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Jul-21-2012 23:05printcomments

Fighting the Vampire Within

Murder is not an anomaly in war - Chris Hedges

'The Battlefield'
'The Battlefield'

(MANAMA, Bahrain) - Early warriors massed on bloody battlefields with everything from sticks and screams to swords, bows and arrows, muskets and cannons. That scene remained both disgusting and ridiculous.

The grim reaper heard the call of wild, raging bloodthirsty troops who could never get enough of head-slicing swords and cannon fodder.

If that description of what goes on in battle is heinous and upsetting, waken to the reality that we encourage at a distance, nourish and sponsor and celebrate when the young--willingly sacrificed--return in body bags for burial.

It's not only the buried dead who rattle the Gatling guns of our souls. Listen to the unforgiving voice of ex war correspondent Chris Hedges:

    If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of schoolchildren killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war.

Warfare has now reached the psychotic stage of comfortable blood-letting at a distance with remote controlled predator drones.

Comments Glenn Greenwald, "The military slang for a man killed by a drone strike is 'bug splat', since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed."

How psychotic it is when a warrior sits comfortably at a computer guiding an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hundreds of miles from his target to a "bug splat".

Instead of growing up, maturing after centuries of mass murders at the whim and fancy of bloodthirsty madmen, we satisfy our murderous desires at a safe distance from the exploding bodies that splat like bugs!

America's drones are nothing more than a clever attempt to distance America's vampires from their bloody victims.

In the past decade 30 countries have been involved in one kind of war or another--from America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to separatist movements, civil unrest, insurgencies and uprisings, religious and ethnic conflicts.

After WWII, the United Nations was founded to avoid further catastrophic wars. But there have been more conflicts in the world since the founding of the UN than during any previous period in history.

In any war, nightmarish atrocities become commonplace. People get used to hiding and running in fear, to refugee camps, secretly hating the blood-letting violators of decency.

“War is always about betrayal," says Hedges, "betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians.”

Those who bleed, those who bear excruciating pain, and those who struggle to take their last breath have all been betrayed.

As Hedges reminds us, “The violence of war is random. It does not make sense. And many of those who struggle with loss also struggle with the knowledge that the loss was futile and unnecessary.”

That the people of 30 countries continue to struggle with the futility of war doesn't seem to faze any but a few idealists with no control over their own fate, much less that of others.

Unable to control their bloodletting urges, America, Iran and Israel are sabre-rattling to prepare for yet more murder and maiming sessions of missile madness.

Netanyahu's government reserves the right to strike directly at Iran if it doesn't believe Washington and others are doing enough--through diplomacy or sanctions--to stop it going nuclear.

When are we going to reach the stage where useful energy replaces the vampire within and empathy replaces violence?

Throughout his life as an educator, Dr. Paul J. Balles, a retired American university professor and freelance writer, has lived and worked in the Middle East for 40 years - first as an English professor (Universities of Kuwait and Bahrain), and for the past ten years as a writer, editor and editorial consultant.

He’s a weekly Op-Ed columnist for the GULF DAILY NEWS . Dr. Balles is also Editorial Consultant for Red House Marketing and a regular contributor to Bahrain This Month. He writes a weekly op-ed column for Akbar Al Khaleej (Arabic). He has also edited seven websites, including,

Paul has had more than 350 articles published, focusing on companies, personality profiles, entrpreneurs, women achievers, journalists and the media, the Middle East, American politics, the Internet and the Web, consumer reports, Arabs, diplomats, dining out and travel. Paul's articles on are frank and enlightening. We are very appreciative of the incredible writings Dr. Balles has generated for our readers over the years, and we are very pleased to list him among our most valued contributors.

Indulging the hard subjects that keep the world divided is our specialty at, and with writers like Dr. Paul Balles on our team, we amplify our ability to meet challenges and someday, will see the effects of this exist in context with a more peaceful and generally successful world.




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