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The Disease of Permanent War

The embrace by any society of permanent war is a parasite that devours the heart and soul of a nation.

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"I never even managed to become anything: neither wicked nor good, neither a scoundrel nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect," the Underground Man wrote. "And now I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and utterly futile consolation that it is even impossible for an intelligent man seriously to become anything, and only fools become something."

We have been drawn into the world of permanent war by these fools. We allow fools to destroy the continuity of life, to tear apart all systems--economic, social, environmental and political--that sustain us. Dostoevsky was not dismayed by evil. He was dismayed by a society that no longer had the moral fortitude to confront the fools. These fools are leading us over the precipice. What will rise up from the ruins will not be something new, but the face of the monster that has, until then, remained hidden behind the facade. 

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, is a Senior Fellow at the Nation Institute. His latest book is Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians.

 
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