Chris Hedges pulls back the curtain on AIPAC

March 5, 2012 | By | 7 Replies More

At Truthdig, Chris Hedges pulls no punches in his new article on AIPAC, “AIPAC Works for the 1 Percent.”  It’s rare for me to read an article this intense, well-crafted and alligned with what I’ve come to understand.

What is being done in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, is a pale reflection of what is slowly happening to the rest of us. It is a window into the rise of the global security state, our new governing system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism.” It is a reflection of a world where the powerful are not bound by law, either on Wall Street or in the shattered remains of the countries we invade and occupy, including Iraq with its hundreds of thousands of dead. And one of the greatest purveyors of this demented ideology of violence for the sake of violence, this flagrant disregard for the rule of domestic and international law, is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

I spent seven years in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I lived for two of those seven years in Jerusalem. AIPAC does not speak for Jews or for Israel. It is a mouthpiece for right-wing ideologues, some of whom hold power in Israel and some of whom hold power in Washington, who believe that because they have the capacity to war wage they have a right to wage war, whose loyalty, in the end, is not to the citizens of Israel or Palestine or the United States but the corporate elites, the defense contractors, those who make war a business, those who have turned ordinary Palestinians, Israelis and Americans, along with hundreds of millions of the world’s poor, into commodities to exploit, repress and control.

Hedges has written a long and intense article that address many of my most pressing concerns about the dicection in which the United States has been going. Note, especially, this description of nationalism (by Danilo Kis) set forth in Hedges’ article:

“The nationalist is by definition an ignoramus,” the Yugoslav writer Danilo Kiš wrote. “Nationalism is the line of least resistance, the easy way. The nationalist is untroubled, he knows or thinks he knows what his values are, his, that’s to say national, that’s to say the values of the nation he belongs to, ethical and political; he is not interested in others, they are no concern of his, hell—it’s other people (other nations, another tribe). They don’t even need investigating. The nationalist sees other people in his own images—as nationalists.”

As Chris Hedges so eloquently points out, we are a very sick society here in the U.S., and it’s time to start changing things in big ways and small ways. Here’s a small way that could become a big way if we tap into the power of crowd sourcing. We need to speak out about these injustices, even in polite company–especially in polite company. I sometimes gently remind people of the travesty of the cancerous military-industrial complex that is running America, and when I do, most people looked at me like I am being inappropriate. So what that we burn $2B/week in Afghanistan? Let’s talk about the professional sports or something happier. Hedges’ writing reminds me that I can’t think of anything happier than wresting control of the treasure from the ultra-nationalist warmongers and turning control of this country back to those who would seek sustainable health and meaningful information for the People. So that’s my take-away. It’s time to speak up more–to name the elephant in the room. This incessant spying, lying, censorship and warmongering are not consistent with a nation that supposedly treasures liberty.

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Category: The Middle East, War, Warmongering

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (7)

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  1. Adam Herman says:

    I can’t really speak on how influential AIPAC is other than to say that both parties pay very close attention to it. However, I can speak on whether AIPAC does the work of the 1%. It doesn’t, unless we’re referring to everything we don’t like as “the 1%”. Neoconservatism is certainly more influential than the writer and a lot of other people would like it to be, but this isn’t one of those things you can blame on corporations or big moneyed interests. “corporations”, “the 1%”, and “money” are not a universal theory of everything. AIPAC has power for the same reason the Cuba lobby and the Taiwan lobby have power. There are political leaders who are very very personally interested in what happens in these countries and they have the ears of other political leaders.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Adam: AIPAC and it’s high-ranking U.S. apologists know that the first battle is the PR battle. Hence, we have unceasing “news” indicating that the U.S. needs to accept Israel’s view of the world. Congress largely buys into this world view, meaning that the U.S. has demonized, isolated and attacked most of the countries in the Middle East. This has already caused two horrendously wasteful wars and it’s about to cause a third. Sure, lots of people “support” U.S. warmongering in the Middle East. They do so because of the one-sided fear-drenched reporting they are hearing in the corporate media. What if they were getting a balanced view of the Middle East? What if the national news featured Chris Hedges’ views for a few minutes each night? If only. There is a better way to conduct foreign policy, but it doesn’t involve needless wars and we’re not considering it.

  2. Adam Herman says:

    I don’t disagree with much of that, just observing that this country’s pro-Israel policy isn’t a result of moneyed interests, it’s the media, AIPAC, and American values that result in that policy.

    Maybe Hedges didn’t write that headline, because the core of his essay isn’t about the 1%, it’s a general critique of mainstream thought in US foreign policy.

  3. We are all Palestinians now.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam,
    In the US today, the mainstream media is a large part of the moneyed interests. AIPAC began leveraging the religious right in this country years ago, with Christian televangelists blindly supporting Israel’s expansionist policies under the misguided idea that the Jewish state is very close to the Christian faith. Many Israelis consider Christians to be no different form Muslims, to then both are heretic religions. But, for now, Christians are useful to their nationalistic goals.

    I find the idea that a nuclear Iran poses a threat to Israel somewhat odd. Israel has a sizable nuclear arsenal.

  5. Adam Herman says:

    Well, Iran doesn’t need much to destroy Israel given that Israel is kinda small. Israel’s primary deterrent is the Samson option: every Muslim state they can reach gets obliterated if one of them uses nuclear weapons. That way no sufficiently crazy national leader can just “take one for the team”. But really, if you were in charge in Israel, would such a doomsday option really be preferable to just bombing the crap out of Iran’s nuke program? It’s a policy that worked for Israel twice. Why not do it again?

    I agree that the mainstream media is moneyed interests, which is a point I’ve been making in the citizens United posts. If you just empower the corporate media, you haven’t solved anything. Which is why we’re better off with unrestricted political advocacy. A “fair” system would essentially require repeal of the 1st amendment.

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Adam,
    As usual your pretzel logic is astounding.

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