Hedges Takes On Saint Clinton


When Chris Hedges writes, we sit up. An award-winning, former foreign correspondent for several publications including the Christian Science-Monitor, NPR, and the New York Times, Hedges has seen the worst of what humanity is capable covering violence and strife in, among other places, war-torn El Salvador, genocidal Sudan, and the brutal Balkans in the 90s. What the seductive, irresistible fixes of war and nationalism do to the human soul, irrespective of nationality, is chronicled eloquently and painfully by Hedges in his dark, indispensable 2003 book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. An excerpt:"War and conflict have marked most of adult life. I began covering insurgencies in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then on to Guatemala and Nicaragua and Colombia, through the first intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally Kosovo. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of Central American roads, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by the Iraqi Republican Guard during the Shiite rebellion following the Gulf War, strafed by Russian MIG-21s in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo with deafening rounds of heavy artillery that threw out thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments. I have seen too much of violent death. I have tasted too much of my own fear. I have painful memories that lie buried and untouched most of the time. It is never easy when they surface." An understatement: the man has a unique perspective on humanity and the hollowness of good vs. evil maxims.He is equally galvanizing in his 2005 book, Losing Moses On The Freeway: The 10 Commandments In America, a collection of his writings in which he reflects on faith, service, and the universal meaning of the 10 Commandments and how they can guide us, regardless of religion or non-religion, in an America beset by the most rapacious stripes of greed, nationalism, self-obsession, and all forms of false idols. His writings in Moses are guided by his experience at Harvard's Divinity School, his readings of Shakespeare and classical literature, the carnage he's witnessed/experienced, and an upbringing guided by his father, a committed, provincial Presbyterian minister who vehemently protested the Vietnam War, despite the social isolation it engendered for his family and him.Now Hedges has cast his war-weathered and humane eye on the Clinton years in a recent piece for Truthdig, a site for which he writes bi-weekly columns. 'Giving' and Taking begins ostensibly as a criticism of Bill Clinton's new saccharine book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, a book, Hedges argues, so riddled with shallowness, mushy calls to easy service, and moral platitudes as to be labeled absurdist. Particularly when Clinton did little beyond reassuring words, words, words during his years in office to earn any right to claim authority on the subject of service to those less fortunate. Hedges ramifies his criticism of the book from there into a virtual evisceration of Bill Clinton's years as President; he enumerates Clinton's failures of the American and international poor while serving the upper corporate echelons and fulfilling he and his wife's "pathological lust for political power." Hedges argues that the road to Bush II was laid down by Reagan and steamrolled by Clinton I.Considering the MSM's obeisance to all things Clinton, it's time we got some facts straight. It's refreshing to read. It's freshly written. It's about time a voice this strong spoke up before Clinton II ascends.-Jarrett Dapier Assistant Publisher In These Times

In These Times August 2022 Cover
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