HEDGES: “During a lull I dashed across an empty square and found shelter behind a house. My heart was racing. Adrenaline coursed through my bloodstream. I was safe. I made it back to the capital. And like most war correspondents, I soon considered the experience a great cosmic joke. I drank away the fear and excitement in a seedy bar in downtown San Salvador. Most people, after such an experience, would learn to stay away. I was hooked. ”
MOYERS: You were hooked on?
HEDGES: War. On the most powerful narcotic invented by humankind is war.
MOYERS: What is the narcotic? What is it that’s the poisonous allure?
HEDGES: Well the Bible calls it, “The lust of the eye.” And warns believers against it. It’s that great landscape of the grotesque. It’s that power to destroy.
I mean one of the most chilling things you learn in war is that human beings like to destroy. Not only other things but other human beings. And when unit discipline would break down or there was no unit discipline to begin with, you would go into a town and people’s eyes were glazed over. They sputtered gibberish.
Houses were burning. They had that power to revoke the charter. That divine-like power, to revoke the charter of another human being’s place on this planet. And they used it.
MOYERS: I would have thought that being captured and held by the Iraqis as you were, would have cured you of your addiction. But yet it didn’t.
MOYERS: So I still don’t understand it. I have to be honest. I mean I just don’t understand why you keep putting yourself back into that which you hate.