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war

The soul that is enslaved to war cries out for deliverance but deliverance itself appears to it an extreme and tragic aspect, the aspect of destruction. Simone Weil

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Endless war, which results in endless terror, leaves the arms manufacturers and generals giddy with joy. It is a boon to the state, which is possessed of an excuse to extinguish what few liberties we have left. It fuels the militancy and hatred that fanatics need to justify their slaughter and attract recruits. But it is a curse to humankind. Chris Hedges: Becoming Hezbollah’s Air Force

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More violence is not going to rectify the damage. Indeed, it will make it worse. But violence is all we know. Violence is the habitual response by the state to every dilemma. War, like much of modern bureaucracy, has become an impersonal and unquestioned mechanism to perpetuate American power. It has its own internal momentum. There may be a few courageous souls who rise up within the apparatus to protest war’s ultimate absurdity, but they are rapidly discarded and replaced. Chris Hedges

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Those who use violence to shape the world, as we have done in the Middle East, unleash a whirlwind. Our initial alliances—achieved at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead, some $3 trillion in expenditures and the ravaging of infrastructure across the region—have been turned upside down by the cataclysm of violence. Thirteen years of war, and the rise of enemies we did not expect, have transformed Hezbollah fighters inside Syria, along with Iran, into our tacit allies. We are intervening in the Syrian civil war to assist a regime we sought to overthrow. We promised to save Iraq and now help to dismember it. We have delivered Afghanistan to drug cartels and warlords who preside over a ruin of a nation where 60 percent of the children are malnourished and the Taliban is poised to take power once NATO troops depart. The entire misguided enterprise has been a fiasco of gross mismanagement and wanton bloodletting. But that does not mean it will be stopped. Chris Hedges: Becoming Hezbollah’s Air Force

When we allow mythic reality to rule, as it almost always does in war, then there is only one solution—force. In mythic war we fight absolutes. We must vanquish darkness. It is imperative and inevitable for civilization, for the free world, that good triumph, just as Islamic militants see us as infidels whose existence corrupts the pure Islamic society they hope to build. But the goal we seek when we embrace myth is impossible to achieve. War never creates the security or the harmony we desire, especially the harmony we briefly attain during wartime. And campaigns… become starting points for further conflicts, especially as we find that we are unable to root out terrorism or maintain the kind of solidarity that comes in the days just after a terrorist attack. Chris Hedges

Leaving aside the obvious shortsightedness of evaluating whether the country should make war some place on the basis of a second-term president’s fortunes in the opinion polls, or how it effects the writer’s interpretation of the president’s self-image, the fact of the matter is that, whatever the president may say, and whatever the president may believe, most of the people on whom we are making this war are going to see it as America’s making war on them. These include the people we’re aiming at, and the people who we hit in a “collateral” fashion, but who are no less dead for that. The governments of our allies in the effort are, by and large, corrupt and oppressive autocracies. How it is possible for the United States to make war in this place and not be seen as a) the primary maker of the war itself, and b) the enabler of regimes that are not entirely popular with the people back home, is beyond my poor ability to understand. (Ditto to the notion that we can defeat ISIL and unseat Assad at the same time.) Our air force is now flying cover for, and with the military forces of, the Qatari sheikhs and the Saudi plutocrats. Any American support for any movement toward democracy in any of those places is now devoid of credibility for the foreseeable future. Making More War

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Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Lee’s story is how little credit she or her constituents receive for what they got right. Even though a majority now considers the war most understood the AUMF to authorize to be a mistake; even though it has been used to justify military interventions that no one conceived of on September 14, 2001; even though there’s no proof that any war-making of the last 13 years has have made us safer; even though many more Americans have died in wars of choice than have been killed in terrorist attacks; even though Lee and many of her constituents were amenable to capturing or killing the 9/11 perpetrators, not pacifists intent on ruling out any use of force; despite all of that, Representative Lee is still thought of as a fringe peacenik representing naive East Bay hippies who could never be trusted to guide U.S. foreign policy. And the people who utterly failed to anticipate the trajectory of the War on Terrorism? Even those who lair voted for a war in Iraq that turned out to be among the most catastrophic in U.S. history are considered sober, trustworthy experts. Angry Letters to the One Member of Congress Who Voted Against the War on Terror

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