Chris Hedges graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School and was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for the New York Times and other publications. He shared the Pulitzer Prize in 2002. In his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (Public Affairs, 2002), Hedges gives an account of the “intoxication” of war, which he covered in regions around the world, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (Nation Books, 2009).
The rage soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is easily directed to innocent civilians who are seen to support the insurgents. It is a short psychological leap, but a massive moral leap. It is a leap from killing – the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm – to murder – the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you. The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder. There is very little killing.