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Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Disgusting: Chris Hedges booed off the stage at college graduation.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of a recent book that describes war as an addiction, was booed Saturday at Rockford College, a small liberal arts school 80 miles northwest of Chicago. After protesters rushed the stage and twice cut power to the microphone, Hedges cut his speech short.

"He delivered what I guess I would refer to as a fairly strident perspective on the war in Iraq and American policy," college President Paul Pribbenow said Tuesday. "I think our audience at commencement were not prepared for that."

Maybe if they'd graduated from a real college, they would have been better prepared. Hedges has covered wars all over the world and knows what he is talking about. But our educational system is so pathetic now that college graduates prefer government propaganda:

Many audience members turned their backs on Hedges, while others booed and shouted, said Pribbenow, who at one point pleaded to let the speech continue.

Hedges characterized the United States action in Iraq as occupation and said that such a mission would generate rage against Americans. He said the capacity to wage war does not entitle a nation to wage war. The reporter also said the United States and the embedded reporters portrayed war as a spectator sport, touting advanced and powerful technology while overlooking the suffering of Iraqis and the deaths of young American troops.

Hedges said he had given similar talks at several other colleges on his book, but had never had such a response.

"I was surprised at how vociferous it was and the fact that people climbed onto the podium," Hedges said.

Elinor Radlund, who attended the ceremony, said a woman beside her began singing "God Bless America" while a man rushed down the aisle shouting, "Go home!"