The book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” by Chris Hedges provides in-depth discussion of the appeal and pull of war on national actions and attitude of people towards the war. The author highlights fifteen years of experience and reports through his own prism the very nature of the war, its causes and terrible consequences such as numerous deaths, hunger, cataclysms, etc. Moreover, Hedges discusses physical and moral devastation the war leaves. The author claims that war should be considered a deadly addiction or a drug which offers intoxication.
He argues that war is meaningless and in reality war is only the basest form of aggression. One interesting moment is that the author argues that the war has attractive nature. He writes: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become apparent. War makes the world understandable… (p. 54) Hedges explains that the leading causality in war is the truth.
He means that hesitations and doubts whether the war is justified aren’t permitted. The state and the news media are to be blamed for fostering the myth of the good and bad sides of the war. He argues that mythic war “reporting sells papers and boosts rating”. (p. 156) War myths are created to provide the nation with illusion of clear chain of events that prove nobility of the cause and aggression of others. Moreover, war myths are necessary for making people follow leaders, fight and die for them. However, one of the worst myths is the plague of nationalism.
Hedges writes that it is nationalism that divides people on the basis of their culture, ethnicity, language, etc. Nationalism teaches nation to consider itself either superior or minor. Actually, nationalism is one of the most frequently observed causes of war nowadays. Culture is seen as the victim of war as war applies cultural peculiarities to its own purposes. Finally, the author assumes that religion is the only ultimate power that can resist war. Charity, kindness, love and humanity are able to fight the evils of war. References Hedges, Chris. (2002). War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. New York: Public Affairs.