Christopher Hedges has been gone from the New York Times for almost ten years. He has since admitted to being a socialist, been exposed as a serial plagiarist in work he has done since leaving the Times in 2005, and authored “the first issue of the Occupied Wall Street Journal, a newspaper associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park.”
Hedges is the subject of this post because he has called into permanent question the quality, accuracy and objectivity of his entire 15-year body of work as a foreign correspondent for the Times. At an obscure web site called Truthdig on December 15, Hedges called ISIS “the new Israel”.
One would have expected Hedges to tell us about all of the recalcitrant Gentiles whom Israel government ordered to convert to Judaism under penalty of death, refused, and were beheaded as a result. Nope.
One would have expected Hedges to regale us with stories of Arab school children massacred by Israeli forces. Of course he couldn’t do that.
Instead, he compared ISIS’s creation to how Israel came to be a country, and of course blamed the post-9/11 U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — not our feckless foreign policy since 2009, which created the vacuums allowing ISIS to arise — for creating the conditions that gave rise to it:
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is our Frankenstein. The United States after a decade of war in Iraq pieced together its body parts. We jolted it into life. We bathed it in blood and trauma. And we gave it its intelligence. Its dark and vicious heart of vengeance and war is our heart. It kills as we kill. It tortures as we torture. It carries out conquest as we carry out conquest. It is building a state driven by hatred for American occupation, a product of the death, horror and destruction we visited on the Middle East. ISIS now controls an area the size of Texas. It is erasing the borders established by French and British colonial powers through the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement. There is little we can do to stop it.
ISIS, ironically, is perhaps the only example of successful nation-building in the contemporary Middle East, despite the billions of dollars we have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its quest for an ethnically pure Sunni state mirrors the quest for a Jewish state eventually carved out of Palestine in 1948. Its tactics are much like those of the Jewish guerrillas who used violence, terrorism, foreign fighters, clandestine arms shipments and foreign money, along with horrific ethnic cleansing and the massacre of hundreds of Arab civilians, to create Israel. Antagonistic ISIS and Israeli states, infected by religious fundamentalism, would be irreconcilable neighbors. This is a recipe for apocalyptic warfare. We provided the ingredients.
… (ISIS) has launched a jihad against secular and discredited regimes in the Middle East rather than against Western targets abroad. It is seeking to establish, as the Zionists did in Palestine, a utopian, religious state. It holds up the ancient Caliphate—which united Muslims throughout the Middle East in the seventh century and whose time is considered the golden age of Islam—as an ideal, much as Jews held up the biblical kingdoms chronicled in the Hebrew Bible. ISIS, to build its state, has called on engineers, doctors and technicians to immigrate to the area it controls. And ISIS, although devoted to a fundamentalist form of Salafist Islam, is thoroughly modern.
The last bolded item is perhaps the most delusional, given its currency. ISIS has been threatening American and European targets since at least August.
A column this unhinged — even if plagiarized from ISIS screeds, which given Hedges’ history can’t be ruled out — makes every word Hedges wrote as a Times foreign correspondent presumptively dubious at best, and blatantly false at worst. Times editors were clearly okay with having such a person stationed overseas supposedly telling the American people what was going on in the Middle East.
An obvious exit question: How many other Christopher Hedges still toil at the Times?
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.