Chris Hedges on the abysmal treatment of Muslim Americans post 9/11:
We no longer have freedom; there is only the appearance of freedom. We are consumed by an endless and vague war on terror in which the perfidiousness of our enemy, whose number, location and nature are never clearly defined, justifies the shredding of constitutional rights, torture, kidnapping, detentions without charges or trials and an occult-like battle against an absolute evil. And if you think the state intends to limit itself to the persecution of Muslims, especially once there is an increase in domestic unrest and instability, you know little about human history.
Hedges relentless assault on the political classes in America can sometime get wearing – he never lets up regardless of the party in power, and manages to alienate much of the Left with his rigid political views. I often struggle to read Hedges for two reasons – the first being his perpetual attacks on the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party. I get that Obama has done many things wrong, that he has sold out to financial interests and that he often refuses to put the Republicans in their place etc. But we must consider the alternative. The Left seem to forget just how bad the Bush years were, and by ripping Obama to pieces at every opportunity they are taking votes away from him for the upcoming election. Does anyone want to see Michelle Bachmann in office in 2012? If that prospect isn’t truly frightening, I don’t know what is.
The second reason I find Hedges hard to read is that he is probably right.
His searing analysis of the gradual collapse of pax Americana is painful to digest precisely because it is so true. A country of unimaginable wealth that is unable to provide access to health care for 47 million people and unable to feed 1 in 7 of its citizens has, we must admit, some serious structural problem. A country dominated by enormous financial institutions that still weild the power to decimate the economy in a matter of hours cannot be sustained for long. And most of all, a country founded on the principles of inalienable rights and individual freedom cannot survive intact if it does not extend those rights to all of its citizens.
These are hard truths that the political classes routinely ignore. They offer band aid solutions to inherent and cyclical problems, and the public continues to accept it as ‘the way it is’. Obama is by far the lesser of two evils, but in the scheme of things, he is still part of the problem and not the solution.
Hedges refuses to hide from these problems and has risked his life and career to report on them. I often prefer to ignore them and pretend all will be ok. But still, I am drawn to Hedges and his brutal columns because I know that in a world dominated by spin and propaganda, he will always tell it like it is.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.