Wednesday, June 4, 2008

'Atrocity-Producing Situations'

by Chris Hedges and Tom Engelhardt

"........"To refer dismissively…": This is the Post's polite way of describing the bedrock racism – the demeaning of the enemy (and hardening of the self) – that is essentially bound to go with any counterinsurgency-cum-neocolonial war like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Few know this better than Pulitzer Prize-winning former war reporter Chris Hedges, who, along with Laila al-Arian, has produced a remarkable new book, Collateral Damage, America's War Against Iraqi Civilians. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with veterans of the Iraq war and occupation, it lays out graphically indeed and in their own words the American system of patrols, convoys, home raids, detentions, and military checkpoints that became a living nightmare for civilians in Iraq. Think of their book as a two-person version of the Vietnam-era Winter Soldier investigation, this time for a war in which Americans have seemed especially uneager to know much about what their troops, many thousands of miles from home, are really doing to the "hajis."

The following piece – with echoes of Hedges' classic work War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning – has been adapted from his introduction to the new book......."

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