Chris Hedges Forever Wars Original

Hedges: The Greatest Evil Is War

Russia was baited into war but that does not absolve its criminal act of aggression.
Natali Sevriukova reacts next to her house following a rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Preemptive war, whether in Iraq or Ukraine, is a war crime. It does not matter if the war is launched on the basis of lies and fabrications, as was the case in Iraq, or because of the breaking of a series of agreements with Russia, including the promise by Washington not to extend NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, not to deploy thousands of NATO troops in Eastern Europe, not to meddle in the internal affairs of nations on the Russia’s border and the refusal to implement the Minsk II peace agreement. The invasion of Ukraine would, I expect, never have happened if these promises had been kept. Russia has every right to feel threatened, betrayed, and angry. But to understand is not to condone. The invasion of Ukraine, under post-Nuremberg laws, is a criminal war of aggression.

I know the instrument of war. War is not politics by other means. It is demonic. I spent two decades as a war correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans, where I covered the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. I carry within me the ghosts of dozens of those swallowed up in the violence, including my close friend, Reuters correspondent Kurt Schork, who was killed in an ambush in Sierra Leone with another friend, Miguel Gil Moreno.

I know the chaos and disorientation of war, the constant uncertainty and confusion. In a firefight you are only aware of what is happening a few feet around you. You desperately, and not always successfully, struggle to figure out where the firing is coming from in the hopes you can avoid being hit.

I have felt the helplessness and the paralyzing fear, which, years later, descend on me like a freight train in the middle of the night, leaving me wrapped in coils of terror, my heart racing, my body dripping with sweat.

I have heard the wails of those convulsed by grief as they clutch the bodies of friends and family, including children. I hear them still. It does not matter the language. Spanish. Arabic. Hebrew. Dinka. Serbo-Croatian. Albanian. Ukrainian. Russian. Death cuts through the linguistic barriers.

I know what wounds look like. Legs blown off. Heads imploded into a bloody, pulpy mass. Gaping holes in stomachs. Pools of blood. Cries of the dying, sometimes for their mothers. And the smell. The smell of death. The supreme sacrifice made for flies and maggots.

I was beaten by Iraqi and Saudi secret police. I was taken prisoner by the Contras in Nicaragua, who radioed back to their base in Honduras to see if they should kill me, and again in Basra after the first Gulf War in Iraq, never knowing if I would be executed, under constant guard and often without food, drinking out of mud puddles.

The primary lesson in war is that we as distinct individuals do not matter. We become numbers. Fodder. Objects. Life, once precious and sacred, becomes meaningless, sacrificed to the insatiable appetite of Mars. No one in wartime is exempt.

“We were expendable,” Eugene Sledge wrote of his experiences as a marine in the South Pacific in World War II. “It was difficult to accept. We come from a nation and a culture that values life and the individual. To find oneself in a situation where your life seems of little value is the ultimate in loneliness. It is a humbling experience.”

The landscape of war is hallucinogenic. It defies comprehension. You have no concept of time in a firefight. A few minutes. A few hours. War, in an instant, obliterates homes and communities, all that was once familiar, and leaves behind smoldering ruins and a trauma that you carry for the rest of your life. You cannot comprehend what you see. I have tasted enough of war, enough of my own fear, my body turned to jelly, to know that war is always evil, the purest expression of death, dressed up in patriotic cant about liberty and democracy and sold to the naïve as a ticket to glory, honor and courage. It is a toxic and seductive elixir. Those who survive, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote, struggle afterwards to reinvent themselves and their universe which, on some level, will never make sense again.

War destroys all systems that sustain and nurture life – familial, economic, cultural, political, environmental, and social. Once war begins, no one, even those nominally in charge of waging war, can guess what will happen, how the war will develop, how it can drive armies and nations towards suicidal folly. There are no good wars. None. This includes World War II, which has been sanitized and mythologized to mendaciously celebrate American heroism, purity, and goodness. If truth is the first casualty in war, ambiguity is the second. The bellicose rhetoric embraced and amplified by the American press, demonizing Vladimir Putin and elevating the Ukrainians to the status of demigods, demanding more robust military intervention along with the crippling sanctions meant to bring down Vladimir Putin’s government, is infantile and dangerous. The Russian media narrative is as simplistic as ours.

There were no discussions about pacifism in the basements in Sarajevo when we were being hit with hundreds or Serbian shells a day and under constant sniper fire. It made sense to defend the city. It made sense to kill or be killed. The Bosnian Serb soldiers in the Drina Valley, Vukovar, Srebrenica had amply demonstrated their capacity for murderous rampages, including the gunning down of hundreds of soldiers and civilians and the wholesale rape of women and girls. But this did not save any of the defenders in Sarajevo from the poison of violence, the soul-destroying force that is war. I knew a Bosnian soldier who heard a sound behind a door while patrolling on the outskirts of Sarajevo. He fired a burst from his AK-47 through the door. A delay of a few seconds in combat can mean death. When he opened the door, he found the bloody remains of a 12-year-old girl. His daughter was 12. He never recovered.

Only the autocrats and politicians who dream of empire and global hegemony, of the god-like power that comes with wielding armies, warplanes, and fleets, along with the merchants of death, whose business floods countries with weapons, profit from war. The expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe has earned Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Analytic Services, Huntington Ingalls, Humana, BAE Systems, and L3Harris billions in profits. The stoking of conflict in Ukraine will earn them billions more.

The European Union has allocated hundreds of millions of euros to purchase weapons for Ukraine. Germany will almost triple its own defense budget for 2022. The Biden administration has asked Congress to provide $6.4 billion in funding to assist Ukraine, supplementing the $650 million in military aid to Ukraine over the past year. The permanent war economy operates outside the laws of supply and demand. It is the root of the two-decade-long quagmire in the Middle East. It is the root of the conflict with Moscow. The merchants of death are Satanic. The more corpses they produce,  the more their bank accounts swell. They will cash in on this conflict, one that now flirts with the nuclear holocaust that would terminate life on earth as we know it.

The dangerous and sadly predictable provocation of Russia — whose nuclear arsenal places the sword of Damocles above our heads — by expanding NATO was understood by all of us reporting in Eastern Europe in 1989 during the revolutions and the break-up of the Soviet Union.

This provocation, which includes establishing a NATO missile base 100 miles from Russia’s border, was foolish and highly irresponsible. It never made geopolitical sense. This does not, however, excuse the invasion of Ukraine. Yes, the Russians were baited. But they reacted by pulling the trigger. This is a crime. Their crime. Let us pray for a ceasefire. Let us work for a return to diplomacy and sanity, a moratorium on arms shipments to Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country. Let us hope for an end to war before we stumble into a nuclear holocaust that devours us all. 

The body of a serviceman is coated in snow next to a destroyed Russian military multiple rocket launcher vehicle on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Chris Hedges
Chris HedgesChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.  Author Link

Copyright 2022 Chris Hedges

148 comments

  1. Thank you this article by Chris Hedges. He speaks from gut wrenching experience, great insight and with deeply principaled integrity. The fact that there are still people like him is all that keeps hope alive in this moral blackout.

    1. A sobering Article, that places the terror being experienced today by innocent people on Both sides of the “Fence” as indefensible.
      Thank you to the so well informed Journalist that survived the sheer horror of his experiences, in a haring the depth of the past pain to us all.

    2. I will echo many of the comments here with respect to your commitment to peace and humanity. Additionally, I’ve been one of your readers for decades.

      Here comes the But. “Let us work for a return to diplomacy and sanity, a moratorium on arms shipments to Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country.” my question is which comes first? Do you believe the West should stop shipping weapons in hopes of Putin withdrawing? That is the order in which you suggest here.

      I’ve always admired your work. And I’ve always been left in despair after reading. Never have I finished an article of yours with a workable solution. At times like this we, decent like-minded people, can all agree on the horrors of war. What we need from our public intellectuals are substantial and practicable solutions. Thank you.

    3. A FULL STOP TO WAR!. Where to start? March, petition, standout, write letters, back a politician, write new laws,speak publicly, sit in, teach peace, teach war to teach peace, donate money to worthwhile causes? All of the aforementioned are important…but something has been missing for decades. Go to the original source of war making and don’t stop. The source is arms manufacturers and the money people behind them. Let us not forget engineers and scientists (the only people capable of designing weapons of mass destruction). For too long we enshrine scientists and engineers as sacred cows in our culture. They and CEO’s of major arms corporations are protected by laws of immunity from all accountability when it comes to war making. Standing outside the doors of these corporations is a good start. But the real meat is inside those glass doors. Pin the CEO’s, scientists and engineers to the wall. They are the source of our war agony. Break the source before the source breaks us.

      Peace in our time,

      David Rothauser

      1. If the US had pressured the Kiev government to comply with the Minsk II agreement, this war could have been avoided. The Kiev government was not going to comply willingly.

      2. @David Rothauser
        Those are all somewhat worthy pursuits, but they amount to no more than letter-writing. People in power ignore demonstrations unless they’re very large and people STAY in the streets and disrupt business as usual for a substantial amount of time. Civil disobedience is fine and good — I did it many times myself when I was an Earth First! campaigner — but the purpose of it is to make a point and get publicity for your issue, and it won’t force an immediate change.

        A much more effective action to stop these wars is to stop consuming whatever resource they’re fighting over. For example, people driving cars and complaining about oil wars are just hypocrites who want to have their cake and eat it too. In this particular instance, the issue is geopolitical, but most of this is driven by the U.S. empire’s insane lust for power and control of the world. Wanna stop that? Then stop consuming like a typical American; just buy what you need and eschew the rest (the large majority of what you buy should be food); join the Church of Stop Shopping; organize your life so that you don’t have to drive regularly, then give up your car. Etc. Politicians will ignore protests in any form unless those protests turn into actual rebellions or revolutions.

    4. Sometimes, you just have to pick a side.

      We all know that human nature is flawed and that war is destructive to everyone involved.
      If humans were capable of permanent peace, we would have it by now. We only have to
      look to our families and communities to see how anger and disagreements can lead to violence.

      I have followed Chris for years and have read all of his books. I have agreed with him
      most of the time,. I find it disheartening that he now sounds like the worst of the MAGA people.
      I am tired of his disloyalty to his own people. Americans are like everyone else: complex,; contradictory; a mixture of good and evil.

      We probably are at the end of empire, but you can be critical without being a traitor.

      1. @Mary Devaney
        So someone who states a point of view that you disagree with is a traitor? Who’s the worst of the MAGA people? And BTW, I totally agree with Hedges. Any American who refuses to recognize that the U.S. is the most dominant empire on the planet is just an Ugly American, period. Whether there are good people here, as there are everywhere, is irrelevant and is just a distraction.

      2. @Jeff

        I guess so, unless you’re a Quaker.

        As I said, “Sometimes you just have to pick a side.”

        I’ve picked mine. You’re known by the company you keep.

        Get back to me when millions of Russian women and children
        become refugees, their homes reduced to rubble.

      3. @Mary
        Oh please! Where are your crocodile tears for the victims of U.S. invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria to name just the most recent U.S. war- and human rights-crimes.

        And BTW, it seems that Nazis are running the country you’re so concerned about, because they threaten the lives of the people running the government and the people in government are credibly afraid of them. Nazis have an entire battalion in the Ukraine military plus a substantial presence in the rest of the military, and there are Nazis in high places in their government, such as their head of National Police. Nazis just assassinated a Ukraine negotiator because he offered Russia something that the Nazis didn’t want him to offer, and the head of a Nazi group in Ukraine claims that the 2014 coup would never have happened if not for the Nazis, because they were the only ones willing to fight for it. So yeah, great side that you picked. My side? I stand with traditional indigenous people (mainly hunter-gatherers), with the Earth, with the land, with the air, with the water, with the sky, with the plants, and with the non-human animals. Not with Russia, and especially NOT with the U.S. or NATO.

      4. @Jeff

        I opposed those wars. Since I was a young woman, I have opposed all of the USA’s wars and have been horrified by the slaughter of civilians. That’s why I’m even on this website.

        My daughter has Russian in-laws who do not share the view of Putin
        which most of the people commenting seem to hold. I am disgusted
        by the hypocrisy. The USA’s wrong policies and aggression are consistently condemned, but Putin’s injured feelings are an excuse for slaughter. BTW, my relatives have cousins in Ukraine who are anything but Nazis.

        The comments I am reading bring up unpleasant memories of
        predator priests being described as seduced ephebophiles; of rape
        victims being blamed for their abuse; of grifter religious leaders
        excusing their infidelity as someone else’s fault; or, mundanely, a teenage bully being excused for beating up a mouthy little kid

        Obviously, I do not belong on this site. I believed Chris Hedges and
        others were principled moral leaders and wanted to get their read
        on the war in the Ukraine . I have been greatly disillusioned.

      5. @Mary
        I haven’t read anyone here or anywhere else outside of Russia who supports this invasion. We’ve all said that we oppose it. But 1) the U.S. and NATO are the root cause of it; 2) If you’re an American, you should be fighting U.S. transgressions, like the current genocide in Yemen it’s committing by arming Saudi Arabia, its occupation of 1/3 of Syria and theft its oil, and the current bombing of Somalia. Considering what the U.S. does and is currently doing, obsessing on Russia like you do is nothing short of complete hypocrisy; and 3) you obviously can’t keep contradictory thought in your head. The fact that we point out that the root of this problem is the U.S. and NATO does not mean that we don’t also oppose Russia’s invasion, which we all do.

        So yes, if you just want to hear U.S. propaganda about how horrible Russia and Putin are, then this site and Chris Hedges are NOT for you. I’m very grateful that we have people like Hedges to point out all the U.S. BS.

  2. The narrative should be: there’s no justification to start a war over a perceived threat, period.

    1. The people in the Donbass wsre not just threatened. They have been murdered for the last 8 years, all due to U.S. aggression in their Country.

      1. Yes, many points were missed in this article, Donbass residents were shelled by nationalist Ukrainian forces and the discriminatory language laws against Russian speaking peoples there were not mentioned. The war had already begun and Russia had little choice left to protect these people. Putin had asked to join NATO and was turned down. He also asked to be part of the EU and was turned down. The Wolfowitz doctrine stated the US to be the world’s only superpower. NATO absorbed 14 previous Soviet countries when it said it would not move eastward. Russia was treated as an adversary when it didn’t want to be one.

    2. Your idea that a “perceived threat” is no justification to start a war is counter to practically the entire history of mankind and warfare. It is the perceived threat that initiates war. You could argue that sometimes perception is imaginary, maybe so, but that does not alter the reality of the perceiver.

    3. Um, do us a favor and go get into a time machine and go back and tell that to George W. Bush.

  3. An incredibly powerful piece. Thank you.

    As a 25 years served ex-British Army Sgt Major with tours of Iraq and Bosnia – I can relate. But I can also see the inherent evil of war is every bit an ongoing deliberate design.

    And this particular war has been engineered in an attempt to make it play out on the streets of UK to cover for the impending logistical chaos of the Putin sponsored Brexit coup, and enable the Tory Government to ‘legitimately’ declare a National Emergency in order to militarise.

    It’s a Machiavellian endeavour for which the Tories simply don’t have the support of the UK population or the British military resources to last beyond a week or two.

    Which is why an external force (US/UN) is to be invited into UK to gaslight ‘rescue’ us from ourselves; as per the original plan which was supposed to simultaneously militarise the Trump Presidency and mobilise a US/UK global fascism centred initially on Iran…

    And that’s why I called this very short piece;

    ‘Tory Militarisation of UK Is Inevitable’ (2022) https://wp.me/p94Aj4-33w

    NB – Please be sure to check out my 2018 video ‘prediction’ which has been downloaded over 36K times in the last six months, which *when* it unfolds will act as a benchmark to measure the accuracy my wider interpretations.

    Thanks again.

    Johnny McNeill
    #GaslightingGilligan (© 2017) 
    Twitter: @GasGilligan (free download)

    1. I have to laugh at “the Putin sponsored Brexit coup”. This demonization of Putin is getting rather silly when he is blamed for everything. The beer is flat? It’s Putin’s fault. The weather is cold? It’s Putin’s fault.

    2. I HAVE HELD MAXIMUM RESPECT FOR BOTH CHRIS HEDGES AND CORNEL WEST BUT THEIR ENDURING ARGUMENTS AGAINST A JUST WAR THEORY OR EVEN A HOLY WAR WAS ALWAYS BOUND TO APPROACH HARD LIMITATIONS.

      SHOULD THE LIKES OF WEST AND HEDGES HAVE THEIR WAY THE WORLD WILL BE RESIGNED TO A FICTIONAL ARMAGEDDON SCENARIO WHERE SOME CONTRIVED GOD INTERVENES TO SAVE MANKIND OR BE PERPETUALLY IN THE POSITION OF ETERNALLY ABSORBING THE WICKEDNESS OF EMPIRE WITHOUT A CONTERVAILING VIOLENT FORCE IN OPPOSITION.

      THAT RUSSIA, AFTER ITS LONG HISTORY OF BEING THE RECEPIENT OF GROSS ANGLO-SAXON VIOLENCE SHOULD CONTINUE TO DEMONSTRATE STRATEGIC PATIENCE, FOREVER, OR UNTIL THEIR FANCIFUL GOD APPEARS BORDERS ON MADNESS AND DEMONSTRATES THE CULDESAC WHEREIN THE SOCALLED PEACE MOVEMENT IS DEADENDEDLY LOCATED.

  4. Two points: Sanctions are also an act of war. The USA∕NATO goading and lies for years and building up in recent months with NO mention of the grievances of Russia or the terrible difficulties of the Donbass residents since the coup in 2014. Russia does not consider this as war but liberating the Ukrainians from the US6led far-right illegal government.
    Much as I appreciate Chris’s work, one notable sad fact is his hatred of Serbs, so widespread among the German-inspired opinion leaders ever since the Serbs showed their bravery against the Nazis in WW2. The Yugoslavia destruction and 78 day war against Belgrade remain in Russian consciousness since 1999, and chancellor Scholtz went out of his way to stoke it recently and is now building up “defense” and sending weapons to Ukraine. Everyone has biases, but the demonising of Serbs, as well of Russia, is notable.

  5. I hate war. I saw this war coming from a mile away. The almost fanatical drive to provoke it from Washington was nothing short of disturbing. The glee with which the west has embraced this manufactured crisis is frightening. The media propaganda, nothing short of dystopian.

    The world is sleep walking the knife edge of oblivion with madmen and psychopaths at the wheel. You should be terrified.

    1. @JustAMaverick: YES! I have been waiting for someone to have the courage to come out and say this. I too hate war, and I have long dreamt that maybe there might be others who share this point of view. Up until now, I couldn’t find the words to express it, as you have. But I am no maverick as you are. I salute you, sir.

      Also, I am in favour of motherhood. And AMC automotive products of the seventies.

    2. @JustAMaverick
      Foreign affairs experts have been saying for years, starting in 1999, that provoking Russia by expanding NATO eastward would cause this kind of thing and was a bad idea. Even war criminal Henry Kissinger said that Ukraine should be neutral and that neither the U.S. nor Russia should be allowed to favor the eastern nor western faction in that country. This has been predicted for many years, and one can only conclude that the U.S. WANTED Russia to invade Ukraine. Perhaps U.S. strategy is to destroy Russia economically/financially using this invasion as a pretext? The west has grossly overreacted to this invasion compared to its lack of reaction to the U.S. invasions of multiple countries over the past 20 years (and I mean GROSSLY), so maybe this was the plan all along? I don’t trust any of these people.

    1. Yes, a book that helped immeasurably in putting the puzzle pieces of war together for me — I am so grateful to Chris for that — because my mind was blown.

  6. Sixty’s black liberation movements used the “man with a boot on your neck” analogy to justify violence. Was this specious? Are you willful crucifixion as the only justified life?

  7. Thsnks Chris for your a brilliant, sobering expose about the first-hand truth of what war really means. Sharing your own suffering makes it too real. This insane American war machine must be dismantled before it is too late, lest Dr King’s prophesy that “man must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind,” cone to pass. We cannot allow that to happen. Speak truth to power no matter what the consequences.

  8. ” . . . war is always evil, the purest expression of death, dressed up in patriotic cant about liberty and democracy and sold to the naïve as a ticket to glory, honor and courage. It is a toxic and seductive elixir. Those who survive, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote, struggle afterwards to reinvent themselves and their universe which, on some level, will never make sense again.”

    Thank you Chris for this chilling piece on your personal experiences in war situations.

  9. Is it the greatest evil or simply the manifestation of over-leveraged inflationary global debt ?
    If it’s about economic factors at all, within toady’s world, then it has debt as the underlying factor.

  10. Mr. Hedges,

    I always appreciate your insightful commentary and respect your hard-earned knowledge gained through being a real journalist rather than the fakes in the mainstream media (“MSM”). I also appreciate the fact that you, through your experience as a real journalist who received your on the scene information by reporting from war zones (as opposed to the MSM which received most of their information from Pentagon press releases), have the thorough understanding of the horrors of war, as you describe in this article. I would like to join you in your hope for peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis, but am unable to find any factual basis upon which to construct that hope. As Putin correctly observed, the U.S. is “not agreement capable”. It has explicitly rejected international law, adopting in its place it phony “Rules Based International Order”, a fancy term for the one rule it seeks to impose on the entire world: Follow U.S. Orders. The arrogance, irresponsibility and foolishness of U.S. foreign policy adopted and practiced by this Country since WWII is unsurpassed in world history. In this case, Russia tried in every conceivable way to resolve its valid security concerns peacefully via diplomatic means. Having one of the world’s best and most professional teams of diplomats in the world, it is well equipped to reach and effect peaceful solutions to problems, and clearly made numerous good faith efforts to do so. In stark contrast to Russia’s desire and good faith efforts to resolve the matter peacefully, the U.S., acting through its embarrassingly amateurish team of incompetent and disrespectful “diplomats”, refused to even acknowledge the legitimate concerns of Russia. So what was Russia to do? It had sought the aid of the U.N. and received none. It, on multiple occasions, appealed in vain to the U.S. for reason and consideration. It received none. The U.S. obviously intended to continue to pursue its goal of regime change in Russia and was well on its way of doing so by threats and coercion. The real problem is that the world does not have in place an effective means of conflict resolution. The U.N.’s ability to do so is severely limited due to the power of each member of the Security Council to veto any meaningful action. It is further limited by the U.S. has rejected international law and only complies with it when it chooses to do so. Yes, Russia’s invasion violates international law, as do the ongoing mass murder being committed by the U.S. in multiple places every single day. What does one do about it? It seems clear to me that in this case Russia had only two choices: 1. Obey international law while the U.S. continued to violate it (as it clearly did when it effected the violent coup in Ukraine in 2014, followed by refusals to effect the Minsk II Agreement — the U.S. was the de facto government in Ukraine — and refusal to agree to the two very reasonable agreements presented by Russia in December, 2021), which would allow the U.S. to proceed to the last stage of its takeover of Russia; or 2. Respond with the only thing this reckless and criminal government understands — raw power. One does not to be very perceptive to understand what happens in the wake of the U.S.’s decision to “spread democracy” in any region — a very short review of the results tells a very clear tale — death, destruction, misery, suffering, looting and chaos. The U.S. is the Evil Empire, the term which Ronald Reagan dishonestly applied to Russia. Some force in the world must stop it. It is not going to be reasonable. It is not going to voluntarily abide by the rule of law. It is going to continue to commit mass murder and mass destruction everywhere there is any resistance to whatever orders it issues. I wish it were not that way. But I cannot the hope you express to a different resolution.

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking….What else was Putin to do in face of America’s (NATO’s) provocations and refusal to recognize Russia’s security needs?….Any suggestions?

  11. I am continually astounded by the lack of empathy for those in the throws of war by so many Americans who are purposely unaware of the consequences of US imperialism. Choosing not to be involved with anything they feel will not impact them personally. They live in a bubble fueled by MSM. Wake up people! The war in Ukraine DOES impact all of us, hopefully only economically rather than the total annihilation of life as we know it. Feeling so hopeless.🤬😢

  12. Agreed on all fronts except where you’re defending Putin generally. Why are you in the bag for this guy? You could just as easily use your logic to defend Iraq, “every right, following 9/11″, and that really weakens the argument. The defense of Putin here, I expect, is your past work at RT and perhaps some personal monetary investments you’ve made. You are correct, Ukraine and the NATO teasing was dumb, hell Ukraine could have just had nukes. But c’mon my guy; ” Russia has every right to feel threatened, betrayed, and angry.” You know the average normie is pretty embarrassed by the oligarchy over there, right? Do you get that you’re slowly becoming a hypocrite?

    Next time ask your wife to read your editorial over, this is embarrassing.

    1. I believe you are the one that needs to learn the facts of the US hegemony since WW2 with lies and deceptions to Russia…..its been going on for 50 years and your attacks on Hedges are ridiculous regarding RT and his financials….Hedges has no other outlets due to the corrupt fascist corporate US media and u should know that

      1. lol we got a fanboy here. It’s possible Hedges is both right and wrong in aspects of his analysis. Ease off the absolutism Rorschach.

      2. Few people fully understand USD hegemony. It is specifically because of USD hegemony that we are just beginning to embark on the use of debt-free market driven transactions that all require REAL-TIME price value measurements that are and can be applied efficiently in real-time.

        The elephant in the room that 99% miss is that the economy is a real-time event and the use of real-time price measurements is essential to be congruent with economic reality. Economic law rules here.

      3. Chris Hedges’ only outlet is RT! Give me a break. I have been accessing his material for years without a problem – usually from non RT sources.

        To be sure there’s a lot wrong with US corporate media. However, we do have an abundance of non corporate and non state controlled media outlets in the US. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Putin’s Russia.

    2. I disagree with you completely. Hedges is far from defending Vladimir Putin who, by the way, did not make the decision to invade Ukraine ex cathedra, as though he was Pope or King. His entire government was involved in the decision. But reminding people of all the things the U.S. and NATO have done to provoke Russia ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union is perfectly legitimate. You can fault the Russians for invading, but you cannot at the same time excuse the provocations coming from the U.S., including the overthrow of the Ukrainian government and replacing it with the hard-right and actually fascist puppets that were put in place.

    3. Defending Putin? Literally the first sentence is “Preemptive war, whether in Iraq or Ukraine, is a war crime”. Did you even bother?

    4. Your reading comprehension is that of a two year old. Hedges did not defend Putin and he clearly called his action out for what they are. From the article:

      “Russia has every right to feel threatened, betrayed, and angry. But to understand is not to condone. The invasion of Ukraine, under post-Nuremberg laws, is a criminal war of aggression.”

      Interesting how you quoted the first sentence and then left out the next two. Your post says all we need to know about your intellectual capacity to read and comprehend. Nice try to gaslight us and Hedges.

    5. Yeah, I’m not so sure about the “Russia felt threatened” line. Putin felt disrespected by the expansion of NATO, but that’s not a justification for war. The countries newly admitted to NATO since 1990 had far more to fear from Russia, based on recent history, than Russia had to fear from NATO. A fair and sober historical analysis would take into account the perspectives of the Poles, East Germans, Latvians, Estonians, Czechs and so on as well as the supposedly fearful Russians.

      Perhaps Putin railed against the expansion of NATO not because he feared NATO but because he saw NATO as an impediment to reestablishing control over the former Warsaw Pact nations. His invasion of Ukraine argues for this view at least as much as it argues against NATO expansion.

      Putin by nature and ambition is a fascist. The blame for that does not fall on the West or NATO. You can’t be a leftist and an apologist for Putin. (Hedges, who is employed by Putin’s RT propaganda organization, may have a special incentive to portray Putin in a sympathetic light.)

      1. Your notion that Putin is a fascist is patently ridiculous, unless you define ‘fascism’ in your own way. Because of constant and deep propaganda from the West, Putin has been distorted beyond recognition. Putin is a lot of things, but mainly he is the leader of a vast Russian bureaucracy and a lot of people whom he is accountable to. He cannot be the ‘dictator’ that the West suggests due to the political realities of his government, although surely he is a nationalist. Think of Putin as a leader with the protection and benefit of his people as main goal.

      2. @Richard
        There is no doubt that Russia felt threatened by the constant eastward expansion of NATO. Foreign affairs experts have been warning for years, starting in 1999, that this expansion was a bad idea and that it could provoke Russia into doing something like invading Ukraine.

        If Russia had puppet or even just friendly governments in Mexico and Canada, and put major weapons in those countries, do you claim that the U.S. wouldn’t feel threatened? That’s absurd. Hell, the U.S. almost started a nuclear war in 1962 when the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba.

        Russia has also felt constantly humiliated by the U.S. and the west for decades, and they’ve said so publicly. So that part of your comment is correct. But there’s no reason they can’t feel humiliated and threatened at the same time.

        Finally, I’ll just echo Ted’s response to your “fascist” claim about Putin. Utterly absurd, fascism is corporatism, and that’s not at all what Putin is about.

  13. This sickness must end. We must end a war economy. Let the agrarian revolution begin! Hedges and Cornell West said the revolution will come from the bottom up. No way they could have known that literally there is afoot a revolutionary soil health based agricultural practice that can’t prevent wars, but can put rural and other communities in control of their food sources. Allan Savory also believes these practices can reverse climate change, if not somehow, a restoration of maternal earth balance, also might return a balance in human thinking and understanding about life and death and war, specifically. Leave less room for death. Support more life. Support those involved with making life happen. Find them. Buy their food.

    1. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels said the revolution would come from the bottom up, i.e., from the working class. The international working class.

    2. If you’re interested in some groundbreaking work on building an agrarian revolution, not only putting it into practice, you can’t do better than study the French-educated intellectual, Saloth Sâr. A bit out of fashion these days, but really, why? I think he’d really be right up your alley.

      1. @Dan Donaldson
        Smaller and more natural is always better, but we shouldn’t obsess on agriculture. We’re thousands of years from getting back to this even if we were to begin immediately, but humans should return to living as hunter-gatherers. Agriculture was the beginning of human destruction of the Earth.

  14. You claim, “Yes, the Russians were baited. But they reacted by pulling the trigger.” My understanding is the Russians were more than baited. Two events occurred:
    1) Ukrainian forces intensified attacks on the Donbas with the intent to annihilate what the Ukrainian government calls “terrorists”. Putin with the agreement of Russia’s Duma, has pledged to support them and guaranteed their autonomy. This Ukrainian attack is essentially an attack on Mother Russia.
    2) Zelensky made some insane statements for the Ukraine developing its own nuclear weapons; that this madness was not pushed back by the West alarmed the Russians.
    The point is that severe provocation removes the onus of a “war of choice” or a “war of aggression.” I only remind us that the precise reasons the American gave for launching a war on Iraq was the supposed threat of a ‘mushroom cloud’. In the American case, the threat was imaginary, but in Ukraine’s case it was sadly, but evidently real enough for Russia to go to war.

  15. Ya, but humanity has been in wars almost always thruout history, every where in this planet—-, non stop.

    Many nations have a War culture and a war economy, just now Germany has increased their military budget by 113 billion, USA’s Pentagon budgets always increases, the rest of the world is buying weapons at record breaking levels and in America, we war among ourselves with murders and violence at break neck speed.
    On Wall Street, the stocks for the arms manufacturers went up when Germany announced their plans for weapons spending.

    Just this month there are JR 15 for kids, which is a smaller version of AR 15 and enables more gun violence but at a younger age.

    War mongers always get elected but peace – niks not.
    After all, we are only part ot the animal kingdom.

  16. To avoid/stop war, attitudes have to change. War is what changes attitudes. How could this situation have been handled differently? We baited it, he made good on his word.

  17. War is BIG BUSINESS. And a way to diminish the population as well as destroy more of this exquisite environment we were gifted for Life. Insanity! All of it.

  18. Thank you for a very informative and moving reflection on the calamity of war. Yes, as you stated, President Putin was baited to take such measures, I choose to say “forced” to. But that doesn’t excuse the outcome, as you so very well stated. I shall go one step further. The United States brought this about. The CIA has been operating in Ukraine since shortly after the end of WW2, working with the far-right elements of that society (yes, the Nazi element which is still there in Ukraine and which fought with Germany against Russia during the war) to engineer the collapse of Russia. Hence, the United States is to share the greater part of the blame, or at least an equal part. But that will never be allowed. All of this could have very easily been avoided were it not for this country’s imperial drive to control the world and its resources. This is hubris on steroids and it will lead to its ultimate destruction for in its lust to control the world, it lost its soul.

  19. Yes to your essay except this is a misleading false equivalency;

    “The Russian media narrative is as simplistic as ours.”

    Sad to say but Russian Federation media — RT, Sputnik, Tass and Pravda — have counter intuitively provided far more of the American ideal model of objective (or at least authentic) journalism than the new york times, pbs, cnn, msDNC, cbs, npr, Fox, wapo, abc, voa, you name it … which are all the agitprop Pravda and Tass of Soviet times …

    For Soviet America.

    Which features Chinese Communist Capitalism on Wall Street and in the City of London.

    SAD!

    1. You can say this with a straight face looking at RT’s front page this week? Every publication has narratives they push, objectivism is a lie, but you can at least look at the range of voices they allow to legitimately compete on their pages.

      1. Question – Please tell me if the FB version of RT I read in the US is available in Russia – including all post comments? Thank you.

      2. As of yesterday, RT is blocked. This is occurring in the U.S., and also in UK and Netherlands, as I hear from my friends in Europe.

      3. However, Mr. Hedges’ bio still says “he is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. ” There’s a problem if the moderator here sees the employer of a main writer on this site as hopelessly unreliable (a view of RT that I share, FWIW).

  20. Thanks again to Chris for taking the time an effort to present this sane and compassionate view, which is so often obscured “in the fog of war”. Over-population and our means of self-destruction (nukes, environmental destruction) may ultimately be our undoing. However, this current conflict offers a potential inflection point, where self-reflection–as a species–can unite us behind the dream of sustainable survival, rather than the nightmare of self-induced Armageddon.

  21. note: Chris Hedges mentions the unforgettable E.B. Sledge , the articulate marine corps grunt who survived the savage campaign in the Pacific during WWII, scribbling haunting & incandescent prose in tiny forbidden notebooks he wrote in & kept hidden for the bloody duration of that war.
    It would certainly help to turn us toward sanity if [b]’With the Old Breed’[/b] , Sledge’s astonishing journal eventually published in book form , was read now in this country.
    At least an antidote to the variety-show formula gloss on ‘war’ exemplified by faux-realist blockbusters like ‘Saving Private Ryan’… corporal Sledge’s unvarnished observations are as timely as Hedges’ & delivered w/ the same devotion to clarity.

    -suerte, J.Joslin ( Detroit )

  22. Mr. Hedges has for decades now been one of our most principled, intelligent and eloquent moral leaders.

    In a world and in particular a society rife with hypocrisy, lies, moral cant and premeditated deception Mr. Hedges is a guiding light through the smokescreen thrown up by the venal, the unprincipled and the Machiavellian opportunists who run this society and presume to set the agenda for the rest of us.

  23. Wars were even fought over beaver pelts in Americas earlier history. War always has a resource component. The French and the English “baited” indigenous tribes to join their cause in similar fashion as we see today. It brought destabilization and environmental destruction upon the North American continent. It seems that the thinking of government hierarchies and their corporate partners has not really changed that much. American oligarchs just try to keep the destabilization in some one else’s back yard.

    The Donbass region in eastern Ukraine has a very large coal reserve (57 billion tons) that could last around 450 years or more. But almost every time there is warfare, the resources that the oligarchs want are left out of the common discussion. I have seen no mention of these vast coal reserves in the news at all.

    The true test of changing the politics in the U.S. at least will be if the populace can give up their absurd adherence to the two party system and come up with an alternative that really does represent Americans at large. I think the world would be a better place.

  24. I began reading Hedges’ book “War is a force that gives us meaning” last night. Read the intro and had to stop, just too stunned to think or sleep.

    Also started re-reading Orwell’s “1984” the other day. The aspects of the role of permanent war are not as well publicized, but are still so perfectly relevant.

    Sickened by the media and political class’ obscene warmongering. Fear for the future…

  25. Now that the Right Reverend Hedges has delivered his sermon (and tooted his own horn), again, on the evils of war, fresh on the heels of his support of the plandemic’s continuing war on humanity, the whole world waits on no less a moral authority than the pope to deliver his PR BS:
    Francis: A Pope of the Poor? A Pope for the Environment? Or a Pope for the Global Elite?
    https://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001cvhkVf26EujRE73eoWEyuanAi2NG8PLf5mVRvsABLwGWS6Fv_mE9aUSsWDsNTzIQmzKDkTlGNK6Z6uSLdUrjws-reDSOlLH_usqQKZ7IjYR-YTmqIKFkByjVsuXkObCWerzGbUGF7PfIfZm6FKVvdrFNGKNY8vHyID87-1ELXtD6CIzXI-rkiPQSNgHohhEVRhCtV_XtGheteUruEghkuxyHlJnIZJH_yBTHyf4buT9etljQN-pCVU9jaRQkFwAtv2VAdr0mQmIerUbqbumGfg==&c=1blMBb1FvNoRjExcKRkDlsdRyRRUxqWQIA53Vy3wRq63zr0WXlNt7Q==&ch=WJHEs6iCxWVy8m_U6N-38gW6oE85zjYAfWnJjNUuGzTBGs_xAwNY5g==

  26. I believe you are the one that needs to learn the facts of the US hegemony since WW2 with lies and deceptions to Russia…..its been going on for 50 years and your attacks on Hedges are ridiculous regarding RT and his financials….Hedges has no other outlets due to the corrupt fascist corporate US media and u should know that

  27. Fantasy solution:
    Putin calls press conference to the world.
    1. Goal: A free, democratic, unoccupied, neutral demilitarized Ukraine.
    2. Russia will peacefully withdraw all armed forces as soon as international monitors are in place.
    3. Ukraine and the world have two weeks to accomplish demilitarization.
    4. If #3 is not accomplished Russia will launch 6255 nuclear warheads.
    5. Amnesty for all and all sanctions voided.

    Peace

  28. Hedges, for pity’s sake! NATO made Putin rob his own people and pillage their lands for two decades? NATO made Putin jail, poison and outright murder his political opponents and adversaries? NATO made him build a ridiculous $1,2bn Bond villain palace? NATO made Putin butcher the people of Grozny and turn them into a twisted caricature of themselves? NATO made the Putin FSB blow up his own people when they were asleep at night, so that it could be blamed on terrorists that he could then righteously destroy and NATO made Putin poison the man who blew the lid on it?! NATO made Putin stage farcical elections? NATO made him side with all the dictators and autocrats of the world who dream of being him? NATO made Putin arrest thousands of Russians (that’s his own people, Chris!) who dared to protest against the war – this war! One of the very things you’re so very much against?!

    Are you too senile or too lazy to understand, that the will of Putin and the will of the Russian people are two entirely different things, and that the only instance in which the two overlap is when the former manages to lie, terrorize and demean the latter into a stupor?! There is a great country, hidden in the Russian territory. I weep at the thought of what greatness its wonderfully resilient and ingenious people could accomplish! But they can’t. Because a cancer has wormed its way into their flesh and metastasized, so much so, that some of them will even feed it their own souls for a moment of respite from the pain… That cancer, that despicable, insatiable sarcoma, is Putin. And you, by making this new atrocity of his a thing about your own anti-American obsessions, however grounded and right they may be – by lessening Putin into a mere victim of Western Imperialism (Putin and *victim*; never thought I’d write it in a single sentence) you actively diminish the sacrifices of the countless men and women who died trying to save their families, their countrymen and their nation from being consumed from within.

    Get a grip of yourself, if you are still kosher… or be silent. Write a list of names of the people that died in this conflict if you must write something, and publish that instead.

    I considered you one of the last ideologically-sober and morally-enlightened people with a platform, brave enough to face the fact that humanity is at the precipice, in more ways than one. Who can we count on when Noam is no more?

    Pull out a map and check where things stand *today*, because not everything looks the same as it did back when the Balkans burned.

    1. Well said. Interesting the Hedges can get so incensed, with some justification, at all the Joe Biden-types holding political office in this country but is so delicate and “understanding” in his criticisms of a murderous fascist like Putin.

      1. Ever since Putin “chased the snakes out of Moscow” the West’s propaganda mill has spent every effort to demonize him. The Magnitsky Act spun by the hedge fund tax cheat Bill Browder is the best example of this. Suffice to say that we know nothing of the truth of so many accusations. I cannot think any leader of an ‘enemy’ of the global Western order who was not similarly demonized, from Mossadegh in Iran, Suharto in Indonesia, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Fidel Castro in Cuba, Chavez in Venezuela, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Bashar Assad in Syria, and so on. Propaganda “manufactures consent” for regime change. So, I doubt these stories about Putin, usually presented without evidence or manufactured evidence.

    2. @Ted+Tripp: Begone, you pathetic troll; I can smell you all the way from Saint Petersburg.

      @Scheerpost: Appreciated.

  29. The cause of war is a system which trains the human mind and heart to be silent while the ego tells us to be eternally afraid because we have given the care of this universe to endless contempt. Whether we glorify the killers or the killed life itself is pushed through a grinding machine to be shaped into different roles. The enemy of Russia and the US is respect for life – all of it. So we grow up learning to beat ourselves us for being sensitive – a gift from nature to preserve nature. We have been trained for centuries to see ourselves as units of power fighting with our kin for supremacy.

    We do this most of every day of our lives. Comparing our status with siblings, neighbours, celebrities. Then wonder why we are so alone, so angry and so afraid. Dying a heroic death seems almost like a gift to our battered, confused and lonely souls.

    Meanwhile the birds sing to an empty nation.

  30. “Russia was baited into war but that does not absolve its criminal act of aggression.”

    Russia wasn’t fooled into taking a dangling minnow. Eight years of Nazis killings doesn’t take a preacher to parse, a priest to forgive, absolve.

  31. Thank you Chris for the very difficult work of telling the unvarnished, raw, painful truth about these dark aspects of human reality. Writing that requires the constant reopening of deep personal wounds that witnesses of combat carry forever.

    Aspects that occultists convince themselves they can control. The same that New Agers consider faulty beliefs overcome simply by positive thinking. That to which Augustinian theologians deny any ontology by defining evil as merely the absence of good. Which is separated into a cosmic drama of good v. evil by Gnostics and fundamentalists, who of course know they’re on the side of good. Anyone disagreeing at all is by definition Evil Other. The politically ambitious urge us to fall for that easy either/or. Too much of the time, we do.

    Carl Jung called our attention to the Shadow, both personal and collective. Solzhenitsyn said that “the line separating good and evil passes not through states, or between classes, nor political parties, but right through every human heart–through all human hearts.” Chris Hedges draws back the curtain on all of the obfuscations that justify war by revealing its true name: the greatest of evils.

  32. This article fails because it does not provide a solution as to what Mr. Putin was supposed to do when America failed to take Russia’s concerns seriously.

    Mr. Putin pursued the diplomatic route since at least 2007. He has warned repeatedly that NATO expansion is a threat to Russia. The U.S. has failed to engage seriously with Mr. Putin’s concerns. He made it clear what he would not tolerate. The U.S. continued to ignore and demonize. The U.S. continued to use Ukraine as a proxy in its war with Russia.

    What exactly do you do when one party, the U.S., fails to engage and deal seriously with the issue of the other party, Russia? Do you keep talking and talking and talking? You might as well be talking to a brick wall. Should he have engaged in theatrical shrieking at future Munich Security confrences?

    Please amend this article and clearly present what Mr. Putin was supposed to do to get America’s attention, have America seriously engage, have America remove NATO bases, and avoid war.

    1. Here’s one: Cut off gas and oil sales to the West and sell it to the East. But maybe he’d rather give Ukraine the old Chechnya treatment (or Iraq by US if I have to prove my bonafides) than not use that military to buff up his need to keep an iron grip on Russia.

      1. @Moderator
        This is a really hard one. I also oppose Russia’s invasion, but at what point would Russia ever be justified in invading Ukraine? We can’t expect them to allow the U.S. & NATO to put missiles and major war weapons close to their borders and to continually threaten them. The U.S. almost started a nuclear war in 1962 when the Soviet Union put nuclear missiles in Cuba. I agree that Russia could have cut off gas & oil sales to the west, but for a struggling economy like Russia’s that’s not realistic. It’s highly unlikely that there was a large enough Asian demand for these fuels — which BTW are wrecking the planet and should have been left in the ground in the first place — to replace sales to Europe. Even if there were, Russia has tried to play nice with the west ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union 30+ years ago, only to be rebuffed time and time again, I suspect always at the behest of the U.S. (European countries tend to be a lot more tolerant of Russia than the U.S., even when it was the Soviet Union).

        There is no good solution here, because the problems caused by the U.S. and its NATO puppets have created an intractable situation. NATO shouldn’t have even existed for the past 30 years, and if Russia had been allowed to join it and/or the EU as it requested, we wouldn’t have these problems. The only solution to a bully is to stand up to them, and that’s what Russia is finally doing now. I don’t like it, and again I oppose the invasion, but Russia certainly has legitimate grievances for invading and almost certainly felt that it had no other choice.

  33. “Vladimir Putin has reduced Russia to a failed state that runs on thuggery, cyber-piracy, gas and war, and all this has been getting cover from Putin’s longtime sycophant Donald Trump and his Republicans, not least through the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference. Putin must be stopped by force, and his American apologists must be thoroughly discredited, much as Hitler and Mussolini and their American apologists and collaborators were, even if doing so requires pain and sacrifice from the rest of us. ”

    “Is Putin Hitler? It’s the wrong question: He must be stopped long before we get anywhere near that point”

    1. you americans being the worst racist murderers in history can stop nothing

  34. It seems to me that whoever is flooding this conflict with as many weapons as possible, is the greatest evil.
    Especially, while bemoaning the tragedy of modern modes of slaughter.
    I hope that this event can be a swift military operation, and not become a war.
    Hope is for dopes. Dupes?

  35. Dear Chris:

    I admire your work as much as anyone’s. We have met several times, the first at the Rio Grande Hall on Civic Plaza in Taos, NM when you were promoting (and I bought a signed copy) of your book “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” WONDERFUL book, part of my now 1,000 book library on the subject. At that time, I got to have about 30 minutes of your time, uncontested by others. On page 16 of that book you state: “And yet despite all this, I am not a pacifist.” Perhaps, in light of this article, it might now be the appropriate time to specify, as best you can, where you would set that bar, and on what basis? Thank you !!!

    1. @Erich Kuerschner
      That’s a great question and I often ponder it. I’m anti-war, which means that I oppose ALL wars, including this one. (That doesn’t prevent me from loudly proclaiming that the U.S. is the root cause of this problem due to its eastward NATO expansion and fomenting of the coup in Ukraine, but neither does it stop me from condemning Russia for invading.)

      I’m a radical environmentalist, and I support and agree with the original Green Party platform, which was that peace and the environment are the most important issues and should always take priority over other issues. Therefore, the ONLY legitimate reason I can think of for war would be to stop environmental destruction, and I’ve never seen a war prosecuted for that purpose (nor do I think that there’s any realistic chance of that happening). At what realistic point would one not be pacifist? Self-defense? I can’t see any other legitimate reason for attacking another country, nor have I ever seen a legitimate reason in the entirety of human history for legitimate justification for any war.

      As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, nonviolence is not for cowards. If you’re truly nonviolent, you have to take punishment without running away or fighting back. He was referring to nonviolent civil disobedience, but we can extrapolate most of this to pacifism. Opposing all war and invasions would be pacifist, but what about defending one’s country? In order to be pacifist, would one have to let someone else invade and take over?

      A Native activist once said that he’s not nonviolent, because nonviolence is not natural. I totally agree with him. As he pointed out, all animals defend themselves when attacked, and there’s no reason for humans not to also do so. (Nonviolence for the purpose of civil disobedience is another matter, because that’s a strategic decision for PR purposes, not a moral decision, and participating in a nonviolent action doesn’t per se make one “nonviolent.”) I agree with King and Gandhi that nonviolence is a tactic, not a moral position. But pacifism is about war, and I can’t think of any justification for invading another country unless that country is attacking yours.

  36. A Christian broadcaster in the Ukraine recently included the following in his broadcast.

    “Tanks are rolling down from Russia, Russian Orthodox priests are blessing the tanks,” he said. “The Ukrainian Orthodox priests are blessing the Ukrainian soldiers to fight against Russia, so it’s a tragic scene where two brother faiths, Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox, have completely sided on the national goals of their one country.”
    “They are not acting like they are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, first and foremost, but rather, they represent nationalism. And that’s not who we are as Christians,” he lamented. “Our ultimate loyalty is to Christ and His Kingdom rather than the nationality of the land we happen to find ourselves in. And that’s not something that the Orthodox Church is not able to accommodate. … It’s a tragedy that that does not happen.”

    1. @Allen Johnson
      Christianity is an extremely violent religion. This behavior by these priests is totally in line with normal Christian behavior. If you doubt this, think about the Crusades and the genocide and colonization of the Americas. If Christians had followed Jesus’s teachings this wouldn’t be the case, but they pretty much do the opposite of what Jesus preached. It only took about 50 years after Jesus died for Christians to totally pervert his teachings.

  37. Listen to Stevie Wonder’s Love’s in Need of Love from his 1976 masterpiece album Songs In The Key of Life. It inspires and encourages to get through these dark days. Thank you Chris Hedges for your exceptional focus on truth, courage and wisdom. May saner humans prevail.

  38. I agree with this column as far as it goes. However, it needs to go further.

    War is a direct and unavoidable result of civilization, which means living in urban settings. Living that densely means that you can’t live on the local resources, so you have to steal the resources of others, i.e. war. Derrick Jensen has done some excellent work on this subject, I suggest one of his books if you’re interested.

    In turn, civilization by definition means that humans are overpopulated (i.e., you can’t have civilization without overpopulation). So again, overpopulation is the physical root cause of this problem. If you need the resources of others in order to survive, it doesn’t matter how nice of a person you are, you will kill to get those resources, just like the people in Sarajevo who Chris pointed out had no choice but to fight and try to kill the Serbians who were attacking them. If we don’t greatly lower human population, these problems will never go away. I realize that lowering human population adequately is a long-term goal that will take hundreds of years to achieve (even if everyone who has kids — approximately 20% of people in this society don’t — limited their family to one child immediately, the human population wouldn’t start decreasing until old people started dying off without being replaced), but if we don’t START the process, it will never happen.

    Unfortunately, human overpopulation is the elephant-in-the-room/third rail issue that no one wants to discuss, and if you do raise it the vast majority of people attack you for merely pointing out this simple and obvious truth. This has to change radically or humans will just continue consuming the Earth and all the life here until there’s nothing or virtually nothing left.

  39. There is a saying, that probably dates back to the cold-war era, that liberals believe everything bad in the world happens because of the U.S., and conservatives believe that everything good in the world happens because of the U.S. What they have in common is that they both think everything in the world happens because of the U.S. It doesn’t, and ultimately both of these viewpoints betray a sense of American egoism. We obviously have a great deal of influence globally, but ultimately, Russia has to take responsibility for its own actions. It’s nice to see Mr. Hedges take a baby step towards that realization. It is still telling, though, that every time he mentions Putin by name, he still sees him as a victim.

    Mr. Hedges spends a great deal of time recounting his experiences with the horrors of war, which are important to point out, but the real question is what we can do now to minimize the damage that this war inflicts. The ones who have the greatest ability to effect positive change are the people of the two countries at war, like the unarmed Ukrainians who stood in the way of Russian military vehicles, and the Russian soldiers who refused to run them down, or the protesters in major Russian cities, many of whom were jailed for their actions. The best we can do from across the ocean is to use our voices to speak out against war. As a journalist, Mr. Hedges has a more influential voice than most of us, and I hope he uses it to the greatest possible effect to speak out against this war as he has against past wars.

    1. Well put.

      The US could and should have handled relations with post -1990 Russia better. But to acknowledge that is not to say that the US is responsible for the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine has not posed a threat to the security of Russia, and Russia’s war against the country is wholly unjustifiable. It shouldn’t be difficult for anyone on the left to take this position. Putin is exactly the kind of murderous, corrupt nationalist leader that anyone with a conscience should revile.

  40. “War is not politics by other means.”
    Michel Foucault turned this quote, saying “Politics is war by other means.”

    From QuoteInvestigator.com (a brief, worthwhile piece), the old “Truth is the first casualty in war.”
    As well, if you let it settle, in politics. Politics will not save us; politics, in its current form, is crystalized, or set and cured, like cement. It is Realpolitik.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    ““We were expendable,” Eugene Sledge wrote of his experiences as a marine in the South Pacific in World War II. “It was difficult to accept. We come from a nation and a culture that values life and the individual.”

    No, We come from a nation and a culture that claims to value life and the individual. But this (back then, even) was propaganda and myth. It is now nakedly obvious, though the great majority cannot bring themselves to accept it. We don’t do too good a job facing facts in any case… but the busting of a fundamental myth of what we presume ourselves to be cannot be processed. It does not compute.
    Sledge speaks in the context of war. Now apply it to the economic and political realms – this pair are very much one and the same. The individual is dead… long live the society.

    The individual – insofar as one can be an individual presently (or ever) – is hated, despised, and held in contempt. The individual is one, not one of (fill in the blank). The individual will not be led. Nor will he lead. The individual, at the peak of insolence, stands alone.

    In a footnote at the end of “The Courage of Truth” Foucault offers this:
    “By raising the question of the relations between care of self and courage of the truth, Platonism and Cynicism seem in fact to represent two major forms which face each other and each of which has given rise to a different genealogy: on one side the psukhe-, knowledge of self, work of purification, access to the other world; on the other side, the bios, putting oneself to the test, reduction to animality, battle in this world against the world.
    But what I would like to stress in conclusion is this: there is no establishment of the truth without an essential position of otherness; the truth is never the same; there can be truth only in the form of the other world and the other life (l’autre monde et de la vie autre).”

  41. Thank you, Chris Hedges. A sober voice in the midst of a drunken war orgy.

    Most Americans are utterly oblivious to the consequences of their country’s war machine, which exploits a collective, infantile delusion that US troops are “saving the world”, and feeds an almost pornographic obsession with violence that permeates American culture.

    Where I live, the half-starved refugees from the US destruction of the Middle East arrive in life rafts and often wash up on our beaches. Twenty years after the illegal invasion of Iraq, Americans don’t care and pretend the “War of Terror” sh*tshow never happened, while in Europe we are still cleaning up the mess. Sadly, the US public may not understand war until it arrives at their doorstep.

  42. Although I agree on the abhorrence of war and the difficulty of its distinction from defense, defense is another matter.

    The OSCE report on shelling at the Line of Control showed 80 percent of explosions within Donbass, apparently the provocation for the invasion, for which the purpose expressed is to defeat the attackers and demilitarize Ukraine without its occupation. The Russian minimization of casualties, their pincer attack to isolate the Ukraine LOC forces, and their avoidance of urban warfare so far, appear to support their claimed purpose.
    If Russia does not stop at capturing the forces attacking Donbass and perhaps temporarily occupying southern oblasts to hold referenda on independence, or if it moves to high-casualty urban warfare, that might contradict their declared defensive purposes, unless the west forces them to stay on bases there to suppress remilitarization.


  43. Putin’s politics, values and strategic goals, at least in a general sense, largely align with those of today’s Republican-fascist movement and the larger white right. Taken together, they are a global front aimed at undermining or destroying pluralism and multiracial democracy.

    How white supremacy fuels the Republican love affair with Vladimir Putin

    The American right’s romance with Putin is no mystery: Trumpers see him as leading a global war for whiteness

    1. You have got this Russian-NATO situation about as wrong as possible. Putin’s policies are well-known and clearly stated and have nothing to do with white supremacy. I don’t know percentages, but vast numbers of Russian citizens are not ‘white’. You might confuse Russia with Ukraine, where there are real white nationalists (not all of them), but they do not consider Russians as ‘white’.
      I don’t think the Trumpery really has any coherent foreign policy. It mainly seems reactive against what it calls the Left. Republicans on the other hand have been consistently in favor of imperial hegemony as have the Democrats. Putin’s policies consistently push back against the American Empire, the unipolar fantasy of the neocons, in favor of a multipolar world–also clearly stated and documented.

      1. @Ted+Tripp
        DGA is a far right winger whose attitude is basically, USA, USA!!! I wouldn’t bother responding to them, they’re either beyond hope or a troll here.

  44. To think that I trashed my career to be involved with these people — former friends and former activists-in-arms with whom I participated in Occupy in 2011 — and now they’re as batshit-insane as any of the MAGA maniacs on the right.

    My god.

    Putin is a thug. Putin is a dictator. Putin is murdering Ukrainians. But that’s ok, apparently, for these supposed leftists and supposed peaceniks, because anything and everything that goes against the US is okay. Now they’re kissing Putin’s ass.

    George W. Bush committed war crimes by invading Iraq and bombing Afghanistan; those are facts. Therefore, apparently, it’s okay that Putin also commit war crimes. Tit for tat makes everything ok.

    Jesusfkngchrist, I am so ashamed I ever got involved with these people. They have lost their ever-loving minds.

    1. Yes Lisa, you are correct. I feel the same as you. What is wrong with these people? They(Chris Hedges, MAGA, RT America, etc. )have to be getting paid by Moscow. Really, I wonder if they think Putin is so reasonable, they can buy a one way ticket to Moscow. The USA has no redeeming qualities to them because they never come up with a solution to America’s problems. Chris has being writing this kind of stuff for decades. He sounds so depressed. But yet he keeps cranking out the same American doom for years and nothing has changed. If I were him I would go someplace where I could raise my family and live with hope. But the pay probably would be as good and you could end up dead.

      1. To Lisa and Chris P. – I think that the wide divergence of opinion about the Ukraine mess is mostly due to a failure to consider the background facts which preceded the Russian special operation. The deluge of U.S. propaganda (worse than even the torrent of lies we were told to try to justify the invasion of Iraq) would have us believe that the evil Putin (a silly characterization peddled by the U.S. lie machine) just woke up one day and decided to “conquer” Ukraine, which is not true. Please consider the summary of background facts set out below and, while doing so, ask yourselves where all the bleeding hearts now waving Ukrainian flags and proclaiming their great concern for Ukrainians were during the last eight years while the U.S./Ukrainian government were murdering thousands of Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass.

        I am frustrated by some comments made by genuine journalists (which, of course, excludes the mainstream media) and scholars which condemn Russia for its Special Operation in Ukraine. Perhaps Russia would have fared better in the propaganda war if it had called its operation a “Responsibility To Protect” operation or “Humanitarian Intervention”, names employed by the U.S. for some of its illegal invasions of countries which posed no threat whatsoever to it – Syria, Libya, etc. I have great respect for some of those legitimate and honest writers who have condemned Russia for its operation, e.g. Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges. However, to say that Russia’s operation violates international law does not answer the one critical question which must be answered before reaching a conclusion in the matter. That question is – what options did Russia have under the circumstances?

        We must remember and honestly acknowledge the circumstances which preceded Russia’s operation, summarized as follows:

        1. In February, 2014, the U.S. orchestrated and effected a violent coup which overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine. The U.S. then installed its puppet government. Since that time, the U.S. has been the de facto government of Ukraine and has made all major policy decisions for that Country. This process is known in Washington as “spreading democracy”. It does this a lot when some government fails to follow U.S. orders.

        2. A large number of Ukrainian citizens were not pleased to have their democratically elected government overthrown and a new government chosen for them by the U.S. They decided to not recognize this illegitimate government. As a result of the division of loyalties stirred up by the U.S. coup, the people in Crimea voted to withdraw from Ukraine and become a part of Russia, to which Russia agreed. Other Ukrainians in the Donbass voted to become independent of Ukraine but were not made a part of Russia.
        These actions greatly displeased the Hegemon.

        3. The U.S./Ukrainian government decided to deal with the dissenters in the Donbass by attacking them with heavy weaponry. This assault did not go well at first because the majority of the Ukrainian military forces refused to kill their fellow Ukrainians. The U.S./Ukrainian government solved that problem by utilizing the numerous neo-Nazis who were on hand and were eager to kill the mostly ethnic Russians in the Donbass. Over the next eight years approximately 14,000 Ukrainians were killed by this operation, most of them civilians. As far as I know, there was not one tear shed or one word of sympathy expressed by the people in the U.S. for even one of the Ukrainian citizens murdered in the Donbass.

        4. During the eight years following its 2014 coup, the U.S. armed and trained its neo-Nazis who were serving it so well in the war in the Donbass, as well as Ukrainian military regular troops. In that process, the U.S. did a good job of indoctrinating the troops into its way of thinking, thereby somewhat weakening the resolve of even the regulars (as opposed to the Nazis and other far right elements) to not kill other Ukrainians. The slaughter of civilians in the Donbass continued.

        5. During this same eight-year period, Russia tried in every conceivable way to resolve the mess made by the U.S. coup by diplomacy and agreement. Two agreements were made (the “Minsk Agreements”) which would have resolved the matter. However, the U.S./Ukrainian government refused to implement the agreements. Russia appealed to the U.N. for help but received none. The U.S. steadfastly refused to negotiate in good faith to resolve the issues, including Russia’s legitimate and urgent security concerns.

        6. Russia’s legitimate and urgent security concerns must be taken into account. No valid understanding of the current issues can be understood without doing so. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO had foolishly and provocatively expanded farther and farther to the east to the point that Russia was greatly threatened by NATO countries surrounding it. The goal of the U.S. was to make Ukraine into a client state, arm it to the teeth, including missiles which could reach Russia in three minutes or so, and to ultimately effect regime-change in Russia. The hyper aggression of the U.S. toward Russia was open and obvious.

        7. In December, 2021, Russia presented detailed proposals to NATO and the U.S. for the peaceful resolution of the ongoing attacks by the U.S./Ukrainian government against the Ukrainians in the Donbass and Russia’s legitimate security concerns. The proposals were rejected out of hand, followed by a refusal to negotiate in good faith with Russia. Russia had made it clear that in that event, it had no option but to take matters into its own hands. The U.S. in fact wanted a proxy war with Russia, in which Ukraine would be used as its catspaw. It got it.

        I fail to see that Russia had any option other than to force the neutralization of Ukraine. Otherwise, it was perfectly clear that the U.S. was going to use Ukraine as a de facto military base and further encroach on and intimidate Russia. I would welcome Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges or anyone else to tell me another option available to Russia. The invocation of international law did not do Russia any good. This is particularly so because in this case Russia was dealing with an outlaw state which has not only rejected international law, but has a long history of conducting illegal wars of aggression and dealing in bad faith with other nations.

      2. The dominant narrative which you parrot in the US is that Vladimir Putin is an evil dictator; further, he started the war in Ukraine for no reason. I can assure you that there are many different narratives about both tropes. I remind you about the dominant narratives about Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar Al Assad, not to speak of other US enemies from Ho Chi Minh to Fidel Castro. Most people who read and think know that these narratives are false propaganda cooked up by Washington to justify regime change and war. I assure you that the dominant narrative about Putin is a lie. We in America do not know anything trustworthy. Putin may be a saint, he may be the devil, or he may be something in between, but he is not what Americans think.

      3. To Ted+ Tripp,

        Absolutely correct. It is truly disheartening that people in this Country are so easily manipulated into supporting war after war after war based on complete falsehoods. Apparently they have forgotten, or never learned, how to think critically. The U.S. has a long and sordid history, as you point out, of lying to us. The only rational thing to do is to assume that the war propaganda is false unless supported by irrefutable proof. Did you happen to see the confrontation between Matt Lee (one of the few real journalists still working in the MSM) and Ned Price (former CIA analyst and currently serving as a front line liar for the State Department, in which Lee called Price out for falsely calling a bare statement by unnamed “government officials” as “declassified material”? It was a wonderful display of the arrogance and total dishonestly of “our” government at work and an altogether too rare display of a real journalist doing real journalism. Price was outraged that Lee did not accept his nonsense at face value. And on it goes…and the majority of the dumbed-down people buy it every time. It is really depressing. Thanks for your comment.

      4. @Jim Thomas
        Trump + Russiagate = a braindead population. That’s it in a nutshell. Not only braindead, but just as unjustifiably angry as any MAGA person.

      5. @Ted+Tripp
        Trump pushed everyone’s buttons who wasn’t mentally and emotionally strong enough to ignore his boorish BS public statements and behaviors. That button-pushing broke the brains of many if not most former progressives, to the point where they’d support Hitler if he opposed Trump. (This is no exaggeration, as people are now saying that Putin is worse than Hitler. This would be hilarious if it weren’t so dangerous.) Those brain breaks were cemented by years of Russiagate lies and propaganda. People like Lisa and Chris P. are perfect examples of this and their attitudes and comments are the result of it. My main non-biological “family” is punk rockers. While we’re all aging and while people get more conservative as they age, it’s beyond disappointing to see the large majority of punks — who used to rebel against anything that even reeked of the establishment, and who never believed establishment BS — now join the establishment insults and attacks on Russia and Putin, while not even acknowledging U.S. and NATO wrongs here that are the root cause of the problem. One of these friends got people to contribute money to Ukraine for his birthday. I was going to tell him (he’s Jewish) that he’s sending money to Nazis, but I didn’t want to start a big argument, so I didn’t say anything.

        We’re in a very bad place right now. Censorship is on the rise and I fear that in the very near future, people like Chris Hedges, Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, and Glenn Greenwald will be totally censored and the only media we’ll be able to get will be establishment BS that will always be pro-war and anti-anything and anyone that doesn’t toe the U.S. establishment line. Rational and objective analyses are not allowed, and those of us who try to show some context are angrily shouted down and possibly ostracized. I wanted to leave the U.S. when Reagan got elected in 1980, and I’m getting sorrier every day that I didn’t do so. I realize that the entire West is in mindless immoral lockstep with the U.S. on this, but the U.S. is the cause and the heart of the problem.

      6. @Chris P.
        You and Lisa have it backward. It’s people like YOU who are misinformed and crazy. Totally different than the MAGA crazies, at least they’re rebelling against something, even if they’re totally misinformed. But you’re just being triggered by establishment propaganda and parroting the establishment line. In fact “parroting” is far too weak of a description. More like you’re apoplectic and hysterical. Putin is the big evil on the planet? Russia should be destroyed financially because it invaded a bordering country that, with acquisition of U.S. arms, made it feel threatened? Where’s this reaction to all the horrible U.S. crap over the past 20 or so years? Right now, the U.S. is occupying 1/3 of Syria and stealing its oil, and bombing Somalia. Where are the attacks against U.S. presidents and calls for the U.S. to be financially destroyed? Oh that’s right, you’re too brainwashed to look in the mirror and realize that your own country is far worse than Russia.

        None of this is to say that Russia’s invasion was OK. Everyone here opposes it. But as an American, you have much better things to oppose, like all the crap this country does.

      7. Amen, Jeff. I encounter this blind acceptance of war propaganda from all sorts of otherwise right-thinking people. I remember though that Putin-demonization, and now Russia is conflated with Putin, began years ago. Stephen F Cohen was very good at clearing up the reality for me.

      8. @Ted+Tripp
        Yeah, I really miss Stephen F Cohen too, RIP. He was one of the very few who didn’t demonize Russia unfairly, and he really knew what he was talking about. To be clear, I don’t like Russia or Putin either, but their level of evil is several brackets below that of the U.S. and NATO.

        As I said to my wife when the invasion began, no country should be allowed to have more than 50 people. Then we wouldn’t have crap like this. All big countries and world leaders are evil, but since we live in Mordor, and since the U.S. is the dominant empire on the planet, this is where are focus and wrath should be aimed, not at Russia or Putin. Let the people living in Russia do that.

      9. MAGA & HEDGES….The first representing the bloody worst of America, the 2nd, the very very best….And in the same mouthful?….And being paid by Moscow?….You must have been a big Hillary fan….She’s the one who created the dumb rumor that she lost because the Russians “did it”….NO, She lost because she didn’t give a damn about the lower and middle classes, only about the corporations that donated to her crumby campaign,….These people stupidly thought tht Trump did care.

    2. @Lisa Simeone
      The reason that you’ve gone down separate paths from your former friends is that you’ve become more conservative and now follow the establishment line. If you can’t hold the two thoughts in your head at the same time — 1) that Russia’s invasion was wrong; and 2) that the U.S. and NATO are the root cause of it — then maybe this is all too much for you. NO ONE here has said that Russia’s invasion was OK; in fact we’re all opposed to it. But if you’re so brainwashed that you can’t understand that while invading Ukraine was wrong, eastward expansion of NATO and the U.S.-backed 2014 coup in Ukraine were wrong and provoked Russia, then you’re not capable of analyzing this situation in any rational or objective manner.

      For more, see my comment to Chris P. below.

    1. Good question, BKR. It would appear not, or not much longer anyway. From yesterday’s (March 3rd) NYT:

      ‘On Thursday afternoon, Misha Solodovnikov, the general manager of the production company behind RT America, T&R Productions, told staff that RT “will be ceasing production” and “must lay off most of its staff who work at all its locations,” according to a company memo seen by The New York Times.

      ‘RT America has offices in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington. Mr. Solodovnikov cited “unforeseen business interruption events” as a reason for the company’s announcement.’

      https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/03/03/world/russia-ukraine/rt-turns-to-rumble-after-big-tech-companies-block-the-network

  45. “If you identify as a leftist, wherever you live and whatever your nationality, your duty now is to stand by the people of Ukraine as they resist Russian state terrorism — and to stand by those thousands of Russian citizens courageously protesting the war in dozens of cities across their country. If you opposed the criminal U.S. attack on Iraq in 2003, then you must oppose this criminal attack on Ukraine. Not just consistency, but a minimal degree of decency and human solidarity requires it. Putin’s war is a blatant violation of international law against an independent country that posed no threat to Russia.

    Don’t Be a Tankie: How the Left Should Respond to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

    Those who don’t stand in solidarity with the oppressed cannot call themselves leftists.

    1. What you are describing are not “leftists” but the propagandized majority who believe the U.S. lies. Please read my comments above for a review of important facts which are ignored by the U.S. propaganda machine, which, of course, includes the entire mainstream media. Do you still believe the WMD lies, and multiple other lies, told to sell the invasion of Iraq? Wake up and turn on your brain.

  46. The bottom-up revolution begins and gains power in the monetary model where the consumer has been given the stage to own and use his/her own sovereign money, debt-free. This power and privilege were granted to the people by the POTUS but went unnoticed. It still applies.

  47. interesting read. there are a few points , i am curious about. 2nd paragraph: Poland has been a NATO member since 1999. I doubt the US has the kind of influence to stop other NATO members from acting. that is not to say the US has no culpability in war starting , war perpetuating–Viet Nam, Afghan, Iraq among others.

  48. Hedges is usually one of my go to sources but I’m not on board with this analysis; overestimates the NATO factor and ignores Ukranian agency.

    Ukraine wants out of the Russian orbit. After successive elections pro-Moscow candidates barely pull more than 10-15 percent of the vote and have no chance of forming government.

    This has less to do with the promotion of the EU and NATO by the West, and more to do with the simple fact that a close relationship to Russia has little to offer Ukraine.

    Russia is run by a sociopathic authoritarian kleptocrat who murders his political opponents. Corruption is widespread, the social fabric is badly torn, life expectancies are low and the standard of living for many Russians is in decline. As well, most media is controlled by a government that scrambles people’s minds with propaganda and misinformation.

    Ukranians know all of this and have turned away.

    But like a an abusive, jealous boyfriend, Putin will not let Ukraine leave his sphere of influence; if it takes smashing her to bits to make her stay, so be it.

  49. americans never change—they always support the most fascist nations, complain about chamberlain’s “appeasement” then develop the false equivalence of supporting nazis in Ukraine vs Russian intolerance of fascism—Hedges is a ruling class apologist hypocrite …obviously Gorer is correct: “the Americans an liberal/progressive wants to preserve the essence of the past—the conservative wants more and more progress; the European radical wants to hasten the transformation of the future, the European conservative wants to preserve the essence of the Past”
    well documented by the parsonain, Slater, Marxians, William Appleman Williams, Richard Sennet, Christopher Lasch, etc

  50. I believe that Western countries are accomplices in killing. They are passive towards American and their criminality across the world. They send false information about the war in their respective countries, incite the population and demonize the side that does not play according to their will. They always come up with false facts and explanations for their actions. STOP doing this, and it’s getting better all over the world. Do not insult our intelligence, we know who you are and what you do.

    1. @objektivan
      I agree, but Russia is a problem also. The U.S., as the empire that dominates the world, is the biggest problem, but that doesn’t mean that Russia is innocent. There are no good guys in this situation, even though the U.S. and NATO are the biggest problems.

      1. So the U.S. and NATO are bigger problems in the invasion of Ukraine than Russia, the country that’s invading Ukraine? I wonder if most Ukrainians would agree with you.

        I don’t know whether it’s worship of Hedges or what, but something seems to have messed up your moral compass.

      2. @Able
        My moral compass is just fine, thank you. Taking the invasion out of context and ignoring the great provocations of NATO expansion up to the Russian border, placing major weapons near Russia, fomenting a coup that overthrew a democratically elected president just because he changed his mind and decided to go with Russia on some energy deal instead of the EU, and Ukraine government attacks on Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine, but Nazis in the Ukraine military no less, provide plenty of provocation for Russia to invade. That doesn’t excuse the invasion, which all of us who are actually anti-war agree was wrong, but anyone who claims that Russia was provoked into invading by the U.S. and its NATO puppets would be spot on.

        And BTW, in this situation Ukraine is nothing more than a pawn of the U.S. and NATO, and the U.S. and NATO don’t give a damn about the Ukrainian people. If you think that they do, I’ve got a really good deal on some bridges for you.

      3. For his own nationalist, imperialist and “Great Russia” nostalgist reasons, Putin did not like the idea of an independent Ukraine or a European-oriented Ukraine. But Russia did not feel militarily threatened by Ukraine. Ukraine was not a threat to invade Russian territory. And Ukraine was not part of NATO.

        So no, Russia was not “provoked” into invading Ukraine. Putin wanted Ukraine back as part of a reestablished Great Russia, and he’s now trying to take it.

        Your notion of “provocation” is very peculiar. Your sympathy for Putin is morally equivalent to expressing understanding for the spurned husband who kills his ex-wife because he felt “provoked” when she left him.

      4. @Able
        You’re totally off base. In the first place, I have no sympathy for Putin. I said that “Russia is a problem also,” that Russia is not innocent, and that “There are no good guys in this situation.” You’re so blinded by your hysteria about this situation that you can’t see reality. All large countries and all world leaders are evil and are a problem, period. What YOU fail to recognize or admit is that as the dominant empire on the planet, the U.S. is the worst of them. This is a general comment, not specifically about the invasion.

        As to the invasion, the root causes are eastward NATO expansion, the U.S.-fomented coup, major weapons being placed near Russian borders, and the threat of Ukraine joining NATO, a totally illegitimate military alliance that should have been disbanded 30 years ago, and which has been the aggressor in this region during that time. Yes, Russia was wrong to invade because ALL war is wrong. But ignoring the real causes of the invasion and just blaming Russia is nothing but propaganda. Many if not most U.S. foreign policy experts have been warning for 25 years, STARTING WITH SENATOR JOE BIDEN IN 1997, that NATO should not expand eastward because doing so would provoke Russia. Duh!!!

  51. Yes, we all agree war is horrible. But once it starts, which is always tragic, in some cases we’re compelled to take a side, for that side to win. Of course, never does this apply to the ruling class of an imperialist country. For them it’s Lenin’s recipe of revolutionary defeatism, of turning the guns the other way, of turning an imperialist war into a civil war.

    When war involves the imperialist bully destroying a small country, then anyone with an ounce of humanity would want the victimised people to win that war, regardless of the moral calibre of their leaders, regardless of whether they’re dictators like Sadam or Qaddafi. Anyone with an ounce of humanity would want the Houthis of Yemen to win against their US/Saudi slaughterers, just as before when the heroic workers and peasants of the National Liberation Front of Vietnam fought to victory at a cost of 3+ million lives against the French and then US imperialist invaders. The same for Fidel Castro in overthrowing Cuba’s Batista regime, the International Brigades fighting against Franco’s fascists in the Spanish Civil War, and…the Serbs against the vicious NATO bombing that finally broke up Yugoslavia. War signifies the termination, not the beginning, of ‘discussion’ and ‘negotiation’, where only force can ‘persuade’. ‘Negotiations’ can only resume based on the new post-war balance of forces. And one can never negotiate with fascists and nazis whose ‘program’ is genocide, as the CIA knows and takes advantage of. We see the full flower of Operation Gladio in Ukraine.

    In the case of Ukraine, anyone with an ounce of humanity stands with the Luhansk and Donetsk Peoples Republics defending themselves for the last eight years from daily Ukrainian nazi shelling and bombardments, which have taken 14,000+ lives. As far as the Russian-speaking intended victims of the Azov battalion are concerned, their war finally ended when Russia, for its own reasons, finally came into Donbas: insofar as the LPR and DPR have had the nazi boot kicked away from their throats, this has been a good thing. And never let it be forgotten, these are not ‘isolated’ nazi incidents: the nazis are infused right across the Ukrainian state machine, its military, cops and security services. They hold state power in Ukraine and would love nothing better than to hold nuclear state power.

    If the Russian military were the Red Army of a workers state instead of the armed fist of a capitalist one, then one could more easily take as good coin and fully support the other aims and measures being implemented in Ukraine, particularly its stated goals of de-nazification and de-NATOisation. It remains to be seen if this intervention goes further, but part of the doctrine of a Red Army of a workers state, as under the Bolsheviks, typically was to fraternise with enemy rank-and-file combatants to undermine the orders of their commanders, to hasten the end of hostilities and minimise loss of life and needless destruction.

    Unlike the class lines of Bolshevik/Red Army doctrine, but out of nationalist/slavic traditions as promoted by Putin, so far there is minimal heavy ‘take-no-prisoners’ military engagements, with some fraternisation ostensibly occurring in the Russian military’s dealings with the non-nazi components of the Ukrainian army. An example is the joint securing of Chernobyl against the nazis. But let’s see what happens, and crucially let’s see how far the rank and file of the Russian military will comply if ordered to go beyond simply destroying Ukraine’s nazis and the NATO infrastructure.

    In the ‘west’, in the name of being ‘anti-war’, those who serve as the best agents for persuading everyone to support their own bourgeoisie in a predatory war, and to not side with the intended victims in such wars, are the pacifists. That’s right, pacifists. Historically, pacifists have always ended up supporting the side of their own rulers in wars, and this latest bunch is no different. Just recently in Washington, we had an ‘anti-war’ demonstration replete with Ukrainian flags along with flags of the nazi OUN, calling for US/NATO to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine! That’s right, you can’t make this stuff up. Of course, this can mean only one thing: WWIII. In support of a nazi regime. Well done, pacifists and ‘left’ liberals.

    This abomination captures not only the political naivety and stupidity of the current pacifist anti-war movement, but also its insidiousness in corralling otherwise well-meaning people who detest war into actually escalating one, a war which US/NATO and its Ukrainian nazi puppets instigated and so desperately don’t want to end, into WWIII.

    1. This is phenomenally naive. The Russian military in recent decades has been infamous for its brutality, war crimes and indiscriminate shelling of civilians, as well as the awful way it treats its own soldiers. Furthermore, Russia has been carving pieces off former satillite states George, Chechnya, Abkhazia, etc. based on historical empire nostalgia, strategic aims and pan-Russian ethno-nationlism.

      1. You appear not to have read my rant sufficiently carefully, and I was rather careless in my underestimation of the effectiveness of the propagandisation that has rendered even site moderators, let alone average readers, unable distinguish between Bolshevism and Stalinism. I referred to a Bolshevik/Red Army doctrine, not to the atrocities committed by the Red Army under Stalin or his successors (who nevertheless liked to call themselves ‘Bolshevik’ despite all evidence to the contrary). Perpetrators of war crimes in the Red Army under Lenin and Trotsky were punished severely (ie, shot).

    2. so, Gaddafi was a dictator? Why now are people in Libyan living worse than when Gaddafi was in power?

      1. These days, it’s hard to distinguish between dictators and “democratically” elected US presidents.

  52. As usual, no one is right and everyone is wrong during wars.
    So, an idea to start an end : ……… What if Russia threatens to bring in 500,000 Far East troops ( just like Stalin ‘s million man army ) and allow their families to settle in Ukraine???
    Also suggests that thousands of other Asians are rushed into Ukraine as New settlers – – – same tactics as Israel.

    Soon, Ukraine would have 5 million Muslims Asian which would forever alter their culture and identity. And we all know this group is far more reproductive than the locals.

    A ‘ population’ bomb ‘ is far more dangerous and effective than any weapons that Russia now have.

    This population bomb was also debated by other cold war leaders to scare off hot wars, it is not my original idea.

    1. You seem to have a distorted, anti-Muslim view. For starters, there is small difference between Ukrainians and Russians; the racism of the Ukrainian fascists (from Western Ukraine) is precisely that they believe Russians are racially mixed and thus inferior. As followers of Stepan Bandera, they happily kill to realize their ideology. That is what is going on in the Ukraine, that these people control the government and military and impose their vile will. There is nothing here at all to do with your weird fantastical projections.

  53. It will be horrible. The Russians are clear on their object “Demilitarize” and “De nazify” Ukraine. What ever Ukrainians think about Viktor Yanukovych, he was smart enough to know that Ukraine well be better off as a neutral connectio between Russia and the West. Unfortunately due to Russia’s alliance with Iran the Pentagon “Deep state” did not want to let go of the opportunity to corner Russia in Ukraine.

    Russia is not gonna stop. Its a national security issue for Russia/Putin.

    Hosting Neo Naz , inviting Fascist forces from all over world and expecting Russia to remain mum about it is absolute ideocracy.

    You have Chechens in Ukraine like Grozny. It also has parallels to Iraq W. Putin will destroy Ukraine and then rebuild it with Chinese money.

    The Russians will flatten Ukraine if they have to, and Ukrainian leaders also bear responsibility.

    What ever happens in Ukraine.It will be Multipolar.

    If they take Western Ukraine (homeland of Neo Nazis),Then game will be on for easte europe. Nato and EU has not brought Peace.

    I wish Imran khan had shortened his visit to condemn invasion ,but this Clown is an admirer of Trump who doesn’t even have 1/10th of the Intelligence of Trump.
    Trump may be a Pyschoph but he is not dumb. That title belongs to W. Bush.

    Dont think Ukraine would have been invaded under Trump.

    For rest of world, offer Humanitarian Aid but stay out of it!!!….

  54. It will be horrible. The Russians are clear on their object “Demilitarize” and “De nazify” Ukraine. What ever Ukrainians think about Viktor Yanukovych, he was smart enough to know that Ukraine well be better off as a neutral connectio between Russia and the West. Unfortunately due to Russia’s alliance with Iran the Pentagon “Deep state” did not want to let go of the opportunity to corner Russia in Ukraine.

    Russia is not gonna stop. Its a national security issue for Russia/Putin.

    Hosting Neo Naz , inviting Fascist forces from all over world and expecting Russia to remain mum about it is absolute ideocracy.

    You have Chechens in Ukraine like Grozny. It also has parallels to Iraq W. Putin will destroy Ukraine and then rebuild it with Chinese money.

    The Russians will flatten Ukraine if they have to, and Ukrainian leaders also bear responsibility.

    What ever happens in Ukraine.It will be Multipolar.

    If they take Western Ukraine (homeland of Neo Nazis),Then game will be on for easte europe. Nato and EU has not brought Peace.

    I wish Imran khan had shortened his visit to condemn invasion ,but this Clown is an admirer of Trump who doesn’t even have 1/10th of the Intelligence of Trump.
    Trump may be a Pyschopth but he is not dumb. That title belongs to W. Bush.

    Dont think Ukraine would have been invaded under Trump.

  55. It will be horrible. The Russians are clear on their object “Demilitarize” and “De nazify” Ukraine. What ever Ukrainians think about Viktor Yanukovych, he was smart enough to know that Ukraine well be better off as a neutral connectio between Russia and the West. Unfortunately due to Russia’s alliance with Iran the Pentagon “Deep state” did not want to let go of the opportunity to corner Russia in Ukraine.

    Russia is not gonna stop. Its a national security issue for Russia/Putin.

    Hosting Neo Naz , inviting Fascist forces from all over world and expecting Russia to remain mum about it is absolute ideocracy.

    You have Chechens in Ukraine like Grozny. It also has parallels to Iraq W. Putin will destroy Ukraine and then rebuild it with Chinese money.

    The Russians will flatten Ukraine if they have to, and Ukrainian leaders also bear responsibility.

    What ever happens in Ukraine.It will be Multipolar.

    If they take Western Ukraine (homeland of Neo Nazis),Then game will be on for easte europe. Nato and EU has not brought Peace.

    I wish Imran khan had shortened his visit to condemn invasion ,but this Clown is an admirer of Trump who doesn’t even have 1/10th of the Intelligence of Trump.
    Trump may be a Pyschopth but he is not dumb. That title belongs to W. Bush.

    Don’t think Ukraine would have been invaded under Trump.

  56. As a veteran my hands will always be stained with blood, so whilst I could never claim to be a passivictst its something that I aspire to. Surely it should be the moral undertaking for all human kind to reach such a goal, it might be viewed as naive, but as Chris so eloquently writes above the nativity of war is far more foolish.

  57. It will be horrible. The Russians are clear on their object “Demilitarize” and “De nazify” Ukraine. What ever Ukrainians think about Viktor Yanukovych, he was smart enough to know that Ukraine will be better off as a neutral connectio between Russia and the West. Unfortunately due to Russia’s alliance with Iran the Pentagon “Deep state” did not want to let go of the opportunity to corner Russia in Ukraine.

    Invading is wrong. Buti Russia is not gonna stop. Its a national security issue for Russia/Putin.

    Hosting Neo Naz , inviting Fascist forces from all over world and expecting Russia to remain mum about it is absolute ideocracy.

    You have Chechens in Ukraine like Grozny. It also has parallels to Iraq W. Putin will destroy Ukraine and then rebuild it with Chinese money.

    The Russians will flatten Ukraine if they have to, and Ukrainian leaders also bear responsibility.

    What ever happens in Ukraine.It will be Multipolar.

    If they take Western Ukraine (homeland of Neo Nazis),Then game will be on for easte europe. Nato and EU has not brought Peace.

    I wish Imran khan had shortened his visit to condemn invasion ,but this Clown is an admirer of Trump who doesn’t even have 1/10th of the Intelligence of Trump.
    Trump may be a Pyschopth but he is not dumb. That title belongs to W. Bush.

    Don’t think Ukraine would have been invaded under Trump.

  58. It will be horrible. The Russians are clear on their object “Demilitarize” and “De nazify” Ukraine. What ever Ukrainians think about Viktor Yanukovych, he was smart enough to know that Ukraine will be better off as a neutral connectio between Russia and the West. Unfortunately due to Russia’s alliance with Iran the Pentagon “Deep state” did not want to let go of the opportunity to corner Russia in Ukraine.

    Invading is wrong. Buuti Russia is not gonna stop. Its a national security issue for Russia/Putin.

    Hosting Neo Naz , inviting Fascist forces from all over world and expecting Russia to remain mum about it is absolute ideocracy.

    You have Chechens in Ukraine like Grozny. It also has parallels to Iraq W. Putin will destroy Ukraine and then rebuild it with Chinese money.

    The Russians will flatten Ukraine if they have to, and Ukrainian leaders also bear responsibility.

    What ever happens in Ukraine.It will be Multipolar.

    If they take Western Ukraine (homeland of Neo Nazis),Then game will be on for easte europe. Nato and EU has not brought Peace.

    The weaponization of sanctions will only hurt common people it will not work. Russia just offered India, Discounted oil, Why wouldn’t they take it??.!

    Both japan and Germany rely heavily on Oil/Gas. Without it their economies would collapse. Russia is 1 of the few countries with an abundance of natural resources.

    Its utter madness that unilateral sanctions are imposed while world just got out of Covid. Unless you want Another financial crash and for inflation to remain Sky HIGH!.

    I wish Imran khan had shortened his visit to condemn invasion ,but this Clown is an admirer of Trump who doesn’t even have 1/10th of the Intelligence of Trump.
    Trump may be a Pyschopth but he is not dumb. That title belongs to W. Bush.

    Don’t think Ukraine would have been invaded under Trump.

    Instead of sending guns, they should strive for diplomatic solution/talk..
    For rest of world; offer Humanitarian Aid But stay out of this conflict!!!!!!!!..

  59. There can’t be a better analysis and articulation of the facts. They author has not only first hand information and experience of the destructions of the wars but he also has the knowledge of how these wars and other conflicts are created by those who run war economies and those who want to have assume God like power.

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