strong training and arming presence in Ukraine and actively directing its military (and politics) steadily since the aftermath of the Maidan Coup; the U.S., Canada, and UK being foremost in their avidity of training killers of Russians and Ukrainian Russian-speakers.

          The Ukrainian total military force (reservists included) totaled in the vicinity of 650,000 vs 150,000 Russian personnel back in February at the time of the Special Military Operation. A 3 to 1 disadvantage, the opposite of what military doctrine calls for in an invading force. Because this is how Russia determined it was going to approach matters in order to minimize civilian casualties and also the same for civilian infrastructure. It was always going to be a slow-go based on those numbers. But Chris, where did you get your numbers, so very wrong that they are?

          “The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself,” historian Andrew Bacevich writes.”

          Wow! I mean really? I reiterate my previous respect for former Colonel Bacevich, I had been reading his very good independent pieces for years, essentially his breakout years. I had enormous sympathy for the loss of his son in Iraq. A tragic way to have to question so much, if not everything about who you are. But now? I’m sad to say Mr Bacevich has joined the ranks of the 101st Chairborne Division in dispensing military nonsense with statements such as the above.

          Finally, over 50 (at last count) PR agencies have been hired by Zelensky (iy, yy,) Kolomoisky and NATO/CIA to give the false impression that Russia has been wantonly massacring civilians with random shelling, bombing, and missile strikes. No, that’s the Western way, as played out in over 14,000 deaths in the Donbass since 2014. I know this. I have a friend who moved there in 2014, fought on the side of the DNR, is married and now officially a Ukrainian and soon-to-be Russian citizen. I trust him implicitly in what he says and he along with so many others attest to the Russian troops being very civilly conscious. Especially considering these appalling circumstances where Russia almost intentionally took heavy casualties by knowingly choosing to be as kind to civilians as possible. Above and beyond heroic.

          The Azov Bn and others—along with the western PR machine—constructed these ‘monster’ myths, their-stock-in-trade as we have come to know their brand of perception bending and false-flag construction. The hardcore fascists have used any and every technique common to rabid wolves including using civilians as bullet-stoppers, occupying apartments and hospitals with gun emplacements while detaining residents in the same buildings’ apartments—shooting them in the back if they tried to leave. Therein lies the reason for so much mass destruction to Mariupol and its people, and so many other places in Ukraine—and not intentional damage inflicted by Russian troops. Evidence? Patrick Lancaster, Eva Bartlett, and longtime Brit war correspondent Graham Phillips.

          For the record, from The Saker-April 29 2022, Pepe Escobar says: “So far, on Operation Z, the Russian Armed forces have used only 12% of its soldiers,10% of its fighter jets, 7% of its tanks, 5% of its missiles, and 4% of its artillery. The pain dial is set to go substantially up – and with the total liberation of Mariupol and the resolution one way or another of the Donbass cauldron there is nothing the hysteria/propaganda/weaponizing combo deployed by the collective West can do to alter facts on the ground.”

          This is about as good as it gets for understanding how many Russians see things. And why. (From March 9 2022)

        • Realist
          May 5, 2022 at 04:06

          I agreed with you, David, not Hedges. I kept my comments very general because it seemed pointless to recapitulate facts, interpretations and arguments already treated often and in much detail by CN authors. Besides, so many picked up that ball today.

          Nigel Lim, whose post appears up above, perhaps expresses what I was feeling about Hedges’ pointless compulsion to rip Russia a new one before daring to criticise American actions. Criticisms of Uncle Sam do not have to be counterbalanced by digs at Russia… or, as Mr. Lim put it “I suppose Chris Hedges probably felt the need to ‘equalize’ the wrongs / failings of each side in keeping with an “all sides are (equally) bad / wrong” position.”

      • Briar
        May 5, 2022 at 06:52

        ‘Russian forces are not shelling civilian areas’
        It isn’t true. I’d like to say it like this: ‘Russian forces are not shelling civilian areas _for the purpose of killing civilians_’. Ukrainian army _uses civilians as alive shield_. They _stay their tanks in civilian areas_, so it’s not surprising that some russian rockets can miss and destroy not tanks, but houses. There are many testimonies of this awful tactics. Also I heard that sometimes ukrainian forces shells their own ukrainian houses to make photos of destroyed areas.

    • Grazing Elk
      May 4, 2022 at 08:15

      You have dribbled a lot without addressing a single point in Chirs Hedges’ article!

      • David Otness
        May 4, 2022 at 13:33

        Please see above response to Ian Stevenson.

  27. Ulf
    May 3, 2022 at 16:24

    Chris wrote: “Russia has been unable to overwhelm a poorly equipped and numerically inferior force in Ukraine, many of whose troops have little or no military training. ”

    “For more than two years, some 300 American soldiers have been quietly helping train an enormous partner military in western Ukraine.”

    And that is just one example of many.

  28. firstpersoninfinite
    May 3, 2022 at 16:03

    Greed is always young, impoverished, brutal in its certainty, and ready to sacrifice any and all for its unsustainable delusions. This is a great article, Mr. Hedges.

  29. Gertrude
    May 3, 2022 at 15:35

    The entire perspective changes when learning today that Churchill intended to use atombombs on 66 Russian cities in 1945. The No More slogan just a lie to put people that suffered the war in a slumber. Much later i learned about Churchill bombing the Greek partisans, who fought with the Allied Forces, to pieces. Or the hatred of people in India for Churchill. Much later did i see the docu with Charles the Gaulle learning the USA/UK and Russia wanted to divided the world amongst them, leaving France out of it. to be divided between the three. Charles the Gaulle recruted Algerians and Maroccans on false promises. They lie buried in the South of the Netherlands. Fighting to liberate France and then Belgium and the South of the Netherlands. With never and gratitude of the Dutch. I remember Truman was a great fan of the Atombomb and did want to bomb large pieces of the world. And it is not fear of the other. All of this has been orchestrated for aeons. A strategy slowly executed. Are Neuroweapons/Psychotronic weapons, subliminal messaging. fake MSM news used to Mindprogramm ordinary people Who here in the Netherlands seem to be oblivious that this war has been ongoing for 8 years with heinous warcries by Ukrainian soldiers against the citizens of Donbass. Lugansk. Here in the Netherlands young men were recruited by the Roman Catholic Church to fight with Hitler against the Russian Bolsjevists. NSB, to be utterly shamed after WW II. The Vatican owned concentrationcamps in Germany and ran/managed them. Ukraine the second Jewish State. Or as Zelensky said An Autonomous Greater Israel.

  30. Alan
    May 3, 2022 at 14:42

    Fear and hatred of the Other are the levers of control. A leader offers himself as the only one who can protect the people, and the people bow down and offer their loyalty and obedience. Thus has it always been.

    • Paula
      May 3, 2022 at 19:35

      What is it called when people say “it’s always been that way.” As if that makes it right or that because it’s always been that way, we should not bother? There are healthier people who control their diet and look to diplomacy and they will outlast the psychopaths in charge just by living longer and better. Just because the white race has always been devils, doesn’t mean we all are, nor does it mean that the majority of people, who happen to be black and brown, can’t bring into existence, a different world. From Silverton Siege on Netflix’s: “What is the price of freedom? Everything.”

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