Manuel Valenzuela, born in Mexico City and now living in Spain and the United States, is a novelist who writes philosophically in lyrical prose about current events.  --  This essay, published ten months ago, tells truths about war that are not "fit to print" and which will not be appearing any time soon in the New York Times....

By Manuel Valenzuela

** Hell Is This Thing Called War **

Information Clearing House
November 19, 2004

To be in war is to be in hell on Earth, captured by lunacy and bewilderment, panic, fear, and unmatched levels of stress invading your body. Bullets whizzing by, helicopters flying low, machine gunning anything that moves, fighter jets roaring overhead, explosions everywhere, 500-pound bombs flattening entire city blocks, cluster bombs maiming and killing, the tremors of the ground rattling your consciousness, concrete flying everywhere, screams of pain and agony surrounding you, hidden snipers killing indiscriminately, platoons of men caught in hours-long fire-fights, bullets, artillery and rockets flying everywhere, the smell of blood in the air, the odor of sweat and urine festering about, your heart palpitating thunderously, body parts strewn everywhere, pools of fly-infested blood lining the streets, the nauseatingly putrid stench of rotting death omnipresent, hundreds of mutilated bodies thrown about, the ravaged remains of a once vibrant city laying at your feet, your house destroyed, your family huddled in the corner of your most secure room, your children shaking, lying in a fetal position, hunger overcoming you, your belly hurting for food, your tongue and mouth desperate for water, your spirit eager for escape, your instincts telling you to survive, to hug your children, and never let go.

Welcome to Hell on Earth, where the devil’s excrement bleeds black and the neocon delusion dwindles into twilight. Welcome to state-sponsored terrorism breeding unending crimes against humanity, where torture has replaced torture, where human evil has replaced human evil, and where tyranny has replaced tyranny. Welcome to the American Crusade and Iraq Invasion, where 100,000 innocent civilians have died, in a year and a half, at the hands of the military-industrial complex and the killing machines it trains to push, aim, fire, direct, guide, and launch its weapons of death, carnage, destruction, and human misery. Welcome to Fallujah, where bombs and missiles rain down from the heavens above and cold-blooded monsters on a wanton murdering spree roam hellish streets below.

Iraq is where over 1,200 American soldiers [NOTE: According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty County web site, the number as of Oct. 2, 2005, stands at 1,935. --H.B.] have been killed. Iraq is where 15,000 American soldiers have been maimed, burned, shredded, disfigured, physically scarred, and mentally devastated, never to find normalcy again and never again to know inner peace, becoming an army of psychologically mutilated energies, joining their physically healthy comrades in arms in a future battle against inner demons never to be fully exorcised from within.

To be in Iraq is to be witness to a Pandora’s Box opened by Bush and the neocons where the destruction of Fallujah and other cities is seen as liberation, where the introduction of martial law is seen as democracy and where the importation of chaos, mass killing, utter destruction, terror and guerilla war is seen as a human rights campaign to free the Iraqi people of tyranny. To be in Iraq is to see firsthand how an army lays waste to a large city in a grisly act of collective punishment, how citizen soldiers turn into savage barbarians, torturing and dehumanizing innocents, murdering wounded Iraqis, bombing civilian homes, targeting innocent hospitals, and assassinating dozens of medical personnel.

It is to see trigger-happy, zit-faced, video-game conditioned, television desensitized, military-brainwashed twenty year olds indiscriminately shooting innocent civilians, women and children all, trying to escape a city of death. It is to see an army, priding itself on virtue and morality, purposefully making targets of all living humans in a city of 300,000, granting the green light for their foot soldiers to kill anyone, prosecuting the guilty only when caught red-handed, to salvage public relations, or to play the game of politics. It is only when the criminal policies of those at the top are somehow forever recorded on tape by the actions of soldiers that scapegoating of grunts in order to save the hides of the brass is allowed. In the military, it is not a crime if nobody sees it.

To see the carnage taking place or imagining the terror now enveloping Iraq is to be inside a horrific nightmare that refuses to liberate us from its vice-like grip. To be in Iraq is to be inside Human Hell, as monstrous as one can imagine a place of such evil to be. It is to see Human Evil grow stronger every day, seeing the Cradle of Civilization become a smoldering cauldron of exponentially-growing guerilla war. The violence only escalates, the death figures only increase, and an entire country of 25 million people is slowly but surely descending into the depths of despair and the apex of unmitigated hatred and vengeance.

Hell is this thing called war, procreator of human evil and ambassador to sheer death and suffering. America has exported war where none existed, chaos where order once stood and its legions of military-industrial complex mercenaries birthing terror and pillaging resources. It has created a vast factory of resistance fighters whose assembly lines continue to produce mujahideen with every bomb dropped or bullet fired, making Iraq a hornet’s nest of freedom fighters intent on evicting American invaders and occupiers from their lands.

Their numbers grow, their cause gains worldwide support, the moral high ground is indisputably theirs, and it is they fighting for freedom and liberty, not for corporate profit and oil and to hide the ineptitude of the Bush administration. The illegality of the Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation cannot be denied; it was orchestrated based on lies and deceits, for no reason other than for corporate profit. A sovereign nation, a threat to no other, crippled by a decade of sanctions and U.S. imposed economic genocide, was invaded by the forces of greed and the Almighty Dollar. This illegal war, against all principles of universal precepts of human interaction, mandated by warmongers, greed-mongers, profiteers, and exploiters of human misery, is akin to Hitler's invasion of Poland, while the entire world watched aimlessly and indifferent before he invaded again and again and again. With Iran clearly next in the scope for Bush, Israel, and the lunatic neocons, humanity is one step closer to repeating the mistakes of the past, this time with most ominous consequences.

The Iraq resistance, however, is already victorious, and once the United States escapes its bubble of infallibility and enters the realm of reality, it will see this, wishing it had never entered the quagmire and debacle known as Iraq, where the world’s only superpower was brought to its knees by yet another “barbarian-filled, savage-infested, primitive-living, third-world of a country.” It seems that along with the ghosts of Vietnam can be added those of Iraq, forever to haunt America for its continued ignorance of history, culture, civilization, and the awesome will of the human spirit to live free.

Yet in the Iraq resistance does the world now depend, for its freedom fighters have caused unexpected delays and returns for the zealots in office. In them does humanity seek salvation from a warmongering dictator and a small cabal of deluded Machiavellis whose ideology and insanity threaten the entire security of the globe. For it is their tenacity and unrelenting guerilla campaign of aggression that has prevented further war, destabilization, and catastrophe.

It is also in the American public that the people of the planet need for survival. It is this population that must wake up and commence the greatest peace movement to ever exist, demanding that its loved ones return home from a war without purpose and a cause without hope. We must bring the troops home, for they and the resistance are one and the same, bred from the same lower castes, denied opportunity by the same state and system that purposefully oppresses them, now demanding allegiance in death and sacrifice both in mind and body. For the Establishment needs the lower castes to do its dirty work, dying and suffering for the profit, power, and control of the elite, becoming its army of death and conquest.

Thus Americans must rise like the people of Iraq, marching in the millions, together and strong, peacefully and non-violently bringing down the system, fighting tyranny and despotism, demanding an end to this most heinous of fights that serves no purpose other than to bring humanity even closer to self-destruction. The American people and the resistance in Iraq are one, fighting the same enemy, seeking the same cause, struggling to free humanity from the grip of everlasting conflict.


Beyond the special effects, blazing pyrotechnics, elaborate sets of carnage, unremitting weapons imagery, fake blood, dramatized death, and other Hollywood accessories used to condition and desensitize us to violence and warfare, only a very small fraction of Americans have ever experienced real war and the devastation and suffering that always, without question, seems to follows.

Few of us ever come face to face with a most malevolent demon, that entity resurrected by man over and over again, that for as long as humans have walked the lands of Earth has, like an intrusive virus, penetrated our cellular structure, attaching itself inside us, and prospering with each new act of man’s wretchedness upon itself. Since the beginning it has remained within us, gripping our nature with its raptor-like claws, waiting patiently for weakness to once more consume our thoughts and passions, giving light to darkness and life to death. We are predictable creatures, after all, for killing, raping, destroying, cleansing, starving, torturing, and fighting ourselves is as widespread in our history as a common cold is in winter.

It is warfare, that scourge of humanity, whose seeds of lunacy, rage, violence, and hatred unearth among men the worst evils of the human condition, turning us into crazed beasts made immune to the senses of human morality and the constructs of universal law created by the wise, righteous, virtuous, and principled among us over the course of untold generations and throughout all corners of the globe. In battle, where man fights man in struggle for survival, all rational assembly of goodness bred through social evolution is replaced by an innermost primitiveness of primeval ooze long ago mutated.

The animal inside is thus uncaged, released out of its human cocoon, transformed into an unthinking predator devoid of human virtue whose respect for life and learned morality cease to exist. Tamed humans become wild primates, captured by the behaviors of all creatures we once were on our long road to what we presently are, falling down the hole of evolution, regressing backwards to the law of the jungle and the survival of the fittest.

Through the yells and grunts of men in battle can the reality of primitiveness past be heard and felt. Hearing the wails of the injured, the cries of the dying and the groans of enemies fighting in hand to hand combat, with only the winner continuing life, must be an unwelcome voyage back to days long gone but bountiful throughout time, reminding its observers of the long and violent human past that never goes silent. In war’s malevolent sounds can the demon of humanity clearly be experienced, shrieks and screams unwelcome to the human ear, sending shivers of dread down our spines.

It is in war that the true nature of what we are is released, visible for all those willing to see.


For war -- that human weakness created by warmongering leaders that send to battle the mostly young, ignorant, easily manipulated, testosterone-filled members of the lower castes of any one tribe -- unleashes in human beings a most vicious animal from the deepest reaches of our psyches. The primordial necessity to kill, the hunger to maim and rape, the desire to inflict pain and suffering is therefore reborn, free to act indiscriminately, away from the menacing glow of the rule of law and the watchful eye of humanity.

In war, in its battles and fights, killing becomes legal and permitted, a duty onto every soldier, a policy espoused by the highest leaders of every side. Horrific crimes such as rape and murder of innocents, normally punished severely in society, become a weapon of fear and terror, overlooked and forgotten, designed to weaken the enemy and its supporters, seen as an unpunished necessity for the psychologically traumatized soldier seeking to exorcise demons and release stresses tearing him apart. Throughout history, in all regions of Earth, untold millions of women have been sexually victimized by individual soldiers turned animals or by gangs of warriors turned pack of wolves. It is part of the disease, a symptom of the demon released.

It is because of war that laws and morality disappear, making crimes the normalcy of everyday life and the morals of ordinary men the vanished remains of humanity. In war, being wrong is considered right, evil is seen as good, and the daily introspections of soldiers questioning war’s purpose is admonished, judged as a sign of weakness, heresy, and free-thought. In truth, morals are an enemy of warmongers, this is why free-thinking minds are eliminated during military training, when God-fearing Christian boys and girls are transformed into cold-blooded automaton-like killing machines, conditioned to kill without hesitation or mercy, brainwashed to obey and follow, never to think beyond what they are trained or told to do.

In war the killing of innocents becomes a means by which to traumatize, terrorize, and instill fear into the enemy and its helpers, made legal by those in power, glossed over and made to disappear. In modern times, this practice is called collateral damage by American Nazis in office, as if beating hearts, terrified minds, and baby eyes were inanimate concrete buildings and inconsequential infrastructure, nothing but rocks, concrete, and rubble to be bombed and demolished. This is nothing more than collective punishment of an entire population, perfected by the Israelis and taught to the Americans, which seeks to destroy the collective will of the people and the resistance. It is purposeful, it is strategy, it is policy, and it is malevolent, a war crime and a crime against humanity.

In war the enemy and its supporters must be made to seem inferior, taking on the appearance of sub-humans or even animals. This legitimizes their killing and the deaths of their loved ones, who, in the eyes of American GIs, are seen as a savage sub-species. Thus the learned constructs of morality and the traumatic questioning of murder by the human mind are washed away, and the respect once afforded human life becomes nonexistent.

The German Nazis, similarly, called their enemies “untermensch,” or sub-human, easily killed, raped, tortured, and exterminated. Once people are no longer considered humans, it seems, their murder is easier to swallow, and thus the killer’s mind can continue fighting, and killing. The Americans are today repeating many of the same atrocities as their Nazi counterparts, becoming the same monster, using the same beliefs, mutating into an abyss of human wickedness from where few minds ever return.


In the battlefields where today’s armies fight, the ghosts of history are once more made to appear, pitching battles of old with claws and teeth, our ape-like ancestors fighting tree to tree and branch to branch for resources and territory, power, and sexual conquest. Later after our mighty Diaspora out of East Africa to all reaches of the planet our methods of warfare evolved, stones and spears appeared, in confrontations over competition did clan versus clan and tribe versus tribe find themselves, leaving destruction, extinction, and ruin in their wake.

In these modern fighting zones of today can we see the armies of ancient city-states doing battle with rivals through iron and armor, fighting each other for group loyalty, power, resources, belief, and land, shielded by advancing technologies, maimed by evolved weaponry, seeking higher ground for their cities, surrounding and protecting their cities with defensive walls. Soon empires rise and barbarians fall, greater economies, populations and wealth always prevail, the Caesars’ addiction for expansion of land and conquest of man grew, their ego and legacy was thus assured; the Popes’ subjugation of heathens and pagans spread with the hypnotizing opiate of their theology and the devastating violence of their cross capturing the minds and bodies of millions, their cultures erased, their ways of life altered forever.

In the lands of Iraq do the winds of kingdoms and monarchies rise, entire legions of armies clashing in savage war, thousands of feudal peasants fighting for nobles’ lands and kings’ thrones, new sophisticated weapons of devastation and fiery hell are born, injury and death in greater numbers are thus assured. Visible ghosts and unseen winds give rise to the nation-state, pitting country against country, manipulated patriotism versus brainwashed nationalism. Entire cities are condemned to rubble, now millions of innocents and millions of combatants die, firestorms and bombs dropped from the sky, bullets and ordinance kill from below. In the fields of death only blood blossoms, its crimson red color alive as roses as the devastation of modern warfare makes dead men walking of those standing ready to fight and those hiding in fear.

Two World Wars have enveloped the globe, following man everywhere he goes. Human violence and wickedness have simply evolved, from our start in the tree to the land of the free. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and extermination continue to reign, we never learn, again and again. Today in the 21st century do we live, in a guilded age of smart bombs and missiles that completely miss their targets, instead killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children. In times of depleted uranium munitions and bombs do we stand proud to thrive in, filling the bodies of both friend and foe with the slow-killing disease called radiation. Thousands of nuclear bombs are ready to evaporate our planet; millions of tons of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction have been produced, ready to poison and plague us; the assembly lines of instruments of death, violence and destruction continue to run, their conveyor belts refusing to stop the proliferation of weapons designed to kill and maim; space, the next frontier of war, is set to be weaponized and militarized.

From the first stone and wooden weapons used by man to the latest gadgets invented by the military-industrial complex, human war simply evolves in time and space, our weaponry growing more sophisticated and deadly with each new year, their capacity to kill more people growing exponentially. The resources invested in the manufacturing of weapons only grows more each year, now reaching $450 billion a year in the U.S. alone.

Knowing humanity, our addiction for violence and penchant for war, it is not hard to fathom the next great war being our last, as nation-states begin to compete for the last vestiges of Earth’s natural resources, which continue to dwindle more each passing year. The need for oil, water, arable land, and food, our pursuit of competition and elimination of rivals, our failures to understand our condition or learn from our mistakes and the continued lingering of the virus called violence embedded in a species six billion strong virtually assures that we will continue as we have always been, the next time incinerating ourselves, becoming ash and dust, finally making extinct millennia of perpetual war and suffering. The road of history does not lie, its sides filled with untold destruction and human death. If we continue ahead as we always have, we will be lucky to survive fifty more years. Under Bush, it will be a miracle if we survive four more.

With humanity, it seems, only where our hands cannot reach does peace exist. Only where we fail to conquer does war not thrive. In lands free of human minds and bodies balance remains and nature flourishes, emancipated from the destruction that follows man everywhere he goes like a trail of footprints through muddy paths. Everywhere we roam extinction begins, so it is only logical that with us it should end.

For only the dead have seen the end of war, finally liberated from the virus, the plague, and the demon that infects us to our core. Only the dead have seen the end of war, so rejoice and relax, for if we fail to act, we will all be there in four years more.

--Mr. Valenzuela´s new novel is now on sale through at the Echoes in the Wind Sales Page. A philosophical, eduational and spiritual story on humanity and our civilization, as relevant as today´s headlines, this book is almost 600 pages in trade paperback form on sale internationally through secure web page transaction. Additionally, the novel is now available on and, as well as other online book sellers. If preferred, the novel can also be ordered at any local brick and mortar bookstore worldwide through the book´s ISBN number, 1418489905.

--Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now published by A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005. His articles appear regularly in alternative news websites including His unique style and powerful writing is read internationally and seeks to expose truths and realities confronting humanity today. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A collection of his work can be found visiting his archives and by searching the Internet.