The bodies of dozens, perhaps well over a hundred, women, children and men, their corpses blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes in a village in the western province of Farah, illustrates the futility of the Afghan war. We are not delivering democracy or liberation or development. We are delivering massive, sophisticated forms of industrial slaughter. And because we have employed the blunt and horrible instrument of war in a land we know little about and are incapable of reading, we embody the barbarism we claim to be seeking to defeat.
We are morally no different from the psychopaths within the Taliban, who Afghans remember we empowered, funded and armed during the 10-year war with the Soviet Union. Acid thrown [in] a girl’s face or beheadings? Death delivered from the air or fields of shiny cluster bombs? This is the language of war. It is what we speak. It is what those we fight speak.
Chris Hedges’ new book, “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle,” will be out in July and can be preordered on Amazon or at your local bookstore.
Copyright © 2009 Truthdig
Chris Hedges, who is an Arabic speaker and spent seven years in the Middle East, was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times.