If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of schoolchildren killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat cliches we use to justify war. This is why war is carefully sanitized. This is why we are given war's perverse and dark thrill but are spared from seeing war's consequences. The mythic visions of war keep it heroic and entertaining... The wounded, the crippled, and the dead are, in this great charade, swiftly carted offstage. They are war's refuse. We do not see them. We do not hear them. They are doomed, like wandering spirits, to float around the edges of our consciousness, ignored, even reviled. The message they tell is too painful for us to hear. We prefer to celebrate ourselves and our nation by imbibing the myths of glory, honor, patriotism, and heroism, words that in combat become empty and meaningless.
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APAChris Hedges Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=if-we-really-saw-war-what-war-does-to-young-minds-bodies-it-would-be-impossible-to-embrace-myth-war-if-we-had-to-stand-over-mangled-corpses-schoolchildren-killed-in-afghanistan-l
ChicagoChris Hedges Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=if-we-really-saw-war-what-war-does-to-young-minds-bodies-it-would-be-impossible-to-embrace-myth-war-if-we-had-to-stand-over-mangled-corpses-schoolchildren-killed-in-afghanistan-l, accessed .
MLA"Chris Hedges Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=if-we-really-saw-war-what-war-does-to-young-minds-bodies-it-would-be-impossible-to-embrace-myth-war-if-we-had-to-stand-over-mangled-corpses-schoolchildren-killed-in-afghanistan-l
The few surviving Armenians no longer ask to go home. They do not ask for restitution. They ask simply to have the memory of their obliteration acknowledged. It is a moral obsession, the lonely legacy passed onto the third and fourth generation who no longer speak Armenian but who carry within them the seeds of resentment that will not be quashed.
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To emotionally accept impending disaster, to attain the gut-level understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem, is as difficult to accept as our own mortality. The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth-intellect ually and emotionally-and continue to resist the forces that are destroying us.
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This too is a jihad. Yet we Americans find ourselves in the dangerous position of going to war not against a state but against a phantom. The jihad we have embarked upon is targeting an elusive and protean enemy. The battle we have begun is never-ending. But it may be too late to wind back the heady rhetoric. We have embarked on a campaign as quixotic as the one mounted to destroy us.
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The split in America, rather than simply economic, is between those who embrace reason, who function in the real world of cause and effect, and those who, numbed by isolation and despair, now seek meaning in a mythical world of intuition, a world that is no longer reality-based, a world of magic.
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We've bought into the idea that education is about training and 'success', defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.
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The more we listen to the voices of others, voices unlike our own, the more we remain open to the transcendent forces that save us from idolatry. The more we listen to ourselves, the more we create God in our own image until God becomes a tawdry idol that looks and speaks like us. The power of the commandments is found not in the writings of theologians, although I read and admire some, but in the pathos of human life, including lives that are very unlike our own. All states and nations work to pervert religions into civic religions, ones where the goals of the state become the goals of the divine. This is increasingly true in the United States. But once we believe we understand the will of God and can act as agents of God we become dangerous, a menace to others and a menace to ourselves. We forget that we do not understand. We forget to listen.
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Most of these students are so conditioned to success that they become afraid to take risks. They have been taught from a young age by zealous parents, schools, and institutional authorities what constitutes failure and success. They are socialized to obey. They obsess over grades and seek to please professors, even if what professors teach is fatuous. The point is to get ahead, and getting ahead means deference to authority. Challenging authority is never a career advancer.
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The corporations that profit from permanent war need us to be afraid. Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear permits the government to operate in secret. Fear means we are willing to give up our rights and liberties for promises of security. The imposition of fear ensures that the corporations that wrecked the country cannot be challenged. Fear keeps us penned in like livestock.
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I believe that the truth is the only force that will set us free. I have hope, not in the tangible or in what I can personally accomplish, but in the faith that battling evil, cruelty, and injustice allows us to retain our identity, a sense of meaning and ultimately our freedom. Perhaps in our lifetimes we will not succeed. Perhaps things will only get worse. But this does not invalidate our efforts. Rebellion-which is different from revolution because it is perpetual alienation from power rather than the replacement of one power system with another-should be our natural state. And faith, ...
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