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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bill Moyer's Message to West Point

Martin Marty passes on this LINK to his readers at the Christian Post.

Click the link and you will find excerpts from a speech Bill Moyers delivered as the Sol Feinstone Lecture on the Meaning of Freedom at the United States Military Academy on November 15.

Marty writes...

Moved, sometimes to tears and sometimes by the rage it inspires, I sent it on to many addresses on my list. Never have I had so many "thank you's" and "let everyone know's" as I did this week. That is why I am breaking precedent here and calling further attention to the speech.
In it, Mr. Moyers shows empathy, almost tender regard, for the consciences, assignments, and paradoxes that go with becoming a military officer during the Iraq war. Aware that any questioning of the prosecution of that war used to draw overwhelming public criticism of a sort which challenged the patriotism of the critic – and such questioning still draws some, even though most of the public has itself done such questioning – Moyers displays his love for the nation and its freedoms, which is the overall topic of the Feinstone lectures.
Part of what set Moyers off was the judgment by media mogul Rupert Murdoch that the casualties in Iraq were "minute" – a dismissal that inspires Moyers to provide some close-ups of people who have lost someone close to them, citizens who cannot live with the word "minute" as an R.I.P. wave of the hand.
The focus here is not on the men and women who have signed up to be cadets; Moyers makes clear that he is not a pacifist or a dissenter against all forms of military engagement. But, getting to his own field of specialization, he is disturbed that the present administration is not heeding warnings of ancients like James Madison and moderns like Dwight Eisenhower and others who feared the threat that comes from placing too much power of decision in the hands of the executive – meaning, in the end, chiefly in war-making.


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