Editor’s note: In this column published on Truthdig in early 2013, Chris Hedges refers to New Yorker contributor George Packer as one of many intellectual “war boosters” and “liberal hawks” who “did what they always have done: engage in self preservation” in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Truthdig republishes Hedges’ column days after Packer’s negative review of Hedges’ new book, “The Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt,” in the Sunday Book Review in The New York Times.
The rewriting of history by the power elite was painfully evident as the nation marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Some claimed they had opposed the war when they had not. Others among “Bush’s useful idiots” argued that they had merely acted in good faith on the information available; if they had known then what they know now, they assured us, they would have acted differently. This, of course, is false. The war boosters, especially the “liberal hawks”—who included Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken and John Kerry, along with academics, writers and journalists such as Bill Keller, Michael Ignatieff, Nicholas Kristof, David Remnick, Fareed Zakaria, Michael Walzer, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, George Packer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Kanan Makiya and the late Christopher Hitchens—did what they always have done: engage in acts of self-preservation. To oppose the war would have been a career killer. And they knew it.