Century Marks

Ticking time bombs: The vanquished of war, says war correspondent Chris Hedges, rarely speak about the horrors at the time. That comes much later, particularly when they look back on the suffering they endured as children, and on what it was like to see a mother or father taken away or a community destroyed. Those who execute wars, Hedges observes, also carry scars. Many of the American soldiers in Iraq, he says, “will never sleep well for the rest of their lives. Most will harbor within themselves corrosive feelings of self-loathing and regret.” They’ve also learned the hard truth that our country is not the righteous nation portrayed in our civil religion. “This is why so many combat veterans hate military shrinks and chaplains, whose task is largely to patch them up with the old clichés and ship them back to the battlefield” (New York Review of Books, December 16).


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