Chris Hedges: They Lied About Afghanistan & Iraq; Now They’re Lying About Ukraine

The U.S. public has been conned, once again, into pouring billions into another endless war.

Preying for Peace – by Mr. Fish.

By Chris Hedges
Original to ScheerPost

The playbook the pimps of war use to lure us into one military fiasco after another, including Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine, does not change.

Freedom and democracy are threatened. Evil must be vanquished. Human rights must be protected. The fate of Europe and NATO, along with a “rules based international order” is at stake. Victory is assured.

The results are also the same. The justifications and narratives are exposed as lies. The cheery prognosis is false. Those on whose behalf we are supposedly fighting are as venal as those we are fighting against. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was a war crime, although one that was provoked by NATO expansion and by the United States backing of the 2014 “Maidan” coup which ousted the democratically-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych wanted economic integration with the European Union, but not at the expense of economic and political ties with Russia. The war will only be solved through negotiations that allow ethnic Russians in Ukraine to have autonomy and Moscow’s protection, as well as Ukrainian neutrality, which means the country cannot join NATO.

The longer these negotiations are delayed the more Ukrainians will suffer and die. Their cities and infrastructure will continue to be pounded into rubble.

But this proxy war in Ukraine is designed to serve U.S. interests. It enriches the weapons manufacturers, weakens the Russian military and isolates Russia from Europe. What happens to Ukraine is irrelevant. 

“First, equipping our friends on the front lines to defend themselves is a far cheaper way — in both dollars and American lives — to degrade Russia’s ability to threaten the United States,” admitted Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Second, Ukraine’s effective defense of its territory is teaching us lessons about how to improve the defenses of partners who are threatened by China. It is no surprise that senior officials from Taiwan are so supportive of efforts to help Ukraine defeat Russia.

Third, most of the money that’s been appropriated for Ukraine security assistance doesn’t actually go to Ukraine. It gets invested in American defense manufacturing. It funds new weapons and munitions for the U.S. armed forces to replace the older material we have provided to Ukraine.

Let me be clear: this assistance means more jobs for American workers and newer weapons for American servicemembers.”

Once the truth about these endless wars seeps into public consciousness, the media, which slavishly promotes these conflicts, drastically reduces coverage. The military debacles, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, continue largely out of view. By the time the U.S. concedes defeat, most barely remember that these wars are being fought. 

The pimps of war who orchestrate these military fiascos migrate from administration to administration. Between posts they are ensconced in think tanks — Project for the New American Century, American Enterprise Institute, Foreign Policy Initiative, Institute for the Study of War, The Atlantic Council and The Brookings Institution — funded by corporations and the war industry.

Once the Ukraine war comes to its inevitable conclusion, these Dr. Strangeloves will seek to ignite a war with China. The U.S. Navy and military are already menacing and encircling China. God help us if we don’t stop them.

Rhetoric from Old Playbook

President Volodymyr Zelensky, during a joint meeting of Congress in December 2022, handing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  a flag of Ukraine signed by Ukrainian soldiers fighting at Bakhmut. (Office of the House Speaker)

These pimps of war con Americans into one conflict after another with flattering narratives that paint the U.S. as the world’s savior.

They don’t even have to be innovative. The rhetoric is lifted from the old playbook. Americans naively swallow the bait and embrace the flag — this time blue and yellow — to become unwitting agents in our self-immolation.

It has stopped mattering — at least to the war pimps — whether these wars are rational or prudent. The war industry metastasizes within the bowels of the American empire to hollow it out from the inside. The U.S. is reviled abroad, drowning in debt, has an impoverished working class and is burdened with a decayed infrastructure as well as shoddy social services. 

Wasn’t the Russian military — because of poor moralepoor generalshipoutdated weaponsdesertions, a lack of ammunition that supposedly forced soldiers to fight with shovels, and severe supply shortages — supposed to collapse months ago?

Wasn’t Russian President Vladimir Putin supposed to be driven from power? Weren’t the sanctions supposed to plunge the ruble into a death spiral?

Wasn’t the severing of the Russian banking system from SWIFT, the international money transfer system, supposed to cripple the Russian economy? How is it that inflation rates in Europe and the United States are higher than in Russia despite these attacks on the Russian economy? 

Wasn’t the nearly $150 billion in sophisticated military hardware, financial and humanitarian assistance pledged by the U.S., EU and 11 other countries supposed to have turned the tide of the war?

How is it that perhaps a third of the tanks Germany and the U.S. provided were swiftly turned by Russian mines, artillery, anti-tank weapons, air strikes and missiles into charred hunks of metal at the start of the vaunted counter-offensive?

Wasn’t this latest Ukrainian counter-offensive, which was originally known as the “spring offensive,” supposed to punch through Russia’s heavily fortified front lines and regain huge swathes of territory?

How can we explain the tens of thousands of Ukrainian military casualties and the forced conscription by Ukraine’s military? Even our retired generals and former C.I.A., F.B.I., NSA and Homeland Security officials, who serve as analysts on networks such as CNN and MSNBC, can’t say the offensive has succeeded. 

Protecting ‘Democracy’

Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with members of Ukraine’s Rada in Kiev, May 6, 2021. (State Department/Ron Przysucha)

And what of the Ukrainian democracy we are fighting to protect?

Why did the Ukrainian Parliament revoke the official use of minority languages, including Russian, three days after the 2014 coup? How do we rationalize the eight years of warfare against ethnic Russians in the Donbass region before the Russian invasion in Feb. 2022?

How do we explain the killing of over 14,200 people and the 1.5 million people who were displaced, before Russia’s invasion took place last year?

How do we defend the decision by President Volodymyr Zelensky to ban 11 opposition parties, including The Opposition Platform for Life, which had 10 percent of the seats in the Supreme Council, Ukraine’s unicameral parliament, along with the Shariy Party, Nashi, Opposition Bloc, Left Opposition, Union of Left Forces, State, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialists Party and Volodymyr Saldo Bloc?

How can we accept the banning of these opposition parties — many of which are on the left — while Zelensky allows fascists from the Svoboda and Right Sector parties, as well as the Banderite Azov Battalion and other extremist militias, to flourish? 

How do we deal with the anti-Russian purges and arrests of supposed “fifth columnists” sweeping through Ukraine, given that 30 percent of Ukraine’s inhabitants are Russian speakers?

How do we respond to the neo-Nazi groups supported by Zelensky’s government that harass and attack the LGBT community, the Roma population, anti-fascist protests and threaten city council members, media outlets, artists and foreign students?

How can we countenance the decision by the U.S and its Western allies to block negotiations with Russia to end the war, despite Kiev and Moscow apparently being on the verge of negotiating a peace treaty? 

Azov veterans and supporters march in Kiev, 2019. (Goo3, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

I reported from Eastern and Central Europe in 1989 during the breakup of the Soviet Union.  NATO, we assumed, had become obsolete.

President Mikhail Gorbachev proposed security and economic agreements with Washington and Europe. Secretary of State James Baker in Ronald Reagan’s administration, along with the West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, assured Gorbachev that NATO would not be extended beyond the borders of a unified Germany.

We naively thought the end of the Cold War meant that Russia, Europe and the U.S., would no longer have to divert massive resources to their militaries. 

The so-called peace dividend, however, was a chimera.

If Russia did not want to be the enemy, Russia would be forced to become the enemy. The pimps of war recruited former Soviet republics into NATO by painting Russia as a threat.

Countries that joined NATO, which now include Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia, reconfigured their militaries, often through tens of millions in Western loans, to become compatible with NATO military hardware. This made the weapons manufacturers billions in profits. 

[Related: Chris Hedges: Chronicle of a War Foretold]

It was universally understood in Eastern and Central Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union that NATO expansion was unnecessary and a dangerous provocation. It made no geopolitical sense. But it made commercial sense. War is a business.

In a classified diplomatic cable — obtained and released by WikiLeaks — dated Feb. 1, 2008, written from Moscow, and addressed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, NATO-European Union Cooperative, National Security Council, Russia Moscow Political Collective, secretary of defense, and secretary of state, there was an unequivocal understanding that expanding NATO risked conflict with Russia, especially over Ukraine.

“Not only does Russia perceive encirclement [by NATO], and efforts to undermine Russia’s influence in the region, but it also fears unpredictable and uncontrolled consequences which would seriously affect Russian security interests,” the cable reads.

“Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face. . . .”

“Dmitri Trenin, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, expressed concern that Ukraine was, in the long-term, the most potentially destabilizing factor in U.S.-Russian relations, given the level of emotion and neuralgia triggered by its quest for NATO membership . . .” the cable reads.

  “Because membership remained divisive in Ukrainian domestic politics, it created an opening for Russian intervention. Trenin expressed concern that elements within the Russian establishment would be encouraged to meddle, stimulating U.S. overt encouragement of opposing political forces, and leaving the U.S. and Russia in a classic confrontational posture.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine would not have happened if the Western alliance had honored its promises not to expand NATO beyond Germany’s borders and Ukraine had remained neutral.

The pimps of war knew the potential consequences of NATO expansion. War, however, is their single minded vocation, even if it leads to a nuclear holocaust with Russia or China. 

The war industry, not Putin, is our most dangerous enemy.   

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prizewinning 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 show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waiver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

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


44 comments for “Chris Hedges: They Lied About Afghanistan & Iraq; Now They’re Lying About Ukraine

  1. HelenB
    July 7, 2023 at 14:39

    We were not conned again. We know the routine. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, with many in-between. We are not a true democracy. Americans cannot control the war machine

  2. Dave Martin
    July 6, 2023 at 18:44

    The fact that the flag that the lying actor gave the ignorant drunkard in Congress was replete with various nazi insignias makes that moment in the Empire’s history all the more poignant.

  3. July 6, 2023 at 13:10

    A great abd important article. Chris Hedges is one of the most important and eloquent journalists extant today.

  4. Jueri Svjagintsev
    July 6, 2023 at 12:48

    No one can answer me when I ask “what should Russia have done to avoid this war?” Silence or a suggestion which they don’t know the Russians have already tried. Then I ask what could the West have done to avoid this war?, but by then the conversation is over.

  5. Ramon
    July 6, 2023 at 12:38

    Would any independent reputable public opinion survey company (or few independent survey companies) come out to US and European streets and ask few thousands (maybe tens, maybe hundreds of thousands) people the simple question:
    “- Can you explain and how you understand what’s the reason US and Western Europe spending hundreds of billions dollars and euros to feed Ukraine with weapons against Russia and Ukraine-Russia war incendiary at the time the US and Europe economy and infrastructure in shambles, crazy homelessness, millions of illegal immigrants, unimaginable inflation, etc.?
    Do you support such Western’s madness?”
    I have no doubt 99% of those people will not have the answer to explain the spending and will say they don’t support such policy and politics, and highly against it.
    Hope some will have the “hutzpah” to start such public opinion survey….

  6. mgr
    July 6, 2023 at 09:38

    The only entity in this entire debacle that has tried to prevent war and resolve the issues in Ukraine peacefully is Russia. This is perfectly obvious from Merkel and Zelenski’s “confessions” that the Minsk accords were a deliberate deception and ploy by the West. While Putin and Russia for eight years were laboring to move the Minsk accords ahead in order to forestall a Ukrainian civil war leading to the necessity for a Russian intervention, the CIA and NATO were arming, funding and radicalizing the Ukrainian fascist nationalists with delusions of grandeur in preparation for their eventual attack on the Dombass and ethnic Russian Ukrainian population.

    The Minsk accords were a diplomatic solution to the rifts in Ukrainian society that came to light with the Western sponsored Maiden coup. For the eight years since the Maiden coup, the US and NATO focused on arming and radicalizing Ukraine and all the while working against the Minsk accords that they public supported. Then with the Ukrainian army poised to invade and ethnically cleanse the Dombass region the West imposed their sanctions bomb. Note that that was even before the start of Russia’s SMO. Was that not always the plan?

    I understand and agree with Mr. Hedges horror of war. But here is a question: If Russia had capitulated, fallen to its knees and said “We give up, do what you want,” would that have stopped the West’s attacks on Russia? Or would NATO and America have swooped in to “de-colonize” Russia, impose its neo-liberal economics and simply raped them blind? You know the answer because that is what they already tried to do in the ’90s until Putin stopped them.

    So, is there some other way that Russia could have prevented that? The UN? Sadly, that is a joke. This plea for peace at any cost, apparently so long as the US does not have to pay it, even if it means the end of the lives and homes of 140 million people in Russia, and now upcoming, more of the same for a billion+ in China, seems a bit disingenuous. But, I am all ears.

    Perhaps, as an alternative, neocon led America should just stop..? Imagine, solving nearly all the conflicts in the world against peoples and even against the environment in one fell swoop. Why not push for that?

  7. Sam F
    July 6, 2023 at 06:23

    An excellent summary except for the glaring contradiction of calling the Russian intervention a war crime without citing the western provocation as war crime in the same sentence. The western bully provocateur is the one to cite as the criminal; the reaction of the victim deserves only moderate criticism in principle. Presumably Chris Hedges did that to gain a platform to persuade the sheep of the western MIC/WallSt/MSM tyranny, and should observe whether a broader audience was in fact gained. Perhaps he thought that contradiction to be self-explanatory. If he simply could not bring himself to approve even defensive warfare, then that subject could remain unremarked while detailing the history of provocations.

    • Caliman
      July 6, 2023 at 11:34

      No, Hedges did that because it is true: attacking another country w/o UNSC support is in fact a war crime per the UN rules that Russia has signed up to. Thus is why the great majority of nations voted against Russia when the matter came up.

      We should not make heroes out of cretins just because the people ruling the West are far worse cretins. It was a crime for Russia to attack Ukraine in general war, full stop, no matter what the provocation or precedent set by the USUK repeatedly doing the same for decades. Russia had other options than general war to protect itself and its prosperity … it chose to go to war.

      Now, were they goaded into it? Was USUK actively creating a situation that threatened Russia’s near abroad and Russian peoples generally? Is it an idiotic idea to hem and constrain a nuclear great power in its stated and historic lands? All true. But none of this takes away from the fact that Russia committed what is widely understood and acknowledged to be a crime.

      And the same thing is being set up for China in Taiwan … let us hope both are wiser in avoiding disaster.

      • mgr
        July 6, 2023 at 14:06

        Caliman: This is certainly true in theory. A critical question though is would the UNSC have prevented the Ukrainian invasion and blood-bath in Dombass? It certainly did not prevent the US from invading and occupying Iraq. In fact, we are still there 20 years later even though Iraq has requested that American forces be removed. I dare say that the residents of Dombass are grateful that their lives were not left to the protection of the UNSC.

        The fact that the UNSC acts in large part like a subsidiary of the US State Department is truly despicable and begets other tragedies including undermining the UN itself. Where should the nations of the world turn for a fair hearing (all equal before the law) and protection under the law from the aggression of others? For example, how is the UNSC “investigation” of Noordstream going..?

        • Caliman
          July 6, 2023 at 21:36

          To MGR: the SC would not have prevented Ukraines attack on the Donbas, because the latter was/is part of Ukraine, as even China has admitted. State sovereignty principles are crucial to international law and those are precisely the rules that Russia broke here.

          Note, however, that Ukraine’s full on attack on the seceded Donbas areas are plausible but only theoretical … Russia declared war first. If Russia had waited for Ukraine to move first, things would have been very different perceptually, if not legally.

          Yes, Iraq was a similar affair, though it was a much bigger crime because of the utter lack of any excuses and provocations. The fact that the SC as currently constituted cannot prevent these war crimes does not mean starting wars of aggression are not crimes; it just means certain nations are allowed to commit crimes with impunity currently. Hopefully soon, they will not.

            July 7, 2023 at 13:57

            “. If Russia had waited for Ukraine to move first …”

            Ukraine moved in 2014.

            • mgr
              July 8, 2023 at 09:17

              CN: Excellent, yes. Thank you.

          • mgr
            July 8, 2023 at 09:15

            Caliman: Thanks for the reply. Yes, agreed, the UN should be allowed to function as intended. The entire world would certainly be better off. This, in fact is what China and the BRICS nations are proposing. Western nations seem not to be too happy with the idea though.

            I understand the theory that you have explained and it would be good if everyone complied. But in reality, these rules have most often been used in only one direction and that is as a justification to force compliance by other means on any entity that challenges the desires of the US hegemony. They are never applied against the US led West. In a real sense, this greatly weakens your argument of Russia breaking international rules. I notice you say rules instead of laws. There is also in fact the law regarding self-determination and the US is always citing the rule concerning the “need to protect.” Does it only apply to the West? In addition, Russia’s intervention prevented an almost certain bloodbath, which would have necessitated a much more destructive intervention in any case although after the carnage had begun.

            Also, if I may, in the bigger view regarding peace in Ukraine in general. I have learned that Russian military doctrine for war is different from the US’s shock and awe. With S&A military and civilian infrastructure are destroyed right off and the intent is to bring the adversary to their knees through overwhelming force.

            In contrast, Russian military doctrine is seen as a adjunct to and military operations are designed to facilitate diplomacy. This is the nature of the Russian SMO in Ukraine which began in February 2022. It was a deliberately light touch which was meant to bring the Ukrainian side to the negotiating table. And it worked! In March of 2022, Russia and Ukraine had come to a draft peace agreement which was broadly similar to the Minsk accords. I believe this was in Istanbul. Recently Putin displayed the signed draft agreement and former Israeli PM Naftali Bennett who was involved with the negotiations confirmed it. Ukraine and Russia had the beginnings of a peace agreement and the conditions for a cease-fire. Then Boris Johnston suddenly showed up on the Kiev’s doorstep and informed Zelenski that the West would not agree to it and pressed him to keep on fighting.

            Following that, Zelenski abruptly broke off the negotiations and Russia’s real war with real military objectives began. And now, Ukraine and the West are going down the tubes.

            Who is pushing for war and who is pushing for peace in Ukraine? This, I think, is part of the bigger context for considering Russia’s intervention and subsequent events.

      • JoeSixPack
        July 6, 2023 at 15:02

        No it was not a crime. Scott Ritter has written articles on the subject detailing why it was not a war crime for Russia to “invade” Ukraine. And certainly no more of a War Crime than the United States invading Iraq and Afghanistan or launching missiles at Syria.

        As Scott Ritter pointed out, Eastern Ukraine announced it wanted to break away from Ukraine and become independent. Once they had done so, they signed a defense agreement with Russia. Russia then was legally “allowed” to “invade” Ukraine in order to protect Eastern Ukraine.

        So no, this was not a War Crime.

      • Sam F
        July 6, 2023 at 17:55

        Yes, they were goaded deliberately over a long period with no concern for the inevitable suffering.
        The US and UK and others very deliberately committed war crimes under no pressure of defense.
        That is the ultimate crime, far more serious than excesses in defense.
        The error is in calling Russia a war criminal and not the West, which should be in the same sentence.
        The technicality that it requires a UNSC resolution when there is no time or inclination is immaterial.

    • GBC
      July 6, 2023 at 12:07

      Yes. Ray McGovern, among others (including I think Alexander Mercouris, Brian Biletic, Douglas MacGregor, and Scott Ritter) now believe Russia had no choice but to launch its SMO. For Russia, there was no alternative. Given all the conflicts provoked by the US over the decades since the end of WW2, one would think a widespread level of cynicism and distrust would have developed about the CIA and the foreign policy blob, and that the antiwar movement that developed during the second Iraq War would have sustained itself. But no. In another CN piece, the author states that Russian citizens are far more sophisticated about world affairs than we in the US. In part no doubt because they’ve been on the receiving end of so much Western hostility. Here in the US, citizens remain as gullible and naive as Charlie Brown falling for Lucy’s football trick every time. The true power of the propaganda and brainwashing that sustains our merchants of death and their Neo-Con compatriots, is that they/we aren’t even aware of it.

  8. Francis Lee
    July 6, 2023 at 05:40

    I travelled to Donetsk from 2006 to 2012 and always liked the atmosphere in that city. It was a working-class town and could have been compared to Pittsburgh in the US and Sheffield in the UK. Iron, steel and coal was the currency of this city along with its working class, one million strong; the Don Bass Arena, was built by the local oligarch, Ahkmetov, who promptly disappeared when the going got tough. Apropos of nothing, I remember watching Ukraine play England in the European Nations Cup in 2012. England won that game 1-0 but the Ukraine were deprived of an obvious goal (the ball had crossed the goal-line). Crooked referee it had to be!

    These local people were as tough as nails and defended their town and its history with great tenacity. The Ukie Army attacked the Donbass in 2014 but were given a sound thrashing – in Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo 1915 – by the locally formed militias and were forced to retreat licking their wounds for the next round which eventuated in 2023.

    Second time around (2023) the Ukies got a pounding from the Russian Army.

    The above is how things turned out. I would infer that the Ukraine – generally the Ukraine west of the Dnieper – is at a loss, for what to do, as is its western backers. A discreet retreat by the Ukrainian powers that be and its western backers, would seem to be the order of the day. Ah, well, you can’t win them all!

  9. Eddy Schmid
    July 6, 2023 at 02:37

    Quote, “to degrade Russia’s ability to threaten the United States,” Unquote. When/why/how did Russia “threaten the United States.”
    I don’t recall any such “threat” ever being made by Russia. In fact the opposite is true. The U.S. has bent over backwards, trying to destroy Russia ever since WW 2 and even before then. There’s only one nation on this planet, that goes around “threatening” other nations, ans that’s the U.S. of A. Something that needs to be brought to a head, and ceased forever, by whatever means neccessary.

  10. WillD
    July 5, 2023 at 23:06

    The first tragedy is, as always, the millions of people killed, injured, maimed, hurt, displaced & traumatised by western aggression, and the second tragedy is that most westerners keep falling for the propaganda and brainwashing to pay for it all!

    The only winners are the tiny few in the military industrial complex and supporting industries, and their shareholders. These are the individuals who should be put on public trial in The Hague for extreme crimes against humanity – for all the world to see.

    Their names should be broadcast to every country, every city, every town, every village in the world, so that everyone knows who they are.

  11. Riva Enteen
    July 5, 2023 at 21:56

    If Ray McGovern didn’t convince Robert Scheer that MSM lies about Ukraine (hxxps://, maybe Hedges will help him see the light. The number of seasoned journalists, like Robert Scheer, who still rely on the NYT, is horrifying, and part of why we are on the brink.

  12. wildthange
    July 5, 2023 at 20:43

    The western cultural world as a religious venture arising from the ashes of Rome sees full spectrum dominance of the world beginning to slip away. That addiction to aggressive warfare and apocalyptic hysteria is an existential threat to human civilization in this century. Our war gods are becoming unhinged and holding on to the 20th century strategic logic as saviors.
    Meanwhile on top of the war machine there is also the profiteering born of mass destruction weaponry to destroy infrastructure, chase away refugees and then move in the multi-national rebuild investors like a corporate hostile takeover of a country for maximum profits.
    The historical military protection racket now requires permanent war and is devouring the resources of our planet as it is risking all of human civilization for profits of doom.

  13. July 5, 2023 at 16:07

    mostly a great job except for the silly bordering on stupid inclusion of russia committing a “war crime”…does that mean skulls were not cracked, bodies blown apart the legally acceptable way? when will otherwise thoughtful people get rid of this idiotic reference to “war crimes” as though mass murder could somehow be done nicely, if committed by god’s chosen people, americans. war is a human disgrace and those who continue to accept it as having only some criminal parts are part of the problem. if we dont want war, get the hell out of other people’s lives and off their borders! otherwise, shut the hell up and continue supporting mass bloody murder in silence, as usual.

    • Valerie
      July 6, 2023 at 04:11

      “war is a human disgrace and those who continue to accept it as having only some criminal parts are part of the problem. if we dont want war, get the hell out of other people’s lives and off their borders! otherwise, shut the hell up and continue supporting mass bloody murder in silence, as usual.”

      I agree most vehemently with those sentiments frank.

  14. July 5, 2023 at 15:40

    Thank you Chris Hedges for your lifelong struggle in exposing truth in fact. I love you for your resilient faith and heart for humanity. Your love of truth will, someday prevail. Know that those who remember you will do so with grace in having known such a one.

  15. Philip Reed
    July 5, 2023 at 15:29

    I agree with everything that Mr.Hedges states except this particular paragraph;
    “ The Russian invasion of Ukraine was a war crime, although one that was provoked by NATO expansion and by the United States backing of the 2014 “Maidan” coup which ousted the democratically-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.“
    Why does he feel the need to describe the Russian intervention as a “war crime” without at least defining how it is being judged a war crime and by whom. He himself then describes what preceded this “ crime”. Was not the shelling of the Donbass republics by Ukrainian militias and military a “ war crime”? After the Ukrainian government clearly ignored the Minsk Accords and continued its assault on ethnic Russians for eight years ,what was the Russian response suppose to be? Especially when last minute offers by Russia on 17th, December 2021 of a new security architecture were dismissed out of hand by the US and NATO.? Stand back and let Ukraine continue its assault on the Donbas and Crimea?
    Therefore Chris is being disingenuous in his use of the words “ war crime”. It’s emotive and a copout. It’s sucking and blowing at the same time. Just admit it was a justified last resort.

    • onward
      July 6, 2023 at 01:23

      Not the first time ChrisH has described it thus.
      I’ve asked CH to write an article explaining what Russia’s response should have been. What did they not do that they should have – in CH’s terms?
      Even RFKjnr calls Putin evil. It seems its a censorship must if you make public statements in the US about UKR, while CH and RFKjnr for that matter go on to make statements that explains why Russia intervened.
      Apparently in Russia a Special Operation is different to a War. In War all is unleashed, Russia on the contrary is still holding back. Besides in western terms the war started in 2014 by an act of US aggression that was the trigger for what followed, but attempted disguise as a local
      I am still waiting.

      • Caliman
        July 6, 2023 at 11:48

        Generally, criminals don’t get to ask “what could I have done other than the crime that I did do? I was provoked …” However …

        What Russia could have done instead of attacking a sovereign foreign country in general war? How about:

        – Continued to use diplomacy to solve its issues. After all, Russia itself was not being invaded.

        – Build up enormous reserves on the border and stockpile supplies and weapons forcing NATO to commit to ruinous spending and bankruptcy to keep up the fiction of protection for its eastern satraps.

        – Work with China and others (like Iran and Venezuela etc.) to hit the USUK where it hurts … the $$$$

        – finally, if the Donbas area was being attacked and further threatened, move in, but ONLY into the Donbas, not a general war towards Kiev. This is what the war has devolved to anyway, and Russia should have realized that from the beginning.

        There are always options and this situation was not an exception.

        • JoeSixPack
          July 6, 2023 at 15:10

          And Russia used everyone of those options. Were you not aware of Russia’s relentless attempts at diplomacy only to be rebuffed by the United States, again and again, and again. Were you not aware of the West reneging on the Mink Accords and using that as a delay tactic to build up Ukraine’s army. Were you not aware of the Ukrainian army massing a major assault on the Donbass region. How many people were going to be slaughtered if Russia did not act. But I guess that does not matter , because it is bad form not to continue to beat your head against the wall while people around you die.

          • Caliman
            July 6, 2023 at 21:10

            The first point is that Russia could have continued to “use those options” … there was nothing particularly special about 2022 that was not true of ’21 or any year before. Russia allowed itself to be maneuvered into war just like they are attempting to do with China via Taiwan now.

            But let us say that you are right about the massive army indicating an attack on the Donbass. There certainly was increased shelling, though I personally think it was all provocation. But Mr Putin could have announced in Feb ’22 that due to the failure of Minsk and the disregard for the Donbas citizens lives shown by Ukraine, Russia would be moving forces into the disputed lands. Any further bombardment of the region by Ukraine forces would cause a severe response to degrade Ukraine’s ability to attack.

            In this way, Russia would be basically acting as a peacekeeper … very different from full on attack on a sovereign nation no matter what provocation. If Russia had done this, I’d say it would have been FAR harder for the USUK to line Europe up, Finland and Sweden may have stayed neutral, Germany would have had a harder time cutting off Nordstream, and China would have had a more open hand to help.

          • Caliman
            July 7, 2023 at 20:19

            As Russia itself was not under attack, diplomacy could have been continued.

            But if Ukraine was getting ready to move into Donbas, the option not tried was declaring Minsk void due to reneging by Ukraine and moving troops into the rebel Donbas areas in force … I mean hundreds of thousands of troops and associated equipment. This would be a peace keeping force in Donbas. If Ukraine attacked the force, respond with full effect … none of this SMO pussyfooting around.

            Basically, make it a repeat of Georgia in 2008 … which most of the world saw as Georgia’s own fault.

    • Eddy Schmid
      July 6, 2023 at 02:40

      Agree totally with this comment.

    • Bostonian
      July 6, 2023 at 12:13

      As an ordained Minister, Mr. Hedges might remember Augustine’s doctrine of “the just war.” As mendaciously as Christian imperialists have interpreted it, the fact remains that defense against an aggressive adversary with a long track record of gratuitous bloodletting requires a military response. As Scott Ritter and others have observed, Russia’s Gerasimov Doctrine is exceedingly careful to avoid civilian casualties and infrastructure damage, which makes the nonstop atrocity propaganda in our privatized state media especially contemptible. War, as von Clausewitz observed, is diplomacy by other means. In this case it clearly became inevitable as the result of the CIA-insatlled coup regime’s failure to honor every agreement it signed, while conducting a growing reign of terror against the surviving ethnic Russians who make up nearly a third of the state’s population. The immediate trigger for the SMO was the Ukrainian nationalist regime massing forces on Donbass’ border to complete the ethnic cleansing of eastern Ukraine that their national hero Stepan Bandera began in western Ukraine while allied with the German Reich in World War II.

  16. Observer
    July 5, 2023 at 15:00

    One point on which I have to differ: the Russian intervention was probably NOT a war crime. Remember that the Russian Federation recognized the two Donbas people’s republics shortly before that. I would be surprised if the three states did not immediately form a regional defensive alliance. It was public knowledge, and proclaimed themselves, that the Kyiv regime was about to launch a large-scale attack on the Donbas republics. This makes the Russian intervention a preemptive action in immediate defense of their alliance — and that is widely interpreted as a legitimate action under international law.

    That a war is legal doesn’t make it a good idea…

  17. Robert Emmett
    July 5, 2023 at 14:37

    “Let me be clear: this assistance means more jobs for American workers and newer weapons for American servicemembers.” (Mitch “Mock Turtle” McConnell)

    There you have it laid out for you ladies & germs. More good-paying all-American jobs at the expense of human support systems ground to rubble, blood & death of what could reach half-a-million Ukr soldiers (Scott Ritter’s calculation if the so-called offensive continues), (yes, among them despicable Nazi-types), countless widows & orphans, millions of refugees & displaced families of the USoA’s dear, good “friends” (with friends like us, who needs enemies?). And don’t discount a kind of seething hatred that will spread for generations on all sides.

    This justification would be unconscionable, to say the least, if our mis-rulers only had a conscience to begin with. Degrade Russia’s ability to threaten the U.S.? Nothing is more degraded than this pretense.

    Per the pic: Nancy P & Notorious Z play hide the blini.

    Hoist that rag!

  18. vinnieoh
    July 5, 2023 at 14:32

    I don’t wish to quibble with Chris Hedges assertion that Russia’s response is a war crime, except to note that to my mind it was a proper application of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine cited by so many western ideologues. As an aside, R2P, as I understand it bears much more similarity to that notion originally written about by Mohammed. R2P bears no resemblance to western notions of a “Just War,” and certainly not to “Holy War (God Wills It!)”

    That aside, another truthful piece from Chris Hedges. But there is another element to this war which I have tried on numerous occasions to explain, with seeming little traction among this readership or elsewhere. That other element or connection has to do with the shale gas boom here in the US. The first thing that must be understood about it is that it is indeed a “boom.” It could only proceed with massive investments in exploration, acquiring leases, drilling operations, and transporting (rail and pipeline.) All that investment was private, the government was not a player (and in fact, in the LEAF case in 2005 in Alabama, Chaney instructed the Alabama Supreme Court to declare that “energy needs are too important to be hampered by environmental concerns” and declared the US EPA and other governmental entities were not to investigate any aspects of hydrofracking and shale gas.)

    So this recent natural gas industry proceeded as a boom, which mostly all oil and gas development historically does. And all those investors expect a return on their investment – they expect to profit from jumping on the wagon and making this happen. And so the shale gas boom took the US by storm and in no time produced a very large quantity of gas, so much in fact that the US could not possibly use it all and all of the available storage capacity (mostly underground) was quickly filled to capacity.

    During Obama’s tenure the DOE was tasked with preparing a cradle-to-the-grave study asking the question “Will exporting fracked-sourced LNG increase greenhouse gas emissions?” Wrong question of course, but environmental responsibility was not the impetus for this study.

    Remember now that since the inception and construction of Nord Stream II the US was “warning” Europe that by relying on Russian gas they were leaving themselves open to economic blackmail by THE EVIL RUSSIANS. This theme was hammered upon relentlessly in those years leading up to the Ukraine conflict; remember Trump’s visit to Europe when he did his best to insult everybody within earshot, he called Angela Merckel “Putin’s Puppet” for Germany’s partnership in the pipeline project.

    So, under the cover of this conflict the US and/or its proxies blow up Russia’s pipeline thereby giving green lights all up and down the eastern US to build those pipelines and LNG conversion plants because the US will now deliver to them “Freedom Gas” (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    Now I’ll connect the rest of the dots, not that the intelligent and thoughtful readership here won’t.

    This shale gas boom was sold to the American public as a source of reliable energy for decades, possibly even a century. But the investors have to sell as much of it as quickly as they can to realize the profit from their investment. The European market looks to secure their investment happiness.

    And all the bullshit Biden has spoken about environmental responsibility? LNG conversion and ocean transportation is possibly the very worst application of this energy source from an environmental perspective.

    So yes Chris we’re being conned again, and in more ways than we can keep track of.

    • joey_n
      July 6, 2023 at 04:09

      Remember now that since the inception and construction of Nord Stream II the US was “warning” Europe that by relying on Russian gas they were leaving themselves open to economic blackmail by THE EVIL RUSSIANS. This theme was hammered upon relentlessly in those years leading up to the Ukraine conflict; remember Trump’s visit to Europe when he did his best to insult everybody within earshot, he called Angela Merckel “Putin’s Puppet” for Germany’s partnership in the pipeline project.

      Yeah! Even on otherwise “pro-Russian” sites like RT or ZeroHedge, whenever an article talks about Germany’s gas crisis, there would be at least one commentator who brings up Trump’s warning from 2018 and claim that the crisis proved him correct. I swear, the next time some Trumptard does that, I’ll see what I can do to respond with a vehement “Shut up, gringo”.

      On another note, if the comment sections of RT and ZeroHedge (the “Russian fanclubs” in the USA) have taught me anything, it’s that being pro-Russian doesn’t automatically entail shaking off the old Anglo-American mentality – some still e.g. crack jokes about French being “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” and the like despite evidence to the contrary. And it looks like I’m not the only one to notice it – hxxps://

  19. Drew Hunkins
    July 5, 2023 at 14:05

    A letter of mine in which I explain the reasons why the Washington-Zio-militarist empire is targeting Russia:


    • Vakerie
      July 5, 2023 at 16:38

      I just read your letter Drew. I favour no. 4 and no. 6 as the most pertinent in this instance. Although they are all worthy reasons.

      • Drew Hunkins
        July 5, 2023 at 21:33

        Yes, 4 and 6 are extremely important. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

  20. RomfordRob
    July 5, 2023 at 13:56

    Very nice summary of where we are and why. The other day I tried explaing some of this to an avid reader of the New York Times. I met a brick wall. The NYT does much more harm than good.

    • Garrett Connelly
      July 5, 2023 at 16:58


  21. Grant Gregory
    July 5, 2023 at 13:35

    How gullible we are. It’s alien to me the mentality required to buy into these things one after another after another.
    Part of it is a lack of information, but a bigger part is a lack of the desire to be informed about hard truths about ourselves.
    With such knowledge comes too much responsibility, and a step in the direction of cynisism. We’re taught that not being cynical is part of growing up and cynical adults should be ignored. A lesson most people learn well and take to heart.
    We’re so very obedient.

    • Eddie S
      July 5, 2023 at 23:33

      Yes Grant, I for one have come to the conclusion that while the neo-con/plutocratic control of the MSM and its support of the MIC is a major problem in the US, ultimately the blame rests with the electorate who demand to be pandered too with school-yard versions of reality. They twice elected ‘St Ronnie’ and most telling of all, RE-elected W even AFTER the Iraq War was revealed (even by the MSM) to be a fraud – that’s indicative of the concern US citizens have for the lives of foreigners. It’s easier and more ‘communal’ to listen to the TV version of things…

  22. DW Bartoo
    July 5, 2023 at 12:48

    Those who appreciated Joe Lauria’s stellar Ukraine timeline and the revelations that Chris Hedges provides, might also find Garland Nixons July 4th discussion with Andrii Telizhenko, “The Real Ukraine,” to be of use in terms of history and context.

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