Friday, July 27, 2007
After four years of war, American Marines and soldiers have become socialized to atrocity. The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder. There is very little killing.
By Chris Hedges
".....The rage soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed over time to innocent civilians who are seen to support the insurgents. It is a short psychological leap, but a massive moral leap. It is a leap from killing -- the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm -- to murder -- the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you. The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder. There is very little killing.....
We make our heroes out of clay. We laud their gallant deeds and give them uniforms with colored ribbons on their chest for the acts of violence they committed or endured. They are our false repositories of glory and honor, of power, of self-righteousness, of patriotism and self-worship, all that we want to believe about ourselves. They are our plaster saints of war, the icons we cheer to defend us and make us and our nation great. They are the props of our civic religion, our love of power and force, our belief in our right as a chosen nation to wield this force against the weak and rule. This is our nation's idolatry of itself. And this idolatry has corrupted religious institutions, not only here but in most nations, making it impossible for us to separate the will of God from the will of the state.
Prophets are not those who speak of piety and duty from pulpits -- few people in pulpits have much worth listening to -- but it is the battered wrecks of men and women who return from Iraq and speak the halting words we do not want to hear, words that we must listen to and heed to know ourselves. They tell us war is a soulless void. They have seen and tasted how war plunges us to barbarity, perversion, pain and an unchecked orgy of death. And it is their testimonies alone that have the redemptive power to save us from ourselves."