The Pictures of War You Aren’t Supposed to See by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Jan. 4, 2010

War is brutal and impersonal. It mocks the fantasy of individual heroism and the absurdity of utopian goals like democracy. In an instant, industrial warfare can kill dozens, even hundreds of people, who never see their attackers. The power of these industrial weapons is indiscriminate and staggering. They can take down apartment blocks in seconds, burying and crushing everyone inside. They can demolish villages and send tanks, planes and ships up in fiery blasts. The wounds, for those who survive, result in terrible burns, blindness, amputation and lifelong pain and trauma. No one returns the same from such warfare. And once these weapons are employed all talk of human rights is a farce.

In Peter van Agtmael’s “2nd Tour Hope I don’t Die” and Lori Grinker’s “Afterwar: Veterans From a World in Conflict,” two haunting books of war photographs, we see pictures of war which are almost always hidden from public view. These pictures are shadows, for only those who go to and suffer from war can fully confront the visceral horror of it, but they are at least an attempt to unmask war’s savagery.


via Truthdig

Copyright © 2010 Truthdig

Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He has written nine books, including Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009) and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2003).


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from the archives:

War Is a Hate Crime by Chris Hedges

Celebrating Slaughter: War and Collective Amnesia by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges: War exposes the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves

War Is Sin by Chris Hedges

The Disease of Permanent War by Chris Hedges

4 thoughts on “The Pictures of War You Aren’t Supposed to See by Chris Hedges

  1. ~
    Tao Te Ching – 46

    When the Tao is present in the universe,
    The horses haul manure.
    When the Tao is absent from the universe,
    War horses are bred outside the city.

    There is no greater illusion than fear, no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself, no greater misfortune than having an enemy.

    Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.

    lao tu

  2. Pingback: West’s Afghan War: From Conquest To Bloodbath by Rick Rozoff « Dandelion Salad

  3. Another punch in the mouth to the lie that is war. Please don’t forget those who enable it either- “respectable” men on Wall St., in the offices of Goldman Sachs, Chase and other vile nests of financial maggots and in the halls of their base lackeys…. the congress and white house.

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