Chris Hedges

Not a pacifist, Hedges has spent 20 years as a war correspondent in theatres (not his term) in Central America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He warns of the dangers of falling for the myths of glorification and neglecting the hard truth that everyone touched by violence suffers after effects. One of the most disturbing elements of his speech today at Holyoke Community College was his reminder that huge portions of the public were complicit with the Bush Administration’s headlong rush. He told of being booed and nearly physically shoved off the stage at a college commencement speech in May of 2003.
I’ve looked at his book, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, on a few different occasions. After hearing him speak I am convinced this is a necessary read.
On a personal note, as I’m wont to do, I was struck by the distinction Hedges drew between friendship and being comrades. This is quoted from prep materials provided in advance for the interpreters:
“Friends, as J. Glenn Gray points out in his book, The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle, are predetermined. Friendship takes pace between men and women who possess an intellectual and emotional affinity for each other. Many of us will admit that we never really had a friend, and even the most fortunate of us have very few. But comradeship, that ecstatic bliss that comes with belonging to the crowd in wartime, is within our reach. We can all have comrades.”

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