Naval War College Review


Jon Czarnecki


Chris Hedges’s timely and moving re- flection War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning is about how war destroys the people who experience it. He elo- quently argues throughout his short book that no one who is caught up in war ever emerges unscathed or un- scarred. Hedges wants the reader to see war for what it is—an evil designed by humans to empower great violence against other humans. Hedges depicts this evil graphically, many times and in many ways, throughout the book. He feels compelled to make his case in ex- tremely stark terms because he knows that for all its wickedness, war is also a most addictive psychological and social drug. Worse, Hedges states, war is sometimes a necessary evil, a poison that civilized and humane peoples must take to defeat horribly deformed na- tions and peoples who have completely surrendered their humanity to it.