loving neither peace nor freedom

It's Memorial Day weekend in America, and we should be remembering the people who have died in over 200 wars we have fought since 1776.

Today however we read that the Bush regime is about to begin another one (it's fourth, if we include the "war on terrorism," which will be eternal).

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration has cut off contact with Iran, and Pentagon officials are pushing for action they believe could destabilize the government of the Islamic republic, The Washington Post reported in its Sunday edition.
Still think this is a peace-loving nation?

What about our boast that we are a freedom-loving nation? A week ago a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter returned to his alma mater, Rockford College, a mid-western liberal arts school with a progresive history, to deliver the commencement speech.

[Chris] Hedges, a war correspondent, criticized military heroic ideals that grow during war. The fervor sacrifices individual thought for temporarily belonging to something larger, he said.

Hedges sympathized with U.S. soldiers. He characterized them as boys from places such as Mississippi and Arkansas who joined the military because there were no job opportunities.

"War in the end is always about betrayal. Betrayal of the young by the old, of soldiers by politicians and idealists by cynics," Hedges said in lecture fashion as jeers and "God Bless Americas" could be heard in the background.

His microphone was unplugged twice, he was booed and jeered, fog horns drowned his words, and the college president told him to wrap it up.

Go here for the full text of the speech, at least as delivered.

Hedges is the author of "War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning." This is from a review in Publishers Weekly:

In [his book] Hedges draws on his experiences covering conflicts in Bosnia, El Salvador and Israel as well as works of literature from the Iliad to Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism to look at what makes war so intoxicating for soldiers, politicians and ordinary citizens. He discusses outbreaks of nationalism, the wartime silencing of intellectuals and artists, the ways in which even a supposedly skeptical press glorifies the battlefield and other universal features of war, arguing not for pacifism but for responsibility and humility on the part of those who wage war.

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Published on May 25, 2003 2:32 PM.

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