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Friday, March 18, 2005



Anonymous, in comments on Ben's last post, doesn't care for the term rant. O.K., we'll try reasoned discourse, though difficult to do with this topic. I'm off to weekend drill as a staff weenie, and will post more on this in the next week or so. For those who wish to read Hedges- go to the library. No reason to put any more money in this guy's pocket. Here's some notes to chew on while I'm out.
(Personal to Anonymous: You and your veteran friend could have come up and talked with me. I couldn't have been more conspicuous.)

Continues to denigrate warriors

“Balance” between “killers” & victims- What about victims of 9/11?

“Shameful cheerleading”

Comparison Israel/USA as imperialist power
Sharon as killer


↑↑ inflated #’s of civilian dead

War as “power trip”

Impugning reportage from soldier sources

Basically reading of his book- Anti-war rant

War as “fantasy life”

States comradeship not genuine “love” for fellows
-“opposite of friendship”
-“Suppression of self-awareness”
-comradeship as core of lowest common denom.
-comradeship as evasion of respons.


“Manufactured heroes” from Iraq

Anthony Swafford ref.- “no such thing as anti-war Vietnam” film

“Films are porno for military man”

“Drank away the fear…I was hooked”

“Freud…Eros vs. Thanatos”

’73 war 33% casualties psych??!!

From Ben: Smacks of Ambrose BofB- sudden blindness incident

“Platitudes of duty & comradeship”

“What is done in our name…is painful”

“Wrote to explain poison of war”

“…against demonization of the other”

“Problem with the term war on terror”

“Squander…& resurrect terrorists in their own
cultures…absolutely unnecessary”

“Indiscriminate firepower” “killing 100’s, 10’s of
thousands of (civilians)”

“War would end…& we would fall into
deep depression”

“Sins that I bear”

SOME NOTES FROM BOOK (skimming while at work the night before):
P.3 Central thesis- war gives us purpose
is an addiction, a drug

P.9 Promotes killers & racists

P.10 black & white

P.13 Citations of casualties-
mostly internecine warfare

P.15 Blind to enemies?

P.17 Humbled…humility

The notes are interesting, though they are fragmentary, just as my notes from that night are, and so that makes them hard to evaluate.

You probably disagree, but I think it was a public service of Hedges to try to "explain the poison of war," as you record in the notes, just as I think it is a public service when others do so. I value Paul Fussell's writing for the same thing. One of my treasured possessions is a manuscript written by a friend of mine, now deceased, who was an infantryman in France in 1944-45. He wrote more than 200 pages, in novel form, about his experience in an airborne (glider) unit and as an artillery spotter. He presents many kinds of combat experiences, and I think it is fair to say that some of the soldiers, even if they survived, were poisoned by war and some did things outside of their duty that were poisonous to themselves and others. I believe it is honorable to try to know human nature, to face it, to seek ways to address it. It's trying for a kind of realism, isn't it?

So I am persuaded, by my late friend, by Hedges, and by others, that war is poisonous. Veterans who came back from Vietnam and were shunned by their society and had to recover from that poison without much support from others seem to know this very, very well.
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