Hedges and Hedges

I’ve posted before about Chris Hedges’ and Joe Sacco’s illustrated book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, in which they call attention to the poor victims of race and class war. Truthout reprints, Obama’s Decision to Attack Syria and “Give Congress a Voice,” a transcript of a video interview of Chris Hedges by Paul Jay of The Real News Network. Hedges argues that the US has no moral standing to punish Syria:

… within the Middle East there is a widespread remembrance that Israel used over 200 white phosphorus rockets when they did their 22-day aerial bombardment of Gaza, that we as a country used chemical agents–Agent Orange in Vietnam, and we have littered the Middle East–Afghanistan, Iraq–with depleted uranium. …

The fact that we were complicit, in essence, with the use of chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War–we gave them satellite imagery so that they knew where to drop it–that we stood by and did nothing when Saddam Hussein was dropping poison gas on places like Halabja, this is not lost to people in the Middle East. So there’s no kind of uniformity at all to our response. When those who are our purported allies (and in the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq was tacitly our ally) do these kinds of things, we ignore it. When the Israelis do it, we ignore it. And when it happens in Syria, you know, supposedly we respond.

I think morally the United States has no case to make unless they were actively stopping a delivery system of these chemical agents, i.e. intercepting the planes that were dropping them or, if they used artillery shells, which is what Saddam Hussein had, you know, the 155 howitzers or the units that were delivering those shells.

But we have no legal, moral, as you pointed out, right to intervene at this point as an act of punishment. Nor do we have the moral credibility to do it.

In, The Last Chance to Stop the NDAA, Hedges decries potential military detention of civilians:

During the five years I covered the war in El Salvador the Reagan administration regularly denounced reporters who exposed atrocities by the Salvadoran military as“fifth columnists” for the rebel movement, a charge that made us in the eyes of Reagan officials at the very least accomplices to terrorism. This, too, was raised in court, as was the fact that during my seven years as a reporter in the Middle East I met regularly with individuals and groups, including al-Qaida, that were considered terrorists by the U.S. government. There were times in my 20-year career as a foreign correspondent, especially when I reported events or opinions that challenged the official narrative, that the U.S. government made little distinction between me and groups that were antagonistic to the United States. In those days there was no law that could be used to seize and detain me. Now there is. …

This will be the standard tactic. Laws passed in the so-called war on terror will be used to turn all dissidents and activists into terrorism suspects, subjecting them to draconian forms of state repression and control. The same tactic was used during the anti-communist hysteria of the 20th century to destroy union leaders, writers, civil rights activists, intellectuals, artists, teachers, politicians and organizations that challenged entrenched corporate power.

“There’s nothing that’s built into this NDAA [the National Defense Authorization Act] that even gives a detained person the right to get to an attorney,” Afran said. “In fact, the whole notion is that it’s secret. It’s outside of any judicial process. You’re not even subject to a military trial. You can be moved to other jurisdictions under the law. It’s the antithesis of due process.”


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