In the fall of 2001, Harper’s published “A Gaza Diary: Scenes from the Palestinian Uprising” by former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges. Among other things, Hedges wrote the following concerning Israeli military conduct in a June 17, 2001 incident:
Children have been shot in other countries I have covered – death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo – but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.
One Palestinian was killed on June 17, when Hedges was in Gaza reporting this lurid passage. It was the same day that a Palestinian bomber had attacked Israelis nearby in Gaza, an event unmentioned by Hedges. According to The New York Times and other news agencies the Palestinian fatality occurred in the midst of violence – not as “sport.”
Hedges nevertheless incorporated this passage unretouched in his 2002 book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. America is of course also subject to Hedges’s vile calumny. Hedges writes in the book:
The attacks on the World Trade Center illustrate that those who oppose us, rather than coming from another moral universe, have been schooled well in modern warfare.
Where else, but from the industrialized world, did the suicide hijackers learn that huge explosions and death above a city skyline are a peculiar and effective form of communication? They have mastered the language. They understand that the use of disproportionate violence against innocents is a way to make a statement. We leave the same calling cards. Corpses in wartime often deliver messages. The death squads in El Salvador dumped three bodies in the parking lot of the Camino Real Hotel in San Salvador, where the journalists were based, early one morning. Death threats against us were stuffed in the mouths of the bodies.
And, on a larger scale, Washington uses murder and corpses to transmit its wrath. We delivered such incendiary messages in Vietnam, Iraq, Serbia, and Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden has learned to speak the language of modern industrial warfare.
(I take the quote from the review of Hedges’s book at Brothers Judd.) Osama bin Laden not only inhabits the same “moral universe” as Americans, he learned his murderous “form of communication” from us. We are apparently responsible for the war waged by the jihadists against us.
In today’s New York Sun, the daughter formerly known as Little Trunk reports that the assignment of Hedges’s book as required reading for incoming Baruch College freshmen has not been greeted with universal merriment at the school: “Baruch requires students read book some are labeling anti-Semitic.”