The crisis faced by combat veterans returning from war is not simply a struggle with trauma and alienation. It is often, for those who can slice through the suffering to self-awareness, an existential crisis. War exposes the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves. It rips open the hypocrisy of our religions and secular institutions. Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. God and fate have not blessed us above others. Victory is not assured. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight.Excerpt from The Greatest Evil is War by Chris Hedges, Seven Stories Press, New York, USA, 2022 (p. 77).
CHRIS HEDGES was a war correspondent for two decades in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans, including fifteen years with the New York Times, where he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He is the author of fourteen books, including War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and What Every Person Should Know About War. He holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University and has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, and the University of Toronto.